I finally heard back from my Representative. I thought it was a pretty good response.
Thank you for informing me of your opposition to the so-called "Marriage Protection Act," H.R. 3313. I appreciate your taking the time to share your views.
I am pleased to inform you that I voted "no" to H.R. 3313, the Marriage Protection Act. Regretfully, the bill passed in the House by a narrow margin of 233-194 on July 22. This bill would strip jurisdiction from all federal courts, including the Supreme Court of any cases involving the Defense of Marriage Act. This blatantly political bill would set a dangerous precedent which would undermine such constitutional protections as equal protection, due process and separation of powers.
I believe the debate on this bill was much more than just bashing an unpopular minority for political reasons, it was about whether Congress can adopt unconstitutional legislation on any subject and protect that legislation from constitutional challenge by stripping the courts of their jurisdiction to consider any such challenge. We have never done that before in our history, and we should not do that now.
Rights on paper are meaningless if there are no means of enforcing those rights. We depend on the courts to enforce our rights against majorities represented in Congress or State legislatures. We must have a Federal forum to protect liberty, otherwise that liberty will not exist.
It is our very system of government and the constitutional system of checks and balances which is under attack with this bill. If the Congress by statute can prevent the Federal courts from applying the Constitution on any subject matter, then the protections of an independent judiciary, the protections of the Bill of Rights, the protections of the United States Constitution, become no more than a puff of smoke. It will, of course, be unpopular minorities, whether religious minorities, political minorities, ethnic minorities, racial minorities, lesbians, gays, whoever is unpopular at the moment, who will lose their rights. That is why I will continue to do all that I can to prevent this bill from ever becoming law.
You may also be interested to know that I oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment, H.J. Res 56. This is just another attempt by Members of Congress to pander to the extreme right. Attempting to rewrite our Constitution to deny a group of people equal rights is inherently wrong and is offensive to the democratic process. Please be assured that as a member of the House Judiciary Committee, and ranking member on the Subcommittee on the Constitution, I will continue to fight against this proposal as well as any others that seek to discriminate against gays and lesbians.
Eliminating discrimination based on sexual orientation has long been a priority of mine. Please be assured that I will continue to be an outspoken proponent of universal human rights.
Thank you again for conveying your views. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I may be of further assistance on this or any other issues of concern.
Member of Congress
I've said it before, and will undoubtedly say it again, you have to let your elected representatives know what you think about the issues. Otherwise, only the lunatics and cranks get heard.
Speaking of which, I was watching one of those CSPAN call in shows where they were looking for comments from Bush supporters and Kerry supporters on various aspects of the campaign. Someone called in complaining that the Democrats (who are apparently all Jewish) had chosen Kerry because both he and his wife are Jewish (Catholic Jews . . . just like Kennedy, m'kay?) and the Democrats are trying to put the U.S. under Israeli control.
As we used to say at the Young Democrat meetings back home in Texas, oy vey, y'all.
Well, mazel tov, President Bush. With supporters like that, there's no way you can lose.