This is how we win! Engaging in conversations with one thoughtful legislator at a time.
Across the state, Delawareans are contacting their legislators to urge them to support the freedom to marry. And many of our Senators are responding positively, including Senator Brian Bushweller, who recently told a constituent:
"As you may know, HB 75 passed the House of Representatives on April 23 and will now come to the Senate for consideration. When the roll is called in the Senate, I will be voting yes.
Underlying my decision to vote yes is my belief that the time has come for Delawareans to fully recognize the legitimacy and dignity of the long term, stable, committed and loving relationships of same sex couples as we do of opposite sex couples in the same kind of relationships. To do otherwise is to engage in unjustified and damaging discrimination that is inconsistent with the values and principles of our democratic society."
We are so grateful for Senator Bushweller's thoughtful consideration of HB75. It's clear he has thought long and hard about the issue, and he's come to support the freedom to marry -- in part because of marriage supporters who have contacted him to tell their stories and share why marriage matters to them.
It's critical that fair-minded Delawareans continue contacting their legislators and engaging in these important conversations about marriage equality. Just click here to contact your Senator now.
Senator Bushweller's Letter to Constituents
Thank you for contacting me about HB 75, the bill that would provide for same-sex, civil marriage in Delaware. I appreciate your sharing your views on this important matter.
As you may know, HB 75 passed the House of Representatives on April 23 and will now come to the Senate for consideration. When the roll is called in the Senate, I will be voting yes.
I have come to this decision after considerable thought and reflection and after having met with or spoken with scores of constituents on both sides of the issue. Included among them were religious leaders of many faiths, some of whom encouraged support for HB 75 and others who encouraged opposition. In addition to those with whom I have actually met or spoke, I have heard from literally hundreds of other constituents, also on both sides of the issue, who contacted me by email, regular mail or phone message.
Underlying my decision to vote yes is my belief that the time has come for Delawareans to fully recognize the legitimacy and dignity of the long term, stable, committed and loving relationships of same sex couples as we do of opposite sex couples in the same kind of relationships. To do otherwise is to engage in unjustified and damaging discrimination that is inconsistent with the values and principles of our democratic society.
I have reached this decision after lengthy consideration of the positions and arguments of opponents of the bill. Most notable among them is concern that civil marriage will somehow undermine the institutions of marriage and family here in Delaware. Many of the opponents cited their belief that children need a mother and a father to grow, prosper and develop to their full potential. They believe this cannot occur in a family with same sex parents. This argument is particularly meaningful to me because I fundamentally believe that strong families are the foundation of our society. I also believe that the institution of the family is under extreme pressure and that we, as a society, must do all we can to support and encourage strong families. Too many children are growing up in households with little semblance of family at all and even less ability to provide a stable and nurturing home.
Where I disagree with the opponents of HB 75 is that I believe same sex, civil marriage is not a threat to the family. Rather, it can help strengthen the family. As I stated when the General Assembly passed the civil union bill two years ago, to the extent we can encourage longevity, stability and commitment in relationships as described above, marriage and families will benefit. We should be promoting these kinds of relationships, not denying them.
Many opponents believe same sex, civil marriage violates their religious principles. I have met with several religious leaders who feel this way. While I deeply respect their views, and even more so their right to believe as they wish, I also respect the views of other religious leaders with whom I have also met who believe that civil marriage is fully consistent with their religious principles. There are sincere, thoughtful and knowledgeable people of faith on both sides of the issue. I should note that the bill is explicit in assuring that all religions are free to choose which marriages they will solemnize, and religious societies, clergypersons and ministers of any religion will not be required to solemnize any marriage that does not conform to its religious beliefs.
One of the last aspects I considered in reaching my decision was the fact that, by and large, heterosexual marriage one man, one woman has been the dominant tradition in western civilization for a long time. The question is whether the time has come for Delaware to embrace same sex, civil marriage through our civil law. Recognizing that HB 75 has no impact on any religious denomination's view of marriage and that it changes only state law in this regard, and in light of the other issues described above, I concluded that, in fact, the time has come to do this.
For all these reasons, I will vote yes on HB 75. I do appreciate your contacting me about this issue and I hope you will continue to contact me about issues of concern in the future.
Brian J. Bushweller