Saturday, February 21, 2009

California (XXXVIII) Congresswoman Laura Richardson

Today I continue with Congresswoman Laura Richardson, Democrat, representative of California's 37th Congressional District:

Dear Congresswoman Richardson,

I write to solicit your support for a Marriage Equality Amendment that would recognize the right of same-sex couples to marry throughout the United States. Such an amendment to the federal constitution 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." Given the current state of discrimination that prevails in most of the nation, such a change to our basic law would the be surest and most durable way to safeguard the rights of all citizens.

Marriage equality became an issue during your initial run for the Congress in 2007, when it was widely broadcast that you had expressed opposition to same-sex marriage in past electoral contests. Since entering the House, however, you have established a record of consistent support for the rights of LGBT citizens, earning a 100% positive rating from the Human Rights Campaign for the 11Oth Congress. In campaign speeches and on your website you note your family's experience of the Civil Rights struggle of the 1960's, and you have compared the struggle for marriage equality with earlier campaigns for basic civil rights.

If these are truly your views, Congresswoman, then advocacy of a Marriage Equality Amendment would be a natural choice. The passage of Proposition 8 in California has caused retrograde motion in the national movement for marriage equality. Few times in our history have we seen rights won through hard struggle taken away from an entire class of people. Though caution is always warranted at the prospect of amending our basic law, this situation is so dire as to justify robust action.

Campaign staffers in 2007 asserted that you had "atoned" for past support of discriminatory policies, Congresswoman. True atonement is expressed in deed, not word, however. Though support for a Marriage Equality Amendment would entail political risk, precisely for that reason it would demonstrate your full resolve to redeem past mistakes. I have set out to write every member of Congress seeking support for this reform. I hope that you will consider lending it your voice in the House. 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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