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David vs. Goliath: Family groups challenge Big Labor support for homosexual "marriage"

June 3, 2005

AFL-CIO urged to rescind resolution at July convention

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A broad coalition of religious and family values organizations this week went toe to toe with Big Labor, demanding in a letter to national AFL-CIO President John Sweeney that union officials rescind an unreported AFL-CIO executive committee resolution opposing federal and state constitutional amendments to define marriage as only between one man and one woman.

* See attached letter to AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, scheduled for Fed Ex delivery by 10:30 a.m. Friday
* See AFL-CIO resolution at:

Dr. Don Wildmon, Chairman of the American Family Association, said the letter’s purpose is “to protect one-man, one-woman marriage and defend the precious religious liberties of millions of faithful Americans who belong to an AFL-CIO-affiliated union.”

Wildmon was joined on the letter by leaders of over three dozen national and state organizations — including Catholic Vote, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Coalition of African American Pastors, and Christian television and radio networks, as well as prominent religious and conservative leaders such as Linda Chavez, President George W. Bush’s original nominee for Secretary of Labor, Dr. Jerry Falwell, Paul Weyrich, Beverly LaHaye, and Dr. Rick Scarborough. Three Christian legal foundations, seven AFA state affiliates, and half a dozen affiliates of Dr. James Dobson’s Focus on the Family also signed the letter, including former AFL-CIO union negotiator Phil Burress of Citizens for Community Values in Cincinnati, whose successful state marriage amendment was widely credited with tipping Ohio into Bush’s reelection column last November.

The pro-family leaders told Sweeney that on the issue of protecting marriage, they — not AFL-CIO officials — speak for the bulk of the union federation’s 13 million members. They cited polls which indicated that a strong majority of union households last year voted in favor of state Marriage Protection Amendments that were overwhelmingly approved by voters in fourteen states, including heavily unionized states such as Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon, and Ohio. In Michigan, a Detroit News poll last fall found “two-thirds of union households support(ed) that state’s marriage amendment, approved by 59 percent of voters.

(See Detroit News poll here.)
(See Pat Caddell analysis here. )

“We firmly believe that the overwhelming majority of dues-paying union members who finance the national AFL-CIO and its organizational, political and lobbying activities strongly oppose so-called homosexual ‘marriage’ as well as the broader political agenda of homosexual and ‘transgender’ activists,” pro-family leaders wrote Sweeney. “We’re further troubled by the expectation that you will use the dues and fees you collect as a condition of employment from employees who strongly oppose homosexual and transgender activists’ political agenda to pay for your political and lobbying activities in support of that agenda.”

“On behalf of the millions of dues-paying American union members who agree with us that marriage between one man and one woman deserves and demands state and federal constitutional protection, we urge the AFL-CIO Executive Committee to respect and honor the views of your own rank-and-file membership by voting — during your upcoming July 25-28 annual convention in Chicago — to rescind your March 3rd resolution,” they wrote.

They also told Sweeney that between now and the AFL-CIO convention, they would “do everything in our power to ensure that rank-and-file union members all across America are fully informed of the AFL-CIO’s endorsement of homosexual activists’ political agenda” as well as federal and state laws that allow union members to withhold financial support from their unions’ lobbying activities.

“In anticipation that the AFL-CIO Executive Committee may refuse to rescind its opposition to constitutional protection of marriage,” the group wrote, “(we will also) communicate our commitment to ensure that legal counsel and representation are provided at no charge to any union member who wishes – in response to your resolution – to exercise any or all of the above-stated legal rights to withhold funding from the AFL-CIO and its affiliate unions.”

“We know that many of those who faithfully support our organizations and ministries are also loyal union members,” they wrote. “On behalf of their families, specifically on behalf of their children and future generations of America’s children, we will not stand silently by while national AFL-CIO officials use the hard-earned dues money of America’s working men and women – against their will, and at odds with their own deeply-held religious and moral convictions — to advance a political agenda that threatens to undermine marriage and the family.”

Outside of a few “gay and lesbian” publications, the AFL-CIO resolution has gone unreported since being unanimously adopted by the AFL-CIO Executive Committee three months ago in Las Vegas.

The AFL-CIO resolution states that a federal Marriage Protection Amendment to the U.S. Constitution “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.â€?

It concludes with a broad endorsement of homosexual and “transgender” activists’ political agenda: “The AFL-CIO reiterates its longstanding support for the full inclusion and equal rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in the workplace and in society.â€?

Signers of the family groups’ letter represented national and state organizations headquartered in 26 states — from Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey to Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington and from Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio to Texas, Mississippi, and Florida.

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