Equality Virginia News
July 14, 2004

Bi-Partisan Vote Demonstrates Clear Rejection of Cynical Election-Year Ploy

In a stunning defeat for anti-gay extremists nationwide, the U.S. Senate today failed to muster even a simple majority to close debate, or “cloture”, on the Federal Marriage Amendment. Sixty votes were needed to impose cloture.

“We are thrilled that those who wanted to codify discrimination in the U.S. Constitution were stopped dead in their tracks today,” said Dyana Mason, Equality Virginia Executive Director. “I certainly believe that with so many more pressing issues facing our nation, spending nearly three days debating a failed measure was a cynical and desperate effort to distract the American public and divide American voters.”

In the 50-48 bi-partisan vote rejecting cloture, six Republicans joined with forty-four Democrats to stop the resolution. While both Virginia Senators, John Warner and George Allen, voted to support cloture, Senator Warner stated his opposition to an unamended amendment during Senate floor debate Tuesday.

H.J. Resolution 56/S.J. Resolution 26 states:

Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution nor the constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.

Working to help defeat this discriminatory measure, Equality Virginia staff and volunteers met with staff members for both Senators Warner and Allen to lobby them, delivered over 2000 petitions signatures from concerned Virginians and urged its 3500 members to write letters and make phone calls to urge them to oppose this measure.

“While the Amendment was defeated today, we’ll not rest on this victory.” said Tom Field, Equality Virginia’s Political Committee Chair. “We will continue to work to educate all fair-minded Virginians about the reality of gay and lesbian families and embrace the challenges ahead to be treated equally under the law.”

Equality Virginia (www.EqualityVirginia.org) is a statewide non-partisan lobbying, education and support network for the GLBT community in Virginia. Founded in 1989 as Virginians for Justice, EV has members across the Commonwealth. EV seeks equality for all Virginians by lobbying the General Assembly, organizing communities and educating the public.

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