Saturday, March 7, 2009

California (XLVII) Dana Rohrabacher

Today I continue with Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, representative of California's 46th Congressional District:

Dear Congressman Rohrabacher,

I write to protest your stance on marriage equality. You have been consistent in your refusal to recognize the right of same-sex couples to marry. You twice voted to amend our federal constitution to ban same-sex marriage throughout the United States, and were outspokenly opposed to the wise and just ruling of California's Supreme Court granting full marriage equality in your home state. At a campaign debate during the last election, you said:

“It’s a wonderful thing when you find the person you love, but that does not mean that you change the legal structure in this country. I don’t think we should change the definition of marriage in our country to make a small number of people in our country feel comfortable.”

These comments betray an insensitivity and obtuseness unworthy of the office you hold in trust, Congressman. The "small number" of people to whom you refer ranges up into the millions. Moreover, marriage equality is not merely a subjective or sentimental issue. In being excluded from the marital bond, same-sex couples are denied 1,138 benefits and protections that flow to couples under federal law. Children under the care of same-sex couples live without the safeguards and securities that would shield them if the state sanctioned their guardians' union. The current state of marital apartheid in our country is thus not a mere sleight to the feelings of a small minority, it is a full-fledged assault upon the rights and families of millions of Americans.

Think, Congressman, that words just like the ones you spoke were no doubt uttered in defense of the so-called "anti-miscegenation" laws that once outlawed marriages between citizens of different race in many states: "We can't change the law to suit the feelings of a few radicals." But just as in 1967, in its ruling in Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court recognized that marriage to the partner of one's choice is an inalienable right that cannot bow to the prejudices of the majority, today the same principle of marriage equality applies with regard to same-sex couples. People's capacity to love, honor, and support one-another does not exist for the sake of "the legal structure" of this nation. Quite the reverse is true.

For this reason, I have set out to write every member of Congress seeking an amendment to our federal constitution diametrically opposed to the one for which you twice voted, Congressman. 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 enduring way to bring our institutions into alignment with the basic rights of our citizens.

I hope that you will have a change of heart and cease your opposition to marriage equality. 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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