Letter to the editor from Hale McSharry, Riverside
I was born in Greenwich twenty-four years ago, and in my lifetime, I have been fortunate to bear witness to many victories for the gay rights movement. These victories have been achieved in spite of, not thanks to, politicians like Rep. Fred Camillo.
When I was in eighth grade, Connecticut became the second state in the country to legalize gay marriage. Fred Camillo voted against the bill (SB 899) that codified marriage equality into state law. When he had the opportunity to stand for equality, he did not.
I was a student at Greenwich High School in 2010 when a rash of teen suicides linked to anti-LGBT bullying became national news. Students, some as young as ten years old, were driven to suicide because of the bullying they received at school just for being different.
At the time, I participated in GLSEN’s annual Day of Silence, during which we students took a day-long vow of silence to symbolically represent the silencing of LGBT voices.
When I took my vow of silence, I faced taunts and name-calling from my own classmates. The next year Camillo voted against prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity or expression (HB 6599). When he had the opportunity to stand with the vulnerable, he did not.
Since his first election in 2008 Camillo has been endorsed by the Family Institute of Connecticut, an anti-abortion and anti-gay hate group. Even since marriage equality became the law of the land, the FIC has remained in staunch opposition to equal rights for LGBT Americans. Camillo has not evolved on this issue, and accepted the FIC’s endorsement last year.
This October, the U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear three landmark cases on LGBT workplace discrimination. With the increasingly conservative Roberts Court presiding over the cases, the LGBT community is bracing for a shocking loss of equal protection under the law. State and local governments can play a critical role in creating a safe, inclusive environment for LGBT residents. We cannot trust Camillo would fight for us.
As a proud member of the LGBT community, I call upon my friends and neighbors to think carefully about who deserves their vote on November 5. We need a First Selectman who will stand for equality, and be a true friend to everyone in town.
Riverside, CT 06878