Evita's Max Von Essen and Playwright Doug Wright Share Thoughts, Via Facebook, on Equal Rights
By Michael Gioia
Max von Essen, who currently stars in the Broadway revival of Evita, publicly shared a letter — via Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr — that he wrote in response to a friend who expressed support for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on his page. That letter went viral.
Von Essen, who has openly expressed his political views on the aforementioned social media platforms, articulated his stance on equal rights within the Facebook post that was published Oct. 22. Since then, the status has been shared by over 600 users and opened up a conversation on Facebook.
Tony Award nominee Doug Wright, who has penned the book for the musicals Grey Gardens, The Little Mermaid and the Broadway-bound Hands on a Hardbody and wrote I Am My Own Wife, also expressed his thoughts on Facebook. He shared his private status with Playbill.com.
Other Broadway stars have been vocal in the weeks leading up to the 2012 presidential election, participating in political fundraisers and creating social media pages to raise awareness. Click here for the Playbill pictures of von Essen, Kara Lindsay, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Adam Chanler-Berat, Nick Adams and more campaigning for Obama.
Read von Essen's Facebook post below:
Today, I wrote this letter to an old friend who expressed his support for Romney on my Facebook page. I felt the need to share.
Hey ( ),
Listen, I know you didn't mean any harm commenting on this post and I like you, we had some great times growing up. But Romney and Ryan believe that I am less than you. They believe I am a second class citizen and don't deserve the same rights that you had the privilege of being born into simply by being straight. They want to add a constitutional amendment that will ban gay marriage forever. It will set us back decades and ensure that I never legally have the opportunity to have a family or a partner in my lifetime.
They also believe that being at your partner's side when he/she is dying is a benefit, not a civil right. They could keep me from my partner dying in a hospital. Could you even imagine something like that in your own life? Being separated from your wife on her death bed? Could you imagine your marriage never being recognized and being told that your family is not a family and you do not deserve any federal rights that comes with marriage. Over 1100 rights. Did you know that? 1100.
Ryan doesn't believe in the hate crimes act fought unwaveringly for by Judy Shepard, mother of Matthew Shepard, murdered for being gay in Wyoming. Murdered for being gay. Could you imagine if I was murdered for being gay? Could you really look my mom in the eye and say 'oh well, we can not prosecute this crime as a hate crime'?
I know there are important issues involved in this campaign. I know people are suffering and the economy has not improved at a rate we all wish it would. Yes, people are suffering but the gay and lesbian community has been suffering for hundreds of years and I am so tired of it. So tired of feeling that I am less than. So tired of knowing I have friends on here who will vote for someone who will keep me a second class citizen for my entire lifetime. I have already spent half a lifetime hiding, half a lifetime conforming. It is exhausting, demeaning and I am worn out. I want to love myself full out. I want a president who can look me in the eye and say 'You are equal!' 'You are equal to everyone else in this country and I will fight for your rights. The time is now and it is long overdue.' Romney and Ryan could not look me in the eye and say that and I feel sorry for every gay and questioning child who might have to listen to a president who believes that he/she is not equal. Children will take their lives. It is the WORST form of trickle down bullying and it absolutely splits my heart in half. When the president says you are less than, it gives permission to every authority figure, every politician, every teacher, every bully on the playground to push you around and bully you and treat you less than. It is dangerous and lives will be lost.
If this is not important to you, please remove me from your friends list. I need people in my life who love me and consider me 100% equal.
Read Wright's Facebook post below:
I wish my moderate Republican friends would simply be honest. They all say they're voting for Romney because of his economic policies (tenuous and ill-formed as they are), and that they disagree with him on gay rights. Fine. Then look me in the eye, speak with a level clear voice, and say," My taxes and take-home pay mean more than your fundamental civil rights, the sanctity of your marriage, your right to visit an ailing spouse in the hospital, your dignity as a citizen of this country, your healthcare, your right to inherit, the mental welfare and emotional well-being of your youth, and your very personhood." It's like voting for George Wallace during the Civil Rights movements, and apologizing for his racism. You're still complicit. You're still perpetuating anti-gay legislation and cultural homophobia. You don't get to walk away clean, because you say you "disagree" with your candidate on these issues.
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