Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Georgia (XIV) Congressman John Barrow

Today I continue with Congressman John Barrow, Democrat, representative of Georgia's 12th Congressional District:

Dear Congressman Barrow,

I write to urge you to change your position regarding marriage equality. In the past you have crossed party lines and joined efforts to deny same-sex couples their right to marry. On the wise decision of Fulton County Superior Court Judge Constance C. Russell to strike down a Georgia state ban on marriage equality enacted by referendum, you declared:

“I believe that any individual has the right to live his or her life as they please within
the law, but I also believe that marriage should follow law and tradition and remain
between a man and a woman."

This is an exercise in circular reasoning, Congressman. On the one hand you aver that all have the right to live as they please within the law, on the other you declare that the law should be configured so as to deny thousands the right to live as they please. Such tepid wording does not cut to the crux of the issue, moreover. At stake is not merely a question of personal pleasure or convenience, but the health, security, and general welfare of myriad Americans, many of them children. Marriage carries with it 1,138 legal benefits and protections. Those couples attempting to build families and maintain homes outside of the shelter of the marital bond (and any children that might be in their care) suffer real deprivation and hardship as a result. How does such a situation fulfill our nation's founding promise of the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" or the 14th Amendment's guarantee of the "equal protection of the laws?"

Basic fairness requires that marriage equality be instituted not only in Georgia, but nationwide. To that end, I and others have proposed that the U.S. 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." I have set out to write every member of Congress seeking support for this Marriage Equality Amendment.

Marriage equality is the great civil rights struggle of our generation, and in your opposition to this good cause you imperil your place in the eyes of posterity. Perhaps on reflection you will recant your current views and join the fight against discrimination. 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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