Marine fights for gay brother's right to marry
Craig Stowell, pictured with his wife Berta, is fighting for his brother Calvin, a gay man, to be able to marry.
January 12th, 2012
12:36 AM ET

Marine fights for gay brother's right to marry

By Kiran Khalid, CNN

(CNN) - Craig Stowell fought with the U.S. Marines in Iraq in 2004 and now is fighting for the right of gays, like his brother, to marry in New Hampshire.

"My brother and best friend, Calvin, was tormented all the way through high school because people knew he was gay," Craig Stowell, 30, said in an online petition seeking to pressure New Hampshire legislators not to repeal the state's 2009 law that legalized gay marriage.

In a video posted on YouTube, Calvin Stowell described being bullied as a schoolboy because he was gay. "I was constantly asked by my peers: Are you gay? You sound so gay. You walk so gay," said the 23-year-old New Yorker, who works for a non-profit.

Craig Stowell, who is an information technology director for a cabinet maker in Claremont, New Hampshire, empathized.

"There were nights that I worried I may wake up and he wouldn't be there any longer; crushed by the misery he was forced to endure. When New Hampshire extended marriage to gay and lesbian couples, two years ago, he finally felt accepted. He finally felt like he belonged. Since that day 1,800 loving and committed gay and lesbian couples have married."

As the New Hampshire Legislature prepares to vote on whether to repeal the law, HB 437, Craig Stowell - who serves as the Republican co-chairman of Standing Up For New Hampshire Families - has launched an online campaign to keep the law as it is.

"If HB 437 passes, same-sex couples will no longer be allowed to marry," he says in an online petition he has posted at http://www.change.org. "This mean-spirited attack is nothing more than state-sponsored bullying."

So far, more than 75,000 people have signed it, according to Change.org.

"This campaign is resonating with people not only throughout New Hampshire, but across the country," said Benjamin Joffe-Walt, a spokesman for Change.org, which hosts online campaigns. "Craig won't stop defending his brother, and his campaign is inspiring thousands of others to stand up for the people they love, too."

Craig Stowell said Calvin was his best man at his wedding, and Craig wants to be able to reciprocate. "I want the opportunity to be his best man when he finds the person he wants to marry," he says in the petition.

But the proposed legislation says marriage between a man and a woman "predates organized government" and is in the best interest of society.

"The vast majority of children are conceived by acts of passion between men and women - sometimes unintentionally," it says. "Because of this biological reality, New Hampshire has a unique, distinct, and compelling interest in promoting stable and committed marital unions between opposite-sex couples so as to increase the likelihood that children will be born to and raised by both of their natural parents. No other domestic relationship presents the same level of state interest," the bill states.

The bill was sponsored by about a dozen lawmakers. Calls and e-mails to the sponsors were not immediately returned.

"We're encouraged that so many have stood up to say that they support this bill," said Brian Brown, the president of the National Organization for Marriage. "This is the right thing for the legislature to do, to fix what the Democrats forced down the throats of New Hampshire."

soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Julio

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    April 18, 2012 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
  2. Lorraine

    I'm a Christian............'spiritually'.........not according to the "religion".... a HUGH difference!

    We are One............we are all equal. God is Love (not hate).......... we need to learn more about Love... the hate
    will destroy itself.

    January 28, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. DonJose

    Traditional marriage is threatened by divorce. So, why there is no initiative from the National Organization of Marriage, in New Hampshire and everywhere else, to ban divorce?

    January 25, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. J

    As a former Marine myself, I agree with this Devil Dog.

    Besides, as a proud chauvinist, I've done research and found that gay women are much more likely than gay men to still enjoy the company of the opposite gender. As such, gay rights benefits straight men enormously by shifting the overall percentages of eligible partners in their favor.

    (and yes, that last part is *mostly* sarcasm)

    January 24, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ben James

    On behalf of your brother and all Americans who believe in equality, thank you marine!

    January 24, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. thegayav

    This is truly inspiring, fighting for his brother like he is. Every individual fight brings us one step closer to equality world wide.

    January 13, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. mark

    sodomy used to be illegal in every state in the union, so where is all this madness going?

    January 12, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. it seems as though the nation an law makers have an i or me complex. It should never be about that but about we.. We do vote u in an last time i checked paid ur salary...... Hmmmm we all are created equal in the eye of god... Guess america trumps god.

    wayne hardin

    January 12, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Derek Williams

    Every best wish for success in this campaign.

    January 12, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Brett

    i didn't realize that extending equal rights to citizens of this country was actually ramming something down anyone's throat. i cannot conceive how certain people hate so much that they actually want to deny someone rights that they have, but I guess those are the same people who would have support slavery under the guise of being a good christian. the hippocracy in this country just astounds me.

    January 12, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam russell

      thank you! u nailed it

      January 12, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kris

      I agree...it is about having more freedom....straight people can still marry and have all the rights they have ALWAYS had. And I am all for promoting healthy relationship regardless of sexual orientation; it's what we need more of.

      January 12, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Synn

    Wow Craig, what a fighter... you fought for your country, and now for your family. Fight on dude!

    January 12, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tbone

    I find it horrible that people try and control who you want to have sex with of fall in love with. It's none of your business. Straight couples have proven they can ruin the sanctity of marriage and ruin children's lives. Let's at the very least let the gays have the same opportunity, it's only fair.

    January 12, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  13. Michelle

    Thank you, Craig, and all whom help fight against discrimination. God bless you all!

    January 12, 2012 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |