Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Arkansas (II) Senator Mark Pryor

Today I continue my correspondence with Arkansas' congressional delegation with Senator Mark Pryor, Democrat, the state's junior senator:

Dear Senator Pryor,

I write you as a concerned citizen to urge you to change your stance on the issue of same-sex marriage. Though you have voted against the so-called "Federal Marriage Amendment" that would have banned same-sex marriage nationally, on your website you include this press release:

"I oppose gay marriage. In 2004, I supported the amendment to the Arkansas constitution to ensure the status of marriage in our state remains only between a man and woman. I support the federal law we already have on the books, the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between only a man and a woman and further declares that no state is required to honor a same-sex relationship sanctioned by another state. At this point, I do not think there is a need for a constitutional amendment given Arkansas’s amendment, federal law, and a judicial process that prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages."

The curtness of this declaration suggests that your opposition to same-sex marriage is self-explanatory, but such an assumption would be erroneous. It is not at all intuitively obvious why same-sex couples have any less right to marry than any other citizens, indeed quite the contrary is true. Throughout our Union millions of same-sex couples love and honor one-another with the same care, affection, and fidelity that exemplify the best ideals of marriage. Many of them are working together to raise children. Yet despite all their dedication and sacrifice, they are denied the basic guarantees and protections (1, 138 of them, according to the assessment of the U.S. Government Accountability Office) that flow from the marital bond.

Marriage to the partner of one's choice is an inalienable right. As such it should not be left to the whims of the voting booth or the disputations of the individual states. Enjoyment of this right will only be guaranteed to all U.S. citizens when our 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." Until such an amendment is enacted, the civil rights of same-sex couples shall continue to be held daily under siege by the operation of our discriminatory laws and institutions.

I trust you to give due consideration to this issue, Senator, and in any case to act conscientiously. Thank you for your service to our Nation and your attention in this matter. I hope this message finds you well.


Andrew Meyer

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