Today I continue my correspondence with newly seated legislators of the 111th Congress with Congressman Parker Griffith, Democrat, representative of Alabama's 5th Congressional District:
Dear Congressman Griffith,
I write you as a fellow American to solicit your support for a Marriage Equality Amendment recognizing the right of same-sex couples to marry throughout the United States. As a newly elected Democrat in a district that has typically leaned GOP, you are subject to pressure to demonstrate your independence from the leadership of your own party. Indeed, GOP partisans have wasted no time in criticizing something as innocuous as your vote to extend Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi's tenure as Speaker of the House.
Marriage equality is an issue that transcends such petty partisan bickering. Indeed, it is not (or should not be) a partisan issue at all, but a question of basic civil rights. Millions of same-sex couples are living in relationships that entail all of the mutual commitment, shared responsibility, and collective sacrifice as marriage, while enjoying none of the legal protections (1, 138 of them, according to the Government Accountability Office) that flow from the marital bond. Many of these couples are caring for children, who enjoy none of the guarantees of stable custody, assurance of benefits, or inheritance and property that marriage affords. It is bad enough that adults are unfairly excluded from an institution that the majority may enjoy because of social prejudice, far worse that children should arbitrarily suffer on that account.
This injustice shall not be thoroughly and reliably redressed until the federal 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." I know that support of such a reform would attract further political criticism from partisan opponents, but I appeal to your proven sense of fairness and civic responsibility, asking you to search your conscience and give this issue due reflection.
Thank you for your attention on this matter. Please accept my congratulations on your election and my best wishes for your sucess in your new office.