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!

**Make your NOMINATION for a Voice for Equality today!

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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!

**Make your NOMINATION for a Voice for Equality today!

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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!

**Make your NOMINATION for a Voice for Equality today!

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Voice for Equality: Jon Adler

U.S. Representative Jon Adler (D-NJ) Congressman John Adler was sworn into office on January 6, 2009 and is serving his first term as U.S. Representative for New Jersey's Third Congressional District. The Third District spans the state, and includes portions of Burlington, Camden, and Ocean counties.

As a supporter of Marriage Equality, Congressman Adler’s vote for the Civil Union’s Bill was made with mixed emotions and in a statement he said, "I am torn. I probably would have gone further today...I suspect we will be back on this issue again."

John and his wife, Shelley, live in Cherry Hill, where they are raising their four sons Jeffrey, Alex, Andrew, and Oliver.

We salute Congressman Jon Adler as a Voice for Equality!

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Voice for Equality: Rob Andrews

On April 28, 2008, Blue Jersey reported that U.S. Representative Rob Andrews (D-NJ) said, "I support marriage equality. The recent commission report on civil unions was pivotal in my thinking. The civil union law has failed to give gay couples equal rights."

Seven months later, on November 4th, 2008, Congressman Rob Andrews received more votes than anyone elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in the history of the State of New Jersey. He received a total of 206,453 votes (72% of the total votes cast), surpassing the previous record which was also set by Congressman Andrews. He has represented the residents of the First Congressional District of New Jersey, which includes Burlington, Camden and Gloucester Counties, since he was first elected to the House in 1990.

Freedom to Marry salutes the leadership of Congressman Rob Andrews as a Voice for Equality!

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