Press

Anti-Federal Marriage Amendment Organizing Begins

Date: 
July 15, 2003

Friends:
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is committed to defeating the Federal Marriage Amendment and will be releasing more information on our organizing plans soon. We are committed to fighting against the inevitable right-wing back lash sparked by the recent Lawrence v. Texas sodomy decision. It is critical that we not allow the reactionary right to roll back our civil rights by using marriage as a wedge issue against our full equality under the law.

Below you will find information from the folks at DontAmend.com and their organizing plans.

*** DON'T AMEND THE CONSTITUTION WITH ANTI-GAY BIGOTRY ***
www.DontAmend.com

NEWS from DontAmend.com
July 14, 2003

Contact: Robin Tyler 818-893-4075 RTDontAmend@aol.com
John Aravosis, 202-328-5707, John@DontAmend.com

NEW WEB CAMPAIGN TO FIGHT ANTI-GAY CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
StopDrLaura.com Organizers Regroup to Fight New Threat to Gay & Lesbian Americans

Washington, DC - A new Web campaign was launched today to fight the far-right's attempt to add anti-gay language to the US Constitution. The campaign, called DontAmend.com, is promising to be the largest online gay mobilization in history. DontAmend.com is cofounded by Robin Tyler and John Aravosis, two of the founders of the successful StopDrLaura.com campaign, which ran a successful boycott of Dr. Laura Schlessinger's then-new TV show three years ago. The show was subsequently canceled after over 170 advertisers left as a result of the campaign.

"The radical right is angry the US Supreme Court recently ruled in Lawrence v. Texas that gay and lesbian Americans shouldn't be thrown in jail simply because of who they are," said Robin Tyler, cofounder of DontAmend.com and former national protest coordinator of StopDrLaura.com. "They fear the majority of Americans may not share their intolerance, and now want a constitutional amendment using the scare tactic of 'same sex marriage' to deny civil rights and equal benefits to millions of people."

While the proposed amendment to the US Constitution, called the Federal Marriage Amendment, has been around for several years, the possibility of it passing the Congress increased significantly two weeks ago when Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) announced his support for the measure on ABC's "This Week."

DontAmend.com cofounder, and former StopDrLaura.com online organizer John Aravosis, says the religious right is now organizing to pass this amendment like never before. "The religious right has now made passage of an anti-gay amendment to the US Constitution its number one priority," Aravosis said. "Gay Americans and their allies must make fighting this legislative bigotry our number one priority."

Tyler says that DontAmend.com will use, and build on, expertise gleaned during the StopDrLaura.com battle. "StopDrLaura.com successfully melded the Internet and traditional grassroots organizing to motivate millions of people to fight prejudice," Tyler said. Andy Thayer, who worked with me on stopdrlaura.com, and I, used this organizing tool to successfully work with local activists to organize 38 cities in just 3 weeks so thousands poured into the streets from San Juan to Fairbanks to celebrate the Lawrence VS Texas Supreme Court victory on the day of that decision. "We will replicate those successes and bring them to a level never before seen in history." Aravosis says that the religious right push for the amendment offers gays and their allies an unprecedented opportunity to organize. "While we would prefer not to be fighting this battle at all, we believe DontAmend.com has the potential to become the gay 'MoveOn.org'," said Aravosis, referring to the wildly successful online grassroots campaign. "Our goal is nothing less than creating the largest mobilization of gays and their allies in the history of the world."

Addendum, July 18, 2003:

DontAmend.com Activists Map Out Constitutional Amendment Campaign

National Day of Rallies & Events Set for Valentine's Day, Saturday, Feb. 14, 2004

DontAmend.com activists today outlined a broad plan to capitalize on the recent Supreme Court victory, organizing to stop the anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment and push for full, equal marriage rights for all consenting adults in the United States.

Working with local and national organizations such as Marriage Equality California and Marriage Equality USA, DontAmend.com activists plan a two pronged offensive:

-Campaigning in all of the States to get people from all walks of life - public officials, religious figures, and other community leaders - to sign public commitments to oppose the anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment.

- Launching a pro-active, pro-equal marriage campaign of local educational events, protests of anti-gay officials and other activities culminating in a nationwide day of rallies and other events for same sex marriage on Valentine's Day, Saturday, February 14, 2004

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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.