From Human Rights Campaign:
Marriage for same-sex couples is a reality and we need to protect and advance it. The time to act is now. Urge both of your Senators and your Member of Congress to oppose the proposed change to the U.S. Constitution, which would eliminate for decades the possibility of full marriage equality for same-sex couples.
- To send a fax now to your Senators and Representatives, visit http://www.hrcactioncenter.org/campaign/marriage_amendment_oppose
- To support HRC's work on this issue by joining or renewing your membership, visit http://www.hrc.org/joinus/index_ac2.asp
With a June 10 decision by the Ontario Court of Appeals in favor of marriage equality for same-sex couples, suddenly it is possible for gay couples in America to travel to Ontario and get married. Many opposite-sex American couples have gone to Ontario over the years to do just that and by tradition and law those marriages have been recognized and honored by every state in America and by the U.S. federal government.
Same-sex couples may soon be able to get married closer to home. The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts is expected to issue any day now its ruling in Goodridge et al vs. Department of Public Health, which challenges the state's denial of marriage licenses to 7 same-sex couples. The decision could result in same-sex couples being able to marry in Massachusetts.
On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas struck down anti-sodomy laws in the remaining 14 states that had them. The court found that government cannot criminalize and demean gay people and that the Constitution protects the liberty to enter into a same-sex relationship. In his blistering dissent, Justice Scalia wrote that based on the courts ruling on sodomy laws "what justification could there possibly be for the denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples...?"
In light of these developments, opponents of equality for GLBT Americans are sounding the alarm. Fearing that one or more states will honor the Ontario marriage of a same-sex couple, anxious that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court will rule for marriage equality and angry that the U.S. Supreme Court decided to protect the private lives of all Americans, conservative activists are seeking to build anti-gay bias directly into our legal system by amending the U.S. Constitution. The language of the amendment is few in words but clear in its discrimination:
"Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution or the constitution of any State, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups."
This amendment must be passed by 2/3 of the House and Senate and ratified by 3/4 of the states in order to change the Constitution. It is a purposely difficult process. The amendment currently has 27 cosponsors in the House and while there is no Senate bill yet, Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist recently spoke out in favor of this amendment. It is likely that a Senate companion bill will be introduced shortly.
The next few months and years will be defining ones in the history of the GLBT civil rights movement. Some of us will get married, some of us will raise children, some of us -- a lot of us -- will face discrimination. The burden of proof is clearly on our opponents to show why GLBT people should not be treated equally, including in the recognitions of our relationships.
That is why it is so important that the proposed Constitutional amendment not succeed. It is the ultimate trump card and the ultimate mechanism to build discrimination into the very document that should protect everyone. Such an amendment would not only negate any victories in court but foreclose all recourse to court on marriage equality. Further, it would be used in the same way the sodomy laws were used, to justify other forms of discrimination.
What can you do?
1. Send a letter to your Senators and Member of Congress asking them to oppose the Federal Constitutional Marriage Amendment. Tell your story, make it personal. Visit http://www.hrcactioncenter.org/campaign/marriage_amendment_oppose to send a free fax.
2. Contact the Human Rights Campaign at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in doing more. We need constituents to meet with the state and federal elected officials. We need people on the ground who are prepared to educate their friends, neighbors and communities.
3. We need people to work with their statewide GLBT organizations to win the debate in state legislatures. For contact information, please visit http://www.hrc.org/stateaction
Thank you for your support and thank you for taking action in the ongoing fight for equality.
You can take action on this alert via the web at: http://www.hrcactioncenter.org/campaign/marriage_amendment_oppose
Visit the web address below to tell your friends how they can take action to oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment. http://www.hrcactioncenter.org/campaign/marriage_amendment_oppose/forw ard/
We encourage you to take action by December 31, 2004
Marriage Equality: Are You Ready?
INSTRUCTIONS TO RESPOND VIA THE WEB: If you have access to a web browser, you can take action on this alert by going to the following URL:
Your letter will be addressed and sent to:
----THIS LETTER WILL BE SENT IN YOUR NAME----
Dear [decision maker name automatically inserted here],
As your constituent, I urge you to oppose any attempt to amend the Constitution to discriminate against gay and lesbian individuals and couples. Not only is this proposed amendment redundant and harmful, it also would undermine legal and legislative efforts to protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender families.
The Constitution and its subsequent amendments were designed to protect and expand individual liberties, such as granting women the right to vote and establishing that separate is not equal. The Constitution was not designed to revoke or restrict these liberties.
If the amendment makes it through the difficult process necessary to amend the Constitution, this would be the first time in history that the Constitution was amended to restrict the rights of a whole class of people, in conflict with its guiding principle to provide equal protection for all.
Please oppose the Federal Constitutional Marriage Amendment and do all you can to prevent its consideration.
----END OF LETTER TO BE SENT----