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Mary Jo Kilroy Headshot

Pursuing Freedom and Happiness

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Okay, you are already online. Take a few moments and check out the Declaration of Independence. You may not have read it since middle school, but it is worth it to take a new look at it today. There you will find our founders succinct list of serious grievances with the Crown, not just the Stamp Act or the tea tax, but standing armies, trials without juries, or being taken out of the country to stand trial. You will also find a very modern concern with happiness, which is referenced twice. Our founders recognized, although most imperfectly given that many kept people enslaved, that our Creator endowed us with the "unalienable right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness." They also expected government to take a form "most likely to effect their safety and happiness."

I believe that one's pursuit of happiness could take the form of civil marriage between two loving adults, and that its pursuit should not be denied by the state or federal government if the person one loves is of the same gender. Studies of happiness, or longevity, or health, often conclude that being married is a contributing factor to a longer, healthier and happier life. Today I salute those who are volunteering this fourth of July so that the freedom to marry is a reality in states such as Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio, and others, and that this pursuit of happiness should be available to all regardless of gender. They are taking their freedom fight to the ballot box, and while not pledging lives and fortunes as our founding fathers generously and courageously did, they are giving their time and talent to the movement. In Ohio, I am glad to be part of this effort, volunteering with Freedom Ohio, to secure marriage equality in our state. I am impressed with the fierce desire among our volunteers to obtain this freedom, and the urgency that some have expressed. There is no better way to celebrate the freedoms we have than by working to recognize marriage freedom for all.

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