Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My Speech Marriage Equality RI Rally

13 February 2009
My Speech
Here is a copy of the speech I gave at the MERI(Marriage Equality RI)Rally last night. Thanks for all the well wishes and prayers. It meant a lot!

My name is Dee Tavolaro, I’m 19 years old, a Sophomore at Rhode Island College, and have been involved at Youth Pride Inc. for almost a year. Being at Youth Pride has forced me to examine my beliefs, to challenge them, and to grow. The issue I’ve spent the most time struggling with is marriage.
Like so many other young people, I spend a lot of time thinking about the future: the teaching job I’ll get, the community outreach I’ll do, the church ministry I’ll have. I can’t wait to do all of these things here in Rhode Island. But then I think of the fact that I can’t get married here and how I’d have to move to Massachusetts or Connecticut in order to have equal rights. I think about my friends and the two beautiful girls they’ve adopted, and how this lack of rights sends them a message that their family isn’t good enough: that they don’t count.
The most important part of my life is my work and ministry within my church. My church is a place where I can go and be open and honest about who I am. It is a place where I can be loved and supported one hundred percent. It’s mind boggling how I can have such love and support there, but when I step outside that building I loose those feelings and am treated as something less: as second class.
I’ve heard the argument made that, “gays shouldn’t get married because marriage is a sacrament.” As any good church geek can tell you, and I consider myself part of that group, a sacrament is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace. I look at my friends and their girls and wonder how anyone can fail to see the grace in that.
I’ve also heard some conservatives argue that we should keep traditional marriage: that we should keep marriage biblical. However, I don’t think they remember what biblical marriage really means. It isn’t one man, one woman, and a suburban home with a white picket fence. It is one man and as many women as he could get his hands on. Now I’m not asking for five or six wives, I just want one! One woman to love, marry and raise a family. Thank you.

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