David Stivers - Freedom to Marry

David and Tori Stivers, with their son, Grant

David Stivers, the Co-President of PFLAG Atlanta recently spoke on October 23 at Georgia Equality’s Rally for Marriage in Atlanta, Georgia, where marriage supporters made the case that Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens should stop defending marriage discrimination.

Hello, my name is David Stivers and I am co-President of PFLAG Atlanta.  PFLAG’s mission is to educate, advocate, and provide support for LGBT people and their families.

This is my wife, Tori. We fell in love and were married in Atlanta 30 years ago last June.  When we were planning our wedding, no one said we should rethink our decision, or that our choice of a life partner was somehow inappropriate.  The state of Georgia trusted our judgment and remained silent.  Actually, they didn’t care one way or the other about our marriage.  They weren’t interested if it lasted 30 years or 30 minutes.  As far as Georgia was concerned, we were on our own; our marriage would succeed or fail based on its merits or faults.  Thirty years later, Georgia was right to trust our judgment, because our marriage succeeded.

My two daughters were also married in Georgia and the state was silent about their choice for husbands.  Walking my daughters down the aisle on their wedding days was an experience I’ll never forget.  Nor will I forget how happy they and their husbands were on their special day.

Our 30-year marriage also produced a son.  He was an intelligent, creative, handsome child; from the time he was seven years old, he wanted to be a movie director.  He worked hard in school and in college and focused on his goal, which has now come to fruition with him working in the film industry. We are so proud of him and his accomplishments.

One other thing about our son is that he is gay.  Now, suddenly, the state of Georgia seems very interested in his choice for a spouse. Even worse, Georgia constitutionally forbids him from marrying the person he loves. As his father, I can’t understand why. This is blatantly unfair and discriminatory treatment.  He is a productive citizen who has paid Georgia taxes and contributed to his community in many ways.  And yet, he is not permitted to marry the person he loves.  He not only deserves Georgia’s support and trust, but has earned it.

I would very much like to attend my son’s wedding and throw a lavish party for him and the person he loves, just as I did for my two daughters.  I hope Georgia will allow me to do that in the very near future.  Thank you.

Originally posted 2014-10-28 12:30:58.