Toolkit Helps Grassroots Activists Fight DOMA

By Julie Bolcer

Originally published on Advocate.com July 26 2012 12:15 PM ET

The Respect for Marriage Coalition, a broad coalition of more than 75 groups working to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, launched a new website Thursday with resources to help local activists get involved in the campaign against the law that prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.

The site, www.RespectforMarriage.org, features a toolkit including sample letters to the editor, talking points, fact sheets, and lobbying materials to leave with lawmakers. The site also functions as the virtual home of the coalition, which launched in February but welcomes new members to sign up online. Freedom to Marry and the Human Rights Campaign chair the coalition comprised of organizations working on a range of issues and united in support for marriage equality.

“Americans understand the Golden Rule of treating others the way you want to be treated, and know that our nation’s commitment to liberty and justice for all really does apply to ‘all,’” said Evan Wolfson, founder and President of Freedom to Marry, in a news release. “The work being done by the Respect for Marriage Coalition empowers the majority for marriage with on-the-ground tools to engage in the personal conversations and public dialogue that will continue to move the country to support the freedom to marry. The grassroots actions spurred by the Coalition will help us repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, restoring the normal practice of federal respect for marriages lawfully celebrated in the state, without DOMA’s ‘gay exception.’”

“Americans understand the Golden Rule of treating others the way you want to be treated, and know that our nation’s commitment to liberty and justice for all really does apply to ‘all,’” said Evan Wolfson, founder and President of Freedom to Marry. “The work being done by the Respect for Marriage Coalition empowers the majority for marriage with on-the-ground tools to engage in the personal conversations and public dialogue that will continue to move the country to support the freedom to marry. The grassroots actions spurred by the Coalition will help us repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, restoring the normal practice of federal respect for marriages lawfully celebrated in the state, without DOMA’s ‘gay exception.’”

Three separate DOMA challenges have been appealed to the Supreme Court in the past month, and the court could rule on the issue by next summer. Meanwhile, legislation to repeal DOMA in Congress advanced in the Senate Judiciary Committee last year, but appears stalled for the foreseeable future in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, which has chosen to take up the legal defense of DOMA.

“Hearts and minds are changing and Americans are embracing equality and acceptance,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.  “It’s time for Congress to catch up with the people in treating everyone with dignity and respect by passing the Respect for Marriage Act.  It is important to give constituents the power to participate in the political process at this momentous time in our nation’s history.”