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defending the First Amendment against the Christian right ...

Jews On First!

... because if Jews don't speak out, they'll think we don't mind

The Marriage Amendment Juggernaut

The federal anti-marriage amendment

See also: State marriage amendments | News and comment about marriage equality (updated after the November 2006 elections).

The Senate Takes Up, Votes Down the Marriage Amendment

We have assembled links to a variety of reports and statements issued on or after June 5, 2006, the day that the U.S. Senate began debating the marriage amendment. Please click here.

Earlier reports on the religious right's campaign for the amendment are below our reports on opposition to the measure. (Click here.)

The Campaign to Stop the Discriminatory Federal Marriage Amendment

Commentary and Talking Points for Shavuot Weekend

by, May 31, 2006

We have assembled talking points and commentary about the misnamed Marriage Protection Amendment that you can print out to distribute at Shavuot weekend services. Included is The Marriage Metaphor of Shavuot, a commentary by Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak of JewsOnFirst. Please click here

Clergy for Fairness: Interfaith group opposes discriminatory marriage amendment
Jews join campaign against marriage amendment

On May 22nd, more than 30 clergy representing many faith communities met with members of Congress to express their opposition to the constitutional amendment that would limit marriage nationwide to one man and one woman, Senate Joint Resolution 1. The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, a participant in the interfaith group, also issued a strong statement against the amendment. For extensive coverage of the opposition to the measure, please click here.

Clergy Group Aims to Block Gay Marriage Amendment

By Neela Banerjee, The New York Times, May 23, 2006

WASHINGTON, May 22 - An interfaith coalition of clergy members and lay leaders announced a petition drive on Monday aimed at blocking a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill on a vote along party lines last week, and the full Senate is expected to vote on it the week of June 5.

About 35 representatives of the coalition, Clergy for Fairness, said at a news conference that more than 1,600 clergy members had signed an online petition against the amendment. The group's Web site has postcards that lay people can print out and send to members of Congress. Continue

Liberals Defend Gay Marriage As Religious Right

By Jennifer Siegel, Forward, May 26, 2006

With the Senate slated to vote in three weeks on a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, an interfaith coalition of liberal clergy is arguing that the measure would violate their religious liberty.

The coalition, billed as Clergy for Fairness, opposes the Marriage Protection Amendment, which would constitutionally define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Nearly two-dozen organizations — including the Alliance of Baptists and the Episcopal Church USA, the National Council of Jewish Women and the Reform movement's Central Conference of American Rabbis, and several Sikh groups — belong to the coalition, which sent 35 religious leaders to Washington on Monday to meet with members of Congress. Click here

Reform Jewish Movement Urges Senate to Oppose Federal Marriage Amendment

Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, News Release, May 19, 2006

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 19, 2006 – Yesterday, in response to the Senate Judiciary Committee approval of the proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, Rabbi Marla Feldman, Director of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism issued the following statement:

The Reform Jewish Movement calls on Senators to oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment when it comes to the Senate floor in an expected early June vote. S.J. Res. 1 would permanently enshrine discrimination into the Constitution by defining marriage “as a union between a man and a woman,” and thus denying same-sex couples the same government rights and responsibilities afforded to heterosexual couples.

Go to the news release on the Religious Action Center's website.

Our report on Clergy for Fairness contains links to additional reports on lobbying for and against the marriage amendment and on Jewish participation in the effort to defeat the amendment. Please click here.

Log Cabin Criticizes Plans for White House Event to Push Divisive and Discriminatory Anti-Family Constitutional Amendment

News release, June 1, 2006

WASHINGTON, June 1 /U.S. Newswire/ -- "Strong leadership in the midst of the difficult and challenging war on terror demands a President who unites Americans instead of dividing them," said Log Cabin President Patrick Guerriero. "President Bush's decision to use the bully pulpit of the Presidency and the formality of a White House event to espouse an anti-family constitutional amendment is an insult to millions of gay and lesbian Americans and our families," said Guerriero. Continue

President Bush's June 3rd radio address supporting the marriage amendment

The key quote: "An amendment to the Constitution is necessary because activist courts have left our Nation with no other choice. The constitutional amendment that the Senate will consider next week would fully protect marriage from being redefined, while leaving state legislatures free to make their own choices in defining legal arrangements other than marriage." The link

Religious right presses for discriminatory amendment

Marriage Amendment Could Soothe Angry Right

By Kelley Beaucar Vlahos, Fox News, June 2, 2006

WASHINGTON — With Republicans facing a potential backlash at the polls in November, a renewed national debate over gay marriage can only boost the morale of the party's religious conservative base, which for a variety of reasons is near mutiny, say sources in the movement. Continue

Bush to Endorse Marriage Protection Amendment
Spokesman calls it "an enduring and sacred institution."

by Pete Winn, Citizen Link (Focus on the Family), June 2, 2006

President Bush will publicly endorse the Marriage Protection Amendment (MPA) on Monday in a ceremony at the White House just two days before the Senate is expected to vote on the measure. Continue

Conservative Churches Claim Gay Marriage Would Harm Them

by, May 23, 2006

(Washington) The president of The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty says churches and Christian schools that oppose gay marriage will face government pressure if it's legalized.

Anthony Picarello says they could be barred from firing employees with same-sex spouses, forced to give them marital benefits, or lose charitable and property tax exemptions if they refuse. Continue

Scholars: ‘Gay marriage’ will cause church-state clashes

By Tom Strode, Baptist Press , June 2, 2006

WASHINGTON (BP)--The expansion of “gay marriage” in the United States would create clashes between church and state that might restrict the religious freedom of Americans who oppose such unions, legal scholars predict.

The legalization of “gay marriage,” it was forecast, could impact, for example, the housing and employment policies of religious schools and other institutions and even the tax-exempt status of churches and parachurch organizations. Continue

MPA Vote Fast Approaches
Family advocates optimistic measure to protect traditional marriage will pick up votes in second Senate vote.

Citizen Link (Focus on the Family), May 26, 2006

The article expresses concern that national attention is distracted from this centerpiece of religious right legislation. It provides a link for "writing" letters to editors of local newspapers. Click for the article.

Diverse Faith Groups Unite to Push for Federal Marriage Amendment

By Allie Martin and Jenni Parker, Agape Press, May 25, 2006

Several major religious denominations have come together to urge the U.S. Senate to approve a marriage amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The Religious Coalition for Marriage has released a statement signed by 50 leaders and expressing support for the proposed federal marriage protection amendment.

The Coalition is comprised of all eight U.S. Catholic cardinals, as well as officials of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Church of God in Christ, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, and the National Association of Evangelicals. While diverse in many ways, the groups represented share a singleness of purpose -- the protection of traditional marriage. Continue

TVC Opposed to Marriage Protection Amendment
Re: Opposition to S. J. Res. 1 the Marriage Protection Amendment Because of the Second Sentence

Traditional Values Coalition, June 1, 2006

This religious right group, headed by Lou Sheldon, is running a letter-writing campaign opposing the marriage amendment because it could permit civil unions. Click for the letter.

Committee quickly passes amendment

Senate panel OKs federal amendment banning gay marriage
Feingold, Specter clash as measure is sent for early June Senate vote

By Dyana Bagby, Washington Blade, May 18, 2:13 PM

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage after a heated exchange between Republican committee chair Arlen Specter and Democrat Russ Feingold.

The committee voted 10-8 along party lines to send the proposed amendment to the full Senate. The full Senate is expected to vote on the measure during the week of June 5, as Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) had requested.

Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican, and Feingold, from Wisconsin, argued angrily during today's committee meeting with Feingold walking out as Specter wished him "good riddance." Continue

U.S. Senate committee passes same-sex marriage ban with Reuters, May 19, 2006

A Senate panel on Thursday advanced a measure that would amend the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage as the committee chairman shouted "Good riddance!" to a Democrat who walked out of the tense session. "If you want to leave, good riddance," Senate Judiciary chairman Arlen Specter told Wisconsin Democratic senator Russell Feingold, who refused to participate because, he said, the meeting was not sufficiently open to the public. Continue

Gay Americans in the crossfire
The Marriage Protection Amendment is really the Marriage Discrimination Amendment, because it’s taking away our rights.

By Joe Solmonese, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign, Washington Blade, May 19, 2006

We’ll be briefing and lobbying Congress on an almost daily basis. We’ll be engaging grass-roots leaders to be sure they make opposition known with their senators. We’re turning out religious, conservative and business voices to ensure nobody has a stranglehold on this fight.

BUT WE NEED you to join us. Read the op-ed and learn how to get involved.

The lead-up to Senate action on marriage discrimination

Laura Bush To GOP: Don't Use Gay Marriage Ban In Campaign

by Dedra Pickler, Associated Press,, May 14, 2006

Laura Bush told "Fox News Sunday" that she thinks the American people want a debate on the issue, but added: "I don't think it should be used as a campaign tool, obviously." Click here for the report

A Religious Push Against Gay Unions

By David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times, April 24, 2006

WASHINGTON, April 23 - About 50 prominent religious leaders, including seven Roman Catholic cardinals and about a half-dozen archbishops, have signed a petition in support of a constitutional amendment blocking same-sex marriage.

Organizers of the petition said it was in part an effort to revive the groundswell of opposition to same-sex marriage that helped bring many conservative voters to the polls in some pivotal states in 2004. The signers include many influential evangelical Protestants, a few rabbis and an official of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Continue

GOP Senate paper outlines arguments for marriage amendment

By Michael Foust, Baptist Press, March 31, 2006

WASHINGTON (BP)--Failure of Congress to send a constitutional marriage amendment to the states likely will result in courts eventually legalizing "gay marriage" nationwide, a policy paper published by the U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee asserts. Continue

Frist sets Marriage Protection Amendment vote for June; says 'values are under attack'

Baptist Press, February 13, 2006

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist announced February 10th that he would bring the anti-gay Marriage Protection Amendment, Senate Joint Resolution 1, to the floor for debate the week of June 5. The article quotes Frist saying that the amendment is needed to prevent "the whims of a few activist judges" from prevailing over "the common sense of the American people." Click here for the article.

House anti-marriage bill

July 2004: House of Representatives passes "marriage protection" legislation
Senate committee fails to act on HR 3313

To read the text and history of this bill, which would have stripped the federal courts of jurisdiction over cases involving states'recognition of same-sex marriages under other states' laws, click here.

House OKs Anti-Gay Marriage Bill
Legislation would strip federal judges of right to review whether a state that bars gay marriages must accept such marriages from another state.

By Richard Simon, Los Angeles Times, July 22, 2004

"The White House-backed measure was approved on a largely party-line vote of 233-194. It faces an uncertain fate in the Senate, which last week scuttled a proposed Constitutional amendment barring gay marriage." Click here to read the report.

Related News Reports

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