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National NOW Times >> Winter 2004/2005 >> Article

Equal Marriage NOW Campaign Focuses on Education & Legislation

by Lisa Weiner-Mahfuz, Senior Field Organizer

The Equal Marriage NOW campaign launches in January 2005 in response to the passage of 11 anti-marriage ballot measures on Nov. 2 and the increasing support in the country for expanding marriage rights to same-sex couples.

The two-pronged campaign focuses on both legislation and education, and a separate effort will focus on litigation. NOW will work to ensure the defeat of the Federal Marriage Amendment and call for a repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act passed by Congress in 1996. Education efforts will target the public at large, explaining why Lesbian/Gay/ Bisexual/Transgender (LGBT) people and their families deserve equality and fairness.

Equal Marriage NOW includes a multi-faceted education component. NOW lobbyists will deliver a series packets to Members of Congress with information about the benefits of same-sex marriage, clarifying the need for their support of the issue and offering talking points for their use.

NOW chapters across the nation have already begun receiving action kits to educate themselves and their communities. They have been encouraged to meet with members of Congress to express their support. The campaign will culminate in a day of rallies to be held in select cities in the fall.

Our opponents invested enormous effort to convince the public that allowing same-sex marriage would destroy the institution of marriage and hurt families.

NOW is committed to redirect this discussion to raise awareness and increase visibility of the issues involved, including the nearly 1,100 specific benefits linked to marriage and the dangerous precedent set by writing discrimination into the U.S Constitution. With progress blocked in Congress under the current leadership, popular education will be a primary way to bring about a climate of understanding and fairness for LGBT families.

Together we can achieve equality through collective action, initiating dialogue among members of our families and communities, and educating the public on this important civil and human rights issue.

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