|Dear Sen. Pacheco:
I read with interest the comments you made during recent debate on the issue of marriage. I understand the difficulty of the position you and the rest of the legislature is in. In the short run, it appears that you face a no-win proposition. I would suggest, however, that in the long-run, history is on the side of extending the benefits of marriage to all people.
You commented that you wished to follow the mainstream, rather than the "far left" or the "far right." This reminded me of my experience studying U.S. history around the age of 12 or so. It was at that time that I realized our history was a series of events by which the mainstream got steadily redefined. Ideas that were radical in one generation became mainstream in the next. Often, courts, civil disobedience, or other means were needed to extend the promise of liberty to those who had been denied it in the past. Rarely -- if ever -- were liberties extended as the result of a referendum.
My marriage of almost 17 years is in no way threatened by the prospect of the many gay or lesbian couples I know getting married. My own internal peace is far more threatened knowing that the children I know in such families are denied the benefits of having married parents, not through any fault of their own, but by society's rather narrow view of what a family is.
It has been during our lifetime that "activist" courts forced the U.S. to recognize inter-racial marriage. At the time, only a small percentage of people on the "left" supported the decision. I dare say we would not have inter-racial marriage today if we had waited for referenda or legislative action. It is just not the sort of thing that arises from the mainstream.
I sincerely hope that when debate is renewed on this issue you will vote on the side of history, on the side of religious freedom, and in support of marriage. Marriage for all, that is.
Thank you for your consideration.