My name is Donna Brown and I have lived in our great State of Florida for more than 45 years. My partner has lived here over 24 years. We have been in a loving, committed and caring relationship for 9 years.
I am obviously writing to you about the ongoing legal battles that you and Ms. Bondi have been active participants in concerning same-sex marriage. Lynne and I want to marry but have chosen to wait until we can share our special day with our very supportive family and friends here at home.
In anticipation of marriage becoming a reality in Florida, we chose a date and reserved our venue. We hired a wedding event planner and have secured most of our needed vendors. Through our planning process we have learned much about the positive economic impact that same-sex marriages can bring to Florida. The average cost of a 150 guest wedding in Tallahassee is $28,500.00. That’s just for one wedding and just the cost in Tallahassee. All of our wedding vendors are locally owned businesses and have been extremely supportive of our special day. All but one is owned by heterosexual individuals. Our sexual orientation does not matter to them. They are happy for us but also see this as an opportunity to grow and expand their business. Yours and Ms. Bondi’s repeated actions against same-sex marriage have a negative financial impact on business owners throughout Florida.
Being treated differently is not foreign to me but honestly, it has grown tiresome. It is really very simple. All we want is to be respected as a loving couple as are you and your wife. All we want is access to the same rights and benefits that you and your family have.
History shows that sometimes, “We The People” get it wrong.
As a female high school athlete I watched as my fellow male athletes were provided much more than any of our female athletes or teams. Not just in equipment and facilities but in opportunities. Thankfully, the courts became involved and Title IX leveled the playing field.
I am a retired Police Sergeant. I was one of only 5 women at my department when I was hired. Unfortunately, courts across the country had to become involved just so I could become employed in my chosen profession. Not only did I have to prove myself to my fellow male officers that I could do the job but I had to prove the same to the community. I was called every name imaginable but eventually, I, and the other women, gained acceptance. My oath to Serve and Protect did not apply to only those I chose it to, but to everyone. Race, religion, economic status or sexual orientation were not factors for me to consider. I gave 26 years of my life serving and protecting all members of my community.
Women would not have the right to vote, let alone hold public office, segregation would still exist and inter-racial marriage would still be against the law if the courts and government had not become involved. There are many more examples that I could site but I know you are aware.
The discussions and battles concerning same-sex marriage come down to nothing more than a personal opinion or belief. Many site the bible but like any other book, it is open to interpretation. That is why we have a multitude of religious denominations. The numerous court rulings across the country can’t all be wrong. The 19 states that allow same-sex marriage have not fallen into anarchy. Opposite sex marriage and life in general has moved on.
While I will never truly understand politics, I do know that you and Ms. Bondi have a choice, a personal choice. Standing behind the State’s constitutional amendment is no longer a valid defense or any of the other reasons that have been presented in our Florida courts or courts across the country. The southern states are often referred to as “backwards”. As the Governor of our great State, stand up and show your Florida constituents and the rest of our southern state neighbors that supporting same-sex marriage is the right thing to do and will only benefit everyone.
You have the power and authority to put an end to the appeal filed by Ms. Bondi on behalf of the three individuals named. Please let our wedding day happen. Please let our local wedding vendors grow their business. Please accept my relationship to the person I love as equal to yours.
Please don’t be a politician, stand up and be a leader for others to follow.