Today I continue with Congressman Xavier Becerra, Vice-Chair of the Democratic Caucus, representative of California's 31st Congressional District:
Dear Congressman Becerra,
I write to solicit your support for a Marriage Equality Amendment that would recognize the rights of same-sex couples to marry throughout the United States. In 2004 you took an outspoken stance against the so-called "Marriage Protection Amendment," declaring:
"The President is proposing that we use the Constitution to limit the rights of a specific group of Americans in pursuit of a political agenda that abandons moral common sense, is counterproductive, and shuns both state's rights and the very liberties that this document grants all Americans as well. This policy may be conservative, but it most certainly is not compassionate (PR Newswire 5/12/04."
You articulate the principles underlying the movement for marriage equality most eloquently, Congressman. I would only add that then President Bush had not only assaulted both state's and individual rights, but had inverted the role that the federal government should play in the safeguarding of basic liberties. Washington should not be pressing states to grant individual citizens fewer rights, but should be standing watchdog to assure that the states are not denying recognition of rights that citizens should properly enjoy.
It is to this latter end that a Marriage Equality Amendment is necessary. Though the determination of marital law has traditionally been the purview of the states, that power stops at the point that the states engage in unjust discrimination. Such was the case in Loving v. Virginia, where the Supreme Court found that the states had exceeded their authority in denying marriage equality to interracial couples. And such is the case now, in which 48 states effectively exclude same-sex couples from the marital bond.
The surest way to redress this injustice would be to amend the U.S. Constitution 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." Such a change in our basic law would restore our nation back to a condition, to borrow your words, of "moral common sense." I have set out to write every member of Congress asking support for this reform.
As vice-chair of the Democratic caucus your endorsement would carry much weight in promoting this amendment, Congressman. Would you take up its case among your colleagues? I appeal to your proven sense of fairness, decency, and patriotism. In any case I thank you for your attention on this matter and hope this message finds you well.