The 111th Congress convenes today, so I shall pause my correspondence with California's Congressional delegation to go back and contact legislators that I skipped in the closing "lame duck" weeks of the 110th Congress. Today I begin with Congressman Bobby Bright, Democrat, newly elected representative of Alabama's 2nd Congressional District:
Dear Congressman Bright,
I write to you as a fellow American and concerned citizen to plead your support for a Marriage Equality Amendment that would recognize the right of same-sex couples to marry throughout the Union. A newly elected member of Congress, you ran as an aspiring "Blue Dog Democrat," promising to represent the people of Alabama's 2nd District as a fiscal and social conservative. You are thus committed to opposing the legalization of same-sex marriage.
Though this position may be popular in Alabama, I urge you to give it further reflection. The only social tradition that is "conserved" by the status quo is the systematic violation of citizens' rights throughout the Union. The 2000 census counted 600,000 same-sex couples living in committed relationships across America, and most experts agree that this number is vastly underestimated. Thousands of these couples are caring for children; none of them enjoy the legal benefits and protections of marriage (1, 138 of them, according to the Government Accountability Office) that are indispensable to the maintenance of secure and stable family life. Refusal to recognize rights of marriage equality is thus not a conservative defense of tradition, but an unjust and illiberal assault on American citizens and American families.
The quiltwork pattern of varying legal definitions and procedures that has evolved state-by-state in recent years has contributed to a climate of confusion, and deepened the unfair and discriminatory condition of marital apartheid that subjects so many citizens to arbitrary abuse. This situation will only be remedied 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." Only when such a reform of our basic law is effected will our institutions be brought into alignment with the fundamental and inalienable rights of our citizens.
Your record of dedicated service to the people of Montgomery demonstrates that you are a man of principle, perspicacity, and fairness. I trust you to give this issue further thought, and to act in any case as your conscience dictates. Please accept my congratulations on your election and my best wishes for success in your new office. I thank you for your attention on this matter, I hope this message finds you well.