Friday, October 27, 1995
The Honorable Jay Dickey (R-4th AR)
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Representative Dickey:
As a native Washingtonian, I wish to express my outrage at your amendment yesterday to the D.C. budget barring unmarried couples from adopting children. Your statement, "What we're talking about here is morals," flies in the face of the actual consequences of your action.
Allow me to cite one example. Some years ago, a gay male District couple, Jeff Menzer and Eric Rosenthal -- who of course do not have the option of sealing their mutual commitment in a legally recognized marriage -- were granted custody of an African American baby named Joshua, who had been born with AIDS. While Joshua's life was short and full of pain, no child could have been given more loving care than he received from Jeff and Eric. To watch little Joshua at play was both joyous and heartbreaking, a powerful reminder of how our sense of common humanity and compassion can transcend differences of race, background, and sexual orientation. If you ask your colleague, Rep. Neil Abercrombie, he will give you a first-hand account of this remarkable family which he was privileged to know. As he will tell you, it is love that makes a family, and if this was not an example of it, then there is no love in this world.
Let us set aside for the moment the legal distinctions between foster parenting and adoption, since the issue of morality that you have raised would presumably apply in either case. Would it have been "moral" for baby Joshua to have been denied a loving home for his brief life because you personally disapproved of the parents who welcomed him into their lives?
There is nothing moral about placing abstract principles -- including bigotry disguised as morality -- ahead of actual people. And there is nothing moral about imposing your personal beliefs upon the citizens of the District, as if we were a mere colony for you and your colleagues on the Hill to rule despotically in the manner of England's George III.
As your colleague, Rep. Patricia Schroeder, is fond of saying, "The Pledge of Allegiance talks about 'liberty and justice for all.' What part of 'all' don't you understand?" Shame on you for allowing your narrowminded prejudice to get the better of your sense of humanity and justice.
Richard J. Rosendall