Saturday, May 9, 2009

Manchester Hyatt Caving in to Boycott?

"Papa Doug" Doug Manchester, chairman of Manchester Financial Group and owner of the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego and the San Diego Marriott Hotel & Marina, among other properties, donated $125,000 to support the signature drive that got Prop 8 on the ballot. As a result, Californians Against Hate has staged a successful boycott along with Cleve Jones and the Courage Campaign.

Kelly Cummerford, director of sales for Manchester Grand Hyatt, and who himself is gay, was met with boos and hisses as he went up to announce at Friday's International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association convention in Toronto, that Manchester was donating $25,000 directly to LGBT civil rights groups and another $100,000 in hotel credits for LGBT fund-raising events.

Howard Bragman, the openly gay public relations/crisis management veteran who was hired by former Grey's Anatomy star Isaiah Washington after reportedly directing an antigay slur at costar T.R. Knight, told The Advocate that "Mr. Manchester’s beliefs were clearly misconstrued. He did give $125,000 to Yes on 8 and he is opposed to the concept of religious gay marriage. However, he is in no way homophobic and is 100% in favor of gay people having every legal right that straight people have. This is an attempt to clarify his position."

Fred Karger of Californians Against Hate dismissed this statement.

"It’s an insult to the gay and lesbian community and our labor allies that he is attempting after 10 months to go around us and buy his way out of this boycott," Karger related to the Advocate. "Manchester told [Cummerford] that he had lost $7 million due to this boycott. If that is the number he admits to, then I assume it is a lot higher. Our boycott has been very effective. For example, the latest blow is the National Trial Lawyers Association, who just announced that they were moving their convention of 2,000 lawyers not only from Manchester's hotel but from San Diego entirely. Their event is in July and they are moving to San Francisco, so at great expense to them, in order to show solidarity."

Though the money was offered to the HRC, they declined to accept it.

"In either case it's a divide-and-conquer attempt," Karger said. He added, "It is a step but this is not the way a boycott is ended. And though we would be happy to sit down with him at anytime to discuss this, until then our boycott will continue with more resolve."

Read related Unite the Fight piece by Boo Jarchow, reporter for The Advocate and "LGBT Rights Activists Demand an End to 'Hyatt Hypocrisy.'"

Read Fred Karger's full statement at

Day of Decision - Are You Prepared to Respond to the Fate of Prop 8?

The tension behind how the CA Supreme Court will rule on Prop 8 is close to being overshadowed by when they will rule, if not more so. Whichever way they do rule, for or against us, we need to be prepared to respond.

The court only has until June 3rd to issue the ruling.

That's not very far away.

Lots of planning has been in the works since a national call for civil disobedience was issued for the day of the ruling. That is, if they rule against us. If the rule for us, the events will still take place, but in celebration and rallying.

But do you know when and where you need to be the day the decision comes down? Let me try and help.

Many actions and events are scheduled for the day of the ruling. Find out where by going to Day of Decision, scroll down and click on your state and city.

You can also go to the national Day of Decision Facebook Group Page.

(For you LA residents, check out and the Facebook Los Angeles Day of Decision page. Look into what's happening in East LA too.)

For people of faith, numerous services will be held on the Day of Decision. Be sure to check out the Day of Decision website and look in your area to see where they are being held.

To even further assist people of faith on Decision Day, California Faith For Equality has issued a Day of Decision Resource Kit (PDF) in anticipation of the ruling. The goal of this kit is to provide materials to faith leaders in order to minister to the LGBT community and its supporters, regardless of the Court's ruling. This important resource enables people of faith to alert Californians and the rest of the country that there is plenty of faith-based support for the freedom to marry.


The CA Supreme Court will give only 24 hours notice before the ruling. The following day, you'll be able to watch live on the Supreme Court website as they announce their decision. The moment they hand it down, you better book it, because these Day of Decision events will spring into action at lightning speed.

You'll want to know where you should be well beforehand.

The Saturday AFTER the ruling comes down, win or lose, everyone from all over the state will come together in solidarity in Fresno, CA, in the heart of Yes on 8 territory. Go to Meet in the Middle for more information.

Oh, and watch the video at the top of the blog.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Daily Show Responds to Maine Marriage Equality, Disses DC Equality Opponents

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Gaywatch - Marion Barry
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic CrisisPolitical Humor

Wal-Mart CEO Signs Petition Banning Gay Adoption

Crossposted with Queers United:

Mike Duke the CEO of Wal-Mart, the world's largest grocery retailer is in some hot water for his personal political actions in the state of Arkansas.

Over the weekend, the website revealed that Mike Duke signed a petition to put an anti-gay adoption ban on the ballot in Arkansas. (Mike Duke’s signature below was pulled off the actual PDF provided by the Secretary of State) (Wal-Mart Watch).

This is a further slap in the face to activists who have been demanding that Wal-Mart support its GLBT employees. But with leadership like this, it's hard to believe progress will be made.


Unite the Fight (UTF) reports primarily on marriage as stated in its mission statement. However, I believe a family can be defined in a variety of ways, from two individuals in a marriage, a single-parent home to a two-parent household, to name just a few. I feel family is an extension of marriage, and UTF will continue to report on the fight for LGBT adoption rights, which the conservative right-wing is beginning to strip away.

Courage Campaign: "How the Marriage Equality Movement Will Win"

Rick Jacobs, Chair of the Courage Campaign, the massive online organizing network that empowers nearly 700,000 grassroots and netroots activists to push for progressive change in California, and whose organization recently announced its support for a 2010 initiative to repeal Prop 8 if the state's Supreme Court upholds it, issued a strategy statement on how marriage equality will win.
The tide is turning. Marriage equality is spreading from state to state. It is coming back to California. It's a matter of how and when.

Regardless of how the Supreme Court rules on the challenges to Proposition 8, we will win equal rights here in California and nationwide -- if we, in the grassroots, take ownership of the process and engage the broader progressive movement.

With more than 700,000 members and growing, the Courage Campaign's members embody the new, post-Prop 8 grassroots energy that fueled Barack Obama's victory in November. The Courage Campaign's goal is to provide these progressive activists with the tools, skills and infrastructure to build a permanent grassroots movement that will win, defend and protect marriage equality.

Winning marriage equality in California can only be accomplished by building and waging a campaign fundamentally different than the one run last fall. Together, the grassroots will build a coalition from the start, including the decision on when to go back to the ballot.

The Courage Campaign is ready to go back to the ballot in 2010, assuming the Supreme Court rules to uphold Prop 8. But before we can make the ultimate decision to support an actual ballot initiative, the Courage Campaign will survey our members and consult with our allies in the polling group formed by several organizations a few weeks ago. Based on a vote of our members, we will move forward on a decision along with our partners in the marriage equality movement.

This will be the most important decision we make as a movement -- and it must be made after thorough and open deliberation with everyone who wants to have a role in the campaign.

Together, we will launch an initiative campaign when we are certain we have all the pieces in place to ensure victory.

That said, the first step to victory at the ballot, no matter the date, is training and empowering marriage equality activists across the state -- serving the organizations and individuals that are fueling this movement.

So far, more than 700 activists have taken part in "Camp Courage" training camps in Los Angeles, Fresno, San Diego and Oakland designed to teach the basics of telling their personal stories as part of one-on-one campaigning (see articles in the Wall Street Journal and the Sacramento Bee.)

These Camp Courage organizers have already begun meeting with voters one-on-one in 23 local canvassing Equality Teams in 15 counties across the state, using the Courage Campaign's Equality Hub -- the same toolkit used by Barack Obama's presidential campaign.

The second step is organizing together, county-by-county, working in collaboration with our partners across the marriage equality movement, from LGBT rights organizations to labor and progressive movement organizations.

We all must work together on the variety of progressive issues in this state that are part and parcel of full equality for all Californians.

Another way we will build that movement is by using conventional tools in an unconventional way. With our partners, we are engaged in an opinion research project that will be "open-source," meaning the coalition will collaborate on the poll's content and share the information openly with marriage equality supporters as we move forward. We're doing this research together to gather baseline information and to inform the broader community's decision about when and how to go back to the ballot.

It's no secret campaigns use polling to refine and target their messaging. But the difference here is we aren't going to keep it locked away for proprietary purposes. We are going to put it to use by getting it in the hands of people closest to their communities. The goal of this project is to become an informational clearinghouse so our efforts are effective and focused.

The Courage Campaign is also providing access to the voter file so that any group that wants to talk with voters about marriage equality can do so -- regardless of its size or budget. The Courage Campaign is using this project as an opportunity to develop a coalition that coordinates voter contact programs and activities. We are building a movement for marriage equality by giving tools away.

By training community organizers and sharing resources like research, access to the the voter file, we can win -- not just in Los Angeles, or San Francisco, but in the heartland of California.

Winning marriage equality will not be easy. It will take time, talent and treasure. But we know in our hearts that time is on our side, that justice will prevail, and that equality will be ours.

Together, as a new movement, we can, we must, and we will win.

Discharged Lt. Dan Choi Talks to Maddow, Scheduled to Appear at "Meet in the Middle"

U.S. Army First Lieutenant Dan Choi, the first Arabic linguist fired under Obama on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell', who had originally announced he was gay on The Rachel Maddow Show a few months ago when he launched Knights Out, talked to Maddow on her show last night.

The appearance marked Choi’s first interview since receiving word this week of his discharge for announcing in March that he is gay.

Choi is scheduled to make an appearance at "Meet in the Middle", a large rally to take place in Fresno, CA the Saturday after the ruling on Prop 8.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Gay Opponents Targeting Maine, Prepare Pre-Emptive Strike at NJ


Before you start rushing off to Maine to get married, the new marriage equality law hasn't quite cleared all its hurdles. Though it's supposed to take effect in 90 days, there's a chance it will never happen.

Marriage equality opponents, the conservative Maine Marriage Alliance, are wasting no time. Just yesterday, Thursday, they filed a challenge, an attempt to block the new law with Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap. The challenge was filed under the state’s “people’s veto” provision.

The signature-collecting deadline will probably fall in mid-September, Dunlap said.

Ellen Andersen on Bilerico Project explains a "people's veto" further, and its threat to marriage equality in Maine:
Laws in Maine usually go into effect 90 days after the legislature adjourns (somewhere around the end of June). But before that 90 day period is over, opponents of a law can try to gather enough signatures--about 55,000 right now-- to force the measure to a public vote. If opponents get those signatures in on time, implementation of the law will be suspended until a referendum can be held. This provision is commonly known as a "people's veto."
Equality Maine reports that opponents are already geared up to gather signatures to force a ballot initiative against marriage equality. They are asking for support to build a strong campaign against them.


A coalition of socially conservative groups is pressing the New Jersey legislature to ask voters in 2010 to amend the state constitution to bar same-sex marriage.
New Jersey lawmakers would have to approve a constitutional amendment in each of two consecutive years in order to put the question to voters. So far, the Democratically-controlled legislature has rebuffed calls to advance the proposed amendment.

But the legislature also has stalled on taking up a bill that would allow same-sex couples to marry.
Members of the conservative coalition, New Jersey Family Policy Council and New Jersey Coalition to Preserve and Protect Marriage, held a press conference yesterday saying that same-sex couples already have civil unions, have the same benefits of married couples, so why do they need the term marriage?

Civil rights groups countered this amounted to separate but equal. A commission established by the state last year held three public hearings, and after hearing the testimonies of couples in civil unions, agreed.

Sen. Loretta Weinberg, who sponsors New Jersey's marriage equality bill, said the Supreme Court has "already said that same-sex partners are entitled to all the rights and responsibilities of marriage" -- and most lawmakers agree with it.

"I don't think the majority of the Legislature believes we should have a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. They already voted for domestic partnerships and civil unions, and gay marriage is the next logical step. We don't have to expand rights; we're almost just changing the name," said Weinberg.

Weinberg predicted her bill would pass "by the end of this year."

VIDEO: CNN On Obama and LGBT Rights, "Think 10-Foot Pole."

I'm a bit befuddled. Does CNN, in its initial report, completely discount the ABC News Poll that showed for the first time in history that marriage equality supporters actually outnumbered opponents, 49% to 46%?

If in fact they don't think the poll holds water, they should at least refer to it and point out why they think it isn't valid.

Thank God for Paul Begala. At least he takes the time to point it out. On top of that, he brings up the National Guard Lt. Dan Choi being discharged under DADT.

Equality California Joins Grassroots in Fight for Marriage Equality

Equality California (EQCA) announced yesterday its new campaign Win Marriage Back. Make It Real!, their first public step in joining the grassroots in laying the groundwork for a new campaign to repeal Prop 8 if the California Supreme Court rules to uphold it.

Just this past weekend, the Courage Campaign announced its support for a 2010 initiative, and now with the EQCA joining in on the call, these two organizations among many other grassroots groups have given a solid signal to California that marriage equality will beckoning the state once again. And soon.

On a phone call with donors today, EQCA's new Marriage Director Marc Solomon and Executive Director Geoff Kors said their new campaign push will be two-fold. First, joining in the grassroots efforts in community organizing, and second, telling the stories of LGBT families who were adversely affected by Prop 8, the lack of which was a major criticism of the No on 8 campaign in which EQCA was major player.

The first point will be met by hiring 25 field organizers in all parts of the state to reach out to their communities and neighborhoods. In the call, a reference was made to Courage Campaign's amazing Camp Courage, a two-day training event designed to teach the principals and skills of community organizing to activists working to restore marriage equality in California. Courage Campaign has invested over a $100,000 in these camps, raised by on-line matching grant donations from the Dolby Family among others.

EQCA will be relying heavily on the hundreds of camp graduates. The camps have so far been held in Los Angeles, Fresno, San Diego, Oakland and coming up soon in Sacramento and East LA, all areas that EQCA plans to do outreach.

Graduates of the camps have set up successful Equality Teams throughout the state that engage the electorate in phonebanking, canvassing and more, with voter information provided to them through the Courage Campaign's Equality Hub. This giving away of information has been hailed as unprecedented because it gives anyone who wants to make a difference for equality in their own area the chance to succeed.

EQCA plans to contribute to the canvassing efforts starting this weekend with a goal of reaching 45,000 doors in 100 days. With the resulting information that is gathered, it will be used alongside other grassroots organizations, such as canvassing experts Marriage Equality USA, to build a stronger campaign.

The second point of the new push are two new tv ads that feature LGBT families. Having heard the sharp criticisms of the No on 8 campaign's refusal to show the faces of the LGBT population and its variety, and seeing how successful the Courage Campaign's record-breaking video, "Fidelity, Don't Divorce Us" has been, EQCA will be releasing their own ads on TV this weekend.

See the second ad here.

EQCA working alongside grassroots is a remarkable change since the No on 8 campaign during which the grassroots felt shut out. The failure of the campaign woke a sleeping giant throughout the nation, but particularly in California, displayed prominently in the massive rallies and protests that followed.

Even more remarkable is that EQCA, along with Courage Campaign, Marriage Equality USA, FAIR, Equal Roots and more, have all chipped in together on the costs of polling, and with the resulting information, all groups will be armed to work together on the new initiative campaign if needed.

Since the November election, the grassroots has grown stronger and more organized, its full force to be seen on the Saturday following the Supreme Court's ruling on Prop 8. Win or lose, thousands will Meet in the Middle in Fresno, CA, the heart of Yes on 8 territory, not only to show numbers, but to stand in solidarity for equality for all.

Just recently, academy award winning actress Charlize Theron issued a letter through the Courage Campaign, urging everyone, especially straight allies, to show support by meeting in Fresno.

EQCA has taken its cue from such organizing. Despite some growing pains in working alongside the grassroots, they will be showing their support by appearing at Meet in the Middle, an event that is sure to launch either a statewide effort to repeal Prop 8 if its upheld, or a nationwide movement for LGBT equality if Prop 8 is thrown out.

EVENT REMINDER: Attend "Teach-In for Equality" and Learn About LGBT History!

Do you remember back in college, high school, or even middle school, when your teachers told you about those amazing gay and lesbian people throughout history that have made such a critical and lasting impact on our nation's history?

No? Well, you're not alone.

That's because the history of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered community has been silenced, throughout the ages, by homophobia. Now with the passage of Proposition 8 and the possible failure of a court-case to repeal that measure, knowing our own history is more important than ever.

The silence ends now!

Created by the Equality Network, Teach-In for Equality will end the silence on LGBT history by educating attendees on the “Stonewall 2.0″ movement, empowering these new activists and build on their enthusiasm for change!

Many amazing speakers will appear with in-depth knowledge of all aspects of LGBT history. Break-out sessions will include: A historical overview of the LGBT movement, The Right Wing and Homophobia, The History of Direct Action, Gays and Religion, The History of Marriage Equality and Legal Rights, HIV/AIDS, The LGBT Community and the Media, and Gays in the Military.

Confirmed speakers:
  • Cleve Jones, life-long activist
  • Torie Osborn, social change organizer
  • California Assemblymen John Perez
  • Regent Co-Founder Paul Colichman
  • Former Senator Sheila Kuehl
  • Senior Lambda Legal Counsel Jenny Pizer
  • Roland Palencia, Former VP of AIDS Healthcare Foundation
  • Equality California Marriage Director Marc Solomon
  • Human Rights Activist and Author Surina Khan
  • Founding Member of Queer Nation San Francisco Waiyde Palmer
  • Loma Linda University Professor of Religion Julius Nam
  • Professor of Genders and Sexuality at CSULA and Author Talia Bettcher
  • CSUN Professor Jake Hale.
WHEN: Saturday, May 9th
TIME: 9:30am-5:30pm
WHERE: Plummer Park, West Hollywood, CA (Map)

Learn more at the official Teach-In for Equality website and register! But do it quick!

Join some of the most amazing influences on the modern LGBT movement for an hour of food, discussion and networking at Breakfast With History.

End the silence on LGBT history. Go to Teach-In for Equality!

Teach-In For Equality Flier

Obama Remains Missing in Action of LGBT Issues

Crossposted with Michael-in-Norfolk:

I have taken Obama to task a number of times for his failure to do anything truly meaningful on the gay rights front since his inauguration. Indeed, he has seemed more concerned about coddling and kissing up to vile Christianist liars like Rick Warren rather than take steps to keep his promises to those who helped get him elected.

Now, the New York Times has an article that looks at Obama's failures to support those who supported him other than by occasional lip service. At times I am baffled as to whether the root cause is a lack of courage or whether Obama never truly intended to follow through for LGBT Americans in the first place. Here are some story highlights from the Times:

WASHINGTON — President Obama was noticeably silent last month when the Iowa Supreme Court overturned the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. But now Mr. Obama — who has said he opposes same-sex marriage as a Christian but describes himself as a “fierce advocate of equality” for gay men and lesbians — is under pressure to engage on a variety of gay issues that are coming to the fore amid a dizzying pace of social, political, legal and legislative change.
Two of Mr. Obama’s potential Supreme Court nominees are openly gay; some advocates, irked that there are no gay men or lesbians in his cabinet, are mounting a campaign to influence his choice to replace Justice David H. Souter, who is retiring. Same-sex marriage is advancing in states — the latest to allow it is Maine. . . . many gay activists, aware that Mr. Obama is also dealing with enormous challenges at home and overseas, have counseled patience. But some are unsettled by what they see as the president’s cautious approach. Many are . . . suspicious of Mr. Obama’s commitment to their cause.
In the words of David Mixner, a writer, gay activists are beginning to wonder, “How much longer do we give him the benefit of the doubt?” Last weekend, Richard Socarides, who advised President Bill Clinton on gay issues, published an opinion piece in The Washington Post headlined, “Where’s our fierce advocate?” The White House, aware of the discontent, invited leaders of some prominent gay rights organizations to meet Monday with top officials. . .
Some say change is inevitable, not only for Mr. Obama but also for other Democratic politicians who have embraced civil unions but rejected same-sex marriage. Now that the Iowa ruling has pushed the battle into the nation’s heartland, the issue will inevitably come up during the 2010 midterm elections and the 2012 presidential campaign.
For the record, I no longer give Obama the benefit of the doubt. Unless and until he gets some backbone and does something substantive, my operating assumption is that he cynically used LGBT Americans and I have no intention of forgiving him for it either.

Read Unite the Fight's "Obama's Silence on LGBT Rights Will Leave Him Out of History".

Pelosi: Congress Will Not Intervene on DC's Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage

UPDATE: DC Mayor signs marriage recognition bill.

Edward Epstein of Congressional Quarterly reports, "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that Congress won’t try to block a District of Columbia City Council vote to recognize the validity of same-sex marriages performed elsewhere in the country."

Tuesday, the District's city council voted to 12-1 to recognize same-sex marriage legally performed in the states.

Under the District's charter, Congress can block any action the council or mayor take within 30 days. They mayor has yet to sign the resolution.

“I don’t think the Congress should intervene there in terms of their recognition of marriages in the states that allow them,” she said.

“Members will make a priority of issues like gays in the military. And where we have prospects of success, we always want to expand to a place of more opportunity and more freedom for all — for all Americans,” she said. “But right now, our agenda is jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs. And as we move on that front, concurrently, we have to make some decisions about what is possible and our values-based initiatives as well.”

However, Pelosi has stated that repealing DOMA is not a priority.

Maybe if the Supreme Court in her state of California overturns Prop 8, that will give her the kick in the seat of the pants that she needs to move on it.

NH Gov. Speaks Out Marriage Equality Bill

With yesterday's passage of the marriage equality bill in New Hampshire, its fate now lies in the hands of Gov. John Lynch.

Having said very little in the past, but voicing that he believes civil unions satisfies the state's obligation to LGBT relationships, the governor finally spoke up Wednesday night.

"I'm going to talk to legislators and I'm going to talk to the people of New Hampshire and ultimately make the best decision I can for the people of New Hampshire," the Democratic governor said Wednesday evening.

If the governor truly listens, he will hear that both chambers of his state legislation have given approval of the bill and that the people of New Hampshire support marriage equality by 55%. If he truly sticks to these decision-making points, then he must sign the bill.

But the governor is being pressured by marriage equality opponents, so it's extremely important that you reach out to the governor and voice your support!

Office of the Governor
State House
25 Capitol Street
Concord, NH 03301

(603)271-7680 (fax)

Hilton and Gallagher Debate Fall Out of Miss CA Nude Pics On Larry King

UPDATE: CNN reports more racy pictures of Miss California are rising to the surface!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

NH House Passes Revised Marriage Equality Bill! Gov. Must Now Sign

After debating for about an hour, the House voted 178-167 to approve the Senate amended marriage equality bill!

Next step - Gov. John Lynch must sign the bill. He has not said whether he would veto it, but he has stated that he believed New Hampshire's civil unions provided same-sex couples with the same rights as married couples.

Lynch said that further action by the federal government is needed to recognize same-sex unions.

New Hampshire's Cornerstone Policy Research, working with the National Organization For Marriage, just released this ad to pressure the governor.

Spread the Good As You ad response!

Counter NOM! Urge the governor to sign the bill!

Office of the Governor
State House
25 Capitol Street
Concord, NH 03301

(603)271-7680 (fax)

Charlize Theron Speaks Up for Marriage Equality - Urges Everyone to "Meet in the Middle"

Academy Award-winning actor Charlize Theron has backed up her recent and powerful statement comparing laws against same-sex marriage to apartheid with a call to everyone, particularly straight allies, to rally for marriage equality.

In an email blast through the Courage Campaign, Charlize urges, "We need to take a stand for equality. All of us. On the Saturday after the California Supreme Court rules to either uphold or overturn Proposition 8. In Fresno, the heartland of California.

"We know the people whose lives are on the line -- those who identify as gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgender -- will be there. But we need everyone there. Especially straight people."

The talented actor has a long and impressive history in the progressive social movement. Born in Benoni, South Africa, Charlize witnessed the death of her alcoholic father when her mother was forced to shoot him in self-defense when she was only 15.

Such painful memories not only has given the successful artist deep emotional ties to those who suffer from lack of rights, she has also turned such pain into a productive drive to change the inequalities in the world.

Theron keeps actively involved in women's rights organizations as well as marching for abortion rights, animal rights and has recently appeared in a PETA ad for their anti-puppy mill campaign.

Remarkably, she has taken a vow not to marry until same-sex couples can have their relationships recognized. She has continued her outspoken support for marriage equality with her call for everyone to meet in Fresno, CA the Saturday after the Supreme Court rules on Prop 8 to show support for not just the LGBT population, but equal rights for all.

"This isn't just about California. It's about America," she says in her email. "This isn't just about marriage. It's about human rights."

Join Charlize in the call for equal rights. Go to Meet in the Middle!

Maine Gov. Signs Marriage Equality Bill! Maine 5th State to Allow Same-Sex Marriage

Within an hour after the Maine senate approved the final version of the marriage bill with a 31-8 vote, Gov. John Baldacci signed the bill, legalizing same-sex marriage in Maine, making it the fifth state in the country to do so. (See Video of the signing)

From Gov. John Baldacci's Website, his official statement:
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.

The law will take effect in 90 days at the end of the legislation session. However, opponents are working hard already to mount a "people's veto" campaign that would put the issue to a statewide vote in November.

Ellen Andersen on Bilerico Project explains a "people's veto" further, and its threat to marriage equality in Maine:
Laws in Maine usually go into effect 90 days after the legislature adjourns (somewhere around the end of June). But before that 90 day period is over, opponents of a law can try to gather enough signatures--about 55,000 right now-- to force the measure to a public vote. If opponents get those signatures in on time, implementation of the law will be suspended until a referendum can be held. This provision is commonly known as a "people's veto."
Equality Maine reports that opponents are already geared up to gather signatures to force a ballot initiative against marriage equality. They are asking for support to build a strong campaign against them.

NY Times Says CA Supreme Court May Rule This Week on Prop 8

From NY Times:
In California, where the State Supreme Court may rule this week on whether a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage is constitutional, gay-rights advocates are optimistic even though many expect the ruling to uphold the ban.
I've been hearing the same thing within legal circles here in Los Angeles; however, state-wide law enforcement thinks otherwise due to the fact that many of them will be away at a convention up north in Sacramento. This will cause a decrease in available police officers to manage the protests or celebration rallies, and such events require a large force.

Either way, the court must rule by June 3rd, so the decision is coming soon.

Are you ready?

Find out what is happening in your area at Day of Decision. Click on the tag "Day of Decision" at the bottom of the post to find out more.

The Saturday following Day of Decision, massive numbers from all over the state will be converging on Fresno, CA, the heart of Yes on 8 territory for Meet in the Middle 4 Equality. Go the website and RSVP to make travel and accommodation plans.

Let's show our numbers!

Maine Rep Votes Against Daughter's Right to Wed

During yesterday's win for marriage equality in the Maine House, Maine Rep. Sheryl Briggs revealed a secret which was overshadowed by the victory.

Her daughter is a lesbian. And after 15 years of knowing, she still regarded her daughter’s sexual orientation as a choice.

She announced she had made a wrenching decision.

“Blame it on my upbringing, or the good book, but the deepest part of my soul tells me that this is wrong,” Briggs said in regards to the marriage equality bill. “I can’t change how I feel. These feelings run very deep. I have kept this secret within me for 15 years, but because of who I am, and where I am today, and as a member of this legislative body, ethically, it is my duty, and my responsibility, to publicly say to my daughter, that I do not support her way of life."

”I have no choice. I have to hit that button,” Briggs said.

She voted against her own daughter's rights.

I watched stunned as the live stream continued to play the other representative's testimony, but I didn't really listen. Rep. Brigg's comments hit a nerve in me.

I was raised in a fundamental, Christian home. We were missionaries. We traveled the world preaching the "good word." And yes, during that whole time, I knew I was gay.

I was finally brave enough to come out when I was 18, but because of my parents' denial, I had to come out three more times. It wasn't until I told them I wasn't a Christian, and yes, still gay, that the truth finally hit home for them.

They didn't handle it very well. But years after my first coming out, during which we almost lost touch altogether, my parents are slowly able to talk about it. They'll never approve. But they'll accept it.

I'll be blunt. I'm glad Rep. Briggs is not my mother. My mother hasn't lied to me. Rep. Briggs lied to support her vote.

She wants us to excuse her vote for her upbringing and/or because of the Bible. But she has been told, constantly, that this vote has nothing to do with her religion but her country. And that the law of her country demands that no discrimination or religious indoctrination can exist in the public sphere in which the government governs.

We are not a theocracy. We are a republic. And every voice counts.

Rep. Briggs not only failed her daughter and her voice. She failed her job. And refused to listen. Some people would call her a bigot. I do not. A bigot acts out of blind hate. Rep. Briggs has acted out of stubborn, self-imposed ignorance, denying the facts laid out before her. And I don't know if that is worse.

She wants us to excuse her because it is her "ethical" duty to take on the responsibility of . . . what? Denying people their rights? Calling people's innate characteristics a "choice"?

Her ethical duty as a legislator is to create law that upholds the constitution which protects all citizens. But she failed her job. And she failed her daughter.

My mother might have done the same if she were in Rep. Briggs position. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised. Which is why I have worked hard these past 13 plus years on constantly talking to her and showing her how I live, so she won't have the choice to make her assumptions about me in ignorance. If she were to vote as Rep. Briggs had done, it would be a deep betrayal.

But my mother doesn't want to be a legislator. She hasn't spent tons of money on a campaign and worked hard to be a Representative. And she hasn't taken an oath to uphold the constitution.

Rep. Briggs has.

It is my ethical duty to hold her responsible. And she has failed.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

YouTube: The BIG Fat Gay Anti-Hate Collab, Sesame Street & Marriage and Miss CA Spoofs

So many good videos, so little time . . .

Numerous great videos have been coming out lately at a speed that I cannot possibly keep up with. As result, to save time, I will post them all here.

Lazy but efficient. And once in awhile, we activists simply need some amusement and entertainment.

Video 1: Miss CA's PSA for Opposite Sex Marriage. Oh, and if you're drinking or eating anything - Stop! Or you'll spray your computer screen from laughing.

Video 2: Amazing video with over two dozen YouTubers collaborating. However, WARNING: does contain foul language. Wouldn't play it at work.

Video 3: The wisdom of children. If only the adults listened.

Video 4: Who says Los Angeles activists can't have fun? Another Oscar winner.

Miss Universe Org Sends NOM Cease and Desist Order Over Miss CA Ad

According to TMZ, the Miss Universe Organization sent a cease and desist order to NOM, demanding they stop playing their anti-gay ad featuring Miss CA.


Because the ad contains footage of the Miss USA pageant when Miss CA Carrie Prejean gives her infamous response against marriage equality. By using that footage, the organization claims NOM is violating copyright law.

Though they claim they're not taking sides on the issue, they are claiming they don't want to the footage to support NOM's agenda.

It's a fine line they're walking, and they have stated they don't approve of Miss CA's anti-gay response on their show. I say this is a smart move. Otherwise, they would offend half of their employees - gay men.

Maine Today, New Hampshire Tomorrow

Last week, New Hampshire's Senate passed the state's marriage equality bill but revised what the House had approved.

TOMORROW the New Hampshire House revisits the bill to vote on a concurrence with the Senate and is likely to endorse the revisions. WATCH IT LIVE HERE at 1pm EST/10am PST.

NEXT STEP for the bill - Governor John Lynch will need to sign it. Though mostly silent on what he plans to do, he has stated that believes the state's civil unions bill meets the rights of same-sex couples.

Just today, New Hampshire's Freedom to Marry released this ad urging New Hampshire residents to call the governor. is urging everyone to take action to fully counter the strong opposition to marriage equality by doing four things:
  1. Contact the House of Representatives and urge them to pass the bill.
  2. Attend the tomorrow's hearings if you're able.
  3. Make signs showing your support for marriage equality.
  4. Contact Gov. John Lynch and urge him to sign the bill.
Go to for details.

On a bright note, a recent poll release by New Hampshire Freedom to Marry shows that a majority of New Hampshire voters support marriage for gays and lesbians. 55% were in support while 39% were opposed. 491 voters were polled from April 13-22.

Hopefully the House and Gov. Lynch will listen.

Washington DC Votes to Recognize Marriage Equality From States

UPDATE: Read about marriage equality opponents disrupting the vote and Washington DC Councilman Marion Barry warning of civil war if marriage equality progresses further at

From Washington Post:
Washington Post reporter Tim Craig relays that the D.C. Council has voted 13-0, without debate, to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. Watch D.C. Wire for updates.

The approved law was added as an amendment to another bill, and can be seen on the second page of that bill's text (.pdf).

If Congress does not intervene, council member David A. Catania (I-At Large) has said that he will introduce a separate bill this year to allow same-sex marriages to be performed in the District.

After further debate, a second vote was taken, with D.C. Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) deciding to vote against the proposal. The final count is 12-1 in favor of recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states.

Images from

Maine House Passes Marriage Equality Bill 89-57

Three hours of debate in the Maine House ended with the passing of marriage equality bill LD 1020 with an 89-57 vote. The bill will now be sent back to the Senate, which passed a prior version for a final pending vote, most likely Wednesday.

What's even better is that the House rejected an amendment that would have called for a November referendum. Thankfully, the electorate will not be voting on someone else's rights.

Maine would join Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa and Vermont if the proposal gets passed the Senate, which is likely, and signed by Gov. John Baldacci. The governor remains the biggest obstacle since so far he has remained undecided.

ACTION: It's not too soon to contact Gov. John Baldacci to voice your support for marriage equality.

Mailing Address
Office of the Governor
#1 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0001

207-287-6548 (TTY)




Equality Maine reports that opponents are already geared up to gather signatures to force a ballot initiative against marriage equality. They are asking for support to build a strong campaign against them.

See earlier reports on today's hearing.