Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Marriage Equality USA Issues New Report and Is Building New Grassroots Clearinghouse

Marriage Equality, who made a big impact at January's EQCA Equality Summit with their reports that countered many of the No on 8 Campaign's political advisers' findings, has issued a new report - "Respect, Empower, Include.". This report highlights dozens of grassroots organizations and projects underway that embody this new vision.

"It is time to implement the collective wisdom gathered from across the state, harness the renewed passion and creativity of grassroots power and chart our course towards securing marriage equality that is wiser and stronger than ever before," said Molly McKay, Marriage Equality USA Media Director. "Our third and final report – Respect, Empower, Include – adopts the Obama field campaign's mission statement as our own mission statement for the marriage equality movement going forward. It embodies what we missed the first time around in the No on 8 Campaign and creates a new vision where everyone is at the table and empowered and encouraged to participate in this civil rights moment of our generation."

"During the campaign and after the November 4th election, we witnessed amazing energy, innovation and leadership from other grassroots organizations and individuals who share common goals and values," said Pamela Brown, Marriage Equality USA Policy Director. "Through town hall meetings across California, the community has called for open, transparent operations that are accountable to the larger community. No one organization can, or should, do it alone, but together we can create an unstoppable, talented team of networked grassroots leaders working in coalition with one another to ensure that all Californians are treated equally under the law and that marriage equality is once again a reality in our state."

"To support this grassroots collaboration and strengthen our grassroots community, Marriage Equality USA will help organize the Statewide Grassroots Coalition Call to bring together representatives from grassroots organizations and support the creation of regional and targeted outreach teams," said Brown.

Interested organizations can register for the call here.

"In addition, we are working with volunteer technology experts from a variety of grassroots groups, including Equality Network, Equality Camp, and Join the Impact, to create a statewide clearinghouse and coalition website housing grassroots organizations and projects devoted to securing marriage equality in California," said McKay. "This site will allow grassroots organizations to sign on as coalition partners, share events through a regional community calendar, post ads for volunteers needed for specific projects and allow for supporters to explore and get involved with the organization/s that best fit their interests."


"Since the election in November, we’ve seen the strength that can come from grassroots collaboration," said Brown. "We have hundreds of organizations working together on over 25 statewide candlelight vigils planned on March 4th, the eve of the California Supreme Court hearing on Prop 8 and San Francisco speakers include Cleve and Dustin, and we expect thousands of supporters to watch the oral arguments on a jumbotron in Civic Center Plaza, just outside the steps of the California Supreme Court."

A complete list of March 4th candlelight vigils can be found at www.EveofJustice.comand individuals interested in donating to the jumbotron can go to www.firstgiving.com/supremecourtjumbotron.

"There has never been more opportunity or potential for change and growth in our marriage equality movement," said McKay. "The community realizes that we must be the change we want to see in the world. The grassroots community is literally buzzing with life. Straight allies are joining us shoulder to shoulder, new leaders are teaching the old veterans new tricks, the Milk movie and the real-life stars from the Defeat of the Briggs Initiative are touring the state to remind us that corporate is not always better. It is the homemade - from the heart, sharing our lives and connecting as fellow human beings that will set us free. We are through with running our civil rights movement by focus groups and political consultants. We hereby take back our movement, reclaim our voices, our dignity, our power. Together we march proudly, with heads high knowing that it is our generation's responsibility and honor to right this wrong. The time is at hand. The movement awaits. Join us!"

The third and final report concludes Marriage Equality USA’s summary of the thousands of grassroots voices who contributed to the community debriefing following the Prop 8 campaign. "We ask that any future campaign start by reviewing the advice, heartache and recommendations from the people whose lives are as stake. We thank everyone who took the time to provide input on what has been a challenging but ultimately enlightening experience for our community," said McKay. "We have learned from the mistakes of the campaign, dusted ourselves off, and deepened our resolve to strengthen our relationships, to love each other for better or worse, to continue to march forward and to never go back into the shadows again. The world only spins forward – let’s get this done so our families can get busy living their happily ever afters."

Marriage Equality USA’s three reports on California’s No on 8 campaign, the harm of anti-gay initiatives like Prop 8, and where we go from here are all available for download on Marriage Equality USA's home page at www.marriageequality.org.

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