Saturday, March 21, 2009

Colorado (II) Senator Michael Bennet

Today I continue with Senator Michael Bennet, junior senator for Colorado:

Dear Senator Bennet,

I write as a concerned citizen to enlist your support for a Marriage Equality Amendment. 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." Marriage equality is the civil rights issue of our generation. The recognition of full marriage equality rights in Massachusetts and Connecticut and the unfortunate passage of Proposition 8 in California demonstrate that our nation is at a crossroads. All Americans must take a side and be counted, either among the proponents of discrimination and injustice or among the supporters of human dignity and liberty.

As someone newly arrived upon the national stage you are no doubt cautious about choosing the issues to which you will commit your public advocacy. I appeal, however, to your personal conscience in urging you to declare for marriage equality. Your website describes your good fortune in marrying your wife, Susan, and your pride in raising your three children. As a married man myself I understand your sense of happiness and fulfillment. I cannot help but feel some responsibility, however, for entering into an institution from which millions of my fellow citizens are arbitrarily excluded. What if my wife and daughter could not be enrolled on my health benefits at work because our union was not legally recognized? What if my daughter could not count on clear determination of her inheritance and next of kin in the event of her parents' deaths? These conditions and other hardships are ones with which thousands of Americans must cope because of the state of marital apartheid that prevails in this nation.

The Government Accountability Office lists 1,138 protections and benefits that you and I derive from being legally married. Denial of these guarantees to same-sex couples is arbitrary and discriminatory, and must not stand in a Republic committed to the preservation of individual liberties. Though the fight for a Marriage Equality Amendment would obviously be difficult, long, and fraught with political peril, it is the surest and most durable means to bringing our institutions into alignment with the inalienable rights of our citizens.

I hope that you will be persuaded by the justness and urgency of this cause. In any case I thank you for your attention on this matter and extend my congratulations for your elevation to your new office.


Andrew Meyer

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