June 13, 2005
Another Marriage Battle
by Luke Mullins and Tory Newmyer,
Roll Call Staff
An AFL-CIO executive committee resolution opposing the Federal Marriage Amendment was attacked this week by a broad coalition of religious and traditional-values organizations.
In a letter to AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, more than three dozen state and national organizations Ã¢â‚¬â€ including the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Catholic Vote, the Coalition of African American Pastors and Christian television and radio networks Ã¢â‚¬â€ implored union officials to rescind their opposition to the FMA at the labor groupÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s annual convention, which will be held July 25-28 in Chicago.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We write on behalf of tens of millions of American families Ã¢â‚¬â€ including, public opinion polls indicate, a strong majority of dues-paying union households Ã¢â‚¬â€ who believe that the institution of marriage is and should remain a union of one man and one woman,Ã¢â‚¬? the June 1 letter read.
In the March 3 resolution, the AFL-CIOÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s executive committee condemned the FMA and reiterated its support for equal rights for all workers.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The FMA and its state counterparts threaten the rights of working people by creating an environment across the nation that is hostile to the rights of domestic partners, regardless of their sexual orientation,Ã¢â‚¬? the resolution read.
Phil Burress, president of Citizens for Community Values and a former union negotiator, said the AFL-CIOÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s opposition to the FMA does not reflect the attitudes of its members.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I know that this is not what the union members believe in,Ã¢â‚¬? Burress said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re taking the union membersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ money and spending it on issues that the rank and file does not believe [in].Ã¢â‚¬?