Wednesday, January 28, 2009

California (XXI) Congressman George Radanovich

Today I continue with Congressman George Radanovich, Republican, representative of California's 19th Congressional District:

Dear Congressman Radanovich,

I write you as a concerned citizen to protest your stand on same-sex marriage. You were a proponent of California's Proposition 8, which recently withdrew the recognition of the marriage rights of same-sex couples so wisely affirmed by California's Supreme Court last May. In response to that court decision you issued the following statement:

“The family institution is too important to society to be manipulated by activist judges’ [sic]. California, since its conception, has legally understood marriage as a union between a man and a woman and no redefinition by the courts will change that truth. I urge the voters of California to put this issue to rest by supporting the California Marriage Protection Act, an amendment to the California constitution recognizing marriage for what it is—a relationship between a man and a woman.”

This conveys a very anemic understanding of marriage, Congressman. Surely you would not insist that marriage reduces simply to "a relationship between a man and a woman." By that standard thousands of purely professional transactions that transpire every day rank as "marriages." A marriage is a relationship that embodies mutual love, care, trust, devotion, fidelity, and responsibility. Would you really deny that a couple whose relationship embodies all these qualities are married simply because they are of the same gender?

Even if you would, the question you must face as a legislator is not what you deem "proper" but what is fair as a matter of law. You may not recognize a same-sex couple as married, but this is no different than a Roman Catholic believer's not recognizing the marriage of anyone not wed by a priest. Such a stance is a perfectly valid one from the perspective of Catholic faith, but it is not a fair basis for civil law. The Government Accountability Office lists 1,138 rights, benefits, and privileges that flow to a citizen from married status under federal law. To arbitrarily exclude any group from such a personally significant institution because of particular religious views or biases (even widespread ones) is blatantly discriminatory and unjust.

Marriage to the partner of one's choice is a civil right, one that can not be denied to a citizen by any government or institution, even by a vote of the majority. The surest way that this right will be safeguarded for all Americans is for the U.S. Constitution to 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." I have set out to write every member of Congress pleading support for this change to our basic law. You might disagree with the principles underlying such a reform, but please understand that millions of Americans view the rights of marriage equality to be sacred and inalienable, and will fight until they are recognized for all couples throughout the Union.

I hope that on further reflection you shall change your stance on this issue. In any case, I thank you for your attention on this matter and extend you my best wishes for the success of the 111th Congress.


Andrew Meyer

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