35 Major Organizations Embrace President Obama’s Gay Marriage Support
35 major organizations, from the AFL-CIO to theÂ United Food and Commercial Workers Union, from Â HRC and GLAAD to the ACLU and theÂ National Center for Lesbian Rights, all voiced support for President Obama’s support of same-sex marriage on Wednesday.
Here are the statements, via the White House blog:
â€œWorking people believe in equality and fairness and thatâ€™s why we are happy to stand with millions of Americans and with President Obama in supporting marriage equality.
â€œLGBT working people face numerous inequities in the workplace and in society as they struggle to care for their families. Civil unions do not guarantee the 1,138 rights, benefits and responsibilities that are triggered by the word “marriageâ€ under federal law.
â€œMost important, we should respect and honor our friends, neighbors, and family members who want to take care of their families and their loved ones â€“ whatever their sexual orientation. We are proud to come together for a more just America.â€
â€œPresident Obamaâ€™s announcement today recognizes a fundamental American right â€“ that every citizen is entitled to respect and dignity, and the equal protection of our laws.Â For too long, lesbian and gay Americans have been denied the right to marry the person they love, raise a family and live as equal citizens in our country. They are denied access to pension benefits, Social Security survivor benefits, family health and bereavement leave and family immigration rights.Â That discrimination harms all of us, not just LGBT Americans.Â We have an obligation to work to overturn unjust laws and amendments to state constitutions that codify prejudice and promote discrimination against fellow citizens.Â The President deserves praise for recognizing that this issue is about equality under the law and the right of all Americans to live their lives free from discrimination.â€
American Civil Liberties Union
â€œPresident Obama is doing the right thing and showing leadership by recognizing that lesbians and gays should be treated as equal citizens.Â The freedom to marry whomever we love and want to share our life with is fundamental to who we are and what we stand for as a country. The fight for fairness and equal treatment under the law for all Americans took a critical step forward today.â€
American Federation of Teachers
â€œAmerica’s greatness has been based in large part on our continual journey toward equality. President Obama’s action today on marriage equality continues that journey. I am proud to lead an organization that has, from our founding, stood firm against discrimination based on race, ethnicity, gender, physical disability or sexual orientation. The fight for civil rights not only in the workforce but also in every aspect of American life, is ongoing. Every American is entitled to equal shares of equality, liberty and happiness.â€
American Foundation for Equal Rights
â€œPresident Obamaâ€™s words today will be celebrated by generations to come. For the millions of young gay and lesbian Americans across this nation, President Obamaâ€™s words provide genuine hope that they will be the first generation to grow up with the freedom to fully pursue the American dream. Marriageâ€”the promise of love, companionship, and familyâ€”is basic to the pursuit of that dream. Our Constitutionâ€™s promise, the promise of liberty, is one that every generation must realize. As President Obama recognized today, the fight to secure marriage equality is the defining element of our generationâ€™s search for greater freedom.â€
â€œWe strongly welcome the Presidentâ€™s endorsement of same-sex marriage equality.Â It is a significant and historic step forward in the pursuit of equal opportunity, individual liberty and freedom from discrimination, and underscores the fact that no American should be denied access to the benefits of civil marriage because of his or her sexual orientation.Â All citizens should be entitled to the same rights, protections and benefits.â€
â€œWe applaud the president’s decision as it is another large step toward realizing this country’s promise of equality. Indeed, President Obama today helped bend the arc of history toward justice. And his stance will be remembered as such.â€
â€œPresident Obama made history today when he came out in full support of marriage rights for gay couples. Many Americans have thought about this issue and, like the president, have reconsidered their feelings about it. His journey is our journey.â€
â€œThe Communications Workers of America stands with the President and those who support equality and human rights.Â We oppose all discrimination and recognize the direct linkage between civil and workersâ€™ rights, and the attempts to divide Americans based on these issues.
Nearly ten years ago, CWA convention delegates called for full and equal rights including civil marriage, pointing out that far too many benefits and protections of civil marriage are denied to people on the basis of sexual orientation.Â These often include health care and survivor benefits as well as other legal rights for partners.Â Itâ€™s time to move forward. â€œ
â€œThis is a watershed moment for marriage equality – the discussion will never be the same.Â The President has taken a courageous position that will go down in history as the moment when the tide changed. The American public is moving rapidly in the direction of supporting marriage equality and the President, along with the others in his Administration, is taking his rightful place as a leader on this issue.â€
â€œWe are thrilled by President Obama’s declaration of support for marriage equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans.Â The President now joins the majority of New Yorkers and Americans who believe that all committed and loving couples should have the opportunity to enjoy the protections that marriage offers to them and their families.â€
â€œThis is a historic day for families everywhereâ€¦ His support for our fundamental equality cannot be overstated.â€
â€œWe have long understood, deep in our hearts, that love makes a family, but there is no disputing that marriage strengthens it.Â For more than 30 years, a generation of parents has focused on raising their children to love their country, support their friends and neighbors and treat all people with respect.Â They have given these values to their children, but have been unable to provide them with simple legal and economic protections that other married couples count on for their kids.â€
â€œToday, President Obama added his voice to the growing chorus of Americans who believe that all loving and committed couples should share equally in the freedom to marry. Like so many others who have made this journey â€“ from Bill Clinton to Laura Bush, most recently Vice President Biden, and a majority of the American people â€“ President Obama has come to know loving and committed gay couples.Â Through thought and conversation about these families and their dreams and challenges, President Obama has reflected on his own values of fairness and respect for others, and completed his journey to support for the freedom to marry. He now becomes the first sitting President to join the majority of Americans whose hearts have opened and minds have changed in favor of the freedom to marry.
Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders
â€œPresident Obama has traveled a road that many Americans have traveled in recent years. Gay and lesbian couples have the same love and make the same commitment as all couples, and deserve the same recognition as full citizens. Our countryâ€™s history is one of expanding the circle of constitutional rights and protections to include more citizens, and our nation is always the better for it.â€
â€œThe arc of history today bent a little closer to equality for every American.Â After hearing the stories of countless couples and families, President Obama has drawn the same conclusion shared across party lines and by a majority of Americans today: everyone deserves the opportunity to marry the person they love. As our nation draws closer to a more perfect union in which every person is created equal, we are left deeply encouraged by this truly watershed moment.â€
â€œHadassah commends President Obama for taking an important step today in showing his commitment to and respect for the LGBT community.Â Hadassah has long supported LGBT rights, and we firmly believe that it is the governmentâ€™s responsibility to ensure that all Americans are treated equally and have equal access to the same rights.Â Hadassah is committed to the preservation of rights for all people and vigorously condemns discrimination of any kind.Â As Zionists, Hadassah members understand the dangers of bigotry. â€¦
â€œWe look forward to continuing to work with the President as he expands civil rights for all Americans.â€
â€œToday, President Obama made history by boldly stating that gay and lesbian Americans should be fully and equally part of the fabric of American society and that our families deserve nothing less than the equal respect and recognition that comes through marriage.
â€œHis presidency has shown that our nation can move beyond its shameful history of discrimination and injustice. In him, millions of young Americans have seen that their futures will not be limited by what makes them different. In supporting marriage equality, President Obama extends that message of hope to a generation of young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, helping them understand that they too can be who they are and flourish as part of the American community. And his words remind gay and lesbian families across the country, who, like their neighbors, struggle to afford healthcare and college for their kids, pay their taxes and plan for retirement â€“but with the added burden of discriminationâ€” that they do not face those challenges alone and unheard.
â€œAmericans fundamentally believe in fairness, but many, like the President, have struggled to reconcile that core belief and the question of marriage equality. The Presidentâ€™s words will no doubt inspire thousands more conversations around kitchen tables and in church pews.Â We are confident that our nation will continue to move inexorably toward equality and we thank the President for so boldly leading us in that direction.â€
â€œPresident Obamaâ€™s affirmation of the right to same gender marriage today is an important and historic moment in the life of the nation.Â His statement shows that he understands his role is to protect Constitutional principles over sectarian ideology.â€
â€œWe welcome the news that President Obama understands the importance of equality for all people in this country and we are excited that he joins the majority of Americans in supporting the freedom to marry.â€
Minnesotans United for All Families
â€œAcross this country, people are reaching the conclusion that it is wrong to make it illegal to marry the person you loveâ€¦ This is a positive development in Americaâ€™s conversation on what marriage means and how the freedom to marry is intrinsic in our nationâ€™s dedication to the values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
â€œThis fall, Minnesotans will have the opportunity to vote on a proposed Constitutional Amendment that would limit the freedom to marry for some couples. For months, weâ€™ve been having a conversation about what marriage means to us, and that conversation is happening in every part of our state. We know limiting that freedom is not in our stateâ€™s strong tradition of practicing the golden rule, of rejecting too much intrusion into our personal lives, and of not mixing religion and politics. There is not a bone in my conservative body that tells me that we should limit the freedom to marry for committed, same-sex couples.
â€œAs support for defeating this amendment grows across this state, I am as confident as ever that Minnesotans will defeat this freedom-limiting Amendment in November. President Obamaâ€™s announcement today is a welcome development in this ongoing conversation.â€
National Association of Hispanic Publications
â€œThis is a giant step forward for civil rights, as the President openly acknowledged support for same-sex marriage.Â With this support, President Obama has liberated Americans who previously felt relegated to the shadows.Â It is our hope that this is a positive step toward helping all individuals in America feel included and that this level of compassion will set the tone for upcoming civil rights issues in the country, especially with regards to the immigration debate.â€
National Black Justice Coalition
â€œIt is an honor to witness our President take such a strong stand in support of gay and lesbian couples across the country. This affirmation reinforces the Administrationâ€™s ongoing commitment to LGBT Americans and our families.â€
National Center for Lesbian Rights
â€œPresident Obama has once again proven himself to be the strongest and most principled supporter of full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people ever to occupy the Oval Office. As he has done on so many other issues facing our community, the President showed his great depth of compassion and respect for the struggles faced by same-sex couples and their families and his commitment to genuine equality and justice for all people. This is an unforgettable day in our nation’s history, and one that will bring enormous comfort and hope to millions of Americans.â€
National Council of Jewish Women
â€œNCJW hails President Obamaâ€™s decision to express his personal support for same-sex marriage. NCJW has been a staunch supporter of marriage equality and we happily welcome the president to this fight for fundamental human rights at this important time. While setbacks such as the lamentable vote yesterday in North Carolina are unfortunate, we firmly believe that supporters of marriage equality are on the right side of history. NCJW is proud to work with the President of the United States to ensure that gays and lesbians are protected equally under the law and are treated with the dignity they deserve.â€
â€œNCLR applauds President Obama for his historic remarks expressing support for marriage equality.Â This issue is about doing the right thing and being on the right side of history.Â Ensuring fairness and equality while protecting people from discrimination is at the heart of NCLR’s mission.â€
â€œLike other Americans, Latinos have shifted their views on LGBT issues in recent years.Â Acceptance and support for loving couples to have the right to marry is now shared by a majority of Latinos.
â€œWe celebrate this historic moment with our allies in the LGBT community and with the millions of LGBT Latinos across the nation, and we look forward to working together to advance equal rights for all in the days ahead.â€
â€œIt is historic and groundbreaking for the President of the United States to state that committed LGBT couples deserve the right to marry.Â Along with equal access to employment, marriage equality is fundamental to the health and well being of all Americans.Â This is another important step in the movement towards progress and equality for our community.â€
â€œToday, we thank our President for acknowledging that we deserve the full benefits of citizenship, including marriage. We are grateful for his leadership and courage on this issue.Â Those of us in military service are always conscious of the tremendous sacrifices that our partners make to support us, and we look forward to the day when that will be reflected in the support that our country gives them.â€
Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG National)
â€œToday, history was made. President Barack Obama took an historic step as the first American president in office to recognize the importance of the freedom to marry for ALL couples. He joins a majority of Americans who believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to create a loving, lasting and legal partnershipâ€”marriageâ€”with the person they love, regardless of sexual orientation.
â€œThe President now understands what PFLAG has said for 40 years: that there is power in sharing personal stories and that, when we do, hearts and minds can truly change as we realize our shared values of love and commitment. He has sent an important message to LGBT people, their parents, families, friends, and allies: that they are accepted for all that they are, that their enduring, loving relationships are the same as all others.
â€œFor all of us at PFLAG who believe in the power of love and acceptance, the message the president sends to our LGBT children is loud and clear: You are loved. You are accepted. You are equal.
â€œWe thank President Obama and welcome him to the PFLAG family.â€
â€œTodayâ€™s announcement marks a proud day for our country and for the President. For those of us who have been working towards marriage equality for many years, the impact of having the support of the President of the United States is incredibly powerful. As President Obama made clear in his comments today, marriage equality for all people is an idea whose time has come. Despite setbacks like the results from North Carolina last night, itâ€™s more obvious than ever that the momentum is on our side.
â€œIn recent years, more and more Americans have come to understand that preventing loving same-sex couples from getting married causes real harm to the people they care about. In families and communities across the country, Americans are coming to the same conclusion as the President: when two people make a public commitment to love and care for each other, thatâ€™s a marriage no matter what the gender of the people involved.â€
â€œEarlier today, President Obama joined a host of faith, civil rights, business and political leaders that have publicly voiced their support of marriage equality. The presidentâ€™s support comes at a critical moment as the rights of LGBT people are under legislative attack in Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina and elsewhere. The president understands what we do â€“ marriage equality is about family, community, love and justice.
â€œAcross this country, right-wing Republican politicians are seeking to divide us with attacks on immigrants, the middle class, womenâ€™s health, the environment and the LGBT community – but the growing numbers of Americans who believe in marriage equality reminds us that we cannot live up to our promise as a nation until we extend equal rights to all.
â€œTo those who have chosen to stand on the wrong side of history, we say this: There is growing momentum for equality in this country. And with each American that believes in equality, we are reminded that the continued dream of equality is our birthright, our heritage and our promise.
â€œFor anyone who counts equality among the basic tenets of a free and just America, Pres. Obama’s announcement today is a victory.â€
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network
“This is a great day for gay and lesbian service members, who are living with the daily reality that while they are now able to serve openly, they and their families are treated as second-class citizens under laws like the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).Â Certainly, the President’s leadership in repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ laid the foundation for his reaching this positive outcome. We welcome the President’s support for marriage and will work with him to repeal DOMA and all laws that undermine equality and treat our service members unfairly.”
“The Sierra Club applauds the courage and conviction President Barack Obama displayed today in supporting the basic human right of same sex couples to marry. Our 1.4 million members and supporters include people of every sexual orientation, and they are all as entitled to marry the person they chose as they are to the clean air, water, and beautiful landscapes they fight to protect.”
â€œWe salute the President for his announcement today in support of marriage for gay and lesbian couples.Â This is an historic moment for the nation for which we express our deepest appreciation to the President.â€
â€œToday, President Barack Obama set himself apart as a role model for all Americans to support the freedom to marry, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Validating that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are fully and equally deserving of love and the commitment of marriage sends a message to vulnerable youth that they have value and can dream for the future.
â€œAt The Trevor Project, we know that family, community and religious acceptance all play a very strong role in the safety and well-being of LGBTQ young people. Thank you, Mr. President for speaking out as an accepting ally.â€
Unitarian Universalist Association
â€œPresident Obamaâ€™s announcement today that he supports the right of same sex couples to marry is a courageous step forward in the direction of justice and equality for all Americans. I applaud the Presidentâ€™s decision to declare his support for the freedom to marry for all loving couples. Like many Americans, President Obama says his position on this issue has evolved over the years, and today it seems clear that the arc of the universe is bending toward justice.
â€œThe Unitarian Universalist Association called for the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in 1996. Unitarian Universalists will continue to stand on the side of love for marriage equality until the freedom to marry belongs to all.â€
United Food and Commercial Workers Union
â€œMarriage equality is an economic justice issue, and a social justice issue â€“ and that makes it a union issue. In the UFCW, we have a long, proud history of standing up for fair and equal treatment for all workers â€“ regardless of what they look like, where they come from, what language they speak, or who they love. These values are heartfelt. We work every day to fight discrimination and unfair treatment against LGBT people on the job. Thatâ€™s why our union is a strong supporter of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) which would ensure justice in the workplace for LGBT workers. UFCW members have been negotiating equal health care coverage for same-sex couples into their union contracts all over the country for years. Itâ€™s the right thing to do, and the fair thing to do. Iâ€™m proud that the UFCWâ€™s advocacy on behalf of families includes all families.â€
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Pence Ordered to Comply With Subpoena, Testify Before Special Counsel’s Grand Jury
Mike Pence, the ex-vice president, must testify before Dept. of Justice special counsel Jack Smith’s grand jury investigating the January 6, 2021 insurrection, a federal judge has ruled, rejecting his claims of executive privilege.
The judge is requiring Pence to answer questions about his conversations with Donald Trump leading up to the insurrection, and to answer any questions related to any possible illegal acts Donald Trump may have committed, according to ABC News’ senior investigative reporter Katherine Faulders and CNN’s Abby Phillip.
Judge James Boasberg, the chief judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, “outright rejected Trump’s executive privilege challenge, but ruled more narrowly on Pence speech and debate challenge,” Faulders adds.
The judge, apparently citing Pence’s “speech and debate clause” claim, said “that Pence can still decline to answer questions related to his actions on January 6 itself, when he was serving as president of the Senate for the certification of the 2020 presidential election,” CNN reports.
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NBC News reports Judge Boasberg “did, however, grant Pence a partial victory as to his argument that he was shielded from having to testify about Jan. 6 because of his constitutional role as part of the legislative branch.”
In what some legal experts dismissed as a faulty argument, “Pence’s legal team had argued that the Constitution’s ‘speech and debate’ clause should prevent special counsel Jack Smith’s prosecutors from eliciting any testimony about communications or activity related to Pence’s role as president of the Senate in presiding over the certification of the election results.”
Overall CNN calls it “another win for special counsel Jack Smith, who is investigating the Trump-aligned effort to subvert the 2020 election. Smith subpoenaed Pence for testimony and documents earlier this year.”
Pence can still appeal.
Watch MSNBC’s report below or at this link.
BREAKING: Former VP Pence has been ordered to testify in the special counsel’s investigation into former President Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. https://t.co/EuAAgB8ILO pic.twitter.com/wrYoKJcL0g
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) March 28, 2023
This is a breaking news and developing story.
This article has been updated to add video.
RIGHT WING EXTREMISM
‘Taking Guns Away Is Not the Answer’: Scalise Encourages Prayer After Nashville School Mass Shooting
The official line from House Republicans on Monday’s mass shooting at a private Christian elementary school in Nashville is to encourage prayer and making schools “safer,” but “taking guns away is not the answer.”
GOP Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the second-most powerful Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, on Tuesday encouraged prayer, waiting for more facts, and looking into mental health option, despite his record of voting against them. Six people, including three nine-year olds and three adults, were shot to death after a shooter shot through the doors of Covenant Presbyterian Elementary School.
“The first thing in any kind of tragedy I do is I pray,” Scalise told a reporter Tuesday when asked if there’s anything Congress can do to reduce gun violence and deaths. “I pray for the victims. I pray for their families.”
On Monday, U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) also encouraged prayer over action. “We’re not gonna fix it,” he declared point-blank, while calling for a Christian “revival.”
READ MORE: Tennessee Governor Slammed After ‘Praying’ for Nashville School Community Without Mentioning Mass Shooting
Scalise was shot in 2017 in a rare act of left-wing gun violence by a man angry at then-President Donald Trump. He and House Republicans have repeatedly used that attack to target Democrats and their policies.
“I really get angry when I see people trying to politicize it for their own personal agenda,” Scalise continued, referring to shootings, “especially when we don’t even know the facts. There are facts coming out.”
“It looks like the shooter originally went to another school that had real stronger, much stronger security and ultimately went to this school,” Scalise said, which is false. According to a CNN report, the shooter had previously “scouted” a second location but had a detailed plan and maps of The Covenant School.
“Let’s get the facts,” Scalise insisted, suggesting no action should be taken before any investigations into this shooting are complete.
The Washington Post in a continually-updated report notes, “There were more school shootings in 2022 — 46 — than in any year since at least 1999.”
It adds, “There have been 376 school shootings” since Columbine, in 1999, and, “More than 348,000 students have experienced gun violence at school since Columbine.”
But Scalise urged Americans to “work to see if there’s something that we can do to help secure schools.”
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And he insisted reducing the number of guns in America, currently believed to be over 400 million – more than the total population of the country – is “not the answer.”
“We’ve talked about things that we can do, and it just seems like on the other side, all they want to do is take guns away from law abiding citizens, before they even know the facts. The first thing they talk about is taking guns away from law abiding citizens. And that’s not the answer, by the way. So why don’t we number one, keep those families in our prayers and see if there were things that were missed. Along the way, we’ve talked about the need to improve mental health in this country, and that’s been a driver of a lot of these shootings as well.”
But just last September, Scalise, along with all but one House Republican, voted against a bill that would “increase access to mental and behavioral health care.”
He also skipped a vote one week earlier on the Mental Health Justice Act of 2022.
Watch Scalise’s remarks in this clip, below or at this link.
Question: There was another terrible school shooting yesterday.. Is there anything Congress should be doing?
Scalise: First thing I do in any kind of tragedy is I pray.. pic.twitter.com/PW1r7qh2yQ
— Acyn (@Acyn) March 28, 2023
‘We’re Not Gonna Fix It’: TN Republican Says Congress Can Do Nothing to Stop Gun Violence – Calls for Christian ‘Revival’
U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) says there’s nothing the 535 elected officials in the House and Senate can do to reduce gun violence and gun deaths.
“We’re not gonna fix it,” Congressman Burchett said on the steps of the Capitol.
Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) on school shootings:
“We’re not gonna fix it.” pic.twitter.com/yZZCbJleUA
— Brennan Murphy (@brenonade) March 28, 2023
“I don’t see any role that we could do other than mess things up, honestly,” he said in response to Monday’s school mass shooting in Nashville, where three nine-year olds and three adults were shot to death by a shooter with two AR-15 style assault rifles and a handgun.
READ MORE: Tennessee Governor Slammed After ‘Praying’ for Nashville School Community Without Mentioning Mass Shooting
Instead of Congress enacting stricter gun laws, background checks, and a ban on assault weapons, Congressman Burchett said, “you’ve got to change people’s hearts,” as he called for a Christian revival.
“As a Christian, we talk about the church. I’ve said this many times, I think we really need a revival in this country.”
REPORTER: “Do you think there’s any role for congress to play in reaction [to the Tennessee shooting]?”
BURCHETT: “I don’t see any real role that we could do other than mess things up.” pic.twitter.com/4jPPlWa8Pi
— Brennan Murphy (@brenonade) March 28, 2023
Monday’s shooting at the Covenant Presbyterian Elementary School was the 130th mass shooting this year in America, bringing the death toll from all gun violence across all causes to 9989, including 403 children 17 or younger, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
Congressman Burchett is a member of the far-right Republican Study Committee, which has strong ties to the National Rifle Association (NRA).
READ MORE: ‘Our Children Deserve Better’: First Lady Jill Biden Speaks Out After Six Die in Nashville School Mass Shooting
On Monday, Burchett released a statement saying, “Kelly and I are praying for everyone at The Covenant School, especially the families of the shooting victims. No one should have to go through that kind of horrific event or lose a loved one like that. I’m so thankful to those brave folks who brought down the shooter and took care of the students and their families.”
Earlier this month Rep. Burchett was one of 26 House Republicans on the Oversight Committee who refused to sign a simple two-sentence statement denouncing white supremacy.
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