Last year, I wrote a letter to Matt Dooley, then a senior at the University of Notre Dame, who had recently come out to his teammates on the varsity tennis team and written about the experience for  Matt’s mom Michelle saw my letter, and sent me a kind note.  I asked Michelle if she would be willing to write a letter to Matt and our readers on a topic of her choice. Her letter is the first of many guest blogs that we hope to feature this year. Thanks for reading!

Dear Matt,texas-gay-300x161

Dad and I recently visited New Orleans. We’ve made this trip several times to attend conferences or other events. It is one of our very favorite cities. We’ve seen most of the important landmarks many times, including the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. In the past, when I’d seen this very imposing edifice, I found it architecturally and historically interesting.

This time, however, as we walked by this historic site, I felt particularly moved. The events that would be taking place in this building had personal significance. I prayed that God would give the judges reviewing the Ban on Marriage Equality the wisdom and courage to strike it down and allow marriage for all.

There are currently 35 states, plus the District of Columbia, that allow same-sex marriage. While some argue that it is a state’s right to rule on this, the impracticality and injustice of the situation fairly screams out. A couple that is legally married in one state would not have their union recognized in another. In fact, some states, like Tennessee, may actually nullify a marriage that was performed and recognized elsewhere. Everyday occurrences, like job transfers, the decision to move, insurability, etc, continue to be limited for these couples.

Many fear that the Supreme Court, when they rule this spring, may avoid making the controversial decision of marriage equality for all by declaring marriage equality to be a state’s right. I am most embarrassed to say that my beloved home state of Texas is NOT one of the 35 states that currently allows the marriage of same-sex couples, and that concerns me.

While I honestly believe that everyone should have the right to marry the one they love, in my heart of hearts, I have to admit that my feelings are personal. I want this for you!

I want to see all of my children in a happy, loving, committed relationship. Marriage should not be an opportunity afforded only to my heterosexual kids. As each of you was growing up, one of the many things I prayed about was that the three of you would find spouses who would love and cherish you. That prayer has not changed with the knowledge that you are gay.

As you know, I’ve been attending PFLAG meetings for several months. This has been a wonderful opportunity for me to both learn and to share. While there have been many moving moments, one that particularly stands out to me was at our pre-Thanksgiving meeting. Everyone brought a holiday dish to share. I sat next to a young man who mentioned that he was going to meet his boyfriend’s family for the first time over the Thanksgiving holiday.

It gave me hope. I found myself looking forward to the day when you felt comfortable enough to bring someone home for us to meet. Let me reassure you: if you bring someone home that you truly love, we will accept that person with open arms–the same way we accepted both your brother-in-law and your sister-in-law. Should you decide to marry (and I will defend your right to do so), I’ll wear a drop dead gorgeous dress and walk you down the aisle! I also want that wedding to take place in Texas.

The addition of both of your siblings’ spouses to our family has only enriched us. I have no doubt that whomever you choose to share your life with will do the same. We will welcome you both with open arms. Of course, in typical mom fashion, I will tell you not to rush into a relationship (just like I told your sister and brother), but to pursue your education and other personal goals first!

I also hope that the person you fall in love with has a family that loves and accepts you both. Most importantly, I want you both to be spared the devastation of being rejected by loved ones. But also, like your siblings, I hope that your in-laws become a second family. We can’t have too many people who love us in this life. I will gladly share you with people who cherish you, too!

In the meantime, we will support your right to marry with our voices, and our votes. More importantly, we will live a quiet example of love and acceptance. I truly believe that the mindset of most people is changed not by the loud, squeaking wheel of protest but, rather, by seeing others that you respect or admire demonstrating a behavior you hadn’t previously considered important. We will try to model a behavior that demonstrates this belief in hopes that others will come to emulate it as well.

Love,  Mom