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I Am A Man

I am a man.

You can vote to strip me of my right to marry the one I love, but: I am a man.

You can vote to strip me of any of my rights, but: I am a man.

You can vote to strip me of all of my rights, but: I am a man.

You can vote to leave me with none of my rights, but: I am a man.

And when will you stop, my fellow citizens? When will you, my fellow citizens, decide that my manhood trumps your right to deprive me? Where will you draw the line? What rights are yours to allocate, and what rights are granted to me as they are to you, by Something greater than us both?

What rights are not yours to take away, as you have today taken from me the right to marry? Are there any rights I may feel safe holding, today, as you’ve decided that rights can be taken from me by a vote of you?

Owning property? Owning a business? Adopting children? Walking on the same side of the street as you? Casting a vote? Using the same water fountain as you do? Sharing a seat on a public bus? Renting an apartment? Sending my children to the same schools as yours?

Are all of these rights yours to grant to me because of who I love? Are all of these rights yours to take from me because of who I love? Are none of these rights mine because I, like you, am endowed with them and live in a nation whose founding documents recognize the granting of these rights not by the state, and not by fellow citizens, but by a Larger Entity?

Really, what’s the line you’ve drawn in your mind, Californians? What rights will you take? These rights, but no more? These rights, but not those other rights? Which rights are safe for me to keep, and which would you like to put on the ballot next year? In which state will you next bring your awesome financial resources to bear, and against which group? Which rights would you strip from me in order to serve The God you worship, whose Book commands you? Whom will you choose to strip rights from next? What Revelation will guide you next?

The right to marry you will take from me, but not to the right to vote? Oh, why not — if it’s possible to spend six dollars a vote to strip my right to marry, why stop there? Why not ask citizens to strip me of my right to vote? Or adopt? Or live where I choose? Or shop where I like? Or work for who will hire me? Or live freely among society? Or live at all?

Why stop in California, or Arizona, or Arkansas? Surely yesterday’s success has emboldened you. What else bothers you, exactly, and where you would you like it to stop? Pick a state. Pick some despised people. Spend lots of money. Lie to voters. It’s a proven formula. You’ve shown it works. Why stop now?

If rights can be revoked at the ballot box anywhere, what rights of mine are free? Are any?

And which of yours are?

After all, taking away rights is now apparently okay. It’s been proven, in California, where yesterday I could have married the man I love, but today I may not. Because voters judge that right a right too far.

Why? Because voters decided allocating rights was up to them, in a nation whose founding documents proclaim all are created equal. And they have chosen to take my right to marry away.

But, citizens! You may choose to contort the rights granted by our Creator in order to make the State reflect your Faith — but that shall never stand.

Because I am a man. And my rights are as yours.

I am a man.

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Teddy Partridge

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