Saturday, December 13, 2008

Arizona (VIII) Congressman Raul Grijalva

Today I continue with Congressman Raul Grijalva, Democrat, representative of Arizona's 7th Congressional District:

Dear Congressman Grijalva,

I write as a fellow Democrat and concerned citizen to ask your support for a Constitutional amendment acknowledging the rights of same-sex couples to marry. As the recently elected Chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), you have been a dynamic leader in efforts to fight poverty, expand educational opportunity, and protect the environment. On the issue of same-sex marriage you and your colleagues likewise have an opportunity to exert groundbreaking leadership that would positively impact the lives of millions of Americans.

The website of the CPC lists, among elements of the "Progressive Promise," this commitment:

» To eliminate all forms of discrimination based upon color, race, religion, gender, creed, disability, or sexual orientation.

This promise will never be fulfilled until a proactive and just solution is instituted for the systematic and oppressive discrimination imposed upon same-sex couples by our current laws and institutions. As a married man of 35 years you must understand that the freedom to form a family with the partner one loves and cherishes is at the heart of the American dream; a basic fulfillment from which millions of citizens are arbitrarily excluded with tragic results.

I congratulate you for your courageous stand against the so-called "Federal Marriage Amendment" that would have intensified and solidified the discriminatory character of our system. Such action is not enough, however. Marriage to the partner of one's choice is an inalienable right, one that cannot be left to the whims of the electorate or the discretion of the individual states. Recent unfortunate events in California demonstrate how vulnerable the rights of same-sex couples are to political contingencies and shifting social forces. The basic freedoms of our citizens will only be secure 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."

The enactment of such a reform would obviously be a long, uphill struggle fraught with profound political risks. To whom can America turn if not the CPC, however, to take the vanguard on this issue? However difficult the fight might be, it would further the principles and goals of the CPC merely in the undertaking. Such a shift in the national discourse over same-sex marriage would deprive it of much of its utility as a "wedge issue" for those who stand opposed to the progressive agenda more generally.

I appeal, Congressman, to your proven sense of principle and engaged activism. Please take up the cause of this amendment or one like it with your colleagues in the House and Senate. I trust you to give this matter your fullest consideration, and in any case to act conscientiously and with the integrity you have displayed throughout your legislative career.

Thank you for your service and for your attention on this matter. I hope this message finds you well.


Andrew Meyer

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