Friday, November 21, 2008

Dr. Phil and the Same-Sex Marriage Debate

Today, Dr. Phil taped a show centered around the same-sex marriage debate. While I'm still looking for more footage to post, I came across this post-taping segment.

More at his website and the debate rages on his forum.


Found this clip about the "extortion letter" from the Yes on 8 supporters.

Join Black LGBT of LA in a Peaceful March

Organized by "Love at Work - The Exchange"

Join the Black LGBT of Los Angeles in a peaceful march to protest the passage of
Proposition 8!

WHEN: Sunday, November 23, at 11:00am, march beings at 11:30am
WHERE: AT Leimert Park Fountain (Corner of Vernon and Crenshaw). The march route is north on Crenshaw Blvd. to King Blvdl and then back to Leimer Park. A

All gay, lesbian, queer, same-gender loving, bi-sexual, transgender, their families, friends and supporters are invited to come out and participate.

Please feel free to bring your own signs and bring your own drinking water.


*There will not be a rally at leimert park afterward*

For further information, please contact Rev. Freda Lanoix at revfreda@aol.Com or at myspace.Com/revfreda.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"How Getting Married Made Me An Activist"

An interesting essay, "How Getting Married Made Me An Activist" by David J. Jefferson, out in this week's Newsweek, reminded me of the rich history of the fight for gay rights. It's also reminded me, and made me sad to think, that it took a stripping away of a right granted to us (a right that is and should've been inherent) to wake us up from our complacency.

I hope this complacency never returns. I hope that this fire burning in us, urging us to not let something like Prop 8, and the violation of gay rights in Arkansas and Florida and elsewhere, happen again nor let us stop fighting to repeal these injustices. I hope that we don't let a majority continue to shame us so that we hide our faces from the masses, like we did in our ads against Prop 8. I hope that we remember that we DO have a long history of gay marriages (the Romans performed gay marriages before Christianity stepped in! Again! Or should I say, for the first time!), and that this isn't a new "special right" we're asking for, but a guaranteed right as tax-paying citizens. And I hope we remember, first and foremost, that this isn't just about our rights, but we're fighting to keep the core principles of our Founding Fathers from being manipulated and changed - we're fighting to keep those principles alive. Without these self-evident truths, without the declaration that "all men are created equal," we wouldn't have the right to fight in the first place, or to claim our "unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

California Is Not Alone presents a video about the fall out of the gay marriage ban in Florida, focusing on the African American community. It offers a great insight to both sides of the issue. does not allow embedding of their videos, so here is the link. - In Florida, Fall Out From a Gay Marriage Ban

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

California Supreme Court WILL Hear Cases on Prop 8

Read the Los Angeles Times article.

It also reports that Prop 8 supporters will immediately campaign to oust any judge who votes to overturn Prop 8. We as community CANNOT let that happen. We need to prepare NOW, in advance, to act against such manipulation of the judicial system.

Keep posted here.

UPDATE: The court HAS decided to rule on the Prop 8 case, but not until early next year. Which gives us more time develop strategies on the grassroots level, and, of course, to protest.

The STAY on Prop 8 was denied however, meaning, no same-sex marriages in the interim.

CNN Article Here

Los Angeles Times article here

New York's Fight for Same-Sex Marriage

Another amazing blog full of information, Queers United, has reported that New York's fight for same-sex marriage is looking rather grim. Check out their report here to see what you can do to support the fight.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Andrew Sullivan says we lost . . .

. . . and to let Prop 8 stand. He says that it was a fair fight (I think some of us beg to differ) and we didn't win. Read his post on the Daily Dish.

Our guest poster, Brad Parr, who did a great job informing us yesterday, in layman's terms, about the legal fight against Prop 8, (read his post here) responded and was posted on the Daily Dish as one of the "dissents of the day." It's a great read. Highly recommend it. It's the blunt one.

Proposition 8 is NOT about Black Homophobia

This is was issued from:

Written by: Editorial Board member, the Rev. Irene Monroe, is a religion columnist, theologian, and public speaker. A native of Brooklyn, Rev. Monroe is a graduate from Wellesley College and Union Theological Seminary at Columbia University, and served as a pastor at an African-American church before coming to Harvard Divinity School for her doctorate as a Ford Fellow. Reverend Monroe is the author of Let Your Light Shine Like a Rainbow Always: Meditations on Bible Prayers for Not-So-Everyday Moments. As an African American feminist theologian, she speaks for a sector of society that is frequently invisible. Her website is

"I have learned as both a pastor and also as a member belonging to several minority groups - African-American, women and lesbian - that a popular opinion on a civil rights issue does not always reflect the right choice. Too often the right choice and the moral high ground on an issue derive from small struggling groups trying both to be seen and heard among the cacophony of dissenting voices and opposing votes. And it is with these groups that we see democracy's tenacity working, where those relegated to the fringes of society can begin to sample what those in society take for granted as their inalienable right like the right for all of its citizens to marry.

"Last week we saw democracy work with the election of Barack Obama as our country's first African American president. My enslaved ancestors who built the White House could have never imagined that one of their progenies would one day occupy it. But we also saw last week, on the same day, how democracy didn't work for its LGBTQ citizens with the passing of Proposition 8, an amendment to the California Constitution eliminating marriage equality for same-sex couples, after the California Supreme Court ruled in May that a "separate and unequal" system of domestic partnership for same-sex couples is not only blatantly discriminatory but it is also unconstitutional.

"While California's gay community places blame on African Americans for the passing of Proposition 8, we were one of many interest groups backing the amendment. And although we are just 6.2 percent of the state's overall population we can't wash our hands clean by saying other interest groups are just as culpable.

"Seven out of ten of us pulled a lever to deny another minority groups their civil rights. And while the pollsters and pundits say that religion was our reason, as African American we have always discarded damning and damaging statements and scriptures about us in the name of religion like biblical passages that either cursed all people of African ancestry (The Curse of Ham, Genesis 9:18-27) or advocated slavery (Ephesians 6:5-8).

"Many Proposition 8 supporters voted yes believing the future traditional family was at stake. But when society narrowly defines marriage as solely the union between a man and a woman, it ignores the constantly changing configuration of today's family units. And the African American community knows this best. While African American ministers will argue for the traditional nuclear family, the stresses and strains of racism has and continues to thwart the possibility. So we created our own family structures.

"Therefore, multiple family structures presented by same-sex marriages should not pose a threat to the African-American community because they are what have sustained, saved and are still saving African-American families. A grandmother or an aunt and uncle - straight or gay - raising us in their loving home have anchored our families through the centuries. And these multiple family structures, which we have had to devise as a model of resistance and liberation, have always, by example, shown the rest of society what really constitutes family- its spiritual content and not is physical composition.

"Unfortunately, civil rights struggles in this country have primarily been understood, reported on and advocated within the context of African American struggles.

"The present-day contentious debate between black and queer communities, concerning what constitutes a legitimate civil rights issue and which group owns the right to use the term, is both fueled and ignored by systemic efforts by our government that deliberately pit both groups against each other rather than upholding the 13th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution that afford each of these marginal groups their inalienable rights.

"While it is true that the white LGBTQ community needs to work on its racism, white privilege, and single-issue platform that thwart all efforts for coalition building with both straight and queer communities of color, the African-American community needs to work on its homophobia.

"The blame of the passing of Proposition 8 should not be placed on the shoulders of blacks, Latinos or even religion, but rather the blame should rightly be placed on the shoulders of our government.

"To have framed our civil rights as a ballot question for a popular vote was both wrong-hearted and wrong-headed. If my enslaved ancestors had waited for their slaveholders to free them, predicated on a ballot vote we all wouldn't be living in the America we know today. And Barack Obama would not be our president-elect."

"Kingdom of Heaven" Brief

The posts on here are pretty serious, so I figured we could have a laugh but at a relevant topic. A brief has been filed with the California Supreme Court using the "Almighty Creator's Law" to back its argument to support Prop 8 and ban same-sex marriages. They are "Acting on behalf of the Almighty Eternal Creator." Gee, I'm sure God is so grateful to have mere humans put words in his mouth. Talk about mixing Church and State!

You have to read it to believe it. (It's a PDF download)

Kingdom of Heaven Brief

Panel at UCLA Law School

The Critical Race Studies Program at UCLA School of Law invites you to a Roundtable Discussion and Dialogue on Race and LGBT Rights:

The Aftermath of Prop 8: Is Gay Really the New Black?
  • How should we respond to the argument that "blacks betrayed gays" in supporting Prop. 8?
  • Does this framing suggest that all blacks are straight and all gays are white?
  • How does the dominant interpretation of Prop. 8 compare various communities of color?
  • What can we learn from the political and representational strategies of the campaigns regarding Prop. 8 in California?
  • What does a multiracial and coalitional politics for LGBT equality require and promise for winning and sustaining equal rights?
Professor Russell Robinson, who teaches Race, Sexuality and the Law at UCLA School of Law, will moderate an urgent roundtable discussion on the repercussions of the passage of Proposition 8 and the racial discourse surrounding its passage. The panelists will include political activists, community organizers, professors and students of diverse racial and sexual identities.

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008
6:00pm to 7:30pm
UCLA School of Law - Room 1430

For questions, please contact Professor Robinson by email at

Co-sponsored by the Williams Institute and the African American Policy Forum

Monday, November 17, 2008

To Stay or Not to Stay Prop 8

I've had help filtering through some legalese filed today by the Attorney General (more than one, but all similar) from those in the know. It discusses whether or not the enactment of Prop 8 should be put on hold. I'll try to put this as simply as possible.

  • In layman's terms, the Respondents position is:
  1. The petitions (to overturn Prop 8) raise issues of statewide importance that can only be decided by the California Supreme Court
  2. The Court should NOT stay Prop 8 while its decision is pending
  • We think, "Why NOT stay it?" Well, back when San Francisco married same-sex couples, the case Lockyer vs. The City and County of San Francisco was brought to the Court, which decided the marriages were invalidated. The Court said if it delayed its decision on the validity of these San Francisco marriages, people in the meantime could act on these marriages, creating changes in their lives that could do irreparable harm, more harm than if they, the Court, decided immediately that the marriages were not valid.
  • So staying Prop 8 could create marriages post-election but pre-ruling on Prop 8 that could be invalidated, making these couples vulnerable and creating the same situation as above if the Court doesn't act immediately.
What does this mean? It remains to be seen if the Court intends to decide if the government will allow same-sex marriages in the interim (if the Court follows precedent, it will not to avoid harm to these couples). Good news is that it appears the Court will decide on the overall legality of Prop 8.

The Lawsuits Against Prop 8 - should we keep the fight at a state level?

Unite the Fight! asked Brad Parr, an attorney in Beverly Hills, to write a guest post explaining the content of the four lawsuits filed against Prop 8, how the California constitution supports their arguments, and why he thinks we should keep the battle for same-sex marriage at a state level and not bring it to the federal level . . . for now.

We have posted his explanation in four images below, left to right.

I asked Brad about the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Even if we win in California, as long as DOMA remains, we are still second-class citizens because we won't get federal benefits. He responded:

"I believe that DOMA's unconstitutional. Period. Full Faith and Credit can't be selectively applied (very quickly: the Constitution mandates full faith and credit but states that Congress will decide how it's implemented. Pro-DOMA people say that this lets Congress decide what gets full faith and credit; that can't be right. It's an enabling clause and it doesn't let Congress decide exceptions. This hasn't been litigated against but I think it's a huge danger to federalism if the Court comes out the wrong way.)

I also, however, agree with the point that as long as DOMA is on the books, we won't be fully equal, and there will be a host of federal benefits unavailable to us even if we get it at a state level. I just don't think it's time to go there, at least, through the courts. Obama could, however, do a lot of good for us from a legislative point of view."

Brad did offer a glimmer of hope for the judicial process, referring to an article published today in the Los Angeles Times. You can read it here

Sunday, November 16, 2008

LA Protest, Nov. 15th, 2008

Community Organizing Meeting

ACT UP alumni and Unite the Fight! is currently working with many LGBTQ organizations, plus labor organizations and activists groups of color, to hold a community organizing meeting to inform the community about the great work of many groups, gay and straight, and to communicate and discuss the next steps, strategy and direction of this amazing movement demanding equal rights for all.

Details of this meeting will be posted here soon, so stay tuned (you can subscribe to the blog to stay posted - subscription option listed on right side).

In the meantime, Unite the Fight! will continue to post what's happening in the movement, reporting on the different groups, what they're doing and how you can stay involved. Check the many different links to these groups' websites on the right side, further down. (If you have a group or organization not listed, please contact us and we'll add it)

Also, a great tool at the bottom of the blog is a calendar with events and their details listed. Check it out! If you hear about an event not listed, let us know!

Need Encouragement about the Fight?

Anna Quindlen has written the most moving editorial for Newsweek, title "The Loving Decision." Using civil rights history, she argues that it is inevitable that gays and lesbians will have the right to marry.

Using the Loving vs. Virginia case, where Mildred Jeter, an African-American, and Richard Loving, a caucasian, married in DC, she describes how they went home to Virginia and were pulled out of their own bed and arrested in their own home for miscegenation.

I'll quote Anna's last paragraph that brought tears to my eyes:

"The last word here goes to an authority on battling connubial bigotry. On the anniversary of the Loving decision last year, the bride wore tolerance. Mildred Loving, mother and grandmother, who once had cops burst into her bedroom because she was sleeping with her own husband, was quoted in a rare public statement saying she believed all Americans, "no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry." She concluded, "That's what Loving, and loving, are all about."

Read the whole article here