Marine fights for Gay brother's right to marry
 

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posted Friday, January 13, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 02

Marine fights for Gay brother's right to marry
by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Craig Stowell fought in Iraq with the U.S. Marines in 2004 and is now fighting for the right of Gay people, like his brother, to marry in New Hampshire.

'I served as a Marine in Iraq to defend freedom and liberty. But now the New Hampshire state legislature might take away an essential freedom from my brother Calvin, who is Gay, and thousands of others: the freedom to marry the people they love,' Stowell, 30, said in an online petition seeking to pressure New Hampshire legislators not to repeal the state's 2009 law that legalized Gay marriage.

Stowell said that when New Hampshire finally granted marriage equality to Gays and Lesbians in the state, it 'was a great day for my family.'

'Growing up, my brother Calvin was tormented for being Gay,' said Stowell. 'The pain he felt is a direct reflection of the isolation caused by telling LGBT people that they do not have the same rights as every other law abiding citizen: that they are not worthy of marriage.'

In a video posted on YouTube, Calvin Stowell described being bullied as a schoolboy because he was Gay. 'I was constantly asked by my peers, 'Are you Gay? You sound so Gay. You walk so Gay,' said the 23-year-old New Yorker, who works for a non-profit.

Craig Stowell, who is an information technology director for a cabinet maker in Claremont, New Hampshire, empathized. 'There were nights that I worried I may wake up and he wouldn't be there any longer; crushed by the misery he was forced to endure. When New Hampshire extended marriage to Gay and Lesbian couples two years ago, he finally felt accepted. He finally felt like he belonged. Since that day, 1,800 loving and committed Gay and Lesbian couples have married.'

'I'm a conservative Republican, and I believe in small government,' he continued. 'I don't think our legislators have any business telling my brother he can't get married. The people of New Hampshire don't want marriage equality to be repealed, either - more than 60% of people in New Hampshire support keeping the equal marriage law in place.'

So far, more than 75,000 people have signed it, according to Change.org.

'This campaign is resonating with people not only throughout New Hampshire, but across the country,' said Benjamin Joffe-Walt, a spokesman for Change.org, which hosts online campaigns. 'Craig won't stop defending his brother, and his campaign is inspiring thousands of others to stand up for the people they love, too.'

Craig Stowell said Calvin was best man at his wedding, and Craig wants to be able to reciprocate. 'I want the opportunity to be his best man when he finds the person he wants to marry,' he says in the petition.



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