Future dad, James Neiley, recently gave testimony to the Vermont Senate Judiciary Committee to support marriage equality

Future dad, James Neiley, recently gave testimony to the Vermont Senate Judiciary Committee to support marriage equality in Vermont.

Neiley, a 17-year-old student at Champlain Valley Union High School, told committee members of his own difficulty coming out as a gay teenager and how the lack of marriage rights played into his own fears that he was less of a person than his straight counterparts.

He said he was teased and ridiculed by classmates for being gay – discrimination that he said is fueled by the fact that gays and lesbians have less legal rights than heterosexuals.

In his testimony James says, “On my own behalf, I know that if I were to have a child, I would do my best to make him or her a positive influence on society. I would pack them a lunch and always put a cookie or brownie in to brighten their day. I would drop them off at soccer, or choir, or dance, or anything that they wanted to do. I would sing them to sleep, I would push them on the swings, and when they were little I would let them win races by no more than a centimeter. I would raise them the exact same way my amazing parents raised me. I would raise them to be no one but themselves and I would raise them to respect the same in others.

“I know I could care for a child just as my parents have. I know I could provide them with the same support and provide them with just as stable household. I want to be respected and accepted just as every other person in this world.”

WATCH [via Outright Vermont]:

17 thoughts on “Future dad, James Neiley, recently gave testimony to the Vermont Senate Judiciary Committee to support marriage equality

  • November 15, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    Thank you, James Neiley, for being eloquent and courageous!
    And right.

  • March 27, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    Excellent! well done! very nice nice… the world is better with you in it!

  • March 26, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    Very well spoken. Your communication skills goes beyond your years. Thank you for your courage and outrage.
    We have all come a long way since the 60’s .. but we have a long way to go.
    If you haven’t already seen the movie “Milk” go see it.
    You have the same spirit…
    God bless and keep you safe and strong.

  • March 26, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Well said, James.
    Amazing job!
    Thank you.

  • March 26, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    James, you have my highest respects and deepest gratitudes for speaking out. Thank you very much.

  • March 26, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Just a quick shoot out to say, rock on!

  • March 31, 2009 at 12:22 am

    WHOOOO! You go, kid!

  • March 26, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    You should be so proud of yourself, and I truly hope that the rights of homosexuals continue to develop and increase. I am a 20 year old female heterosexual and I never thought I would be saying such a thing, but I 100% back you in all of this. People like you have really opened my eyes and you will be the change you wish to see in the world. Good luck in all you do.

  • March 26, 2009 at 11:08 pm


    You may be only 17 and small in body but you are mature and erudite and a lion in spirit. What a courageous act! It’s too bad we couldn’t hear the questions, though. I get the sense that there were people facing you who oppose gay marriage but lacked the courage to ask you a single question or offer any of their hollow excuses for ‘reasoning’. Faced with your wisdom they kept silent. Am I right in this?

    I expect to hear a lot more from you in the years to come. Just think, in only 18 more years you’ll be able to run for President – I’ll vote for you. And, yes, I KNOW your parents are proud as punch of their brave son. Was that your mother behind you?

  • March 26, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    I bet his parents are proud.

  • March 26, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Thank you James for standing up for us in the same boat as you. As I can see for a 17 year old gay man, you really have your head together with the great support of your family. All I can say James is keep on fighting for the ones who can’t. I would like to give you a pat on the back for having the guts to speak out to the Vermont Senate about about what is and needs to be done about gay rights and to support mariage equality for us gay people that bleed the same color as heterosexuals.
    We are all equal and we need to fight for our rights!!
    Thank you, James

  • March 28, 2009 at 1:11 am

    I really think this young man spoke very eloquently on gay marriage. I am very proud of you for speaking up for equal rights for all.

  • April 8, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    I am one of two dads to our 18yo son. We are good loving parents who would do anything for our son.Obviously, James your parents have done a great job raising you.You also,to your credit, have taken the bull by the horns and addressed the issues of discrimination and homophobia head on to the Senate Judiciary Committee in the Vermont senate.
    You were well spoken and direct in terms of your message.
    As a high school assistant principal, dad, and gay man,I am proud of you, as is your family, school, and our community.
    Great job!! Always be proud of who you are, you have much to contribute.
    Enjoy a long and happy life, as you well deserve.

  • March 27, 2009 at 1:58 am

    James baby doll, keep fighting the GOOD fight.

    Always remember those that would take their time to single you out for harassment, are usually those that have doubt about their own sexuality.

    Their harassment of you in the midst of others is is a lame attempt to disguise whats going on with them.

    The more this is taught in enlightenment situations, the more they may think twice about displaying their big charade.

    I have never met anyone who was normally comfortable with them selves that would take the time to go out of their way to harass others.

    Your brothers and sisters in the LGBT community are very proud of you.

  • March 27, 2009 at 5:28 am

    It woudl be great to watch the whole thing. The video loads so slowly it’s a dread to try to watch it, but from what I heard I think this is great. Keep in mind VERMONT is artsy fartsy and much more accepting of gay people than lets say… TEXAS or other parts of the US

  • April 7, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    Thanks so much to this wonderful young man.

  • April 8, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Thanks James. You very eloquently speak of what matters most: equal rights. Those who oppose you under the auspices of self-righteous religious beliefs, and who espouse the “sanctity” of (heterosexual) marriage fail to acknowledge that this “sacred union” ends in divorce all too often. What’s so sacred about that? Let those who truly love each other be granted the right to spend their lives together, with equal rights under every aspect of the law, gender notwithstanding. Good for you! Keep up the good fight.

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