Saturday, October 24, 2009

VIDEO: 'Basic Rights Oregon' Releases Two Videos Gearing Up For Possible Marriage Equality Initiative

Basic Rights Oregon (BRO) was formed by "activists awakened by anti-GLBT campaigns . . . with the vision to build a movement that could defend against attacks, but would also built a pro-active movement brought real change to our state" says their website.

With an impressive track record backing them, BRO has begun to set its sights on marriage equality. Back in April I reported that they had decided to try and overturn the same-sex marriage ban amended to their state constitution in 2004 with a goal of going to the ballot in 2012.

Recently, BRO released two videos. One depicts everyday Oregonians talking about why they support marriage equality. The second takes inspiration from Courage Campaign's fidelity video.

Go to Basic Rights Oregon to get involved.

EVENT: Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry will be speaking in Portland, OR November 2 to discuss the state's next steps toward marriage equality. Click here for more information.

NOM Attempts to Buy Maine Votes With $1.1M While NO on 1 Crosses $4M Threshold!

UPDATE 3:15pm PST: NOM has bankrolled 60% of Yes on 1's campaign, and they're in court Monday trying to get out of disclosing where the money came from.

These people are either brilliant or just plain stupid. I believe the latter. The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) has given the Yes on 1 campaign $1.1 million in the last twenty days despite the fact they are under investigation by the state of Maine for their fundraising tactics.

Or, in other words, they freaked out when they discovered the NO on 1 campaign raised $1.4 million on Act Blue and since they knew they couldn't get that kind of support from individual donors, they threw money at the problem. Overall, the Yes on 1 campaign has raised $1.4 million for this quarter. (Read my prior post on the Catholic Church's damaging contribution.)

But here's the good news. The Yes on 1 are failures without NOM and the Catholic Church. The NO on 1 campaign has had thousands of supporters.

The NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality campaign has announced that it has passed the $4 million threshold.
With more than one-third of money raised coming in the last three weeks of the campaign, the NO on 1 campaign today announced that it has broken the $4 million threshold in its effort to preserve marriage equality and defeat Question 1.

Campaign Manager Jesse Connolly, in meeting today's state filing deadline, noted that more than 20,000 people have now contributed to NO on 1, with more than 40% donating in the last 20 days. Connolly noted that while the NO on 1 campaign reported 22,823 donations since the campaign began, Question 1 has been fueled by just 710 donations.

"We continue to be overwhelmed by the level of support and energy we see both in the field and through fundraising," said Connolly. "Mainers have dug deep, whether that's manning extra nights at our phone banks or writing another check. We're a small state and we know we need help to properly fund this effort and that's why we're so grateful for the ongoing contributions of equality supporters throughout the country."

At the same time, Connolly noted that the Question 1 campaign filing was fueled almost entirely by three huge donations by the New Jersey based National Organization for Marriage (NOM). In fact, $1.1M of the $1.4M raised in this period came from NOM. And while the Question 1 campaign reported 310 contributors, the NO on 1 campaign had over 4722 contributors this period.

"These two filings starkly illustrate the difference between the two campaigns," said Connolly. "The NO on 1 campaign has been fueled largely by individuals, people in Maine and across the country who believe deeply in equality. By contrast, the Question 1 campaign would scarcely exist without the deep pockets of the New Jersey-based NOM which continues to hide its donor base from voters and the public. We simply don't believe NOM can buy the votes this late in the game."

The NO on 1 campaign released its contributions and expenditures in accordance with Maine campaign finance laws today and offered these highlights from the latest reporting period from October 1-20, 2009:

-- $1,369,370 was raised in the reporting period, from October 1-20, giving a year-to-date (YTD) total of $4,060,053.
-- 8,930 donors pitched in during this last period, bringing the total number of donors to NO on 1 to 20,372.
-- Of that donor base, 7,840 were Mainers, with 2082 Maine residents contributing in the last 20 days.
-- Over $500,000 of the total $1.3M raised during this period came from Maine donors.
-- 16 individual donors, including one organization, gave $10,000 or more during this reporting period, fueling $617,000 of the total raised. Of that total, $352,000 or 57% came from donors who live in Maine.
-- In the last 20 days, the average online donation was $58. The off-line or direct donation average through fund raising events and individual donations was $150.
-- Nearly $142,000 of in-kind donations were made by 49 individuals and organizations supporting marriage equality.
Though none of us should be surprised by the cowardly attempts of NOM and Yes on 1 to keep up with us on donations so they can tout that they have as much support (because obviously they don't), it's still OK for us to be angry.

Now use that anger and GET INVOLVED!

ACTION: Here are the different ways you can get involved.
  1. If you live far from Maine but are eager to make a difference, you can phone bank from home. Sign up at Call for Equality.
  2. If you do live near Maine, go to Drive for Equality, where you can look for carpools in your area headed up to the Pine Tree State so you can volunteer and help Get Out the Vote!
  3. If you actually live in Maine, VOTE EARLY! Not only will the NO on 1 campaign see a record of your vote, it will free you up on election day to help get supporters to the polls.
  4. DONATE! You can do this no matter where you live.

Ref. 71 RoundUp: Anti-LGBT Forces Want Special Rights; Audio of Opposition Robocall; Starbucks Speaks Up

Opposition Wants Special Rights To Fight LGBT Rights

The Daily News reports that the groups fighting Washington state's LGBT population from receiving the new "everything but marriage" domestic partnership rights, is suing the state to get out of campaign donation limitations.
A Lynnwood-based organization that opposes the state's domestic partnership law and is working to defeat Referendum 71 has filed suit in U.S. District Court in Tacoma seeking to circumvent campaign contribution limits of $5,000 and to keep secret the names of those who make smaller donations.

State campaign finance laws require campaigns to disclose names and addresses of those who donate over $25 to a campaign. Campaigns must also include employer names and addresses as well as the occupations of donors contributing over $100. The laws limit to $5,000 contributions from businesses and individuals made within 21 days of the general election.

The attorney for the Family Policy Institute of Washington, which filed the lawsuit through its newly formed Family PAC late Wednesday, acknowledged that there are substantial contributions in the offing that the campaign wants to accept but can't because of the limits.
So just like many other anti-LGBT groups suing states because they don't like their laws (see here, here and here), the newly formed Family PAC wants a temporary restraining order to lift the $5,000 limit because they think they're worthy of it.

Another lawsuit surrounding Referendum 71 comes from the Reject 71 campaign itself. They have appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court because they don't want to disclose the signatures that got the referendum on the ballot.

These groups who are trying to strip the LGBT population of existing rights claim victims of discrimination and fear boycotts and backlash. Something we have experienced for hundreds of years. And then they cry foul?


Or, as Mike Tidmus says, "These sniveling cowards seem to think they’re entitled to special protections and special rights. Don’t they get that we live in a democracy and every statement we make, every position we take, every dollar we donate and every vote we cast has consequences...?

"Those of us who opposed Prop 8 took our knocks. We saw an increase in hate crimes directed against the LGBT community, we saw bashings, and we saw the leadership of the Yes on 8 campaign attempt to extort money from No on 8 donors whose names they found on public donor rolls."

Amen, Mike.

Opposition Robocall

This is the most recent robo call going out to Washington resident. See their ridiculous TV ads.

Karen Ocamb's Amazing Article, "URGENT! Gays could lose Domestic Partnerships in Washington state Nov 3."

Reporter Karen Ocamb at LGBT POV has done an amazing job of painting the bigger, national picture and the importance that Referendum 71 plays.

Here's an excerpt:
While the eyes of the LGBT nation are now focused on President Obama signing the federal hate crimes bill and on beating back the Religious Right Prop 8 sequel in Maine – same sex couples in Washington state are sweating bullets that in just over a week they might lose the simplest of family relationship protections – Domestic Partnerships.

At a Hollywood fundraiser for Maine Tuesday night thrown by Oscar-winning producer Bruce Cohen and political consultant Chad Griffin – the team behind the Ted Olson-David Boies federal challenge to Prop 8 – Cohen said the two challenges are important part of the national movement towards full equal rights:

“When [the federal challenge to Prop 8] makes it up to the highest court that it ends at – how many states have marriage is going to be a huge part of that victory. So it very much impacts all of us in the state of California and everyone concerned with Prop 8 what happens in Washington state [where an initiative to keep Domestic Partnerships is on the ballot] and in Maine on Nov 3 – and in the District of Columbia where we could have marriage recognized from all over the world – and in New York state where marriage may pass in the next couple of weeks.”

But it’s an off-year election and Washington is a largely vote-by-mail state where a lot of people might not understand that Approve Referendum 71 means a vote to keep a law already passed by the legislature . . .
Read the full article at LGBT POV.

Starbucks Endorses Approve Referendum 71 Campaign

SLOG blogger Dominic Holden broke the news:
Seattle-based caffeine cartel Starbucks gave its blessing this week to approve Referendum 71, thereby recognizing that gay couples deserve the same morning coffee rights as their groggy, heterosexual counterparts. In a statement, the company said that approving R-71 "ensures that basic benefits and important protections are not taken away from committed couples, so they are able to take care of each other, especially in times of crisis." Starbucks wants voters to approve the measure "because it is aligned with our business practices, providing domestic partner benefits, and one of our core values of treating people with respect and dignity.”
Though Starbucks has not donated to the campaign, an anonymous spokeswoman told Dominic that they told all their 3,000 Seattle employees at their headquarters and more at the 667 statewide stores. With Seattle being the most supportive of LGBT rights, this is a big boon.

"That is just as valuable as when an organization communicates its endorsement to members," Approve R-71 campaign manager Josh Friedes told Dominic. "We are just delighted to have their endorsement along with Microsoft, Boeing, Nike, and many other companies that employ large numbers of people in the Pacific Northwest."

Brand New Visibility Video - SPREAD IT!

Get involved with the APPROVE REFERENDUM 71 campaign! Volunteer! Donate! Spread the word!

Judge Demands Prop 8 Campaign Obey Order to Hand Over Internal Campaign Documents

Here's the press release from the American Foundation for Equal Rights.
Chief Judge Vaughn Walker today ordered Proposition 8 supporters to turn over documents and other information sought by the plaintiffs who are challenging the initiative in federal court. The suit against Proposition 8 is led by the American Foundation for Equal Rights and attorneys Theodore Olson and David Boies.
Trial is currently scheduled for January 11, and despite repeated requests, the defendants in the case have not turned over certain information and documents sought by Olson and Boies to assist in proving the unconstitutionality of Proposition 8 in court.
"We expect the defendants to do everything they can to throw this case off track, but so far we are still on a rapid course toward trial," said Chad Griffin, Board President, American Foundation for Equal Rights. "Proposition 8 infringes upon people's Constitutional rights every day that is remains in place. We are pleased with the court's ruling and will continue working to strike Prop. 8 from the books as soon as possible."
I don't understand these anti-LGBT groups. NOM has sued two states because they think it's unfair that they're being investigated (Don't like the laws? Sue the state!). Protect Marriage Washington is challenging Washington state because they don't want to hand over the signatures that got Referendum 71 on the ballot. And now Prop 8 proponents are appealing Judge Walker's order to hand over documents - appealing to courts that have no jurisdiction over Walker's order! They have no grounds to appeal! Their actions are laughable.

Gimme a break! These people claim victimhood, that their civil rights are being violated, while they're working to strip LGBT citizens of their rights!

Does hypocrisy have no limit?

I always say, "When you're angry, step away from the keyboard."

So I'm stepping away.

Walker Order Denying Stay of Discovery 10-23-09

Friday, October 23, 2009

Weekend Event: Exclusive Los Angeles Screening of “On These Shoulders We Stand”

Press release from Roots of Equality.

On These Shoulders We Stand
sold out two screenings at Outfest this year before winning the 2009 Outfest Special Programming Award for Freedom. On Sunday, the film will be shown again for the first time on a big screen since Outfest. On These Shoulders We Stand will be screened at the Downtown Independent Theater on Sunday, October 25th at 7:00 pm.

Pre-Sale tickets are $20 online and day-of tickets are $25 at the door. The film will be followed by a Q&A session with filmmaker Glenne McElhinney and cast members. An after-party with a no-host bar will be held on the roof of the theater immediately following the Q&A session.

On These Shoulders We Stand documents the story of eleven elders of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender community in Los Angeles. The film brings to light Los Angeles' hidden gay history with narration and unprecedented access to seldom-seen archival materials.

Downtown Independent Theater is located on 251 S. Main Street in Downtown Los Angeles (MAP).

The profits from this screening will go to benefit the production of LAvender Los Angeles. More information on Lavender Los Angeles can be found at More information and the trailer for On These Shoulders We Stand are available at

Maine News Roundup: NOM Tries to Squirm Out of Investigation; Catholic Church Contributes Over Half a Million and More

NOM Sues Another State to Get Out of Another Investigation

As I reported yesterday, the uber anti-marriage equality National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is yet again trying to squirm out of another investigation by pitching a tantrum aka filing a lawsuit.

NOM filed a lawsuit against state officials in California who decided, thanks to the efforts of Frank Karger of Californians Against Hate, to investigate them for their involvement in the passage of Prop 8.

Karger also led the charge against NOM for their involvement in Maine. Danielle Truszkovsky of the South Florida Blade has written an amazing piece describing the Maine Ethics Commission hearing that led to the investigation.

Now Kevin Miller of the Bangor Daily News in Maine has written a follow-up on yesterday's breaking news about Washington DC-based NOM's lawsuit against Maine and how they don't like the way things are ran there.
Now, the organization has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Bangor alleging that Maine’s financial reporting requirements are unconstitutional.

The lawsuit seeks a court injunction prohibiting the state from enforcing a law that NOM officials claim is being used to harass and intimidate opponents of gay marriage.

“The reporting requirements become onerous and burdensome, especially when you are working in several states, and are an infringement of free speech,” said Brian Brown, NOM’s executive director.


Brown argued in an interview Thursday that the reporting requirements — which include registering as a ballot question committee, appointing a treasurer and keeping detailed records for four years — are an undue burden. He also described Maine’s law as legally unclear and “patently unconstitutional” because it prohibited or discouraged free speech in the form of advocacy on one side of an issue.

He also accused the Ethics Commission members and Karger of waging a politically motivated “witch hunt,” despite the fact that the vote to order an investigation was bipartisan.

“What we are basically doing is filing a lawsuit to make clear our First Amendment rights to free speech,” Brown said. He also said that some donors to NOM during the California campaign later were harassed and threatened.
Mike Tidmus put it best on his blog, "It appears Brown will tolerate no sunshine in the Pine Tree State if telling the truth — the whole truth — and complying with the law makes his and cohort Maggie Gallagher’s lives more difficult … and expensive."

I have to agree. It's not very bright of Brian Brown to come charging into stay-out-of-our-business Maine and telling them that how they do things is wrong. But then again, Brown isn't known for being all that brilliant.

The Catholic Church of Maine Donates Over Half a Million to Yes on 1

The AP reports:
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland has given another $152,600 to the group that's trying to overturn Maine's gay-marriage law.

A spokeswoman said the new contributions were transferred from a "rainy day" fund to the Stand for Marriage Maine political action committee.

That brings total Roman Catholic contributions to more than $550,000. That includes more than $180,000 from the Diocese of Portland, $141,300 from individual parishioners in Maine and $214,000 from other dioceses and bishops across the U.S.
This is mind-boggling. They have recently closed three parishes in Maine due to lack of funds (resulting in low attendance), but instead of using their "rainy day" fund to save them, they instead use it to strip rights away of fellow citizens because they don't like how they live their private lives.

What the f*** is a rainy day fund for if it's not to save your own churches?

Jesus taught that the two greatest commandments were, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:28-31)

The Catholic Church is violating the second greatest commandment and forgetting about feeding the poor. And don't get me started on speculating about where the money may be coming from.

I will end by reminding the church about this - "Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:10-12)

The Lack of Logic in Yes on 1's Arguments

Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight has written a great post about the lack of any sense found in Yes on 1's arguments against marriage equality.

He's posted about the talking points that the campaign sent out and has paraphrased them as such.
1. The new law won't make gay marriage equal to straight marriage. Instead, it will create a new kind of marriage in which gay people and straight people are equal.
2. Although we may not have proven any connection between gay marriage and public education, our opponents haven't disproven the connection, and it's their fault that the subject came up.
3. If gay marriage is upheld, then marriage will exist solely to make people happy.

These arguments run from the literally incoherent (#1) to the sublimely unpersuasive (#3), with #2 somewhere in between. Yet, they are, apparently, the best arguments that the Yes on 1 folks can muster -- the ones they're using to close out their campaign.
He goes on to remind us that Maine is one of the least religious states, so Yes on 1 has had to hammer home the lie about same-sex marriage being taught in schools. He says this argument has been discredited. And it has. But unfortunately, the harm has already been done.

NO on 1/Protect Marriage Equality can still lead Maine through a historic win for marriage equality. GET INVOLVED!

ACTION: Here are the different ways you can get involved.
  1. If you live far from Maine but are eager to make a difference, you can phone bank from home. Sign up at Call for Equality.
  2. If you do live near Maine, go to Drive for Equality, where you can look for carpools in your area headed up to the Pine Tree State so you can volunteer and help Get Out the Vote!
  3. If you actually live in Maine, VOTE EARLY! Not only will the NO on 1 campaign see a record of your vote, it will free you up on election day to help get supporters to the polls.
  4. DONATE! You can do this no matter where you live.

AUDIO: 'Yes on 1' Radio Ad Calls Us All Liars - Where's Our Anger?

Earlier today I posted the new anti-marriage equality Yes on 1 television ad. Here's the accompanying radio ad.

It is frustrating to hear them call us liars and deceivers when in fact Yes on 1 chairman Marc Mutty has already admitted to "inadvertently" misleading Maine voters.

I said from the beginning that we should've beaten them to the punch by calling out their lies and deceitful arguments from the get go. Yet if we do this now, or air Mutty's comment, it's only going to sound like a response to Yes on 1's attack instead of the other way around.

We lost a great advantage by not acting first and using Mutty's confession (they knew we were going to use it, so they called us liars first!) We need to stop playing nice. These people are trying to take our rights away! Where's the anger? I want to see it!

We need to pull out all the stops. Get pro-marriage equality Catholic Gov. Baldacci in an ad explaining it's morally and ethically correct to vote NO. Get the attorney general to do an ad and use her comment that she finds the Yes on 1 ads "appalling." Air Mutty's confession.

And at the last minute before the election, before the Yes campaign can respond, air Obama's opposition to discriminatory ballot measures and his HRC speech supporting LGBT rights.

Though Jesse Connolly of the NO on 1 campaign has already called out Mutty on his confession to lying, it was in a press release. Not aired. I think this campaign, which has been amazingly fast on its feet, can do much, much more to point out these deceitful tactics while being on the offense and not defense.

Call them liars. Flat out. Because we know the facts support us. Let's use them! I'm waiting with anticipation to see the next No on 1 ad go full force.

New York Gov. Paterson Believes Marriage Equality to Pass Within Coming Weeks

New York state has seen its share of drama in the senate this past year. The state's marriage equality bill, pushed by Gov. David Paterson, passed the state Assembly back in May, but by the time it advanced the Senate experienced a power coup and the bill lay dormant.

Now that Gov. Paterson is calling yet another special session, he believes it will pass.

The New York Times reports:
Paterson said he expects the state Senate to give the measure final legislative approval in weeks ahead and then he will sign it, making New York the seventh state to legalize same-sex marriage. Paterson can't force the Senate to take up the bill and admitted to reporters he can't guarantee its approval, but he says he's now confident it will pass, as advocates and sponsors of the bill in Albany have been quietly working to build support.


Paterson's statements Thursday came at the fall dinner in Manhattan of the influential gay rights group Empire State Pride Agenda. He said New York will have marriage equality ''as a result of a law we will pass in the New York Senate, already passed in the Assembly, and will be signed by the governor, just in the next few weeks.''

The 1,200 people at the dinner cheered Paterson's remarks.

"No longer in New York" will same-sex couples have to worry about insurance coverage, being allowed to visit each other hospitals, or whether they will be guaranteed the same rights as other married couples under law, he said.

Paterson said he's spoken to advocates lobbying senators and "they believe if I put the bill on the calendar, it will pass. ... I believe it will pass."
Here's Paterson's speech thanks to Good As You.

Elizabeth Benjamin of the New York Daily News attended the dinner and reported that Empire State Pride Agenda's Executive Director Alan Van Capelle had harsh words for the Senators, including Tom Duane, the openly gay sponsor of the marriage equality bill.
"Tonight I say the time for making cases is past," Van Capelle said. "The time for petty partisan finger pointing is past. The time for lame excuses, for botched maneuvers and simple, plain old foot dragging is past."

"The time to get this bill to the floor of the New York state Senate is now. The time for the state Senate to acknowledge our existence is now the time for us to hear our lives - our lives! - debated on the floor of the New York state Senate is now."

"Sen. John Sampson, you’re the leader of the state Senate. Sen. Tom Duane, you have told us on multiple occasions that you have the votes to pass this bill. Give us the dignity the rights and the respect we deserve bring this bill to a floor for a debate and a vote. If we win let us celebrate and if we go down we know what we need to do in 2010. Period."


"We have campaigned for you. We have raised money for you we have supported you in every way imaginable, and we should have no patience for these sorry summer soldiers," Van Capelle said.

"Now is not the time for half hearted you must risk yourselves as we risk ourselves every day. We must fight and work for equality as we fight and work for equality every day and if you do not, we can find other friends who will do that job for us and do it better than you."
I feel his frustration. The New York Senate has been ridiculed for its incompetence and puerile behavior, including locking each other out of chambers or holding simultaneous competitive sessions in an effort to gain power.

We have heard numerous times from both Gov. Paterson and Sen. Duane that the bill would pass within a matter of weeks, and then those weeks would pass with no action.

So I guess I'll believe it when I see it.

ACTION: If you're a New Yorker, join Empire State Pride Agenda's action and call your senator and tell them to vote for the marriage equality bill!

WWII Veteran Has Become the Face of Maine's 'NO on 1' Campaign

Philip Spooner, the WWII veteran whose amazing speech at April's public hearing on marriage equality in Maine, has become an internet sensation. YouTube views have climbed to over 425,000, and it's #13 on YouTube's list of top-rated News & Politics videos.

WGME has done an amazing report on him, calling Spooner the "face of the NO on 1 campaign."

Check out their news report.

Naturally, the Yes on 1 campaign isn't liking this one bit. Spooner's story goes after their major support base - the older generation. They have issued a statement:
First, we thank Mr. Spooner for his military service, sacrifice, and heroism in battle. We agree with Mr. Spooner that "we can figure out how to take all different people and live together as neighbors and fellow citizens in spite of our differences." We disagree that redefining marriage in Maine law so that it no longer means the union of one woman and one man is a wise way to reach that end.
Yeah, whatever. They agree that we can live together despite differences by wishing gays and lesbians into non-existence and trampling on our rights. What a great way to respect the sacrifice Mr. Spooner made for our country.

Get involved! Go to NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality!

ACTION ALERT! New 'Yes on 1' Television Ad Goes for the Jugular

Like I've been saying, it's going to get pretty dirty in this campaign. With less than two weeks to go, the anti-marriage equality Yes on 1 campaign is going for the jugular. And playing by the dusty Prop 8 rule book. (See the sad child at the end of the ad?)

Nothing they use in this ad is contextual. They don't care because that's not their problem.

Jeremy Hooper at Good As You does a great job of breaking down this ad, explaining the context and how the Yes on 1 campaign has twisted the facts into misinformation.

But a synopsis - Pat Peard was telling the truth to the SundayTelegram when saying it wasn't about marriage, because at the time, it wasn't. Just like in Washington state. It's about domestic partnerships there, but the opposition keeps saying it's marriage. Yes on 1 is trying to cast a pall over what Pat said four years ago. It's not secret that our work is step-by-step progress.

The clip used of Monica Hoeflinger is taken from Netroots Nation 2009. Here is the full video:

From Prop 8 to Full Equality in All 50 States - Netroots Nation Day 1 from Will Urquhart on Vimeo.

Like Jeremy says, if we wanted to keep it a secret that we're all working for marriage equality, we wouldn't be broadcasting it to dozens of cameras at Netroots Nation.

Nor would 100,000 of us across the nation have marched after the passage of Prop 8 demanding equal rights.

Yeah, we're do deceitful.

IT'S ONLY GOING TO GET WORSE. At this point in the election, the polls are not going to shift in their numbers much. From the beginning, the surveys have indicated that we can win this, but we have to get our support base out to vote! WE NEED A STRONG GOTV! Maine needs you to help! Otherwise, the snowball that was Prop 8 is going to get bigger with a defeat in Maine.

Here's how you can help.

ACTION: Here are the different ways you can get involved.
  1. If you live far from Maine but are eager to make a difference, you can phone bank from home. Sign up at Call for Equality.
  2. If you do live near Maine, go to Drive for Equality, where you can look for carpools in your area headed up to the Pine Tree State so you can volunteer and help Get Out the Vote!
  3. If you actually live in Maine, VOTE EARLY! Not only will the NO on 1 campaign see a record of your vote, it will free you up on election day to help get supporters to the polls.
  4. DONATE! You can do this no matter where you live.
Get involved now!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

AUDIO: Listen to This Morning's Debate Over Maine's Question 1

Listen to Maine's On the Line broadcast of this morning's Question 1 debate. "Host Susan Sharon welcomes attorney Mary Bonauto, civil rights project director for Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders. And, Marc Mutty, campaign chair for 'Yes On One/Stand for Marriage Maine.'"

You can view Wednesday's debate. More debates will be held throughout the coming week.

Hate Crimes Legislation Heads to President Obama’s Desk

Press Release from the Shephard Foundation:
October 22, 2009

Today, the United States Senate took an historic step toward ensuring justice for the victims of hate crimes targeted for violence due to their sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability.

“Dennis and I are extremely proud of the Senate for once again passing this historic measure of protection for victims of these brutal crimes,” said Judy Shepard, president of the Matthew Shepard Foundation Board. “Knowing that the president will sign it, unlike his predecessor, has made all the hard work this year to pass it worthwhile. Hate crimes continue to affect far too many Americans who are simply trying to live their lives honestly, and they need to know that their government will protect them from violence, and provide appropriate justice for victims and their families.”

By voting overwhelmingly to extend to these often-targeted Americans our nation’s decades-old bias crime legislation, senators sent the message that hate crimes will not go unpunished, and local governments and law enforcement agencies will not run out of financial resources to provide justice to these victims and their loved ones.

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act was attached earlier this year to the annual Defense Department spending bill, and Thursday’s 68-29 Senate vote to approve the final House-Senate compromise on the defense bill now sends this important law enforcement provision to President Obama, who has vowed to sign it.

Under the legislation, federal prosecutors could step in to try violent hate-crime cases if local authorities cannot or will not secure an appropriate conviction. It also opens up federal funding for law enforcement to handle the typically high cost of investigation and judicial proceedings in such cases, and would make grants available for training and prevention programs at the local level.

The act is named to honor Matthew Shepard as well as James Byrd, an African-American resident of Texas brutally dragged to death in 1998 in a notorious hate crime. Matthew’s parents Dennis and Judy Shepard have campaigned for the legislation’s passage for more than a decade since their son’s murder in Laramie, Wyoming, in 1998 in an anti-gay hate crime.

The Matthew Shepard Foundation applauds Congress and President Obama for their steady and successful efforts throughout 2009 to bring the legislation to this point. We eagerly anticipate its final enactment and wish to thank the countless organizations and individuals who have worked tirelessly for its passage.
Karen Ocamb at LGBT POV reports does a great job of gathering more news surrounding this historic passage.

BREAKING: National Organization for Marriage Challenges Maine's Order to Investigate Fundraising Tactics

UPDATE: Thanks to Fred Karger of Californians Against Hate, I have obtained copies of NOM's filings. Embedded at bottom. Read Karger's press release.

Earlier this month, Maine's Ethics Commission ruled in favor of investigating the National Organization for Marriage's fundraising efforts to repeal the state's new marriage equality law.

Maine's Bangor Daily News reports that they have filed a federal challenge.
The biggest contributor to the group trying to overturn Maine's gay marriage law is suing the state over its campaign reporting requirements.

The state ethics commission voted Oct. 1 to take a closer look at contributions by the National Organization for Marriage after it was accused of circumventing Maine law by not reporting the names of many donors. The group responded with a constitutional challenge filed Wednesday in federal court in Bangor.
Wow. An organization from outside of Maine is challenging Maine's ethics practices in federal court because they don't like how they do things there.

Reminds me of the Prop 8 proponents throwing a hissy fit over having to hand over internal campaign documents.

These type of tantrums just seem to underline suspicions that they have something to hide.

I will post filing once I get my hands on it.

RELATED STORY: National Organization for Marriage has sent an email to their supporters calling the NPR claims of copyright infringement against the Yes on 1 campaign a sign that the anti-marriage equality ad must contain an "inconvenient truth."

NOM Complaint Against Investigation

NOM Lawsuit Against Maine Investigation

View Wednesday's Marriage Equality Debate Over Maine's Question 1

On Wednesday night, WABI 5 of Maine hosted the first of a series of public debates over Question 1, which is attempting to repeal the state's marriage equality law.

Currently, there's no embedding of the video available, but here are the links to view.

Question 1 Debate Part 1
Question 1 Debate Part 2
Question 1 Debate Part 3

In Maine, A Duplicitous Show of Sympathy for Same-Sex Couples

Originally posted by UTF reader Peter Montgomery on Right Wing Watch.

"Disingenuous" doesn't begin to describe the performance by anti-equality leader Marc Mutty's recent performance at a debate on Question 1, the effort to overturn Maine's new marriage equality law. (You can watch the entire debate courtesy of Pam's House Blend here.)

In response to heartbreaking stories about gay partners denied access to a sick or dying partner or otherwise abused by lack of legal protections, Mutty presented himself as deeply sympathetic, and supportive of providing couples with legal protections through enhanced domestic partnership legislation:
What our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters look for when they speak to us in their commercials or they do presentations about all of the various injustices that they have suffered because they don't have marriage, we would say, fundamentally, we agree with you, there's been injustices, there's been wrongs that need to be righted. However, it is totally unnecessary for marriage to be redefined in order for them to have those benefits. There are alternatives, and those alternatives I think we're all familiar with, enhanced domestic partner legislation, and other like arrangements can be made that do not fundamentally change the definition of marriage but yet provides those same benefits that they seek. And I fail to see how those benefits would not be available through these alternative arrangements as well as they would through marriage and I think that is the ultimate compromise...(about 16:15 on the video)
Mutty made this point several times during the debate. In response to a question about "enhanced domestic partner legislation," Mutty enthusiastically endorsed domestic partnerships and civil unions as ways to right the wrongs suffered by gay couples:
"...there are options available to render right what has been wrong in the past, the example that Shenna presents to us, which is a tear jerker for all of us, that people who love each other who've been together can't have access to each other when the one is in the hospital, all the other examples she gave are certainly things we're very sympathetic to, but again all those things can be acquired through other arrangements, and again, enhanced domestic partnership legislation, a number of other options, civil unions is certainly an option that will provide all those same benefits, yet recognize that the two relationships are fundamentally if nothing else biologically very different. (about 34:30 on the video)
Now. For those who haven't been following the campaign to overturn Maine's marriage equality law, Mutty is directing the anti-equality forces on loan from, and on orders from, Bishop Richard Malone of the Roman Catholic diocese of Portland, which has poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the campaign.

Mutty and his boss are trying very hard to convince Maine voters that there's nothing anti-gay about stripping legal protections from same-sex couples and their families. And so, at the Lewiston debate, Mutty bent over backwards to appear reasonable and sympathetic by assuring voters that the injustices suffered by same-sex couples would be easy to fix with civil unions or enhanced domestic partnerships. But how can Mutty say any of this with a straight face -- or expect to maintain a shred of credibility -- when he knows the Catholic bishops are dead-set against domestic partnerships and civil unions?

Bishops around the country are opposing domestic partnership laws. Washington state's Catholic bishops are urging voters to reject the state's newly strengthened domestic partnership law, which is on the ballot in November. Earlier this year, the Diocese of Santa Fe opposed and killed domestic partnership legislation in New Mexico. In March, the Bay Area Reporter wrote that "bishops in Hawaii, New Mexico, North Carolina, New Jersey, Maine, Rhode Island, and other states continued to franchise a 'pastoral message' – too similar to be coincidental – opposing not only same-sex marriage, but civil unions and domestic partnerships."

Let's go right to the source. Here's an excerpt from some Q&A on same-sex relationships from the official website of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:
What is the Church's position on legislation to allow civil unions or domestic partnerships?
On two different occasions, in 2003 and 2006, the USCCB Administrative Committee stated: "We strongly oppose any legislative and judicial attempts, both at state and federal levels, to grant same-sex unions the equivalent status and rights of marriage – by naming them marriage, civil unions, or by other means."
In 2003 a statement from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stated: "Every humanly-created law is legitimate insofar as it is consistent with the natural moral law, recognized by right reason, and insofar as it respects the inalienable rights of every person. Laws in favor of homosexual unions are contrary to right reason because they confer legal guarantees, analogous to those granted to marriage, to unions between persons of the same sex" (Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons, n.6).
And some more, from the same briefing paper:
"It is not unjust to deny legal status to same-sex unions because marriage and same-sex unions are essentially different realities. In fact, justice requires society to do so."
Here's some more detail from that 2003 statement which was affirmed in 2006:
What are called "homosexual unions," because they do not express full human complementarity and because they are inherently non-procreative, cannot be given the status of marriage. Recently, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a statement emphatically opposing the legalization of homosexual unions. Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, welcomed this statement and further articulated our own conviction that such "equivalence not only weakens the unique meaning of marriage; it also weakens the role of law itself by forcing the law to violate the truth of marriage and family life as the natural foundation of society and culture." ... Thus, we strongly oppose any legislative and judicial attempts, both at state and federal levels, to grant same-sex unions the equivalent status and rights of marriage --by naming them marriage, civil unions or by other means.
And still more from the bishops:
Should persons who live in same-sex relationships be entitled to some of the same social and economic benefits given to married couples?
The state has an obligation to promote the family, which is rooted in marriage. Therefore, it can justly give married couples rights and benefits it does not extend to others. Ultimately, the stability and flourishing of society is dependent on the stability and flourishing of healthy family life.
The legal recognition of marriage, including the benefits associated with it, is not only about personal commitment, but also about the social commitment that husband and wife make to the well-being of society. It would be wrong to redefine marriage for the sake of providing benefits to those who cannot rightfully enter into marriage.
Some benefits currently sought by persons in homosexual unions can already be obtained without regard to marital status. For example, individuals can agree to own property jointly with another, and they can generally designate anyone they choose to be a beneficiary of their will or to make health care decisions in case they become incompetent.
So, to recap: Marc Mutty, on leave as public affairs director of the Roman Catholic diocese of Portland, is telling the people of Maine they can vote against marriage equality for same-sex couples with a clear conscience because the injustices those couples face can be fixed by domestic partnerships or civil unions. But the church he works for is strongly opposed to both domestic partnerships and civil unions, and bishops around the country are working hard to block domestic partner legislation. Which leads to a couple of questions. How does Mutty sleep at night? And how long will it take him to scurry away from his earnest endorsement of justice for same-sex couples when he's back on the bishop's payroll?

Yes on 1's 24 Hour Expenditure Report - Lots of Spending For a Broke Campaign

Staring today, both campaigns on each side of the marriage battle in Maine must now submit daily reports on any expenditures over $500 until the November 3 election. This report does not need to include contributions.

Yes on 1 has just submitted their report.

Yes on 1 Exp Report 10-22

What this report tell us is that they have spent $190,000 in just 24 hours. Remarkable for a campaign that is nearly half a million in the hole.

A source tells me that MarCom Media is actually Criswell Associates in San Francisco. The $20,000 is obvious money going towards a new tv ad production and more toward radio ads and a media buy.

Also, it appears there will be a massive mailing done under the guidance of Schubert/Flint, our friends who gave the Yes on Prop 8 campaign its victory.

It is odd to see expenditures on the report for less than $500. Can't quite tell why they would report this.

Only one expenditure was reported by NO on 1. It was reimbursement for travel.

Homophobia Rampant in Latest E-mail From the Reject 71 Campaign

Originally posted by Joe Mirabella on Seattle PI.

I rarely use the word homophobic. I like to save it for those times when there is not a better adjective. In Protect Marriage Washington's case, homophobic is the best adjective to describe their latest e-mail to supporters urging them to reject referendum 71. The letter was written by Senator Val Stevens. She wrote:
Could this be the final battle?

Are the homosexuals finally going to take control of our culture and push their depraved lifestyle on our children and families?
Senator Stevens clearly does not understand the bill. We are simply trying to protect our families and children in times of crisis, like having the ability to take unpaid leave from work to care for a loved one without being fired. I'm not quite sure how that affects her family. Fortunately for us, she elaborated:
Passed last spring in the legislature, SB5688 would strip away the protections of traditional marriage that were ensured with the passage of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) just a few short years ago.
Senator Stevens probably did not have a chance to read the bill. If she did, she would be happy to know SB5688 does not take anything away from anyone. It simply makes the existing law fair so that all families are treated equally under the law. She will not lose anything. I wonder what other fear tactics she had up her sleeve?
Do you realize what is going on here? Consider the following:

In 1970, (on the heels of a "free love" 60's radical culture) sodomy laws were repealed in Washington State, with government turning a blind eye to a behavior commonly considered perversion - and still the case with a majority of Americans.
First of all, the domestic partnership bill has nothing to do with 1960s style "free love". But since she brought it up, did you know that Sodomy was legally defined as any sexual activity that was not designed to create children. That means Protect Marriage Washington and Senator Stevens are trying to make nearly every Washington adult (gay or straight) feel ashamed.

As a reminder, if you approve referendum 71 and the domestic partnership bill, families will be able to share health insurance. Referendum 71 is not a time machine that will take us back to the 1960s.

If you thought that was crazy, just wait. It gets better...

Senator Stevens thinks about pedophilia:
Organizations, such as NAMBLA, (North American Man Boy Love Association) appeared on the horizon seeking to repeal "age of consent" laws (NAMBLA is still in business today)
Wow! Fortunately the domestic partnership bill is not about any of that. If you approve referendum 71 you will protect children by giving them a more secure home. For example, if a police officer is killed trying to save your life, his or her children will have access to death benefits vital to those families in their time of crisis.

Gladly, no reasonable person condones pedophilia. Clearly though, Senator Stevens spends a lot of time thinking about it. What else is Senator Stevens thinking about?
After 27 years of relentless pursuit, homosexuals finally received protected class status from the Washington State Legislature in 2006, making it illegal for you to refuse to rent them a house, or hire them on account of their homosexuality.
That's right. Senator Stevens and Protect Marriage Washington not only want to hurt Washington families seeking basic protections in times of crisis, they would like them to be homeless and jobless too. Fortunately, referendum 71 has nothing to do with either of those issues. Referendum 71 does allow seniors, 62 or older to care for each other without losing their social security income. But please, Senator Stevens, do go on. I'm not scared enough yet.
Canada already has laws making it illegal to speak against homosexuality on the streets. Bills exist presently in the U.S. Congress to do the same. In the last few weeks a Canadian church pastor was arrested for speaking against homosexuality.
Let me remind Senator Stevens that Canada is not the United States. In the United States we have something called the First Amendment. Since she has a little problem with law (and the truth), allow me to remind her the First Amendment protects free speech -- even the most homophobic, false, and ugly speech, like the speech of Senator Stevens and Protect Marriage Washington. Just so there is no doubt, approving referendum 71 will not effect free speech. If you approve referendum 71 you will allow a teacher who works 20 years teaching about the Constitution to share his or her hard earned pension with his or her loved one.

Washington residents are smarter than Senator Stevens and Protect Marriage Washington think. We can see through lies and homophobic speech. I hope we deliver a resounding answer to these fear tactics and absurdities by approving referendum 71 to keep the domestic partnership law. Vote early, ballots are due no later than November 3.

UTF: If you want to read Sen. Val Stevens full message, it can be found on the Reject Referendum 71 campaign website. Go there at your own risk.

9th Circuit Court Says to Prop 8 Proponents, "What Do You Think You're Doing?"

First, a sequential order of events. Judge Walker, presiding over the federal challenge to the discriminatory Prop 8 (c'mon, we all know how I feel), ordered that there would a be trial using strict scrutiny (the first ever for a marriage case) and that the Prop 8 campaign hand over internal documents to the plaintiffs.

Following this, the defendants of Prop 8 filed an appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court while filing a motion to stay the discovery order (aka - order to hand over documents). This court has just responded. Proposition 8 and the Right to Marry posted a comment from lawyer Rick Xiao:
Signaling that the federal court of appeals may lack jurisdiction over Prop. 8 proponents' interlocutory appeal of Judge Walker's discovery order, the Ninth Circut has issued an Order to Show Cause requiring Prop. 8 proponents to explain why their appeal should not be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. The Ninth Circuit's Order strongly suggests that Judge Walker would be well justified to deny Prop. 8 proponents' request for a stay of discovery pending the appeal.
Here is the Ninth Circuit Court's order to show cause.

9th Circuit Order to Show Cause in Discovery Dispute Perry v Schwarzenneger

I think the defendants need to stop throwing a hissy fit. Let's just get this trial rolling.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

VIDEO: Maine Veteran Fought in WWII So That We Could All Be Equal

Man, if you don't want to get choked up, don't watch this. But I highly recommend you do anyway.

This 86-year-old WWII veteran and father of a gay son spoke up in April at Maine's public hearing on the marriage equality bill that was pending at the time. "What do you think I fought for in Omaha Beach?" he asks.

We've all heard numerous times that the older generation overwhelmingly is against marriage equality. Let this serve as a reminder to us, yet again, that we have allies everywhere.

News Roundup: Pat Robertson Says Gays "Want to Destroy Marriage"; NY to Vote on Marriage Equality?; Public Debate on Question 1

Pat Robertson Says That I, and Many Other Gays, Want to Destroy Marriage

Pat Robertson: "I don't really believe that homosexuals want to get married. What they want to do is destroy marriage and some of the other things that we have in our society. There's been an outright campaign against the traditional moral values that have grown up in a Judeo-Christian culture. And they don't want any, any hindrance to their particular lifestyle or their particular way of having sex, that's what it amounts to. Whether or not this will be something that will change the country. The country has voted overwhelmingly in favor of traditional marriage. They don't want homosexual marriage. But you find a few states - Maine, Massachusetts, Iowa - who have voted them into the legislature. The people have their say - the people say 'No way!'"

Uhm, Pat - the people had their say when they Democratically voted in their legislature. Just saying. And my wanting to get married is somehow my effort to destroy marriage? Someone lacks the skill of simple cause and effect logic.

New York Senate to Finally Vote on Marriage Equality Bill?

The New York Daily News is reporting that Gov. David Paterson will yet again call a special session to deal with the state's budgetary problems and to vote on the long-delayed marriage equality bill.
"The governor has always said that same-sex marriage will be on the agenda," a spokeswoman said.

A source said gay marriage will be on the agenda to force the Senate to deal with it one way or the other.

Paterson's political team sees the issue as one way to start raising his historic low poll numbers.
Recently, Sen. Tom Duane, the bill's sponsor, had stated he believed that the bill would get a vote by the end of the year. He had also stated at one point that he had enough votes to get it passed, but this was before the power struggle that rocked the senate.

The WCBSTV is now reporting, "Supporters have quietly been trying to rebuild a coalition of 32 senators needed to pass a bill in the chamber, which has a 32-30 Democratic majority." Hopefully Duane has succeeded.

ACTION: New Yorkers, join Empire State Pride Agenda's action and call your senator, urging them to support marriage equality.

Public Debate Over Maine's Question 1

Over the next two weeks GLAD Civil Rights Project Director Mary Bonauto, a Maine resident, will debate Stand for Marriage Maine’s Marc Mutty on the question of preserving Maine’s marriage equality law.

The following debates leading up to the November 3 vote will be available to view or listen to online:

Thursday, October 22nd, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Live debate on MPBN radio
Moderated by Susan Sharon, Assistant News Director at MPBN
Listen at

Monday, October 26th, 7:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Live debate on “207” on WCSH-TV and WLBZ-TV
(NBC affiliate, Channel 6 in Portland, Channel 2 in Bangor)
Moderated by “207” hosts Rob Caldwell and Kathleen Shannon
Watch at or

Wednesday, October 28th, 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Live debate on WMTW-TV (ABC affiliate, Channel 8 in Portland)
Cosponsored by Maine Today Publications (Portland Press Herald, Maine
Sunday Telegram, Kennebec Journal and Central Maine Morning Sentinel)Moderated by WMTW-TV news anchor Tory Ryden
Watch at

Thursday, October 29th, 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.
Live debate on WGAN-AM radio in Portland
Moderated by WGAN Morning News co-hosts Mike Violette and Ken Altshuler

Thursday, October 29th, 5:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Live debate on WGME-TV (CBS affiliate, Channel 13 in Portland)
Moderated byWGME-TV news anchor Greg Lagerquist
Watch at

Below is Mary's testimony at the marriage equality public hearing before Maine's Judicial Committee back in April:

(H/T Louise)

Conservative Christian Group Focus on the Family Donates $98K to Yes on 1 Campaign

The Gazette reports:
Last year, Focus on the Family donated nearly $450,000 to support a California proposition outlawing gay marriage.
This year, the Colorado Springs-based organization is setting its sights on Maine, but the outlay is a lot smaller — both because Maine is a lot smaller, and because of the economy.

As of Sept. 30, Focus had donated $98,500 to Stand for Marriage Maine, a coalition supporting an initiative on the Nov. 3 ballot to overturn the state Legislature’s legalization of gay marriage. Efforts began in May to collect signatures to get the measure on the ballot.

Jenny Tyree, marriage analyst for Focus Action, the political arm of the Colorado Springs family group, said the creation of the measure shows that people, not politicians, should decide the parameters of marriage.

“Marriage is the safest in the hands of the people,” Tyree said. “Politicians are swayed by a lot of things.”
ACTION: Go to NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality to help protect the existing right of gays and lesbians to marry.