Soulforce Buys Billboards in Bill Frist's Hometown of Nashville as Federal Marriage Amendment Comes to the Senate Floor

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Soulforce's billboard campaign seeks to end scapegoating of gays & lesbians as the Senate readies to vote on Federal Marriage Amendment. Group calls Republicans on pandering to the religious right.

Soulforce, the organization founded to end religion-based discrimination of gays and lesbians, is taking their cause to the boyhood streets of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, the Senator responsible for re-introducing the controversial marriage amendment. Scheduled for the first week of June, Soulforce is placing sixteen billboard posters in and around his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee to call attention to Republican pandering to the so-called religious right.

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.”

In addition to the Soulforce.org web address, the billboards include a photograph of Soulforce Executive Director Jeff Lutes with his partner and son. Lutes adds, “Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and others, under pressure from wealthy fundamentalists, are again trying to write discrimination into the constitution rather than focusing on the real problems facing America. Soulforce reminds Senator Frist’s hometown that Mrs. King stood for the full equality of lesbian and gay Americans and against homophobia, especially homophobia in the black community. 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.”

Proponents of the previously failed amendment feel it is their duty to force a public vote by scapegoating gays and lesbians as threats to heterosexual marriage. Helen Palmer of the League of Women Voters says, “The rights of one group should not be subjected to the vagaries of the majority.”

Soulforce is dedicated to educating the public regarding the lives of non-traditional families and the harmful effects of religion based bigotry on the children caught in the cross hairs of this political red herring. The billboard campaign will remind people that Coretta Scott King called all Americans who believed in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream to resist injustice and instead “make room at the table of brotherhood and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people’.”

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Richard Lindsay
SOULFORCE
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