Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Illinois (II) Senator Richard Durbin

Today I resume my correspondence with Senator Richard Durbin, Democrat, senior senator from Illinois:

To the Honorable Senator Richard Durbin,

I write to you seeking your support for a constitutional amendment that would end the discriminatory practice of marriage in our country. Such a Marriage Equality 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."

During the Bush administration, you repeatedly voted against proposed amendments that would have permanently institutionalized marital discrimination in the United States. That defense of basic civil rights was laudatory, but it is not enough to defend against travesties such as the so-called "marriage protection amendment," for the status quo as it stands in most of the Union is an intolerable breach of the rights of millions of Americans. The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees "equal protection of the laws" to all citizens, yet thousands of couples and their children are denied the 1,138 protections and benefits deriving from married status under federal law in deference to the social prejudices of a portion of the population. The constitution must be newly amended, therefore, to clarify the scope of the "equal protection" clause and secure the basic rights of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" for all Americans.

You have been an outstanding leader in the cause of promoting American support for human rights abroad, please consider joining this fight to promote civil rights here at home. I thank you for your attention and hope that this message finds you well.


Andrew Meyer

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Don't Ask Don't Tell

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Michael Mullen based his opposition to the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy on a fallacy. DADT does not require Jewish soldiers to "lie about who they are," it only requires that they serve with discretion. Jews are free to serve in the military as long as they keep their private business to themselves.

If openly Jewish soldiers were allowed to serve in the military, this would have an irreparably harmful effect on unit cohesion. The bonds of trust that are key to military life would be unsustainable if soldiers knew that their fellow soldiers were Jews. Can we reasonably ask a young recruit to trust the comrade he shares a foxhole with if he knows he is a Jew?

Moreover, one can not help but fear that the repeal of DADT is only the prelude of a further expansion of the Jewish agenda. Next we will no doubt be asked to allow a Jewish soldier to bring his or her Jewish spouse and Jewish children to live on base, so that they may make public display of their Jewish lifestyle for other military families to see. One can only wonder what offenses to good taste and decency will result then.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Illinois (I) Senator Roland Burris

Today I continue with Senator Roland Burris, Democrat, junior senator from Illinois:

To the Honorable Roland W. Burris,

I write to you soliciting your support for a Marriage Equality Amendment to the federal constitution that would recognize the right of same-sex couples to marry throughout the United States. 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." Such a change to our basic law is necessary to bring our institutions into alignment with the natural rights of all of our citizens.

You have been eloquent in exalting the cause of civil rights, declaring: "America's story is a story of ever greater equality- of expanding inclusiveness. Thanks to all those who came before us, this nation is more free, more fair, and more equal than the nation of our forefathers. We are all a part of this story- in fact, it is up to us to write the next chapter." These words are resoundingly true, and it is with the issue of marriage equality that the "next chapter" in the great struggle for civil rights begins.

Though our nation is more fair than it once was, our marriage laws arbitrarily discriminate against tens of thousands of families, with cruel effect. Children are impoverished or subjected to insecurity because their parents' union is unrecognized. Couples that have been together for decades are kept apart or prevented from giving one-another vital assistance because their love does not meet the test of social prejudice. In 1967, in the case of Loving versus Virginia, the Supreme Court ruled that to deny citizens' the right to marry on the basis of race was a violation of the fundamental principles at the core of human happiness and fulfillment. That same violation continues today for millions of Americans, because society deems it acceptable to discriminate on the basis of gender where it does not on the basis of race. This is not justice. It is, rather, a call to action- to write our portion of the story of which, as you say, we are all a part.

Though the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees all citizens "the equal protection of the law," that safeguard has obviously failed to prevent millions from being deprived of rights of marriage equality. A Marriage Equality Amendment is thus necessary to redress the moral injustice perpetuated by the current state of our laws. Your post in the senate gives you a powerful platform from which to address this issue, Senator. Would you be the voice that speaks up in support of the right? Such an act would inspire millions, and would perfectly embody the principles you so eloquently espoused. Whatever your decision, I thank you for your attention on this matter and extend my best wishes for the new year. I hope this letter finds you well.


Andrew Meyer