Today I continue with Congresswoman Corrine Brown, Democrat, representative of Florida's 3rd Congressional District:
Dear Congresswoman Brown,
I write seeking your support for a Marriage Equality Amendment that would recognize the right of same-sex couples to marry throughout the U.S. Such an amendment to our federal constitution 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 is the surest and most durable means to protecting the liberties of all Americans from arbitrary and unjust discrimination.
In a press release issued on July 18, 2006, in opposition to the so-called "Marriage Protection Amendment," you declared:
"As a Member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and a resident of a State that had not elected an African American to Congress since the time of reconstruction, I have always believed that our Constitution has served to expand the civil rights of our citizens, not restrict them. However, in this instance we are doing just the reverse; namely, proposing an amendment to the constitution to effectively deny the rights of a single group of people."
You are absolutely right that the federal constitution has historically served to expand rather than restrict civil rights. Moreover, in this case there can be no doubt that it is the rights of American citizens that are at stake. The Supreme Court found, in Loving v. Virginia, that marriage to the consenting partner of one's choice was such a fundamental precondition of human happiness that it could not be restricted by the arbitrary preferences of the state or the community. Just as the Lovings could not be forbidden to marry because of social prejudice regarding race, couples today can not be denied the 1,138 legal benefits and protections of marriage because of particular ideas regarding sex or gender, no matter how widespread they may be. Marriage to the consenting partner of one's choice is a basic and inalienable right, one that is arbitrarily denied to millions of Americans and must be federally protected.
The fight for a Marriage Equality Amendment would obviously be long and difficult, but there can be little doubt as to its value. I have set out to write every member of Congress soliciting support for this reform. I hope that you may be persuaded to lend this campaign your voice and your proven energy. In any case I thank you for your attention on this matter and extend my best wishes.