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MY TURN

'I believe in God, liberty and my gay son'

I have read for quite some time now how gays are a danger to the core of our families and that, although we may not be affected by it now, the marriage of those of the same sex will bring down our families and our values. No one ever mentions that divorce might be the cause of our losing our core values as families.

I am offended every time I hear someone speak against the families of those with gay children. My family has strong religious beliefs and is as strong and sound as any others. Members of my political party and others know me to be a conservative who believes in God, liberty and family values. What most of you do not know is that I have a gay son.

When I found out he was gay 19 years ago when he was 15, I struggled and asked God to help me. I asked, Why me?

God's plan was to make me a more tolerant person and a more understanding human being.

If you knew your child was gay would you disown him or her? If you have a strong, loving family, you would accept your child for who he or she is: your child.

I ask those who represent us in the Legislature to think about this when they are ready to vote for the bill repealing same-sex marriage. One out of every three teenage suicides is related to being gay and the discrimination that they face every day. They come from sound, strong and (in many cases) Christian families with the same values as your families. They are here legally, have jobs, pay taxes and, yes, even serve in our military and have made the ultimate sacrifice as soldiers by dying for freedom and liberty.

I am a defender of the values of families, country, freedom and liberty, but I am also the father of a gay son who contributes not only to our country but also to our family. He is just like your son. And like your family, we want to leave him a better country and life, and that includes the same rights as married couples. I believe in freedom for everyone. We are blessed to live in a state where we can all be free to pursue our own happiness.

I'm opposed to using the government to tear apart loving families, and I encourage my fellow Republicans to stand up with me to oppose this harmful piece of legislation.

(JP Marzullo of Deering is Area 3 vice chairman of the state Republican Party.)

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