Friday
May 12, 2006
SGN.org
Volume 34
Issue 19
 
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Protecting Washington State from the 'other Washington'
Protecting Washington State from the 'other Washington'
Equal Rights Washington is working to secure marriage equality in the state of Washington. We're hopeful that the state Supreme Court will issue a decision granting marriage to all loving couples who want to wed. And we're building a strong base of support across the state to ensure that such a decision would stand.

But all this effort could be moot if right-wing conservatives in Congress succeed in passing a federal amendment restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples. When they tried to pass a similar amendment in 2004, millions of fair-minded Americans spoke out, and the amendment was defeated. But it's back.

They've renamed it the "Marriage Protection Act," though it does the opposite. In fact, it not only threatens the marriages of same-sex couples legally wed in Massachusetts since May 17, 2004, but it could jeopardize state and local domestic partnership laws and nullify civil rights protections based on marital status.

Urge Senators to vote no

The amendment is coming up for a vote quickly. We expect it to be marked up in committee in the next couple of weeks, and to come to the Senate floor for a vote on June 5. Every Senator needs to hear from LGBT families and our allies. Senators are receiving tremendous pressure from the other side, and we must let them know how important this vote is, how it affects real lives, and how much we need them not just to vote no, but to show true leadership on this issue.

When Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, Patty Murray voted yes. In letters afterwards, she said that she didn't think marriage was an issue for her constituents. She hadn't heard from enough of us in 1996; she needs to hear from us now. Maria Cantwell is in a tough re-election race, and she needs political cover and motivation. Simply put, we must let both of our Senators know how best to represent us.

To email Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, visit http://eqfed.org/campaign/federal_amendment. And then, for even greater effect, send each of them a handwritten letter, explaining briefly why this vote is important to you, your family, your friends, and the country.



Maria Cantwell

915 Second Avenue

Suite 3206

Seattle, WA 98174



Patty Murray

2988 Jackson Federal Building

915 2nd Avenue

Seattle, Washington 98174

All Senators need to hear from us

Defeating the marriage amendment isn't a partisan effort. Encourage your friends and family in other states to contact their Senators, urging them to vote no, whether they're Democrats or Republicans.

Senator John McCain recently confirmed that he will vote no on the amendment. McCain opposed the amendment in 2004, calling it unnecessary and "un-Republican" because it took control away from the states. Senator Chuck Hagel, a Republican from Nebraska, has said much the same thing.

Former Senator John Danforth, a long-time Republican leader from Missouri and an Episcopal priest, recently addressed the Log Cabin Republicans, referring to the amendment as silly. Danforth told them, "Once before, the Constitution was amended to try to deal with matters of human behavior; that was prohibition. That was such a flop that that was repealed 13 years later."

Danforth was right about prohibition, the only time this country has amended the Constitution to restrict rights rather than expand them. The so-called Marriage Protection Act would create a permanent, intentional, second-class status for a large group of Americans. We pay our taxes, take our children to Little League games, mow our lawns, stand in line to renew our drivers licenses, and work hard just like everyone else. And we vote. Our Senators need to hear about all of that-about who we are, why this matters to us, and why it matters to them. And we're the ones who need to tell them.



Equal Rights Washington is working to win and protect equal rights for LGBT Washingtonians. Join us in that effort. www.equalrightswashington.org

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