17 July, 2006

A Letter To My Congressional Representative on the proposed Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment

This is a letter that I sent to my Congressional Representative, U.S. Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey, regarding my position on the proposed constitutional amendment seeking to ban same-sex marriage, which is up for a vote tomorrow:
[17 July, 2006]

Dear Congresswoman Lowey:

I understand that a vote is upcoming tomorrow on an amendment to the United States Constitution that would define marriage as existing only between one man and one woman. As one of your constituents, I strongly urge you to vote against this hateful amendment, as love, and families, are found in many different forms other than the quote-unquote traditional one-man-one-woman relationship.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of, inter alia, sex and religion. Prohibiting marriage (which is a fundamental right, (Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1, 1967)) because both couples seeking marriage are of the same sex violates this provision, and a Constitutional Amendment prohibiting marriage on this basis flies in the face of the spirit of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Additionally, some religions allow for same-sex marriage. How can the US Government advise certain religions that their marriages are not to be recognized under U.S. law, while others will be? To me, this is the very definition of "discrimination."

Again, I strongly urge you to vote against this heinous amendment. I remember your vote in favor of DOMA back in 1996, and am still disappointed by it and your performance in favor of affording the same basic, civil rights to all citizens of our nation, regardless of their sexuality.

Thank you for your time and kind cooperation.
I just came across the fact that my congressional representative (Nita M. Lowey) did not vote on H.R. 3313, which limits federal court jurisdiction regarding challenges to the DOMA law, in essence stripping the courts of jurisdiction to hear such challenges to DOMA.

I've basically come to the conclusion that, like most politicians, Congresswoman Lowey doesn't want to take a strong stand and risk alienating anyone and therefore will just avoid the issue completely. To the best of my knowledge, she hasn't spoken out in favor (except in arenas where such speeches would be well-received, such as LGBT fundraisers) of the right of same-sex couples to marry. Of course, neither has she stated that she is against it. It would be nice, for once, to have a political representative come out and state, in public, and in a general public forum, of their support for same-sex marriage rights.

But by not coming out, in public, on one side of the issue or the other, she has, in fact, alienated at least one of her constituents -- namely, me!

No matter what side of the issue you're on (although I do hope you're on the side of justice and equality), please contact your Congressional Representatives to let them know how you feel!