Monday, June 8, 2009

Florida (XXVII) Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart

Today I conclude my correspondence with Florida's Congressional delegation with Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart, Republican, representative of Florida's 25th Congressional District:

Dear Congressman Diaz-Balart,

I write urging you to reconsider your stance on the issue of marriage equality. In 2006 you crossed party lines to vote against the so-called "Marriage Protection Amendment" that would have refused recognition of same-sex couples' right to marry across the U.S. You issued a statement, however, making clear that this action was taken out of regard for federalist principles, declaring:

"Congress must be diligent in its efforts not to overstep and impede on more than two centuries of a successful Republic without absolute necessity. I strongly believe that marriage should only be the union between one man and one woman, but I do not believe that the threshold for constitutional change has been reached."

While I respect your conscientious vote, I would contest your characterization of the legal history of our Republic. It is true that the adjudication of family law has largely been left to the states, but the federal government has rightly interceded in cases where state law violated citizens' fundamental rights. Among the most basic of these is the right of an adult to marry the consenting partner of his or her choice. The United States have overturned state law on numerous occasions to protect this right for all Americans, most famously in Loving v. Virginia when the Supreme Court struck down all so-called "anti-miscegenation laws" then effective at the state level in much of the Union.

We are now again at a watershed moment in the struggle for civil rights. Across the country same-sex couples are struggling to form and maintain family, arbitrarily deprived of the 1,138 legal benefits and protections that the majority of their compatriots may take for granted. Such a discriminatory state of affairs is deeply unworthy of our great democracy, and must be redressed. For that reason I and others have proposed 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 is the surest and most durable means to turn back the tide of unjust discrimination militating against the basic rights of American citizens.

On reflection perhaps you will see the justness of this cause and lend it your support 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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