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HRC Weekly Update from Joe Solmonese

HRC Weekly Update from Joe Solmonese

HRC Weekly Update from Joe Solmonese

Joe’s Weekly Message

Dear

Today in America, there are still laws on the books that serve only to
oppress LGBT people. As so many of us understand first hand, the
Defense of Marriage Act is one such law. This week, Attorney General
Holder released the Obama Administration’s analysis that Section Three
of DOMA, which denies legally-married same sex couples over 1,000
federal protections, is unconstitutional. He also announced that the
administration will no longer defend the law in court, reversing the
policy it had pursued for the past two years.

I don’t need to lecture anyone in our community about the importance
of this shift; LGBT Americans experience the reality of this law every
day. Without the right to sponsor a spouse for immigration, some
couples are forced to choose between love and country. The Family
Medical Leave Act does not protect same-sex couples in times of
sickness. The lesbian and gay soldiers who will serve our country in
uniform once the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is
implemented will be rewarded with unequal support-their families
will be excluded from many military family benefits. The truth is that
DOMA materially harms LGBT people and our families, and there is no
way to reconcile our common humanity with the harm that this law
selectively inflicts. This week’s announcement tells me that today,
the administration takes DOMA’s harms seriously.

While the administration previously argued that DOMA served various
legitimate purposes, this week it acknowledged that discriminating
against gay people doesn’t serve such an objective. It also
acknowledged the elephant in the room – DOMA’s pedigree as a
legislative statement of moral disapproval.

This President, a constitutional law professor, did not wake up one
morning and adopt a novel interpretation of equal protection. He
stared down an oppressive law with eyes wide open. He judged it in
light of truths to which our nation was once blind. And he got it
right.

And while this step forward in monumental, it is just the beginning of
the fight for marriage equality at the federal level. There is no
doubt that those opposed to equality will throw everything they have
defending this terrible law – or that we will stand up to them,
no matter what. But it is because of this fight ahead of us that we
have got to keep things moving in the states. This week a victory in
the Maryland Senate moved a marriage equality bill one step closer to
reality, while in the pacific a supportive governor finally made a
breakthrough by signing civil unions into law in Hawaii. Plenty of
factors made these victories possible, but it was your actions, from
phone calls to statehouse visits and everything in between, that
helped to make them possible.

So we keep at it; we take these tremendous victories and we thank
those that helped us to make them a reality, but we do not take our
eyes off of the road ahead. Together we keep pressing and we do
everything that we can to make tomorrow’s America a place that is
truly fair and equitable for everyone.

Joe Solmonese
President, Human Rights Campaign

Envelope

© 2011 Human Rights Campaign
1640 Rhode Island Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036-3278
Phone: 202/628-4160 TTY: 202/216-1572 Fax: 202/347-5323
Today in America, there are still laws on the books that serve only to oppress LGBT people. As so many of us understand first hand, the Defense of Marriage Act is one such law. This week, Attorney General Holder released the Obama Administration’s analysis that Section Three of DOMA, which denies legally-married same sex couples over 1,000 federal protections, is unconstitutional. He also announced that the administration will no longer defend the law in court, reversing the policy it had pursued for the past two years.
I don’t need to lecture anyone in our community about the importance of this shift; LGBT Americans experience the reality of this law every day. Without the right to sponsor a spouse for immigration, some couples are forced to choose between love and country. The Family Medical Leave Act does not protect same-sex couples in times of sickness. The lesbian and gay soldiers who will serve our country in uniform once the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is implemented will be rewarded with unequal support—their families will be excluded from many military family benefits. The truth is that DOMA materially harms LGBT people and our families, and there is no way to reconcile our common humanity with the harm that this law selectively inflicts. This week’s announcement tells me that today, the administration takes DOMA’s harms seriously.
While the administration previously argued that DOMA served various legitimate purposes, this week it acknowledged that discriminating against gay people doesn’t serve such an objective. It also acknowledged the elephant in the room – DOMA’s pedigree as a legislative statement of moral disapproval.
This President, a constitutional law professor, did not wake up one morning and adopt a novel interpretation of equal protection. He stared down an oppressive law with eyes wide open. He judged it in light of truths to which our nation was once blind. And he got it right.
And while this step forward in monumental, it is just the beginning of the fight for marriage equality at the federal level. There is no doubt that those opposed to equality will throw everything they have defending this terrible law – or that we will stand up to them, no matter what. But it is because of this fight ahead of us that we have got to keep things moving in the states. This week a victory in the Maryland Senate moved a marriage equality bill one step closer to reality, while in the pacific a supportive governor finally made a breakthrough by signing civil unions into law in Hawaii. Plenty of factors made these victories possible, but it was your actions, from phone calls to statehouse visits and everything in between, that helped to make them possible.
So we keep at it; we take these tremendous victories and we thank those that helped us to make them a reality, but we do not take our eyes off of the road ahead. Together we keep pressing and we do everything that we can to make tomorrow’s America a place that is truly fair and equitable for everyone.

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