Friday, December 19, 2008

Arkansas (III) Congressman Marion Berry

Today I continue with Congressman Marion Berry, Democrat, representative of Arizona's 1st Congressional District:

Dear Congressman Berry,

I write as a fellow Democrat and concerned citizen to urge you to change your stance on the issue of same-sex marriage. On your website you post the following statement from February of 2004 concerning same-sex marriage:

"I personally believe that marriage is, and should remain, a union between one man and one woman.

'The current law clearly states marriage is a union between only a man and a woman. I believe this law is adequate to protect the sanctity of marriage; as Congress continues to debate how best to address this issue, I will be advocating this point of view.'"

This position would be distressing enough to those of us concerned for the rights of same-sex couples. Yet you subsequently voted "yea" to House Joint Resolution 88 of the 109th Congress, that would have amended the Constitution of the United States to ban same-sex marriage throughout the Union. Luckily, that piece of legislation failed on the floor of the House, but voters like myself can not help but be distressed by your retreat to an even more hostile posture with respect to the rights of same-sex couples.

The logic of your statement of personal belief might seem intuitively obvious, Congressman, but that is only because it rides upon the currents of popular prejudice. If two mutually consenting adults profess to love one-another and treat one-another with all the outward signs of affection, respect, care, and fidelity, what rational authority can plausibly judge them false? This question compelled the Supreme Court to rule against so-called "anti-miscegenation" laws in the case of Loving v. Virginia. Declaring one's choice of whom to love "unnatural" on the basis of gender is as arbitrary, unfair, and illogical as doing so on the basis of race. Unless you can produce some cogent argument for why same-sex love does not exist, moreover, you can not persuasively argue against the intrinsic and inalienable right of same-sex couples to marry.

The unjust and discriminatory state of our laws and institutions will only be remedied 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." Such a reform might fly in the face of your personal beliefs, Congressman, but please understand that millions of Americans hold these rights to be self-evident and inviolable, and will not rest until the exclusion of same-sex couples from the marriage bond is ended.

I appeal to you to give this issue profound consideration, and trust you in any case to act conscientiously and in the spirit of good faith. I thank you for your attention in this matter, I hope this message finds you well.


Andrew Meyer

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