Friday, February 27, 2009

California (XLII) Congressman Jerry Lewis

Today I continue with Congressman Jerry Lewis, Republican, representative of California's 41st Congressional District:

Dear Congressman Lewis,

I write as a concerned citizen to urge you to change your stance on marriage equality. You have twice voted in favor of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, and consistently receive low marks from the Human Rights Campaign (15, 0, and 11% respectively for the last three Congresses) for your record on LGBT rights. Such antipathy toward the rights of millions of your fellow citizens violates the fundamental spirit of our Republic.

As one of the longest-serving members of the GOP caucus, I would hope that you would spare some thought for your legacy, Congressman. Marriage equality is the civil rights issue of our generation. In years to come civic leaders will be judged by whether they took the side of right or wrong in this struggle, as is so today when we look back upon past leaders' conduct with respect to similar battles for freedom and equality. Those who today work to deny the 1, 138 legal benefits and protections of marriage to millions of Americans on arbitrary and discriminatory grounds will be severely condemned by posterity.

With the passage of Proposition 8 in your home state, moreover, battle lines are hardening. When discrimination and bigotry become so powerful that rights already won by citizens may actually be taken away, there remains no room for forbearance or compromise. In that spirit I have set out to write every member of Congress seeking support for the following amendment to our federal 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." Such a clear and unequivocal break with the discriminatory past is the surest way to bring our laws and institutions into alignment with the basic rights of our citizens.

In this decisive moment every American must step forward and be counted. Will you resolve to be part of the solution, Congressman, or remain a part of the problem? I hope that on reflection you will experience a change of heart, and undo some of the damage to your future reputation that past actions entail. In any case you can be sure that generations to come will take note of your choices.

I thank you for your attention on this matter and extend my best wishes for the success of the 111th Congress.


Andrew Meyer

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