Friday, January 30, 2009

California (XXII) Congressman Jim Costa

Today I continue with Congressman Jim Costa, Democrat, representative of California's 20th Congressional District:

Dear Congressman Costa,

I write you as a concerned citizen to solicit your support for a Marriage Equality Amendment that would recognize the right of same-sex couples to marry throughout the United States. In the campaign for your initial election to the Congress in 2004, your Republican opponent, Roy Ashburn, made an issue of your support for even so moderate a concession to marriage equality rights as "domestic partnerships." As reported by the Fresno Bee (9/1/04, page A12), Ashburn publicly accused you of supporting same-sex marriage even though you had clearly stated your opposition. Such rhetorical shenanigans demonstrate the utility of the anti-marriage equality campaign as a "wedge issue" for cynical pols. The issue is not one that allows for half-measures or compromises, thus any politician who is willing to take an unequivocal stand (even one as reprehensible as Roy Ashburn's) enjoys the electoral advantage.

You have declared that you support domestic partnerships because you favor civil rights. If the latter is truly so, however, you must see that there is no true guarantee of marital rights in the absence of marriage equality. Experience demonstrates that separate can never be equal: a marriage by any other name is less than a marriage in legal terms.

Given this hard reality, there are only two solutions that will safeguard the civil rights of all citizens. Either all civil unions must be deemed "domestic partnerships" in legal terms (which would be fair, but seems absurd), or the institution of civil marriage must be opened to admit same-sex couples throughout the Union. To this latter end, I have set out to write every member of Congress pleading support for the following amendment to the U.S. Constitution: "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 hope that on reflection you will be persuaded of the justness of this reform and lend it your support. 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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