Families remind us what marriage is all about at New Jersey “Summer for Marriage” tour event

With each event on the Summer for Marriage tour, our community's response just keeps getting stronger and stronger. As NOM spewed their hateful rhetoric to a handful of supporters at the statehouse in Trenton, NJ yesterday, nearly 160 supporters of marriage equality gathered for a town hall organized by our friends at Garden State Equality. That number is in sharp contrast with NOM's turnout of 40 supporters, despite months of organizing and planning. Our supporters didn't show up to the capital for a yelling match or to pick a fight; instead, yesterday was a beautiful display of REAL families with REAL stories about why marriage is important to them. And let me tell you, their stories really got to the heart of the matter.

Seven families-gay parents and their children-told their heart-wrenching stories of how exclusion from marriage has impacted their lives. Time and time again, our opponents legitimize the exclusion of gay couples from marriage by claiming it's in the best interest of the children. But for those who attended yesterday's townhall (including countless members of the press), it was clear that our opponents couldn't be more wrong. Just listen to Kate Hollander-Kidder, the proud daughter of two loving moms:

 

 

Kate wasn't the only one at the statehouse fighting for her parents' right to marry. There was hardly a dry eye in the room during thirteen-year-old Madison Galluccio's testimony.

God made us all in our own unique ways. And if God made my parents gay then that's just the way they are - and there's nothing wrong with that. I am proud to be the daughter of my parents. They fought to adopt my brother Adam, my sister Rosa, and me. And I will never stop fighting for their rights or for any other gay family's rights until they get the ability to be legally married and the respect that they deserve.

Finally, after hearing the moving stories of so many New Jersey families throughout the town hall, I had a chance to talk with Stephani and Sally Sharpfried and their daughter Miriam. Stephani and Sally, who have been together for 30 years, were actually the first couple to successfully fight the state of New Jersey for second parent adoption rights:

 

 

It's hard not to get chills when you hear from people like the Sharpfried's who have fought so long and hard to protect their families from the discrimination for which NOM is (not so successfully) touring the country. And while NOM put forth its overused distortions and lies in Trenton yesterday, I'm so thankful for the folks in New Jersey who reminded us all what marriage is really about: loving and committed families.