Friday, March 27, 2009

Colorado (VI) Congresswoman Betsy Markey

Today I continue with Congresswoman Betsy Markey, Democrat, representative of Colorado's 4th Congressional District:

Dear Congresswoman Markey,

I write to solicit your support for a Marriage Equality Amendment that would recognize the right of same-sex couples to marry throughout the United States. Conscientious citizens across the nation celebrated your election last year, in which you unseated the stridently homophobic Marilyn Musgrave, one of the chief sponsors of the execrably misnamed "Marriage Protection Amendment." Her claims that so-called "gay marriage" was the single greatest "problem" facing the nation were a stain upon the Congress and a gratuitous assault upon the dignity and well-being of millions of Americans.

You rightly condemned Ms. Musgrave's rhetoric as extremist, and noted that, "People in my district don't want to regulate marriage, they want to improve their economic conditions and provide for national security." Such reasonable views are obviously a vast improvement on the hatred and bigotry that Musgrave represented, but rationality alone does not suffice to redress the problem that Musgrave embodies. Tragically, Musgrave is symptomatic of a broad movement for discrimination and intolerance that is on the march throughout the U.S. The passage of Proposition 8 in California in the midst of progressive victories like yours and that of President Obama demonstrate how well-funded and well-disciplined these illiberal forces are.

Marriage to the partner of one's choice is an inalienable right, one that can not be deprived to any citizen even by a vote of the majority. In the face of discriminatory forces like those represented by Marilyn Musgrave, rights of marriage equality require robust protection. The surest and most durable guarantee of these rights would be to amend the United States constitution 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."

Critics might claim that this position is as extreme as that propounded by Marilyn Musgrave. Such an assertion is false. There is no such thing as "gay marriage" or "straight marriage," only marriage, a civil institution that affords those who enter into it 1,138 legal benefits and protections under federal law. Removing the barriers that prevent millions of Americans from enjoying those benefits and protections is not extremism, it is simple justice and right.

I have set out to write every member of Congress seeking sponsorship of the above Marriage Equality Amendment. As a newly elected representative you no doubt feel a sense of caution in choosing those causes to which you will commit your public advocacy. I hope, however, that you may be persuaded of the urgency and justness of this campaign and lend it your evident energy and intellectual force. In any case I thank you for your attention on this matter and extend my congratulations on your election.


Andrew Meyer

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