Thursday, January 22, 2009

California (XVIII) Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren

Today I continue with Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, Democrat, representative of California's 16th Congressional District:

Dear Congresswoman Lofgren,

I write you as a fellow American to solicit your support for a Marriage Equality Amendment to the U.S. constitution that would recognize the right of same-sex couples to marry throughout the Republic. I know that you are sympathetic to the cause of marriage equality, because you praised the joint statement of 59 California constitutional law scholars opposed to California's Proposition 8, saying, "Californians deserve to know the facts. I am grateful California’s best legal scholars have taken the time to review the facts and the law and to share their conclusions with the public." The statement of these legal scholars declared, in part:

"First, Proposition 8 would change existing California law and would require the state to discriminate against gay men and lesbians. Proposition 8 would forbid government officials from according gay men and lesbians a fundamental right they now enjoy and that all other adults in California will continue to enjoy: the right to marry a person of their choice. Just as California’s long ago-repudiated ban on interracial marriage constituted racial discrimination, so too, a ban on same-sex marriage would constitute discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The ability of same-sex couples to enter into registered domestic partnerships does not eliminate that discrimination. Thus, the claim made by some of Proposition 8’s supporters that the amendment does not discriminate against gay men and lesbians is simply false."

These scholars are absolutely correct. Marriage to the partner of one's choice is a fundamental right, and as such any governmental impediment to enjoying that right is discriminatory and unjust. If travesties like Proposition 8 delimited the extent of such discrimination the situation would be bad enough, but in fact the right to marry is denied (with the passage of Proposition 8) to same-sex couples in all but two states, and even same-sex couples who obtain marriages in Massachusetts and Connecticut must fear that their rights and privileges will not be respected when they travel out of state. This is an intolerable situation that is bad not only for our citizens (including both same-sex couples and their children) but for the institution of marriage itself, which has before now been treated as a bond so powerful as to be perfectly portable from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

The surest redress to this unjust and harmful situation is to amend the United States Constitution 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 appeal to your proven sense of commitment and integrity, Congresswoman, to take up the cause of this reform in the House and Senate. It is no more or less than what is right and fair.

I trust you to give this issue due consideration and to act conscientiously, and in any case thank you for your attention on this matter. I hope this message finds you well.


Andrew Meyer

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