Last ditch efforts to defeat the “Marriage” amendment

If America stands for anything, it stands for equal rights and opportunities for everyone. Throughout our history, we’ve struggled to guarantee that equality: ending slavery; securing voting rights for women; and passing the Civil Rights Act just 40 years ago. Over the last two days, more than 400,000 people have signed our petition calling on Congress to take a stand against President Bush’s politics of division. It’s an incredible, overwhelming response.

But supporters of the amendment have also flooded Capitol Hill with petitions, and we only have a few more hours to show Congress that the American people don’t want the Consitution to be used as a partisan political weapon.

Please sign the petition at:

Today’s Washington Post has a great editorial on the subject. Here’s the lead paragraph:

“CONSIDERING THE volume of work Congress has yet to do before members leave town, the Senate’s insistence on considering a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage is telling. Congress has failed to pass a budget resolution or any appropriations bills and remains deadlocked on such important public policy issues as corporate taxation and class-action reform. Yet today, the Senate will take up a cloture vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment. Everyone knows that, in the Senate, the proposed amendment is well short of the votes needed to send it on to the states; even making it to a vote on the merits is highly unlikely. The reason the Senate is moving forward is politics of a particularly crass and ugly sort: Gay marriage has become a national electoral issue. And Republicans believe it is one that can help President Bush, who has come out in favor of the amendment, and make life difficult for Sen. John F. Kerry (D), who not only opposes it but also hails from the very state — Massachusetts — whose highest court provoked the current showdown with a decision legalizing same-sex marriage. Precisely because of the weight conservatives have put on this issue, today’s vote, despite its preordained outcome, has become deeply important. It requires senators to take a public stand on a question of deep principle: Are they willing to warp the entire American constitutional structure to prevent people who love one another from marrying? “

Equality in marriage is the civil rights issue of our generation. We can’t let anyone, or any group, be singled out for discrimination based on who they are or who they love.

When two people make a deep personal commitment, taking responsibility for each other and doing all the work of marriage, they should be able to share in the legal benefits of marriage as well. These benefits include access to health care and medical decision-making for one’s partner and children, parenting and immigration rights, inheritance, taxation, and Social Security benefits.

This isn’t a partisan issue, notwithstanding Bush’s pandering to his right-wing base. Former President Gerald Ford, a Republican, said this about same-sex couples and marriage: “I think they ought to be treated equally. Period.” Also, many major corporations, including Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Disney, Coors, and IBM, offer health insurance and other benefits to their employees’ same-sex partners. Senator Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) says the amendment is “Nuts… To be seen as the party that’s coming between two people that love each other doing what they want to do… to me that’s going to be seen as a liability, politically.”

Yet President Bush is bent on moving America backward, by enshrining discrimination in the United States Constitution.

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