Sunday, May 31, 2009

DrivingEquality.com Weekly Update

As our colleague and friend GLBT Commissioner Chris Mason tours the contiguous 48 states we are reporting on his adventures each Sunday. In reporting what Mason is doing I'd ask that you allow me to give you a sample of his report here and click on the link to read the rest at his website: DrivingEquality.com


Day 15

We spent the day in Tampa, Florida with our amazing friend Roger. Finally we had a beautiful day in the hot sun, away from the rain. I spent most of the day updating the website. Notice the “News” tab up top and the revamped “Track our Trek” feature. You can now see our current location and a map our where we’ve been.

I was also able to get down to Venice, Florida to visit my grandmother...

Day 16

Memorial Day is a time to remember our soldiers that have died in battle. It goes without saying that there have been thousands of LGBTQ men and women that have died for our country. The vast majority of these people had to live their lives in the closet because of our military’s policy against homosexuals. This is wrong. When an LGBTQ person dies in war, their partner is not eligible to receive any of the benefits that a spouse in a heterosexual relationship would receive...


Day 17

We started off the day in Mobile, Alabama. We couldn’t find any LGBT activists to meet with, so we stood outside a gay bar and did street interviews with anybody walking by who was willing to talk. We met some great folks who shared with us their take on the struggle for LGBT equality in Alabama. Thanks to all who stopped to talk on camera!

We left Mobile around 2:00PM, headed toward New Orleans, where I had been organizing a protest in response to the California Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Prop 8. I realized last week that I would be in New Orleans on D-Day and, checking the website, saw that there was nothing planned yet. I really wanted to be in a city that was going to have a protest on the day of the decision, so I organized one. We spent the two hour drive from Mobile to New Orleans on the phone with local activists, press, and the police. Thanks to everyone who emailed me offering their help...


Day 18

We love New Orleans! Today we met with Mary Griggs and Kenny Tucker from Forum for Equality; and Crystal Little from the New Orleans LGBT Community Center. These were great interviews that gave us a better understanding of the struggle for queer equality in Louisiana.

The Forum for Equality is doing great work in New Orleans and throughout the state. Currently, the city of New Orleans is the only place where LGBTQ people are protect from job discrimination. But the Forum for Equality is working to pass ordinances in cities across the state. Unfortunately, a state-wide employment non-discrimination bill doesn’t seem likely any time soon, as Louisiana has an socially conservative governor.

Crystal talked to us about the transgender community in New Orleans and across the South...





Day 19

This morning we left New Orleans and headed toward Jackson, Mississippi. We weren’t able to set up an interview with any local LGBTQ organizations in the state, so we decided to try our luck in the State House. I wanted to find a representative or senator willing to talk to us on camera about LGBTQ equality in Mississippi. I wasn’t sure how this would work out...


Day 20

We woke up today in Hot Springs, Arkansas, boyhood home of President Bill Clinton. This is a cute little town with a really cool National Park for the natural hot springs and old bathhouses. We had breakfast and headed up to Little Rock for an interview with the Center for Artistic Revolution (CAR). CAR is an amazing organization doing incredible work in Arkansas. These folks make the connections between all oppressed people and work for justice for all.

“CAR’s work is creating progressive movement building that facilitates opportunities for individuals and communities to create change for a just and peaceful society that respects the value of all people and provides equitable access to civil rights, a democratic process and economical and environmental justice.”

We spoke with Randi Romo, the current Director and Co-founder of CAR. She shared with us some of the hardships facing LGBTQ people in Arkansas. She does a lot of work highlighting the interconnectedness of racism, sexism, and homophobia. I admire her work and the organization’s goals.

We also interviewed Joseph LaFountaine from the Arkansas Stonewall Democrats. We spoke about the state’s battle with Act 1 that passed last November. Act 1 made it illegal for any single people (i.e. same-sex couples) to adopt children. This is a horrible law that must be repealed...



You can communicate directly with Mason on Twitter.com and you can see where in the country they currently are via this link. Leave any questions or feedback here as to what you want to see for next week's report, and leave your feedback for Mason on DrivingEquality.com.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Day of Decision: Boston Rally



There are a series of 14 videos on YouTube you can check out, this one features "Voices Rising" the Women's Chorus of Boston. For those of you who are hearing impaired and can read sign language I made sure the camera was on the interpreter to include you in the enjoyment.

Be sure to head over to MassMarrier; Mike has provided several articles that make for great reading in which he covers many points and thoughts about Prop 8 .

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

California Supreme Court Upholds Prop 8

In a 6-1 vote members of the California Supreme Court ruled to dismiss the claims against Prop. 8 and uphold the ban on same sex marriage with one curious twist, the 18,000 marriages already performed will remain valid. How this court can rule to have two different classes of GLBT people, the haves and the have nots, will pose an interesting question for explanation. Meanwile there are protest marches scheduled all over the country including Boston, which is meeting at Copley square tonight at 7:00PM. This outcome is unfortunate but is merely another step in our eventual equality, nothing more.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Constitutionality of Same Sex Marriage in Massachusetts

In my unending slap fight with a person(s?) who run knowthyfactsnotthyneighbors.blogspot.com
(try typing that all the time) I attempted to give a full explanation for a question posted and to my embarrassment I found out I was too long winded for the blogger comment section, so I had to leave it here in the form of an article, and since I thought arguments on this subject are worth sharing, here's the question I was asked:

"Let's start with the biggest hole and we will go from there."


That's not the question, but since it was said to me I thought it sounded fun to repeat! Call me juvenile... ;) OK, here's the question:

"Please cite your sources for the statement 'it was by court order which is just as compelling as legislatively enacted law.'Where is this stated John?? Who told you this, because it is completely and utterly wrong."


The Goodridge Decision clearly states that legislators were to be given the opportunity to create legislation that gives same sex couples the exact same right to marriage as heterosexual couples.

Having failed to do so in the provided 180 days given the decision went into effect without legislative action and same sex marriage licenses began to be issued at Midnight on May 17, 2004 at Cambridge city hall.

Here's a link to the Wikipedia article if you need to refresh yourself on the facts:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goodridge_v._Department_of_Public_Health

From page 128 of Goodridge we find the following:

"While the court, in interpreting a constitutional amendment, is not bound to accept either the views of a legislative commission studying and reporting on the amendment's likely effects, or of public commentary and debate contemporaneous with its passage..."

That spells out the fact that the court is the final say on these issues.

The decision even goes as far as to address what you have accused for so long:

"The 'time tested wisdom of the separation of powers' requires courts to avoid 'judicial legislation in the guise of new constructions to meet real or supposed new popular viewpoints, preserving always to the Legislature alone its proper prerogative of adjusting the statutes to changed conditions.' Pielech v. Massasoit Greyhound, Inc., 423 Mass. 534, 539, 540 (1996), cert. denied, 520 U.S. 1131 (1997), quoting Commonwealth v. A Juvenile, 368 Mass. 580, 595 (1975)."

Now let's get into the State Constitution:

"Article III. The general court shall forever have full power and authority to erect and constitute judicatories and courts of record, or other courts, to be held in the name of the commonwealth, for the hearing, trying, and determining of all manner of crimes, offences, pleas, processes, plaints, actions, matters, causes and things, whatsoever, arising or happening within the commonwealth, or between or concerning persons inhabiting, or residing, or brought within the same, whether the same be criminal or civil, or whether the said crimes be capital or not capital, and whether the said pleas be real, personal, or mixed; and for the awarding and making out of execution thereupon.

Article VII. Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men: Therefore the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity and happiness require it.

Article XLVIII.

I. Definition.

Legislative power shall continue to be vested in the general court; but the people reserve to themselves the popular initiative, which is the power of a specified number of voters to submit constitutional amendments and laws to the people for approval or rejection; and the popular referendum, which is the power of a specified number of voters to submit laws, enacted by the general court, to the people for their ratification or rejection.

II. Initiative Petitions.

Section 1. Contents. - An initiative petition shall set forth the full text of the constitutional amendment or law, hereinafter designated as the measure, which is proposed by the petition.

Section 2. Excluded Matters. - No measure that relates to religion, religious practices or religious institutions; or to the appointment, qualification, tenure, removal, recall or compensation of judges;

or to the reversal of a judicial decision;

or to the powers, creation or abolition of courts; or the operation of which is restricted to a particular town, city or other political division or to particular districts or localities of the commonwealth; or that makes a specific appropriation of money from the treasury of the commonwealth, shall be proposed by an initiative petition; but if a law approved by the people is not repealed, the general court shall raise by taxation or otherwise and shall appropriate such money as may be necessary to carry such law into effect.

Neither the eighteenth amendment of the constitution, as approved and ratified to take effect on the first day of October in the year nineteen hundred and eighteen, nor this provision for its protection, shall be the subject of an initiative amendment.

No proposition inconsistent with any one of the following rights of the individual, as at present declared in the declaration of rights, shall be the subject of an initiative or referendum petition: The right to receive compensation for private property appropriated to public use; the right of access to and protection in courts of justice; the right of trial by jury; protection from unreasonable search, unreasonable bail and the law martial; freedom of the press; freedom of speech; freedom of elections; and the right of peaceable assembly.

No part of the constitution specifically excluding any matter from the operation of the popular initiative and referendum shall be the subject of an initiative petition; nor shall this section be the subject of such a petition.

The limitations on the legislative power of the general court in the constitution shall extend to the legislative power of the people as exercised hereunder."

Now I have gone through a great deal of trouble to cite you specific sources, your website is called "knowthyfacts", so let's see a retort fitting the answer I gave you with your sources equally cited. ;)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Driving Equality Update, May 24

Looks like Chris Mason of DrivingEquality.com has been burning the rubber and the midnight oil to give us some first class reporting while on tour across the country promoting and documenting GLBT equality. There are a series of videos that have been released on YouTube.com, allow me to share them with you.

Behind-the-scenes footage of our interview with Shane Windmeyer, the Executive Director of Campus Pride:




Interview with Warren Redman-Gress, Exec. Dir. - Alliance For Full Acceptance - South Carolina:



Interview with Roland Wise, Business Owner & Activist - 30124 Coffee House - Waldo, Florida:



Interview with Kevin Clark, Inn Owner & Activist - Under the Rainbow - Savannah, Georgia:



Animals in Great Smoky Mountain National Park:



It looks like as busy as Good Will Ambassador Mason has been he still finds time to admire the wonders of the journey and savor it's rewards. I'll be sure to post more as Mason makes his reports available. For those followers who are hearing impaired or deaf let me give you what Mason has reported in text:



Day 7

After a long week of filming and driving (we covered over 2000 miles in five days), we are taking a break in the Great Smoky Mountains. We’ll be camping for a couple of nights and then heading to Johnson City, Tennessee; Asheville, North Carolina; Charlotte, North Carolina; Columbia, South Carolina and so on. Time to build a fire and cook some food!

Day 8

Did you know that you can follow us on Twitter? (http://twitter.com/DrivingEquality) Sign in to your twitter account and follow us, or just check out the TWITTER UPDATES box on the right side of this page. We have limited internet access and, as much as I would love to, we can’t be updating the blog all day long. But we will be posting on Twitter throughout the day. So if you’re wondering what we’re up to and there is no new blog post, check out the Twitter Updates. ——>

Today is May 17th. Happy Gay Marriage Day! Five years ago, Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage. Potter and I spent the day together in Boston. We celebrated with thousands of other happy people as couple after couple applied for their license to marry. It was a tough fight to keep same-sex marriage legal in the commonwealth, but we did it and the sky has not fallen. Congratulations to Massachusetts and to the new states that have joined the ranks of equality for all.

Day 9

Today we left Cherokee, NC and headed toward our next interview in Johnson City, Tennessee. We found a great campground about 20 minutes from the city. It is a beautiful National Forest with tall trees, a rushing river, and a great big fire pit. We were able to clean out the van and reorganize all of our equipment. We fixed the tents that took a beating on the mountain and dried out our sleeping bags. Everything is finding its place in the van. We actually have room to sit down in the back now. I have been going through everything we brought and making a pile to donate to Goodwill. It is funny the things you think you need, but end up just taking up space. The van is really starting to come together and feeling like home!

Check out this picture I took of a road sign on the way to our camp in Tennessee. We were headed into the future!

We have been camping at Great Smoky Mountain National Park. It has been a beautiful break from driving. We’ve used the time to rest, organize the equipment in the van, critique our footage, and recharge our batteries (figuratively and literally - we have a lot of electronics). Of course I chose the highest campground in the park, Balsam Mountain, with an elevation of 5,310 feet. The drive up to camp takes about an hour. The roads are steep and windy, but the scenery is beautiful.

The first night was great. We got into camp around midnight and fell asleep right away. The next day was nice and we had a cookout. It started to rain in the evening and continued throughout the night. Potter’s tent leaked and he woke up in a puddle. The campground has no showers and no hot water, so it was not a good morning for him. It kept raining all day. We went into town and hung out on a Cherokee Reservation for a few hours while I used the internet in a coffee shop to do some work and update the Phelps-A-Thon website.

We grabbed some firewood and tasted some boiled peanuts, then headed back up the mountain. I started a fire and Potter cooked some food. It was wet and windy. Our campsite was located right on the side of the mountain, with the wind blowing up and through our camp. The fog rolled in and the wind picked up. I was happy sitting by the fire, keeping warm, until one of the tents lifted off the ground and took a dive into the other tent. I thought, “OK, no problem. We still have one more tent up and it is secured with stakes in the ground.”

The temperature dropped (headed down to 32 degrees) and we huddled close to the fire. The wind continued to howl. All of a sudden the second tent broke free from its moorings and flipped over on its side. It started flapping in the wind. I tried to pull it back but the wind was strong and constant. The tent was like a sail on top of the mountain.

That was it. We were done. We threw everything, soaking wet, into the van and headed down the mountain. We are now in a hotel (hopefully the only hotel of the trip) in Cherokee, North Carolina. I miss the campfire, but it will be nice to have hot water in the morning to take a shower and brush my teeth. Tomorrow we head back over the mountains into Tennessee.

While on the mountain we saw a group (pack? herd?) of deer (or maybe elk…or moose? Check out the video and leave a comment).

Day 10

We had a double interview day today! We woke up in Tennessee and headed into Johnson City. We found our way to East Tennessee State University where we had hoped to meet with the head of the LGBTQ group. Unfortunately, he was no longer available to meet with us. We had to find someone to talk to in Tennessee. We saw a car with the HRC equal sign bumper sticker and followed it around campus. I think the big, white, windowless van freaked them out because they lost our tail and took off before we could talk to them. We drove through campus and found a couple of women that looked nice enough to approach, so we asked them if there was an LGBT center on campus. There is no center, but they made some calls and helped us get in touch with the head of the multicultural department. We went to her office and pleaded our case, “We need someone in Tennessee to interview about LGBT equality!”

She was very busy, but was kind enough to help us out. She made some calls and found someone that was willing to meet with us. That is how we found Lettee. She is an amazing woman who works on campus. She is an out, proud, advocate for equality. We interviewed her outside on the grounds of the campus. We talked about LGBTQ life in Tennessee, being gay in the black community, and being in a 10 year same-sex relationship. It was a pleasure to meet Lettee and learn a little about her life. She is a courageous person who is fighting the good fight by being out in East Tennessee.

We left Johnson City around 2:00PM and headed toward Asheville, North Carolina. It was a scenic drive through the mountains. The interview we had worked to setup in Asheville fell through, so we scrambled to find someone to talk with. I made a few calls, sent out an email, and got an incredible response from the Asheville LGBTQ community. Special thanks to Monroe Gilmour from the Coalition for Equality for hearing my call and finding a ton of people for us to meet with on such short notice.

When we got into town I was exhausted and needed to take a nap. Potter explored the downtown area while I slept in the van. We met up again at 7:00PM and went to check out a meeting of a local LGBTQ group called CLOSER. This group has been around since the seventies! CLOSER is the oldest support, educational, and social group serving the LGBTQ community in Asheville.

We met some great folks at the CLOSER meeting, including Allen, who agreed to be interview for the documentary. We talked to Allen about the LGBTQ community in North Carolina and about the best way to advance LGBTQ equality. He believes that community unification is the way to win, and works hard as the president of CLOSER to achieve this in Asheville.

After the interview, Allen offered me a ride on his motorcycle. It was tons of fun! Thanks Allen!

Day 11

Today was an exciting day in North Carolina. We had an interview set up at the Lesbian and Gay Community Center in Charlotte, the Queen City. We met with Shane Windmeyer, the Executive Director of Campus Pride; Matt Comer, the editor of QNotes; and Denise Palm-Beck, the Board Chair of the community center. Thanks to Shane for setting up this event for us!

It was great to talk with Shane about his travels. He speaks at colleges all over the country and shared with us some of his experiences. He does great work at Campus Pride and is a true leader in the community. I’d like everyone to take a second and vote for Shane (Buff Faye) on the Rupaul Drag Race Online Contest to get Campus Pride on RuPaul’s Drag Race!

We talked with Matt about what it was like growing up gay in a religious family in North Carolina. He is a super courageous guy who speaks his mind and tells it like it is in his Editor’s Notes section of QNotes. After we interviewed Matt he turned his camera on us and conducted an interview for the newspaper. We’ll post a link to the article when it comes out.

Thanks to Denise for opening up the LGBT center for us to use today and for being an incredible straight ally. She shared with us some of her experiences as an ally and what it is like to be a supporter of equality in North Carolina.

VOTE BUFF FAYE ONCE A DAY
RUPAUL DRAG RACE SEASON 2
http://rupaulcasting.com/people/bufffaye

Below is “behind-the-scenes” footage of our interview with Shane and a few pictures.

Day 12

We had a great interview today in Charleston, South Carolina. We met with Warren Redman-Gress, the Executive Director of Alliance For Full Acceptance (AFFA). Warren has been fighting for acceptance for LGBT people in South Carolina for over ten years. AFFA is an incredible organization that works to educate the people of South Carolina and eliminate prejudice based on sexual orientation and gender identity. AFFA runs campaigns with TV spots, billboards, and newspaper ads aimed at educating the public about LGBT rights. The ads are incredible.

Even before I knew of AFFA, I was affected by the organization. While driving through South Carolina yesterday, I saw a billboard that had two drinking fountains on it. One fountain was labeled ”straight” and the other “gay.” The tag line read, “Gay Rights Are Civil Rights.” I was so surprised and excited to see the billboard, especially here in South Carolina, that I nearly drove off the highway. It wasn’t until today’s interview that I learned that it is AFFA that puts up the ads and has been doing so for ten years. They have had a number of creative campaigns over the years. Another billboard that is currently up exclaims: “Discrimination is so gay. Gay rights are civil rights. Acceptance without exception.” The ads are really clever and certainly get South Carolinians talking about LGBT equality. I am immensely impressed with Warren and the work that AFFA is doing. I encourage everyone to support the Alliance For Full Acceptance in any way possible.

Tomorrow we are headed to Savannah, Georgia to meet with Kevin, an LGBT activist who is also the owner of a Bed & Breakfast called Under the Rainbow. I am excited to learn more about the queer community in the Peach State.

Below is a snippet of our interview with Warren and images of the two current ad campaigns being run by AFFA.

Day 13

We left South Carolina this morning, headed toward Savannah, Georgia. In Savannah we met with Kevin Clark, inn owner and LGBTQ activist. Kevin owns a lovely bed & breakfast called Under the Rainbow. The inn is beautiful. He proudly flies the rainbow flag from the huge front deck. Savannah has a southern charm like I have never experienced before. Under the Rainbow draws from and magnifies the charm of the city.

We had a great discussion with Kevin. We talked about the queer community and LGBTQ politics in the Peach State. He shared with us what it is like to be a gay business owner in the deep south. He also works with Georgia Equality in an effort to secure equal rights for LGBT Georgians. Kevin is a great guy and it was a pleasure to meet him. If you are coming to Savannah, you’ve got a friendly place to stay at Under the Rainbow.

Below is a short clip from our interview with Kevin and a few pictures from the inn.

Day 14

Today we spent some time in Waldo, Florida. We were invited to Waldo by Roland Wise, a native of the rural town (population 800). Roland is an activist and a gay business owner. His flamingly liberal cafe, 30124 Coffee House, is like a gem in the middle of the most conservative part of Florida, smack dab in between the two coasts. The coffee shop is decorated with road signs and artwork from local artists. The space is amazing.

We sat down with Roland for a frank discussion about being openly gay in a small, conservative town. His coffee shop has been “black listed” by the folks in town. Most of his business is from people passing through on routes 301 and 24 (hence the name). He told us about some of the great people who have stopped in for some coffee as they are driving through the state. Nobody would expect to find this atmosphere in the small town of Waldo, Florida. It is truly a big gay oasis in the middle of north central Florida. If you are driving through Florida, stop in and visit Roland at 30124 Coffee House. In case you’re wondering, “where’s Waldo?” Here it is.

This is a clip of our interview with Roland in his coffee shop. Below the video is a photo of the piece of artwork he made in honor of Driving Equality. It is our logo with an artsy twist. Thanks Roland!

To read the full reports and see the pictures you have to visit drivingequality.com, but if you are looking to see where in the country Mason is right now you can click here.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fuzzy Math on Polls Continue to Haunt National Organization for Marriage


National Organization for Marriage has had questions flying about it's ethics and honesty right from day one and continue today. Most recently was there defense of Carrie Prejean who after declaring that marriage should be between a man and a woman blamed her opinion for costing her the Miss America crown. After closer inspection we find out that on her parent's court documents her mother openly questions Prejeans's father's sexuality (now we know where she gets it). Like peeling through an onion, each layer more disturbing as the next we find that she posed for semi-nude photos where she blames the photographer for taking candid photos. Then another volley came out from a different source and she tried to use the same old lie on these ones too. There's a reason NOM hasn't distanced themselves from the wreckage; birds of a feather flock together.

In the latest episode of this curious crowd's antics we find a new poll where the figures just don't add up.... literally! It takes no math genius to go down the list and see how many times the numbers don't convey the 100% of the people called. Add in the fact that 76% of the people "interviewed" were over the age of 51 and you can see clearly the fix was in. In my opinion what we may be looking at is their own sad calling list; only 306 people. This is no groundswell of support for their bigotry, that's for sure! Here's there "press release":


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Elizabeth Ray, x130 or Mary Beth Hutchins, x105 at 703-683-5004
May 17, 2009

The 2009 NOM Massachusetts Marriage Survey

FIVE YEARS AFTER GOODRIDGE:
GAY MARRIAGE DIVIDES MASSACHUSETTS VOTERS

A substantial minority of voters express fears that openly opposing gay marriage carries risks in Massachusetts

By Maggie Gallagher, President of the National Organization for Marriage

Has Opposition to Gay Marriage in Massachusetts Subsided?

Five years after same-sex couples first began to enter legal marriages in Massachusetts, a new poll indicates that Massachusetts voters remain sharply divided about gay marriage. When asked, “Do you personally favor or oppose same-sex marriage generally?” 43 percent of Massachusetts voters favor same-sex marriage and 44 percent oppose same-sex marriage, with an additional 14 percent saying they don’t know or choosing not to respond.

The telephone survey of 306 people taken March 30-31, 2009 is representative of voters in Massachusetts and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 5.7 percent.

Massachusetts voters were also divided over the question of whether opponents of gay marriage should be free to act on the view that same-sex unions are not marriages. A majority (50 percent) agreed with the statement, “People should be free to practice their belief, even if it means they will not treat same-sex couples the same as other married couples.” Thirty-nine percent disagreed and 11 percent didn’t know or gave no response.

When asked whether opposition to gay marriage was discrimination, similar to interracial marriage, 45 percent agreed and 48 percent disagreed.

Do Children Need a Mom and Dad? Majority Say Yes, but Support Drops
Massachusetts voters were also asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement, “All things being equal, it is better for children to be raised by their married mother and father.” Seventy-six percent of voters agreed (66 percent strongly); 21 percent disagreed (13 percent strongly).

A similar question was asked in a 2004 poll of Massachusetts residents (not voters) shortly after the Goodridge court ruling: “All things being equal, it is better for children to be raised in a household that has a married mother and father.” In 2004, 84 percent of Massachusetts residents agreed (37 percent strongly) and 16 percent disagreed (2 percent strongly). [Norval Glenn, 2004. With This Ring: A Survey on Marriage in Massachusetts. Available at www.fatherhood.org].

Thus, in the five years since gay marriage became a reality in Massachusetts, support for the idea that the ideal is a married mother and father dropped from 84 percent to 76 percent. Interestingly, opinion on the question also became more sharply polarized: the proportion who strongly agreed that a married mom and dad is best jumped from 37 percent to 66 percent; the proportion who disagreed strongly, however, also increased sixfold, from 2 percent in 2004 to 14 percent in 2009.

Fears of Retaliation Reported by Supporters of Traditional Marriage
The NOM/MFI poll is also the first poll in the nation to attempt to measure the extent to which ordinary citizens feel free to oppose gay marriage in a state where gay marriage has been declared a constitutional right and is the law of the land.
A surprisingly substantial minority of voters expressed fears that open opposition to gay marriage might result in retaliation or harassment of some kind.

For example:

• Thirty-six percent of all Massachusetts voters agreed with the statement, “Some people I know personally would be reluctant to admit they oppose gay marriage because they would worry about the consequences for them or their children.” (Twenty-four percent agreed strongly.)


Among voters who oppose gay marriage:

• Thirty-six percent of voters who oppose gay marriage agreed with the statement, “If you speak out against gay marriage in Massachusetts you really have to watch your back because some people may try to hurt you.” (Twenty-six percent agreed strongly.)

• Fifteen percent of voters who oppose gay marriage say they personally know someone who experienced harassment or intimidation because of their belief that marriage means a man and a woman.


While the majority of Massachusetts voters reject the idea that gay marriage opponents should stay silent, a surprising number expressed open support for (presumably moral) intimidation of those who oppose gay marriage. When asked to what extent they agree with the statement, “People who think marriage is only between a man and a woman SHOULD feel intimidated, because they are engaging in discrimination and no one should feel free to be for discrimination,” almost one in five voters strongly agreed, and an additional 8 percent agreed, but not strongly.

The NOM/MFI Massachusetts Marriage Poll thus documents a fairly significant level of apprehension among voters who oppose gay marriage about the consequences of speaking openly or acting on their belief that marriage means a husband and wife. Of course we cannot say based on this polling data whether and to what extent the fears of Massachusetts voters expressed here are realistic. What we can say with some confidence is that five years after the first same-sex couples legally married in Massachusetts, a substantial minority of people believe it is risky to oppose gay marriage openly.

About the NOM Massachusetts Marriage Poll
These are the results of a telephone survey of registered voters in Massachusetts, commissioned by the National Organization for Marriage and the Massachusetts Family Institute and conducted by QEV Analytics (www.QEV.com). The obtained sample is representative of this population. A pool of individual registrants was randomly selected from among all registered voters in the Commonwealth. Interviewing was conducted during the period March 30-31, 2009. The obtained sample was weighted by race to match the known characteristics of the surveyed population. In total, 306 respondents participated in the survey, resulting in a theoretical margin of sampling error of plus or minus 5.7 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

About the National Organization for Marriage
The National Organization for Marriage is a grassroots activist organization whose mission is “protecting marriage and the faith communities that sustain it.” (www.nationformarriage.org).

About the Massachusetts Family Institute
MFI is a non-partisan public policy organization dedicated to strengthening families in Massachusetts. (www.mafamily.org).



###


THE NOM MASSACHUSETTS MARRIAGE SURVEY SCRIPT AND TOPLINE RESULTS


Hello, this is (interviewer name), and I'm calling from the Massachusetts Survey Research Center. We’re calling to learn your opinions regarding some important issues of the day. This is not a sales call; we won’t ask you to buy or do anything, and we are not calling on behalf of a candidate or political party. Your number was selected at random, and I am calling because we value your opinions on some issues facing Massachusetts today. My questions should take less than 5 minutes.

1. I am looking today to speak with people who are registered to vote in Massachusetts. Are you currently registered to vote in Massachusetts?

100% YES (CONTINUE)
0% NO (THANK AND TERMINATE)

2. Overall, would you say things in Massachusetts are generally headed in the right direction, or have things here pretty much gotten off on the wrong track?

24% RIGHT DIRECTION
67% OFF ON WRONG TRACK
9% DON'T KNOW/NO RESPONSE

3. How would you rate specifically the economic health of Massachusetts today: is it very good, fairly good, fairly poor, or very poor?

4% VERY GOOD
28% FAIRLY GOOD
43% FAIRLY POOR
24% VERY POOR
2% DON’T KNOW/NO RESPONSE

4. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Governor Deval [duh-VALL] Patrick is doing as Governor of Massachusetts? Do you feel that way strongly or not strongly?

14% APPROVE STRONGLY
23% APPROVE, NOT STRONGLY
16% DISAPPROVE, NOT STRONGLY
36% DISAPPROVE STRONGLY
10% DON'T KNOW/NO RESPONSE

Next, I would like to read to you some statements that other people have made or that have been in the news recently, and ask you whether you agree or disagree with each statement.

5. Here’s the first statement: “People who believe that marriage can only be between a man and a woman are engaging in discrimination, just like those who opposed interracial marriage.” Do you agree or disagree with that statement? Do you feel that way strongly or not strongly?

39% AGREE STRONGLY
6% AGREE, NOT STRONGLY
10% DISAGREE, NOT STRONGLY
38% DISAGREE STRONGLY
6% DON'T KNOW/NO RESPONSE

44% AGREE; 48% DISAGREE

6. Here’s the next statement: “People should be free to practice their beliefs, even if it means they will not treat same-sex couples the same as other married couples.” Do you agree or disagree with that statement? Do you feel that way strongly or not strongly?

35% AGREE STRONGLY
15% AGREE, NOT STRONGLY
13% DISAGREE, NOT STRONGLY
26% DISAGREE STRONGLY
11% DON'T KNOW/NO RESPONSE

50% AGREE; 39% DISAGREE

7. Here’s the next statement: “People who think marriage is only between a man and a woman SHOULD feel intimidated, because they are engaging in discrimination, and no one should feel free to be for discrimination.” Do you agree or disagree with that statement? Do you feel that way strongly or not strongly?

19% AGREE STRONGLY
8% AGREE, NOT STRONGLY
17% DISAGREE, NOT STRONGLY
41% DISAGREE STRONGLY
14% DON'T KNOW/NO RESPONSE

27% AGREE; 58% DISAGREE

8. And here’s the next statement: “Some people I know personally would be reluctant to admit they oppose gay marriage because they would worry about the consequences for them or their children.”

24% AGREE STRONGLY
12% AGREE, NOT STRONGLY
14% DISAGREE, NOT STRONGLY
37% DISAGREE STRONGLY
13% DON'T KNOW/NO RESPONSE

36% AGREE; 51% DISAGREE

9. Do you personally favor or oppose same-sex marriage generally?

43% FAVOR
44% OPPOSE
14% DON'T KNOW/NO RESPONSE

10. [ASKED ONLY THOSE OPPOSED] Here is another statement others have made. Again, I would like to get your opinion: “If you speak out against gay marriage in Massachusetts, you really have to watch your back because some people may try to hurt you.” Do you agree or disagree with that statement? Do you feel that way strongly or not strongly?

26% AGREE STRONGLY
10% AGREE, NOT STRONGLY
17% DISAGREE, NOT STRONGLY
41% DISAGREE STRONGLY
7% DON'T KNOW/NO RESPONSE
57% NOT ASKED

36% AGREE; 58% DISAGREE

11. [ASKED ONLY THOSE OPPOSED] Do you personally know someone – a friend, a neighbor, someone at work, someone you see from time to time – who feels they were harassed, or intimidated on account of their belief that marriage can only be between a man and a woman?

15% YES
79% NO
6% DON'T KNOW/NO RESPONSE
57% NOT ASKED

12. [ALL] Let’s talk about public schools. Do you think that the public schools in your area teach children about same-sex marriage, that men can marry other men and women marry other women, or do the schools not teach children about same-sex marriage?

15% TEACH ABOUT SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
47% DO NOT TEACH ABOUT SAME SEX MARRIAGE
38% DON'T KNOW/NO RESPONSE

13. Here’s one more statement: “All things being equal, it is better for children to be raised by their married mother and a father?” Do you agree or disagree with that statement? Do you feel that way strongly or not strongly?

66% AGREE STRONGLY
10% AGREE, NOT STRONGLY
8% DISAGREE, NOT STRONGLY
13% DISAGREE STRONGLY
3% DON'T KNOW/NO RESPONSE

76% AGREE; 21% DISAGREE

I have just a few more questions to ask you for statistical purposes …

14. Gender [BY OBSERVATION, DO NOT READ UNLESS UNCERTAIN]

49% MALE
51% FEMALE
0% NO RESPONSE

15. Are you currently married or are you single? [IF SINGLE] Have you ever been married?

67% MARRIED
21% SINGLE, PREVIOUSLY MARRIED
11% SINGLE, NOT PREVIOUSLY MARRIED
2% NO RESPONSE

16. Do you have any children? [IF YES] Are any of your children under 18 years of age?

18% NO CHILDREN
56% HAVE CHILDREN, NONE UNDER 18
25% HAVE CHILDREN, ONE OR MORE UNDER 18
1% NO RESPONSE

17. [IF CHILDREN UNDER 18] Are any of your children currently attending a public school in Massachusetts?

69% YES
31% NO
0% DON'T KNOW/NO RESPONSE
75% NOT ASKED

18. [IF NO CHILDREN UNDER 18] Do you have any grandchildren who currently attend a public school in Massachusetts?

49% YES
52% NO
0% DON'T KNOW/NO RESPONSE
44% NOT ASKED

19. Do you consider yourself to be a Democrat, a Republican, or an Independent? [IF DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN] Do you consider yourself to be a strong [DEMOCRAT/REPUBLICAN] or not?

26% STRONG DEMOCRAT
4% WEAK DEMOCRAT
9% STRONG REPUBLICAN
4% WEAK REPUBLICAN
55% INDEPENDENT
1% NONE OF THESE/OTHER [VOLUNTEERED RESPONSE ONLY]
2% DON’T KNOW/NO RESPONSE [DO NOT READ]

20. Which of the following best describes your religious preference: are you … [READ OPTIONS]

31% PROTESTANT, OR ANY OTHER CHRISTIAN, OTHER THAN CATHOLIC
49% CATHOLIC
*% JEWISH
1% MUSLIM
9% OTHER, OR
9% NONE
1% DON’T KNOW/REFUSED [DO NOT READ]


21. In a typical month, how often do you go to Church or to a religious service? [RECORD ACTUAL NUMBER]

35% 0
8% 1
10% 2
7% 3
27% 4
13% 5+
10% DON’T KNOW/NO RESPONSE


22. In what year were you born, please? [RECORD EXACT RESPONSE]

20% 18 - 50
22% 51 - 60
30% 61 - 75
24% 76 +
5% DON’T KNOW/NO RESPONSE

23. What do you consider to be your main racial or ethnic heritage: African-American and not Hispanic, White and not Hispanic, Hispanic, Asian-American, or other?

1% AFRICAN-AMERICAN/NON-HISPANIC
79% WHITE/NON-HISPANIC
4% HISPANIC
1% ASIAN-AMERICAN
4% NATIVE-AMERICAN
9% OTHER
4% DON’T KNOW/NO RESPONSE

That's the last of my questions. Thank you very much for your time and participation.

Prop. 8 Ruling to be Delivered Tuesday May 26, 2009

For Immediate Release: Friday, May 22, 2009

For more information: Robin Tyler, 818.893.4075 co-founder, www.DayOfDecision.org and Petitioner with her wife, Diane Olson in the case to have the CA Supreme Court overturn Prop. 8

Andy Thayer, 773.209.1187, co-founder Gay Liberation Network and www.DayOfDecision.org

California Supreme Court
Says It Will Issue Prop 8
Decision Tuesday, May 26th
Gay Protests or Celebrations
Tuesday Night

At 10 AM Pacific Time today the California Supreme Court announced that Tuesday, May 26th, it will issue its ruling on whether or not to uphold the anti-gay Proposition 8. At issue is not only whether 18,000 same sex-marriages would be annulled, but whether or not a whole subsection of the population will be thrust back into legal inequality.

Since March, gay activists around the states have been planning actions for the night the California Court announces its decision. If the court upholds Proposition 8 in whole or part, activists vow energetic and angry protests in more than 50 cities. If the Court throws out Proposition 8, the activists plan celebrations with the aim of spreading the momentum of a California victory elsewhere in the nation.

The actions are being coordinated nationally through the www.DayOfDecision.org website co-founded by Chicago gay activist Andy Thayer and pioneer national lesbian activist Robin Tyler of Los Angeles who, with her wife Diane Olson, was the first lesbian couple to file in the historic CA Marriage Equality Case, and are petitioners (plaintiffs) in the case brought before the CA Supreme Court to overturn Prop 8.

The court is expected to announce one of three likely decisions Tuesday, May 26th at approximately 10 AM Pacific Time:

1) Upholding the anti-gay Proposition 8 in full, including invalidating the 18,000+ same-sex marriages that were solemnized before the proposition's passage last November 4th;

2) Upholding Proposition 8's ban on all future same sex marriages, but allowing the 18,000 already conducted to stand; or,

3) Invalidating in its entirety Proposition 8's discriminatory ban on same sex marriage.

Lesbian and gay activists would consider the upholding of Proposition 8 in whole or part (#1 and #2 above) to be a serious defeat to be met with angry protests. On the other hand, a complete invalidation of Proposition 8 would lend an immense boost to the already powerful momentum for equality provided by the recent wins for same sex marriage in Iowa and Vermont.

For more information or interviews, call Robin Tyler at at 818.893.4075 (home/office) or 818.259.3799 (cell) or Andy Thayer at 773.209.1187


As far as I am concerned Tuesday should be considered a holiday by all GLBT people and they should take the day off in order to either celebrate the ruling if it goes in our favor, or stand in unity with our community to show our support for those who struggle every day with discrimination.

This isn't a gay thing, this is a discrimination thing. All people who have had injustice placed upon their shoulders through no fault of their own should stand with us, be it race, religion, age, or other alienating factor, now is your chance to stand up and say "No more!" to those that need to hear it most while simultaneously showing that you care for others who share in your pain.

United let us stand in peaceful resolve to make a better world through our actions for ourselves and the future generations.

For more information or to make clear you stand united with us visit Join the Impact MA's FaceBook page for the event.

The Experiment - Gay Vs. Straight

How Does it Feel to be Gay?

Prop 8 Protest in November 2008



You have to love the joy shown not only by the marchers, but by the drivers who are honking their horns and giving out hi-fives!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Prop 8 Decision Rumored to be Thursday

UPDATED: May 20 2009 -- No opinions were announced for filing on Thursday, May 21, 2009.
There is no pending notice of forthcoming opinion filings. When opinions are expected to file, notices are generally posted the day before. Opinions are normally filed Mondays and Thursdays at 10:00 a.m.


From Twitter we have a blip of very telling information:

"Just drove by the Castro, police setting up barricades. Prop 8 might be decided on Thursday. 30th anniversary of White Night riots."

Further reinforcement of this rumor is found on Pam's House Blend:

"I don't have anything to confirm this, but I'm getting all sorts of emails right now about police putting barricades up around the courthouse, indicating there will be an announcement of the day of decision with the decision itself coming on Thursday."


We know that the California Supreme Court announces it's decisions on Mondays and Thursdays. If it were to announce on a Thursday it will give notice on Wednesday that the decision will be announced the following day. It seems we should all expect California's long awaited Prop 8 decision Thursday, and by the looks of the preparations we should expect a negative outcome.

I expect people to be outraged and take to the streets if a negative opinion is served, but do so PEACEFULLY! There is no honor in creating mayhem, and it only serves to reinforce negative opinions against us that are out of character for the GLBT community as a whole.

The power to change the world lies in our ability to stand united in peace against the wrongs inflicted upon us. Let these words ring for all eternity: "United we must be!"

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It's Official: Republicans ARE in Fact Out to Get GLBT

This in from The Seattle Times:

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele has done it again, claiming that gay marriage will financially burden small businesses ["RNC chief: Gay marriage will burden small business," seattletimes.com, Nation & World, May 16].

Steele's comments are particularly absurd coming, as they do, the day after studies published by UCLA's Williams Institute show that, in the five years since it was instituted, marriage equality has been responsible for pumping over $100 million into Massachusetts' economy.

This is due in part to the young and highly educated professionals working in creative fields that are 2.5 times more likely to move to the state than they were before they could marry there, and in part to the money generated by the more than 12,000 same-sex couples that have tied the knot in the Bay State, spending an average of $7,400 per wedding. Obviously, small businesses are benefiting both from the influx of talent and from the revenue related to weddings to the tune of over $20 million a year.


I would love to know how Steele arrives at both his figures and his conclusions. When people ask questions then they see for themselves how absurd the reasons given against equality really are. It's not just ignorance like I naively once thought or at least hoped, it is willful misinformation at it's most basic. Society has caught conservative leadership being intentionally misleading so many times at this point if they told me the Sun was out I'd check for myself.

Republicans, in the absence of your own voices this man speaks for you. Let your silence be construed as approval of Steele's position.

IDAHO 2009: One Voice, One Message, Heard Around the World

Gay Rights Advocates to Protest Date Violence Bill

From the Associated Press:

COLUMBIA — Gay rights advocates are protesting the exclusion of gay and lesbian relationships from a South Carolina bill meant to curb teen dating violence.

Republican Greg Delleney of Chester said he pushed for the change because he believes it would lead to school officials teaching children about same-sex relationships.

“I don’t want the Department of Education or school districts to teach children in grades six through 12 about (same-sex) relationships,” Delleney said.

Democratic Reps. Gilda Cobb-Hunter of Orangeburg and Ken Kennedy of Greeleyville are among those criticizing last week's vote in the House to bar any mention of gays from the proposed program for middle and high school students.

They plan to join members of the South Carolina Progressive Network and the local chapter of Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays on Tuesday to protest the amended bill. It requires another vote before moving to the Senate.


From Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters
this quote sums it up for me:

He doesn't want to help us combat potential violence in our relationships because he doesn't care about us. It's bad enough when this comes from an ordinary citizen but the fact that a legislator publicly voices this notion without any shame is awful.

Delleny wasn't elected for his personal and religious beliefs. He was elected to serve the people of South Carolina regardless of race, religion, national origin, gender, or sexual orientation. He can't pick and choose who to serve. Or, in this case, who to protect.

His words emphasizes just how difficult it is for gays to live not only in South Carolina but in the United States in general. No other group is subject to the level of disrespect that we generally receive. Delleny wouldn't have gotten away with his public "screw you" if he had made any other group the subject of his tirade.

He will probably get a pat on the back by like minded homophobic individuals. Yes, Delleny is homophobic. I don't really see how anyone can use buzzwords to defend his actions. He isn't protecting traditional relationships or upholding morality.

Delleny is making it acceptable for South Carolina to cover it's ears so as not to hear the pleas of help coming from victims of relationship violence.

In a broader sense, he is making it acceptable to discriminate against South Carolinians simply because he has a personal problem with their sexual orientation.


Sometimes one should question the logic of an action before it is made, and here is such a case. What is up with the Republican Party? In New Hampshire they are so against GLBT rights they are practically goose-stepping together in unison while reciting the joys of communism. Do we all have to be the same, look the same, and act the same in order for America to be one people? Where is the moderate middle and why have they lost their voice? In the old days extremism was always foo-food away or laughed off, but now it seems like no one has the grapes to step up and say their minds unless they are extremists.

So long as we try to ignore an aspect of our society we will be our own handicap. So long as we try to stick our heads in the sand and pretend LGBT people do not exist we will surely be cursed with a world where we struggle to come to terms with our own stupidity. People of South Carolina, it's high time you woke up and read the words under the Statue of Liberty:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame,
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

by Emma Lazarus, New York City, 1883

San Antonio Police Respond to GLBT Community Complaint


The San Antonio Police Department has come under fire lately from Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender activist after police allegedly used derogatory comments against a lesbian couple during a home raid. The women, Lindsey and Carol, had been at home for the evening when police charged through the door advising, "We have a warrant." Evidently, a warrant had been issued after an anonymous informant who had been assisting the SAPD for over 2 years claimed that a man named "Randy" had been seen with methamphetamine in the home. Unfortunately, after the police entered the house, they allegedly made several lewd and derogatory comments about the couple including many references to their sexual orientation. The outrage from the community was swift and resulted in numerous emails to Police Chief, William McManus, resulting in him contacting the San Antonio Stonewall Democrats to advise them that he wanted to speak to the LGBT community about the situation. Chief McManus arrived at a crowded restaurant to a round of thunderous applause. He stood before the room and began by disarming everyone with a history of his involvement with the LGBT Community, including serving as Grand Marshal of the San Antonio Gay Pride Parade in spite of severe criticism. He then assured the group that, because of this history, he would never turn a "blind eye" to allegations of inappropriate conduct by officers against the gay community adding that, "[if the allegations] happen to be true, there are heavy consequences." He further stated:

The leader in a good organization leads by example, and I believe I've done that. My being here tonight is an example of this.

However, the Chief did admit that, although the academy training provides diversity training to new candidates, the officers are not trained to recognize a "slight" to the LGBT community. Lindsey and Carol's case is now in the hands of Internal Affairs and the matter is being investigated. The investigation will not be made public until it has been completed, for which no time frame was provided. Chief McManus insists that the LGBT community must not assume that something went wrong during the search but should instead, "...let due process run its course." In closing, Chief McManus delivered a heartfelt and tender review of his relationship with the LGBT community; however, he was shaken by the way the LGBT community drew such conclusions against him as he, "thought our relationship was better than that. A little love and trust goes a long way on both sides." So we are left waiting for answers, but now know that the investigation is ongoing and that these officers' alleged actions are not going unquestioned.

This report brought to us by jaysays.com

Monday, May 18, 2009

Ethan McNamee; America's Youngest GLBT Rights Activist



DENVER -- A Denver third-grader will be front and center at the Colorado State Capitol Saturday pushing for same sex marriage in the state.

Ethan McNamee arranged the rally as an independent class project.

He was concerned about the issue after hearing about anti-gay remarks on the playground and then learning about a same sex couple in his neighborhood that couldn't get married.
Click here to find out more!

"Everybody is different in a good way," he said.

Ethan believes that if two people love each other that is the only issue to be considered.

Ethan took it upon himself to arrange the rally and line up the guest speakers. He admitted it was more work then he thought it would be, but adds it was fun.

Administrators at Montclair Elementary have been sensitive to the controversial issue. Parents were notified about Ethan's project and only students who wanted to get involved participated.

A handful of kids helped Ethan make signs on Friday afternoon.

Ethan's teacher, Kyle Kimmal, said he was careful to not impose his views on Ethan. He also told Ethan that his stand could anger some classmates and parents and that he should be prepared for protesters at the state capitol.

John Hosty-Grinnell Scoops the MSM !! (as Usual)

I just read this from Mike Ball's site:

"Just in from John Hosty-Grinnell and not available elsewhere, the N.H. legislature will make some of the cosmetic tweaks Gov. John Lynch demanded. However, they'll change the religious-rights amplification bill and not the same-sex marriage one.After a phone chat with Speaker of the House Terie Norelli, he reports that HB73 will get those changes. Then the governor will get the package back.We'll provide more as we get it. "

JHG may be the only person in the world who aways knows what's going on, but that doesn't surprise me.

It is easier to smuggle dawn past a rooster, than to put one over on JHG.

Keith Olberman on Miss California Video

Friday, May 15, 2009

Driving Equality in West Virginia!



I promised to keep interested parties updated on what GLBT Commissioner and Good Will Ambassador Christopher Mason has been up to in his 48 state trek to promote equality this summer. Here is a quick blurb he put up on YouTube.com for us, click on over to his website drivingequality.com to update yourself more fully.

Congratulations and good luck Chris, we are all watching and hoping your trip is successful!

NH Governor's Statement on Gay Marriage

Gov. Lynch Statement Regarding Same-Sex Marriage Legislation


CONCORD - Gov. John Lynch released the following statement today regarding same-sex legislation in New Hampshire:

“The gay marriage debate in New Hampshire has been filled with passion and emotion on all sides.

“My personal views on the subject of marriage have been shaped by my own experience, tradition and upbringing. But as Governor of New Hampshire, I recognize that I have a responsibility to consider this issue through a broader lens.

“In the past weeks and months, I have spoken with lawmakers, religious leaders and citizens. My office has received thousands of phone calls, letters and emails. I have studied our current marriage and civil union laws, the laws of other states, the bills recently passed by the legislature and our history and traditions.

“Two years ago, we passed civil unions legislation here in New Hampshire. That law gave same-sex couples in civil unions the same rights and protections as marriage. And in typical New Hampshire fashion, the people of this state embraced civil unions and agreed we needed to continue our tradition of opposing discrimination.

“At its core, HB 436 simply changes the term ‘civil union’ to ‘civil marriage.’ Given the cultural, historical and religious significance of the word marriage, this is a meaningful change.

“I have heard, and I understand, the very real feelings of same-sex couples that a separate system is not an equal system. That a civil law that differentiates between their committed relationships and those of heterosexual couples undermines both their dignity and the legitimacy of their families.

“I have also heard, and I understand, the concerns of our citizens who have equally deep feelings and genuine religious beliefs about marriage. They fear that this legislation would interfere with the ability of religious groups to freely practice their faiths.

“Throughout history, our society’s views of civil rights have constantly evolved and expanded. New Hampshire’s great tradition has always been to come down on the side of individual liberties and protections.

“That is what I believe we must do today.

“But following that tradition means we must act to protect both the liberty of same-sex couples and religious liberty. In their current form, I do not believe these bills accomplish those goals.

“The Legislature took an important step by clearly differentiating between civil and religious marriage, and protecting religious groups from having to participate in marriage ceremonies that violate their fundamental religious beliefs.

“But the role of marriage in many faiths extends beyond the actual marriage ceremony.

“I have examined the laws of other states, including Vermont and Connecticut, which have recently passed same-sex marriage laws. Both go further in protecting religious institutions than the current New Hampshire legislation.

“This morning, I met with House and Senate leaders, and the sponsors of this legislation, and gave them language that will provide additional protections to religious institutions.

“This new language will provide the strongest and clearest protections for religious institutions and associations, and for the individuals working with such institutions.
It will make clear that they cannot be forced to act in ways that violate their deeply held religious principles.

“If the legislature passes this language, I will sign the same-sex marriage bill into law. If the legislature doesn’t pass these provisions, I will veto it.

“We can and must treat both same-sex couples and people of certain religious traditions with respect and dignity.

“I believe this proposed language will accomplish both of these goals and I urge the legislature to pass it.

Below is the language Gov. Lynch has proposed for the same Sex legislation.

# # #

I. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a religious organization, association, or society, or any individual who is managed, directed, or supervised by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association or society, or any nonprofit institution or organization operated, supervised or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association or society, shall not be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges to an individual if such request for such services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges is related to the solemnization of a marriage, the celebration of a marriage, or the promotion of marriage through religious counseling, programs, courses, retreats, or housing designated for married individuals, and such solemnization, celebration, or promotion of marriage is in violation of their religious beliefs and faith. Any refusal to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods or privileges in accordance with this section shall not create any civil claim or cause of action or result in any state action to penalize or withhold benefits from such religious organization, association or society, or any individual who is managed, directed, or supervised by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association or society, or any nonprofit institution or organization operated, supervised or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association or society.

II. The marriage laws of this state shall not be construed to affect the ability of a fraternal benefit society to determine the admission of members pursuant to RSA 418:5, and shall not require a fraternal benefit society that has been established and is operating for charitable and educational purposes and which is operated, supervised or controlled by or in connection with a religious organization to provide insurance benefits to any person if to do so would violate the fraternal benefit society’s free exercise of religion as guaranteed by the first amendment of the Constitution of the United States and part 1, article 5 of the Constitution of New Hampshire

III. Nothing in this chapter shall be deemed or construed to limit the protections and exemptions provided to religious organizations under RSA § 354-A:18.

IV. Repeal. RSA 457-A, relative to civil unions, is repealed effective January 1, 2011, except that no new civil unions shall be established after January 1, 2010.

Office of the Governor : State House : Concord, NH 03301

What is Going On in NH ?


"Concord – Gov. John Lynch will veto the same-sex marriage bill if it does not change before reaching his desk, he said Thursday.His main concern, he said, is that the bill, HB 436, and a companion bill would not provide enough legal protection for religious groups and institutions.He provided legislative leaders with suggested wording that would satisfy him, and he has left it to the House and the Senate to move next.His demand would expand wording in the companion bill, HB 310, to make clear that churches and religious groups not only would not have to officiate at a gay marriage but also would not have to provide services, facilities or goods of any kind to participants. It also would exempt from lawsuits anyone "managed, directed or supervised by or in conjuncttion with a religious organization, association or society" or nonprofits affiliated with those groups."


Basically what John Lynch wants is that these organizations get an exemption from the Civil Rights Act.

Mike Ball has much more analysis here.

While I hope the Legislaure does something to make the governor happy, this is not right.

Should these ammendments pass, NH is in serious violation of Civil Rights and Public Accomodation law.

I see Mike has update.

You should read his analysis,

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tough Battle Ahead in NY

The drive for marriage equality in New York is in the hands of the state Senate. As of yet, I have no information as to when the vote will take place.

The incomparable Nate Silver analyzes the politics behind the measure here. He optimistically (and simultaneously, pessimistically) points out:

Democrats may take some solace in the fact that, when gay marriage bills
were approved by legislatures in states like Maine and Vermont, they tended to
pass with slightly more votes than anticipated. Still, based on the most
recently available information, I would guess that their odds of securing 32
votes are not better than about one in three.

But there is one thing that Nate did not take into account that may work to our advantage.

The New York GOP's has told their membership that they will not attempt to whip them, and they can vote with their conscience.

That may well make all the difference in the world.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New York Assembly Passes Gay Marriage

From the New York times:

ALBANY — The State Assembly approved legislation on Tuesday night that would make New York the sixth state to allow same-sex marriage — a pivotal vote that shifts the debate to the State Senate, where gay rights advocates and conservative groups alike are redoubling their efforts.

In a sign of how opinion in Albany has shifted on the issue, several members of the Assembly who voted against the measure in 2007 voted in favor of it on Tuesday.

The final vote was 89 to 52, including the backing of five Republicans.

Click here to read the rest of the story from it's source.


As we wait to hear from California and New Hampshire it seems other states are lining up to make their own mark in history. My pride runs deep these days, not only for my fellow GLBT but for my country and my neighbors here in New England who can see the truth for what it is and have the courage to make that first stand with us on principal alone.

Barry Scott's Struggle for Justice Continues

Almost two years later Barry Scott's battle for justice is still being fought. Here is an open letter we recieved from Scott this morning:

Upon arriving in Boston in ‘81, I immediately organized the first radio station AIDS Walk team; created the “Aim For The Heart” Radiothon, raising a million dollars; produced a concert series, including the sold-out “Lost 45s Against AIDS” starring the Captain & Tennille; planned and provided music for the Fenway Men’s Event; hosted the first 3 years of the Pride Tree lighting; used connections to secure artists like Cher, Dionne Warwicke and Martha Wash for events too numerous to mention. I never expected anything back; I felt thrilled to be helping others. However, two years after my partner and I were abused by the Provincetown Police, I feel compelled to express disappointment in our community.



The Gay & Lesbian community views Provincetown, Massachusetts as a place to hold hands, go to the beach, dance and relax. While that might be true, two of your members were beaten by the Provincetown Police during a backyard party, details of which are documented at http://mysite.verizon.net/freebarryscott/provincetown.html. This was not the only case of abuse by the Provincetown Police, during my first visit to the Orleans District Court, 3 workers warned us that ‘this has been happening for years’ and ‘we hope you do something to send a message.’ As someone with integrity, I tried to hold Provincetown Police and town officials accountable for their attack on Bryan and me. I was arrested for speaking in a private backyard (which is unconstitutional), kicked repeatedly by untrained cops (so hard my sneaker flew off) and smashed face first into a house—while not resisting arrest. I had no reason to do so as I am a radio professional and had done nothing wrong. My partner, when he asked what they were doing to me, was put in handcuffs. He had just fallen down stairs and was walking with a cane, yet they threw him on a cruiser and held him, without charges, for hours in the Provincetown jail. They said he was drunk (in a private backyard) and refused him a breathalyzer. This is illegal and could happen to you!



I spent over $50,000 in legal costs fighting those criminals; only to discover the Cape Cod legal system, controlled by District Attorney Michael O’Keefe, (known to be corrupt) makes it impossible to win a police abuse case. In the end, a biased judge brought in for the day, enabled a jury not to hear the true story and I was found guilty of misdemeanor charges used to cover the beating. My cost for those charges was $690. >From the community, who cares about Provincetown beyond reason, we received little support. We heard people state ‘we deserved what we got.’ Many said: ‘drop it already, you’re hurting the town.’ We lost many friends, who didn’t want to get involved with our fight; they just wanted ‘their town’ to remain what it was to them. An owner of a local Gay & Lesbian paper asked me ‘why didn’t I keep my mouth shut?’ This shows an embarrassing disregard for the Constitution; it made me think our community doesn’t deserve marriage rights. NO ONE should be arrested and brutalized in a private backyard for saying anything. A person would have to be filled with self hatred to believe this is legal.



Provincetown, the idyllic town, does not exist. Ask Richard Hall, beaten into a coma weeks later, while the Provincetown Police did nothing to find the perpetrators (even though they called him a fag). Our Attorney General’s office quietly paid his medical bills, knowing the town had done wrong. Ask Daniel Coburn, who had rocks thrown at him and was called a faggot. When reported to the Provincetown Police, they arrested him for an outstanding vehicle ticket! ‘Faggot’ was later said to be free speech, while the police beat me for supposedly saying ‘We hate the police’—which I did not. Ask David Jones, beaten by the police because he urinated behind an abandoned building; Ask the biker who had a bike thrown at him during the AIDS ride; Ask the couple who recently (thanks to the complicit silence from the Gay & Lesbian community) were victims when one of them had a seizure and the Provincetown Police would not allow his medically trained partner to administer to him. The partner was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. This could happen to you!



Ask why the only complainant, Yvonne Cabral, owner of the P-Town trolley company, started the anti-gay marriage amendment in Provincetown? Ask why Ed Foley of 4 Holway Avenue in Provincetown changed his story and was allowed to perjure himself while reporters stared open-mouthed when the judge refused cross-examination. Ask why Provincetown Police Officer, Glen Enos, was rubbing Ed Foley’s back before he lied on the stand? Ask why two Provincetown EMTs came forward one year later, three days before trial, suddenly remembering statements I supposedly made. Ask why a juror later contacted me saying I wasn’t guilty, but the judge refused to investigate! Ask why the Gay press stopped reporting these facts when told by the Provincetown Business Guild that advertising support would be withdrawn and then ask if turning your back on members of your own community is worth keeping your town unsafe; for this will enable the Provincetown Police to repeat their actions.



I ask you to rethink your position on these cases that have occurred in your beloved town. My partner and I finally sold our home there, for a loss—as the housing market in Provincetown is worse than it is statewide—heading for a peaceful cabin by a lake in New Hampshire. I continue to appeal. Unfortunately, I don’t fight for the community any longer; I fight because it is the right thing to do. I have more integrity in my little finger than the Provincetown Police and Town Manager Sharon Lynn have in their entire bodies. Win or lose, I can hold my head up high that I tried.



With thanks to our friends and family who remained solidly behind us and a few of the enlightened members of our community who understood why this case was important and stood with us; I ask you to wake up. I care enough to worry that you might be next.



Barry Scott

Monday, May 11, 2009

Hate in San Antonio Nothing New Even From Police

From our corresponding blogger Jay:

Over the past several months, the San Antonio Texas Police Department has come under scrutiny for abuses to LGBT people. This comes as no surprise considering their history - including incidents involving yours truly, a brutal beating of a couple at a local mall during an arrest due to the women “kissing” in public, and two incidents involving gay men on San Antonio’s Main Street [the "gay" district].

The latest episode involves an “anonymous” tip from a neighbor of a lesbian couple indicating the two women had a meth lab in their home. Although untrue, police were able to secure a warrant and entered the couple’s home by knocking the door down on April 28, 2009.

The couple, Carolyn and Lindsey, were settling in for the evening. Lindsey was already in bed and Carolyn had just come in from taking their dogs out when the police broke threw the front door of the house saying, “We have a warrant.”

Police handcuffed Carolyn before one policeman entered the bedroom and found Lindsey hiding her naked body under the covers. The officer asked Lindsey if she were nude, and upon her positive response, he laughed at her then grabbed a t-shirt from the closet and tossed it over to her. A second male officer entered the room and handed Lindsey a pair of pants. Then a third officer entered and watched smiling as Lindsey struggled to dress without revealing herself to the male officers.

When Lindsey stood up, one of the officers grabbed her, turned her around and asked, “What man lives here?” Lindsey answered that there was no man living in the house; however, the police did not believe her because the house contained “male” items such as a samuri sword, knives and a bow. Lindsey advised that the items did not belong to a man, but rather to Carolyn, and that they are a lesbian couple. All of the officers in the room with Lindsey then laughed at her. One of the officers responded:

See, I knew that about you. I knew that y’all were lesbians. I had someone who was in here last night, they described your house and your girlfriend in there. We’re going to bring in a drug dog and if we find a small stash, we’re going to let that slide. But if we find anything like a lab or anything like that, we’re taking you and your girlfriend in.


According to Lindsey, two other officers were talking about how they liked quirky women because they were freaks in bed. She further expressed the couple’s humiliation caused by the rude comments and laughter of the officers noting that the interrogation went far beyond ordinary police work.

For the rest of the story please visit Jay's blog and be sure to leave a comment of encouragement for him and others. This is not a San Antonio issue, it's happening everywhere and needs to be fought by all of us in the GLBT no matter where we live. You have the links, you know what you can do to help.

The Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio issued an action alert on May 7 asking the community to send their email protests to the Chief. (William.McManus@sanantonio.gov). Some of those protesters have been sharing their emails.

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

All Eyes on New York

Tomorrow, New York's Assembly will vote on marriage equality; it should pass with ease as it has done so twice before.

The Senate, however, will be close.

I am encouraged. I was never confident that Vermont had the votes to overide the governor's veto, but they did just that. I was never confident that New Hampshire's legislature would pass the measure, but it did.

I have pleasantly surprised twice.

Trifecta is in play.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Opponents challenging new Maine gay marriage law


AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Couples anxious to wed under Maine's new gay marriage law may have a long wait.A formal challenge to it has been filed, setting into motion plans for a possible public vote that could be months or more than a year away."We're very disappointed," said Steve Ryan of Buxton, who was looking forward to the new law with his partner, Jim Bishop. "We plan to get married as soon as we can. This is going to put our whole life on hold."Activists on both sides Thursday started working up strategies for campaigns leading up to a possible November referendum under a state constitutional provision known as the people's veto."The wheels are turning," Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, Maine's chief election official, said after opponents filed an application that sets the stage for the challenge process ahead.

I will dare to predict; this ain't gonna work.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

New Hampshire Becomes an Equality State!

Just minutes ago at approximately 5:00PM May 6, 2009 the New Hampshire House of Representatives passed HB436 allowing full marriage equality for their citizens. An exciting end to the day since Maine's governor signed their marriage equality bill (LV 1020) only hours before this historic vote! Now it's onto Governor Lynch for his signature...

By the way, New Hampshire is my home state, you can imagine how much this day means to me!

New Hampshire YouTube Commercial for Gay Marriage

Ayuh !

May 6, 2009

AUGUSTA – Governor John E. Baldacci today signed into law LD 1020, An Act to End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom.
“I have followed closely the debate on this issue. I have listened to both sides, as they have presented their arguments during the public hearing and on the floor of the Maine Senate and the House of Representatives. I have read many of the notes and letters sent to my office, and I have weighed my decision carefully,” Governor Baldacci said. “I did not come to this decision lightly or in haste.”

“I appreciate the tone brought to this debate by both sides of the issue,” Governor Baldacci said. “This is an emotional issue that touches deeply many of our most important ideals and traditions. There are good, earnest and honest people on both sides of the question.”
“In the past, I opposed gay marriage while supporting the idea of civil unions,” Governor Baldacci said. “I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage.”

“Article I in the Maine Constitution states that ‘no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor be denied the equal protection of the laws, nor be denied the enjoyment of that person’s civil rights or be discriminated against.’”

“This new law does not force any religion to recognize a marriage that falls outside of its beliefs. It does not require the church to perform any ceremony with which it disagrees. Instead, it reaffirms the separation of Church and State,” Governor Baldacci said.

“It guarantees that Maine citizens will be treated equally under Maine’s civil marriage laws, and that is the responsibility of government.”

“Even as I sign this important legislation into law, I recognize that this may not be the final word,” Governor Baldacci said. “Just as the Maine Constitution demands that all people are treated equally under the law, it also guarantees that the ultimate political power in the State belongs to the people.”

“While the good and just people of Maine may determine this issue, my responsibility is to uphold the Constitution and do, as best as possible, what is right. I believe that signing this legislation is the right thing to do,” Governor Baldacci said.

Senator Dennis S. Damon (D-Hancock County) of Trenton, sponsor of LD 1020, An Act to End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom, released the following statement following the signing of the bill into law by Governor Baldacci:

"I am truly overjoyed today. The government of the State of Maine has certainly come down on the right side of civil rights, equality and ending discrimination. I am very proud to be a member of the Legislature. And I am extremely proud to be a Mainer. This has been a long, and at times, difficult process. Today will stand forever as one of the most historic days in our grand and glorious history.

"I pray that as Maine goes, so will the rest of the nation. For far too long people have been denied this basic right that so many of us are fortunate enough to take for granted. Today, in Maine, we have said that same-sex couples are not second class citizens, that separate is not equal, that justice and fairness ultimately prevails over fear and hatred. It's a great day in Maine."

All Eyes on New Hampshire

Yesterday, Maine's House passes LD-1020. The Senate will likely confirm that vote today and then it goes to the governor, who has of yet, refused to say whether he will veto it, sign it or let it become law without his signature.

And now today, New Hampshire's House will vote on their marriage equality bill. This has already passed the House once, and then the Senate. But the Senate added some ammendments so the House will have to concur.

Stay tuned.

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

All Eyes on Maine

It is official.

Maine's House of Reprentatives will vote on LD-1020(marriage equality) today. The House convenes at 10:00 EDT.

If you're cubicle-bound and want to keep abreast of the debate, a good place to start would be Pam's House Blend.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Maine House of Representatives voted 87 to 61 in FAVOR of equal marriage! Second vote was 89 to 58


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Maine Gay Marriage Hearing Still Pictures on YouTube