As the oldest brother to four siblings — three brothers and a little sister — I find this ad very touching. I paused several times as I read it.

It’s running today in the Union-Leader, New Hampshire’s widely read (and conservative) newspaper.

Text below…

An Open Letter to the New Hampshire Legislature

Dear Legislators:

As a former Marine, I take freedom and liberty very seriously.  And as a conservative, I find the effort to take away marriage from loving gay and lesbian couples not only to be wrong, but completely off task.

This is not why we sent you to Concord. There’s a lot of work to do to fix our economy, create jobs and manage the state budget.

After completing my tour of duty in Iraq, I came home to New Hampshire to marry the woman of my dreams. Family means everything to us – as you can see from this picture of my brothers and me. I’m on the far left; the tall guy is my brother and best man, Calvin. He is gay. I hope he will one day ask me to be his best man when he decides to marry.

Limited government is not one that takes rights away from our family members, neighbors and co-workers.  No real conservative believes government should be managing the personal lives of any decent law- abiding citizen of New Hampshire.

My brother is finally happy and comfortable with who he is. I am so proud of the man he has become, and no one has the right to take away his freedom to marry.

Craig Stowell

3

‘Defender of true marriage’

If the LGBT community ever hopes to win equality on issues such as marriage, we will have to start facing the issue of religion and using to our advantage.

That’s the gist of what I wrote back in November on Bilerico.com, in a post entitled, “For marriage victories, we must face and use religion.”

For a lot of LGBT folks, religion is sticky issue. We’ve spent years of our own lives reconciling ourselves with the faith of our childhoods. Many of our churches, synogogues, and other spaces of worship have rejected us and hurt us deeply. Our relationships with the divine have been repeatedly torn to shreds, and we have been the ones left to patch the quilt back up.

As a movement, we’ve spent years insisting on a separation of church and state. We’ve repeated time-and-time again that personal religious views should not be used to keep us from equality.

We’ve lost 31 times in a row. Continue reading this post…