Press

NGLTF Encourages Passage Of House and Senate Domestic Partnership Bills

Date: 
June 11, 2003

However, Finds It Ironic That at the Same Time Canada Is Legally Recognizing Same-Sex Marriages, the United States Is Still Taking Baby Steps Toward Equality

WASHINGTON DC - June 11, 2003 - A day after Ontario's highest court legalized same sex marriage, Representative Barney Frank and Senator Mark Dayton announced the introduction of the Domestic Partnership and Obligations Act to the 108th Congress. This federal legislation is an important step to gaining equal rights for all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the United States. This bill would grant domestic partners, regardless of sex, the same rights that all legal spouses of federal employees currently receive, bringing the federal government's policy in line with numerous major corporations and 11 other states that recognize domestic partnerships in some form.

"Same-sex couples work hard and contribute to this society just as much as heterosexual couples," said Sean Cahill, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) Policy Institute Director. "Our families deserve equal treatment. Most Americans support partner recognition and majorities in New Hampshire and Massachusetts support same-sex marriage. Given that same-sex couples can now marry in Ontario, Canada, Holland and Belgium, we certainly urge Congress to pass this domestic partnership bill. Congress must take a stand for equality," he said.

Only last month, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute released a comprehensive review The 2004 Democratic Presidential Candidates on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Issues. The report analyzes the positions of the nine declared Democratic candidates in 11 issue areas, including sexual orientation and gender identity nondiscrimination laws, civil unions, marriage, domestic partnership, the ban on gay people serving in the military, and GLBT-supportive education policies. Gay, lesbian and bisexual voters are the third most loyal Democratic voting bloc after African American and Jewish voters. The report found that eight of the nine candidates support domestic partner benefits.

The following is attributable to Sean Cahill:

"Domestic partner benefits provide equal pay for equal work. Americans overwhelmingly support equal treatment for same-sex couples. Americans oppose discrimination based on sexual orientation. For example, 73% support equal inheritance rights, and 68% support Social Security survivor benefits for same-sex partners.

We thank lead sponsors Rep. Frank and Sen. Dayton for their outstanding leadership and vision on this issue. The co-sponsors that have already signed on to this bill are also to be commended. We look forward to the day when gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals are given all the same rights as heterosexual people: protected by non-discrimination policies and the ability to have their families recognized by the government. Same-sex couples in this country are still seeking the most basic form or recognition in this country. This legislation helps us come closer to providing the American Dream to all Americans. However, we find it ironic that within one day of Ontario, Canada legally recognizing same-sex marriage, and calling the ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, that same-sex couples in this country are still treated like second class citizens."

All data reported in this release can be found in the NGLTF 2004 Democratic Presidential Candidates report, in the Task Force publications library.

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The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.