Joyworks Library

Correspondence between JT & Senator Dodd (D-CT)

Concerning the proposed Marriage Amendment to the Constitution

A letter was sent to both Senators Lieberman and Dodd in support of defeating the proposed Amendment to the Constitution defining marriage via their web email interface. This is Senator Dodd's response and JT's reply.

Subject: Correspondence From Senator Dodd
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 2004 10:03:22 -0400

Dear Ms. Thomas:

Thank you for contacting me about amending the United States Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriages. I appreciate hearing your views.

I am opposed to amending the federal Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriages. As you may be aware, this issue has been a source of controversy in recent months, particularly since the June 2003 United States Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas that struck down Texas' sodomy law because it violated the right to privacy. There has been some speculation that the right to privacy upheld in Lawrence will be used to challenge laws currently in force in many states that ban same-sex marriages. By amending the United States Constitution, states would be forbidden from deciding whether or not to allow such marriages, despite the fact that marriage has traditionally been a matter regulated by the states and not the federal government.

I agree. . . and frankly, protecting the Constitution is so vital that I might forego my next point, if need be, in order to "win" any fight that threatened it. However, if I could effect a resolution to this issue, I would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act immediately.

I believe that regulations related to marriage should continue to remain the responsibility of the states. That has been the accepted practice in our nation for more than two centuries.

Perhaps, what we need to do is strengthen and clarify the joining of two people together in a committed partnership as something, some other word, other than marriage. In other words, any act that any US government, local, state, county or federal, is involved in or supports or recognizes in any fashion, should be defined purely in it's legal and "partnership" terms. Because the term "marriage" is so imbued with the connotations of a religious act, and because, it's very unlikely Americans are going to "let-go" of the feelings wrapped around this interpretation of "marriage", I believe "marriage" should not be used in any government act, law, document etc.

So, let's call for "Domestic Partnerships" or "Legal Unions". Let's get the US governments out of this debate about what "marriage" should look like.

I am also convinced that amending the Constitution should be confined to those rare occasions where there is a great policy need. As you may know, the federal Constitution has been amended seventeen times since the Bill of Rights was adopted in 1791. In most of these cases, it was done to expand or protect an existing constitutional right, such as to abolish slavery or enlarge the franchise. The Constitution is the cornerstone document of our nation, and as such was never intended by the Framers to be amended easily or with matters best left to state legislatures.

A absolutely agree and thank you for guarding any attempts to use the Constitution lightly.

But, too bad we can't make it all a bit simpler - and just treat each individual American citizen as an individual. Period. No "marriage" as a legal term. No special benefits for two adults who chose to commit to a legal arrangement we'll call "domestic partnership".

However, when any adult, single or a partner in a domestic partnership, makes a commitment to become a child's parent - either by giving birth (and not giving the child up for adoption) or acknowledging paternity or accepting legal responsibility of a child born to a domestic partner or through adoption, some economic assistance to that child may be all our US governments need to provide. That "economic assistance" might best come as equal public education regardless of where the child lives, guaranteed equal medical care regardless of the child's parents income, clean, safe shelter and guaranteed access to food that supplies for all basic nutritious needs of that child. Period.

Imagine . . . every child born into a land where they will, without qualification, without question, receive basic nutrition, basic medical care, a quality education and live in a safe place. Wow!

Imagine . . . every child born or brought into a family where one or more adults has actively chosen to, has purposefully committed to being that child's parent. To care for, to protect and to nurture that child - forever. Wow!

Imagine . . . every child growing up with their basic needs automatically provided for, growing up without fear of being hungry, fear of being unwanted, knowing that they can depend on all the adults in their life - their parent(s), their community and their country. Safe, secure, fed, cared for and educated. Wow!

Thank you, again. I remain ever hopeful, JT

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