Same sex marriage. A most courageous speech

Thank you to my friend D. in Maine for forwarding the following to me.

It is a speech made by Patrick Flood, a Republican Representative in the Maine Legislature.

I attach it not only because I am in favour of same sex marriage.

But also because I see this speech and decision by Rep. Flood as a most fabulous and exemplary instance of why we elect Representatives.

We do so in order that they will vote, not from a narrow and ideological base; but from a deep conviction as to what is best for our States, and for the United States.

Kudos to Rep. Flood. I have written him to express my gratitude. I hope that you will also do so.

His e-mail address is at the foot of this entry.

When you write him, do be sure to use the subject line to indicate that yours is a friendly e-mail.



His Floor Speech in Maine on LD 1020 (Gay Marriage Bill) May 5, 2009

"Thank you Madam Speaker. Ladies and Gentlemen of the House.

"I have been quiet and non-committal and some would say conspicuously invisible on this topic leading to this vote, but that was purposeful, so that I wouldn't get distracted and de-railed from the essential budget work at hand during these past four months...but naturally as this day drew closer, it became necessary to think this issue through quite deeply.

"And honestly that was difficult at times because most of my closest friends and co-workers at this Great House were vocally expressing opinions different than my own. And I admire many of these people.

And now that the day is at hand, I can say that I would much rather work on ten $569 million budget shortfalls....nights and weekends....than to have to make a decision on one gay marriage bill. I am however lifted up by the decent, respectful, and patient way the gay and lesbian community has approached this issue during the session and the similar way that thoughtful legislators, both Democrat and Republican, and citizens throughout the state have voiced their disagreements.

"I haven't slept very well for the last two weeks dreading the inevitable disapproval of my caucus co-workers, many friends, and neighbors. But a few days ago when I was selfishly feeling a little too sorry for myself for having to make this decision, and selfishly feeling a little too concerned about how my friends here and at home would feel about my decision, I finally came to the realization that it is not about my problems, and it's not about me, and it's not about my traditions, or my values, or the many respectful and decent differences of opinion that will be voiced in today's debate. It's about gay people who would like the freedom to get married; and the fact that they, like it or not, have to receive the permission of others...our legislators...and our governor...before they can do that.

"I am hopeful that we in the House grant this permission on this day. The more we can do to celebrate our differences the stronger this state and this country will become.

"And the more we can do to assure equal freedoms for all our minority groups, and especially the freedoms to encourage and express love and commitment; the better. I would not wish to withhold this expression or this celebration from anyone. I could not bear that. But rather, I would be proud to be a part of granting it.

"When I got married 38 years ago, the only person I needed permission from was my girlfriend Marjorie. It should be that way for everyone.

"It is awkward being a legislator at times, especially days like this. But like all of you in this great chamber, I asked for this duty and knew full-well there would be days like this. We all sought the honor of representing the People, and perhaps we feel that honor the greatest on the miserable days like this. I know that there won't be many pleasant phone messages on the machine when I get home late tonight. But as I said, it's not about me. It's about gay people seeking the right to marry. My job is to represent them like I would represent all others, the very same way I would want that they represent me.

"I appreciate the privilege of speaking before you, regardless of your good beliefs.

"Thank you Madam Speaker and thank you ladies and gentlemen of the House."

Patrick Flood May 5, 2009 Maine State House of Representatives


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