Groups Launch Campaign Urging Senator Casey to Cosponsor Respect for Marriage Act


 Press Contacts:

Jackie Yodashkin, Freedom to Marry,, 917-620-4502
Ted Martin, Equality Pennsylvania,,  717-319-4210 
Ana Beatriz Cholo, Courage Campaign,, 312-927-4845 
(Harrisburg, PA, October 4, 2011) – Today, following the successful campaign in Maryland last month by Freedom to Marry, Courage Campaign and Equality Maryland to get Senator Barbara Mikulski to support the Respect for Marriage Act, Freedom to Marry, Courage Campaign and Equality Pennsylvania announced a joint campaign urging Senator Robert Casey to sign on as a cosponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, the bill that will overturn the so-called Defense of Marriage Act.
"Loving and committed couples across Pennsylvania and the nation are harmed every day by DOMA," said Marc Solomon, National Campaign Director of Freedom to Marry, the campaign to win marriage nationwide.  "We are working with our partners at Equality Pennsylvania and Courage Campaign to make sure that Senator Casey hears from his constituents who want him to join in support of the Respect for Marriage Act."
The three groups will collect signatures from a variety of constituents across Pennsylvania. Currently, Pennsylvania excludes same-sex couples from marriage, but many same-sex couples have married in other states and are harmed by federal marriage discrimination under DOMA.
"I have known Senator Casey for six years and I respect him greatly," said Rick Jacobs, chair and founder of the Courage Campaign, a 700,000 member national, grassroots, progressive online organization. "He is thoughtful, deliberate and he always bends towards justice. Gay and lesbian couples are a part of Pennsylvania and their love is equal to every other Pennsylvanian." 
The signatories signed onto a letter that reads:
We write on behalf of thousands of Pennsylvania families who are presently denied critical protections and recognition under the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act,” or DOMA. As you know, hundreds of Pennsylvania same-sex couples are legally married out of state.  However, these married same-sex couples are treated as legal strangers in the eyes of the federal government because of DOMA and excluded from more than 1,100 federal laws in which marital status is a factor, including Social Security, immigration, and family and medical leave.
For the full text of the letter, click here:
 “Over the years, Senator Casey has shown true growth in his understanding and support of LGBT issues and for that Equality Pennsylvania is grateful,” said Ted Martin, Executive Director of Equality Pennsylvania. “Supporting the repeal of the discriminatory and mean-spirited so-called Defense of Marriage Act is yet another large step in this progress and we are happy to join with Freedom to Marry and the Courage Campaign to give voice to the just and equal treatment thousands of LGBT citizens and their allies believe and have called for publicly in letters, conversations and recently quite a number of polls.  Supporting repeal is the right choice for the Senator.”
The campaign will run through next week, and then representatives of the groups will deliver the petition signatures to Senator Casey’s office.
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. 
Equality Pennsylvania supports the repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and our mission is to be the preeminent LGBT advocacy organization for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and work collaboratively to establish a comprehensive network of individuals and organizations united in securing equal rights for the LGBT community.