After attending last Sunday evening's production of "8" (an account of California's Proposition 8, which outlawed same-sex marriage), I was inspired to action to reach out to my state legislator, LaShawn Ford. Knowing that Mr. Ford supported same-sex civil unions, I felt assured he would also support full marriage equality for same-sex couples.
However, I was disappointed when I phoned his office and his staff told me he was undecided about the issue. I asked to arrange a time to speak with Rep. Ford to further understand his ambivalence. Within two hours, Mr. Ford phoned me to discuss the issue. What he told me was that he has not heard from enough of his constituents in order to feel that a yes vote would accurately reflect the views of his district.
I am thankful that our local representative is so responsive and accessible to his constituents. However, I am troubled that, as a constituency, we have not done enough to communicate to our legislator the importance of this issue. Specifically, we must communicate to our legislators that our community values all families and that the strength of our community is derived from its diversity. Further, the tradition of our country and certainly of Oak Park is the expansion of liberties rather than exclusion from them.
In the Oak Park production of "8," local performer Keith Kupferer portrayed David Blankenhorn, who so eloquently stated that allowing all loving couples access to civil marriage would make "America more American." If you believe in a "more American America," call Rep. Ford at 217-782-5962 and tell him to support full marriage equality for all couples in Illinois.