OKLAHOMA CITY – A letter by a former Oklahoma resident to Gov. Mary Fallin is causing a stir on social media.
Dillon Pena, a former friend of Oklahoma’s first family, wrote an open letter to Gov. Fallin, condemning her decision to deny spousal benefits for same-sex partners of service members in the Oklahoma National Guard.
The letter, which was posted on the Huffington Post, has spread through Facebook and Twitter.
In the letter, Pena states, “I am an Oklahoma fan through and through. I cheer for the Thunder as well as OU and OSU. You see, Governor, I would love to move back to Oklahoma someday. However, today, Governor, in the eyes of the great state of Oklahoma, my two brothers and I are not equal. When you recently ordered that same-sex partners of servicemembers in the Oklahoma National Guard not receive the spousal benefits that their partners earned and that their heterosexual counterparts enjoy, you boldly declared that people like me are not equal in your eyes. Today I have a job in which I am excelling, but in Oklahoma I could be fired simply for being who I am. I could walk into any restaurant and be denied service for being who I am. Worst of all, if I were in the Oklahoma National Guard, I would be reminded that my sacrifice was not equal to that of my fellow servicemembers, solely because I love a man and not a woman.”
He discussed his family’s history with the Sooner State, going all the way back to the Dust Bowl.
Despite that heritage, he says he does not feel accepted in Oklahoma because of policies that have been put in place.
The letter goes on to read, “Governor, it pains me to recognize that when you didn’t know I am gay, you considered me equal. It pains me to know that my beloved Oklahoma appears to be like Alabama of the 1960s, not moving forward but stagnating in prejudice and inequality no longer suited for our country. My prayer for you and the state of Oklahoma is that you move forward on civil rights issues and certainly not take steps backwards. I pray that in future news I read and hear, Oklahoma is not a state of condemnation but one of acceptance.
I’ve heard it spoken from the church pulpit that when you stand for nothing, you fall for everything. I also know that when hate is spoken from that same pulpit, the words are no longer anointed. So in closing, because the great state of Oklahoma regards me as less than equal, I would like to remind you of Matthew 25:40; in which Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”