“This week, the Senate is slated to hold a cloture vote on the ‘Respect for Marriage Act (RMA), which recently passed the House with bipartisan support. If passed by the Senate, the RMA would codify some, but not all, of the rights and protections won through years of activism and legal challenges that finally gave same-sex couples marriage equality. The National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund supports the Respect for Marriage Act and are mobilizing people to contact their Senators, with a focus on increasing conservative votes for passage and encouraging those already supporting to work with their colleagues. At the same time, we feel strongly this must be seen in a larger context for queer and other marginalized communities. Too many are suffering because of the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade, the on-going onslaught of anti-trans and anti LGBTQ legislation in the states and the widespread attempts at dismantling our constitutional rights and our very democracy.
The Task Force Action Fund is eager to see the passage of this legislation. We must also look at it through the lens of the broader attacks on our constitutional rights, from bodily autonomy to voting rights to anti-trans legislation and restrictions to affirming healthcare to attempts to simply erase LGBTQ people in schools and the public sphere. For example, we must continue to prioritize essential federal non-discrimination protections, which would change the landscape for LGBTQ people, women, and people of color by amending the Civil Rights Act.
Today, we have a window of opportunity to protect marriage equality. Despite overwhelming support of Americans (71%), there are justices on the Supreme Court who have signaled a desire to roll back hard-fought civil rights laws following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the long-standing constitutional right to abortion. The threat to marriage equality is clear and we are inspired to see growing bi-partisan response from the House and Senate in support of the Respect for Marriage Act. We need several more willing conservatives to get a filibuster-proof majority—and their close colleagues tell us this is possible. Together, we should focus on telling our stories and encouraging our Senators to support this bill.
No matter the vote, we will hold accountable any elected official willing to destroy a major civil rights advancement that has put LGBTQ people closer to being treated as full citizens. November Midterm elections are coming, and our community is paying attention. We can win this but we must own our power and come together in these challenging times – we have justice on our side and our voices matter. I am hopeful as I see our community and our allies rise to speak up, get in the streets, organize and plan to vote in large numbers this Fall. Join us.”
Executive Director, Kierra Johnson, joined the Task Force in 2018 as Deputy Executive Director but was already engaged with the organization, previously serving on the National LGBTQ Task Force’s board of directors and its National Action Council.