PS ready to go? LGBT/religious background

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Siamsa414
Posts: 137
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2010 7:34 pm

PS ready to go? LGBT/religious background

Postby Siamsa414 » Thu Jan 06, 2011 10:02 pm

In response to feedback from readers here and elsewhere, I've edited my PS into what I hope is a near-final draft. Fine-tuning and comments are very welcome--thanks!

-----

On October 30, 2010, I married my best friend. Surrounded by our family and closest friends, beneath palm trees and California’s crisp blue sky, we affirmed our commitment to one another and exchanged vows. But our marriage, though solemnized by an ordained minister, is not recognized by the state or by the church of my childhood. To the federal government, we remain legal strangers to this day.

Why? Because Grace, my wife, is a woman, and so am I.

When I met Grace, I never imagined that she would change my life forever—that the consequences of this simple introduction would shake my faith to the core and challenge my last ounce of courage. I soon realized I had never met anyone like her. I could talk to her about almost anything, but it was still difficult to tell her my biggest secret: I am gay.

The secret was a painful one because it seemed impossible to reconcile with my Catholic identity. My Irish Catholic family and 13 years of Catholic education combined to give me a strong faith. I loved the richness of the church’s intellectual foundation, the breadth of its cultural traditions, the universality of its rituals. My secret threatened my place in that world, so I kept it hidden—until I met Grace. As I began to come out to friends and family, I started to realize that these two facets of my life would not be easily reconciled.

I have never been one to sit out a fight or to back down from a tough conflict. I dived headfirst into the resources that were available to me, immersing myself in exploring the scholarship surrounding the Church’s teachings on sexuality, morality and conscience. I joined my parish’s student LGBT group, and later became its moderator to reach out to other students facing similar conflicts. I went from gay-rights demonstrations to Sunday Mass; I held hands with my partner at church, quietly daring anyone to comment. I marched in the streets and I knelt in the pews, praying and protesting, all in the hope of finding a way to integrate fully these two aspects of my identity.

I have yet to succeed completely, but these two facets of my life have taught me a great deal. I have learned to grapple with difficult issues, to sink my teeth into complicated questions. I have discovered that while chanting slogans has its place, a respectful conversation can be more powerful. Most importantly, I have learned to look beyond the sound bites of a controversy and appreciate the sincerely held beliefs on either side of the most bitter struggles.

I know intimately the struggles for equal rights under the law, and I feel the concern of many religious communities for preserving the right to worship as they see fit. Because I am gay, I feel the law’s impact on my daily life in a way that most of my peers do not; my partner and I are reminded of our unequal status whenever we choose a healthcare plan or file a tax return. I also have observed the gay marriage debate’s impact on the church, as when Boston Catholic Charities felt forced to end its adoption services rather than betray Catholic teachings or violate commonwealth law.

A legal education will enable me to contribute to the evolving understanding of the relationship between church and state and the way this relationship affects individual rights. I’m inspired by legal leaders such as Judge Vaughn Walker, whose nuanced and strategic ruling on the constitutionality of Proposition 8 had me reading his opinion with the rapt attention most people reserve for page-turning novels. I hope to follow his example and serve as a federal judge someday. My hybrid background has taught me to observe without choosing sides and to analyze arguments dispassionately, vital skills for a jurist.

Living on both sides of the same-sex marriage debate has allowed me to witness firsthand the conflicts that can arise between individual rights and religious liberties. In order to move toward equal rights for the gay community without alienating religious groups, we need strong, persuasive legal scholarship from people who can speak to both sides. Studying the law will give me the tools I need to bridge this gap, no matter where my legal career takes me, and pursuing a legal education at XXXXX will help me become a force for equality.

Tullstone
Posts: 89
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 2010 1:00 pm

Re: PS ready to go? LGBT/religious background

Postby Tullstone » Thu Jan 06, 2011 11:25 pm

Its a good topic I think. Law schools love openly gay students.

"The secret was a painful one because it seemed impossible to reconcile with my Catholic identity. My Irish Catholic family and 13 years of Catholic education combined to give me a strong faith. I loved the richness of the church’s intellectual foundation, the breadth of its cultural traditions, the universality of its rituals. My secret threatened my place in that world, so I kept it hidden—until I met Grace. As I began to come out to friends and family, I started to realize that these two facets of my life would not be easily reconciled."

This is a circular paragraph.

Also, when you refer to "these two facets of my life" make sure that your references to religious/sexual conflict clearly link. Consider scrapping the words facets and move to a more specific reference, like "the societal conflicts between the church and my sexuality...."
Keep working.

LSATclincher
Posts: 476
Joined: Mon Nov 30, 2009 12:09 pm

Re: PS ready to go? LGBT/religious background

Postby LSATclincher » Sat Jan 08, 2011 3:35 pm

This is a smart topic for law school. But you got way too political. Rising up from your Catholic faith is fine. But leave it at that. Focus on civil liberties, NOT on a specific political issue. I made a few necessary edits, but other than that, this was clear, direct, well-written.


On October 30, 2010, I married my best friend. Surrounded by our family and closest friends, beneath palm trees and California’s crisp blue sky, we affirmed our commitment to one another and exchanged vows. But our marriage, though solemnized by an ordained minister, is not recognized by the state or by the church of my childhood. To the federal government, we remain legal strangers to this day.

Why? Because Grace, my wife, is a woman, and so am I.

When I met Grace, I never imagined that she would change my life forever—that the consequences of this simple introduction would shake my faith to the core and challenge my last ounce of courage. I soon realized I had never met anyone like her. I could talk to her about almost anything, but it was still difficult to tell her my biggest secret: I am gay.

The secret was a painful one because it seemed impossible to reconcile with my Catholic identity. My Irish Catholic family and 13 years of Catholic education combined to give me a strong faith. I loved the richness of the church’s intellectual foundation, the breadth of its cultural traditions, the universality of its rituals. My secret threatened my place in that world, so I kept it hidden—until I met Grace. As I began to come out to friends and family, I started to realize that these two facets of my life would not be easily reconciled.

I have never been one to sit out a fight or to back down from a tough conflict. (Tone this down, no fights) I (dived headfirst)--rewrite without slang) into the resources that were available to me, immersing myself in exploring the scholarship surrounding the Church’s teachings on sexuality, morality and conscience. I joined my parish’s student LGBT group, and later became its moderator to reach out to other students facing similar conflicts. I went from gay-rights demonstrations to Sunday Mass; I held hands with my partner at church, quietly daring anyone to comment. I marched in the streets and I knelt in the pews, praying and protesting, all in the hope of finding a way to integrate fully these two aspects of my identity.

I have yet to succeed completely (be more positive "I still strive to find a comfortable identity today"), but these two facets of my life have taught me a great deal. I have learned to grapple with difficult issues, to sink my teeth (no slang) into complicated questions. I have discovered that while chanting slogans has its place, a respectful conversation can be more powerful. Most importantly, I have learned to look beyond the sound bites of a controversy and appreciate the sincerely held beliefs on either side of the most bitter struggles.

I know intimately the struggles for equal rights under the law, and I feel the concern of many religious communities for preserving the right to worship as they see fit. Because I am gay, I feel the law’s impact on my daily life in a way that most of my peers do not; my partner and I are reminded of our unequal status whenever we choose a healthcare plan or file a tax return. I also have observed the gay marriage debate’s impact on the church, as when Boston Catholic Charities felt forced to end its adoption services rather than betray Catholic teachings or violate commonwealth law. (Para is too political)

A legal education will enable me to contribute to the evolving understanding of the relationship between church and state and the way this relationship affects individual rights. I’m inspired by legal leaders such as Judge Vaughn Walker, whose nuanced and strategic ruling on the constitutionality of Proposition 8 had me reading his opinion with the rapt attention most people reserve for page-turning novels. I hope to follow his example and serve as a federal judge someday (too ambitious). My hybrid background has taught me to observe without choosing sides and to analyze arguments dispassionately, vital skills for a (lawyer).

Living on both sides of the same-sex marriage debate has allowed me to witness firsthand the conflicts that can arise between individual rights and (liberties). In order to move toward equal rights for the gay community without alienating religious groups, we need strong, persuasive legal scholarship from people who can speak to both sides. Studying the law will give me the tools I need to bridge this gap, no matter where my legal career takes me, (Don't insult the school).




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