December 18, 2011
By Adam Bink
On July 28, I wrote about the letter to Sen. Menendez from Josh Vandiver and Henry Velandia, whose story of nearly being torn apart under DOMA became nationally recognized:
Josh and Henry joined thousands of Courage Campaign members in New Jersey to ask Sen. Menendez to do the right thing and support repealing DOMA.
Today, in an editorial in New Jersey’s Star-Ledger newspaper, Sen. Menendez did just that, along with announcing his support for marriage equality. Proof that standing up for one’s rights makes a difference. Sen. Menendez becomes the 32nd Senator to support the bill.
A big thank you to Josh, Henry, our partners at Garden State Equality and most of all, our members for taking the time to write in to Sen. Menendez and ask him to stand up for his constituents. Courage Campaign’s statement can be found below.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 18, 2011
Courage Campaign Commends Sen. Menendez’s Decision to Co-sponsor Respect for Marriage Act
Courage Campaign members called on Sen. Menendez to support full equality
Washington – This morning, Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) announced his decision to become the 32nd Senator to co-sponsor the Respect for Marriage Act, the bill in Congress to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). In response, Courage Campaign’s Director of Online Programs, Adam Bink, said:
“We’re thrilled that Sen. Menendez decided not only to stand on the right side of history by supporting marriage equality, but listened to the pleas of the thousands of constituents who wrote in and asked him to do something to help end federal discrimination under DOMA. Today, New Jersey’s loving and committed same-sex couples are one step closer to being treated the same as their straight neighbors.”
On July 28, Courage Campaign began the public effort to encourage Sen. Menendez to help end federal discrimination against same-sex couples in his state by joining with Henry Velandia and Josh Vandiver, a married same-sex couple from Princeton whose story of nearly being torn apart because of DOMA became nationally recognized on CNN and elsewhere. Henry and Josh, who work actively with StoptheDeportations.com, wrote to Courage members in New Jersey asking them to co-sign their open letter to Sen. Menendez and leave a personal message for him. Thousands of New Jerseyans wrote in to Sen. Menendez, urging him to do the right thing and stand up for constituents being treated as second-class. Josh delivered their messages to Sen. Menendez and his staff earlier this year. The full letter from Josh, Henry and other constituents can be found here.
Sen. Menendez, who also announced his support for marriage equality in a New Jersey Star-Ledger editoral, joins Sen. Lautenberg and 30 other Senators who support the Respect for Marriage Act. This includes a majority of Senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which earlier this year voted to pass the Respect for Marriage Act. We thank Josh and Henry for their outspoken leadership, along with Garden State Equality for their support and hard work to win full equality in New Jersey.
Courage Campaign is a multi-issue online organizing network that empowers more than 750,000 grassroots and netroots supporters to work for progressive change and full equality in California and across the country.