Monday, February 2, 2009

California (XXIV) Congressman Kevin McCarthy

Today I continue with Congressman Kevin McCarthy, Republican, representative of California's 22nd Congressional District:

Dear Congressman McCarthy,

I write as a concerned citizen to protest your stance on marriage equality. As Co-chair of the Republican Platform Committee at last year's national convention, you oversaw the codification of the GOP's general opposition to the rights of same-sex couples. The platform that you helped produce read, in part:

"Preserving Traditional Marriage

Because our children's future is best preserved within the traditional understanding of marriage, we call for a constitutional amendment that fully protects marriage as a union of a man and a woman, so that judges cannot make other arrangements equivalent to it. In the absence of a national amendment, we support the right of the people of the various states to affirm traditional marriage through state initiatives...

Republicans have been at the forefront of protecting traditional marriage laws, both in the states and in Congress. A Republican Congress enacted the Defense of Marriage Act, affirming the right of states not to recognize same-sex "marriages" licensed in other states. Unbelievably, the Democratic Party has now pledged to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which would subject every state to the redefinition of marriage by a judge without ever allowing the people to vote on the matter. We also urge Congress to use its Article III, Section 2 power to prevent activist federal judges from imposing upon the rest of the nation the judicial activism in Massachusetts and California. We also encourage states to review their marriage and divorce laws in order to strengthen marriage."

It is shocking to see one of two major parties in this nation commit itself so blatantly to an assault upon American citizens' rights. It is especially distressing to see that you have committed the GOP not only to preventing the recognition of marriage equality on the federal level, but to rolling back those advancements in marriage equality that have occurred in individual states. Moreover, there is a vindictiveness in your desire that "judges cannot make other arrangements equivalent to" marriage. In other words, you have not only set the GOP in opposition to the recognition of same-sex couples' marriage rights, but stand against even inadequate half-measures such as "domestic partnerships" or "civil unions!" This from a party which elsewhere in its platform claims to support "equal treatment for all!" The degree of contempt for LGBT citizens expressed in these formulations is shameful- a relic of a former age.

That contempt explains the rankly disingenuous rhetoric you invoke regarding "activist judges" and "redefining marriage." Recognizing two people of the same gender as married does not "redefine marriage." If the respective genders of the two people entering into a marital bond were definitive of their relationship, marriage would hardly be as important an institution as it is. Mutual love, respect, trust, care, and devotion are the definitive characteristics of marriage. Refusal to recognize two people as married is to deny that together they are capable of these virtues. That was the point of so-called "anti-miscegenation" laws which once refused recognition to marriages between partners of different race in many states.

In Loving v. Virginia the Supreme Court finally recognized the malignantly malicious and discriminatory nature of such laws and declared them constitutionally void. Was that a case of "judicial activism," Congressman? Should that decision have been subject to a vote of the majority (at the time, it would likely have lost in many states)? If your answer is "no" yet you persist in advocating the principles expressed in your "platform," then you implicitly declare that it is acceptable to view same-sex couples with the same contempt that bigots once viewed interracial couples. If such are really your views, Congressman, they are beneath the dignity of the office you hold in trust.

Your "platform" places the GOP squarely on the wrong side of history, Congressman. I have set out to write every member of Congress seeking support of a "Marriage Equality Amendment" that would universally recognize the marital rights you set the GOP to attack. Such an amendment would 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." You obviously disagree with the principles underlying such a reform, but as an American and a patriot I am confident that they shall win through in the long run. Thus, for the sake of your party and our nation I hope that wiser leadership will take the helm of crafting GOP family policy in the near future.

In time and upon reflection perhaps you will modify your views. In any case, 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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