Friday, February 6, 2009

California (XXVII) Congessman Buck McKeon

Today I continue with Congressman Buck McKeon, Republican, representative of California's 25th Congressional District:

Dear Congressman McKeon,

I write as a concerned citizen to protest your stance against marriage equality. You have been consistent in your opposition to the recognition of the rights of same-sex couples to marry. In the wake of the wise and just ruling of California's Supreme Court affirming the principle of marriage equality, you declared:

"I am extremely disappointed in today's decision by the California Supreme Court to step outside the bounds of its duty to overturn what a majority of Californians voted to approve eight years ago. I realize the issue of marriage is a deeply emotional and personal one for Californians and Americans, but under no circumstance should the courts be allowed to show utter disregard for the democratic process. The people spoke when they democratically voted in support of Proposition 22."

This reasoning betrays a flawed understanding of our legal system and how it is designed to operate, Congressman. The California Supreme Court did not "step outside of the boundaries of its duty" in affirming the rights of marriage equality any more than the U.S. Supreme Court had done so in the case of Loving v. Virginia in 1967. The "anti-miscegenation" laws that were struck down in the latter case were created by the same "democratic process" that produced California's Proposition 22 and Proposition 8. Our Republic, however, is founded on the principle that all citizens are endowed with "certain inalienable rights," and that those rights can not be denied to any individual, even by a vote of the majority. Laws are made; rights are discovered. The sole purpose of the law is to safeguard and promote the common enjoyment of our rights, thus there has always been a need for the courts to police the boundary between individual rights and the democratic will of the majority.

If you accept the justness of the U.S. Supreme Court's actions in the case of Loving v. Virginia but deny that of the California Supreme Court last May, then you can not hide behind "judicial activism" as the pretext for your opposition to marriage equality. You must explain to your constituents why interracial couples are entitled to equal treatment under the law but same-sex couples are not. You may have some explanation for why your refusal to recognize the rights of two unrelated adults who love, honor, respect, and cherish one-another is not discriminatory, Congressman, but I can not see it.

Unfortunately, though the 14th Amendment guarantees all Americans "the equal protection of the laws," many people evidently share your implicit views. I have thus set out to write every member of Congress seeking support for a Marriage Equality Amendment that would secure recognition of marital rights for all Americans. 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." Though you obviously disagree with the principles underlying this reform, I and millions of others are confident that they represent the downhill slope of history.

Perhaps in time and upon reflection you will modify your views. Next Sunday, February 8, begins "Freedom to Marry Week," in which those of us who believe in marriage equality have pledged to engage in seven discussions on this issue. I include my contact information with this communication, please do not hesitate to contact me if you would care to converse. In any case I thank you for your attention on this matter and hope that this message finds you well.


Andrew Meyer

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