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An open-letter to the President of the United States

Commentary by Rev. Mel White

Dear Mr. Clinton,

Yesterday, injustice flowed like mighty waters from the floor of the U.S. Senate, sweeping away the hopes and dreams of millions of lesbian and gay Americans. We shall hope and dream again, but we will not forget this tragic Tuesday, September 10, 1996, the day the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act" - a mean-spirited, unnecessary, and ultimately unconstitutional attack on same-sex marriage - was passed by the Senate (85-14) in a landslide of intolerance and misunderstanding.

My partner, Gary Nixon, and I sat in the Senate Gallery during the entire DOMA 'debate,' blinking back tears of anger and grief while Senator after Senator stood to caricature and condemn our loving, committed relationship. We could not believe how easily these distinguished Americans abandoned truth, ignored the historic, scientific, and biblical data, and rushed to echo the false and inflammatory rhetoric of Pat Robertson, James Dobson and the other religious extremists who have declared war on God's lesbian and gay children.

Please, Mr. President, declare a day of mourning. Lower the flags. Bow your head in shame and weep real tears, for God's gay and lesbian children have been betrayed by the highest legislative body in this land.

It wasn't enough that the U.S. Senate passed a bill that would deny us hundreds of Federal rights granted automatically to support and sustain heterosexual relationships. The Senators also seemed determined to use the occasion to demean and dehumanize all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people and to diminish and degrade our relationships.

Today, Sept. 11, the "Defense of Marriage Act" lands on your desk. You have promised to sign it. Please, reconsider. We thank you for all the costly steps you've taken on behalf of justice for lesbian and gay Americans. Take one more. Veto DOMA. Help us hope and dream again.

For ten days, Gary and I, with our friends and allies have fasted and prayed for justice on the Capitol steps. Millions of gay and lesbian people of faith are praying with us. Today, on Day 11 of our Fast for Justice we move to Lafayette Park across from the White House.

Please, Mr. President, as you contemplate the fate of God's lesbian and gay children, look out your window. Every day from 12 noon until 1 pm you will see millions of us out there, in the Park and across the nation, praying for justice. And justice, sir, is in your hands.


Mel White, Justice Minister

©1996 Oasis Magazine. All Rights Reserved.