Thursday, January 29, 2009

Powerful anti-gay groups goes on high alert

Liberty Counsel, one of the most powerful anti-gay (anti-equality) groups in the nation slips in this email sent today to its members, admitting, for the first time that LGBTI people are entitled to FULL AND INCLUSIVE RIGHTS (see below):

Did you catch that? Isn't it great to see an anti-equality group at 'red alert' rather than equality groups?

Liberty Counsel goes as far as to call the Office of U.S. President and the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives an 'axis of power.' I'm sure they had to restrain themselves to keep from using the former U.S. President's phrase 'axis of evil.'

From their email and their need to gather 50,000 signatures as quickly as possible, in addition to asking for donations, I'd say Liberty Counsel isn't just at 'red alert,' but close to declaring 'battle stations' as all of the suppressive policies they have enjoyed for the past 8 years begin to unravel.

As allies instead of opponents, the U.S. President and the U.S. Speaker of the House can be a huge powerhouse; left us not forget the U.S. Vice President is the ex-officio (you get one office automatically by being elected to another) President of the U.S. Senate. An axis of power indeed Mr. Staver.

Here it is again:

  1. Repealing the Defense of Marriage Act...
  2. Granting full rights (including adoption) to not only lesbians and homosexuals but bisexuals and transsexuals...
  3. Giving special workplace protection based on sexual orientation and even the wide-open category of "gender identity" that will stifle Christian businesses, religious organizations... and possibly even your church! (not true; the U.S. and state constitutions protect religious addition, they didn't forget to twist the president's words on this point as they did in # 2)
  4. Making the military an open forum for homosexuals... (this is not what the president said; they twisted his words to suit their needs)
Instead of making a donation to a suppressive, and anti-LGBTI group, make one to a statewide organization such as Kentucky Equality Federation; with the federal government on the right track, it is even more critical that we continue to push for pull protection and equality here in the Commonwealth.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Get to know us first; but for some, the message was late

Since the California setback, has made several public announcements to air in California; but these video's do not only apply to California, but rather, our entire republic.

Marriage Equality USA's Robin Tyler and her wife, Diane Olson appear on the videos. Both Tyler and Olson are members of Marriage Equality USA's Advisory Board.

Tyler, a longtime LGBTI activist was one of the original complainants to the California Supreme Court that resulted in the same-sex marriage ban being struck down, only to have voters reinstate it the very same year!

These video's are very touching, but they should have been aired by the official No on 8 Campaign; these video's show LGBTI people in everyday situations and shows some details of their family lives. In the final month of California's Prop 8, the official committee, omitted commercials that featured LGBTI people......huge mistake!

It doesn't matter what the official No on 8 Campaign people say their 'experts' told them about not showing LGBTI couples in the final month before the election when defeat seemed all but certain because of the enormous leaps the "no same-sex marriage" campaign had made. This begs the question, what is an expert, and who knows your community, or them?

Though the federal government cannot force a definition of marriage on the states, these ads seem to focus on the federal government, especially since they will be airing in urban and rural markets on broadcast and cable channels during the Presidential Inauguration week in January 2009.

Their message is simple, and very appropriate:

  1. Marriage promotes families.
  2. Support marriage equality
  3. Get to know us first.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Marriage Discrimination in Kentucky

Raise awareness of marriage discrimination across Kentucky!

Check-out this event: Freedom to Marry National Event

Desktop Activism

By: Davina Kotulski, Ph.D. - Author of Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage ( and Advisory Board Member for Marriage Equality USA (

Presidential Candidate Dick Gephardt said that “
Politics is an alternative to violence” and Gandhi said “A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.” I say let’s get fired up and make sure that LGBT equal rights are at the top of everyone’s radar screen. Not all of us can make every rally, donate $1000, or go to an organizing meeting, but everyone can do desktop activism.

Here’s what you need to begin:

Action #1
Needed: Telephone

Call the White House Comments Line at 202-456-1111 between 9AM and 5PM EST Monday-Friday. (I’ve programmed it into my cell phone). Tell President Obama that you want him to:

a) Repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
b) Repeal the Defense of Marriage Act
c) Help pass the Uniting American Families Act
d) Help pass the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act
e) Pass the Matthew Shepard Hate Crime Bill
f) Pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act

Remind him that he supported marriage equality before he ran for president and that his religious beliefs are not a sufficient reason to deny LGBT Americans marriage equality. Call the White House Comments Line frequently. Share this number with others and encourage them to call frequently. Like I said, I have this programmed into my cell phone. LGBT rights need to stay on everyone’s minds. If you are a straight ally identify yourself. If you are religious identify yourself.

For example, “Hello, I am a married heterosexual man from Colorado. I belong to the United Church of Christ and I am calling to ask President Obama to elevate LGBT Americans by…” See above list.

Action #2
Needed: Paper, Pen, and Stamp.

Send a letter every week to President Obama and ask five people to do the same. With your letter you can send him a picture of you, your family, your wedding photo, your wedding announcement, your marriage license, etc. If you are in a same-sex marriage-ask him why your marriage license is not recognized throughout the country and to help you make it so. If you are in a heterosexual marriage ask him why your license comes with more rights that your LGBT friend’s, family member’s, or neighbor’s marriage license. Get creative. The president may never see your letter or photo, but the White House Staff will and it will create buzz and maybe help change their hearts and minds. Remember a lot of the White House Aids and Staffers may be big time politicians someday and they can tell our stories for us and advocate for LGBT rights if we give them the tools.

Below is a sample letter. Feel free to copy, amend, share, etc. Let’s take this to a new level. Yes we can!

January 21, 2009

Barack Obama, President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama:

Congratulations on your victory! Your candidacy and election to President of the United States is an incredible breakthrough and gives us hope for a more inclusive and just America. With your leadership, we can finally begin to end sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. We call on you to pass the following legislation to extend equality to LGBTI American citizens!

1. Repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
Let LGBT people serve openly in our military. Polls confirm that most Americans think this policy is outdated and wastes money. A GAO report released in February 2005 found that the DADT policy cost the government “$95.4 million in recruiting costs and $95.1 million for training replacements for the 9,488 troops discharged from 1994 through 2003.” We could use that money right now to put America back on track.

2. Pass the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)
Pass a trans-inclusive ENDA protecting the rights of LGBT Americans in the workplace. No one should be fired from their job because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender.

3. Repeal the “Defense of Marriage” Act (DOMA)
Repeal DOMA which denies LGBTI Americans seeking to marry someone of the same-sex 1,138 federal rights that heterosexual married people have access to including: health insurance benefits, social security, filing joint federal income taxes, and having their marriage recognized outside of the state they were married in. Repealing DOMA would also save the federal government one billion dollars annually according to a 2004 GAO report.

4. Pass the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), (HR 2221, S 1328)
This bill would allow LGBTI Americans to sponser their partners for immigration and citizenship as heterosexual couples can through their marriage.

5. Pass the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act (DPBO)
Under the DPBO LGBT federal employees would be able to give their unrecognized same-sex spouses/partners health insurance, life insurance, government pensions, and other employment related benefits that married heterosexual federal employees enjoy by being married and heterosexual. It’s time to eliminate this second-class status in the workplace.

6. Pass the Matthew Shepard Act Federal Hate Crimes Bill (H.R. 1592)
This bill would provide Federal assistance to States, local jurisdictions, and Indian tribes to prosecute hate crimes.

Now is the time for equality for all Americans. Thank you for your leadership,

______________________________ Signature
______________________________ Printed Name
_______________________________ City, State, Zip

Saturday, January 03, 2009

New Jersey marriage equality hits a brick wall because of 2009 election concerns

New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine, Senate President Richard J. Codey (D), and Assembly Speaker Joseph J. Roberts Jr. (D), have all recently stated publicly that gay marriage is an idea whose time has come. Echoing the sentiments of a state commission report released last month, some state officials said that civil unions — the closest thing to marriage available to gay couples in the state — were woefully inadequate and that the legalization of gay marriage in New Jersey was not a matter of “if” but “when.”

But with the Governor and all 80 members of the General Assembly (the State of New Jersey calls its House of Representatives the "General Assembly," which does not include the Senate; collectively they are referred to as the New Jersey Legislature) up for re-election in November 2009, most of the officials say the “when” may not be for some time.

The New Jersey Civil Union Review Commission, a 13-member panel convened to evaluate the impact of the state’s 2006 civil union law, in its final report last month, called on the state to legalize same-sex marriage after finding that civil unions did not result in equal treatment. Likening the prohibition against gay couples marrying to the racial segregation laws imposed upon black Americans, the commission said hospitals were reluctant to recognize civil unions when it came to visitation rights, employers did not always extend health benefits to both partners, and the children of such unions were stigmatized.

“New Jersey stands the best shot of any U.S. state to be the first to enact ‘marriage equality’ through legislation rather than by court order,” said Steven Goldstein, vice chairman of the commission and chairman of Garden State Equality, a gay rights organization.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the State of Connecticut are currently the only places that allow gay couples to marry, and in both instances the issue was decided by the courts rather than the legislatures. California was in that category until November, when gay marriage was overturned by voters.

Mr. Goldstein says his organization has been lobbying to get a measure passed.

“We are very, very close,” he said. “Do I believe we have the votes yet? It depends on how you count them. Even under our very conservative vote counts, we’re very close.”

While the governor had asked lawmakers to refrain from raising the issue during the presidential election, for fear that it would sidetrack voters, he is now encouraging lawmakers to seriously review the commission’s report.

“While this administration is focused squarely on the economic crisis for the foreseeable future, it’s clear that this issue of civil rights must be addressed sooner rather than later,” Mr. Corzine said in a statement.

The governor promised to sign marriage-equality legislation when it reaches his desk. The question is whether state lawmakers will present him with the opportunity. “Politics will play a role in whether it actually gets posted to a committee,” said Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, a Democrat from Princeton and the deputy majority leader, who sponsored a gay marriage bill. “With the Assembly up this November, there will be a lot of members unlikely to get involved with such a polarizing issue.”

Opponents of gay marriage have pledged to make it an issue in the 2009 election. Len Deo, president of the New Jersey Family Policy Council, said his organization believed that some New Jerseyans might support same-sex marriage but that a majority do not want to see marriage redefined in the process.

Some veteran political strategists say lawmakers are reluctant to have voters think they have taken their eyes off the state’s grave fiscal situation. With residents losing jobs and facing foreclosure and the prospect of higher property taxes, they do not want to appear sidetracked.

“There could be a backlash,” said Harold Hodes, a Democratic strategist. “There are other issues that are more pressing at this time.”