Angela Dallara, Freedom to Marry, Angela@freedomtomarry.org, 646-430-3925
Ana Beatriz Cholo, Courage Campaign, firstname.lastname@example.org, 312-927-4845
Carisa Cunningham, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, email@example.com, 617-426-1350
(Washington, D.C., December 20, 2011) – Today, gay and lesbian couples joined four state and national organizations in delivering more than 1,000 signatures urging Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) to cosponsor the Respect for Marriage Act, the bill that would overturn the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The groups collected the signatures through an online campaign as part of an ongoing effort to build support for passage of the Respect for Marriage Act in Congress.
The groups, which include Freedom to Marry, Courage Campaign, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), and the ACLU-Connecticut, released the following joint statement:
“Senator Lieberman made history last year as a crucial leader in the successful effort to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, but many gay and lesbian service members continue to suffer unequal treatment as a result of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. We urge him to stand on the right side of history today by cosponsoring the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal DOMA and restore the federal government to its historic practice of respecting marriages performed in individual states. Thousands of loving and committed gay and lesbian couples who were legally married in Lieberman’s home state of Connecticut and across the nation need the Respect for Marriage Act to ensure the critical safety-net of protections that only marriage provides.”
The letters were delivered personally on Tuesday to Senator Lieberman’s office in Hartford by gay and lesbian couples who reside in the state and are harmed by DOMA. Jody Mock, 57, and Beth Kerrigan, 56, have been together for 17 years and were married in Connecticut two years ago. Their twin sons, Fernando and Carlos, are ten years old. Tracy Weber Tierney, 38, and her spouse Katy Weber Tierney, 34, live in Cheshire and have been together for 11 years. They had a civil union in 2005 which they converted to marriage on October 1, 2010. Rob Biddleman, 49, and Dan Sullivan, 48, from West Hartford, have been together 24 years and were married after it became legal in Massachusetts. Rob, Dan, Tracy, Katy, Beth, and Beth and Jody’s twins all participated in delivering the letters and meeting with staff members of Senator Lieberman’s office.
Senator Lieberman voted against constitutional amendments in 2004 and 2006 that would have banned marriages for gay and lesbian couples, and he voted in 2009 to include sexual orientation as a protected category in the definition of a hate crime. Just last month, he and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) reintroduced the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act, which would ensure benefits to domestic partners of federal employees. He is the only member of the Connecticut Congressional delegation who has not yet cosponsored the Respect for Marriage Act.
Currently, there are a record number of supporters in both the House, where the bill has 134 sponsors, and in the Senate, with 32 sponsors, including every Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which voted in November to advance the Respect for Marriage Act to the full Senate.
Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage nationwide. We are pursuing our Roadmap to Victory by working to win the freedom to marry in more states, grow the national majority for marriage, and end federal marriage discrimination. We partner with individuals and organizations across the country to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage and the protections, responsibilities, and commitment that marriage brings.
Courage Campaign is a multi-issue online organizing network that empowers more than 700,000 grassroots and netroots supporters to work for progressive change and full equality in California and across the country.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut (ACLU-CT) is a nonpartisan, non-profit membership organization whose mission is to assure that the Bill of Rights and the rights guaranteed by the Connecticut Constitution are preserved for each new generation. The ACLU-CT accomplishes these goals through legislative advocacy, litigation, grassroots organizing and public education on a broad array of issues affecting our liberties.
Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders is New England's leading legal organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, HIV status, and gender identity and expression.