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A letter from my Congressman

Several days ago, I sent a e-mail to my congressman, Rep. Johnny Isaacson (R-GA), via the Human Rights Campaign, protesting the proposed constitutional amendment restricting the definition of marriage. I just received his response:

Dear Rob:

Thank you for contacting me regarding H.J. Res. 56, proposing an amendment
to the Constitution of the United States relating to marriage. I
appreciate your thoughts on this issue and the opportunity to respond.

This resolution, introduced by Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (CO-4) on May 25,
2003, would amend the Constitution to declare that marriage in the United
States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. It would
also prohibit the Constitution or any State constitution, or State or
Federal law, from being construed to require that marital status or its
legal incidents be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups. I have
signed on as a cosponsor of this resolution.

Please feel free to visit my website at www.house.gov/isakson for more
information on issues that may be of importance to you, as well as to sign
up for my monthly email update. Thank you again for contacting me, and I
hope you will not hesitate to call on me in the future if I can be of
assistance to you.

Notice that the proposed amendment not only attempts to restrict the definition of marriage, but also forbids any federal or state law to create any construction that confers similar rights under another name (At least, that’s how I read the penultimate sentence of the second paragraph).

My reply to Rep. Isaacson:

Why? What interest is served in disenfranshising millions of people who want to create stable, family oriented lives for themselves who happen to share the same gender? What interest is served in adding an amendment to the Constitution of the United States that restricts liberty rather than expanding it?

Same-sex marriages pose no threat whatsoever to the sanctity or vailidity of exisiting opposite sex marriages, and I defy anyone who thinks they do to explain to me why they are not a bigot.

I eagerly await a non-form letter response to this issue.

My view on same-sex marriage is fairly straightforward. I see no difference between a same-sex couple and an opposite sex couple. Both relationships are equally valid in my eyes, and therefore I see no compelling reason why a same-sex couple who wants to create a family through marriage should not be allowed to. I applauded the recent Massachusetts Supreme Court decision holding that the state has no compelling interest in restricting who can get married and ordering the legislature of that state to do something about that. And I really think that in 20 years, or 40 at the latest, this will all seem as obvious to us as the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s appears to us now. Meanwhile, it is important to make sure you let your representatives know that our gay and lesbian citizens deserve all the same rights under the law as our heterosexual citizens. No more. No less.

You can find the address of your congressman at http://www.house.gov/ and http://www.senate.gov/, or you can find them via the Human Rights Campaign website.

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10 Comments

  1. Wow, did anyone at his office even read your letter?

    Good for you for speaking up. I completely agree with you on this issue.

  2. Well if you had included a check for a contribution with your message, maybe he would have read it. =P

    In all honesty, congressmen get way too much mail to individually respond to each one, even with their staff. But if enough people felt like you and actually wrote to him about it, then I bet he’d take notice. The problem is the other side has the money. Your side doesn’t have the (visible) numbers yet to overcome that.

    That will eventually come over time. I’m confident of that. Change is always slow in this country, but as you phase out the howling bigots and bring in the accepting individuals, change WILL occur.

    • Maybe you should send him a bill. Obviously he isn’t representing your interests, and he’s causing damange in your opinion to your state and country. Since you’ve payed his salary via your taxes, and he’s not even responding to your letter, you should get a refund on any salary you’ve paid him.

      You’re obviously not going to get any money out of him, but you might get a personalized response.

  3. I hadn’t heard of this proposed amendment. It’s truly something obscene and repugnant.

  4. I’m pretty pessimistic that writing to a Congresscritter has much effect-- I know I never got anything but form letters (although the ones I got at least *attempted* to address the rationale behind the position) when I tried it a few times back in the 1990s. But it’s juuuust barely possible that you could take a better tack.

    Right now, I think, you’re coming across as a liberal who’s never going to vote for Isaacson anyway and so can be safely ignored. But the proposed “Federal Marriage Amendment” doesn’t just violate liberal principles, it violates principles that conservatives have been trumpeting for the past generation, such as federalism (more power distributed to the states) and limited government. Lots more info is at this website. Your comment on the amendment *restricting* liberty is on the right track; but not only is the Amendment bad in and of itself but it would set a *horrible* precedent. Lots of notable conservatives, like George Will, have written columns along these lines.

    (Me, I’m appalled by the proposed amendment for pretty much all the liberal, libertarian, and conservative reasons. But at least for once most liberals, most libertarians, and some conservatives-- or what used to be called conservatives-- are on the same side. And I think that’ll be enough to defeat the FMA.)

    • That’s a fair cop. I *am* a liberal, and I find no shame in that. Had I considered it longer and written a longer reply, I probably would have included the federalism angle as well, but I didn’t think of it when I dashed off the reply.

      Regardless of WHY people oppose it, it needs to be opposed.

  5. Y’know, what people seem to be conveinently forgetting is that this is legislation that discriminiates against gays, pure and simple. Most of the people I know who happen to be gay are in committed relationships, and just want to enjoy the same privileges and benefits as the straight folks. If the amendment were to pass, it would immediately be challenged, and hopefully, be proven unconstitutional.

    Ditto that for the amendment that prohibited flag-burning. If I remember correctly, burning a flag is the respectable way to “retire” a flag, after it’s been cut up into pieces.

    I really have to laugh when I hear the right-wing pundits say, “Homosexuality is a choice, like beastiality, necrophilia, hedonism, etc. etc. If we allow one, we have to allow all these other deviant practices.” No, we don’t.

    Check this out……The 11/18/03 edition of This Modern World. Tom Tomorrow is often dead on the mark with his wit, and this is no exception. Here’s the comic:

    http://www.workingforchange.com/comic.cfm?itemid=16001

    • Um, unfortunately, you *can’t* challenge the constitutionality of a constitutional amendment. By it’s very nature, a constiutional amendment *defines* something as consitutional. That’s why it’s so hard to pass one.

      If it were to pass, the only thing you could then do is work to pass *another* amendment repealing the previous one, as was done by the 21st Amendment to repeal the 18th (Prohibition).

  6. Hi Rob,

    I cannot understand people who are not tolerant…

    It is said that Switzerland is a conservative country. But should you ever plan to live in Switzerland then read this article
    http://www.swissinfo.org/sen/Swissinfo.html?siteSect=105&sid=4510394

  7. What a shame. Years ago gay couples from Germany went to certain US States to get married because they could not do it in Germany. I hope the proposed constitutional amendment will come to nothing. But with fundamentalism growing in your country as it does this is probably to be expected. Sigh. I cannot understand what kind of problem people have about the issue of single gender marriages. In Germany the government took the cowardly way out and compromised to get the law accepted. Gay couples can get their relationships legalised. This covers some aspects of legal marriage (like inheritance, property rights etc.)and excludes others (like adopting children). Not a brilliant solution by any means. Basically nothing but a first step into the right direction. The “how to do it” is left to the single federal states, every state having a different attitute based on whether its majority is more conservative or more liberal. In Hessia, where I live, gay couples can get their partenrships legalised in the registry office where hetero couples get married as well. In Bavaria, which is very catholic and outwardly moralistic, gay people have to apply to the traffic ministry (usually responsible for building roads and planning infrastructure). Why the traffic ministry? A bad pun. Traffic is “Verkehr” in German and “Verkehr” can also mean intercourse.
    Talking about real bad taste…

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