Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Idaho (I) Senator James E. Risch

I begin my renewed correspondence with the U.S. Senate with Senator James E. Risch, Republican, junior senator from the state of Idaho:

To the Honorable Senator James E. Risch,

I write in protest of your opposition to marriage equality. Under "family values" on the "issues" page of your website, you express your support of Idaho's discriminatory law banning same-sex marriage and your determination to fight against any attempt to repeal the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act." You go as far as expressing your support for a federal Constitutional amendment that would define marriage in the same language as DOMA.

It is hard to see how any of this amounts to an endorsement of "family values," Senator. Thousands of families led by same-sex couples are economically and socially beleaguered because the government arbitrarily denies them the protections and guarantees that flow to all married couples under U.S. law. The suffering of the children of these families is particularly unjust, as they are forced to do without health benefits or basic security to appease social prejudices.

In order to reliably and securely redress the unjust and discriminatory state of our laws, the federal Constitution must indeed be amended, but not in the manner that you proposed. Rather, a Marriage Equality Amendment should be adopted that would safeguard the rights and privileges of all American families, not just those that satisfy the standards of popular bigotry. Such an amendment 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."

Please reconsider your position on this vital concern, Senator. Marriage equality is the great civil rights issue of our time, those who fall on the wrong side of it will be harshly judged by history. In any case I thank you for your attention on this matter and hope this message finds you well.


Andrew Meyer

Change of Mission

A long bout of blog neglect this summer and fall has squandered the time I would have needed to contact every member of the 111th Congress before the next Congress convenes. I thus have left myself no choice but to adopt a more manageable goal: I will petition every member of the current Senate to sponsor a Marriage Equality Amendment, while continuing to use this blog as a platform from which to contact particular Representatives and other officials who play an active role in either promoting or obstructing the cause of marriage equality. I am disappointed in having to lower my sights this way, but my original goal proved unsustainable in the face of other commitments to teaching, parenting, and scholarship. I beg the understanding of those who read this blog and who feel passionately about the cause of marriage equality.