3rd Year Week 6 MT03

Topic: Rights for gays and lesbians

 PFLAG Urges President Bush to Condemn "Marriage Protection Week," Support "Marriage Equality Week"

Washington DC, October 7, 2003 -- PFLAG is dismayed at the news of President Bush's support of "Marriage Protection Week," a public relations ploy developed by a right-wing coalition bent on denying same-sex couples equal legal protection enjoyed by their opposite-sex couple counterparts.

These groups claim they merely wish to protect "family values." We urge the President to remember, however, the millions of American families with gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender members. The support of any effort to hurt the legal and emotional well-being of these families through this so-called marriage protection effort is a direct assault on the very family values these extremist groups assert they uphold.

Instead, PFLAG wholeheartedly supports Marriage Equality Week, to be held simultaneously from October 12 to 18, 2003. We urge President Bush to join us in supporting the right of all families to the legal rights, privileges and responsibilities that marriage confers, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. These rights, now denied to countless families throughout our country, cover more than 1,000 legal protections and responsibilities the federal government extends to married couples, including the right to take leave from work to care for a spouse, the right for the widowed to collect social security benefits, and the right to fight for child custody.

"PFLAG has no wish to tread on the religious beliefs of any faith; each must remain free to define its own requirements for marriage, as mandated by our Constitution's separation of church and state," said David Tseng, PFLAG executive director. "We ask only that the government and President Bush provide all people the same standing and extend to them their constitutional right to equality under the law."

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) is the nation's foremost family-based organization committed to the civil rights of gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender persons. Founded in 1973 by mothers and fathers, PFLAG has over 250,000 members and supporters in almost 500 chapters throughout the United States.

Press Office: Alice Leeds, PFLAG Communications
202-467-8180 x228