Friday, January 2, 2009

California (VI) Congresswoman Doris Matsui

The Congressman representing California's 4th Congressional District, John Doolittle, is retiring at the end of this term. Thus today I continue with Congresswoman Doris Matsui, Democrat, representative of California's 5th Congressional District:

Dear Congresswoman Matsui,

I write to you as a concerned citizen to plead your support for a Marriage Equality Amendment recognizing the right of same-sex couples to marry. You have taken a brave and outspoken stand against attempts to deny citizens their right to marry, declaring in 2006, in opposition to the so-called "Marriage Protection Amendment":

“It is clear throughout this nation’s history that our greatest days came when we expanded rights and equality and our darkest came when we restricted them. That history teaches us we should not single out any class of Americans for unequal treatment...This legislation ignores the lessons we have learned and, for the first time, amend the Constitution to take away the rights of American citizens. It would use sexual orientation to deny the rights afforded every other American.”

Your acknowledgment of the universality of marriage rights expresses the finest founding principles of our Republic, and embodies a kind of moral leadership that has become very rare in recent American politics. Would you not carry the mantle of that leadership even further? With the passage of Proposition 8 depriving so many Californians of the rights you recognize, we have come to another of our "darkest days." A defensive posture is not sufficient, robust and aggressive action must be taken to counter the tide of oppression that surges ever higher.

Your own personal history of being born in an internment camp gives you firsthand knowledge of how far short of our best ideals Americans may fall, and how much courage and defiance may be required to win recognition of basic civil rights in the face of deeply ingrained prejudice. Even without travesties such as the so-called "Marriage Protection Amendment," the current state of our laws is unjust and discriminatory, systematically depriving hundreds of same-sex couples of the protections and guarantees that are theirs by right, exposing their families to risk and hardship from which other citizens are naturally safeguarded. This wrong will only be reliably redressed when our 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."

Would you take up the cause of this amendment among your colleagues in the House and Senate, Congresswoman? You speak with a unique authority that could not fail to be heard, both in the chambers of power and among the citizenry more broadly. I trust you to give this matter due consideration, and to act with the same conscientious integrity you have displayed throughout your career.

Thank you for your service to our Nation and your attention in this matter. I hope this message finds you well; please accept my best wishes for the New Year.


Andrew Meyer

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