All NOW Actions
Equal Marriage NOW!
Urge Congress to Oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment
Members of Congress need to hear that you oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment because it denies equal protection, equal access and fairness to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples.
Many members have not heard enough from their constituents on our side of this issue. There are some members who actually believe that they do not have LGBT people or their supporters living in their districts! This means that your voice is critical for creating a climate that will:
- Lead to the defeat of right-wing attempts to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage (and probably civil unions and domestic partnerships)
- Help to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)
- Further educate members of your community on the inequities that LGBT people and their families face under current law
Please contact your senators and representative and let them know that you are concerned about this issue and that you are committed to securing equal rights for all. Setting up an appointment to discuss this with your member of Congress or a member of their staff in your state would be terrific?and organizing a phone-in or letter writing campaign are also great ways to let Congress know that voters care about this issue.
The purpose of NOW?s Equal Marriage Campaign is to personalize this issue and create visibility so that LGBT people, their families and allies don't receive second class treatment. Together our voices can be heard!
The Federal Marriage Amendment was first introduced in the 108th Congress. Since then, 11 states have passed constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriage including: Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin. All but three of those bans include a ban on civil unions as well. Other states are currently working on passing constitutional amendments including: Virginia, Indiana, Kansas and Alabama. More states will likely introduce legislation for the same purposes this year.
On Jan. 24, 2005, Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., reintroduced an amendment to the U.S. Constitution designed to ban same-sex marriages. The so-called Marriage Protection Amendment (S.J. RES 1) seeks to define marriage as solely between a man and a woman. The strategic timing of this reintroduction makes it one of the first items of business in George W. Bush's second term.
The language of the amendment, which currently has 26 co-sponsors, is just as damaging as it was in the 108th Congress.
Heterosexual married couples and their families are afforded more than 1,000 legal protections and benefits in state and federal law that are currently inaccessible to committed same-sex couples.
Benefits of civil marriage include access to health care and medical decision making for spouses and their children; parenting rights; Social Security; taxation, inheritance and other government benefits; as well as the simple ability to pool resources to buy or transfer property without adverse tax treatment.
Marriage in the United States usually consists of two components, civil marriage and religious ceremony. The first is required by law, the second is not. Freedom of religion guarantees each church the right to decide whether or not to marry same-sex couples; however, federal and state governments should not be allowed to deny rights to any individual based on sex or sexual orientation. Some religions have already chosen to recognize same-sex marriages, although only one state currently allows same-sex marriage by law.
Taking action around this issue is critical to preserving democracy, fairness and the diversity of our families. Again, please send an email to let your member of Congress know TODAY that defeating this discriminatory constitutional amendment is important to you.
For more information:
Equal Marriage NOW