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I've been thinking about that courageous mother in Vermont

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ruggerson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-11 07:02 PM
Original message
I've been thinking about that courageous mother in Vermont
...who, years ago, during the height of the "civil unions" debate in her state, wrote one of the most powerful letters I have ever read.

It's been circulated around the internet for years, most of us have read it, but in light of our massive, game-changing victory last night in New York, it's a good reminder of how far we've all come in a relatively short period of time.

Wherever you are, Sharon Underwood, I hope last night's vote thrilled and moved you. I hope you are healthy and happy and I hope your son is strong and thriving.

After all, he has had the good fortune, these many years, of having one hell of a mother.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By SHARON UNDERWOOD
For the Valley News (White River Junction, VT)

"Many letters have been sent to the Valley News concerning the homosexual menace in Vermont. I am the mother of a gay son and Ive taken enough from you good people.

Im tired of your foolish rhetoric about the homosexual agenda and your allegations that accepting homosexuality is the same thing as advocating sex with children. You are cruel and ignorant. You have been robbing me of the joys of motherhood ever since my children were tiny.

My firstborn son started suffering at the hands of the moral little thugs from your moral, upright families from the time he was in the first grade. He was physically and verbally abused from first grade straight through high school because he was perceived to be gay.

He never professed to be gay or had any association with anything gay, but he had the misfortune not to walk or have gestures like the other boys. He was called fag incessantly, starting when he was 6.

In high school, while your children were doing what kids that age should be doing, mine labored over a suicide note, drafting and redrafting it to be sure his family knew how much he loved them. My sobbing 17-year-old tore the heart out of me as he choked out that he just couldnt bear to continue living any longer, that he didnt want to be gay and that he couldnt face a life without dignity.

You have the audacity to talk about protecting families and children from the homosexual menace, while you yourselves tear apart families and drive children to despair. I dont know why my son is gay, but I do know that God didnt put him, and millions like him, on this Earth to give you someone to abuse. God gave you brains so that you could think, and its about time you started doing that.

At the core of all your misguided beliefs is the belief that this could never happen to you, that there is some kind of subculture out there that people have chosen to join. The fact is that if it can happen to my family, it can happen to yours, and you wont get to choose. Whether it is genetic or whether something occurs during a critical time of fetal development, I dont know. I can only tell you with an absolute certainty that it is inborn.

If you want to tout your own morality, youd best come up with something more substantive than your heterosexuality. You did nothing to earn it; it was given to you. If you disagree, I would be interested in hearing your story, because my own heterosexuality was a blessing I received with no effort whatsoever on my part. It is so woven into the very soul of me that nothing could ever change it. For those of you who reduce sexual orientation to a simple choice, a character issue, a bad habit or something that can be changed by a 10-step program, Im puzzled. Are you saying that your own sexual orientation is nothing more than something you have chosen, that you could change it at will? If thats not the case, then why would you suggest that someone else can?

A popular theme in your letters is that Vermont has been infiltrated by outsiders. Both sides of my family have lived in Vermont for generations. I am heart and soul a Vermonter, so Ill thank you to stop saying that you are speaking for true Vermonters.

You invoke the memory of the brave people who have fought on the battlefield for this great country, saying that they didnt give their lives so that the homosexual agenda could tear down the principles they died defending. My 83-year-old father fought in some of the most horrific battles of World War II, was wounded and awarded the Purple Heart.

He shakes his head in sadness at the life his grandson has had to live. He says he fought alongside homosexuals in those battles, that they did their part and bothered no one. One of his best friends in the service was gay, and he never knew it until the end, and when he did find out, it mattered not at all. That wasnt the measure of the man.

You religious folk just cant bear the thought that as my son emerges from the hell that was his childhood he might like to find a lifelong companion and have a measure of happiness. It offends your sensibilities that he should request the right to visit that companion in the hospital, to make medical decisions for him or to benefit from tax laws governing inheritance.

How dare he? you say. These outrageous requests would threaten the very existence of your family, would undermine the sanctity of marriage.

You use religion to abdicate your responsibility to be thinking human beings. There are vast numbers of religious people who find your attitudes repugnant. God is not for the privileged majority, and God knows my son has committed no sin.

The deep-thinking author of a letter to the April 12 Valley News who lectures about homosexual sin and tells us about those of us who have been blessed with the benefits of a religious upbringing asks: What ever happened to the idea of striving . . . to be better human beings than we are?

Indeed, sir, what ever happened to that?"
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RandomThoughts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-11 07:08 PM
Response to Original message
1. What is being better?
Edited on Sat Jun-25-11 07:10 PM by RandomThoughts
I see alot of 'being better' in many stories, and have learned from many stories.

Jessica Alba - Sin City Bar Scene
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfpKjRitYdE
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lunatica Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-11 07:10 PM
Response to Original message
2. definit thumbs up for this letter!
kick'd and rec'd
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redwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-11 07:14 PM
Response to Original message
3. I never read that letter until you posted it.
It is incredibly powerful. I too hope that she and her son are both thriving. And I am devastated about what they went through. I have sons. If they had been treated so a part of me would have died. That letter broke my heart. :-(
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badhair77 Donating Member (183 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-11 07:14 PM
Response to Original message
4. thank you, ruggerson, for posting this letter
I've never come across it before this posting. As the mother of a gay son I can relate to everything she said.

This past week has been an emotional rollercoaster. My head has been filled with anxiety over the bill's passage and finally last night when I heard the news I was overcome with joy and relief. I'm still having trouble saying just how much this means.
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WhiteTara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-11 07:24 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Welcome to DU
badhair77 :hi:
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badhair77 Donating Member (183 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-11 07:37 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. thanks
thanks for the welcome, WhiteTara :)
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ruggerson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-11 07:44 PM
Response to Reply #4
11. I know
it's hard to put into words just how much this means for so many people.

:hug:
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tpsbmam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-26-11 02:44 PM
Response to Reply #4
20. Heartfelt.
:loveya: :grouphug: :cry:

I know whereof you speak. I don't have a gay child but I have many gay friends and every victory warms my heart, just as every setback and cruelty tears at it. I've been having a very emotional reaction to this particular bill passing since I'm a born & bred New Yorker (finally moved out but it'll always be "home.") And I had a New Yorker cousin who died suddenly right before the passage of this bill. She should have gotten at least another 15 years. It breaks my heart to think she might have married her partner of about 20+ years.

:cry:

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rosesaylavee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-11 07:14 PM
Response to Original message
5. Thank you
I needed to read that again. She is what all mothers strive to be. A very courageous, supportive and loving human.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-11 07:27 PM
Response to Original message
7. Beautiful
Thanks for posting that letter.

Rec
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BeHereNow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-11 07:30 PM
Response to Original message
8. THAT is an incredible letter-
I think I'll print it and plaster it on the windows of the cars
at the local X-tian "church."

THANKS!
Best thing I've read in years!

BHN :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
BIg K&R!!!
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-11 07:42 PM
Response to Original message
10. Thanks, ruggerson, I've never read that before.
She speaks for millions.
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Angry Dragon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-11 08:19 PM
Response to Original message
12. K&R
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wildeyed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-11 09:15 PM
Response to Original message
13. kick
That is a fantastic letter. Been a long time since I read it. Thanks for reposting.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jun-25-11 09:20 PM
Response to Original message
14. Thanks for reposting.
It's a powerful letter still today.
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felix_numinous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-26-11 09:15 AM
Response to Original message
15. Wow I wish this letter could be read before Congress
and President Obama. What a powerful letter.

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H2O Man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-26-11 10:16 AM
Response to Original message
16. Powerful.
Thanks for posting this.

Recommended.
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Politicub Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-26-11 02:28 PM
Response to Original message
17. K&r
We've come a long way, and the struggle continues.
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a2liberal Donating Member (381 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-26-11 02:38 PM
Response to Original message
18. K&R
someone needs to build a collection of these sorts of posts (this one, the one with the list of substantial marriage benefits gay couples miss out on, the few "a day in the life" sort of posts i've seen, whether with a twist ending or not, etc.)

would be good reading for someone who is "on the fence" so to speak (i was for a while... i don't defend it now, but i do know that reading all these posts helped me come to the right conclusion)
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Starry Messenger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-26-11 02:40 PM
Response to Original message
19. k&r
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awoke_in_2003 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-26-11 03:35 PM
Response to Original message
21. K&R.
thanks for posting.
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BlancheSplanchnik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-26-11 03:41 PM
Response to Original message
22. that was absolutely beautiful
Never saw it before.....

It's a keeper!
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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-26-11 03:51 PM
Response to Original message
23. K&R
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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-26-11 03:52 PM
Original message
K&R
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amborin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-26-11 03:52 PM
Response to Original message
24. K&R
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avebury Donating Member (455 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-26-11 04:14 PM
Response to Original message
25. K&R
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-26-11 04:17 PM
Response to Original message
26. Such a great letter. I'll never, ever forget those days
I was in the thick of the civil unions battle and at hearing after hearing, some of the most ignorant, vile shit I've ever heard was spewed by "Christians".

Thank goodness those days are gone.
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catrose Donating Member (591 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-26-11 04:29 PM
Response to Original message
27. Please tell me that her son survived
and is living happily with his husband (or is by choice enjoying his single state).
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democrank Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-26-11 04:41 PM
Response to Original message
28. K & R
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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-26-11 04:43 PM
Response to Original message
29. K&R
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Scottybeamer70 Donating Member (844 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-26-11 07:26 PM
Response to Original message
30. What an absolutely beautiful letter........
from an absolutely loving mother!
Having grown up in Texas, I can relate to more of that than I care to remember.
I do hope we have turned the corner on all that hate and ignorance.
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