FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | February 24, 2004
Bush Supports Denial of Constitutional Equal Protection for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
(San Francisco, CA, February 24, 2004) — Equality California and the National Center for Lesbian Rights today condemn the bigotry of a man who has failed to live up to the leadership required of his office. By announcing his support for an anti-gay Amendment to the United States Constitution, George W. Bush becomes the first U.S. President in history to actively attempt to strip away the hope of equal protection under the law for an entire group of American citizens.
"The President's support of a Constitutional Amendment is incredibly hurtful to millions of lesbian and gay Americans including the thousands of loving and committed couples who have stood in line for hours in San Francisco to publicly declare their love," said Geoffrey Kors, EQCA Executive Director. "Despite the images of joy and celebration coming out of San Francisco, President Bush has taken a stand that these families and their children should not have the same constitutional rights as every other American. Today, President Bush has earned his place in history as the anti-family President who will be remembered for his willingness to sacrifice the rights of families for his own selfish political purposes. His willingness to hurt others in pursuit of his re-election, and to do so by amending the document that has protected minotirites in this country for over two centuries, is among the most outrageous poll-driven political acts ever recorded."
"Today the President made yet another grave political miscalculation, a hallmark of his presidency, in voicing support for a federal constitutional amendment to enshrine discrimination in this nation's most cherished document," said Kate Kendell, Executive Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights. "The President's has betrayed his solemn oath by demonstrating a callow willingness to play political football with the document he swore to uphold and defend. It is a sad day for our democracy."
California has a long history of meeting the challenges of equal protection before much of the rest of the country. In 1948, California was the first state to reject the widely recognized ban on interracial marriages. On February 12, Assembly Bill 1967, the Marriage License Non-Discrimination Act, sponsored by Equality California, was introduced in the California legislature by Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-SF). Assemblyman Leno is Chair of the state's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Legislative Caucus.
"In California, we will continue to fight against homophobia and work toward the day where all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans are no longer treated as second-class citizens," said Kors. "Equality California is prepared to take a stand against the anti-gay sentiment that the President is attempting to spread across the country during this election year. We will continue to educate the public, mobilize our allies, and we will absolutely continue to advocate for full equality, including the right to marry. We will not back down in the face of attacks on our humanity -- especially from our own President."
EQCA is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots-based, statewide advocacy organization whose mission is to ensure the dignity, safety, equality and civil rights of all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Californians. Equality California is one of the largest and fastest growing statewide LGBT organizations in the country. We can be contacted through our website at www.eqca.org.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.