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Thalia Zepatos

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Brad and Angelina, We Give You Our Blessing!

Posted: 03/14/2012 3:54 pm

Dear Brad and Angelina,

It has been reported in the press that you are wavering on your pledge not to marry until every adult in America, gay or straight, can enjoy that same opportunity.

As straight allies of the gay community, you have long taken a stand. You've demonstrated a deep commitment to justice, to the American value that we should treat each other as we would want to be treated. You've shown that you don't agree that certain loving and committed couples should be denied the basic freedom to marry, and that until they can marry, it wouldn't seem right to take advantage of marriage yourself.

And as parents, you are torn by the calling of another important American value: family. Your children, if the reports are correct, are asking you to get married. They are seeking the security and comfort that children enjoy when their parents are married.

My husband and I held off on getting married for five years -- but the love of our families intervened, as well. We'd held back from joining an institution that our friends were barred from. It hardly seemed fair to invite them to join a ceremony celebrating our happiness when knowing full well that they could not celebrate theirs. Mike and I each had an aging parent with a terminal illness, and time was running out for his mother and my father to attend our wedding -- and we longed to have them by our sides.

We spoke to our dear friends, who unanimously understood our sentiments, and they encouraged us to go ahead. Our wedding was a joyful time, and during the celebration in our hometown of Portland, Ore., we publicly shared a vow that we would fight for the freedom of all loving couples to marry.

And so we do. I continue to work today as the Director of Public Engagement for Freedom to Marry, our nation's lead organization in the fight for equal marriage rights. At Freedom to Marry we don't ask anyone to hold back from the joy to be gained from an opportunity to tie the knot. As our president, Evan Wolfson, is fond of saying, "There's no shortage of marriage licenses to go around." Every wedding is a chance to remind the couple -- as well as all who attend and learn about it -- about the power of love and the importance of being able to care for and protect the people we love through marriage.

So on behalf of all of us at Freedom to Marry, we hereby give you our blessing to go ahead and get married, because every wedding in America is an opportunity for all those who attend to think about how unfair it is for anyone to be denied the happiness, joy, love, support, and legal protections that come with marriage.

Your marriage would acknowledge that for many, especially our children and aging parents, marriage says "family" like no other word. Not many straight people would trade our chance to get married for domestic partnership or civil union.

We hear from so many straight allies who have taken a moment or two during their wedding celebration to make a brief statement of their support for the freedom to marry. Others have chosen to register with Freedom to Marry to help support the cause. We invite you to do both -- or neither. Your statements have already raised the discussion among millions, and we thank you for that.