What You Can Do to Help Promote Equal Civil Marriage Rights

November 21, 2003


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Dear Soulforce Supporters,

As you all know by now, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to discriminate against same-gender couples in the state of Massachusetts when granting marriage licenses. Congratulations to all those who fought this case all the way to the top!

The bad news is that we are seeing an attack by the right wing that is unprecedented, and even our allies may crumble under the onslaught of negative misinformation. There is going to be an incredible amount of pressure on Congress to pass the anti-family "Federal Marriage Amendment" (FMA).

There are so many things you can do!

It is now extremely important that you go out and speak to your family, your neighbors, and your friends, gay and straight alike, and talk about this issue! Let people know you are a person of faith! Talk to everyone! If you have a story to tell, tell it!

Tell them that while we disagree with most of the mainline churches, we recognize they have the right to decide what marriages they will perform – but government has the obligation to ensure equality for all; civil rights won’t affect the freedoms of religious institutions.

Tell them this is not just about "marriage", it is about freedom to choose whether or not to marry, it is about the worth and dignity of GLBT people and about the civil rights and protections that we all deserve as citizens of the United States. Tell them this is about helping to protect families, and it hurts no one!

Familiarize yourself with the FMA and the facts about civil marriage. Talking points and information on equal civil marriage rights and the FMA are available at www.soulforce.org. Questions and Answers on the Massachusetts decision are available at www.glad.org/Publications/CivilRightProject/Goodridge_Decision_FAQ.shtml

Monitor your local media. Don’t let them get away with one-sided stories about marriage. For information on how to do that, see www.glaad.org. An excellent sample press release from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is available at www.ngltf.org/news/release.cfm?releaseID=601. Soulforce press releases are also available online.

Write letters to the editor. Excellent sample letters and ideas are available from the Interfaith Working Group at www.iwgonline.org/letters/.

Sign the Soulforce People of Faith Petition against the FMA if you haven’t already, at www.soulforce.org/petition.shtml.

Set up a meeting with your Congressional Representative while they are in their home districts over the winter recess. Make sure to tell them you are a person of faith. Go to www.hrcactioncenter.org/actioncenter/lobby_marriage.html for more information on how to lobby your Congressperson and additional talking points.

Keep an eye on your state legislature to see if they are passing resolutions to support the anti-family FMA or DOMA bills. Meet with your state legislators and let them know you support equal civil marriage rights. Let us know about your meetings.

The religious right is really upset, and they are screaming dangerous and nasty things and making strange allegations, crafting spiritually violent arguments against us, and making up lies and half-truths. To see what the Family Research Council is saying, see www.frc.org.

Right wing Fundamentalists are organizing politically through the churches to support the FMA, and the spiritual violence is taking on overt political tones. See the Catholic Bishops statement on "same-sex marriage"(www.usccb.org/laity/manandwoman.shtml) Expect more of the same from other religious organizations, and let us know when if you get anything overtly political and spiritually violent from your house of worship.

We are fighting for our rights and our lives.

As MLK said, "We will not have to repent in this generation for the hateful words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good."

Whatever you do, DO NOT remain silent.

Laura Montgomery Rutt
Director of Communications

Karen Weldin
Director of Operations

PS – Please consider giving financial gifts to Soulforce at www.soulforce.org/main/join.shtml . Any help is so appreciated!