Today I continue with Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack, Republican, representative of California's 45th Congressional District:
Dear Congresswoman Bono Mack,
I write as a concerned citizen to solicit your support for a Marriage Equality Amendment that would recognize the rights of same-sex couples to marry throughout the United States. The text of such an amendment to our 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." Such a change to our basic law would be the surest and most durable way to end the discriminatory and unjust conditions that currently prevail throughout most of the nation.
You have admirably crossed party lines twice in past years to vote against the so-called "Federal Marriage Amendment" that would have banned same-sex marriage comprehensively throughout the United States. In general you have shown yourself responsive to the rights and concerns of LGBT citizens, earning ratings of higher than 50% for each of the last three Congresses from the Human Rights Campaign. These aspects of your record as a legislator make me hopeful that you will be responsive to a plea for total support of marriage equality.
You have in the past, however, registered your opposition to same-sex marriage, declaring that your objection is to the word "marriage" itself, but that you "[believe] in domestic partnerships, very strongly. I believe there ought to be two different terms." I hope I may persuade you that the principles that compel your support for domestic partnership ultimately demand an embrace of marriage equality.
Like so many people of conscience, you recognize that same-sex couples deserve all the rights of marriage. But the experience of the past two decades has shown that with marriage, as with other civil institutions, "separate but equal" does not work. "Domestic partnerships" and "civil unions," where they have been instituted, have failed to secure for their participants all of the 1,138 benefits and protections that derive from married status under federal law. Moreover, one of the enduring strengths of marriage as an institution has always been that if one is married in one state one remains married in the other 49 (indeed, one is recognized as married in virtually every country on earth). Because the various states that have instituted "unions" and "partnerships" have adopted diverse formulas and terminology, such unions are not and will never be perfectly and universally portable, thus consigning their participants to second-class citizenship. The only way to ensure American citizens all of the rights of marriage is to allow them full and legal entrance into the marital bond.
I have set out to write every member of Congress pleading support for this proposed change to our basic law. As a very visible member of the House and a leader whose conscience has drawn her across party lines, you could speak with great moral authority on this issue. Would you take up the cause of a Marriage Equality Amendment among your fellow legislators? I hope that on reflection you will lend this cause your proven energy and integrity. In any case I thank you for your attention on this matter and extend my best wishes for the success of the 111th Congress.