Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, lent his likeness to a new video series launched by the Human Rights Campaign called “Americans for Marriage Equality.” Franken is the first member of Congress to appear in a video for the campaign, which supports equal rights for same-sex couples, even as legislators in his home state have put a constitutional measure banning marriage equality on the 2012 ballot. The video was released late last week.
In the video, Franken calls on all Americans to support marriage equality for same-sex couples.
“I support marriage equality,” he says in the video. “My wife, Franni, and I have been married for 36 years, many of them happy.”
Franni Franken appears alongside the senator in the video.
“Everybody should be able to marry the person they love, and I think government should help people make those loving lifelong commitments,” Franken said. “Please join me and the majority of Americans supporting marriage equality.”
“The government should not be in the business of getting between two people making a loving commitment to each other,” HRC President Joe Solmonese said in a statement. “We are grateful to Sen. Franken for his unwavering support for marriage equality, and know that he will continue to advocate for fairness and equality on behalf of the state of Minnesota.”
The campaign so far has worked with award-winning playwright Katori Hall, actor Josh Charles, Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, comedienne and talk show host Aisha Tyler, actress Kim Wayans, movie director/producer Dee Rees, and Michael Kenneth Williams, the star of Boardwalk Empire and The Wire, as well as actor John Leguizamo, former NAACP chair Julian Bond, comedienne Mo’Nique, and Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, New Jersey.
New York Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, both Democrats, appeared in a similar video in the summer of 2011, when the state debated legalizing same-sex marriage, called “New Yorkers for Marriage Equality.”
Franken came out against Minnesota’s proposed anti-gay marriage amendment early last year.
“Every Minnesotan deserves dignity and equal treatment under the law, and our state’s same-sex couples should have the same right to marry as anyone else — period,” Franken said in a statement at the time. “This amendment would do nothing more than write discrimination into our state’s constitution and add to the barriers same-sex couples already face to the full recognition of their families. I’m hopeful that common sense and compassion will prevail and that this amendment will be defeated.”
Franken couldn’t be reached for comment on the video release. On Wednesday, the senator was working on the first ever Gay-Straight Alliance Day, where he spoke to student groups about the need for stronger protections for LGBT students.
“Our laws say nothing about sexual orientation or gender identity,” Franken said, according to the Advocate. “My bill would fix this. It will ban discrimination in schools based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Believe it or not, that is not illegal right now.”
Photo: Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn. (source: franken.senate.gov)