Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sent to Senator George Winner - NYS Senate R-053

Hello Senator Winner,

My name is Shana Greenstein. I was born in Elmira, grew up in Watkins Glen and currently live out of state. I am writing to you because you have expressed your plan to vote no on the upcoming marriage bill, and I'm asking you with all my heart to reconsider and vote for equity.

I wanted to tell you a little bit about my partnership. I met my partner, Alexis, 15 years ago at college. I have to say it was love at first sight - after one look, I felt I had known her my whole life. We've been together through college, graduate school, and I am happy to say she is now an MD. Now, it's my turn and I'm in a doctoral program in Urban and Regional Planning, and my research is focused on making public spaces that are welcoming to all kinds of people.

My dad still owns a farm in Watkins Glen, and someday that farm may come to Alexis and I. We've talked a lot about relocating back upstate - I could teach at one of the local colleges, and she could work at one of the smaller hospitals in the area. We're talking seriously about starting a family, and we'd like to have our children grow up in the country. It's a lifestyle that would suit us just fine.

We own a small fixer-upper in Michigan, we have adopted five animals from local shelters, and we're involved in our community. We shovel our elderly neighbor's sidewalk in the winter, we help stray dogs find their way home - we're not superheroes, but we're good and caring folks. Frankly, I bet we're just the type of couple you'd want moving back to your district.

I can also tell you that we are moving soon, and we're thinking a lot about where we and our kids would be safe. There are now nearby states where we could move - states like Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Vermont that would treat us as full and cherished CITIZENS. Because, honestly, without marriage equity, we are not full citizens - we pay our taxes into a system that doesn't treat us fairly or with dignity.

It's been too long, Senator Winner. Alexis, me, and thousands and thousands of other LGBT couples are tired of staying where we're not wanted. We'll go to states that treat us fairly, and we'll bring:
our tax dollars,
our energy,
our training,
our stability, and
our love and commitment.

We'd like to think we could bring that to New York State - my HOME state. I'd like to be able to come home.

Please make the right decision. Please vote for equality.

Shana Greenstein, MSW
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor