With everything that has been going on lately - all of which I have been continuously involved in - I am shocked and disappointed that The Post-Journal would even suggest that I have taken myself out of any discussion involving the betterment of Jamestown, simply because I advocate for equal rights for all citizens when, if you look at my schedule, if anything, I am involved in seemingly every discussion in town.
I take my part-time city jobs (with sometimes full-time hours) seriously with a schedule often involving every day and night of the week. I have six events alone this night, as I write this, to which my constituents have invited me to attend.
Take just one look at my schedule and the continuous stream of phone calls (I give my cell number out freely), letters, faxes, Facebook postings and email messages to see how accessible and involved I am. I attend most community events whether invited or not.
My friends give me a hard time because I insist, when and where possible, at having lunch and dinner in Jamestown restaurants only, finding medical practitioners not just based on professional competence but on offices in the city as well, doing as much holiday shopping in the city as I can, using the Jamestown airport even when more costly and impractical, etc.
I do a lot of consulting training teachers throughout the U.S. where I am known as Mr. Jamestown for constantly arranging for private tours of Jamestown attractions. During my "break" from my "other" job at the college I stayed in town and personally escorted a visitor from Buffalo on a tour of our train station - the restoration of which I have supported through my membership on the DJDC Board and through a talk sponsored by the Fenton History Center of which I am a member. I "performed" last fall for the Fenton History Center tours of Lakeview Cemetery and soon will be doing Fenton-sponsored tours of Lakeview Avenue - all for free and on my own time.
I love my adopted home of 26 years where I have freely chosen to spend the majority of my adult working life and find nothing wrong and everything right in promoting Jamestown as a same-sex marriage destination. Same-sex marriage is legal in New York and I have gone out of my way to get as much business as possible for our community which I can easily do as an openly gay city marriage officer all to our benefit without spending a single dime of public funds.
When I was a young boy I huddled in fear as perhaps the only gay person in the world. I am proud of our governor and my ability to bring all loving couples together in marriage - both gay and straight.
Every time I perform a marriage it results in a $30 fee for the city treasury. Couples must wait 24 hours after getting their license before being wed and thus, with friends and family, spend time and money in hotels, restaurants and attractions. Same-sex marriages have brought consistent free positive publicity to Jamestown through WGRZ TV and YNN.
And while legally I am allowed to charge a fee, I ask instead for a donation to help St. Susan Center. My very first same-sex couple from Ohio who were married over the summer gave St. Susan's a $200 check because they could afford it - money we wouldn't have if not for my work and their generosity.
St. Susan's never asked if it was "gay" money.
The couple from Indiana for whom I performed the service gave a $100 check for St. Susan's in honor of me and my work personally.
I perform marriages during the day, at nights, on weekends, inside, outside including Bergman Park, the JCC campus, and the Steamboat Landing, even on Christmas Day in front of the tree at City Hall on my own time. Many, if not most, of these couples bring friends and family who tell me that Jamestown was warm and welcoming and they plan to come back and also tell their friends to visit because of our great small city.
If anything I am a one-man Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau now having performed same-sex marriages for couples from six states including Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland and Florida.
I should be congratulated not criticized. But either way I will continue with my work until the voters of Jamestown decide otherwise as they have put me in office for three terms in a row and not the newspaper.