To the editor:
It is not often today that our state legislators have a vote that directly impacts the basic rights of a group of citizens; the current legislative session in the General Assembly is a rare exception.
Every year since 1997, Marriage Equality bills have been introduced in the General Assembly. Most years the bills failed in committee. This year the bills made it to the full house and senate for votes, and thankfully passed.
The Marriage Equality legislation provides the same rights and legal protections afforded married heterosexual couples to married same sex couples in our state. These protections include estate/survivor benefits and legal/medical rights. The bills provide basic rights often taken for granted by the majority of heterosexual couples.
While I am pleased the legislation finally passed, I am extremely disappointed that two of the three state legislators whose districts include the town of Warren voted against Marriage Equality. State Senator Walter Felag (D) was one of only 12 senators to vote “no” in the senate. State Representative Jan Malik (D) was one of 19 representatives to vote “no.” The only member of the state delegation whose district includes areas of Warren to support Marriage Equality was State Representative Ken Marshall (D).
Senator Felag and Rep. Malik should be ashamed for voting to deny basic rights to members of their districts. These representatives are out of touch with their constituency and will ultimately regret being on the wrong side of history on an issue that affords equal protection to all residents of Warren and the state at large. They have failed in their duty.