Online and at gay events, party
officials collect signatures in time for a
Bush gay pride gift
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) plans to deliver a petition to the White House with the signatures of 500,000 Americans opposing Pres. Bush’s efforts to amend the Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. In his State of the Union address this year, Bush endorsed the amendment proposal and the Republican-led Congress has been conducting hearings on the matter.
In light of Bush’s endorsement of the amendment and his open lack of support in general for gay rights issues, the petition drive signifies more than just opposition to the proposed amendment according to Eric Stern, the director of the DNC’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender outreach office. “The purpose of the petition drive is to raise the awareness of the fact that Bush has chosen to use this amendment, as well as attacks against GLBT families, as his 2004 election year strategy and the GLBT community will not remain silent while Republicans attempt to render our families second class citizens forever.”
The petition has the backing of mainstream Democratic Party officials, not just those with responsibility for mobilizing LGBT voters. The party is also coordinating with the campaign of Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, the likely Democratic nominee, to raise awareness of the effort to gain a large number of signatories. Sponsors of the petition hope that with the backing of one of the nation’s two major political parties, the Republican-led Congress will not be able to ignore mass opposition to the proposed amendment.
Party officials plan to announce their signature-gathering results by June, in conjunction with nationwide gay pride activities commemorating the 1969 Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village that mark the inception of the modern gay rights struggle. The June time frame also holds significance for Democrats, since Bush has refused since his inauguration to issue any official pronouncement recognizing June as Gay Pride month.
The petition first gained momentum on the DNC website when visitors would click on to register their opposition. Grassroots organizers then began promoting the measure around the country at various LGBT functions. According to organizers, the petition has been widely accepted at LGBT events.
The popular comedienne Margaret Cho, an outspoken advocate for the LGBT community, has officially endorsed the petition and encourages her fans to sign it at tables set up at her performance venues.
Over 82,000 people have already signed the petition, according to Stern, who works in the DNC’s Washington, D.C. headquarters, and he expects many others will sign on as the petition gains publicity.
For more information and to sign the petitions go to www.democr