'It's time to heed First Lady Laura Bush's advice: don't use marriage as a campaign tool,' said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. 'First Lady Laura Bush has her finger on the pulse of America. Voters want candidates focused on soaring gas prices, a health care crisis and national security, not putting discrimination in the United States Constitution.'
Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese sent the following letter today to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, following comments from First Lady Laura Bush opposing use of the Federal Marriage Amendment as a campaign tool.
May 15, 2006
Senate Majority Leader Frist
Office of Senator Bill Frist
509 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist:
Yesterday on "Fox New Sunday" when asked about campaigning on a constitutional amendment that would deny marriage to same-sex couples, the first lady said, "I don't think it should be used as a campaign tool, obviously."
But by pushing the divisive and discriminatory Federal Marriage Amendment, you are doing exactly that. It's time to listen to First Lady Laura Bush: don't use marriage as a campaign tool.
First Lady Laura Bush has her finger on the pulse of America. Voters want candidates focused on soaring gas prices, a health care crisis and national security, not putting discrimination in the United States Constitution.
In a recent Gallup poll, marriage once again didn't even rank on a list of voter priorities. While you may think using the 2004 playbook might excite your political base, focusing Congress' time, energy and money on a divisive constitutional amendment does nothing to help Americans struggling to fill their gas tanks, afford costly prescription drug bills, find jobs or pay their mortgage.
Further, recent polls show that the Republican base has fractured as a result of failed leadership from Republican leaders on fiscal constraint, failure to make progress in Iraq and corruption. Therefore, as Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said it best recently in The New York Times when discussing Republican electoral prospects, "Gay marriage is not the magic bullet to get us out of our situation."
Former Sen. Jack Danforth also got it right when he called the amendment "silly,""a wedge issue" and "contrary to basic Republican principles."
As the first lady so wisely observed, campaigns should be about helping all Americans and uniting the country, not further dividing us. Senate Majority Leader Frist, we ask that you stop running your party on the politics of fear and distraction.
President of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality
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