View Full Version : Help me write a response to my senator
02-25-2006, 01:23 PM
Hey y'all. I'm a constituent of US Senator John McCain, who last August publicly signed and endorsed a proposed "marriage" amendment to the Arizona State Constitution. I wrote him a letter going point for point over some compelling reasons why he should re-consider his endorsement. His office, reportedly, received a lot of opposition. The amendment not only defines marriages as one man, one woman, but also prohibits any kind of legal recognitition of unmarried relationships, and would roll back all kinds of existing domestic partner benefits provided by some cities in AZ (such as Tucson). 6 months after my letter of complaint, I received this response in the mail, which I am typing out in it's entirety. I'd like y'all to help me draft a response. Here it is:
Thank you for contacting me to express your views about a proposed amendment to the Arizona State Constitution that would define the institution of marriage in Arizona as the union between one mand and one woman.
I believe that marriage should be defined as the union of a man and a woman. I also believe that each state has the right to define the institution of marriage as its residents see fit.
Arizona law already defines marriage as between a man and a woman. The current proliferation of litigation threatening state marriage las throughout the country, however, calls for solidifying that defintition by including it in Arizona's constitution. A proposed amendment to the Arizona constitution that I support would do just that.
The Protect Marriage Amendment would help preserve the institution of marriage. It would not, however, prevent umarried andsame-sex couples from enjoying many of the benefits such as designating their partners as beneficiaries of their assets through wills and trusts. The amendment would also not prohibit private companies from offering the same benefits to all employees. I believe that reasonable Americans agree that preservig the institution of marriage should not lead to discrimination, and that the government should not limit the ability of adults to enter into contractual arrangment that grant benefits or induce responsibilities.
Thank you again for contactng me. Please feel free to contact me ont his or any other matter of concern.
I have some problems with his (supposedly compromise) position and will definitely write again. What points would y'all raise? Help me brainstorm.
02-25-2006, 11:31 PM
I believe we are seeing a fundamental stripping away of the rights inherently imbedded in the Constitution when legislatures say we as GLBT people can't marry. It is a slap in the face of love and relationships, and the rights we have to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. If marriage does not fall under those guarantees, then I don't know what does.
I believe any marriage amendment needs to be extended to any two people who want to continue their lives together in sickness, and health, wealth, or poverty, whatever comes along. Not just to men and women. There is something wrong with the world when a registered sex offender can get married in this nation, but not GLBT people who do not break the law, pay their taxes to support a nation that denies them basic civil rights, and raise children, and live together supporting one another. It is a travesty when prisoners can get married, but we can't. It is hypocrisy when nothing is done to Mormon polygamists in Utah and Arizona but GLBT people can't get married. It is unfair, it is unconstitutional and we might as well start rounding up anyone we don't agree with and say they can't get married either. I will say it again-some woman married a dolphin in Florida not too long ago. Now if that can happen, I don't know what is wrong with GLBT people getting married. That is flat ridiculous. :mad:
John McCain needs to remember how his civil rights were denied him in his prison camp in Vietnam. He ought to know how precious it is to have them and how no one should be denied civil rights and how this nation was founded because people wanted to be free to worship or not worship, not have soldiers come in the middle of the night to wrest them out of bed and throw them in jail without trial, etc. This country was founded on civil liberties, but the government now is systematically denying GLBT people theirs because of some fear based stupidity and propaganda.
02-26-2006, 01:01 AM
Yep, you're right png. Sadly, I think McCain has struck and solidified his current stance in a move to define himself as a 'compassionate' (because he suggests that it is not discrimination if lgbts are still allowed to have wills, i guess?) conservative. He wants to get back into good graces with the right, so he can have a change at getting a presidential nomination. Let's face it, we are the group he can afford to sell out in order to do that.
I'm going to write a letter in response anyway. At least the staffers will read it. I can't in good conscience not respond. Especially with the only other senator out here being a co-sponsor of the federal marriage amendment. I hate the way these things hurt us, so they are going to read another letter from me.
Anyone have any knowledge about whether wills have ever (or could ever be) legally contested (say, by estranged family of the deceased who don't want the partner to inherit property/assets)? If "any legal recognition" of the relationship could include recognition of wills? Could these special contracts ever be declared void, under the wording of the amendment?
What about the relative costs of hiring attorneys to draw up these special contracts versus the nominal cost of a marriage license? These seem like potential problems to me - am I correct? Anyone?
02-27-2006, 10:05 AM
He really didn’t say much, I like the guy for the most part (one of the few republicans), but it seemed like more of a polite cop out.
-Be specific. Answer his questions with the questions you ask. The questions he can’t answer but knows he should in order to say these things.
-I’ve also heard on more than one occasion that hand written on stationary carries the most impact.
Ask him to explain to you precisely how the marriage amendment is not motivated by the desire to define others as inferior and how it would affect his marriage.
The concept of marriage is union. the state has already defined “marriage as between a man and a woman,” but to combat the “proliferation of litigation threatening state marriage” he want’s to “solidify” the state’s meaning of the word union by excluding a portion of the state’s residents?
(Defining union through the practice of exclusion, do go on...)
“Preserve the institution of marriage?” “Threatening state marriage”?
Ask him for a list of examples as to how marriage equality in Massachusetts has denigrated the “institution” of marriage in that state, and what specific harm you can expect to see in Arizona if that were to happen.
“As it’s residents see fit”? You’re one of those residents and he’s disagreeing with you. Ask him to define ‘residents,’ 50% plus? How would he feel if 50% of his state had 100% of the power to take his and his children’s rights away?
Speaking of 50%, what legislation is he drafting or supporting to eliminate DIVORCE! And how is that LESS of a "threat" to the institution of marriage than marriage equality?? <That's a biggie.
“Threatening Marriage” is Bullshit right there! Again, you can take him Zerb. -Pat Benatar's “Hit me with your best shot” comes to mind..
There are over 1000 legal rights to marriage, specifically how many and which ones of those benefits is he alluding to in suggesting this isn’t about prejudice? And why would those who are a “threat” to marriage even deserve those benefits? Wouldn’t the first priority be to make it illegal to “threaten” the institution?
How much time, money and effort has he put into promoting the “sin” of “sex outside marriage,” in order to protect marriage, as opposed to Preventing divorce, state funding for couples counseling, parenting classes, making sure dead beat dad’s pay up, after school programs for working parents, prevention of child abuse/abduction etc., etc., etc.
-How many republican passed bills has he voted for that cut funding to those programs?
Gay marriage would open the door to marrying animals or inanimate objects.
-Animals and inanimate objects do not pay taxes or vote or speak, or start businesses or pick up the kids after school. I’m willing to ‘come out’ and say that’s functionally inferior to being able to do those things, that’s the difference. And as far as I’m aware, I’m not aware of an incest, polygamy, or bestiality “lobby” any congressman is going to have to cater to anytime soon (Straw man argument).
To what extent has this been about avoiding the social trauma of sudden change? (It’s always been that way, tradition) -arbitrary.
To what extent has that been motivated by fear of the confusion, of not “knowing” how it’s possible to somehow love what repulses you most. (Regarding him specifically or his constituents) Not only the fear that it is possible, but the fear that they don’t know how it is possible. (I think that’s the real definition of homophobia)
What specific considerations lead you to conclude that marriage equality was a "threat" to the “institution” of marriage and could you give me the most prominent examples that come to mind. I’d be especially interested to learn how gay marriage has negatively impacted the state of Massachusetts since it was “redefined” as an equal right almost two years ago (in May I think).
Simply, was this drafted to specifically avoid known consequences, or to avoid knowing possible consequences?
Oh and Zerbie, check out “Tying the Knot.” I rented it at Blockbuster and one of the stories profiled was about a guy who’s lover died and his partners’ “estranged” family ended up kicking him out in order to sell the property knowing full well that it was his partners’ (their brother/siblings’) ‘will’ that he get the property. There was also a Miami cop Lesbian who’s partner on the force was killed and they refused to give her the pension benefits, the family turned against her too. Of course most of that was their side of the story, even the director in the ‘special features’ seemed to be more objective than even I wanted him to be. Anyway check it out, very practically informative I thought.
02-27-2006, 12:33 PM
Hey emproph, I give you 5 carrots for that most excellent post, dude (or dudette)!!!!!
I will DEFINITELY take some of the points you mentioned into account in drafting the letter. Will use the MA situation for reference as you suggested, and ask some of the questions you raise. But I'll leave the "slippery slope" stuff off, since his letter doesn't mention it, and it's totally irrelevent unless he does.
As for the line "as residents see fit" - thanks for pointing out the obvious point, that I'm a resident and I don't see fit. I was going to raise the a point that since when do voters receive the rights to VOTE AWAY legal protections for other residents who they do not happen to like? But I will also remind him about the constituency he has that strongly opposes the amendment. According to our latest poll, that is about 60% - a majority as I understand arithmetic. And McCain completely omits the discussion of hospital visitation for unmarried partners (an impossibility here), and with AZ having such a strong senior population, there are many unmarried senior couples (widows and divorced people with new partners) who will be impacted if this garbage passes. Does McCain want to alienate all of Sun City? Those people vote!!
Yes, I thought that families have been known to swoop in on surviving partners and wreak havoc - it happened to my cousin. He lost the house he lived in for 25 years, and could not afford a legal challenge after quitting his job years before to nurse his dying partner through a very long illness. I wish I had more than anecdote to reply with, that's all.
Thanks for your excellent comments emproph - I will use them!!!
03-03-2006, 03:19 AM
Well I try, just one of those times it worked out. Thanks for the carrots though, they were good.
And by the way, I'm a heterosexual dudette with a dudes body, but I'm like totally dudy, in fact one of my talents is gaydar disruption -- I mean, dudette-with-a-dudes-body-dar disruption.... :D
Heading over to the critique box/office now
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