Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Alabama (II) Senator Jeff Sessions

Today I continue through Alabama's congressional delegation with Senator Jeff Sessions (335 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510 (202) 224-4124), Republican, junior senator from Alabama:

Dear Senator Sessions,

I write as a concerned citizen to urge you to change your position on same-sex marriage. On June 7, 2006 you spoke on the floor of the Senate in support of the so-called "Federal Marriage Amendment," an attempt to effect a national ban on same-sex marriages. In your statement you declared:

Marriage is important. Our culture and the quality of life of our people in this Nation are important. Just yesterday, the people of my State, by an 81-percent majority, approved a constitutional amendment to the Alabama Constitution which said that no marriage license shall be issued in Alabama to parties of the same sex and the State shall not recognize a marriage of parties of the same sex that occurred as a result of the law of any other jurisdiction. But that amendment is in jeopardy by the court rulings in the United States, and a ruling that the U.S. Constitution requires that same-sex marriage be recognized just like other marriages will trump Alabama's constitution and that of the 19 other States which passed such resolutions by a vote of 71 percent.

I agree with you, Senator, that marriage is vitally important, which is why it is imperative that our U.S. Constitution be amended in precisely the opposite manner that you and your like-minded colleagues proposed. Several states have already recognized the rights of same-sex couples to marry, establishing a trend that will no doubt continue. Even without such a Supreme Court ruling as you describe, we are now left with the extraordinary circumstance that couples recognized as married in some parts of our Union can not have their bond acknowledged in other parts of our Union. Even if you are unmoved by concern for the rights and welfare of the individuals so affected, I would think you stirred by concern for the institution of marriage itself. If marriage comes to mean different things in different places, if its rights and protections are not guaranteed to all equally, it will lose some of its force as a binding ligament of our greater society.

The problem is not a mere abstraction, however, but has an urgent human dimension. What if, while traveling through Alabama, one member of a married same-sex couple became incapacitated? If her natal family intervened to separate her from her spouse, would the courts and government offices of Alabama side with them against that individual's chosen next of kin? What if children were involved? Does the state of Alabama really want to legally nullify the families that individual citizens have formed from bonds of mutual love, devotion, and respect?

I appeal to your basic sense of fairness, Senator. To protect the institution of marriage, the integrity of the American family, and the rights of all our citizens, the U.S. Constitution should be amended to read, "The right to marry shall not be abridged or denied by the United States or any state on account of sex or sexual orientation." I urge you to consider this issue carefully, and trust that in any case you will act conscientiously.

I thank you for your attention. I hope this message finds you well.


Andrew Meyer

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