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Quinn takes poignant letter from Chicago student to Mexico City

David (top left) Lee Neubecker with their children Michael Braiden. | Phoprovided by David Neubecker

David (top left) and Lee Neubecker with their children, Michael and Braiden. | Photo provided by David Neubecker

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Updated: May 8, 2013 6:51AM



Crime time. . .

Thirteen words tell it all.

◆ To wit: One of the letters sent by a student at Chicago’s Benito Juarez Community Academy to its sister school (Benito Juarez High School) in Mexico City recently read:

“I like to go downtown because my neighborhood is too violent. Is yours?”

◆ Backshot: It was one of 200 student letters that accompanied Gov. Pat Quinn on his trade mission to Mexico last week.

A child’s plea. . .

In the midst of the same-sex marriage muddle comes an appeal from a 10-year-old girl, Braiden Neubecker, who lives in River Forest with her brother, Michael — and their two dads.

It is an essay written by Braiden that was included in the legal briefs filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, which is now hearing cases dealing with same sex marriage.

Braiden was adopted in 2009 after living with five foster families. She and her family paid a visit to Sen. Mark Kirk’s office a few weeks before his announcement last Tuesday that he was supporting gay marriage — and they left him her essay, which reads, in part:

“Love is important!

“It doesn’t matter who people love, as long as they are happy. Everyone should have the right to marry who he or she wants. You may not like two men being married, but for them, it’s normal.

“My two dads should be able to be married and have the same rights as any married couple. How would you feel if you couldn’t marry someone just because the government said you weren’t allowed to. If I loved someone and wasn’t allowed to marry them, I would be really sad.

“My family has taught me that even if you don’t agree with someone, you should still be kind and respectful. The government should too. Also, my church tells me that you should treat other people the way you want to be treated. . .

“Before I lived with my two dads, my life was horrible. My old family never treated me well. They wouldn’t stand up for me. If my foster sister fought with me, my old mom would just sit there and watch me get hurt, so I would have to fight back. Each time I was at foster home, the foster parents promised me they would keep me safe and treat my brother and I equally. But they always broke their promise.

“I moved five times until my dad and daddy found me. They also promised that they would always love me and keep me safe and they would treat me equal to my brother. I was four when I met them. Now I am ten and they have kept their promises. They do so much for me. They never hurt me or my brother. I feel so safe.

“I believe I can do anything with my two dads. Would there be any purpose to ban the marriage of two men or two women when they can treat children the same or even better than other couples. I hope that you will do the right thing and let anyone marry who they want to.”

Braiden’s parents, David and Lee Neubecker, were married in San Francisco in 2004 when then-mayor Gavin Newsom was issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. But their marriage was nullified when Newsom was told he had no legal standing to issue the licenses. They are currently waiting to get married (again) when Illinois makes it legal.

Downton blabby. . .

Former GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich and wife, Callista, are the latest “Downton Abbey” junkies — hooked fans of the hit Brit TV series. Gingrich told folks attending a National Review breakfast he identifies with the to-the-manor-born star (natch) of the series, Lord Grantham, and claims: “One night last week we were up until 2 in the morning, because we had to see the next one. We’re well into season three now. You’re never bored.”

Sneedlings . . .

Saturday’s birthdays: Paul Rudd, 44; Zach Braff, 38, and Karen Stefani, ageless. . . Sunday’s birthdays: Russell Crowe, 49; Francis Ford Coppola, 74, and Jackie Chan, 59 (right).



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