Press Room

June 23, 2004

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HRC Joins African-American Church Leaders in Opposition to Federal Marriage Amendment

'Most Americans are united against discrimination,' said HRC President Cheryl Jacques.

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign joined prominent African-American church leaders at a press conference today opposing the Federal Marriage Amendment - a measure that would amend the U.S. Constitution to deny marriage to same-sex couples. Tampering with the Constitution to restrict rights for some Americans - for the first time ever - is a threat to all Americans, said HRC.

"Most Americans are united against discrimination," said HRC President Cheryl Jacques. "This amendment would not only put discrimination into the Constitution, but it would undermine the very intent of the Constitution - and that is to provide freedom."

"Trying to change the Constitution to deny rights is wrong," said HRC Senior Constituent Organizer Donna Payne, who is also the vice president of the National Black Justice Coalition. "No one knows the cost of restricting rights better than African-Americans. As a community, we may disagree about marriage for same-sex couples but we know the Constitution and discrimination should never mix."

"We believe the high-profile posture of some African-American clergy in support of the FMA is misleading and we're here to counter that message," added Alexander Robinson, strategic director of the National Black Justice Coalition. "Our community has historically held strong family values and those values continue, regardless of sexual orientation. We must come together to tackle the real problems that confront our communities, like the need for good jobs, education for our children and health care for all, not to change the Constitution to deny human rights."

Also at the press conference were:

Dr. Randall Bailey, Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta

Dr. Alvin Jackson, National City Christian Church, Washington

Rev. Abena McCray, Unity Fellowship Church, Washington

Rev. Kenneth Samuel, Victory Church, Atlanta

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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