Human Rights Campaign Weekly Message for February 20
February 20, 2009
Good afternoon, Our country is facing growing problems, with a worsening economy and rising unemployment. President Obama and Congress are working round-the-clock to surmount the difficulties and restore economic health to the nation. What a great relief it is to have a president and Congress who have their eyes on our nation’s economic crises. These troubles have been mounting for years—and yet, five years ago this month, then-President George W. Bush used the power of his presidency to push the Federal Marriage Amendment forward and attempted to write discrimination into the U.S. Constitution. As we all remember, the FMA would have denied marriage equality to our families and would have limited marriage in the United States to one man and one woman. With your strong support and after years of protracted and expensive battles, we twice stopped discrimination from being written into the U.S. Constitution. Most importantly, with the determination of our community, the fight for marriage equality marches on. While we experienced devastating losses this fall in Arizona, California and Florida when hateful measures seeking to restrict LGBT relationships won at the ballot box, we are seeing signs of change throughout the country.
- In Indiana this week, the state Senate Republican Caucus voted not to consider a resolution that would have amended the state constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
- A few weeks ago, Wyoming’s House of Representatives voted against a similar proposed amendment to its constitution.
- New England continues to be a beacon for marriage equality and there's considerable movement on that front in Vermont and Maine.
- In New York, HRC is working hard with local allies, members and supporters on behalf of marriage equality legislation.
- A recent poll in New Jersey shows voter support for marriage equality is growing.
- Hawaii’s House of Representatives recently approved legislation that would permit gay and lesbian couples to enter into civil unions.
- In New Mexico, a State Senate committee advanced the Domestic Partner Rights and Responsibilities Act, which allows gay, lesbian and straight couples to enter into domestic partnerships.
- And in Washington State, there's an effort to improve the existing relationship recognition law.
Five years ago, bigotry and ignorance were prime motivators here in Washington and nationwide. Today, we have powerful allies in our nation's capital and across America. But there are still plenty of instances of the bigotry and ignorance that were prime motivators here in Washington and nationwide five years ago. Just this week, Utah State Senator Chris Buttars called the LGBT rights movement “probably the greatest threat to America” and said “homosexuality will always be a sexual perversion.” You can listen to audio of his vile statements here. In response, HRC sent an action alert to its members and supporters urging them to demand that Utah Senate President Michael Waddoups take swift action and condemn Buttars’ comments. More than 22,000 heard the call to let Utah Senate leadership know that comments like Buttars’ are unacceptable. Less than 24 hours later, Utah Senate leadership held a press conference announcing that Senator Buttars would be stripped of his chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee. To learn more, read this story from the Salt Lake Tribune. Bruce Bastian, a member of the HRC Board of Directors and Utah native, will appear on all of Salt Lake City’s local television affiliates to offer HRC’s response to the news. The swift and effective action taken by HRC members and supporters is another example of what is possible when the LGBT community and its allies stand together against injustice. Thanks to your work and ongoing support, we move closer to full marriage rights every day.