Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Connecticut (VI) Congressman Jim Himes

Today I continue with Congressman Jim Himes, Democrat, representative of Connecticut's 4th Congressional District:

Dear Congressman Himes,

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. 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." You expressed full support for marriage equality in your campaign for Congress. Your campaign website contains the following policy statement:

"Jim Himes supports marriage equality. Same-sex couples should have the same choices that other couples have, including whether or not to marry, and they should have access to the benefits and responsibilities of legally recognized relationships-including health insurance, unemployment compensation, taxes, immigration status, inheritance, family leave, and hospital visitation.

In recent years, there have been many misguided efforts by the federal government to legislate in this area. Jim opposes efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. He also supports the repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and would oppose any effort to strip the courts of jurisdiction to hear civil rights challenges to discriminatory laws."

Such a forthright declaration of principle is both admirably progressive and politically courageous. The "misguided efforts" you note have unfortunately not been confined to Congress. Campaigns to block or roll back the establishment of marriage equality, both public and private, have accelerated and intensified across the nation. The passage of Proposition 8 in California and the release of the inflammatory "Gathering Storm" ad are only the most extreme example of the broad assault on Americans' rights being waged by those dedicated to discrimination and exclusion. These unjust and injurious attacks require a vigorous response, thus I and others propose that the federal constitution be amended to unequivocally and durably protect American citizens from being deprived of the right to marry the consenting partners of their choice.

I have set out to write every member of Congress seeking support for this change to our basic law. My letters are collected at a weblog: http://marriageequalityamendment.blogspot.com/. As a newly elected member of Congress you will no doubt be cautious in choosing those causes to which you lend your public advocacy. The fight for a Marriage Equality Amendment will no doubt be met with vehement resistance and could prove politically perilous. This expansion of the nation's founding mandate for all citizens' rights to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" represents the next natural step in the historical development of our Republic, however. I hope that you will be persuaded to lend this campaign your voice, and will advocate on behalf of a Marriage Equality Amendment among your colleagues in the House. In any case I thank you for your attention on this matter, and wish you every success in your new office.


Andrew Meyer

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