Saturday, September 26, 2009

MUST SEE VIDEO: Bill Clinton Tells Anderson Cooper He Supports Marriage Equality

Last night on AC360 with Anderson Cooper, former president Bill Clinton firmly states that he was wrong about "gay marriage" and that he now firmly supports it. As marriage has always been a state issue, he believe that it is up to the states to decide how they should act.

Transcript via Towleroad:

AC: You said you recently changed your mind on same-sex marriage. I’m wondering what you mean by that. Do you now believe that gay people should have full rights to civil marriage nationwide?

CLINTON: I do. I think that, well let me get back to the last point, the last word. I believe historically, for two hundred and something years, marriage has been a question left to the states and the religious institutions. I still think that’s where it belongs.

CLINTON: That is, I was against the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage nationwide, and I still think that the American people should be able to play this side in debates.

CLINTON: But me, Bill Clinton personally, I changed my position. I am no longer opposed to that. I think if people want to make commitments that last a lifetime, they ought to be able to do it. I have long favored the right of gay couples to adopt children.

AC: What made you change your mind? Was there one thing?

CLINTON: I think, what made me change my mind, I looked up and said look at all of this stuff you’re for. I’ve always believed that—I’ve never supported all the moves of a few years ago to ban gay couples from adoption. Because they’re all these kids out there looking for a home. And the standard on all adoption cases is, what is the best interest of the child?

CLINTON: And there are plenty of cases where the best interest of the child is to let the gay couple take them and give them a loving home. So I said, you know, I realized that I was over 60 years old, I grew up at a different time, and I was hung up about the word.

CLINTON: I had all these gay friends, I had all these gay couple friends, and I was hung up about it. And I decided I was wrong.

CLINTON: That our society has an interest in coherence and strength and commitment and mutually reinforcing loyalties, then if gay couples want to call their union marriage and a state agrees, and several have now, or a religious body will sanction it, and I don’t think a state should be able to stop a religious body from saying it, I don’t think the rest of us should get in the way of it.

CLINTON: I think it’s a good thing not a bad thing. And I just realized that, I was, probably for, maybe just because of my age and the way I’ve grown up, I was wrong about that. I just had too many gay friends. I saw their relationships. I just decided I couldn’t, I had an untenable position.

Read Michael Jones' article at, "The Five Things Bill Clinton Should Do to Take a Firm Stand on Gay Marriage."

MUST WATCH: A Second NO on 1 Pro-Marriage Equality Ad Released in Maine Today


I have strongly supported NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality. Although I have questioned the message discipline in their ads, I give kudos for their quick responses and fast action. And now, I'm happy to say that they have released another new ad on top of today's rebuttal ad.

In this ad, it's again about "live and let live" and all families are equal - it's underlining their established principle instead of directly countering Yes on 1 attacks. In the rebuttal ads, the message discipline NO on 1 is sticking to is that "outsiders are harming our children" turning the tables on the opposition's obsession with gays and lesbians indoctrinating kids. (Those outsiders being the same people who created and ran the Yes on Prop 8 campaign.)

What should also be highlighted are quotes from outsiders like Frank Schubert, who is consulting Yes on 1 just has he did with Yes on 8 in California, who said to the local Maine paper Sunset Journal in defense of Yes on 1 ads:
Frank Schubert, a consultant hired by the Stand for Marriage Maine campaign, said it is a concern that the people of Maine must rely on local school boards to make curriculum decisions.

"The local school boards will have tremendous influence, obviously, over the curriculum," he said. "That means it is out of the hands of parents, out of the hands of voters on a statewide basis and that is a concern and it's certainly something people need to be aware of."
So now an outsider is criticizing how Maine handles its schools.

What I hope to see next is powerful endorsements from big Maine names such as - Gov. John Baldacci, Maine Children’s Alliance, Maine Psychological Association, National Association of Social Workers Maine Chapter, Community Counseling Center and Kids First Center, the Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP), Catholics for Marriage Equality, Senate President Elizabeth Mitchell, Speaker of the House Hannah Pingree, Rep. Emily Cain, former Attorney General Steven Rowe, former Attorney General James Tierney, Dean Peter Pitegoff (University of Maine School of Law), and Professor David Cluchey (University of Maine School of Law).

These groups and individuals have already spoken out against the lies of the opposition. Now let them do it in some ads. It's time to kick some butt.

UPDATE: Following is a press release issued by the NO on 1 campaign:
NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality today launched two new campaign ads, one hitting back on the Question 1 campaign's distortions, and another featuring Mainers supporting marriage equality and urging voters to reject the ballot measure.

In the first ad entitled “Proud,” the announcer says, “In Maine, we’re proud of every family and every child - regardless of who their parents are. That’s the Maine way.”

Featuring a Sept. 18th Bangor Daily News editorial which labels Question 1 charges “baseless” and “not true,” the announcer adds: “Outsiders are trying to harm our kids – and make them feel ashamed. By making false claims about what’s taught in Maine classrooms.”

In the “All Families” advertisement, Mainers from a variety of backgrounds lend their support of marriage equality.

“What’s wrong with making marriage equal among all Maine people,” asks Newport farmer John Burgess.

“It’s not anybody’s business to interfere with personal decisions,” adds Windham fireman Justin Bragdon.

“This is how most Mainers view marriage equality,” said Jesse Connolly, NO on 1 campaign manager. “They recognize that Question 1 is only about how we chose to treat Maine people and Maine families -- with fairness and equality. In Maine, we don’t tell other people how to live their lives.”

Friday, September 25, 2009

Prominent Religious Leaders, Faith Communities Endorse National Equality March

A press release from the National Equality March:

Seventy religious leaders added their names this week to the growing list of endorsements for the National Equality March. The March has provided leaders from America’s broad religious spectrum a vehicle to demand full and equal protection for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

“Part of what hinders our reality of full federal equality is the notion that one religious freedom trumps another,” said Robin McGehee, co-director of the March. “It is heartwarming to highlight that there are multiple areas of faith, within many different religious communities, that believe in full equality.”

Just as there are LGBT people of faith who worship in nearly all religious denominations and practices, the March has gained growing support from religious leaders within many of the nation’s religions and faiths.

“In every case in this country's history when misguided church teaching was used to justify prejudice and discrimination it has been judged as a moral failure of our society. The greatest obstacle to reaching full civil equality for LGBT American’s today is this same kind of religion-based bigotry,” said Mitchell Gold, founder of Faith In America. “The National Equality March gives all people of faith an important opportunity to speak out about this injustice and the irreparable harm it creates in our lives… and to say the time to end the harm is NOW.”

The Rev. Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, gave the March a resounding endorsement: “The Unitarian Universalist Association strongly endorses the National Equality March and the goal of achieving full legal equality for bisexual, gay, lesbian, and transgender people. The inherent worth and dignity of every person is a foundational principle of our Unitarian Universalist faith. Unitarian Universalists from around the country will be standing together on the side of love on October 11th when we will take one more step towards the day when the laws of this country protect the basic human rights of all Americans.”

Rev. Morales will preach at a service prior to the March at All Souls Church Unitarian and then gather everyone after the service to join the March route.

Leaders from the faith community who endorsed the March include:

Rev. David Bahr, Park Hill Congregational Church UCC
Pamela Baldwin, Interfaith Alliance of Idaho
Nelson Bock, Interfaith Alliance of Colorado
Rabbi Stephen Booth-Nadav, Aytz Chayim/Tree of Life
Dr. Richard C. Bozian, TIA-Cincinnati-First Unitarian Church
Rev. Elizabeth Braddon, Stony Brook Community Church
Dr. Phil Campbell, Iliff School of Theology
Rev. Tom Capo, Peoples Church Unitarian Universalist
Carol Carlson, Social Justice Committee of First Unitarian Church of Cincinnati
Rev. Cynthia Cearley, Montview Blvd. Presbyterian Church
Hospice Pastor Angela Cesa, Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock
Rabbi Carl Choper, The Interfaith Alliance of Pennsylvania
Rev. Hal Chorpenning, Plymouth Congregational UCC
Rev. Samuel Chu, Interim Executive Director of California Faith for Equality
Dick Clark, St. Timothy’s United Methodist Church
Rev. Paul Collier, First Presbyterian Church
Rev. Greg Cummins, Montview Blvd. Presbyterian Church
Douglas Cunningham, New Day United Methodist Church
Rabbi Mark Diamond, Exec. Vice President of the Southern California Board of Rabbis
Maureen Doherty, Episcopal Church
Anne Dunlap, Comunidad Liberacion/Liberation Community
Rabbi Denise Eger, President of Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis
Rabbi Dr. David Ellenson, President of Hebrew Union College
Rev. Eric Fjeldal, United Methodist Church
Rev. Vicki Flippin, Diamond Hill United Methodist Church, Cos Cob, Connecticut
Rabbi Steven A. Fox, Exec. Vice President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis
Paul Fraser, Central Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Rev. Dr. C. Weldon Gaddy, Interfaith Alliance
Gregory Garland, United Church of Christ
Dan Geslin, Sixth Avenue United Church of Christ
Mitchell Gold, Faith in America
Rev. Galen Guengerich, All Souls Unitarian Church
Elizabeth Gull, Universal Life Church
Susan Guy, Walnut Hills United Methodist Church
Rev. Debra W. Haffner, The Religious Institute
Edward Hawley, United Church of Christ
Rabbi Steven B. Jacobs, Chair of the Progressive Jewish Foundation
Ellen Johnson-Fay, Unitarian Universalist Association
Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, NYC
Noel Koestline, United Methodist Church
Rev. Eric Lee, President of the Los Angeles Southern Christian Leadership
Rev. Eun-sang Lee, First United Methodist Church, Salt Lake City
Rev. Mark J. Lukens, Bethany Congregational UCC/ LI Chapter of TIA
Whit Malone, Collegiate Presbyterian Church
Rev. Matthew J. Mardis-LeCroy, Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ
Sister Maureen McCormack, Interfaith Alliance of Colorado
Rev. Nancy Nelson, Metropolitan Community Churches
Richard S. Parker, United Methodist Church
Rev. Emily Peck-McClain, United Methodist Church
Rev. Troy Perry, Metropolitan Community Churches
Douglas Peters, United Methodist Church
Richard Pleva, Iowa Conference, United Church of Christ
Julia Rendon, Crossroads United Church of Christ
Bishop Eugene Robinson, Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire
Paul Rolig, Humanists of Idaho
Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center, Washington DC
Rev. Susan Russell, President of Integrity
Connie Ryan Terrell, Interfaith Alliance of Iowa
Walter Schenck, United Methodist Church, NY Annual Conference
Rev. Catherine Schuyler, Duluth Congregational Church
Rev. Jeremy Shaver, Interfaith Alliance of Colorado/Park Hill Congregational Church
Rev. Charles H. Straut, Jr., New York Annual Conference, United Methodist Church
Rev. Mark Stringer, First Unitarian Church of Des Moines
Nadine Swahnberg, UUA
Rev. Neil G. Thomas, Chair of California Faith for Equality
Kenneth Thurow, ELCA
Joel Warner, United Methodist Church
Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus, President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis
Dana Wimmer, United Methodist
Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President of the Union for Reform of Judaism
Ani Zonneveld, Co-founder and President of Muslims for Progressive Values

"For people of faith, the National Equality March is an expression of our most deeply cherished values—that we are called to love, do justice, seek equality and act with compassion,” said Rev. Debra W. Haffner, executive director of the Religious Institute, who also has endorsed the March. “The Religious Institute is proud to endorse the March and the values it upholds."

“The importance of the National March for Equality for LGBT civil rights is being articulated through the Religious and Faith communities,” said Rabbi Denise Eger, president of the Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis. "Jewish national leaders and faith leaders understand that equality and justice stem from the message of welcome and love. We are joining together to lift up this message of full civil rights.”

To date more than 250 notable leaders from the arts, entertainment and media industries as well as political leaders, elected officials and community activists have endorsed the March and are urging people to join them and make their way to Washington.

ACTION ALERT: Sign Up for Saturday's Latino Voter Outreach for Civil Marriage Rights in East Los Angeles

Sign Up at

VIDEO: Pro-Marriage Equality NO on 1 Campaign Launches New Rebuttal TV Ad

The NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality campaign has issued a rebuttal ad to the misinformation being spewed by the opposition.

For context, here's the opposition's ad they're responding to:


See the first NO on 1 ad and the first rebuttal from Yes on 1.

So what do you think?

Child Welfare Groups in Maine Say Marriage Equality Is Good for Kids

The ol' "What about the children?!" screaming from the wing nuts is finally being answered. This is how marriage equality will affect children.
Child Welfare Advocates from Across Maine Endorse Marriage Equality
Leaders Urge No Vote on Question 1

Portland, Maine (Thursday September 24, 2009) – Statewide organizations with a solid commitment to improving the lives of children and their families today endorsed the NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality campaign. Supporting organizations include Maine Children’s Alliance, Maine Psychological Association, National Association of Social Workers Maine Chapter, Community Counseling Center and Kids First Center.

The American Psychological Association, after carefully reviewing years of research on parenting and child outcomes, concludes that “(t)here is no scientific evidence that parenting effectiveness is related to parental sexual orientation.” In summation, the Association found “that adjustment, development and psychological well-being of children is unrelated to parental sexual orientation and that the children of lesbian and gay parents are as likely as those of heterosexual parents to flourish.”

According to Dr. David Lilly, president-elect of the Maine Psychological Association, social scientists have long understood that marriage as a cultural institution can have a profound effect on the lives of married people, connecting them socially and ordering their lives.

“Allowing same-sex couples to join in marriage can enhance their legal and emotional security, and can benefit the children being raised by gay and lesbian couples,” said Dr. Lilly. “Children benefit not only from strong emotional bonds with both parents, but also from the stability and assurance stable legal bonds provide.”

Catherine Stakeman, Executive Director of the National Association of Social Workers Maine Chapter reiterated these findings saying, “The vast experiences of social work, and the scholarship of our discipline, tell us that children thrive when raised by families who are loving and caring, regardless of the structure of that family unit.”

The Maine Children’s Alliance, a nationally respected voice for all Maine children, strongly supports ending discrimination in marriage. According to Ellie Goldberg, Executive Vice President, the Maine Children’s Alliance has worked to improve the lives of children in the state since 1994.

“We believe that an evidence-based approach to public policy will lead to the best outcomes for the children and families of Maine. We know that marriage equality is public policy that will improve the well being of Maine kids because it is supported by scientific evidence. If we accept marriage as a social good for children, in that it gives them emotional and financial security and confidence in the strength of their family bond, how can we possibly deny this protection to the children of gay parents,” said Ms. Goldberg.

“These are very powerful endorsements, clearly reinforcing the fact that civil marriage brings with it benefits and responsibilities that provide significant protections to gay and lesbian couples and to their children,” said NO on 1 campaign manager, Jesse Connolly.

Previously, the Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) endorsed marriage equality. So it appears it's good for them physically and mentally.

Go figure!

Oh, and to further solidify that gay and lesbian parents are as good as raising kids as their heterosexual counterparts, the American Psychological Association just published groundbreaking research by Dr. Abbie E. Goldberg's titled Lesbian and Gay Parents and Their Children: Research on the Family Life Cycle, the first full-length analysis of the research on gay parenting.

A release from the APA states:
Lesbian and Gay Parents and Their Children: Research on the Family Life Cycle provides a comprehensive overview of the research on same-sex parenthood, exploring ways in which lesbian and gay parents resist, accommodate, and transform fundamental notions of gender, parenting, and family. The book takes a family life cycle approach, beginning with research on how same-sex couples meet and build healthy relationships, then describing how and why same-sex couples decide to have children and how they grapple with the changing roles each partner must adopt. Their experiences raising children through young adulthood are explored, including the challenges of interacting with their children's schools and teachers. In the end, the book considers the perspectives of the children themselves—as young adults and adults speak out about their experiences having lesbian or gay parents.

Read more about the research here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

EVENT: Get Tickets to Hear Obama's Deputy Campaign Manager Steve Hildebrand Speak on Marriage Equality and LGBT Rights

Openly gay Steve Hildebrand, who helped kick off and guide Obama's successful presidential campaign, will be in San Francisco this Monday, September 28 to speak about his experience with the president's administration and its approach to LGBT rights and the marriage equality movement in California.

Hildebrand, who supports returning to the ballot to repeal Prop 8 in 2010, is currently advising the Courage Campaign, steering the research they're conducting that will inform them on how to craft the best ballot language to restore marriage equality in California. Though Love Honor Cherish filed language today, if Courage Campaign comes up with language that tests better, they'll put their efforts behind it.

In an email sent out today through the Courage Campaign, Hildrebrand said:
When people talk about the reasons why Barack Obama won both the Democratic presidential nomination and the White House, the extensive, robust research conducted by our campaign is rarely mentioned. And yet, as I know from first-hand experience, it was the most well-researched campaign in the history of modern politics.

Research is boring. It's not as sexy as big speeches or TV ads. But research is what informs the language used in those speeches and commercials. And that is what we need to change hearts and minds.
Hear more by attending the forum. You can find tickets here.

Location: SF Club Office
Date: Monday, September 28
Time: 5:30 p.m. networking reception, 6 p.m. program
Cost: MEMBERS FREE, $15 non-members

Sandip Roy, host for New America Now on KALW 91.7 FM and NPR commentator, on NPR's will facilitate.

Sign up now!

ACTION ALERT! Many Opportunites to Help Maine and Washington State Keep Their Rights!

Washington state is currently facing Referendum 71 and voters could potentially decide to throw out the new domestic partnership law that extended all the rights and benefits of marriage except in name to same-sex couples. Currently polls show support at a precarious 51%.

In Maine, the new marriage equality law is facing a People's Veto threat through the ballot initiative known as Question 1. The same people who worked to pass Prop 8 have now infiltrated Maine and hope to have a repeat success, and polls show that they're in a dead heat.

You can help! No matter where you live! And training is provided. Here are several options:

1. Equality California has set up Maine and Washington phone banks that you can volunteer for in:If you can't make it to these phone banks, you can sign up to call from home, either for Maine or Washington.

2. Phone bank for Washington state and urge resident to Approve Referendum 71 to approve the new domestic partnership law. If you're a local, sign up for a phone bank near you, or you can do it from home!

3. SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 27TH - NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION FOR MAINE! This is a do it yourself event, with volunteers nationwide getting in on the marriage equality action! Sign up here to be involved!

4. For those who live in Los Angeles, Vote For Equality also has weekly phone banking for Maine, including this Sunday for the National Day of Action. Sign up here!

Get inspired. See the need.

Efforts to Repeal Prop 8 in 2010 Kick Off Today With Ballot Language Submission; Parties Involved Issue Statements

Press release from Love Honor Cherish who submitted ballot language today to repeal Prop 8 in 2010:
Today, a diverse group of Californians filed ballot language with the State of California for an initiative to repeal Proposition 8 in November 2010, and restore equal marriage rights for same-sex couples.

“Starting today, there is new hope for committed gay and lesbian couples who want to get married,” said John Henning, Executive Director of Love Honor Cherish, a grassroots group that is spearheading the effort to place the measure on the 2010 ballot. “We’re back on the path toward full equality.”

Love Honor Cherish is one of more than 40 groups that support repealing Prop 8 at the next general election in November 2010. The groups include Stonewall Democrats, the Latino Equality Alliance, the Mexican American Bar Association, and the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality, among others. For a full list, go to

Today’s filing is the first step in a process that will place the measure on the November 2010 ballot. In November, the broad coalition of groups supporting the initiative will begin circulating petitions to gather the 1 million signatures needed to qualify the initiative.

Henning called on supporters to mobilize immediately and start raising money for the effort. “Activists across the state have spent the summer organizing and recruiting signature gatherers and donors, and we’ll be continuing that work over the next 50 days,” he said. “When the petitions are ready, we’ll be ready.”

The goal of 1 million signatures, said Henning, will be reached primarily by using an army of motivated volunteers. The campaign will also use new social networking technology designed specifically by Love Honor Cherish, which will build community around the signature gathering process. The signature gathering process will last through April 2010.

Meanwhile, the campaign to restore marriage equality starts today. “Prop 8 passed with only 52% of the vote,” said Henning. “In the next 14 months, with hard work and inspiration, we can change the small percentage of hearts and minds that we need to win.”

Proposition 8 was an amendment to the California Constitution passed by voters in November 2008. It reversed a California Supreme Court decision in May 2008, which held that same-sex couples were guaranteed equal marriage rights under the California Constitution. The new ballot proposition is also a constitutional amendment.
See the proposed ballot language.

Press release from Restore Equality 2010 campaign:
Los Angeles – Today we are witnessing the launch of the campaign to restore civil marriage equality in 2010 with the submission of ballot language by a coalition of organizations and individuals led by Love Honor Cherish. It is an important step forward as we prepare to send activists throughout California to gather signatures to put the issue back on the ballot in 2010.

Restore Equality 2010 believes today’s submission of ballot language is an effective strategy, because it offers our community the most options as we prepare for the campaign ahead. We applaud all efforts that move us towards the restoration of marriage equality in California as soon as possible, including the important qualitative and quantitative research Courage Campaign is currently conducting as it seeks to determine the most effective message to use on the ballot.

We are in close contact with both Courage Campaign and the Love Honor Cherish coalition, and look forward to facilitating the efforts with all interested parties to determine the most powerful way to move towards our common goal. Courage Campaign’s research seeks the best strategy for the campaign while Love Honor Cherish seeks the advantage of a full 150 days for signature gathering. We are pleased to have the benefit of both strategies as we move forward together.

Should the research being conducted by Courage Campaign show us that another approach offers a greater opportunity for victory, Restore Equality 2010 will be able to refile language and push for fundraising to support a shorter signature gathering period. The campaign will also be ready to mobilize activists the day language is approved by the Secretary of State should the language submitted today prove to be the best choice, thus preserving the full 150 day window to gather signatures.
Rex Wockner reports that Equality California, who ran the No on Prop 8 campaign, helped draft today's proposed ballot language.

"We helped Love Honor Cherish draft the language. We don't agree on timing, but we wanted the language to be as good as possible," said EQCA Executive Director Geoff Kors.

BREAKING NEWS: Read the Ballot Language Submitted to Repeal Prop 8 in 2010

Yesterday, news broke that marriage equality advocacy group Love Honor Cherish will submit ballot language to California's Attorney General in an effort to undo the damage of Proposition 8 and restore marriage equality to California in 2010.

Approximately at 9am today, Love Honor Cherish will submit the following language:

Repeal Prop 8 Ballot Language

So what do you think? Does this language cover the basics? Do you feel it will test well? How do you think the opposition will view it?

Want more information? Go to

Tonight, there will be kick-off parties in both Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Kickoff parties are Thursday evening in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Campaign spokespeople and people personally affected by Prop 8 will be available for media interviews.

Los Angeles
Private Residence
7582 Mulholland Dr
Los Angeles 90046
7:30pm – 10 pm

San Francisco
The House of Shields (upstairs)
39 New Montgomery St
San Francisco 94105
6pm – 8pm

Stay tuned for updates!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

2010 Prop 8 Repeal Ballot Initiative To Be Filed Thursday

Rex Wockner reports:
Love Honor Cherish announced today it will submit a ballot initiative to the state of California tomorrow to repeal Prop 8 in 2010. But key ally Courage Campaign, which has voiced support for a 2010 effort, is not yet onboard. Numerous other key California GLBT organizations, including Equality California, have said they want to wait until 2012 to go back to the ballot.

Some folks are wondering if there now is a 2010 sub-schism within the existing 2010/2012 schism, but LHC Executive Director John Henning told me today that the decision to file the initiative tomorrow is based solely on maximizing the amount of time repeal advocates will have to collect the needed 1 million voter signatures.

"We been aware for some time now that Courage Campaign was doing research and that their timeline doesn't match up with submitting ballot language by Sept. 25," Henning said. "We are still submitting by Sept. 25 because we feel we must preserve the ability to have (the full) 150 days to gather signatures ... for the November 2010 ballot."
Read the rest of Wockner's report, which goes into further details on Love Honor Cherish's efforts, concerns of a schism among the 2010 groups and words from Steve Hildebrand on behalf of the Courage Campaign.

In the middle of all this "who's filing what?", I wanted to find out where the official Restore Equality 2010 campaign stood.

"Our mandate is to organize the state," said Misha Houser, spokesperson for Restore Equality 2010. They're not involved in crafting ballot language. But "we're working with all groups who are developing language."

Misha added, "Restore Equality 2010 will help determine what ballot language will be used once research is completed by Courage Campaign."

Once it's determined, it's full steam ahead.

It is estimated that the research will be done in the middle of October. However, as a result, they will miss the filing deadline that will allow the full 150 days allotted for signature gathering.

Love Honor Cherish has been open about the need for 150 days to gather the necessary one million signatures to get the repeal initiative on the ballot. One of the main reasons for this is to avoid paying millions on professional signature gatherers and instead rely on grassroots volunteers.

"We have to be realistic," Misha said, "In that we may have to use signature gatherers to have enough signatures to qualify."

Love Honor Cherish told Wockner that if Courage Campaign comes up with better language, they will abandon what is filed tomorrow and use the new language.

This will leave fewer than 150 days.

The challenge will then be greater for Restore Equality 2010. It's all about the organizing. But from what I've gathered, they're up for it.

Federal Appeals Court Fast Tracks Referendum 71 Hearing on Release of Petition Signatures

Washington state's public records law is a stake in the case over petition signatures that enabled anti-LGBT Referendum 71 to get on November's ballot.

Those who opposed Washington's "everything but marriage law", which extended all the rights and benefits of marriage to domestic partner,s were responsible for Referendum 71, but they want the identities of those who signed to get it on the ballot private fearing harassment from LGBT advocacy groups. Brian Murphy, who blogs as the Gay Curmudgeon, vowed to post the names on his website, similar to what Fred Karger of Californians Against Hate did to those who signed to get Prop 8 on the ballot.

Yet keeping the names private violates the state's public records law.

Earlier this month, Federal Judge Benjamin Settle in Tacoma ruled in favor of a preliminary injunction against releasing the names, but state Attorney General Rob McKenna appealed.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has granted McKenna's request for a fast-track appeal. A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 14 in Pasadena, California.

"The bottom line for us is that we will do what is necessary to protect our public records law," says AG office spokesman Dan Sytman. When asked if they'll take the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary: "We are very serious about defending our public records law, so I think we have a record for going the distance on that."

Vote to APPROVE the new domestic partnership law. APPROVE REFERENDUM 71.

Maine's Marriage Equality Battle Heats Up Over New Opposition Ad Featuring Activist Teacher and Mormon Couple

UPDATE: Maine's Public Broadcasting Network: "Critics Question Yes on One Ad Claims"

The pro-marriage equality NO on 1 campaign quickly responded to the new, copy-and-paste Yes on 1 ad, lifted directly from a Yes on Prop 8. It featured Charla Bansley as a concerned teacher; it turns out however, that Charla has been in their ranks for some time, actively involved in fighting marriage equality and doesn't even teach at a public school.

From the NO on 1 campaign:

NO on 1 Attacks False Political Ad That Highlights Activist
Reminds Voters of Legal and Editorial Rejection of Claims

The NO on 1 campaign today charged that the new political ad opposing Maine's equality law not only restates a claim that educators, lawyers and Maine newspapers have rejected as false and misleading, but uses an activist to portray the role of a public school teacher. The NO on 1 campaign also noted that the political ad is an exact replica of the $2 million ad campaign launched to pass Proposition 8 in California last fall.

The teacher in the latest Maine ad is, in fact, the state director of Concerned Women for America. In addition, Charla Bansley the featured and identified "Ellsworth teacher" does not teach in the public schools, but in a private, Christian school, the Calvary Chapel Christian School.

Bansley has a long history of activism from opposing stem cell research to characterizing marriage equality supporters as "forces of evil." She has also opposed diversity training, tolerance classes and anti-harassment programs in the Maine schools, and has been a featured spokesperson in anti-marriage events, including the recent closed rally with national spokespeople this month in the Augusta Civic Center.

"Concerned Women for America has long opposed any measure of fairness or decency when it comes to gay and lesbian Americans," said Jesse Connolly, NO on 1's campaign manager. "They oppose anti-bullying measures in schools and diversity training when, in fact, public schools are simply ensuring an environment where all kids can be safe and can thrive.

"These are extreme views in any context and we believe that Maine voters will see through this cast of characters and focus on the real issue of treating all Maine families with dignity and respect," Connolly added.

The NO on 1 campaign noted that the Bangor Daily News and the Lewiston Sun Journal have each editorialized against the false claims that Maine's marriage equality law would impact anything in the public schools.

The Journal wrote on Sept. 18: "Will same sex marriage be taught in schools, if it becomes legal in Maine? No -nothing in law or curriculum mandates any Maine student be taught about marriage, same-sex or otherwise."

Also on Sept. 18, the Bangor Daily News editorialized that ". . .the claim by repeal proponents is that schools would be forced to teach 'gay sex education.' It is baseless and betrays an ignorance about education."

The NO on 1 campaign also refers the press and public to a memorandum explicitly refuting the claims about education issued Sept. 18th and signed by Maine Senate President Elizabeth Mitchell, former Maine Attorneys General Steve Rowe and James Tierney, House Chair of Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee Rep. Emily Cain, University of Maine School of Law Dean Peter Pitegoff* and University of Maine School of Law Prof. David P. Cluchey*.

"The fact that the Yes campaign would literally repackage the same ad their California consultants used in California is a testament to the national outsiders pushing their agenda on the voters of Maine," added Connolly. "This is nothing more than a tired national playbook concocted by California political consultants and the national groups that pay their way."
The NO on 1 campaign isn't the only one responding. Maine's Department of Education Communications Director David Connerty-Marin spoke to DirigoBlue in response to the claims of the Wirthlin couple in the new ad, and in more detail in the extended version. They claimed that because Massachusetts legalized marriage equality, homosexuality will be promoted in all subjects in school and referred to the infamous "King and King" children's book. Connerty Marin:
I cannot comment on Massachusetts education law or decisions made by local school districts in Massachusetts. Here in Maine, our Learning Results standards and education regulations make no reference to the teaching of marriage in any way. So a change in Maine's laws or definition of marriage places no requirements on local districts regarding whether or how they teach about marriage. Such curriculum decisions are strictly local. Before or after passage of the gay marriage law a district could choose to teach about marriage or not, and to teach about it in any way it deemed appropriate. It simply is not governed by state education law.
Connerty-Marin added, "The ad is entirely misleading."

So who are Robert and Robin Wirthlin? This post on Know Thy Neighbor, dating back to ruling of the case filed by the Wirthlins against the school their child attended, states, "And the Wirthlins...who are they? A simple google search didn't provide much. Only that the Wirthlin's family is an extremely influential Mormon one which contributed heavily to the establishment of the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake AND heralds, Uncle Dick Wirthlin, the GOP pollster who worked for Ronald Reagan, the Republican Party, Governor Mitt Romney, now Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, The Mormon Church, and various anti-gay organizations."

And in more detail:
Someone is bound to make something of the fact that the Wirthlins are devout Mormons, in fact Robb is the namesake grandson of Elder Joseph Wirthlin, an apostle of the church. He is also the grand-nephew of Richard (Dick) Wirthlin, the media-savvy Washington opinion pollster who served Ronald Reagan, the Republican Party, Massachusetts Governor and likely Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the Mormon Church, and had a hand in founding organizations that oppose same sex marriage.
So on top of picking Charla Bansley from within their own ranks, the Yes on 1 campaign recycles Yes on Prop 8 footage of the Wirthlins, devout Mormons with an agenda.

Can they not use real Mainers? Not one has appeared in any of their ads to speak up for their side, while the NO on 1 campaign has used only real residents.

Yet more to the point, is the NO on 1 campaign going to hit back hard? We now need big endorsements from big names. Gov. John Baldacci is a supporter. Senate President Elizabeth Mitchell, Speaker of the House Hannah Pingree, Rep. Emily Cain, former Attorney General Steven Rowe, former Attorney General James Tierney, Dean Peter Pitegoff (University of Maine School of Law), and Professor David Cluchey (University of Maine School of Law) signed a memorandum which tore apart the politics of the TV advertisements. The Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatricians support marriage equality. We also have religious groups such as Catholics for Marriage Equality and the Unitarian Church.

On top of that, despite the fact that we were on the air first, we've let them once again frame the debate, as I knew they would. We need to wrestle back control and expose their lies for what they are - LIES.

We've got voices. We have power. Let's turn it up and win!

Get involved!

Restore Equality 2010 - There Is No Wrong Time to Fight for What's Right

Guest Post: Jane Wishon is a straight mother-of-three who has been married 33 years. She actively campaigned against Prop 8 and has started a cause for straight allies on Facebook. Jane, now a member of Restore Equality 2010's IAG, also volunteers for AIDS Project LA, and twitters @janewishon

Lightning in a bottle. Electric. Grassroots. Groundswell.

Notice how the best terms to describe the outpouring of energy since the passage of Prop 8 last fall are tied to nature – beautiful, chaotic, unstoppable nature? The fight for marriage equality in California has taken on all the beauty and awesomeness of a natural phenomenon, and the very last thing we should do is try to contain and control it. But channel it? Yes! Then we should take that energy, step back and watch the movement go!

First, the California LGBT grassroots gathered to create a checklist of “next steps” with Steve Hildebrand (Obama Campaign strategist) showing them the way to start.

Then, activists came together to choose an Interim Administrative Group, form a ballot committee and select a grassroots organizational plan with Ace Smith (Hilary Clinton Campaign strategist) cheering them on.

And this past week grassroots activists gathered in town halls all over the state to elect representation to a statewide advisory panel and lay the groundwork for selecting an Executive Committee for the campaign. And there’s more to come until each and every inch of California is represented.

Like a tidal wave, new activism with new energy is rolling over the state, making no apologies for disregarding the “expert advice” of more established institutions. At San Diego’s Town Hall, lesbian activist and academic Pat Washington urged these activists on, saying “You have a truly -- I mean absolutely unequivocal -- grassroots movement. So what if the powers that be don't like it? What if they don't like your timing? What if they don't like your message? ... There is no wrong time to fight for what's right.”

So how does a political campaign create momentum from this wonderful, chaotic energy? After all, the energy has to have a focus and discipline to be effective. Fortunately, John Patterson, board member of RENWL in South LA and co-author of the plan, has co-authored an organizational plan for California that is both structured, yet flexible enough to maximize local input and statewide communications. Simply, this plan calls for community based “hubs” of activity (everything from signature gathering to fundraising) formed within existing communities, gay and straight. These hubs are within 10 regions across the state. The regions are represented by democratically elected Regional Representatives as well specially elected Affinity Representatives. These Affinity Representatives are chosen to insure that all cultures, religions, labor, etc. are present “at the table” in decision-making.

These Regional Representatives and Affinity Representatives will join with representatives of the major Equality Organizations in California to form a Statewide Advisory Panel for the campaign. Yes, that’s right -- the traditional LGBT rights organizations will join with the democratically elected activists to create the Panel.

Once the Panel is seated in November, it will select the Executive Committee for the campaign. At that point, the Interim Administrative Group (IAG) will sunset and hand off the campaign to leadership selected by the people whose rights are at stake.

This past weekend saw the election of Regional Representatives from San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Hollister, Santa Cruz, and the Inland Empire. More regions will be meeting in coming weeks. Meanwhile, hubs are forming and Affinity Representatives will be elected soon. Check for updated information.

Asked why she agreed to serve as a Cat Wrangler for the movement, noted San Franciscan activist Jo Hoenninger commented "I'm doing this for all of the people who didn't get a chance to be one of the 18,000 same-sex couples who got to get married last year."

The political graveyard is full of candidates and campaigns who were told to wait. For those like Mario Cuomo, the right year never came. Other candidates and campaigns, like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, ignored the ‘experts;’ put their trust in the electorate to do what is right; and stepped boldly onto the stage of history.

"When people come to me saying there's too much to do – fighting for HIV/AIDS patients who have had their funding cut, working for change at the Federal level and all the other things that we must do – I tell them that we can do it all. We are not small people, and we have no idea how much we are capable of doing,” Jeffrey Taylor, another Cat Wrangler from the IAG.

When do you want your rights back? Now? Then join the movement – gather the signatures to get back on the ballot in 2010 – be a part of history. There is no wrong time to fight for what’s right.

Jane Wishon, Member of the IAG
Straight Ally Women 4 Equality

Lambda Legal Describes What the DOMA Repeal, Respect for Marriage Act, Will Do For Us

Lambda Legal helpfully goes into detail how the DOMA repeal Respect for Marriage Act will benefit us if it passes.

Lambda Legal-Respect for Marriage Act Benefits

New Anti-Marriage Equality Yes on 1 Ad Launches in Maine

Of course we could've predicted, and did, that the Yes on 1 side would respond to the NO on 1 side with more misinformation. And not only that, but recycle Yes on Prop 8 ads, since Frank Schubert, responsible for Prop 8, is now pushing anti-marriage equality Question 1. Check it out for yourself.

Yes on 1

Yes on 8

See extended versions of Yes on 1 and Yes on 8 - still, recycling.

So, are you wondering who the teacher in the Yes on 1 ad is? Think she's an actress (since the opposition so embarrassingly relies on "fakes")? Wrong.

Jeremy Hooper at Good As You has the scoop on Charla Bansley, the teacher. She's the state director of the Concerned Women for America of Maine who has appeared in Yes on 1/Stand for Marriage Maine Rallies. On top of that, she doesn't teach at a public school, which this ad is concerned about. She teaches at Calvary Chapel Christian School, a private institution which uses curriculum based on faith and will not be affected by marriage equality.

WGME in Maine had a report on a media restricted Yes on 1 rally which Ms. Bansley reportedly spoke at.

Though not on the tape, here's an transcript excerpt provided by the WGME reporter of Charla's speech:
...Public display of psychosis and we have dealt with it by redefining decency down so as to explain away and make normal what a more civilized, and ordered, and healthy society would label deviant and the result has been a stunning failure. For one every country that has legalized same sex marriage has seen marriage die and we cannot allow that to happen in the state of Maine. I am standing for marriage tonight because marriage is good for women. And marriage is good for children. And marriage is good society. Traditional marriage, or just marriage as the bishop taught us to say, is good for women physically, and emotionally, and economically, and relationally, a thirteen year study published by the American psychological association found that women, married women, who did not allow the foxes to destroy the vineyard of love had lower levels of blood pressure and blood cholesterol and lower body mass, heck just going up and down those flights of steps with all those laundry ladies that could lower the cholesterols. The study also found that married women had lower levels of depression and anxiety and anger and they found that married women had lower levels of were less likely to developed cardiovascular disease. In terms of financial security Dr. Waite a professor of sociology at the university of Chicago found that women who were in committed traditional marriages were better of generally financially. She said that financial security trickles down to medical care, safer surrounding, better food, and other things that raise the standard of living. Add to all of these the department of health and human services reports that women in healthy traditional marriages are emotionally healthier they are less likely to be victims of assault or domestic violence, they are less likely to attempt suicide, or to abuse drugs and alcohol, and they have a better relationship with their children.


Marriage is good for children. If children deserve anything it is to begin life in a relationship with a biological mom and a biological dad. A loving and compassionate society would never create motherless children or fatherless children, which is exactly what every same sex home does.

Makes me ill. They fear indoctrination of their children, but what do they think they're doing? For years I went to a Christian school that taught me creationism, that humans and dinosaurs lives together before Noah's flood and that the earth was only 10,000 years old. I believed it! They didn't teach me anything else to counter their theory, a theory taught to me as fact. Evolution they said was a lie.

So imagine what they're teaching their kids about LGBT!

Jeremy has also provided an audio recorded back in February of Ms. Bansley talking about Stand for Marriage Maine rally:

Stay tuned for more updates.

Get involved! Go to the NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality website and find out how you can help, no matter where you live!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Breaking News: Referendum 71 Polls - We're Ahead, But the Opposition Is Playing Very Dirty

According to Seattle Pi:
On a call to bloggers a few minutes ago Josh Friedes from the Approve Referendum 71 campaign shared the results of the first poll specifically about referendum 71. The results are a startling contrast to more general polls released by the University of Washington. When voters are read the exact ballot language, 51 percent approve referendum 71 and 44 percent reject referendum 71. The discrepancy may because this new poll looks only at voters likely to cast ballots in the 2009 off year election. As many as half of all voters don't vote in off year elections, and those who do tend to be more conservative.
Josh Friedes said, "In the 2009 election the question isn't going to be how much support there is for the domestic partnership law, the question is going to be who votes. There is no question in my mind that the majority of Washington voters want their neighbors families to have the protections contained in the domestic partnership law, but if people don't vote this election is going to be a cliff hanger. People who support protecting all Washington families need to both vote and remind their friends and family that they too must vote in order to insure that families throughout Washington state do not lose the critical protections by Washington's domestic partnership law. If this law is not approved, families all across Washington state will be harmed."
Though this poll is very promising (though dangerously close) that voters will approve the new domestic partnership law extending all the rights and benefits of marriage except the name to gay and lesbian couples (that is, if we can get them to the voting booth), it's not surprising that it's this close given that the those who support a rejection of those rights are playing so dirty.

Take a look at the image post at the top. See a word that shouldn't be there? That's right - marriage (don't get me started on Ozzie & Harriet). They're attempting to frame the debate as a marriage issue when it's not. It's domestic partnership. And then they wonder why we fight for marriage. Because no matter what we settle for, they'll try and take it away.

Read more about these dirty tactics from Lurleen on Pam's House Blend.

ACTION: Fight back against these dirty tactics with the truth! You can get involved no matter where you live! Help GET OUT THE VOTE! Find out how at the Approve Referendum 71 volunteer page!

Maine News: Walk Against 1; Maggie Claims Marriage Equality Will Fail; Maine Pediatricians Hope It Won't; Uber Conservative Activist Quits

Another Maine News roundup post. So much to cover! (To get fully caught up, read the prior Maine roundup.)

Walk Against 1

Maine's NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality campaign needs $35,000 to keep their amazingly extensive field campaign functioning. With only 42 days left to go before the election and the polls showing the race is in a dead heat, it's extremely important to keep the funds coming.

As a result, the campaign has begun a "Walk Against 1" program. Campaign manager Jesse Connolly wrote in an email, "Now, if you're like me, you don't have an extra $35 grand lying around--but I bet you've got a lot of friends, family, neighbors and coworkers. To help folks like you make a BIG impact without breaking the bank, we've launched our online "Walk Against 1"--together we'll raise money to cover all 35,855 square miles in the state of Maine, good old-fashioned walk-a-thon style (except we won't leave our living rooms)."

Here's how it works:
  1. You enter your name and your personal page text. This is where you get to tell your friends why marriage equality is important to you--and make your pitch for them to give.
  2. Choose a goal. Can you raise $150? $500? $5,000? Pick a goal that's ambitious but realistic--you want a challenge, not an impossible feat.
  3. Tell your friends & family about your page and ask them to donate towards your goal. Make sure to follow up with them after a few days, too.

The "walk" ends on October 9th--so don't wait, get started now! See an example!

Maggie Claims Victory

Speaking to the Washington Independent, Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage claims, "I’m pretty confident that, as in California, we’re going to win. We’re in much better shape in Maine than we were in California at a similar point. We were ten points down on September 1, 2008 and we won. I saw a poll yesterday that had us up two points in Maine."

Maggie also quipped, "I love the gay press. I really am impressed with gay journalists, as a group. I like reading the marriage issue in the gay press because they cover it as if what happens matters, whereas if you read The New York Times, it’s always about how this is going to affect who gets elected president."

Gee, thanks Maggie, but you can keep the smarmy compliment. Oh, and she doesn't mince words about the NO on 1 ads - they're not "effective."

Pediatricians Support Marriage Equality

This should put a bee in the "family values" bonnet:
Citing child welfare and their commitment to support what is best for children, physicians from the Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) today announced their support for the NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality campaign.

“Children who are raised by legally married parents benefit from the legal status granted to their parents. What is good for parents and families is good for children," said Dr. Jonathan Fanburg, president of the Maine Chapter of the AAP. “The Maine Chapter of AAP is opposed to the referendum vote that challenges the marriage equality law.”

The Maine Chapter's statement reads, in part:

"As physicians who care for children and their families, we are committed to supporting what is best for children. And there is no question that when their parents can marry, children are more protected legally and socially."

“Marriage equality is the right thing for Maine's children, and will strengthen and protect families who have lacked legal recognition for too long,” said Augusta pediatrician Dan Summers. “As pediatricians, we see how supportive parents -- whether gay or straight -- positively impact the development of children. That is why we oppose the referendum that would rescind the law that allows same sex couples to marry."

A national report commissioned by the national AAP concludes that the legal status that marriage achieves “promotes healthy families by conferring a powerful set of rights, benefits, and protections that cannot be obtained by other means.”
So I challenge the Yes on 1 campaign to actually put families first, as they claim to do, and save marriage equality instead of harming numerous LGBT families. Otherwise, anything short of this would be hypocritical. Wouldn't it?

Uber Conservative Anti-LGBT Activist Quits

Mike Heath, an outspoken and sometimes embarrassing figure for the right wing conservatives fighting marriage equality, has quit his long-held position at the Christian Civic League of Maine.
Mike Heath, the longtime leader of the Christian Civic League of Maine, announced today that he is moving on. Expressing appreciation for the League, Heath said that it has been a great honor to serve.

...His first test came on the issue of casino gambling. When the dust settled he was credited by his adversaries with having stopped a casino from being built in Calais. Heath went on from there to tackle the most difficult and contentious social issue of our time, gay rights. In 1998 he was on the leadership team of the first successful People's Veto of gay rights. In 2001 he joined once again with Paul Madore and Paul Volle to lead a successful statewide campaign against homosexuality. Since the early 1990s Heath and the League have expressed serious concerns with the prospect of so-called same sex marriage. Everyone laughed back then. Maine will vote on the issue this November.

No stranger to controversy, Heath is often described as a "lightning rod."

The board accepted Heath's resignation yesterday during a meeting at the League headquarters building in Augusta. They expressed unanimous and strong support for the forty-eight year old leader. Heath pledged his full support to the League.
Pam Spaulding at Pam's House Blend wonders if there's more to Heath's departure, given that the all-important People's Veto campaign to end marriage equality in Maine is ongoing.

Pam is not alone. Jeremy Hooper at Good As You shares similar thoughts:
Makes us wonder if there's more there to this. Was Mike pressured to get out of the way in order to help the "official" anti-equality campaign? Was he fed up with the way he was treated by the organized "Yes on 1" folks (which was pretty sh*tty, considering how much he's been a part of the marriage "fight" for over almost two decades)? Or was he really just ready to leave the makings-gays-feel-like-rats race behind?

We may never know. But whatever. God(who you deny to gays)speed, Mr. H!


ACTION: Also, for you Los Angelenos - there's an opportunity at your finger tips to help Maine! Vote for Equality hosts weekly Maine phone banking on Sundays at 10am-2pm until November 1. Check out the Unite the Fight calendar at the bottom of the blog for details or go to

Census Data Shows 150,000 Same-Sex Couples Reporting as Married

The first figures on same-sex couples from census data released from 2008 indicates that 150,000 gay and lesbian couples are reporting themselves as married.

With data indicating roughly 100,000 same-sex weddings, civil unions and domestic partnerships in 2008 only, the disparity may come from the fact that committed same-sex couples would get married if they could.

27% of the estimated 564,743 total U.S. gay couples stated they were in a relationship akin to"husband" and "wife," compared to 91% of 61.3 million straight couples, reports the AP. In 2008, 56% of the reported 149,956 same-sex marriages were lesbian, with couples being reported in every part of the country.

"The numbers are also an indicator of the count to come in the 2010 census, a tally that could stir a state-by-state fight over same-sex marriage, gay adoption and other legal rights," the AP reports.

With the Obama administration ordering that the Census Bureau report and release information on same-sex couples for the 2010 census, the results will be historical. After revising what beforehand was kept confidential and arguably inaccurate, the results will be the first clear report on how many LGBT couples exist in the country.

The preliminary report "found almost 200,000 fewer same-sex couples than the previous year, which Census officials say resulted from data-processing changes. The total number of same-sex couples in 2008 was about 565,000, vs. 754,000 in 2007," reports USA Today.

"We don't think Census is doing us dirty here," says Jaime Grant of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in Washington, D.C., which has been pushing for Census recognition of gay couples. "They improved the way they designed the form, so they got fewer false reports from opposite-sex partners. But I still think it doesn't mean we're getting the full picture of LGBT people across the board."

Gates added that she hopes these new numbers will "give us a little bit of a wake-up call for how important it is for people in the community to make themselves visible on federal surveys like the Census and other surveys."

Restore Equality 2010 Working Quickly to Prepare California State Activists for Marriage Equality Signature Gathering Campaign

From the Interim Administrative Group for the Restore Equality 2010 Campaign:
Greetings to all 2010 LGBT and Allied Activists,

First of all, we’d like to express how honored we are to be entrusted with organizing the grassroots structure to win the upcoming 2010 campaign. We on the Interim Administrative Group (IAG) of the Restore Equality 2010 campaign have been busy setting up the groundwork for the upcoming campaign to restore marriage equality in 2010. The first order of business was to set up the campaign committee, build and launch the official website, file legal documents including application to the Secretary of State for a recipient committee campaign identification number, a mailing address, treasurer, and bank account to facilitate fundraising. We are pleased to announce that these vital steps have been completed.

Among our many tasks has been to listen to the suggestions and concerns of our regional contacts to ensure that the Davis Plan (version 3.0 adapted), which was accepted as the basis for a statewide organizational structure, would provide the most democratic implementation possible. The IAG worked to clarify the language to prevent confusion and empower the regions to be able to implement the plan in a way that works for each region. We’d like to offer our many thanks to co-author John Patterson for his assistance and partnership with us in this process.

The IAG is working quickly to implement the Davis Plan and assist the regions as they set up the leadership and set up organizational hubs and continue to reach out to all LGBT and allied communities to prepare to mobilize and train signature gatherers for the effort. We look forward to being able to leave a strong, capable organization in the hands of the future Executive Council and Campaign Manager.

Five town hall meetings to elect their delegates occurred this weekend, and the other five regions are expected to hold their election in the next two weeks. We want to thank the authors of The Davis Plan for their huge contribution to the 2010 effort.

We have made great strides in these past month, and undoubtedly there will continue be challenges as we work to unite our communities in the statewide effort to restore marriage equality. It's important that we keep these lines of communication open and do our best to work together in ensuring our victory come next November. The IAG is absolutely committed to completing our mandate, aiding the establishment of the statewide council, and ushering in an executive committee that will guide this campaign to success.

If you have questions, you can address them to any of the IAG members you know, or even to the following e-mail address to reach all of us at once: You can also find out more about each of us on the Restore Equality 2010 website.

Please don't forget to spread the word about upcoming town halls. Information available on our website, on this page and go to for updates and news about the campaign.

In Solidarity,

The Interim Administrative Group
Restore Equality 2010
Read Rex Wockner's report on the San Diego town hall.

Unite the Fight will have an exclusive report from a member of the IAG on the Los Angeles town hall soon!