A quartet of national figures, including Coretta Scott King and New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, are part of a new ad campaign urging the Senate to ban job discrimination against gays and lesbians.
Produced by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay and lesbian political group, the commercial is airing only in the Washington area in anticipation of Senate action Thursday on the Defense of Marriage Act - legislation to outlaw marriages between two men or two women.
The group has opposed the marriage ban and has called on President Clinton to veto it. The House approved the bill in July by an overwhelming 342-67 vote, and Clinton has said he would sign it.
Realizing the situation, the gay rights lobby has begun working a different track and trying to get as many members of Congress as possible on record as supporting the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
A bipartisan group of senators, including Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and James Jeffords, R-Vt., plan to introduce the anti-discrimination bill Thursday as an amendment to the marriage ban, said Human Rights Campaign spokesman David Smith.
Only nine states and the District of Columbia ban job discrimination against gays and lesbians, said campaign legislative director Winnie Stachelberg Tuesday.
“It’s one of the most important civil rights votes that we’ve faced in year,” she said.
The spot also features supportive words from former U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater and Kathleen Gingrich, mother of House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Her daughter, Candace, is a lesbian and a spokeswoman for the campaign.
Click here to comment on this story »