This is a letter from Bette Midler to President Bush. As I understand it, she handed it out at her concert...one person
making a difference...
Dear President Bush,
Today you called upon Congress to move quickly to amend the US
Constitution, and set in Federal stone a legal definition of marriage. I
would like to know why.
In your speech, you stated that this Amendment would serve to protect
marriage in America, which I must confess confuses me. Like you, I believe
in the importance of marriage and I feel that we as a society take the
institution far too lightly. In my circle of family, friends and
acquaintances, the vast majority have married and divorced - some more
than once. Still, I believe in marriage. I believe that there is something
fundamental about finding another person on this planet with whom you want
to build a life and family, and make a positive contribution to society. I
believe that we need more positive role models for successful marriage in
this country - something to counteract the images we get bombarded with in
popular culture. When we are assaulted with images of celebrities of
varying genres, be it actors, sports figures, socialites, or even
politicians who shrug marriage on and off like the latest fashion, it is
vitally important to the face of our nation, for our children and our
future, that we have a balance of commitment and fidelity with which to
stave off the negativity. I search for these examples to show my own
daughter, so that she can see that marriage is more than a disposable
whim, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
As a father, I'm sure you have faced these same concerns and difficulties
in raising your own daughters. Therefore I can also imagine that you must
understand how thrilled I have been over the past few weeks to come home
and turn on the news with my family. To finally have concrete examples of
true commitment, honest love, and steadfast fidelity was such a relief and
a joy. Instead of speaking in the hypothetical, I was finally able to
point to these men and women, standing together for hours in the pouring
rain, and tell my child that this is what its all about. Forget Britney.
Forget Kobe. Forget Strom. Forget about all the people that we know who
have taken so frivolously the pure and simple beauty of love and tarnished
it so consistently. Look instead at the joy in the beautiful faces of Del
Martin and Phyllis Lyon - 51 years together! I mean, honestly Mr.
President - how many couples do you know who are together for 51 years?
I'm sure you agree that this love story provides a wonderful opportunity
to teach our children about the true meaning and value of marriage. On the
steps of San Francisco City Hall, rose petals and champagne, suits and
veils, horns honking and elation in the streets; a celebration of love the
likes of which this society has never seen.
This morning, however, my joy turned to sadness, my relief transformed
into outrage, and my peace became anger. This morning, I watched you stand
before this nation and belittle these women, the thousands who stood with
them, and the countless millions who wish to follow them. How could you do
that, Mr. President? How could you take something so beautiful - a clear
and defining example of the true nature of commitment - and declare it to
be anything less? What is it that validates your marriage which somehow
doesn't apply to Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon? By what power, what
authority are you so divinely imbued that you can stand before me and this
nation and hold their love to a higher standard?
Don't speak to me about homosexuality, Mr. President. Don't tell me that
the difference lies in the bedroom. I would never presume to ask you or
your wife how it is you choose to physically express your love for one
another, and I defy you to stand before Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon and
ask them to do the same. It is none of my business, as it is none of
yours, and it has nothing to do with the "sanctity of marriage". I'm sure
you would agree that marriage is far more than sexual expression, and its
high time we all started focusing on all the other aspects of a
relationship which hold it together over the course of a lifetime.
Therefore, with the mechanics of sex set aside, I ask you again - what
makes a marriage? I firmly believe that whatever definition you derive,
there are thousands upon thousands of shining examples for you to embrace.
You want to protect marriage. I admire and support that, Mr. President.
Together, as a nation, let us find and celebrate examples of what a
marriage should be. Together, let us take couples who embody the
principles of commitment, fidelity, sacrifice and love, and hold them up
before our children as role models for their own futures. Together, let us
reinforce the concept that love is about far more than sex, despite what
popular culture would like them to believe.
Please, for the sake of our children, for the sake of our society, for the
sake of our future, do not take us down this road. Under the guise of
protection, do not support divisiveness. Under the guise of unity, do not
endorse discrimination. Under the guise of sanctity, do not devalue
commitment. Under the guise of democracy, do not encourage this amendment.