Friday, August 2, 1996
The Honorable Jim Kolbe
United States House of Representatives
205 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Congressman Kolbe,
On behalf of GLAA, I wish to congratulate you for the grace with which you have handled a difficult personal challenge in coming out as a gay man. I have read both your statement and your brother's column, and if he is any indication you are fortunate in having such a loving and supportive family. I wish you and your family well as you go through the process of adjustment.
I recognize that the circumstances were not to your liking, and have caused some anger on your part. I would only point out that as a public official whose decisions affect the welfare of millions of citizens -- including your fellow gay citizens -- you bear a special responsibility. As a signatory to the "Call to Conscience" ad that appeared in the July 26 issue of The Washington Blade, I am one of those who cannot reconcile your vote for DOMA with your status as a gay American. Your citing of states' rights in support of your position suggests that you think our equal protection under the U.S. Constitution should be subject to a majority vote. I urge you to reconsider this position, which has the effect of rendering gay men and lesbians second-class citizens.
You appear strong enough, both personally and politically, to bear the present burden. If and when you do, your success as an openly gay representative will strike a blow not only for the moderate wing of the Republican Party, but for the cause of equality for everyone in the American family -- including gay men and lesbians. We secure our freedom best by exercising it. Whatever your present pain and shock, I have no doubt that in the long run you will view this as a liberating event. Here's hoping you enjoy your new-found freedom in our fair city, whose legal protections for gay men and lesbians -- thanks to the efforts of GLAA and others -- are among the strongest in the nation.
Rick Rosendall, President
Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, DC
The Congressman sent the following reply:
Comment: MEMO 08/05/96 17:29:00
Dear Mr. Rosendall:
Thank you for your message of support.
I consider myself the same congressman today that I was last week. I intend to continue working on the same issues that I have been involved with for many years.
Thank you for your comments about DOMA. However, we will simply have to disagree on this issue. Were it to come up for a vote again in the same form, I would vote the same way.
Member of Congress