Equality Virginia NEWS
July 22, 2004

Anti-Gay Bill Seeks to Prevent Due Process Rights for Millions of Americans

In a continuing effort to distract Americans from more important and urgent issues facing the nation, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the so-called “Marriage Protection Act” today by a vote of 223-194. The measure is not expected to be voted on by the U.S. Senate this year.

“This entire debate and vote is just another effort to divide Americans by creating a ‘wedge’ campaign issue at the expense of tax-paying gay and lesbian Americans and their families,” said Dyana Mason, Equality Virginia Executive Director. “It is shameful and outrageous that the House voted today to endorse discrimination.”

Far from being just a bill to prevent marriage equality, the “Marriage Protection Act”(HR 3313), seeks to prohibit federal courts and the U.S. Supreme Court from ruling on the Constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, or any other marriage issue. This would clearly violate the due process, equal protection and separation of powers protections guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.

“It is certainly ironic that these anti-gay extremists claim to be ‘protecting the rights of Americans’ by rushing to pass a new law that has only one purpose: to deny an entire group of Americans the right to go to court to enforce the few rights that they have,” said attorney Joseph Price, Chair of Equality Virginia’s Board of Directors. “These political gymnastics would be entertaining if they weren’t attempting to strip the very real rights of millions of Americans.”

Equality Virginia will continue its campaign to educate our elected officials and all fair-minded Virginians about gay and lesbian families, the obstacles we face in our fight to be treated equally under the law, and the over 1300 rights, benefits and responsibilities of marriage couples are denied in Virginia.

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