Dear President Bush, Senator Feinstein, Senator Boxer, and Representative Eshoo:
We are a young nation, full of idealism and zeal and well-deserved pride. As is always true of the young, we have made many mistakes in our brief 228 years. In the end we must all reflect on the moments we were at our worst with the clarity of hindsight, and like a growing boy we pray we will be judged by future generations not by our missteps, but by how much we learned from them.
Our Constitution is our record of that growth. The nation our fathers brought forth in 1787 was a remarkable experiment, conceived in the radical notion that all men are created equal. But that nation still denied women and Negroes the vote, enshrined slavery as an inalienable right, and accepted a nation that, while lacking an aristocracy, still promoted a system strongly divided by class. If the morality of such institutions seems clear and obvious today, it is only because previous generations struggled to clear the fog of ignorance and prejudice that passed for common wisdom in their own time. To read the amendments to our Constitution is to read the record of how we struggle to face our human weaknesses and, on seeing them for what they are, how we then have the courage to put things right.
You, our representatives, are now debating whether by banning gay marriage our generation should take a stand to reverse this slow and steady march towards tolerance, respect, and equal protection under the law for all men and women. A decision to change course after so many years should not be made lightly, nor for political gain. Regardless of the outcome of individual votes, our future children and grandchildren will study this moment in school just as today’s children study our progress from the dark days of slavery to emancipation, integration of the Army and the Civil Rights Act. I trust you will give them every reason to be proud.
Dr. Bradley Rhodes
275 Hawthorne Ave. #106
Palo Alto, CA 94301