Monday, March 2, 2009

California (XLV) Congressman Ken Calvert

Today I continue with Congressman Ken Calvert, Republican, representative of California's 44th Congressional District:

Dear Congressman Calvert,

I write to urge you to change your stance on the issue of marriage equality. On May 16th of last year you issued a press release opposing the wise and just ruling of California's Supreme Court that recognized the right of marriage equality for all Californians. That statement read, in part:

"I do not think that an issue as important as gay marriage should be made by nine unelected judges...I support the people’s right to define ‘marriage’ as only between a man and a woman through a constitutional amendment....I believe that we can practice tolerance while still holding true to cultural values that protect the institution of marriage as a union between only a man and a woman."

Your words betray a fundamental misunderstanding of the question at hand, Congressman. "Gay marriage" is not an issue, because same-sex couples do not want a special institution created for them. They seek entry into the same marital bond that all of their heterosexual compatriots take for granted, that affords 1, 138 benefits and protections to those who elect to undertake it. Because marriage is such a personally powerful social act, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that it is a fundamental right that cannot be denied by the state to any citizen, even to imprisoned felons. In the United States one cannot purport to "tolerate" the rights of other citizens. Rights demand recognition and respect, they are the foundation upon which the law is built and thus cannot be truly denied even by the will of the majority.

The passage of Proposition 8 was no doubt welcome news to you, Congressman, though it violates the basic spirit of our democracy. Because it is so antithetical to the founding principles of our Republic, I and others feel that radical measures must be taken to counter this concerted campaign of discrimination. The surest and most durable protection against such injustice would be to amend the U.S. Constitution in precisely the opposite manner to that of Proposition 8, so as 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." I have set out to write every member of Congress seeking support for this change to our basic law.

The lives, love, and families of your fellow citizens are at stake, Congressman. It is unseemly of you to use the office you hold under sacred trust to impede recognition of their rights. I hope on reflection you will see the justice of this cause and desist your opposition to marriage equality in California and elsewhere. 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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