Friday, June 18, 2010

National League of Women Voters comes out in support of marriage

A message from Sheilah Sable, Pride Agenda Upstate Director of Pride in Action:

The National League of Women Voters’ national convention has just passed a resolution in support of marriage equality.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization that has fought since 1920 to improve systems of government and impact public policies through citizen education and advocacy. It is a grassroots organization, working at the national, state and local levels.

The newly passed resolution reads: “The League of Women Voters of the United States supports equal rights for all under state and federal law. LWVUS supports legislation to equalize the legal rights, obligations, and benefits available to same-gender couples with those available to heterosexual couples. LWVUS supports legislation to permit same-gender couples to marry under civil law. The League believes that the civil status of marriage is already clearly distinguished from the religious institution of marriage and that religious rights will be preserved."

The motion was brought to the floor of the National Convention by the League of Women Voters Chapter of Saratoga, New York. In October of 2009, the LOWV Saratoga New York Chapter contacted now-Executive Director, Ross Levi, (then Director of Public Policy and Education), about presenting to the Chapter on issues related to LGBT equality and justice, and specifically marriage equality. As a result of that contact, I visited with the Saratoga Chapter last fall to do a presentation to 50 members on marriage equality for New York State. I was accompanied by Kathy Manley of the Albany NYCLU Chapter who talked about marriage recognition in New York State. Kathy and I went on to highlight some of the most crucial and compelling reasons why this law is so important for so many LGBT New Yorkers and their families.

The individuals in the room were genuinely moved to action. One member commented that they had originally wanted a debate about the related issues, but that they were unable to find anyone to argue against marriage equality that did not come from a conservative Christian perspective. That was not an option for the group. We walked away with invitations to return at a later date to discuss GENDA, as well as numerous supporters who have since volunteered with phone banking and other activities related to the campaign for LGBT equality and justice.

Now, this nurtured relationship has had a national impact. It seems a great example of how hard it is to predetermine what the impact will be of something as simple as a conversation among neighbors, and has reminded me of the importance of community education. I hope it inspires others about the ripple-effect of simply telling the stories of our lives and inviting others to join us in the struggle for equality and justice.

For information on how to bring a Pride Agenda speaker to your event or organization, click here.

No comments: