By John Pickett ’03, Elon staff

Dear Friends and Family,
In my opinion, there are a multitude of reasons why you should vote for the re-election of President Obama. However, for this moment, I would ask that we focus solely on my own personal pursuit of “life, liberty, and happiness”.

During the RNC, Republicans created their official platform. As a part of this, they have stated that a Romney/Ryan presidency would have the following as it’s very top goal under the section “Renewing America’s Values”

“Preserving and Protecting Traditional Marriage (Top)
The institution of marriage is the foundation of civil society. Its success as an institution will determine our success as a nation. It has been proven by both experience and endless social science studies that traditional marriage is best for children. Children raised in intact married families are more likely to attend college, are physically and emotionally healthier, are less likely to use drugs or alcohol, engage in crime, or get pregnant outside of marriage. The success of marriage directly impacts the economic well-being of individuals. Furthermore, the future of marriage affects freedom. The lack of family formation not only leads to more government costs, but also to more government control over the lives of its citizens in all aspects. We recognize and honor the courageous efforts of those who bear the many burdens of parenting alone, even as we believe that marriage, the union of one man and one woman must be upheld as the national standard, a goal to stand for, encourage, and promote through laws governing marriage. We embrace the principle that all Americans should be treated with respect and dignity.”

Not only is this personally offensive to me and millions of other gay Americans, but it is also not factual. It has actually been proven through a scientific study that lesbian households are the most stable household structures of any potential family dynamic. Additionally, this statement assumes that the government has the right to patrol the definition of marriage. Even though, marriage has been a part of social culture long before both government and organized religion.

Here’s where I’m going with this…straight friends and family…I have celebrated your engagements, I have attended your weddings, I supported your relationships, I have shared the joy of your pregnancies, I have rushed to the hospital to see your babies, and I have been overjoyed to party with your children for their birthdays. I have been there, time and again to support both your marriage and your family.

I never shared the pain that I felt to attend your wedding, knowing that I am not legally allowed to do the same. I never shared the pang that was coexistent with my happiness at receiving your engagement party announcement. I’ve never really spoken on how your “life, liberty, and happiness” directly related to your spouse and children are constant reminders that I am deemed unworthy and LESS THAN you by our government and a large number of close-minded fellow citizens. I dream of a day when these inequalities are a distant and ludicrous memory.

I have never complained to you about this. I’ve never shared this. I never ever wanted to steal your joy and I’ve been truly truly happy for your joy and dream fulfillment.

However, now I do ask for something in return from you. No, I’m not going to pull a “Carrie Bradshaw” like she did in Sex and the City when she threw a shower for herself in order to recoup all the countless dollars she spend on her friends weddings, showers, and children’s birthdays. All I ask of you is this…if you are not sure who to vote for…or if you feel indifferent towards both candidates, consider John Pickett.

Consider the guy who has always been there smiling and supporting you as you met these great life milestones. Consider that this November, you have the power to help move our country further towards a place where I would no longer be left without the same life milestones afforded to you and yours; simply because I was born differently. It would be a great way to say thank you for those shower gifts.

Thanks. JP