Rhode Islanders ask Senator Reed to cosponsor DOMA repeal

Today, Freedom to Marry, Courage Campaign, Marriage Equality Rhode Island and Ocean State Action will present Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island with a petition signed by hundreds of Rhode Island residents urging him to join his colleagues in signing onto the Respect for Marriage Act, the bill that would repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

The signatures were collected through a joint online campaign with our four groups.  They represent a variety of constituents from Rhode Island, which passed civil union in June.  Reports have shown that under two dozen couples have since gotten civil unions in Rhode Island, which already honors the marriages of same-sex couples from other jurisdictions, but leaves these couples without federal protections because of DOMA.  Senator Reed is currently the only member of the Rhode Island Congressional delegation who has yet to co-sponsor the Respect for Marriage Act. However, he stated at the end of September that he would come to a conclusion about the legislation “quickly,” and that he believed it was “a critical issue.” 

Our National Campaign Director Marc Solomon had this to say in a joint release we sent out this morning:

“Recent census data show that Rhode Island is among the top ten states where gay and lesbian couples choose to build their lives together.  These loving, committed couples and their families are harmed every day by the denial of marriage and by federal discrimination that treats them as strangers in the eyes of the law. We hope that Senator Reed will hear the voices of his constituents and join us in ending marriage discrimination at the federal level and in the great state of Rhode Island.” 

This is one of two active campaigns currently underway in our Federal Program to grow the number of cosponsors for the Respect for Marriage Act. Last month, we delivered 3,000 signatures to Senator Barbara Mikulski, who later signed on as a cosponsor. We are also working with Courage Campaign and Equality Pennsylvania to urge Senator Casey's support.

Stay tuned for pictures and updates from Jo as she drops off the signatures at Senator Reed's office in DC today! 


------UPDATE: 1:45 PM---------

Our Federal Director Jo Deutsch just dropped off the signatures at Senator Reed's office along with Courage Campaign's Adam Bink. Marriage Equality Rhode Island and Ocean State Action will do a similar delivery in Providence later this afternoon.

Here's Jo outside Senator Reed's office, holding hundreds of signatures and personal messages from Senator Reed's constituents!