Stephen A. Fuqua (SAF) is a Bahá'í, programmer, and conservation and interfaith advocate in the DFW area of Texas.

July 9, 2004

Defense of Marriage Act Debate Began Today

I understand that this is, for many, a large and complex issue that deserves real thought and consideration. I welcome the debate in the Senate, and trust that this august body will realize that a "marriage amendment" is not in keeping with the spirit and text of the Constitution of the United States—the most powerful secular document ever conceived. I acknowledge that there are instances where the federal government must act to protect the public safety and in doing so, moral questions do at times come up. Nevertheless, I cannot see that the banning of "gay marriages" is a matter for federal jurisdiction or concern; I cannot see that it is a matter of such overwhelming importance to the continued functioning of our society that it should be enshrined in our Constitution.

The above is the custom text that I inserted into a form letter to Senators Hutchison and Cornyn a few minutes ago, through the National Organization of Women (NOW). Debate was moved up to begin today (assuredly a politically motivated move in this election season). I do not quarrel with those who propose this amendment, I do not feel there is anything partisan in this message. Rather I am letting my representatives know my feelings on the matter and urge all to do so as well (even if you support the Defense of Marriage Act).

Here is the complete text of the letter I sent through NOW:

I join with the National Organization for Women in urging you to vote against the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment (S.J.Res. 30).

I am strongly opposed to amending the Constitution for the sole purpose of restricting the rights of any individual, regardless of their sex or sexual orientation. Amending the Constitution to deny same-sex couples the right to marry is a profound betrayal of the democratic principles which are the basis of that document. Equal treatment, as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution must be sacrosanct: Individuals must be assured the same rights and responsibilities, regardless of their sexual orientation.

I understand that this is, for many, a large and complex issue that deserves real thought and consideration. I welcome the debate in the Senate, and trust that this august body will realize that a "marriage amendment" is not in keeping with the spirit and text of the Constitution of the United States--the most powerful secular document ever conceived. I acknowledge that there are instances where the federal government must act to protect the public safety and in doing so, moral questions do at times come up. Nevertheless, I cannot see that the banning of "gay marriages" is a matter for federal jurisdiction or concern; I cannot see that it is a matter of such overwhelming importance to the continued functioning of our society that it should be enshrined in our Constitution.

I urge you not to be among those senators who vote in favor of an amendment that would write discrimination into the United States Constitution for the first time in history.

Sincerely,
Stephen A. Fuqua

5 Comments

i must be honest Stephen, i haven't given this much thought... complex indeed...

Complex socially but in my view very simple in terms of good governmence.

i think this issue is about money. the right paints it about "values", the left about "freedoms/liberties", but i think the real issue here is in the pocketbook... gay couples are already able to live together and do what they want behind their closed doors... so why do they want marriage? is it societal validation? i don't think so... i think it has to do with insurance and social security benefits... social security is set up to benefit the surviving spouse at the rate of the deceased spouse's earnings as a subsidy that acknowledges the value of a parent staying home to raise children... i don't think the programs designs will be achieved as applied in most gay settings... this is a program that we all pay for, so it becomes a taxpayer/fiscal responsibility/economic issue... the same could be said for the insurance/health care issue at some point in the future, depending on how that problem is addressed... i think people should be allowed to choose their lifestyles, but i don't think i should necessarily have to subsidize it... my choice is being taken away, at that point... not that any of us really has much say in how our taxes are spent... as far as bedside care/hospital/right to die issues, a little foresight can remedy these problems by gay couples drafting power of attorney letters/living wills designating their partners as the decision makers... so, yeah, i think it's about money, notwithstanding the media & the demagogues' efforts to frame it up otherwise... as far as the feds involvement goes, the supremacy clause, the full faith & credit clause, and the exclusive nature of sovereignty all sort of necessitate their involement... that's my story, and i'm sticking to it...

Well, looks like Brian's post came through despite a power outage. We talked about this over lunch today, and he makes a the most compelling case "for" that I've heard to date. Anyone else have any thoughts to add? Brian, I'm not sure how well folks will understand your case if they haven't been keeping up with the arguments in the media, so don't be surprised if you see me add an entry soon explicating all of this a bit more.

Though I had thought about most of the issues Brian brings up, he certainly adds a few twists that make it not quite as simple as I said two comments up =).

a farewell to stephen:

as some of you may or may not know stephen is one of the founding/charter members of our soccer team, "babaganoutch" (formerly, and much more earnestly, known as "dawnbreakers"), (why are we so much more earnest in our youth? the older we get the more opportunity we have to learn to laugh at ourselves, i suppose) and we've been part of an small nucleus that has remained unchanged on the team for about 8 years now... i could always count on stephen to hold down his left full back position, distribute, show up, play, & pay, which is more than i can say for any other single member of that charter group... or most of the over 100 players that have come along since... selfless, reliable, even playing keeper on occasion... he's shared co-captainship duties these last couple years with me, the first person i've ever had do that that actually was useful... every now & then he'd even surprise me on the pitch with a big run up the wing, followed by a big lofty shot, catching the keeper off his mark and scoring on a few memorable occasions... for the uninitiated, this is rare in our sport, for a defender to score... but that's in keeping with stephen... a rare individual, a good friend, a great team mate, and someone who will be missed... it's been a lot of fun, steve... if you make it back this way, we'll bridge your team seniority!
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