Monday, December 8, 2008

Arizona (V) Congressman Ed Pastor

Today I continue with Congressman Ed Pastor, Democrat, representative of Arizona's 4th Congressional District,

Dear Congressman Pastor,

I write you as a fellow Democrat and American to plead for your support for a Constitutional amendment acknowledging the rights of same-sex couples to marry. Any cursory review of your legislative record reveals your robust commitment to civil rights and issues of social justice. I hope that these admirable impulses might inspire you to lead the fight to redress one of the most egregious injustices persisting in the current state of our laws and institutions.

You obviously possess a profound and personal appreciation for the institution of marriage. On April 20, 2005 you rose to commemorate the 50th wedding anniversary of Fred and Rosemary Gortler, noting that they had "been blessed with five children and eighteen grandchildren," and praising their "devotion and love for family" and their "strong sense of family values, self-sacrifice, and commitment to public service." Earlier, on February 17, 2005, you offered similarly laudatory remarks on the 50th wedding anniversary of Lou and Georgia Poulos.

Like you, Congressman, I take inspiration from such examples of marital fulfillment. I and my wife Emilie have been married for just over five years, and our life together with our daughter, Ada, is the source of my greatest happiness and contentment. Because all these experiences and examples impress me with a profound reverence for and appreciation of the institution of marriage itself, I am especially pained at the fact that so many millions of our fellow citizens are excluded from the marital bond, despite their being equally disposed to participating in its joys and in need of its protection.

Evan Wolfson, in his book Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality, and Gay People's Right to Marry, writes of Maureen Kilian and Cindy Meneghin of Butler, New Jersey. They have been together for more than thirty years, and are raising two children- Josh and Sarah. Neither of them can stay home to care for their children because without marital status they are not eligible for family health insurance. Don't Maureen and Cindy exemplify the same kind of "devotion and love for family" displayed by the Gortlers and Pouloses? If so, is it really fair that their fulfillment of these values should be made so much more difficult by the discriminatory state of our laws? No one is well-served by the situation confronting Maureen and Cindy, least of all their children. And they are only one example among millions.

I applaud your vote against the so-called "Federal Marriage Amendment" that would have mandated a ban on same-sex marriage throughout our Republic. Much more is needed, however. The laws of our Nation will only be brought into alignment with the needs and natural rights of our citizens when the U.S. Constitution is 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." Would you, in cooperation with your colleagues in the House and Senate, sponsor such an amendment or one like it, Congressman? Such an action would be in keeping with your long record of service in the cause of civil rights and social justice.

I thank you for your service, your consideration of this matter, and for your attention. I hope this message finds you well.


Andrew Meyer

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