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It’s
ba-a-ck! How to fight the FMA

It’s
ba-a-ck! How to fight the FMA

Solmonese_1

Be afraid: The proposed amendment to enshrine marriage discrimination in the U.S. Constitution has returned, courtesy of Bill Frist and Rick Santorum. Here's what you can do to join the fight for equality now

Amid intense dissatisfaction with the war in Iraq, soaring oil prices, and a spiraling federal deficit, the president's political operatives and U.S. Senate leaders are once again throwing gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Americans and the U.S. Constitution into the crossfire. That's right: The Federal Marriage Amendment is being resurrected.

But let's call it what it is: the marriage discrimination amendment. The Constitution was written to protect all Americans. This amendment would break the very foundation of the Constitution by forever denying fairness and equality to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Americans and our families.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican, promised a vote on the marriage discrimination amendment the week of June 5. And that promise was echoed by the Senate's most extreme anti-LGBT leader, Pennsylvania Republican senator Rick Santorum. On the House side, a vote is expected as soon as July. You can bet your bottom dollar that if it doesn't happen before the summer is over, it will happen before the election in November.

The other side is already ginning up their base. The American Family Association recently launched a campaign to deluge the Senate with more than 1 million letters supporting the amendment. The Center for Moral Clarity (Take a moment to pick yourself up off the floor from laughter at the name) has released a new online video complete with a warning from God about the importance of this vote.

The Human Rights Campaign is hard at work countering the forces on the far right. We're working in a broad-based coalition of LGBT, religious, and civil liberties groups on an aggressive campaign heading into the vote. We'll be briefing and lobbying Congress on an almost daily basis. We'll be engaging grass-top leaders to be sure they make their opposition known with their senators. We're turning out religious, conservative, and business voices to ensure nobody has a stranglehold on this fight.

But we need you to join us. In 2004 fair-minded Americans rose up in a groundswell of opposition. Defeating the amendment wasn't the sole result of conversations in the halls of Congress. It was because of people like Ann Hudson, a retired nurse in Ohio and a registered Republican. In 2004 she had a 46-year marriage and a lesbian daughter, and Ann saw the amendment for what it was: a divisive and discriminatory attempt to distract voters from the problems at hand. She did more than that though: She flew to Washington, D.C., and visited with her members of Congress. She talked about it to her neighbors and spoke publicly at press events to make her voice heard.

Now, you may not be up for a trip to Washington or a sound bite on the 5 o'clock news. But your members of Congress have offices in your city and town. Go visit them--and bring a friend or two. (If you need help setting up an appointment, e-mail us at field@hrc.org.) And you can write a letter to the editor of your regional newspaper without ever worrying about how you look on camera.

This is a campaign that needs to be waged with friends and family by our side. It needs to be waged today. Visit hrc.org/voteno to take action, and encourage your friends and family to join you. Make sure they know you need their support--and you need it now. This isn't about giving rights; it's about taking them away--at all costs, no matter who ends up being caught in the crossfire.

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff & Wayne Brady

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