CONTACT YOUR ELECTED OFFCIALS
Searchable Database for Positions of Elected Officials on Marriage Equality
See where your elected officials stand on federal legislation that affects the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, as well as whether or not they support marriage for gay and lesbian couples.
This tool is provided and maintained by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).
Change Public Position on Marriage
One of the valuable things you can do is to help your legislator, or any candidate for public office, learn how to change their public position on marriage if they have previously stated that they are against marriage equality. This can be done via written communication with a public servant/candidate, or better yet, during a face-to-face meeting. Third Way is a think tank that answers America’s challenges with modern ideas aimed at the center. In March 2012 Third Way released a publication aimed at guiding politicians through this process in a way that shows strength, not weakness (the dreaded "flip-flopping"). Click here for the PDF: HOW TO CHANGE YOUR PUBLIC POSITION ON MARRIAGE. (http://www.thirdway.org/publications/503)
These means of contacting legislators are listed in order of MOST to LEAST effective:
- personal visit to the local elected official’s office or legislator's home-state office or Washington DC office
- personally handwritten but LEGIBLE short letter
- personally typewritten or word-processed letter
- phone call to a key staffer in the office
- phone call to the reception staffers in the office
- personally written fax
- an obvious form letter or fax
- personally written e-mail
- an obvious form e-mail
- Personal visits are very effective. You should be prepared to answer questions but more importantly, be ready to share your own personal story. Lists of facts and figures have a much smaller effect on changing opinions than your personal story on how this issues effects you or the ones you love. You do NOT need to be an expert, just a reasonably informed and concerned citizen able to articulate your views on the matter you are visiting about - and what you want the legislator to do.
- While postal mail and faxes that are obviously form letters are low on the totem pole, action alerts often call for them, as they are easy and fast and can produce a large volume of response on an issue. Even if you are presented with a prepared form letter, however, please instead write your own if you have the time. A form letter/fax/email is the minimum action you should take. Personal is always better.
- In emails, if you are a constituent, say so in the first sentence and include your full name, phone number and postal address so the legislator knows you live in his or her district.
- Phone calls to key staffers (or actual legislators themselves) are usually difficult to arrange. The staffers in charge of answering the phone may be reluctant to put you through to the upper-echelon staffers, unless they know you are representing an organization. It never hurts to ask. You may have to try several times, and be prepared to give your message very clearly and quickly.