Sunday, April 19, 2009

Delaware (III) Congressman Mike Castle

Today I conclude my correspondence with Delaware's Congressional delegation with Congressman Mike Castle, Republican, representative-at-large for the state:

Dear Congressman Castle,

I write asking you to reconsider your views on marriage equality. In the past you have crossed party lines to vote against the proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, and have earned positive ratings of above 60% from the Human Rights Campaign for the last two Congresses. Your record thus demonstrates that you are not wholly unsympathetic to the rights of LGBT citizens. You have, however, expressed personal opposition to full marriage equality on the state level. I hope that you may be persuaded to relinquish that opposition.

Though many questions pertaining to marriage (the legal age of consent, conventions pertaining to common law marriage and divorce, etc.) do not fall within the proper purview of the federal government, marriage equality is not a principle that is amenable to negotiation on a state by state basis. Marriage to the consenting partner of one's choice is so central to the enjoyment of "liberty and the pursuit of happiness" and such a fundamental right, that the question of who may enter the marriage bond must be determined ecumenically for all citizens at the federal level. This was the view of the Supreme Court in 1967 when they struck down states' so-called "anti-miscegenation" laws in their ruling in Loving v. Virginia.

If you allow that some states may decide to institute marriage equality for same-sex couples, then logic compels you to recognize that all states must do so. How can it possibly be fair that a couple may enjoy the 1,138 benefits and protections that flow from marriage in some parts of the Union but not in others? Such a state of affair is neither good for the welfare of our citizens or the integrity of marriage itself as an institution.

The surest way to redress the current problem is to amend the U.S. 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." Such a Marriage Equality Amendment would no doubt greatly anger many of your Republican co-partisans, but your long history of independent leadership suggests that you might be persuaded of its necessity. I have set out to write every member of Congress seeking support for this change to our basic law. I hope that you will lend this effort your considerable authority. In any case, I thank you for your attention on this matter and extend my best wishes.


Andrew Meyer

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