February 11, 2004
The Honorable John William Warner
United States Senate
225 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-4601
The Honorable George F. Allen
United States Senate
204 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-4604
The Honorable James P. Moran
U.S House of Representatives
2239 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-4608
Dear Senators Warner and Allen and Representative Moran:
As your constituent, I urge you to oppose the “Federal Marriage Amendment” (H.J. Res. 56/S.J. Res. 26). This measure would amend the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as strictly between a man and a woman as well as invalidate all the protections that many families currently enjoy.
I believe that amending the Constitution is an extreme act. I have read that the proposed amendment would deny the right to marry to gay and lesbian couples and also obliterate the family rights that many same-sex couples – and unmarried heterosexual couples — and their families now have. Revising the Constitution to incorporate discrimination against anyone in America is wrong and should be rejected.
In 1967, in the state of Virginia, it would have been illegal for me to marry and live with my wife since ours is an “interracial” marriage. The very idea that we are once again going to let government reach further into our individual rights through the amendment process is disturbing.
I also believe that the Federal Marriage Amendment is unnecessary and wrong. Even though the country has periodically struggled with the question of marriage — the last law prohibiting people of different races from marrying was overturned only 35 years ago — we have never taken the step of amending the Constitution to define marriage. Now is not the time to begin to use the Constitution as a tool for discrimination. Congress certainly has more important issues to consider.
The Federal Marriage Amendment rejects American traditions of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I have read that it would reverse the constitutional tradition of protecting individual freedoms. None of our constitutional amendments restrict individual freedoms. In fact, the amendments to the Constitution have been the source of most of the Constitution’s protections for individual liberty rights. I understand that the proposed amendment, by contrast, would deny all protection for the most personal decisions made by millions of people in committed long-term relationships.
Again, I urge you to oppose this dangerous amendment as the elected representative of a family who was forbidden to marry in this state in 1967.
I look forward to hearing your views on this matter.