Federal Marriage Amendment Vote Discriminates Against Gay Families

by HRC Staff

Representative Tammy Baldwin, Other Representatives Join HRC's Joe Solmonese to Condemn Divisive, Discriminatory Amendment Deliver 180,000 Constituent Postcards

WASHINGTON - Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis. Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese and Reps. Barney Frank, D-Mass. Lois Capps, D-Calif. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif. and Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., called on the House to reject discrimination and vote no when the Federal Marriage Amendment comes up for a vote today. The measure would, for the first time, amend the U.S. Constitution to single out a group of Americans for discrimination by denying marriage to same-sex couples. Following a press conference, a group of constituents also delivered 180,000 postcards to Congressional offices, asking legislators to vote no.

"Today, as Americans focus on the grave situation in the Middle East, record oil prices and record federal debt, the leadership of the House continues to ignore the real challenges facing American families," said Baldwin. "This effort to write discrimination into our Constitution is nothing more than a politically calculated distraction. This proposal has previously been defeated in both the House and the Senate. Yet, in an effort to score political points, the Republican leadership insists on debating this constitutional amendment which would harm many American families and further divide our nation."

"This vote is a direct attack on gay and lesbian Americans and our families," said Solmonese. "Using the Constitution to treat same-sex couples as second-class citizens is wrong and inexcusable. We join Representative Baldwin and so many others in calling on the House to reject the politics of discrimination, division and distraction and to get back to work on coming up with solutions to America's challenges."

To defeat the discriminatory amendment, the Human Rights Campaign has lobbied on Capitol Hill mobilized its members engaged the press and worked with a large coalition of civil rights, religious, civil liberties, labor and professional organizations advocating against the measure. HRC organized the collection and distribution of more than 310,000 postcards to the Senate and House in opposition to the amendment.

Requiring a two-thirds majority, a vote on the same measure failed in the Senate on June 7, 2006, with a 49-to-48 vote. In 2004, the measure failed in both houses, 48 to 50 in the Senate on June 14, 2004, and 227 to 186 in the House on Sept. 30, 2004.

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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