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  • I grew up in a sheltered and religious household. My father was a minister. I grew up with prejudice towards people who were of a different race or religion. It was not until I was in my thirties that I became aware of how differently I felt about the world, and my place in it, compared to my family. And then I met Tony.

    Few people in life really ‘get’ me, but Tony is one those people. For the past seven years, we have been like twins. We laugh at the same things and finish each other’s sentences. And Tony is a gay man.

    We met at work. We connected through sharing our experiences about our churches and why we made the difficult decision to leave them. When he came out, he was not allowed to continue in his role as a youth minister and was asked to leave the church. He was devastated. Even members of his own family shunned him. Tony and I connected because I understood how this felt.

    The vote for North Carolina’s Amendment One - to put a constitutional ban on marriage for same-sex couples in our state constitution - was a turning point for me. Because of Tony, I knew I had to speak up. So I have, to anyone who’d listen!

    My intention is not to offend anyone who believes differently than I do. So I’m sharing with you what’s in my heart. I want to speak to your heart. This is not about what makes us different, it’s about what makes us the same.

    I learned a lesson about making assumptions about people when I first introduced my children to Tony and his partner Jack. I assumed and feared they would not accept them. I was delighted to find my son-in-law and Jack bonding over pathology reports and autopsies -- of all things!

    I hope that my story will help you understand where I am coming from based on my respect and love for my friend Tony. Although we may feel differently, I also believe that there are good people on all sides of this issue. I believe that sharing our stories and having respectful dialogue is one way for us to understand each other better. You never know what we may find we have in common!
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