Online petitions aren’t usually newsworthy but we came across one that really got us energized: Craig Stowell, a resident of New Hampshire, is appalled by HB 437, a bill before the NH House of Representatives that would undo the right of gays and lesbians to legally marry (granted in 2010). So he drafted a moving Change.org petition to send to the House and it’s already gotten more than 10,000 signatures.
But Stowell (far left in photo) isn’t just any concerned citizen—he’s the head of Standing Up for New Hampshire Families, which has launched a campaign to stop HB 437.
He’s also a Marine, a Republican, a heterosexual and the brother of a gay man.
My brother and best friend, Calvin, was tormented all the way through high school because people knew he was gay. There were nights that I worried I may wake up and he wouldn’t be there any longer; crushed by the misery he was forced to endure. When New Hampshire extended marriage to gay and lesbian couples, two years ago, he finally felt accepted. He finally felt like he belonged. Since that day 1,800 loving and committed gay and lesbian couples have married.
Today, the right to marriage is under attack in New Hampshire. If HB 437 passes, same-sex couples will no longer be allowed to marry. This mean-spirited attack is nothing more than state sponsored bullying. The bill actually goes on to allow discrimination in employment and housing based on sexuality.
When I enlisted in the Marines, I took an oath to defend freedom and liberty. In 2004, I went to Iraq to do just that. As the co-chairman for Standing Up for New Hampshire Families, I am now defending my brother’s freedom here at home, and I hope you will help me by telling legislators to vote NO on HB 437.
Two recent polls have shown that Granite Staters overwhelming support marriage equality. One poll coming from the University of New Hampshire shows support at 62 percent. It should be obvious that the majority of New Hampshire believes this is a settled issue.
When my wife Berta and I were married, Calvin was right there by my side as my best man. I want the opportunity to be his best man when he finds the person he wants to marry. With your help, I know we can ensure that freedom will still be there when he does.
Whether Stowell’s petition (and related commercial) will move the Granite State’s legislators to ditch the bill is unknown, but by speaking so loudly and clearly, he’s reminded us that we can’t make assumptions about who our allies are.
We hope the GOP presidential candidates and—New Hampshire voters—remember that Tuesday during the “Live Free or Die” state’s primary.
Photo: Craig Stowell