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Federal Marriage Amendment
May 28, 2006

One Man.  One Woman. 
Greetings from Philadelphia, where I'm helping officiate a wedding of good friends this weekend.  A wedding beautiful beyond words.  But...the brother of the bride is gay, and he and his partner of seven years stood together with the couple for family photos.  And the flower girl, aged four, dressed all in pink and taking her flower job very seriously, has two mothers.

The groom kept saying to me how overwhelmed with gratitude he was for the people who had come from all walks of his life and his bride's life to celebrate and sanctify their public, official consent to give their lives to one another.

The Senate:
A week from tomorrow the Senate is scheduled to vote on a Federal Marriage Amendment to ban marriage between two men or two women.

If the Amendment ever becomes law, no two grooms or no two brides will ever celebrate a weekend like the one I just witnessed.

Here's the language from the Senate:
`SECTION 1. This article may be cited as the `Marriage Protection Amendment'.
`SECTION 2. Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.'.

Here's the language from the House:
`SECTION 1. Marriage in the United States shall consist only of a legal union of one man and one woman.
`SECTION 2. No court of the United States or of any State shall have jurisdiction to determine whether this Constitution or the constitution of any State requires that the legal incidents of marriage be conferred upon any union other than a legal union between one man and one woman.
`SECTION 3. No State shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State concerning a union between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage, or as having the legal incidents of marriage, under the laws of such other State.'.

Two Sides of the Divide:
Here are some resources to see the arguments surrounding this issue.  I'm on the VOTE NO side, no surprise.  It's useful to see the deep polarizations, the strong fears, and the many arguments.  You can find petitions here to sign.  You might want to consider signing one-even if you're straight-even if you think this issue doesn't concern you.  You never know when a family member or best friend might be left out in the cold, and need the comfort of compassion.

Vote No: "Don't deny Gay and Lesbian Marriage." Vote Yes:  One Man - One Woman
Human Rights Campaign The Family Research Council
People for the American Way Family Research Council
The Task Force Concerned Women of America

Thinking you might want to ramp up your involvement a bit.  Try PFLAG's  BRING THE MESSAGE HOME guide.

Closing Note:
When you look into the above resources and see the depth of the divide between expanding our inclusions versus expanding our barriers, it's easy to get discouraged.  That's when I think of the leaders and everyday people who have been involved in decades of justice work. They keep on getting up, every day, to face the next set of challenges. I treasure these people. 




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