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Billboards Attack Frist Over Anti-Gay Amendment

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Billboards Attack Frist Over Anti-Gay Amendment

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

June 1, 2006 - 7:00 pm ET

(Nashville, Tennessee) An LGBT civil rights group is placing sixteen billboard posters in and around the hometown of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) condemning his support for the so-called Federal Marriage Amendment which would ban same-sex unions.

Soulforce, an organization founded to end religion-based discrimination of gays and lesbians, said Thursday it wants to show not all people of faith support the amendment.

Frist has scheduled debate on the proposed amendment for Monday. Last weekend he acknowledged the timing of the debate is aimed at energizing the conservative base of the GOP.

The billboards feature part of a speech given by Coretta Scott King at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey on March 24, 2004, when she said, "Gay and lesbian people have families, and their families should have legal protections, whether by marriage or civil union. A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages is a form of gay bashing, and it would do nothing at all to protect traditional marriages."

The signs include a photograph of Soulforce Executive Director Jeff Lutes with his partner and son.

"Soulforce reminds Senator Frists hometown that Mrs. King stood for the full equality of lesbian and gay Americans and against homophobia, especially homophobia in the black community," said Lutes.

"Mrs. King publicly saluted the gays and lesbians that fought for her freedom in Montgomery and Selma and other places during the civil rights movement, and she compared homophobia to racism, anti-Semitism, and other forms of bigotry that set the stage for repression and violence".

The proposed amendment would bar same-sex couples from marrying, block courts and state legislatures allowing gay marriage, nullify marriages already performed in Massachusetts - the only state in the country where they are currently legal - and according to critics possibly block civil unions and override domestic partner laws.

It is almost identical to one which failed to get enough votes in 2004.

Earlier this year Soulforce sponsored the Equality Ride, a 51 day cross-country trip to draw attention to schools that bar gay enrolment. It wrapped up March 26 with a demonstration at West Point where 21 riders were arrested. (story)

Ten riders were arrested on the grounds of the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. (story)

Riders also have been arrested at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma (story); Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia (story) which is affiliated with Christian Broadcaster Pat Robertson; and at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. (story)

The billboards are the organization's first foray into the same-sex marriage fight.

President Bush will hold a Rose Garden press conference on June 5 to press Congress to enact the amendment.

Thursday gay Republicans condemned the move.

Strong leadership in the midst of the difficult and challenging war on terror demands a President who unites Americans instead of dividing them,” said Log Cabin President Patrick Guerriero.

“President Bush's decision to use the bully pulpit of the Presidency and the formality of a White House event to espouse an anti-family constitutional amendment is an insult to millions of gay and lesbian Americans and our families,” said Guerriero.

©365Gay.com 2006

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