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Posted at 11:43 AM ET, 06/29/2011

13 Democratic senators unveil ‘It Gets Better’ video for gay youths

Thirteen Democratic senators are releasing a video for the “It Gets Better” project highlighting Democrats’ efforts on gay rights issues and encouraging gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youths who are facing harassment in their communities.

The senators, led by freshman Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), unveiled their video at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at a Capitol news conference. The nearly five-minute-long video is set to upbeat music and features black-and-white clips of each senator shot individually over the past month.

“Unlike with so many other issues that we have to deal with in the Senate, with LGBT equality, there is value in simply talking, in speaking out,” Coons said at the news conference. “It doesn’t necessarily take a law to make a difference. As we said in the video, it’s up to all of us to fight for equality wherever we can. Fortunately, in the Senate, we also have other ways we can fight for equality as well.”

The move comes five days after the New York state legislature voted to legalize same-sex marriage, making the state the sixth to permit same-sex unions. New York is now not only the largest state to approve same-sex marriage but is also the first in which a Republican-controlled chamber has passed a same-sex marriage measure.

The 13 senators featured in the video are Coons and Sens. Mark Udall (Colo.), Ron Wyden (Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Dick Durbin (Ill.), Al Franken (Minn.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Charles Schumer (N.Y.), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.).

All 13 are among the 25 co-sponsors of the Respect for Marriage Act, which was introduced by Feinstein in March and which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.

Several of the Democratic senators had been featured in videos for the “It Gets Better” project. Others, such as Udall, had been supporters of last year’s effort to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law but had yet to vocally advocate for same-sex marriage.

Among the five senators speaking at the news conference were Wyden — who noted Wednesday that he was among the 14 senators voting “no” on DOMA in 1996 — and Schumer — who voted in favor of DOMA as a House member 15 years ago but in 2009 declared his support for same-sex marriage.

“Martin Luther King Jr. once said, ‘The arc of history is long but it bends in the direction of justice,’ ” Schumer said. “Last week, my home state of New York took a giant leap in that direction by extending the freedom to marry to all New Yorkers. And the strong bipartisan vote late Friday night in the New York state Senate sent a rousing message to LGBT kids throughout my state who yearn for acceptance: It really does get better.”

This post has been updated since it was first published.

By  |  11:43 AM ET, 06/29/2011

 
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