Mr. President, I rise today to give my first speech from the floor of the United States Senate.
I rise with a heart heavy with mourning, but I also rise with the gratitude of a fearless people – gratitude for the nation’s prayers, strength, and resolve.
Two days ago, there was a cowardly and despicable terrorist attack in the city of Boston. Two times, blasts from hidden bombs rocked the streets of Copley Square. Two times, courageous Bostonians ran toward danger to help their fellow citizens. Three were killed. More than one hundred and seventy were wounded. Many remain in critical condition.
Dear Justice Scalia as well as your distinguished peers serving on the Supreme Court,
First let me thank you for hearing the historic cases this week on California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). My husband, Kelly Vielmo, and I adopted three beautiful siblings from DC’s foster care system last year. Being an inter-racial, same-sex family we are used to being conspicuous and sometimes the center of attention on a local level depending on where we happen to be. With the cases being heard in the Supreme Court this week our family is now on debate at the national level. With that said I am following with interest your ruling on these cases. One comment that stuck with me was the speculation of potential “deleterious” effects of kids having same-sex parents. After I looked up deleterious (adj. causing harm or damage) I had to reflect on the harm and damage that has been done to my children. I know that you are listening to these cases from a nationally-scaled legal point of view, but the intent of this letter is to offer you the lens and point of view of one individual family your rulings will affect.
In January 2011, Zach Wahls, a 19-year-old University of Iowa student spoke about the strength of his family during a public forum in the Iowa House of Representatives. Wahls has two mothers, and came to oppose House Joint Resolution 6 which would eliminate the existing rights of same-sex couples to civil unions in Iowa.
“Good evening, Mr. Chairman,” he started. “My name is Zach Wahls. I’m a sixth-generation Iowan and an engineering student at the University of Iowa, and I was raised by two women.” He went on to tell the lawmakers he was a top student and an Eagle Scout — and concluded his remarks by saying: “Over the next two hours, I’m sure we’re going to hear plenty of testimony about how damaging having gay parents is on kids. But in my 19 years not once have I ever been confronted by an individual who realized independently that I was raised by a gay couple…And you know why? Because the sexual orientation of my parents has had zero (negative) effect on the content of my character…”
Two weeks ago, 12-year-old adopted Daniel Leffew, who is adopted, heard the news about Supreme Court Justice John Roberts having two adopted kids and decided that he wanted to write a letter to Justice Roberts about his adoptive parents. He talked about life with his two dads and asked the Chief Justice to allow them the right to get married.