Monday, March 9, 2009

California (XLIX) Congressman John Campbell

Today I continue with Congressman John Campbell, Republican, representative of California's 48th Congressional District:

Dear Congressman Campbell,

I write to protest your consistent opposition to marriage equality. You voted twice for the so-called "Marriage Protection Amendment" that would have banned same-sex marriage throughout the United States. Last year you endorsed the passage of Proposition 8, placing this statement of support on your campaign website:

"In 2000, over 61% of Californians (including this Congressman) voted to reaffirm the traditional definition of marriage as only between a man and a woman (Proposition 22). However, because this language wasn’t put into the California Constitution, four activist judges from San Francisco wrongly overturned the people’s vote in a closely divided 4-3 decision. Proposition 8 reverses the court’s decision by restoring the definition of marriage as a man and a woman in the state Constitution.

The entire text of Proposition 8 is as follows: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in California." It’s not an attack on the gay lifestyle. Proposition 8 doesn’t take away any rights or benefits from gays or lesbians in domestic partnerships. Under California law, “domestic partners shall have the same rights, protections and benefits” as married spouses. (Family Code §297.5.) There are no exceptions. Proposition 8 will not change this."

Your reasoning here is either misguided or disingenuous, Congressman. Long experience shows that "separate but equal" may be separate but is never equal. Domestic partnerships do not enjoy the full range of benefits and protections (1, 138 of them under federal law, according to the GAO) of marriage. Moreover, domestic partnerships are not truly universal or portable as marriages are, thus same-sex couples who join them are exposed to unfair risks and insecurity whenever they travel beyond the state in which their partnerships were sanctioned. Marriage is a civil institution, entering the marriage bond is one of the most powerful and definitive acts that a citizen can undertake in shaping his or her place in society. Exclusion of an entire class of people from this institution on arbitrary and prejudicial grounds is thus the height of injustice and can not stand in a democracy such as ours.

I have set out to write every member of Congress seeking support for an amendment to our federal constitution diametrically opposed to the one for which you twice voted. Such a Marriage Equality 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 change to our basic law is the surest and most durable means to bringing our nation's institutions into alignment with the fundamental rights of its citizens.

Marriage equality is the civil rights struggle of our time, Congressman. Future generations will look back and judge the leaders of today with respect to the stance each chooses in this moment. I hope, for the sake of your future reputation and the welfare of today's Americans, that you experience a change of heart and lend your support to this just cause. In any case I thank you for your attention on this matter and extend you my best wishes for the success of the 111th Congress.


Andrew Meyer

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