Wednesday, March 18, 2009

California (LIII) Congressman Duncan D. Hunter

Today I continue with Congressman Duncan D. Hunter, Republican, representative of California's 52nd Congressional District:

Dear Congressman Hunter,

I write as a concerned citizen to urge you to change your position on marriage equality. As a newly elected congressman you have yet to establish your voting record with regard to this issue. You succeed your father, Congressman Duncan L. Hunter, however, who twice voted for the so-called "Federal Marriage Amendment" that would have banned same-sex marriage throughout the United States. On your website you also declare your commitment to "protecting traditional marriage."

If the amendment for which your father twice voted is your notion of how best to "protect" marriage then the people of your district and this nation will be poorly served. Religious and civil marriage are two separate institutions that share a common name. As a legislator it is not your place to "protect" the religious sacrament of marriage, that is an issue of conscience for Americans to decide within the precincts of their communal faiths. Your duty is to attend to the civil institution of marriage, and to see that it is constructed and adjudicated in a way that is fair and just to all citizens.

Any objective view of American civil marriage today can determine that it is not instituted fairly and equitably. Couples that have lived with and cared for one-another for decades, many of which have raised or are raising children, are denied the basic safeguards and protections that the majority of their fellow citizens may take entirely for granted. The Government Accountability Office lists 1,138 rights and benefits that flow to a couple from marital status. As a government official, do you really feel justified in denying same-sex couples those rights simply because you give no credence to their mutual love and commitment? Are you that complacently certain of your own opinion, Congressman?

As a soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan you fought to defend the freedoms that are guaranteed to all Americans in our Constitution, among which is the 14th Amendment's assurance of "equal protection of the laws." When the law arbitrarily excludes millions of citizens from the enjoyment of 1,138 discrete protections, that promise of equal treatment is breached. The current state of marital apartheid in this nation is thus an abrogation of the principles for which you yourself risked your life.

I have set out to write every member of Congress seeking support for a Marriage Equality Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 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." This reform is the surest and most durable means to protecting both the rights of our citizens and the institution of marriage itself, which is threatened not by the legalization of same-sex marriage but by the confusing patchwork of differing legalities created by the individual states. Marriage to the partner of one's choice is a civil right and thus should be federally protected. Such was the ruling of the Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia, which struck down the so-called "anti-miscegenation laws" barring interracial marriage in many states, and such is the case with respect to the rights of same-sex couples today.

I hope that on reflection you will see the justness of this cause and lend your support to the struggle for marriage equality. In any case I thank you for your attention to this matter and for your service to our country, and wish you success in your new office.


Andrew Meyer

No comments: