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Sent: Sunday, September 12, 2004
Subject: FEDERAL MARRIAGE AMENDMENT:NEXT ROUND & SOME INFO.-
FEDERAL MARRIAGE AMENDMENT: NEXT ROUND

A record number of activists spoke out with resounding force in July against amending the Constitution to discriminate against same-sex couples and their families. As a result, the Senate voted against the Amendment - a great victory!

Our next battle is happening right now. The ultra-conservatives behind the Federal Marriage Amendment are marshalling their efforts to win when the House of Representatives votes within the next few weeks. You and I must stop them - again.
For most receiving this, your representative, Representative John Dingell, has already decided to vote AGAINST the Amendment. That means that sending an e-mail to request that he vote NO is not necessary. We can to do something a little different to reinforce support, and to express our gratitude (These voices against discrimination have been targeted by the ultra-conservatives.)

Could you take a moment to send an email to your Representative thanking him/her for refusing to use the U.S. Constitution to discriminate against any American? (And please consider sending a snail mail letter as well. A link to “download letters to print and mail” will appear on the final page after sending the email letter…just click it and your prepared letter will appear:)

Take Action!
To send an email:
http://www.hrcactioncenter.org/campaign/house_fma_oppose_good?rk=Id1Mntn11BpxW
If you would like to go a step further, please consider sending a hand-written letter. The link below will provide all the information necessary to accomplish this easily!
To complete a hand-written letter:
http://www.hrcactioncenter.org/actioncenter/thank_rep.html

(Not sure about your Rep.? Send a note requesting their support: http://www.hrcactioncenter.org/campaign/house_fma_oppose)



MARRIAGE PROTECTION ACT - THE STRIPPING OF COURT JURISDICTION:

Also, with all the talk of amendments and folks hoping that the courts will provide an alternative approach to fighting them, I thought it might be timely to address “The Marriage Protection Act” (known as a “court-stripping” bill) once more. Where is our system of checks and balances headed? (Originally sent the following on July 29.) Here is that story again:

The Marriage Protection Act, which WOULD STRIP FEDERAL COURTS OF THEIR JURISDICTION to rule on challenges to state bans on gay marriage passed the House of Representatives. This legislation would keep the Supreme Court and other federal courts from ruling on this issue. I am so frightened by the elimination of the potential of checks and balances in this country. Can anyone believe that those behind these actions plan on stopping with this issue?

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
HOUSE REPUBLICANS PUSH DIVISIVE BILL TO DISTRACT FROM VOTERS’ PRIORITIES
Discriminatory Marriage Protection Act Passed by a Vote of 233 to 194
‘Congress today was sent a historic message to focus on terrorism and it focused on discrimination instead,’ said HRC President Cheryl Jacques.

WASHINGTON — By a 233 to 194 vote, the House of Representatives today passed the Marriage Protection Act, a dangerous and discriminatory measure that would strip the federal courts of jurisdiction over challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act and block access for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community to the judicial system. This vote took place just after the 9/11 Commission issued its final report sharply criticizing Congress. Also, polling data released this week affirms that the American public opposes the politics of division.

“Congress today was sent a historic message to focus on terrorism and it focused on discrimination instead,” said Human Rights Campaign President Cheryl Jacques. “We will work to ensure that this measure is soundly rejected in the Senate. Like the Federal Marriage Amendment, this bill attempts to undermine our constitutional system for political gain.”

A memo released this week by pollster Stan Greenberg warns President Bush and Republicans that politics of division is hurting them in very tangible ways. Any gains being made for President Bush among the religious-conservative extremist base are being exceeded by gains for Sen. Kerry among even larger groups of voters, including moderates — who are 40 percent of the electorate and more than 50 percent of the persuadables. Behind the shifts of these groups to Sen. Kerry, Greenberg cites Iraq and “discomfort with the president’s cultural politics.”

Every major poll shows the American people want Congress focused on issues like rising health care costs, the poor growth in jobs and the war in Iraq. Same-sex marriage and the Federal Marriage Amendment rank last on the list.
“While some politicians push discrimination, American voters have no appetite for division,” added Jacques.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

FAITH ACTION NETWORK FORMING IN WASHTENAW COUNTY:

Finally, for this mailing, I wanted to forward this information from the Washtenaw Faith Action Network:

Washtenaw Faith Action Network, a local chapter of the Michigan Faith Action Network is forming in Washtenaw County to bring together communities of faith and individuals active in religious communities that are supportive of their transgender, bisexual, lesbian, and gay (TBLG) members and TBLG individuals generally. It is especially important during this political season, where some are attempting to use religion against TBLG individuals, to show that there needs to be freedom of religion for those who wish to express and demonstrate religious support of TBLG people and blessing on their unions. More information about the statewide Faith Action Network can be found at http://www.afsc-fan.org/FAN.htm
An organizing meeting will be held in the Founders Room at First Presbyterian Church, 1432 Washtenaw in Ann Arbor at 7 pm on Tuesday, September 14th. to plan activities, including an interfaith service for National Coming Out celebrations and the Coalition for a Fair Michigan on October 26th at 7 pm at the Kerrytown Concert Hall. Members of all religious bodies are welcome to join in planning these and other local supportive activities. For details on the September meeting or October event, please contact Bob Snyder, 734-665-5524, bob-snyder@comcast.net.

Working on the site...hopefully it will be ready soon!

As Always, MANY thanks!

Chris ':O)

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