A Florida mother’s dying wish for her gay son
Marie Bristol wants to meet with the governor;
On Mother’s Day, Equality Florida will help with a social media campaign
A dying Florida woman has asked Gov. Rick Scott to meet with her to ensure that her gay son can be protected from discrimination in Florida.
Dr. Marie Bristol, a retired medical school professor and administrator for the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, is suffering from a rare, terminal form of scleroderma, a disease that causes hardening of the skin and internal organs, compounded by injuries she received in an auto accident.
In a letter and video message she sent to the governor last week, Dr. Bristol said she worries that her gay son, who lives in another state, could be treated unfairly in Florida, which has no statewide anti-discrimination law protecting LGBT people.
“You may call me selfish, and perhaps I am,” she wrote, “but there is something about coming to the end of my life that makes me want to do anything that will help protect my son. If it will mean he will be treated with the same dignity as every other Floridian, there is nothing I wouldn’t do. I am sure you can identify with me about that.”
Dr. Bristol asked Scott to meet with her to understand why Florida needs a statewide law such as the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, which has gained broad business and public support but has stalled in the Legislature for several years.
“If the governor will agree to meet with me, I’ll even get a medi-vac to take me to wherever he is,” Dr. Bristol quipped Friday. She has lived in Fort Lauderdale since 2005.
Equality Florida is sharing Dr. Bristol’s video and letter in a social media campaign this weekend, coinciding with Mother’s Day.
Here's a link to the social media campaign: http://thndr.it/1Id0ido
Here’s a link to the video: https://youtu.be/r3ANfEQ_r8o
Here’s the full text of her letter:
April 29, 2015
Office of Governor Rick Scott
State of Florida
400 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
Dear Governor Scott,
I am a dying woman. With a dying woman’s wish. I wish that you would meet with me, very soon please, because I do not know how long I have to live. I have a complicated terminal illness called scleroderma, which is compounded by injuries sustained in a car crash several years ago. Having survived two crisis hospitalizations in March, I am grateful to be a woman of faith. Without my own prayers and the welcome prayers of others, it is difficult to know how I would have gotten through it.
Sometimes I think it is because of my wish that I am still alive. I’m stubborn that way -- ask my sister, Trish, who has been my constant companion these past 6 months. She somehow makes my situation seem funny at times and we share a laugh. I also have two sons. It is the love for my son, Douglas, that motivates me to write. You see, besides being an educated, hard-working young man, Douglas is gay.
While I would like nothing more than to have my child by my side in these last months God grants to me, I can not. Because Douglas lives and works in another state. You see, in Florida, depending on where he lives, Douglas could be fired just for being gay. I was so happy when the marriage ban was overturned because I thought he might come back to stay by me. But then I learned that another huge obstacle exists. I don’t understand, Governor Scott, why there are protections in some of the counties and not all?
I learned that there is a bill called “The Competitive Workforce Act,” and that it has a lot of support but so far has not had a hearing. It would make discriminating against gay people illegal here in Florida. Everywhere in Florida. I have heard you say many, many times that you do not support discrimination. What else can it be, Governor Scott, if hard-working people can (and are) fired just for who they love?
You may call me selfish, and perhaps I am, but there is something about coming to the end of my life that makes me want to do anything that will help protect my son. If it will mean he will be treated with the same dignity as every other Floridian, there is nothing I wouldn’t do. I am sure you can identify with me about that.
So, would you grant this dying woman’s wish, Governor Scott? Would you meet with me and hear what I have to say about why this matters, why it is time to act and support the Competitive Workforce Act. I’m running out of time, but if I could meet with you, at least I would know I’d done everything I could for my son.
Please, Governor Scott, meet with me.
Dr. Marie Bristol