OPPOSITION TO THE FEDERAL MARRIAGE AMENDMENTWHEREAS, throughout our country's history, the constitutional amendment has been a tool to enshrine the rights of all Americans, and our long history of civil rights struggle has found protection in our constitutional amendments. From the abolition of slavery, set forth in the 13th Amendment, to the right of women and people over the age of 18 to vote, set forth in the 19th and 26th Amendments, the constitutional amendment has been the legal foundation on which to grant fundamental rights, not take them away; and
WHEREAS, now a constitutional amendment is being proposed that would take away the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons to enter into civil marriage. The Federal Marriage Amendment (S.J. Res. 26, H.J. Res. 56) states, "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution or the constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups." If passed, the Federal Marriage Amendment would become the first constitutional amendment to restrict the rights of a certain class of Americans; and
WHEREAS, as trade unionists, we believe that our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender brothers and sisters unequivocally deserve the same benefits as their heterosexual brothers and sisters. For that reason, trade unions have been securing groundbreaking contracts that provide our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender brothers and sisters with a patchwork of protections and benefits. We have fought vigilantly to secure the rights of these workers through explicit anti-discrimination language and pay equity through domestic partnership benefits; and
WHEREAS, the Federal Marriage Amendment would make it virtually impossible to maintain and negotiate benefits on behalf of our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers. In states that have passed similar legislation, domestic partnership benefits have been challenged; and
WHEREAS, the Federal Marriage Amendment would restrict unions from offering all employees an equitable employment package. Furthermore, the Federal Marriage Amendment could invalidate thousands of union contracts that include domestic partnership benefit provisions:
RESOLVED, that the AFT stand in opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment.
[Executive Council, October 2004]