A coalition of gay rights groups wants you to "talk turkey" over the Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends about equal marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples. "With the religious and political right going into overdrive after last week's marriage decision in Massachusetts, we need everyone to speak directly and honestly with family and friends over Thanksgiving and ask for their help and support," Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, one of the sponsoring organizations, said on Tuesday. "Over the next few days many of us will be fortunate enough to celebrate Thanksgiving with loving families and straight friends. Because we so
rarely talk about it, most of our relatives and friends have no idea how few rights lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people have or that the religious and political right are launching a vicious and dehumanizing campaign against us under the guise of the 'threat of gay marriage.' " Moreover, said David Tseng, executive director of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, most of us have never asked our family and friends to take a stand for us. "Now is that time," he added.
The groups' call to action comes on the heels of last week's historic decision by Massachusetts's highest court granting same-sex couples the right to marry. The court gave the state's legislature 180 days to make it happen. In response to the ruling, antigay organizations across the nation have mobilized thousands of supporters, asking them to contact members of Congress and state legislators, the coalition said. Their goal is to bombard legislators during the Thanksgiving-December recess with demands that they move antigay marriage legislation--including the Federal Marriage Amendment--as soon as they go back to work early in 2004. "It is critical that those who support fairness and equality for same-sex couples make our voices heard," said Nadine Smith, cochair of the Federation of Statewide LGBT Advocacy Organizations and executive director of Equality Florida. "The next few weeks are a critical moment in the struggle for full equality. We all need to emphasize to those close to us that this is not some abstract political debate. Instead, we need to let our loved ones know that it's personal and ask each one of them to stand beside us and to speak out for us when the attacks and jokes come."