12/17/2010 04:01 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

A Mother's Letter to the Senate

Dear Senators,

As a mother blessed with a beloved gay son, I watched the Senate proceedings last week that addressed DADT and took a vote to set in motion its repeal. I was appalled to see it all crumble in an ugly and childish manner after months of study, recommendations from the top military leaders and promises by our President. You allowed the discrimination to continue.

Our military is our nation's largest employer and the actions you took as Senators allows our military to continue to treat our gay citizens as second class citizens. DADT teaches others to deny equality. The lessons coming from DADT not only encourages others to treat gay people as less than; it teaches young people coming out that their lives are not worthy of equality. It encourages the bullies. It divides our nation into a cast system of equal and not equal.

As Senators, you belong to a unique and elite club of 100. You fought hard to be a member of the Senate. I would hope when you made the decision to run for office, it was to serve and lead with honor. There is no honor in discrimination.

You should be a source of grace, strength and wisdom for our nation. You have been given the gift to serve our country in such a profound way. With that service comes great responsibilities. You should serve with a heart that cares for others and in a way that shows that you care about something greater than yourselves.

As Senators, you will leave a legacy in the halls of the Capitol. Your work will be recorded for future generations. What you do today will be remembered by your children and grandchildren. I would think you would want to leave a legacy of courage and dignity. We are all in this together. We all only have one precious life to live on this earth. My son deserves to live his life with the equality you all enjoy and take for granted.

May you have one more chance to make this right. If you are given the gift to make this right, I ask you to cast your vote for equality -- if not with the charity of your heart, then with the simple common decency for your fellow Americans.

A mother,

Randi Reitan