Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Georgia (II) Senator Johnny Isakson

Today I continue with Senator Johnny Isakson, Republican, junior senator from the state of Georgia:

Dear Senator Isakson,

I write in protest of your opposition to marriage equality. You were a co-sponsor of Senate Joint Resolution 1 of the 109th Congress, that would have permanently established marital discrimination as a matter of constitutional law. Of your support for that amendment you write:

"I have co-sponsored the Marriage Protection Amendment [sic] because I believe it is important for the sanctity of marriage and for the laws of this country that we have a seamless definition of marriage, and the only way to do that is to establish one in the Constitution."

It is difficult to understand how the inscription of exclusion and discrimination into our basic law would contribute to the sanctity of marriage. Configuring our laws so that thousands of loving, committed couples are deprived of the 1,138 benefits and protections flowing from marital status under federal law has no positive or redeeming effects. When my wife and I were married six years ago it never occurred to us that we took upon ourselves a moral burden. But as we raise our daughter together and have come to understand how important the legal shelter of marriage is to the hard work of maintaining a family, it becomes increasingly clear that we have unfairly taken advantage of an institution from which our compatriots are arbitrarily excluded. The fact that same-sex couples are denied the basic rights that my wife and I enjoy does not make our marriage more sacred, but profanes it with the taint of bigotry and injustice.

Ironically, I could make a declaration of principles almost identical to the one that you wrote, Senator. In order for marriage to truly reflect my values of fairness and respect for the rights and dignity of all Americans, I and others believe that the constitution must be amended to create a "seamless" national definition of marriage. The constitutional amendment we propose, however, 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." Only when the constitution is thus amended or interpreted will the basic and inalienable rights of all citizens be embodied in the institution of marriage.

I have set out to write every member of Congress seeking sponsorship for such a Marriage Equality Amendment to the federal constitution. Perhaps on reflection you will see the error of your prior stance, and lend your voice to this righteous cause. 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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