Wednesday, December 31, 2008

California (V) Congressman Dan Lundgren

Today I continue with Congressman Dan Lundgren, Republican, representative of California's 3rd Congressional District:

Dear Congressman Lundgren,

I write as a concerned citizen to protest your stand on the issue of same-sex marriage. In the most recent election you threw your support behind California's "Proposition 8," declaring that the state Supreme Court's ruling had "overturned the will of the people." You issued this statement:

“From coast to coast, from Massachusetts to California, courts have taken away the people’s right to decide how they should be governed. This decision by the California Supreme Court is an astounding example of judicial fiat from the bench. This is a decision that should concern not only those who hold traditional values regarding marriage, but also anyone who believes in the rule of law and a representative form of government.”

Such reasoning is either misguided or deeply disingenuous, Congressman. In deciding that same-sex couples were guaranteed the right to marry under the state's constitution, the California Supreme Court was acting in perfect accord with its constitutional role. The people's right "to decide how they should be governed" does not extend to the power to deprive any individual of his or her basic civil rights, and policing that boundary has always been the time-honored duty of the courts.

Moreover, no action of the courts in California, Massachusetts, or anywhere else has deprived "those who hold 'traditional' values regarding marriage" from fulfilling or adhering to them. Marriage is a civil institution. As such, though there will always be differences between religious groups and cultural communities over how it is defined and what makes it legitimate, society must come to a reasonable and fair consensus as to whose marriages will enjoy the protections and sanction of the state. There is no philosophically or logically sound argument that can be made for excluding same-sex couples from the civil marriage bond. They make the same mutual commitments that all couples do, incur the same risks, and offer up the same sacrifices. They thus are owed the same protections (1, 138 of them, according to the audit of the Government Accountability Office) that are enjoyed by everyone else. Moreover, many of them are caring for children who are left significantly vulnerable without the guarantees that marriage affords. The current state of our laws is thus not merely unfair, it is unjust, illiberal, and discriminatory.

Clear as this logic is to me and others of like mind, misfortunes like the recent passage of Proposition 8 demonstrate that in the current state of general confusion, the rights of same sex-couples will not be dependably recognized and safeguarded by our governing institutions. To be true to the founding spirit of our Republic, the U.S. Constitution must thus 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." Please understand that millions of Americans find the truths underlying the need for such a legal change self-evident, and will work tirelessly to see them realized. I appeal to you to search your conscience and give due reflection to your position on this issue.

Thank you for your attention in this matter, I hope this message finds you well.


Andrew Meyer

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