Press Room

July 21, 2004

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House Republicans Push Divisive Bill to Distract from Voters’ Priorities

'Congress today was sent a historic message to focus on terrorism and it focused on discrimination instead,' said HRC President Cheryl Jacques.

WASHINGTON - By a 233 to 194 vote, the House of Representatives today passed the Marriage Protection Act, a dangerous and discriminatory measure that would strip the federal courts of jurisdiction over challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act and block access for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community to the judicial system. This vote took place just after the 9/11 Commission issued its final report sharply criticizing Congress. Also, polling data released this week affirms that the American public opposes the politics of division.

"Congress today was sent a historic message to focus on terrorism and it focused on discrimination instead," said Human Rights Campaign President Cheryl Jacques. "We will work to ensure that this measure is soundly rejected in the Senate. Like the Federal Marriage Amendment, this bill attempts to undermine our constitutional system for political gain."

A memo released this week by pollster Stan Greenberg warns President Bush and Republicans that politics of division is hurting them in very tangible ways. Any gains being made for President Bush among the religious-conservative extremist base are being exceeded by gains for Sen. Kerry among even larger groups of voters, including moderates - who are 40 percent of the electorate and more than 50 percent of the persuadables. Behind the shifts of these groups to Sen. Kerry, Greenberg cites Iraq and "discomfort with the president's cultural politics."

Every major poll shows the American people want Congress focused on issues like rising health care costs, the poor growth in jobs and the war in Iraq. Same-sex marriage and the Federal Marriage Amendment rank last on the list.

"While some politicians push discrimination, American voters have no appetite for division," added Jacques.

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

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