Voice for Equality: Ron Wyden

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (OR-D) has been standing up for Oregon in the U.S. Senate since 1996. Throughout his public service, Senator Wyden has earned a reputation as an independent voice for Oregonians and the nation, offering creative, common-sense solutions on issues that make a real difference in people’s lives.

He has openly challenged anti-gay military polices saying, “At a time when our military is scrambling to find qualified recruits, the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy makes absolutely no sense and undermines the fight against terrorism.” Wyden said. “These patriotic and courageous men and women who want to serve our country ought to be allowed to do so.”

He voted against the amendment to enshrine marriage discrimination into the US Constitution and is recognized by eQuality Giving as supporting Marriage Equality.


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Voice for Equality: Jeff Merkley

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (OR-D) is the son of a millwright and the first in his family to attend college. His policy education came first from his father, Darrell, who after work each day would read the newspaper, watch the evening news, and run a commentary on how we could improve our nation. From his mother he gained the advice “to do what’s right!” and “to do your best!”

Merkley’s interest in public office is an extension of his passion about building a better America. He likes to keep grounded by asking the simple question: “What is best for our children, our workers, our families, and our planet?” Merkley won his first campaign for State Representative in 1998. He was elected Democratic Leader in 2003 and Speaker in 2007.

On his website, Merkley states that he "Strongly supports marriage equality and will lead the way for equal rights in the U.S. Senate."

Freedom to Marry salutes U.S. Senator Merkley for being a Voice for Equality!


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Voice for Equality: Keith Ellison

U.S. Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) has served the fifth congressional district of Minnesota since January 2007. Representative Ellison is a member of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL).

He is the first African American from Minnesota to serve the US Congress. He is also the first Muslim to serve in the US Congress. Previously, Mr. Ellison served in the Minnesota State House of Representatives (District 58B) from 2003 to 2007.

In February 2009, Rep. Ellison co-sponsored the bill “Uniting American Families Act.” The legislation would allow non-citizen partners of gays and lesbians to gain permanent resident status in the same manner as married couples.

While serving in the Minnesota state legislature he adamantly opposed denying marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples via constitutional amendment (MN House Bill - HF3922): “What marriage, what single heterosexual marriage that exists today will be saved today because of this amendment? I would suggest to you not one. ...In 1954, the United States Supreme Court, maybe a bunch of activist judges in the minds of some people, said that black school children could go to school in the same classrooms as white school children. Was that the act of an activist judge? Let me ask you this though, what would happen if we put it to the vote? What would happen if we put the Equal Protection Clause to the vote? I dare say that it would fail."

Keith Ellison, Minnesota House speech in response to HF3922 proposing an amendment to the MN state constitution to define marriage, (2006). The 2006 bill failed but MN state politicians have since introduced four similar, failed measures and vow to keep trying.

We thank Michelle Marzullo for nominating Congressman Keith Ellison to be a Voice for Equality!

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Voice for Equality: John Olver

U.S. Representative John Olver (D-MA) has represented the 1st Congressional District in Massachusetts spanning Berkshire, Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, Worcester and Middlesex Counties—since June 1991. He serves on the House Appropriations Committee and the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee.

He voted against the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 and has consistently supported the right to marriage for gay and lesbian couples.

In a statement following the President’s State of the Union Address, January 2004, he said, “Before millions of Americans, President Bush, who characterizes himself as a unifier, not a divider, stated his divisive belief that gay Americans do not deserve the right to marriage that all other Americans enjoy. I believe that gay and lesbian citizens should have the same rights and responsibilities as other citizens.”

Freedom to Marry thanks Michelle Marzullo for nominating Congress Olver as a Voice for Equality!

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Voice for Equality: Charles Shumer

On May 12, 2009, U.S. Senator Charles Shumer sent a letter to the NY Senate expressing his support for marriage equality and urging their support for the marriage equality bill already passed by the NY Assembly.

In the letter, jointly signed with the NY's Junior US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, he said, "Equal protection under the law has always been a hallmark of the American political and legal system, and in this instance we believe this principle should be extended to all those in our state who seek the civil contract of marriage and the numerous legal rights and protections that come with it."

Over the past three decades in public service, U.S. Senator Charles “Chuck” Ellis Schumer has built a reputation as a leader in finding common-sense solutions to national issues and a tireless fighter for New York.

Chuck was born in Brooklyn, NY on November 23, 1950 Chuck still resides in Brooklyn with his wife, Iris Weinshall, and their daughters Jessica and Alison.

Freedom to Marry salutes US Senator Charles Shumer for being a Voice for Equality!

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Voice for Equality: Jim McGovern

U.S. Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA) has been a U.S. Representative for Massachusetts' 3rd Congressional District since 1997. McGovern is the Vice Chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee, which sets the terms for debate and amendments on most legislation, and a member of the House Budget Committee. He cosponsors the bills H.R.1592 - Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which passed the house 249-175 on 4/29/09, as well as H.R.2015 - Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

McGovern is also co-chair of both the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and the House Hunger Caucus. He is a supporter of marriage equality and has been a leader in the fight to prevent adding marriage discrimination amendment to the federal constitution in 2006. "This bill, to put it simply and bluntly, is about adding discrimination and intolerance to the United States Constitution," said Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass. on the proposed federal Marriage Protection Amendment (H.Res. 918) to the US Constitution, July 18, 2006.

Thanks to Michelle Marzullo for nominating Congressman Jim McGovern as a Voice for Equality!

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Voice for Equality: Gabrielle Giffords

U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was sworn in January, 2007. She was the youngest woman ever to be elected to Arizona Senate (2003-2007) and is a member of Democratic Leadership Council. Giffords sits on the Committee on Armed Services, Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Science and Technology.

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Voice for Equality: Barbara Boxer

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has been a California State Senator since 1992.

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Voice for Equality: Tim Walz

U.S. Representative Tim Walz (MN-D) is currently serving his second term representing Minnesota’s First Congressional District. The First Congressional District spans the southern part of Minnesota – from the South Dakota border in the west to the Wisconsin border in the east. Congressman and Mrs. Walz live in Mankato with their two young children, Hope and Gus.

On July 28, 2008, the congressman’s support for marriage equality was reported in local news, "And the best thing that ever happened to me was to get married and I don't see a reason to deny that to anyone. So I'm pretty consistent on that, of where government should not be in our lives."

Freedom to Marry salutes Congressman Tim Walz for being a Voice for Equality!

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Voice for Equality: Shelly Berkley

U.S. Representative Shelley Berkley (D-NV) is as dynamic as the community she serves. Congresswoman Berkley has represented the families of Nevada’s First Congressional District since 1999 and is currently in her sixth term as a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

A Las Vegas resident for more than four decades, Shelley has a deep sense of commitment to her community and has never forgotten that when her family headed West in search of a better life, they found it in southern Nevada. She has been longtime advocate for marriage equality and gay rights. On March 10, 2008, one of her constituents saluted her in the local Las Vegas Review Journal, "When I got married to my partner last year, Shelley called and left a message on my voice mail congratulating us and saying she was making a donation to the synagogue of the rabbi who married us to show her support."

Freedom to Marry salutes Congresswoman Shelley Berkley for being a Voice for Equality!

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