Thursday, June 4, 2009

Florida (XXIV) Congressman Ron Klein

Today I continue with Congressman Ron Klein, Democrat, representative of Florida's 22nd Congressional District:

Dear Congressman Klein,

I write seeking your support for a Marriage Equality Amendment that would recognize the right of same-sex couples to marry throughout the United States. Since your election to Congress in 2007 you have been a consistent advocate for the rights of LGBT Americans. You have stopped short of supporting full marriage equality, however, opting instead to promote the establishment of "civil unions." I hope you may persuaded that more robust action is needed to redress the injustices endured by millions of citizens today.

Vermont, one of the few states to experiment with civil unions, has since enacted statutes according rights of full marriage equality to same-sex couples. Why is this so? As has occurred repeatedly in the history of civil rights in our country, separate was not equal: establishing a "second track" system for same-sex couples proved to be a path to institutionalized discrimination. If we recognize that same-sex couples should, in fairness, have all the rights of marriage, there is only one way to insure that is so. To have the rights and benefits of marriage (1,138 of them, according to the Government Accountability Office) one must be married, pure and simple.

The stakes in the current struggle are very high. The institution of marriage itself is being strained in ways unprecedented in our history. As more states legally establish marriage equality, we are increasingly faced with the phenomenon of citizens whose marriage in one state is not recognized in another. This was virtually unheard of in the past. Even states that had enacted so-called "anti-miscegenation" laws generally respected the rights of "interracial" couples married in other parts of the U.S. When Virginia refused to respect the marriage of Mildred and Richard Loving it led the Supreme Court to strike down all such discriminatory laws in 1967. This decision underscored the principle that the vitality of marriage as an institution flows from its universality, a principle that is under assault again today as the scope of civil rights naturally and logically expands.

More than the resilience of marriage in the abstract is at stake, however. Exclusion of same-sex couples from the marriage bond causes human suffering for millions of Americans on a daily basis. Couples who are struggling to care for one-another or raise children are faced with cruel and unfair obstacles because they are arbitrarily denied rights and protections that most citizens may take for granted. Such unjust discrimination is unworthy of our great Republic, and must end. I and others thus propose that the federal Constitution be amended 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." This reform is the surest and most durable means to restore fairness to our society and basic dignity to all of our citizens.

I have set out to write every member of Congress seeking support for this change to our basic law. Perhaps on reflection you will see the justness of this campaign and lend it your voice in the House. In any case I thank you for your attention on this matter and hope this message finds you well.


Andrew Meyer

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