Thursday, April 30, 2009

No Perez Hilton, THIS is a Stupid Bitch!

My stomach rolled when I heard this "representative" try to claim Matthew Shepard's murder was nothing more than a robbery. North Carolina, you need to wipe the egg from your face by removing the woman from office post haste!

Judy Shepard's YouTube Plea for Hate Crimes Legislation

Obama Administration Auto Restructuring Initiative

Chrysler-Fiat Alliance

On March 30, 2009, President Obama laid out a framework for Chrysler to achieve viability by partnering with the international car company Fiat. After a month of close engagement with the President’s Auto Task Force, Chrysler, Fiat and their key stakeholders have made unprecedented sacrifices and executed an agreement that positions Chrysler for a viable future.

Chrysler has not only been an icon of America’s auto industry and a source of pride for generations of American workers; it has also been responsible for helping build our middle class, giving countless Americans the chance to provide for their families, send their kids to college, and save for a secure retirement. As a result of the sacrifices by key stakeholders and a substantial commitment of U.S. government resources, Chrysler has an opportunity to thrive as a long-term viable 21st century company. To execute this agreement, Chrysler will use Section 363 of the bankruptcy code to clear away the remaining impediments to its successful re-launch.

The Chrysler Fiat Alliance – Shared Sacrifice

· The alliance will retain Chrysler’s existing factory footprint and continue producing Chrysler cars in U.S. factories. The alliance will create the sixth-largest global automaker, spreading R&D and design development costs over higher volumes, making it more competitive in an increasingly global and consolidating industry.

· Fiat is contributing billions of dollars in advanced technology and intellectual property, and offering Chrysler access to a global distribution network. Fiat’s technology will allow Chrysler to build new fuel efficient cars and engines in U.S. factories.

· The UAW has made important concessions on wages, benefits, and retiree health care that, while difficult, will help save jobs for active employees, pensions and health care for retirees and make Chrysler more competitive.

· Chrysler’s largest secured creditors have agreed to exchange their portion of the Company’s $6.9 billion secured claim for their pro-rata share of $2 billion in cash at closing. The Bankruptcy Court process will be used to confirm this treatment on those lenders that failed to accept the offer that was accepted by a majority of the lenders.

· Daimler, Chrysler’s current minority shareholder, has agreed to waive its share of Chrysler’s $2 billion of second lien debt, give up its 19% equity interest in Chrysler’s ultimate parent, and settle its guaranty obligation to the PBGC by agreeing to pay $600 million to Chrysler’s pension funds.

· Cerberus has agreed to waive its share of Chrysler’s $2 billion of second lien debt and forfeit its entire equity stake in Chrysler. Cerberus has also agreed to transfer its ownership of the Chrysler headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan to the new Chrysler alliance. Lastly, Cerberus will contribute a claim it had against Daimler to assist in the Daimler settlement with the PBGC.

Details on the Chrysler Fiat Alliance:

· Fiat will contribute a free license to use all of its intellectual property and “know how” to capitalize Chrysler in exchange for 20% of the equity of the reorganized Chrysler. Fiat will have the right to select three directors of Chrysler once reorganized. In addition, Fiat will have the right to earn up to 15% in additional equity in three tranches of 5% – each in exchange for meeting performance metrics, including introducing a vehicle produced at a Chrysler factory in the U.S. that performs at 40 mpg; providing Chrysler with a distribution network in numerous foreign jurisdictions; and manufacturing state-of-the art, next generation engines at a U.S Chrysler facility.

· The newly reorganized Chrysler will purchase substantially all of the assets of the old Chrysler out of a chapter 11 bankruptcy case in exchange for a $2 billion payment to its secured lenders.

· This new Chrysler will establish an independent trust (VEBA) that will provide health care benefits for Chrysler’s retirees. The VEBA will be funded by a note of $4.6 billion payable over approximately 13 years with a 9% rate of interest and will receive 55% of the equity of New Chrysler. The VEBA will have the right to select one independent director and will have no other governance rights.

· The Chrysler Pension Plans will be preserved, and their stability will be strengthened from the Daimler contribution of $600 million.

· The U.S. Treasury will receive 8% of the equity of the new Chrysler. U.S. Treasury also has the right to select the initial group of four independent directors, but thereafter will not play a role in the governance or management of the Company.

· The Governments of Canada and Ontario will together receive 2% of the equity of the new Chrysler. Based on its substantial financial contribution, Canada will also have the right to select one independent director, on the same basis as the four independent directors initially chosen by the U.S.

Details on U.S. Government Support:

Consistent with the President’s commitment to provide adequate working capital to help Chrysler through this restructuring period and loan up to $6 billion to the Chrysler-Fiat Alliance, the U.S. government has committed to provide assistance sufficient to help give Chrysler a chance to achieve financial viability.

· Working capital: The U.S. government is prepared to provide approximately $3.3 billion in debtor in possession financing to support Chrysler through an expedited chapter 11 proceeding.

· Loan to the New Chrysler: Upon closing, the U.S. government is prepared to loan approximately $4.7 billion to New Chrysler, in the form of a term loan with $2.1 billion due in 30 months and the balance 50% due on the 7th anniversary and 50% due on the 8th anniversary of the loan. The interest will be an appropriate combination of cash and payment-in-kind. There is also an additional note of $288 million which is a fee for making these loans. The loans will be secured by a first priority lien on all of Chrysler’s assets.

Canadian Government Participation:

· The governments of Canada and Ontario will participate alongside the U.S. Treasury in lending money to Chrysler and New Chrysler based on a 3:1 formula using Canadian currency. The amount lent by the Canadians is incremental to the funding referenced above.

Viable Financing Solution:

· Chrysler will enter into an agreement with GMAC to provide dealer and customer financing. This agreement will continue once Chrysler has emerged from bankruptcy. Chrysler Financial has agreed to uphold and cooperate in the transition of its current agreements with dealers to GMAC. The U.S. Government is supporting the automotive restructuring initiative by promoting the availability of credit financing for dealers and customers, including liquidity and capitalization that would be available to GMAC, and by providing the capitalization that GMAC requires to support the Chrysler business.


· Chrysler will continue to honor consumer warranties. Yesterday, the U.S. Treasury made available the Warranty Support Program to Chrysler and $280 million was funded to a special vehicle available to provide a backstop on the orderly payment of warranties for cars sold during this restructuring period.

Executing the Chrysler-Fiat Alliance

While many stakeholders made sacrifices and worked constructively in this process, some did not. In particular, a group of investment firms and hedge funds failed to accept reasonable offers to settle on their debt. In order to effectuate this alliance without rewarding those who refused to sacrifice, the U.S. government will stand behind Chrysler’s efforts to use our bankruptcy code to clear away remaining obligations and emerge stronger and more competitive.

During this process, Chrysler will continue operating in the ordinary course. From an operating perspective, the day after the filing will not be materially different from the day before the filing. The following parties will be treated as described below:

· Employees: Employees will get paid in the ordinary course, including salary, wages and ordinary benefits. Workers compensation claims will continue to be paid by Chrysler’s insurers. Assuming the sale moves forward as expected, Pension Plan and VEBA funding will be transferred to the purchaser.

· Suppliers: Chrysler will seek authority at its “first day” hearing to continue to pay suppliers in the ordinary course. In addition, the U.S. Treasury’s Supplier Support Program will continue to operate, and Chrysler suppliers benefiting from the program will continue to receive that benefit.

· Dealers: Chrysler will seek authority at its “first day” hearing to honor its customer warranties in the ordinary course. Moreover, Chrysler will seek to continue to honor its dealer incentives for those dealers who are expected to continue to be part of Chrysler’s distribution network going forward. There are some dealers that Chrysler has identified and certain other dealers identified by GMAC as being risky credits that will not continue with Chrysler. It is expected that the terminated dealers will wind down their operations over time and in an orderly manner.

· UAW: The modified labor agreement reached between the UAW and Chrysler will be operative.

· Creditors: A majority of the Senior Secured Lenders now support the transaction with Chrysler.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Massachusetts Family Institute Resorts to Deceptions... Again!

So where is the desecration? I don't know either, but it sounds scary huh? This graveyard has a huge area to walk around the graves without disturbing them which we were careful to use, but I suppose the mere thought of gays on hallowed ground was what Kris Mineau of Massachusetts Family Institute was referring to.

I think Kris was angry that we came right to the window and in his embarrassment was looking to lash out and this was the best he could come up with. Were there any truth to desecrating graves the police would have arrested me at the very least, since I was a primary organizer. This is not the first time Kris has had trouble with telling the truth as shown in this video. I have a question for you Kris; what are you doing with a video taken by a member? Finally the denial can no longer be convincing to anyone. The obvious truth is that you do in fact work together with an SPLC certified hate group.

Here is the parts of the protest the opposition didn't want you to see:

Thanks to Kim of Christians for Equality who is also the founder of for the cross posting of this event.

Gay Governor in Florida?

Thanks Mark Snyder from QueerToday for bringing this to my attention.

Getting Closer in NH

"The New Hampshire Senate voted, 13-11, today to allow adult same-sex couples to marry, approving an amended version of a House-passed bill after a vote to kill the legislation altogether failed by the same margin.

The bill passed by the Senate recognizes a distinction between civil and religious marriages and allows religious denominations to decide whether they will conduct religious marriages for gay or lesbian couples. Civil marriages would be available to both heterosexual and same-sex couples under the law. “This bill recognizes the sanctity of religious marriage and the diversity of religious beliefs about marriage while still providing equal access to civil marriage to all New Hampshire citizens,” said Sen. Maggie Hassan, an Exeter Democrat.
The legislation cannot advance to the governor for his signature or veto unless both houses approve the same version. "

So, it's back to House, where a similar bill passed with a razor thin margin.


Some Good News From New Jersey

As of yet, I have no further information about when New Jersey's legislature will take up a marriage equality bill, except that it is likely that it will be this year.

But we have some good news to report:

TRENTON — A new poll finds New Jersey voters support allowing gay couples to marry.

The Quinnipiac University Poll results are similar to a Monmouth University poll in February.
This poll finds 49 percent supporting gay marriage; 43 percent are opposed.

Women and whites tend to favor a gay marriage law, while blacks, men and those who attend religious services weekly are more likely to oppose it.

New Jersey lawmakers are likely to consider a gay marriage bill later this year. The state now offers same-sex couples civil unions, which offer legal benefits but not the title of marriage.

The poll of 2,222 registered New Jersey voters was conducted from April 14-20 and has a sampling error margin of plus or minus 2.1 percentage points.

I'm feeling very optimistic, especially in light of this:

AUGUSTA (NEWS CENTER) -- Recent polls have shown Maine voters almost evenly divided over the same sex marriage issue. That is not the case with the judiciary committee, as legislators endorsed the same sex marriage bill by a wide margin. [11-2]

Monday, April 27, 2009

Iowa Gay Marriages Begin


Same-sex couples are applying for marriage licenses in Iowa today, after the Supreme Court's historic decision to legalize gay marriage.

Watch: Recorders Begin Issuing Same-Sex Licences

At least 15 couples were waiting in line at the Polk County Administration Building in downtown Des Moines along with supporters and members of the local and national media.
Some were in line at the facility as early as 6:00 a.m.

Same-sex weddings could take place Monday if couples can secure waivers from judges that let them bypass Iowa's three-day waiting period. KCCI News is following one couple attempting to do just that. We'll hear their story later today on and NewsChannel8.

At least one pro-gay marriage group is counting on those waivers and has announced its members will hand out bouquets to newly married couples in five of Iowa's larger cities.

For same-sex couples this is a day they waiting for, some want to celebrate what they call a victory by being among the first in the state to get a license.

Iowa Family Policy Center President Chuck Hurley is also at the County Administration Building. He is delivering petitions urging the County Recorder not to honor same-sex marriage applications.

Iowa becomes the third state offering same-sex marriage behind Massachusetts and Connecticut. Vermont has passed a law that will take effect in September.

Some details:

Marriage requirements in Iowa remain the same, with the exception that the ban on same-sex marriage has been eliminated:

Two people, over 18.
Not already legally married.
Not closely related.
Legally competent to enter into a civil contract.

For the rest of the story click over to at the link provided above. Iowa may be one of our least populated states but they seem to have big hearts and the courage to stand up to discrimination when it is needed. Thank you once again Iowa, you rock!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Dr. Pat Gozemba Updates Civil Union Struggle in Hawai'i

From Courting Equality:

While to some the future of HB 444 for Civil Unions looks bleak, don’t tell that to the thousands of equality activists on the ground in Hawai’i. Technically there still is time to pull HB 444 from the Senate Judiciary Committee (that is deadlocked at 3-3) and get the bill on the Senate floor. It’s already passed the House 33-17!

Once HB 444 is on the Senate floor, 18 of the 25 senators have pledged to vote for it. BUT getting it on the floor has been difficult. It takes 9 votes to get it out of a deadlocked committee. In a brave move on March 25th, Sen. Gary Hooser tried to get the 9 votes. He got only 5 in addition to his own. The honor roll of bravery for equality: Sens. Les Ihara, Michelle Kidani, Rosalyn Baker, Suzanne Chun Oakland, Carol Fukunaga and Gary Hooser.

Please click on over to Courting Equality with the link above and read up on the rest of her report. GLBT people, it's high time we started answering to call of our fellow GLBT community members in need. It's time to cross over state lines and help our friends in the same way the opposition is helping their allies. Hawai'i might be far away, but your telephone and computer are not.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Iowa Senator Makes Defiant Act Against Gay Marriage

One Republican lawmaker's bluff and bluster is being challenged and a social conservative group says it will legally back up opponents of the decision.

Yesterday, Ed Fallon, a former legislator from Des Moines, filed a formal ethics complaint against Senator Merlin Bartz, a Republican from Grafton who has urged county recorders to defy the state Supreme Court's April 3 decision that legalized gay marriage, reports the Des Moines Register.

Fallon claims Bartz has violated his oath of office by urging county recorders to break the law.

“It's really important that state lawmakers respect their oath of office and we have really serious questions about whether that's happening in this case,” he said.


On Tuesday, Bartz attempted to give shelter to county recorders by introducing an amendment that would allow county recorders who objected to gay marriage to refuse to issue a marriage license to gay and lesbian couples on “conscientious” grounds. Senate leaders ruled the issue out of order and it was not debated.

Bartz is also supporting a petition drive by the Iowa Family Policy Center, the state's primary anti-gay marriage group, that urges country recorders to ignore the court's ruling.

Fallon's complaint questions if Republican legislative staffers were used to develop a website dedicated to promoting the petition.

State Attorney General Tom Miller has repeatedly warned country recorders that they cannot refuse to issue a marriage license to gay and lesbian couples. A position Bartz criticized in a press release titled Bartz To AG: Stop The Hypocrisy.

NECN Report on Maine Gay Marriage Hearing

New Hampshire "Not Ready" for Gay Marriage

In the Boston Globe:

CONCORD, N.H.—The state Senate's Judiciary Committee has recommended that the Legislature reject legalizing gay marriage in New Hampshire.

The committee voted 3-2 Thursday against a bill that passed the House last month. Committee Chairwoman Deborah Reynolds, a Democrat, said she doesn't think New Hampshire is ready for gay marriage. Republicans who voted against it said marriage is an institution created and defined by God as between one man and one woman.

I can't imagine what was going through Reynolds mind! Perhaps she forgot to read the party platform? Another part of the problem is the New Hampshire Democratic Party seems to be absent in this struggle as well. Where is the democratic leadership on this issue?! I can say that although I am disappointed that democrats would abandon their own platform and buy into the fear mongering I can say I am not surprised. Look how long New Hampshire held back on recognizing Martin Luther King Day. There was egg on there face then and there will be egg on their face now in the same way. New Hampshire is about to be surrounded on all sides by full marriage equality and the Live Free or Die state is going to become an island of intolerance and ignorance. For shame.

Here's the email I got from the HRC:

Dear John,

Please take urgent action now -- call your state senator today. Two important bills are in danger of not passing in New Hampshire.

HB 436, the marriage equality bill, would replace the separate and unequal civil union system with full marriage equality under state law for lesbian and gay couples in loving and committed relationships.

HB 415 is a bill that would add gender identity and expression protections to the state's anti-discrimination and hate crimes law.

Please call your state senator now and all through the weekend and urge him or her to support both HB 436 and HB 415. We expect the full senate to hear the bills early next week and we cannot express how urgent it is that you call your state senator today. Please forward this e-mail to everyone you know in the state of New Hampshire and urge them to call their state senator today and throughout the weekend.

Click here to find the phone number for your state senator
or call (603) 271-2111.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Maine's Gay Marriage Public Hearing

Dr. Pat Gozemba, author of Courting Equality and I went to Augusta Maine to give our testimony in support of LD 1020, the "gay marriage" bill. We did not expect the turnout we saw. Allow me to share my photos with you and walk you through what you are seeing so you can share in my experience.

The Augusta Civic Center was packed to capacity for the testimonials.

The sea of red is a result of EqualityMaine's call to wear this color in support of equality.

There were a few less opponents than supporters. ;)

Many of the opposition members were elderly, which stands to reason since we know that you start off life full of curiosity, then as we get older we get more and more conservative. I think a healthy balance is best, but even that opinion comes with my own age.

Judy Bullard and Pam Anderson sat next to Dr. Pat Gozemba and I for most of the event and run an organic farm called "Deep Roots" in Scarborough, Maine.

This is what twenty years of love looks like.

This group of college students is called "One in Ten" and led the protest of some of the more hateful testimony by turning their backs to the speaker, and their example was followed by all the supporters.

This woman is an eighth generation Mainer whose Father is a legislator who could not be there that day because of his health. She is also a former state representative and supports equality in marriage.

I learned that ironically Mary Bonato won marriage equality in Massachusetts through her Goodridge lawsuit, yet cannot share in that freedom herself because her home state of Maine has not yet joined us.

This young man has the courage and compassion to give his testimony for his GLBT friends even though he is straight. This is the essence of a hero; to do for others without regard for yourself.

There was a huge coalition of clergy from all sorts of churches across Maine that came out to support GLBT equality. Here you see the "laying of hands" in an attempt to channel the power of the Holy Spirit into the speaker through love.

This next gentleman was married prior to the 1967 ruling Loving v. Virginia and speaks from his point of view as a black man. It was a powerful speech and I want you to hear it for yourselves:

What gay rights rally would be complete without the misrepresentations of present? Here we have David Parker himself up from Lexington, MA trying to pedal his hate I'm sure for a price. Parker is the man who claims his son was being indoctrinated because the school was allowing "Who is in a family" to be read. He claims it is filled with homosexual propaganda, but Mainers check the facts for themselves and caught him with his pants down

Mainers were ready for him, let me show you there response in this video clip:

I have a huge amount of respect for Mainer's; they get it. It's not about the rights of the opposition, they just don't want us to have the level of respect from society that would require they change their attitude or give them the responsibility to look in the mirror. Mainer's seem to be able to see the deception for what it is and don't particularly like someone trying to hoodwink them. Perhaps Maine is the "Way Life Should Be." Good luck Mainers, this granola eater is routing for you!

I expect after what I've seen that Maine will become fully equal under the law before this legislative session concludes, and that's good enough for me. I don't have a date as to when the vote is, but it will be soon.

I'll have more video on coming up soon!

Did Paterson Cave ?

What in the hell is going on in New York ?

According to today's Newsday:

ALBANY - Gov. David A. Paterson, in an apparent reversal, said Wednesday he would go along with a plan by State Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith not to put a same-sex marriage bill to a vote without knowing it would pass."On this particular bill, there are a lot of other issues related to it," Paterson told reporters. "Senator Smith knows the inertia of the Senate better than anyone else . . . I'll stick with his final judgment."In unveiling gay-marriage legislation last week, however, Paterson suggested it should be put to an up-or-down vote regardless of its prospects of passage so that senators' positions would be known. He said the issue deserved to be debated on the Senate floor".

I don't understand the concept that you cannot bring up a measure until you are sure it will win.

Minds can be changed on the floor, and the GOP has already anounced it will not whip its membership.

Can any politically savvy reader explain this to me?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Gay Old Party?

From the Detroit News comes this story.

"Rumblings of change are beginning to be heard from deep inside the Republican Party.
The gay Log Cabin Republicans' recent national convention offered a tantalizing peek at a possible not-so-distant future when the Republican Party has finally -- and firmly -- turned the corner and embraced equality for gay Americans.

Marquee speakers were Steve Schmidt, former senior campaign strategist for 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain, and former New Jersey Gov. Christie Todd Whitman, a founder of the moderate Republican Leadership Council.
Representing the youth vote that will determine the GOP's fate was Meghan McCain, 24-year-old daughter of Sen. McCain and a contributor at "

If the GOP intends to be player in the 21st century, it must embrace full equality for LGBT Americans. The writing is on the wall; this generation is the future, and that includes Republicans.

There is no doubt in my mind that opposition to equality will not be part of the GOP's platform in the near future.

And in other encourging news, the Advocate reports that New York's Republican Party leadership has announced it will not attempt to whip its membership:

The Log Cabin Republicans announced Tuesday that the GOP's New York leadership in both the state senate and assembly are going to allow Republican legislators to make "conscience votes" on Gov. David Paterson's marriage-equality bill rather than pressuring party members to vote against it, giving the legislation a much stronger likelihood of picking up Republican votes in both chambers.


As Maine Goes

Today is a very big day in the battle for equality.

Today, at 9:00 AM, EDT, the Maine Legislature is holding hearings on LD1020, "The Marriage Bill"

As Equalilty Maine puts it:

Maine’s marriage campaign is moving to the next level. The hearing on the marriage bill has been scheduled for Wednesday, April 22 at the Augusta Civic Center. Make no mistake about it: April 22 will be the single most important day of this campaign outside of the final vote. The media, legislators, governor, and people of Maine will be watching.

I believe the biggest battle for equality is in the churches, so I am thrilled to report that the Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Maine, will testify FOR equality.

If we, as Mainers, believe that faithful, lifelong monogamous relationships are among the building blocks of a healthy and stable society, then it is in our interest to extend the rights and obligations of civil marriage to all Maine citizens. To deny those rights to certain persons on the basis of sexual orientation is to create two classes of citizens and to deny one group what we believe is best for them and for society."

The Rt. Rev. Stephen T Lane, Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Maine

Momentum is on our side.

Monday, April 20, 2009

SPLC Sues Mississippi County to Stop 'Shocking' Abuse of Children at Detention Center

The Southern Poverty Law Center today filed a federal class action suit to stop the "shockingly inhumane" treatment of children at a juvenile detention center and to force officials to provide sanitary facilities and mental health treatment to young people confined there.

The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi on behalf of a 17-year-old boy who, despite attempting suicide while in the facility, has received no mental health treatment. He has been subjected to physical abuse and filthy conditions, and has been forced to sleep on the floor in an overcrowded, insect-infested cell.

The Harrison County Juvenile Detention Center in Biloxi, Miss., has been operated by a private corporation, the Mississippi Security Police, for more than nine years at an annual cost of $1.6 million.

"It is a travesty that the county has chosen to let a private company profit by neglecting and abusing our children," said Vanessa Carroll, a staff attorney for the SPLC's Mississippi Youth Justice Project, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, and counsel for the children.

Most of the children confined at the facility have not been adjudicated guilty of any crime and are awaiting court hearings. Many are there for minor offenses and so-called "status offenses" like truancy.

The lawsuit describes how the county has failed to provide the most basic, constitutionally required services to the plaintiff, known in the suit as D.W.

"Toilets and walls are covered with mold, rust and excrement," the lawsuit says. "Insects have infested the facility, and the smell of human excrement permeates the entire building. Children frequently have to sleep on thin mats that smell of urine and mold. Defendants do not provide children with adequate personal hygiene items."

Children who have been confined there describe assaults by guards, being locked in their cells for 23 hours every day, inadequate medical and mental health care, and widespread infections caused by the filthy conditions.

Marlon, 17, said children are treated like animals at the facility. "I've seen the guards slam kids, mace them and do things they wouldn't even do to their own dog, let alone a human."

D.W. said he was abused even while on suicide watch after he had tried to hang himself with a bed sheet. "A guard choked me from behind and slammed me on the floor," he said. "While that guard held me down, another guard dropped his knee in my neck, slammed my face to the floor and then pushed my face into the concrete. I couldn't breathe."

Mississippi Protection and Advocacy Inc., a congressionally authorized nonprofit organization that enforces the civil rights of people with disabilities, is also a plaintiff in the suit. It is demanding access to the facility, to which it is entitled under federal law.

"This lawsuit demands that Harrison County ensure the safety of children in its custody," said co-counsel Sheila Bedi, SPLC's regional juvenile justice attorney. "But this lawsuit also gives the county a chance to reconsider investing $1.6 million a year in a private, for-profit prison company at the expense of our children. Perhaps now the county will recognize that investing in communities and families is a wiser use of taxpayer dollars."

The lawsuit seeks class action status to protect all children who are currently confined at the detention center as well as those who will be confined there in the future.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

New York Governor Calls Marriage a Civil Right; Introduces Marriage Equality Bill

Anne Hathaway Awarded Human Rights Award

President Barack Obama's Weekly Address

WEEKLY ADDRESS: President Obama Discusses Efforts to Reform Spending, Government Waste; Names Chief Performance Officer and Chief Technology Officer

WASHINGTON – In his weekly address, President Barack Obama announced that Jeffrey Zients, a CEO, management consultant and entrepreneur, will join the administration as the Chief Performance Officer, and that Aneesh Chopra, Virginia’s Secretary of Technology, will serve as the Chief Technology Officer. Zients will also serve as Deputy Director for Management of the Office of Management and Budget. He will work to streamline processes, cut costs, and find the best practices throughout the government. As Chief Technology Officer, Chopra will promote technological innovation to help the country meet its goals from job creation, to reducing health care costs, to protecting the homeland. Together with Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra, they will help give all Americans a government that is effective, efficient, and transparent.

President Obama announced his appointments of the following individuals today:

Jeffrey D. Zients

Zients has twenty years of business experience as a CEO, management consultant and entrepreneur with a deep understanding of business strategy, process reengineering and financial management. He served as CEO and Chairman of the Advisory Board Company and Chairman of the Corporate Executive Board. These firms are leading providers of performance benchmarks and best practices across a wide range of industries. Currently, he is the Founder and Managing Partner of Portfolio Logic, an investment firm focused primarily on business and healthcare service companies.

Aneesh Paul Chopra

Chopra serves as Virginia’s Secretary of Technology. He leads the Commonwealth’s strategy to effectively leverage technology in government reform, to promote Virginia’s innovation agenda, and to foster technology-related economic development. Previously, he worked as Managing Director with the Advisory Board Company, leading the firm’s Financial Leadership Council and the Working Council for Health Plan Executives.

The full audio of the address is HERE. The video can be viewed online at

Saturday, April 18, 2009

It’s not news to say that we are living through challenging times: The worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. A credit crisis that has made that downturn worse. And a fiscal disaster that has accumulated over a period of years.

In the year 2000, we had projected budget surpluses in the trillions, and Washington appeared to be on the road to fiscal stability. Eight years later, when I walked in the door, the projected budget deficit for this year alone was $1.3 trillion. And in order to jumpstart our struggling economy, we were forced to make investments that added to that deficit through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

But as surely as our future depends on building a new energy economy, controlling health care costs and ensuring that our kids are once again the best educated in the world, it also depends on restoring a sense of responsibility and accountability to our federal budget. Without significant change to steer away from ever-expanding deficits and debt, we are on an unsustainable course.

So today, we simply cannot afford to perpetuate a system in Washington where politicians and bureaucrats make decisions behind closed doors, with little accountability for the consequences; where billions are squandered on programs that have outlived their usefulness, or exist solely because of the power of a lobbyist or interest group; and where outdated technology and information systems undermine efficiency, threaten our security, and fail to serve an engaged citizenry.

If we’re to going to rebuild our economy on a solid foundation, we need to change the way we do business in Washington. We need to restore the American people’s confidence in their government – that it is on their side, spending their money wisely, to meet their families’ needs.

That starts with the painstaking work of examining every program, every entitlement, every dollar of government spending and asking ourselves: Is this program really essential? Are taxpayers getting their money’s worth? Can we accomplish our goals more efficiently or effectively some other way?

It’s a process we have already begun, scouring our budget line by line for programs that don’t work so we can cut them to make room for ones that do. That means ending tax breaks for companies shipping jobs overseas; stopping the fraud and abuse in our Medicare program; and reforming our health care system to cut costs for families and businesses. It means strengthening whisteblower protections for government employees who step forward to report wasteful spending. And it means reinstating the pay-as-you-go rule that we followed during the 1990s – so if we want to spend, we’ll need to find somewhere else to cut.

And this Monday, at my first, full Cabinet meeting, I will ask all of my department and agency heads for specific proposals for cutting their budgets. Already, members of my Cabinet have begun to trim back unnecessary expenditures. Secretary Napolitano, for example, is ending consulting contracts to create new seals and logos that have cost the Department of Homeland Security $3 million since 2003. In the largest Department, Secretary Gates has launched an historic project to reform defense contracting procedures and eliminate hundreds of billions of dollars in wasteful spending and cost overruns. And I commend Senators McCain and Levin – a Republican and a Democrat – who have teamed up to lead this effort in Congress.

Finally, in the coming weeks, I will be announcing the elimination of dozens of government programs shown to be wasteful or ineffective. In this effort, there will be no sacred cows, and no pet projects. All across America, families are making hard choices, and it’s time their government did the same.

That is why I have assembled a team of management, technology, and budget experts to guide us in this work – leaders who will help us revamp government operations from top to bottom and ensure that the federal government is truly working for the American people.

I have named Jeffrey Zients, a leading CEO, management consultant and entrepreneur, to serve as Deputy Director for Management of the Office of Management and Budget and as the first ever Chief Performance Officer. Jeffrey will work to streamline processes, cut costs, and find best practices throughout our government.

Aneesh Chopra, who is currently the Secretary of Technology for Governor Kaine of Virginia, has agreed to serve as America’s Chief Technology Officer. In this role, Aneesh will promote technological innovation to help achieve our most urgent priorities – from creating jobs and reducing health care costs to keeping our nation secure.

Aneesh and Jeffrey will work closely with our Chief Information Officer, Vivek Kundra, who is responsible for setting technology policy across the government, and using technology to improve security, ensure transparency, and lower costs. The goal is to give all Americans a voice in their government and ensure that they know exactly how we’re spending their money – and can hold us accountable for the results.

None of this will be easy. Big change never is. But with the leadership of these individuals, I am confident that we can break our bad habits, put an end to the mismanagement that has plagued our government, and start living within our means again. That is how we will get our deficits under control and move from recovery to prosperity. And that is how we will give the American people the kind of government they expect and deserve – one that is efficient, accountable and fully worthy of their trust.

Thank you.

Protest the Ex-Gay Deception!

Join the Impact MA is shining a spotlight on the fraudulent ex-gay movement in two events in late April. First, people are rallying outside Park Street Station in Boston at noon on Tuesday, April 28th to protest the “leadership training” Exodus International is conducting at Park Street Church. Second, noted author Wayne Besen, Executive Director, of Truth Wins Out will speak at a forum on the ex-gay movement at MIT at 7 PM the evening of the 28th.

Exodus is the world’s largest ex-gay ministry. It falsely promises “freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ” to Google searchers. From its perspective, Exodus ministers to individuals who are “tortured” by homosexuality (as former pastor Rev. Ted Haggard put it.) It trains religious leaders, clergy and laypeople to reach out to troubled homosexuals to encourage them to change to being heterosexuals. LGBT advocates counter that the only thing that needs to change is the homophobia the ex-gay movement feeds on.

Of course all Exodus can offer lesbians and gays is an ersatz heterosexuality based on mortifying one’s God-given nature. Exodus does not want people to know that it is impossible to replace a same-sex sexual orientation with opposite-sex attraction. Reputable medical and scientific authorities reject so-called “reparative therapy.” Having been exiled from the scientific community, the ex-gays continue with a faith-based program to assimilate gays and lesbians, Borg-style. They do not want attention given to the warnings from the American Psychiatric Association: “The potential risks of ‘reparative therapy’ are great, including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient.” The prejudice Exodus represents lets them deny the harm they do.

As they reach out to gay people who are down on themselves, Exodus wears a mask of compassion. But they are shedding crocodile tears for suffering their own compatriots have set out to exacerbate. Exodus International is supported by the religious right in America, and fits into a multi-pronged offensive to suppress LGBT visibility and equality. On various fronts, the religious right runs interference in the pursuit of happiness by LGBT people who are simply trying to live and let live. In a most egregious example, right-wing activists oppose anti-bullying best practices which address the link to homophobia, which contributed to the recent suicide of an 11-year old boy in Springfield, MA. Anti-gay zealots would rather leave bullying unchecked, on the tenth anniversary of the Columbine Massacre, than allow LGBT-inclusive school safety strategies. Some right-wing extremists see bullying as a useful mechanism for discouraging homosexuality and gender non-conformity among adolescents.

If the Anita Bryant’s and John Briggs’ of the world had their way, LGBT people could be fired from their jobs, evicted from their apartments, and sent to prison. Before Stonewall—40 years ago—gays and lesbians could be involuntarily committed to mental institutions and forced to undergo cruel “conversion therapy,” including the torture technique of aversive conditioning. There was no pretense of compassion like today.

Consider further the insistence that LGBT people be denied the protections against hate crimes that other groups enjoy, lest our safety from bigoted violence somehow interfere with anti-gay hate speech. Conservative “Christian” groups have boycotted companies that provide equal benefits to their LGBT employees. How many fundamentalists assume that because God holds gays and lesbians in contempt, they should too?

Although they know they can’t, the ex-gay vultures would like to take society back 40 years. They would prefer that Stonewall had never happened, and that no LGBT community had ever emerged and organized. While a handshake may have eclipsed the basher’s fist as the preferred way to make contact with a struggling gay person, the ex-gay groups perpetuate the stigma attached to homosexuality which rationalizes the homophobia the basher gives the most powerful expression to.

As long as Exodus International is in fellowship with organizations which seek to stack the social contract against LGBT happiness, they cannot pose as friends of any LGBT person, troubled or otherwise. When they say they only “help” those who want to “leave” homosexuality, they leave unspoken the efforts of their co-religionists to make the lives of LGBT so miserable that some at the margins are driven to seek a way out (even though there is no scientifically valid means to change sexual orientation.) Homophobia is the life-blood of the ex-gay movement, and their work depends on LGBT people having the social status that leads bullies to taunt their targets as “gay,” to mean simply the worst thing one child can call another. We are affected by the hate they perpetuate and we protest the campaign against equality they aid and abet.

Bishop Gene Robertson's Speech for Marriage Equality in NH

I had a chance to sneak a photo with the Bishop; he's quite a nice guy.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Another Conservative Changes his Mind

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Steve Schmidt, a key architect of John McCain's presidential campaign, is making his first public return to Washington a bold one.

Schmidt will use a speech Friday to Log Cabin Republicans, a gay rights group, to urge conservative Republicans to drop their opposition to same-sex marriage, CNN has learned.

"There is a sound conservative argument to be made for same-sex marriage," Schmidt will say, according to speech excerpts obtained by CNN.

"I believe conservatives, more than liberals, insist that rights come with responsibilities. No other exercise of one's liberty comes with greater responsibilities than marriage."

It seems like every day now, another conservative switches sides.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

New Hampshire Resident's Take Notice; This Man Speaks for You in Your Silence!

"We will not remember the words of our enemies, but rather the silence of our friends" ~Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I was in Concord, New Hampshire yesterday giving my testimony when I heard several people testify for and against. If you are interested in viewing other clips I have them on at this link.

Oddly enough my friendship with Dr. Pat Gozemba (author of Courting Equality) made me aware of Brian Camenker's hate speak when she exposed to the Hawaiian Senate that people were citing Camenker's misrepresentations while she was testifying in Honolulu. I heard the same tired rhetoric at the New Hampshire state house and did exactly what Dr. Gozemba did; I told the Senate panel that not only was the information provably false, it was being quoted from a SPLC certified hate group called I believe I was the only one to catch this, but I was definately the only one to call it out.

So tell me is the New Hampshire state motto "Live Free or Die!" or is it "Live Free or Die! (unless you're gay)"

Get Over It, Already

This article discusses the religious freedom aspect of same-sex marriage. Way down on page two I find this gem:

"According to a 2008 survey taken by Public Religion Research, when asked whether they would favor allowing gay couples to marry "if the law guaranteed that no church or congregation would be required to perform marriages for gay couples," support for legalizing same-sex marriage jumped from 29 to 43 percent."

Good then, write it into the law. Never mind that churches already have such a right guaranteed by our constitutions, and never has a church been required to santify a marriage against its will.

In fact my church (RCC) would not sanctify my marriage just because my wife is Protestant.

Let it be so though, write it into the law. In fact let's pass a new law. Hell, make it a Constitutional Amendment.

I would word it thusly:

"In keeping with the teachings of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Christians shall reserve the right to refuse to serve or to associate with anyone who does not meet their standards.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Severe Beating at Gloucester Bar Leaves Questions of Hate

From the Gloucester Daily Times:

Police have made one arrest in the beating of a Salem man, which a family member is calling a hate crime, and are expecting more.

William Chadwick, 21, of 5 Elwell St., Gloucester, was arrested yesterday at 3:30 p.m. on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Police said they have another suspect and are close to making an arrest.

Injured in the fracas was Justin Goodwin of Salem, who is in his 30s. His brother, David Kain of Peabody, said Goodwin's jaw was shattered, and his nose, an eye socket and a cheek bone were broken. Kain said that his brother underwent nine hours of surgery Sunday at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston and is scheduled to go through more.

According to what Goodwin told him, Kain said bouncers threw his brother out of the bar after Goodwin came to the defense of his sister, who was in an altercation with several other women. Goodwin told his brother he was escorted out through a side door that leads to the alley next to the tavern.

Police said Goodwin's sister told them she was jumped by five women in the tavern's womens bathroom, and that her brother and boyfriend tried to break up the fight when she left the restroom.

According to police, the tavern bouncers kicked out everyone involved in the melee.

Goodwin, who is a homosexual, told Kain that once he was in the alley, six men shouted anti-gay slurs at him while beating him.

Channel 7 News has video coverage.

A Beautiful Thing

People Change, and that is a good thing.

Yesterday, one of the most hostile opponents of LGBT people has admitted that she was wrong.

"It is "a beautiful thing and a healthy thing" when gay couples fall in love," said:

Dr. Laura Schlessinger

This is why we must always, even as we call out bigotry, remember that hearts and minds are changing. A decade ago, it would have been unthinkable for her.

John Avovosis has more here.

Love conquers all.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Join the Impact MA Rallies GLBT for Boston Tea Party Reinactment

Your presence is requested:

"Join us on April 15th as we throw symbolic federal tax forms into Boston Harbor, in a lively 21st century recreation of a seminal 18th century blow for freedom and equality. History will come alive that Wednesday at 5:30 on Long Wharf, near the Aquarium T-stop. Present-day patriots are encouraged to attend and wear colonial period costume if so inclined to make a statement against antiquated social policy. … Today our federal government plays favorites by denying some families tax and other legal benefits others get in the same situation. The lash of discrimination is felt particularly hard in the land of Paul Revere and John and Sam Adams. Massachusetts has recognized same-sex marriages for five years, yet gay and lesbian taxpayers are hit with a surtax that married straights don’t pay if their employer’s health insurance covers their spouses."

Organizers promise: You'll have a gay old time.

Read articles about this event:
The Huffington Post
Bay Windows
The Sean Hannity Show

Exodus International Coming to Boston, Wayne Besen Called to Counter

Wayne Besen is the founder of, a website he created to help counter the misinformation campaigns being waged against GLBT people. Besen is known by many as a former spokesman of the HRC and is better known for his book Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth. From we find the following:

On September 19, 2000 while on a speaking tour, John Paulk was spotted at Mr. P's, a Washington, D.C. gay bar. A patron recognized him and contacted Wayne Besen of the Human Rights Campaign, Truth Wins Out, and other gay political action organizations. When Besen arrived at the bar forty minutes later and confronted Paulk, he denied that he was in fact John Paulk. Upon exiting the bar, Paulk's picture was taken as documentation that he had been in the bar. When confronted by Besen about the incident and the photographs, Paulk admitted being in the bar, but stated that he didn’t know it was a gay bar and had simply stopped in for a moment to use the restroom. However, eyewitnesses reported that Paulk stayed for more than an hour, flirted with other men, and when questioned about his sexuality, said he was gay.

Paulk was called back to Focus on the Family headquarters and was questioned by James Dobson. At first Paulk reportedly evaded a direct answer about the incident; however he later confessed that he had been in the bar for the purpose of flirting. Paulk was placed on probation, and was chaperoned on future speaking engagements to ensure that he had "support" in the event that he needed it. Dobson also removed Paulk from the Board Chair position of Exodus International. He remained on the board under probationary status only and was not allowed to attend meetings or vote.

An Exodus press release soon followed:

"John's actions represent a serious lapse in sound judgment. His decision to enter a gay establishment for any reason opens him up to all kinds of speculation by both other Exodus leaders and also the gay community."

In a September 2001 interview with the Charlotte World newspaper, Paulk stated:

"People wanted me to speak everywhere. I felt like a doll that someone would wind-up and say come give your testimony, come speak here, come fly here, come fly there. ... I started squeezing God out of my life. ... So a year ago I wanted to escape. I wanted to escape my life. I wanted to escape everything. My reputation. I wanted off the treadmill and I thought I wanted to go back to a gay bar. Well, of course, because God loves me he is not going to let me go out on a leash too long and I was discovered in there."

The incident received national headlines in newspapers and news magazines. Paulk remained in his position as manager of the Homosexuality and Gender Department until choosing to leave that position in 2003.

We are in the process of securing a location for Besen to give an informative speech prior to the arrival of Exodus International in Boston; we will keep you updated through Join the Impact MA.

God is in Control?

James Dobson, bigot extraordinaire, is a tired old man. He is throwing in the towel, and for that, I am grateful. But what an odd perspective this man has. Recently he said this:

"The battles that we fought in the Eighties now, we were victorious in many of those conflicts with the culture, trying to defend righteousness, trying to defend the unborn child, trying to preserve the dignity of the family and the definition of marriage. We fought all those battles and really it was a holding action.

[…] [W]e made a lot of progress through the Eighties but then we turned into the Nineties and the internet came along and a new president came along and all of that went away and now we are absolutely awash in evil. And we are right now in the most discouraging period of that long conflict. Humanly speaking, we can say that we have lost all those battles, but God is in control and we are not going to give up now, right?"

A new president came along in the nineties and now we are awash in evil?

Does he forget that another new president came along in 2000? A Born-Again Christian empowered with control of both houses of Congress and a compliant Supreme Court. Odd that he would blame Bill Clinton and the internet when his own people have been in control of Congress from 1994 to 2006 and the presidency for eight years.

And think about his last line:

"Humanly speaking, we can say that we have lost all those battles, but God is in control and we are not going to give up now, right?"

If God is in control now, and the GOP has been in control for eight years, why is his side losing?

Does it ever occur to him that either God is not in control, or maybe, just maybe, God is not on his side.?


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Challenge to Wisconsin's Marriage Equality Ban Moves Closer to the Supreme Court

From The Superior Telegram:

A lawsuit challenging Wisconsin's constitutional ban on Gay Marriage took another step closer to the State Supreme Court Thursday.

The suit brought by U-W Oshkosh professor William McConkey says the 2006 referendum on Gay Marriage in the state violated the state constitution because it included two different issues. Banning gay marriage and banning civil unions. The suit claims the state's constitution requires all referendums to address only one issue. This week the state Appeals court ruled that the referendum's wording did raise constitutional questions that the high court should clarify. McConkey's lawyer Lester Pines says he's hopeful the high court will address those issues.

The Supreme Court could say well you might not have thought the law was clear in this area but we do and then just apply it and decide the case.

Gay Marriage advocates like Glenn Carlson of Fair Wisconsin hope the court will clarify the rules in a way that invalidates the states same sex union ban.

"Certainly if the suit is successful it will throw out the result of the November election in 2006 but there seems to be an awful long way to go before getting to that point."

Taken from the website:

About Wisconsin State Amendment Banning Gay Marriage

On November 7th, 2006 whether to allow or not allow gay marriage in the state of Wisconsin was put to a vote. An amendment to make sure it would be banned was placed on the ballet and Wisconsin voters passed the amendment by a margin of 59%-41%.

I'll give you a full detail story of this amendment and why people are working hard to get this repealed. Here is what I found out:

Article XIII, Section 13 of the Wisconsin State Constitution states "Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state. A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized in this state."

Wisconsin Statutes, Chapter 765. The Family Code (765-768)
states this:

765.001(2) Intent-... Under the laws of this state, marriage is a legal relationship between 2 equal persons, a husband and wife, who owe to each other mutual responsibility and support....

765.01 A civil contract-Marriage, so far as its validity at law is concerned, is a civil contract, to which the consent of the parties capable in law of contracting is essential, and which creates the legal status of husband and wife.

765.04 Marriage abroad to circumvent the laws-(1) If any person residing and intending to continue to reside in this state who is disabled or prohibited from contracting marriage under the laws of this state goes into another state or country and there contracts a marriage prohibited or declared void under the laws of this state, such marriage shall be void for all purposes in this state with the same effect as though it had been entered into in this state.(3) No marriage shall be contracted in this state by a party residing and intending to continue to reside in another state or jurisdiction, if such marriage would be void if contracted in such other state or jurisdiction and every marriage celebrated in this state in violation of this provision shall be null and void.

765.30 Penalties-(1) The following may be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned for not more than 9 months or both:(a) Penalty for marriage outside the state to circumvent the laws. Any person residing and intending to continue to reside in this state who goes outside the state and there contracts a marriage prohibited or declared void under the laws of this state.

No marriage license or recognition, no other relationship or its recognition from other jurisdictions for same-sex couples.

When this amendment passed all hope seemed lost that equal rights and marriage for gays, lesbians, etc. in Wisconsin would be granted. Now, there is a different President, and Vice President. Democrats have control in the Senate and the House in Federal government and more Democrats have also taken over in Wisconsin State
government. Our hopes to get this amendment repealed someday and have equal rights have been restored. But we need more people standing up and standing out here in Wisconsin. We need your help. Please get involved in any way you can to help.

Let me remind readers that Loving v. Virginia 1967 was a similar case in which an interracial couple had crossed Virginia states lines to marry and were arrested upon their return.

Please visit Kim @ and give her your support:

Friday, April 10, 2009

Predictions by State for Marriage Equality

Nate Silver, an analyst who has correctly predicted outcomes of many different elections, has looked at data including whether a state has previously passed a ban on gay marriage, the importance of religion to local voters based on a Gallup survey, and how many white evangelicals live in a particular state. Based on that, he created a model to predict when voters in each state would be likely to vote down a ban on gay marriage.

Here's a run down by state of when marriage equality is expected to come:

Vermont (already equal as of April 7, 2009)
New Hampshire
Massachusetts (already equal as of May 17, 2004)
Rhode Island
Connecticut (already equal as of October 10, 2008)
New York

New Jersey



Iowa (Equal as of April 27, 2009)

New Mexico
North Dakota*
South Dakota*

West Virginia



North Carolina


South Carolina*




Asterisks indicate states which had previously passed amendments to ban gay marriage.

Bathroom Propaganda Seems Last Act of Desperation for MFI's Call Against Trangender Rights

Ethan St. Pierre is a transgender citizen who would be forced to use the ladies bathroom according to MFI's twisted logic. Does this make any sense to you?

Massachusetts Family Institute (MFI) has re-branded itself as the “Coalition of Marriage and Family”, but in reality it is the same people, entity, and goals; the religious subjugation of GLBT people. The re-branding of their name seems to be done to distance themselves from either their past failures and/or the shame their actions bring. Here is a verbatim quote from their website:

“MFI does not consider homosexual behavior to be merely an alternate lifestyle or sexual "preference"; it is an unhealthy practice and destructive to individuals, families and society.”

These are the same people that in 2005 tried to put an amendment to our state constitution on the ballot by bringing in outside of the state mercenaries who stole citizen’s signatures. Kris Mineau led that failed campaign. Under his leadership MFI was responsible for handing out “Wanted: Dead or Alive” style posters of lawmakers that opposed their amendment in December 2006.

Now they want to trick lawmakers into believing that the Transgender Rights bill (HB 1728) will “…put vulnerable women and children at risk and infringe upon everyone’s right to privacy” “…while giving special protections to cross-dressers and transvestites”.

Transgender (not cross-dressers or transvestites) people feel deeply that they are born into the wrong sex. We should honor their struggle by allowing them to be recognized as the sex they assign themselves. Kris Mineau and his group want to scare you into voting against their rights without providing a compelling social interest founded in fact that negates this need.

Please don’t to listen to deliberate misrepresentations against our citizens; please question those accusations and check all facts for yourselves. To say that women and children would be at risk implies transgender people are criminals. There is no magical barrier created that prevents crime by denying transgender people the use of the proper public bathrooms of their assigned sex or by denying any other provision in HB 1728. Lawmakers of conscience should never create policy on unfounded hearsay fears rather than fact.

Please protect your transgender constituents from religious tyranny and send a message to groups like this around the world that it is time to move on from the disrespectful politics of division by voting in favor of HB 1728. Massachusetts is the “cradle of liberty”, if our elected representatives do not stand up for the equality of our most vulnerable citizens, who will?

Thursday, April 09, 2009


Massachusetts Recovery Plan and investments in education to promote improvement in teaching and learning efforts for students

HOLYOKE – Thursday, April 9, 2009 – As part of his Massachusetts Recovery Plan to secure the state’s economic future, Governor Deval Patrick today announced that $163 million in additional federal education Title I funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will go to many high-poverty school districts in Massachusetts.

Governor Patrick has committed $620 million in federal stimulus funds for K-12 education, special education and higher education programs and services. He also recently announced an additional $300 million of low-interest college loans for students.

“Title I is a vital federal education funding source that helps our neediest school districts provide educational and other services for students,” said Governor Patrick. “In these difficult budget times, we must maintain our support to help promote improvement in schools so that all students receive an education that prepares them for a future of success.”

Governor Patrick announced today that Massachusetts will receive an additional $163,391,186 in Title I federal grants to supplement the amount the Commonwealth currently receives annually ($233,353,571 in 2008). Title I funds are targeted to help the districts and schools in the Commonwealth that serve the highest concentration of low-income students.

The funds will help districts retain specialist teachers that help struggling readers, purchase books, technology, and other instructional materials that help students who are behind their peers receive the support and instruction they need. Additionally, the funds will be used to help teachers obtain training to better educate English Language Learners, and others with special learning needs.

The first half of the Title I funds will be distributed in July and the remaining funds will be allocated in the fall. A total of 258 school districts, regional technical vocational schools and charter schools are receiving this second set of funds. The list of districts to receive these funds is attached. Title I funds are distributed to school districts based on a federal formula that assesses need as measured by the number of high-poverty students served.

Governor Patrick praised members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation for their role in securing this vital funding.

"This investment is being directed where it's needed most and where it will have the biggest impact - in our state’s high-risk schools. It will help tailor learning to the unique needs of our most vulnerable students giving them the educational tools they need to be successful. I am grateful Governor Patrick is working to ensure that Massachusetts students are prepared to compete and win in today’s global economy," said Senator Kerry.

“In crafting the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Congress boosted funding for Title I over and above annual amounts so that, even as local cities and towns grapple with challenging budgets, students who are in most need of extra support get the resources and classroom attention they need to obtain a quality education,” said Congressman John Tierney.

“We have been working hard to get additional federal funding to our cities and towns and I’m happy that Massachusetts will now receive an additional $163 million in federal funding for its high-need school districts,” Congressman Stephen F. Lynch said. “These Title I Funds will give a real boost to cities and towns throughout Massachusetts that are struggling with meeting basic funding needs in the midst of the current economic downturn.”

"Our communities can use these funds to help prevent teacher layoffs as well as to hire additional teachers and broaden curriculums where necessary," said Congresswoman Niki Tsongas. "Most importantly, the support our schools are receiving will help to ensure that students' academic achievement and future competitiveness are not compromised during this economic downturn."

Education investments are critical components of Governor Patrick’s Massachusetts Recovery Plan, which combines state, federal and, where possible, private efforts to provide immediate and long-term relief and position the Commonwealth for recovery in the following ways:

· Deliver immediate relief by investing in the road, bridge and rail projects that put people to work today and providing safety net services that sustain people who are especially vulnerable during an economic crisis;

· Build a better tomorrow through education and infrastructure investments that strengthen our economic competitiveness, prepare workers for the jobs of the future and support clean energy, broadband and technology projects that cut costs while growing the economy; and

· Reform state government by eliminating the pension and ethics loopholes that discredit the work of government and revitalize the transportation networks that have suffered from decades of neglect and inaction.

Governor Patrick played a key role in developing the federal recovery law’s State Stabilization Fund that is now being used to shore up state education funding as well as to prevent layoffs and cutbacks in other critical areas of government during the recession.

Over the next two years, Massachusetts will receive an estimated $1.88 billion to support early education, K-12 education and higher education. For more information about what the federal recovery law means for Massachusetts, please visit