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OPINION: This is a vote to be ashamed of

Janet Kutin lives in East Setauket.

38-24: The gavel has sounded. The votes are in.

The New York State Senate has voted against gay marriage, taking away my belief in the essential goodness and compassion that I always felt most people have. They have broken my heart.

They have told my son, my child, that he is less than equal to others. They have told him he doesn't deserve what his brother, cousins and friends deserve. They have told him he cannot live his life the way he wants.

Religion has let him down; government has let him down; our elected leaders have let him down; society has let him down.

I feel the rejection, the hatred, the fear, the lack of understanding, the isolation and aloneness. I understand the anger my son feels.

I know, in history, no civil rights have ever been won without great personal sacrifice. People have been jailed, ostracized, beaten and killed for their honorable causes. Matthew Shepherd was killed for just being himself. Martin Luther King was killed for leading one of the most just causes in American history.

How can you support the Declaration of Independence "with liberty and justice for all" and vote against equality for a full tenth of our population? How can we raise our children to believe in the Golden Rule and to treat others with kindness and tolerance and then explain this vote?

How do we explain to our children that some people who are loving, hardworking sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, grandsons, granddaughters, nieces and nephews cannot live and love and enjoy the same equality and benefits of American life as others?

If the senators in Albany and other lawmakers across our country look deep into their hearts - as mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts and uncles; as human beings - how could they not vote for gay marriage and "liberty and justice for all"? Those senators who voted against gay marriage were given an opportunity to stand up for civil rights like so many others in American history.

They should be ashamed that they voted along political lines and not for the rights of all Americans.

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