Press Room

January 10, 2004

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New Ad Campaign Highlights Conservative Opposition to Amending Constitution on Marriage Rights

HRC Partners with Conservative and State Groups To Send Message: This Amendment Defies Conservative Values

WASHINGTON - In partnership with conservative and state groups, the Human Rights Campaign launched a new ad campaign highlighting conservative opposition to a proposed constitutional amendment that would permanently deny marriage rights to same-sex couples. Print and radio ads quote well-known conservatives George Will, former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson and former Georgia Rep. Bob Barr, among others, all voicing opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment (H.J.Res.56/S.J.Res.26).

"Many of America's conservative opinion leaders are in agreement - this amendment is unwise, unnecessary and not something our politicians should be focusing on," said HRC President Cheryl Jacques. "While some may think of HRC as a liberal organization, we are truly bipartisan, and on this issue we share common ground with many conservatives and moderates. This ad campaign will show that people of all political stripes see this amendment for what it is - a divisive and reckless use of our Constitution."

"Marriage has traditionally been and should remain a state, not federal, issue," said Chuck Muth, president of Citizen Outreach - a limited-government non-profit organization hosting www.lawfullywedded.com, a website featuring conservative opposition to a federal marriage amendment. "There is nothing conservative about mandating a one-size-fits-all national social policy in a governing-from-the-grave amendment that will handcuff future generations. When it comes to the Constitution, we should defend it, not amend it."

Sponsored by Citizen Outreach and HRC, the radio ad will run 10 to 40 times in 12 cities across the country during conservative talk shows, including Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Dr. Laura. The radio script follows:

Think it's conservative to amend the Constitution to ban marriage for gay and lesbian couples? Plenty of conservatives across American don't.

They believe that, even if you oppose gay marriage, you don't amend the Constitution to deal with every controversial social issue. And you definitely don't amend the Constitution to give more power to the federal government.

It's why conservative former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson says the Constitutional amendment "minimizes the Constitution." Conservative columnist George Will calls the Federal Marriage Amendment "a misuse of fundamental law." And conservative former Congressman Bob Barr - the man who wrote the Defense of Marriage Act - calls a Constitutional Amendment "needlessly intrusive and punitive."

Real conservatives agree: be conservative with the Constitution - don't amend it. Call your Representative and Senators at 1-877-762-8762. Tell them to oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Brought to you by Citizen Outreach and the Human Rights Campaign.

"Too many people are hearing about this amendment only from a small but vocal group that's claiming to speak for the larger conservative community," said Jacques. "It's time to show Americans - be they Democrats, Republicans or independents - that a significant number of leading conservatives strongly oppose this amendment."

The campaign focuses on the following 12 cities: Indianapolis Las Vegas Little Rock, Ark. Miami Milwaukee Minneapolis Omaha, Neb. Philadelphia Phoenix Pittsburgh Salt Lake City and Tampa, Fla. Local press conferences are scheduled in nine of the above cities. At each conference, local leaders will stand side-by-side with HRC to will announce the campaign and highlight why conservative Americans should join in opposition to the amendment. Many will feature a bipartisan group of speakers.

Print ads will run Jan. 12-14, 2004, in the following newspapers: The Arizona Republic, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, The Indianapolis Star, The Las Vegas Review-Journal, The Miami Herald, The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, The Minneapolis Star Tribune, The Omaha World Herald, The Philadelphia Daily News, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Salt Lake Tribune and The Tampa Tribune. Several state GLBT groups signed on to the ads with HRC. To view the print ads, visit www.hrc.org/constitution.

According to a December 2003 National Annenberg Election Survey, 51 percent of the public opposes such an amendment 42 percent support. A Gallup poll in December also shows that among all the issues Americans intend to vote on in the upcoming elections, denying marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples ranks dead last among a list of priorities. Terrorism, the economy and controlling federal spending all ranked significantly higher than policies toward gays and lesbians.

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