New York, June 18, 2007 – Dear Assembly Member O’Donnell,
I write today in support of marriage equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) New Yorkers. I am writing on behalf of Dignity/New York, an organization of LGBT Roman Catholics, our families and supporters. We are a chapter of the national organization DignityUSA, founded in 1969, with offices in Washington, D.C. and chapters throughout the country.
For 35 years, we have ministered to the spiritual and social needs of thousands of LGBT Catholics from throughout the New York City metropolitan region by holding a weekly Mass, working for equal rights in the Catholic Church and society, and through many other activities.
Unfortunately, the bishops of the Catholic Church have been outspoken in their opposition to same-sex marriage rights. However, many polls in New York State and elsewhere show that everyday Catholics are increasingly supportive of such rights.
Our members include men and women from every conceivable walk of life. Some have been involved in relationships with their same-sex partners for decades, and many are registered as domestic partners in New York City. Those who wished to obtain greater legal recognition of their relationships have been forced to travel to Massachusetts, Canada, Vermont, New Jersey and other jurisdictions.
Surely it is time for New York State to honor its historic role as a leader in promoting justice and equality for all citizens by enacting legislation to legalize same-sex marriage.
Jeffrey A. Stone
Secretary, Dignity/New York