Press Release

Labor Movement Stands Up for Full Equality for Gay and Lesbian Americans

For Release: 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Contact:

Marcus Mrowka
202-879-4447; 202-531-0689 (cell)
mmrowka@aft.org

Amicus Briefs Filed by AFL-CIO and Change to Win Challenging the Constitutionality of Proposition 8 and DOMA 

Washington—Statement of AFT President Randi Weingarten following the filing of amicus briefs by the AFL-CIO and Change to Win challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act. The AFT is an affiliate of the AFL-CIO. NEA also joined the DOMA filing. View the brief on Proposition 8 and DOMA

"We are a nation built on the belief of equality for all—that all Americans are entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These basic rights form the foundation of our democracy, and laws like Proposition 8 and DOMA deny gay and lesbian Americans these fundamental rights and betray our values as a nation. 

"As president of the AFT, and as someone who felt the sting of anti-gay prejudice growing up gay, I am proud to be a part of a labor movement committed to challenging injustice and discrimination, knocking down barriers for working people and standing up for the equal treatment of all Americans under our laws. Unions have fought for workplace protections and benefits for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender workers, and for same-sex partners. These amicus briefs show labor taking the next historic steps in standing up for the rights of gay and lesbian Americans. 

"Embedding discrimination of gay and lesbian Americans into our laws and workplaces is not only morally reprehensible, it also makes zero economic sense. We must no longer be a nation that allows loving, committed same-sex couples to be denied the economic and workplace rights and protections that heterosexual couples simply take for granted. The right to join your spouse's healthcare plan, to enjoy the tax benefits of marriage, to receive the Social Security and pension benefits following the loss of a spouse, to visit your spouse in the hospital or make end-of-life decisions—these are all denied to same-sex couples. DOMA and Proposition 8 help legitimize workplace discrimination against gay Americans and create a two-tiered workforce based on sexual orientation. These laws also deny immigration opportunities for same-sex couples. 

"The U.S. Supreme Court must overturn these discriminatory laws and uphold the right to equal protection under the law. Gay and lesbian couples must be afforded the same rights as heterosexual couples."

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The AFT represents 1.6 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.