Saturday, October 31, 2009

VIDEO: 100 Clergy in Support of Marriage Equality Gather in Washington D.C.

The Washington Post reports:
About 200, representing nearly every faith, have formed D.C. Clergy United for Marriage Equality. On Thursday night, more than 100 of them gathered at Asbury United Methodist Church in Northwest Washington to support a bill that D.C. Council member David A. Catania (I-At Large) introduced this month that would allow same-sex couples to marry.

"There is this myth out there that you can't be pro-God and pro-gay," said the Rev. Robert M. Hardies, senior minister of All Souls Church, Unitarian, in the Columbia Heights area. "We are doing the best we can to share the message that there is strong support from within D.C.'s religious community for equality."
Two hearings were held this past Monday. Opponents of marriage equality went before the District's Elections and Ethics committee urging them to allow a Prop 8 style referendum so that D.C. residents could vote on the issue.

The other hearing was open to the public to voice their views on the bill to the City Council. 269 people signed up to testify, making it the largest hearing ever. The Council decided to break it into two hearings. Monday, 100 people testified.

This upcoming Monday, November 2, the second half will begin at 9:30am EST. It will be held at the same location, the the City Council chambers on the fifth floor of the John Wilson City Hall Building at 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. You can watch it live here.

Sen. John Kerry Backs New Lawsuit Against DOMA Involving Bi-National Couple

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

Friday, October 30, 2009

VIDEO: New NO on 1 Ad Tells Maine It Has a Clear Choice

The NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality campaign has released a new ad airing today that sums it all up - Maine has a choice, to treat some families differently and shaming them while putting them at risk, or treating all families the same.

It's a clear choice.

Now help the NO on 1 campaign remind our supporters to get out and vote on Tuesday, November 3. That's right - there's only four days left! And they really do need all the help they can get. Polls show us at a tie, and if we're to win, we need EVERY supporter to get up and go vote.

You can help remind them. I've been calling. It's easy and fun. Really. It's a clear choice to act.

  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.

Maine's Anti-Marriage Equality Campaign Caught in a Web of Hypocrisy

The NO on 1/Protect Marriage Equality campaign has called out the Yes on 1 camp, specifically the Catholic Church, for the hypocrisy in claiming they "support" domestic partnerships and using this as proof of their tolerance of gays, when in fact they opposed DPs when they were first introduced. (Oh, and it's the Catholic Church that's fighting Washington state's new DP law RIGHT NOW.)

This announcement from NO on 1 was spurred by the new opposition ad that shifted its tone from crying wolf about marriage equality being taught in schools to saying that gays and lesbians already have their civil rights.

Today, No on 1 held a press conference. (Video from America Blog)

This was coupled with the following press release.
Yes Campaign Ad Promoting Domestic Partnerships a Sham
Biggest Funders, Managers Opposed DP

Portland, Maine (October 30, 2009)---The NO on 1 campaign charged that the biggest backers and manager of the Yes campaign have opposed domestic partnerships for same-sex couples for years, even though their latest political ad promotes Maine's domestic partner registry.

After weeks of a paid advertising campaign that attacked Maine schools --attacks that were rejected by Maine newspapers, the Commissioner of Education, the Attorney General and others -- the Yes campaign released a new ad this week applauding the state's DP registry as sufficient to protect same-sex couples and their families.

But in fact, campaign manager Mark Mutty, as director of public affairs for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, opposed the DP registry bill both in 2003 and again in 2004 when it passed in the Maine Legislature. In addition, Mutty and others associated with the Yes campaign were silent on the alternative bill to the marriage equality legislation this spring which would have expanded the DP registry.

"This is the height of hypocrisy and double-talk," said Jesse Connolly, NO on 1 campaign manager. "Their new ad actually invokes domestic partnership as a solution, yet they're on record either directly or by their silence as opposing even this measure of protection."

In testimony submitted for the 2003 DP bill entitled "An Act to Promote the Financial Security of Maine's Families and Children," Mutty wrote and signed on behalf of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland:

"Our opposition to LD 1579 is foremost rooted in moral and ethical principles that are not only applicable to Catholics, but serve society well as a whole. However there are more practical considerations…Several attorneys who have reviewed this bill have indicated their strong conviction that such a drastic change in the code would lead to mass confusion in the courts and tie up probate claims for months without clear resolution. These are but a few of the perhaps unintended consequences that such a measure would bring to Maine."

"When I wrote Maine's domestic partner registry law, no group fought against it harder than the Roman Catholic Diocese," said former State Representative Benjamin Dudley, sponsor of the bill creating Maine's domestic partner registry. "Now the Diocese, through its campaign against marriage equality, says they 'want to be tolerant of gays' and stands behind the registry law they fought so hard to defeat. I'd call that the height of irony."

In addition, Maggie Gallagher, the president of the National Organization for Marriage, which has contributed at least $1.6 million to the Yes campaign, has long opposed both domestic partnerships and civil unions. In fact, Gallagher, in 2002 argued against DP benefits because they "erode the status" of marriage.

Finally, the principals of the Yes campaign were notably silent on a 2009 bill entitled, "An Act to Expand Rights for Maine Families," which would have expanded Maine's DP registry, and was proposed as an alternative to the marriage equality law.

"The Yes campaign in the final hours of this election can't simply reinvent itself and try to claim some sort of new platform," added Connelly. "The record shows that time and time again, they either opposed domestic partnerships or were silent on them, even when they were offered as an alternative to full marriage equality. This is nothing more than a Trojan horse and voters should not be fooled."

"The DP registry, in fact, has a few but not the hundreds of protections spouses receive under marriage," added Mary Bonauto, the civil rights director at GLAD and a member of NO on 1's executive committee. "Separate systems are not equal and never have been. Domestic partner laws simply don't apply to the things that allow you to take care of your partner or your children, and it is still impossible for many people to get a family policy of health insurance without getting married.

"Marriage offers protection in times of greatest need and crisis," added Bonauto. "Equality, family, protection and respect only come in one package, and that's marriage."

The local media has already picked up the story. Hopefully this will ring a bell with some of the voters - a reminder of the blatant hypocrisy of the Yes on 1 folks.

Approve Referendum 71 FINAL Weekend Actions

Crossposted with Lurleen at Pam's House Blend.

There are only a few days left to vote APPROVE on Referendum 71. If you haven't already, please mark your ballot "approved" on R-71 and mail it in now (but no later than November 3rd). Don't procrastinate! In 2008 over 8,000 ballots in King County alone were not counted because they were postmarked too late! The Approve 71 campaign manager says
This race is still too close for comfort. As we've said from the beginning, this election will be decided by voter turnout. Money is pouring in from out of state to fund our opponents, and they are investing heavily in radio ads. We know the best way to counteract the outrageous lies our opponents are telling is with direct conversations with voters.

You can help us win by phone banking any night of the week between now and the election, canvassing at our Trick or Vote event, and waving signs at intersections to raise visibility for the Approve 71 campaign. It is essential that we each do all we can to get out the vote. Our state-of-the-art system is set up to only call voters who have not voted yet.

  • To register to phone bank in Seattle, RSVP here
  • To register for Trick or Vote, RSVP here
  • For a schedule of sign waving events you can register for, click here

    Here is a link to a schedule of phone banks, canvassing and Approve 71 sign waving events going on in the Seattle area.

    Thank you for all you have done to help ensure gay and lesbian families are treated equally under state law.

    P.S. If you have not already joined our Facebook group, join us! Our fan base is growing by more than 100 people per hour! Join us!

  • Folks, be sure to print out and fill your pockets with plenty of palm cards to give to people. This is a great reminder for people when they get home and start wondering, "now what was that all about, and how can I get more information?"

    Make sure your signs are clearly marked "Approve Referendum 71" besides whatever other messages you wish to write.

    Bellevue sponsored by Bellevue PFLAG
    Saturday, October 31
    1 pm - 3 pm

    At NE 8th and 112th. That big intersection at 405 and NE 8th Street.

    Bring signs with simple statements that drivers can read...Approve Ref 71, Protect All Washington Families, or personal messages. Keep them simple and positive. Even stop by for 30 minutes but be involved...Dress for cold/rain but bring your smiles and be ready to wave!!!

    Seattle - RSVP here
    Friday, October 30
    7:00 am - 8:00 am
    4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

    Join us at the Madison I-5 overpass between Downtown and Capitol Hill to show our support for APPROVING referendum 71 to the morning commuters.

    Millions of Washingtonians drive onto the I-5 weekly and this is our chance to make sure they vote to APPROVE referendum 71.

    We will be waving signs and showing our support.

    Seattle - RSVP here
    Monday, November 2
    Tuesday, November 3
    7:00 am - 8:00 am

    Join us at the Madison I-5 overpass between Downtown and Capitol Hill to show our support for APPROVING referendum 71 to the morning commuters.

    Millions of Washingtonians drive onto the I-5 weekly and this is our chance to make sure they vote to APPROVE referendum 71.

    We will be waving signs and showing our support.

    Saturday, October 31
    11:00 am - 4:00 pm

    Kelly McDonald:
    Where: Corner of South 38th & South Steele, Tacoma (Costco & Borders)

    There is one more weekend before the election.

    We need YOU this Saturday. The opposition has incredible numbers, and Tacomans must see both sides represented.

    If you have an hour or two to give this Saturday, please stop by.

    Bring signs and wear green!

    Important details:
    1) Parking is an issue. It's best to find street parking by the Toyota dealership or in the residential area behind Costco.
    2) Enhance our visibility by wearing green
    3) Bring signs with you
    4) Are you staying a while? Bring a water bottle and a snack (there goes the mom in me!) :)
    5) If you cannot make it, invite someone to come on your behalf!

    The Rejects WILL be there, per communication made to area businesses from their side. Though tempting, it is NOT effective to engage with them. They will try. We are there to be visible to the public in a peaceful, positive, affirming way.

    Looking forward to seeing you there, en masse, and so excited at the amazing effect of Facebook word of mouth!


    Tuesday, November 3rd
    6 am - 9 am
    4 pm - 6 pm

    Kelly McDonald: Election Day is the final opportunity to generate visibility! We need YOU to sign wave at the Jackson Avenue overpass over Highway 16.

    Woodinville sponsored by Bellevue PFLAG
    Saturday, October 31st
    10 am - 11:30 am

    Corner of NE 175th Street and 131st Ave NE right past the railroad underpass in downtown Woodinville (near McLendon's)
    Parking is nearby on side streets and there is a small park trail on 131st Ave NE.

    Bring signs with simple statements that drivers can read...Approve Ref 71, Protect All Washington Families, or personal messages. Keep them simple and positive. Even stop by for 30 minutes but be involved...Dress for cold/rain but bring your smiles and be ready to wave!!!

    VIDEO: GLAD's Mary Bonauto Debates Yes on 1's Brian Souchet on Maine's Question 1

    Maine is pretty incredible. They have been hosting near-daily public debates on Question 1 in an effort for all Mainers to hear both sides of the marriage equality issue.

    GLAD's Mary Bonauto again represents NO on 1/Protect Marriage Equality in the debate against Yes on 1's Brian Souchet. The debate was hosted by Maine's southern ABC affiliate WGME.

    See the earlier public debates here, here, here and here.


    MUST SEE VIDEO: Rachel Maddow Interviews Maine's Catholic Pro-Marriage Equality Governor

    In her interview with the amazing Gov. Baldacci, Rachel referred to the Daily Kos poll. I have to admit, I'm trying to keep up with Maine. So much happening there and I hadn't had a chance to post it.

    So here it is.
    (Click on the images below to enlarge)

    This poll is consistent with other polls showing the two sides of Question 1 in a dead heat. At this point in the game, it's about GETTING OUT THE VOTE (GOTV!) It's calling our support base, who tends to not vote when it's not a presidential race, and getting them to the polls.

    You can help by calling marriage equality supporters and reminding them to vote, vote, VOTE!

    A little more on Catholic Gov. Baldacci. I wrote earlier that we can't judge people of faith with one fell swoop. I got some heat for sticking up for some Catholic church members who chose to stay in the church and still support us. But I think Gov. Baldacci is proof that we can't lump people together and judge them, just as we in the LGBT population don't like being broadly judged ourselves.

    Here's the governor calling out the Yes on 1 campaign and their scare tactics:

    Get. Involved. You can save marriage in your pajamas by simply taking a twenty minute training session from home and then calling Mainers and reminding them to vote. You could be instrumental in a historically monumental victory. Be a part of it.

    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.

    Thursday, October 29, 2009

    News Roundup: Sen. Schumer Calls for Nationwide Marriage Equality; Maine AG Challenges NOM; Kalamazoo Update; Yes on 1 Claims Hate Crime Victimhood

    Sen. Schumer Calls for Full, Nationwide Marriage Equality

    Sen. Chuck Schumer spoke at a Empire State Pride Agenda dinner, the largest LGBT advocacy group in New York. In his speech, Schumer made a call to his colleagues to full marriage equality in all fifty states.

    "If Dick Cheney can support marriage, so can every Senator. So can every Democrat, Republican, Liberal Conservative. Equality should know no bounds, and we must not rest until we have marriage in all fifty of these United States."

    Maine's Attorney General Challenges NOM

    Attorney General Janet Mills says now that a federal judge has ruled against their request to suspend Maine's law that they disclose donor identities, they should hand over the information now and not wait until after elections.

    "We are not going to give them legal advice. We trust that their legal counsel will advise them to comply fully," she said. "The court has ruled that it is in the public interest to do so, and the law couldn't be clearer.

    "I would hope that they would file before the election," Mills said. "Why not? What is there to hide?"

    Kalamazoo In the Middle of a LGBT Rights Battle

    Kalamazoo, MI residents will have to decide whether or not to reject the city commission's non-discrimination ordinance which would outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in work, housing and public accommodations.

    From WoodTV:
    Mary Balkema, the Kalamazoo County Treasurer, heads the opposition group Kalamazoo Citizens Voting No.

    Balkema was instrumental in gathering thousands of signatures two different times to get the measure rescinded by the city commission and placed on the ballot.

    Their main argument is that an ordinance protecting the rights of gays and lesbians in hiring, housing and public accommodation isn't necessary. They say discrimination against gays and lesbians simply doesn't happen in Kalamazoo.

    "The opposite side cannot site one example of discrimination in housing, employment or public accommodation," Balkema said. "So this discriminatory ordinance is looking for a non-existent problem."

    But David Garcia, the Executive Director of the Kalamazoo Gay and Lesbian Resource Center, says the ordinance is not only necessary, it's past due.

    "When we hear the opposition say that Kalamazoo doesn't need an ordinance because it just doesn't happen here in Kalamazoo, gay people aren't being fired, I'm quick to say come on down here to the Resource Center and volunteer with us for a month, answer the phone calls and you'll see that's' simply not true," Garcia told 24 Hour News 8.
    Balkema was responsible for passing an offensive flyer that has scared residents into voting against the ordinance. The flyer shows pictures of men in women's clothing and stating that they will infiltrate women's bathrooms and commit assault, adding that children will have to share bathrooms with sexual predators.

    Help the campaign One Kalamazoo! Find even more info here.

    Washington Post Columnist Debunks D.C. Anti-Marriage Testimonies

    Metro columnist for the Washington Post, Robert McCartney has written a great editorial debunking the testimonies of D.C. residents who spoke out against the District's marriage equality bill, one of whom said "Once you became a homosexual, you gave up your rights."
    The Rev. Walter E. Fauntroy, the District's first delegate to Congress, was probably the most prestigious person who testified against same-sex marriage. He spoke at the election board hearing about what he sees as the importance of allowing a vote; afterward I asked him about the substance of the issue.

    Fauntroy said that same-sex marriage threatens children. "Every child needs to be bonded to a man and a woman," he said. That ignores research showing that same-sex couples do a perfectly good job of raising children. Also, same-sex couples can already adopt in the District.

    Fauntroy also said the "survival of the species" is at stake. "I have some brilliant friends who are gay, and it bothers me that they're not going to pass those genes on," he said.

    I've got news for Fauntroy. His friends are more likely to pass on their genes, such as by artificial insemination, if they are permitted to marry. He and the other opponents should get out of the way and let them do so.

    Yes on 1 in Maine Claims Their Defaced Signs Is A Hate Crime

    . . . but did they do it themselves?

    VIDEO: Approve Referendum 71 Debates Knights of Columbus

    On Sunday PBS KCTS 9 in Washington state broadcast a debate on Referendum 71 which is asking residents to Approve or Reject the new "everything but marriage" domestic partnership law.

    Chair of Washington Families Standing Together Anne Levinson debates Bob Struble form Knights of Columbus

    A Year Later and Where Are We? A Look at Organizing for Marriage Equality in California

    Guest blogger Rev. Roland Stringfellow is the Coordinator of the Bay Area Coalition of Welcoming Congregations, which is a program of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry located at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA.

    November 4, 2008 – a day history was made. Crowds gather around their television sets waiting for the poll results to come in. A collective breath was held. Parents were holding their children’s hands in anticipation. Celebrations were ready to go. Then the results of the vote were announced – Proposition 8 had passed in California - the shock, the utter disappointment, the insult. Human rights were not being gained, but stripped away from a class of people in one of the most “so-called” progressive states in the nation.

    "California? Really? California took away same-sex marriage?”

    What followed was the blaming and shaming – of campaign organizers, African-Americans, Mormons, the Catholic Church, and people who attend religious service more than once a week (according to the exit polls). The divide between us grew larger though the democratic process of voting.

    Here we are a year later and where do we find ourselves in the fight for marriage equality in California? Two major camps debating on whether to return to the ballot in 2010 or 2012 and we have to ask ourselves the question, “Have we learned from our mistakes?” Are egos and attitudes being altered in order for power to be shared and different voices heard? Has a clear strategy been created and presented? And what about our motivation – are we still angry and humiliated from our loss a year ago that we are planning to return to the polls with revenge? (“I’ll show you who is a second class citizen.”)

    Those of us who are engaged in organizing within faith communities have our own concerns. Whatever the strategy will be for moving forward to regain marriage for all people, we want to see a strong progressive faith message to be a part of the next campaign to counteract the evangelical/religious right arguments made against LGBTQI families.

    A progressive reading of sacred texts looks at the story from the perspective of the marginalized and how to give dignity to God’s creation. For example, 1 Samuel chapter 16, verse 7 tells us, “God does not look at the things we look at. We look at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart." And Acts 10:15 reads, "Do not (emphasis added) call anything impure that God has made clean." Do not call anything impure, or abomination, or pervert, or freak, faggot, tomboy, he/she, twisted that God has made clean. In other words, do not reject anything that God has accepted and God HAS accepted what was created.

    We know from John 3:16 that God has a fierce love and acceptance for everyone and with God there is no east nor west, no divisions, no categories, and no sub-classes. Marriage equality is a “no-brainer” for progressive people of faith because it gives gay and lesbian couples and their families the dignity they deserve.

    There are many wonderful, hard working individuals who are putting their hearts on the line as they strive to make our world a more accepting and loving place for LGBTQI people and to make marriage equality a reality for us all. If our goal is to repair the divisions that exist in our society as we work for equality, we must examine and ask ourselves, “Do divisions exist within our movement for equality”?
    “We would love to have a Latino/a on our board, but we don’t know where they are? We would love to have a gay Catholic or gay Mormon to help us with messaging to the Catholic and/or Mormon Church, but do any exist?”
    The answer is “Yes.” Many of us are waiting to be included and to contribute to the movement for equality. One of the best ways to work towards inclusion is to recognize every human being has value. If we sincerely value others (even those who are different from us), then inviting diverse voices to the decision making table will not be so difficult. Also, those wanting to be invited to the table must take the responsibility of stepping up and speaking out in order to be known. If we, as LGBTQI people want acceptance from the communities we live in, then we must first begin to model that acceptance and look for ways of being inclusive within our own movements.

    I really am an optimist, but I feel we will have a repeat of a defeat at the polls if we cannot agree on a solitary strategy and remain on point with our messaging. Attempts have already been made to try to get as many people to a decision making table as possible and the results were not that great. Well, if at first you don’t succeed … Let us not think working towards equality will be easy or popular. Some have paid with their very lives to see people with differences holding hands in unity.

    On November 2 of 2009, many faith congregations will be opening their doors to allow people from their community to come and pray for unity and healing from the November 4, 2008 passage of Proposition 8 and to stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in Maine and Washington state who will be facing similar efforts to repeal marriage rights for same-sex couples. “Keeping the Faith for Equality” interfaith worship services will be held in multiple communities throughout California so people of faith can hold hands with marriage equality activists as we begin to show a different picture of what working together looks like. May we, who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer or questioning, be the very ones who model for our community and world what it looks like to be loving and accepting of those who are different from us

    Keeping the Faith for Equality

    VIDEO: Take a "Stand" for Maine - View NO on 1's New Ad and ACT!

    Earlier today, Yes on 1 revealed its new scary ad just in time for Halloween. NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality has quickly countered with their message discipline of equality.

    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.

    VIDEO: A New Yes on 1 Ad Called "It's Already Happening" Just in Time for a Halloween Scare!

    At this point in the game, their misinformation and scare tactics sound like, "Blah blah blah blah blah blah BOO!" Fitting for Halloween.

    The soundtrack for this ad should've been the creepy Halloween piano playing in the background. But stop. That would be another copyright infringement!

    Maybe Marc Mutty, chair of Yes on 1, should dress up as a gay teacher (whatever that looks like - it could prove to be rather boring) and scare his volunteers into action for the holiday. Because from what I understand, their field effort is pretty shoddy.

    Especially compared to NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality. (A new ad from them is coming soon!)

    Rex Wockner reports, "There are 8,000 volunteers working on the campaign to stop the National Organization for Marriage from taking away gay and lesbian Mainers' right to marry. There are 5 days to go.

    "More volunteers are still needed for two of NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality's projects: Drive for Equality, and Call for Equality."

    You can read the rest of Rex's post for more information, or see below or click on the big 3-2-1 graphic at the top of this blog that gives you a ton more information.

    ACTION: Help Maine become the first state to pass marriage equality at the ballot!
    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.

    How To Save Marriage In Your Pajamas

    Reporter Rex Wockner is in Maine covering the Question 1 referendum. Upon visiting NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality headquarters, he was immediately made aware of the pressing need for people everywhere, no matter where they live, to volunteer. They can do it from home! Or as Rex put it, "How to save marriage in your pajamas."
    Karin Roland of the NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality Online Communications Team. Karin needs you. Badly. Right now...

    Here's what Karin needs. This. Basically, Karin needs you to get trained fast, then make lots of phone calls to Maine from wherever you are. It won't cost you anything. The software calls you. Your phone number won't be revealed. Caller ID will show the NO on 1 office number.

    "Call for Equality is critical to our plan to reach all the voters in Maine we need to reach," Roland told me in an interview. "We literally need to make hundreds of thousands of dials through that program -- and in order to do that, we know we need several hundred more people to sign up. You can sign up and get trained now, and start calling now, and then you'll be all set to call on election day."

    "We're calling people who we believe support marriage equality," Roland said. "That is a no vote on Question 1. We are confirming that they support marriage equality -- and the vast majority of them do -- and we are urging them to vote early if they support marriage equality -- to vote no on 1 early. Voting early is the best thing that our supporters in Maine can do to help us right now because it lets us take them off our list for election day. We have to literally make over half a million calls in the last week of this campaign, but if you vote today, you just take one of those calls off of our list."
    I know I'm like a broken record when it comes to volunteering for Maine, but it's THAT important. Remember how frustrated you felt after the passage of Prop 8? Be a part of victory this time around. Believe me, you'll feel great.


    Wednesday, October 28, 2009

    VIDEO: Watch Today's Question 1 Public Debate in Maine

    With incredible thanks to NGBlog, here is today's public debate on Maine's Question 1 broadcasted by WMTW.

    VIDEO: Anti-LGBT Crazy Trio Draw Small Numbers to Their Maine Press Conference, But What a Show!

    Thanks to Pam Spaulding, I was able to get my hands on some full audio of the press conference held by the anti-LGBT nutball trio Peter LaBarbera, Brian Camenker and Paul Madore.

    First is LaBarbera.

    Second, Camenker.

    Video clips from the press conference and one-on-one interviews after.

    Paul Madore:


    Paul Madore was asked if he'd informed the anti-marriage equality Yes on 1 campaign about his press conference. He replied, "We informed the diocese. Yes."

    These guys claimed to be working "in union" with the Yes on 1 campaign and the Diocese of Maine, but I think someone forgot to tell the Yes people. Their statement about today's press conference: "Whatever words were said, are their own and have no ties the 'Yes on 1' campaign."

    Swift in action as always, NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality's campaign manager Jesse Connolly made a confident appearance at the press conference and was able to give a sharp rebuttal to the press.

    Following is the press release given by the NO on 1 campaign:

    NO on 1 Campaign Slams Anti-Gay, Anti-Marriage Equality Attacks

    Radical Hate Groups Come to Maine State House

    Portland, Maine (October 28, 2009)---Jesse Connolly, the NO on 1 campaign manager, today released the following statement regarding the press event by the Maine Grassroots Coalition and Stand for Marriage Maine at the State House. In addition to featuring Paul Madore of the Maine Grassroots Coalition, who is responsible for some viscous, anti-gay print advertisements (see attached), the event also featured Brian Camenker of MassResistance and Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth, two well-known
    anti-gay organizations.

    "This is not the new face of the Yes campaign, it's been there all along. They can swap out their TV ads from attacks that have been called baseless by the Maine Attorney General and Maine newspapers across the state, to a gentler, softer approach, but the result is the same. They don't believe in treating all Maine families equally and these national and local spokespeople represent some of the most vitriolic, anti-gay voices in the country.

    "They can't have it both ways -- to pretend to back civil rights, yet stand behind a group like Mass Resistance which is one of only 11 designated anti-gay hate groups listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center. And they can't stand behind Peter LaBarbera who has attacked Ben & Jerry's, supported rescinding women's right to vote and believes we should return to the Old Testament where gay people were stoned. And they can't stand behind Paul Madore and the Maine Grassroots Coalition which is behind some of the most anti-gay hate speech over the last 20 years.

    "It won't wash. It doesn't fly. And we call on the Yes campaign to stop the attacks and get back to talking about what's really at stake in this election -- and that's whether or not we will treat all loving, committed Maine couples and their families equally under the law.

    "And I'd like to hear what the leadership and the big funders of the Stand for Marriage campaign have to say about the hate-filled speech we heard today in our State House. Are they in line with these people and these organizations or will they disavow what was said?"

    See local Maine affiliate WMTW's news report.

    It will be interesting to see Yes on 1 separate themselves from this muck.

    Federal Judge Rules Against National Organization for Marriage in Maine

    A federal judge has ruled against the anti-marriage equality the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) who requested special rights by pushing the courts to suspend Maine's campaign donor reporting requirements for ballot initiatives.

    However, this won't have any immediate impact on Tuesday's elections or the fact that NOM has bankrolled 60% of the Yes on 1 campaign thus far.

    Unfortunately, this ruling will not affect American Principles in Action (APIA) who is attempting to air two disgusting and perverted ads in Maine, and they are refusing to disclose who funded the ads.

    Maine's ethics commission voted October 1 to investigate NOM after Fred Karger of Californians Against Hate filed a complaint that they were not reporting donor names.

    “In over 30 years in politics, I have never seen such a blatant disregard for the law as Maggie Gallagher and Brian Brown are doing in Maine,” said Karger. “They are up to their old tricks. They did the same thing in California when their apparent creator, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) became the target of an investigation by that state’s Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC). The FPPC began an unprecedented investigation of the Salt Lake City based Church (Case #08-735), and the National Organization for Marriage nearly one year ago. NOM sued every top election official in California in order to keep the contributors to last year’s Proposition 8 secret as well.”

    The ethics commission's investigation isn't expected to be complete until November 19.

    The lawsuit, meanwhile, will carry on. Jim Bopp, lawyer for NOM, says Maine's reporting requirements violate the Constitution's First Amendment.

    Not a good day for Yes on 1. They're so desperate, they've unleashed the nutjobs on Maine's innocent citizens.

    Top Image: created with much wit by Mike Tidmus
    Right Image: from Californians Against Hate

    VIDEO: President Obama Signs Hate Crimes Prevention Act into Law

    Today marked a historical occasion when President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act which included the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

    "The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, praised President Barack Obama today for signing the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act into law," said a press release issued by HRC. "The new law gives the Justice Department the power to investigate and prosecute bias-motivated violence where the perpetrator has selected the victim because of the person's actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability."

    "This law honors our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender brothers and sisters whose lives were cut short because of hate," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "Today's signing of the first major piece of civil rights legislation to protect LGBT Americans represents a historic milestone in the inevitable march towards equality. Although this is a major step in fighting the scourge of hate violence, it is not the end of the road. As a community, we will continue to dedicate ourselves to changing not only laws but also hearts and minds. We know that hate crimes not only harm individuals, but they terrorize entire communities. After more than a decade of advocacy, local police and sheriffs' departments now have the full resources of the Justice Department available to them."

    Equality California
    Executive Director Geoff Kors said, "We are thrilled that President Obama has signed this fundamental piece of legislation, which ensures that the federal government will fulfill its obligation to protect all people of this nation, including LGBT people. We applaud the President and Congress for joining California in standing up against violence based on hate. We are especially grateful to Assemblymember Pedro Nava who authored the hate crimes resolution this year, former Senator Sheila Kuehl who authored the original California Hate Crimes Law and the LGBT Caucus and legislators who supported the numerous hate crimes bills and resolutions passed in California.”

    HRC produced a tribute to the Dennis and Judy Shephard for their tireless work the last ten years to get this legislation passed and signed into law.

    You can send them a note of thanks at

    For more extensive coverage, check out reporter Karen Ocamb's amazing post at LGBT POV.

    Watch the president's reception live tonight at 6pm EST/3pm PST

    Court Victory for Approve Referendum 71; Google Endorses Campaign

    Opponents of the new "everything but marriage" domestic partnership law in Washington state went to court to fight the donor limit law that restricted funding for their Reject Referendum 71 campaign. They requested an emergency lift on the law.

    They didn't get the response they wanted. The Seattle Times reports:
    A federal judge has denied emergency requests from a group called Washington Family PAC, which wanted to suspend a ban on large campaign contributions and a requirement to identify donors.

    The brand-new political action committee said that the laws were blocking its ability to collect last-minute political contributions in the week before Washington's general election.

    A full hearing on the case has not been set.

    In other Referendum 71 news, Google has decided to speak up in favor of the Approve 71 campaign which seeks to APPROVE the new domestic partnership law. They sent a letter to the editor of Seattle PI voicing their support.
    To the Editor:

    Google has a reputation for actively participating in policy debates surrounding information access, technology and energy. However, we do not generally take positions on social, legal or political issues that arise beyond our normal, day-to-day business. With that said, there are issues that are so important and so clear cut that we feel compelled to lend our voice. Supporting Referendum 71 is one of those issues.

    To be clear, we respect the strongly-held beliefs that people have on both sides of this argument. Nevertheless, we see this debate as one that comes down to equality, plain and simple. If we believe in equal protection under the law we must, in our view, support a man or woman's right to enjoy the legal benefits of domestic partnerships -- no matter who they love.

    For the residents of Washington who want for themselves or their children the right to engage in domestic partnerships, we urge the voters of this state to APPROVE Referendum 71.

    Brian Bershad - Engineering and Site Director, Google Seattle

    Scott Silver - Engineering and Site Director, Google Kirkland
    Get involved! Go to Approve Referendum 71 and protect LGBT rights!

    A Trio of Anti-LGBT Nutballs to Hold Press Conference in Maine

    UPDATE: See the press conference.

    When you're struggling during a big, important battle, wouldn't you pull out all the stops? That's what Yes on 1 campaign is doing.

    Three major wingnuts will be holding a press conference today in Maine at the Hall of Flags at the State House right about . . . now. (Video will be forthcoming). So who are the Three Musketeers?

    Jeremy at Good as You has the scoop:
    -Brian Camenker: The leader of one of only eleven organizations to be so extreme, that they've chosen by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an official anti-gay hate group.

    -Peter LaBarbera: So heated in his hostility, that he sent yours truly a message a few days before his wedding for the sole purpose of condemning the upcoming nuptials.

    -Paul Madore: Longtime cohort of the Christian Civic League of Maine, an organization that has gone so far as to blame LGBT progress for things like bad weather, graffiti, and economic crises.
    The press release that announced the coming of the Christianists:
    The Maine Grassroots Coalition will hold a press conference in the Hall of Flags at the State House in Augusta at 11:00 on Wednesday October 28th, to alert the public to the dangers of the radical homosexual agenda. The press conference will feature three well-known pro-family speakers, Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality, Brian Camenker of Mass Resistance, and Maine's own Paul Madore, from the Maine Grassroots Coalition.

    Paul Madore warns that clever advertising by pro-homosexual groups is trying to portray the Yes on 1 campaign as dominated by out-of-state money, when in fact, the pro-homosexual marriage campaign has raised three times more money than our side. Madore also warns that pro-homosexual marriage groups are recruiting same-sex marriage activists from around the country - including San Francisco - to take "Maine Volunteer Vacations" and campaign against our Peoples Veto.

    Speakers at the press conference will expose the hidden aspects of the radical homosexual agenda, and will reveal how Maine is being manipulated into voting No on 1.
    But luckily, NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality is all over it.
    Jesse Connolly, the NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality campaign manager, will attend the Maine Grassroots Coalition/Stand for Marriage Maine press event this morning at the Hall of Flags in the State House. Among those attending their press event are Brian Camenker of Mass Resistance and Peter LeBarbera of Americans for Truth.

    “To go on Maine television and try, in the last week of the campaign, to pivot from distorting and misleading voters to a message of tolerance just isn't believable," said Connolly. "And now they're bringing two of the most anti-gay leaders in the country to the state capital. It's really pretty shameful."
    Stay tuned for video of the showdown.

    GET INVOLVED! Go to NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality.

    Image: From Towleroad.

    Tuesday, October 27, 2009

    New Poll Shows Approve Referendum 71 Pulling Ahead

    UPDATE 6:00pm PST: An even newer poll just released by SurveyUSA of 561 likely and actual voters showed indicate that 50% would approve Referendum 71 and 43% would reject with 7% still undecided.

    A new poll of 500 likely voters from Approve Referendum 71, the campaign that is asking Washington state residents to approve the new "everything but marriage" domestic partnership law, shows they hold a slight lead with 53% and opponents losing support at 36%.

    The Approve 71 campaign celebrated the news but cautioned against complacency. Anne Levinson, chairwoman of the campaign, said in a press release, "This is both good--and cautionary--news. These results show that when voters understand what the domestic partnership law is--and the many families who will be harmed if it is repealed--they will vote to approve it.

    "Yet, we also know that in an off-year election, older, more conservative voters turn out in greater numbers. While there is broad statewide support for treating all families equally, those who vote will determine the outcome of this election," Levinson continued. "This poll makes a very clear point: those who want to ensure that legal protections aren't taken away from gay and lesbian families absolutely have to vote."

    Approve 71 campaign manager Josh Friedes noted that only a small percentage of voters have turned in their ballots so far.

    "What our poll shows us is that if supportive voters cast their ballots, we will win. That's why getting fair-minded voters to cast their ballots on time is so important—we're seeing ballots from less urban parts of the state being sent in, while voters in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties are not yet mailing their ballots in large numbers,” said Friedes.

    ”We are also reaching out to younger voters—who often don’t vote in offyear elections—to mail in their ballots," added Friedes. "Younger voters could make a big difference since they tend to be more supportive, and many are not included in the poll because they are not considered likely voters.

    "We need people to spend the five minutes to fill-out the ballot. And then we need them to actually put a stamp on the envelope—or two stamps if they live in Pierce County—and mail it.

    "Basic legal protections for thousands of committed couples hinge on this simple act," concluded Friedes. "Our message is 'Vote now!'"

    Help the Approve Referendum 71. Volunteer and help Get Out the Vote!

    Director of Oscar Winning 'Crash' Leaves Scientology Due to Their Prop 8 Support

    Director Paul Haggis, who helmed Oscar's 2005 Best Picture Crash (and beat Brokeback Mountain in an upset, grrr) and Million Dollar Baby, has officially left the Church of Scientology due to their support of Proposition 8.

    In a biting letter to the church's spokesman Tommy Davis, Haggis regrets taking so long to take action but reminds Davis that he had waited long enough for appropriate action from the church to correct their wrongs.

    Blogger Mark Rathbun, who broke the story and posted the letter says, "I received a copy of a letter sent to Tommy Davis written by a rather influential person. The source who provided this was a third party recipient of the letter and was able to establish to my satisfaction that the letter is authentic."

    An excerpt:
    As you know, for ten months now I have been writing to ask you to make a public statement denouncing the actions of the Church of Scientology of San Diego. Their public sponsorship of Proposition 8, a hate-filled legislation that succeeded in taking away the civil rights of gay and lesbian citizens of California – rights that were granted them by the Supreme Court of our state – shames us.

    I called and wrote and implored you, as the official spokesman of the church, to condemn their actions. I told you I could not, in good conscience, be a member of an organization where gay-bashing was tolerated.

    In that first conversation, back at the end of October of last year, you told me you were horrified, that you would get to the bottom of it and “heads would roll.” You promised action. Ten months passed. No action was forthcoming. The best you offered was a weak and carefully worded press release, which praised the church’s human rights record and took no responsibility. Even that, you decided not to publish.

    The church’s refusal to denounce the actions of these bigots, hypocrites and homophobes is cowardly. I can think of no other word. Silence is consent, Tommy. I refuse to consent.
    Rathbun says, "Paul Haggis is no joke." I concur.

    I applaud Haggis for his bravery in leaving a church that is infamous for scaring church members into submission and threatening them if they attempt to leave.

    I have defended members of different religions and denominations for sticking by their churches even though they may disagree with their leadership's persecution of LGBT rights. But if Paul Haggis can extricate himself from the ironclad clutches of Scientology, maybe so can many other Catholics, protestants and evangelicals who support LGBT equality.

    Oh, and as Elizabeth Snead said on Los Angeles Times blog The Dish Rag, "Maybe there’s hope for Tom Cruise and John Travolta."

    ONLY 7 DAYS LEFT UNTIL ELECTIONS! We Can Win in Maine and Washington, But Only With Your Help!

    From the NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality campaign:
    We've got one week to Election Day. And what is the Yes campaign doing? Throwing everything but the kitchen sink at marriage equality.

    Change the subject. Divert voters. Mislead reporters. And never, never talk about fairness or equality for all loving couples and their families.

    Won't you help us cut through these lies and distortions? Will you help us speak directly to Maine voters and get our supporters to the polls to vote NO on 1?

    This election will come down to turnout. And we are counting on out-of-state volunteers -- people like you -- to make help us make the difference in an off-year election.

    You can help us preserve marriage equality in Maine and stave off a crushing defeat.

    If you have a phone and an internet connection, we need your help today. Please sign up now for a CALL FOR EQUALITY training/call shift today to make calls to Maine voters from home:

    Sign-up for a 6:30pm EST training/call shift tonight by clicking here.

    If you can't join us today, you can still call -- find another shift here.

    Voters are voting NOW -- by email and at early voting locations. That means we need a "virtual phonebank" to lob in calls to Maine voters who will make the difference between victory and defeat on election night.

    If you've never made phone calls to voters, it's easy. You'll almost always be talking with a Maine voter who supports marriage equality. We will personally train you over the phone before your shift, give you a script and all of the information you need to make these critical calls . . .

    This election could come down to a handful of voters. And, often, an extra nudge from a supporter like you is what motivates someone to vote. Please click here to sign up and get started making calls from home today.
    If you live here in California, find out how you can help by either joining up with Equality California or Vote For Equality.

    In Washington state, they're down to the wire. They can win this election! The biggest challenge facing the Approve Referendum 71 campaign is getting their support base out and into the ballot booths.

    Go here to find out where you can join up with a phone bank and urge supporters to make that vote! Polls show every vote will count. Make that difference!

    Governor Baldacci Joins Maine Families in Bangor For Final GOTV Push For NO on 1

    Great press release from NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality.

    Bangor, Maine (October 27, 2009) – Governor John E. Baldacci together with Maine families and volunteers including area legislators and elected officials gathered today at the home of Sally Dobres in Bangor to urge Maine people to vote NO on Question 1.

    "In the past, I opposed gay marriage while supporting the idea of civil unions," Governor Baldacci said. "I came to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage."

    "The law guarantees that Maine citizens will be treated equally under Maine's civil marriage laws, and that is the responsibility of government. The law does not force any religion to recognize a marriage that falls outside of its beliefs. It does not require the church to perform any ceremony with which it disagrees. Instead, it reaffirms the separation of Church and State," Governor Baldacci said.

    "This is an emotional issue that touches deeply many of our most important ideals and traditions. There are good, earnest and honest people on both sides of the question," continued Governor Baldacci. “I did not come to my decision lightly or in haste. My responsibility as Governor is to uphold the Constitution and do, as best as possible, what is right. I believe that signing the legislation was the right thing to do.”

    The event marks the beginning of the NO on 1 Campaign’s Get-Out-the-Vote program with thousands of volunteers all across the state contacting family, friends and neighbors to remind them to vote NO on Question 1.

    Governor Baldacci recognized the tireless work of campaign volunteers, encouraging them to continue their efforts through November 3. He also recognized several area legislators present at the event and commended them on their thoughtful deliberations of the issue.

    Although unable to attend the event, State Senator Chris Rector offered the following comments, “I voted for the marriage equality bill because it was clear that my constituents supported it. I also came to believe that it was the right thing to do for the state of Maine. The law should treat all Mainers equally, it’s that simple. I hope the law the Legislature passed is upheld on Nov 3rd.”

    Ray and Connie Winship, retired teachers who live in Fairfield and currently co-chair the Waterville Universalist Unitarian Church Welcoming Congregation Program said their commitment to equality began in 1993.

    “We’ve been speaking out all these years and will continue to speak out because we want Maine people to know that discrimination happens and we want them to know how much it hurts the victims and their families,” said Ray Winship. “Let’s prove, once and for all, that Maine won’t discriminate,” added Connie Winship.

    Bev and Sue Uhlenhake, who have a one-year-old son, are disheartened by the challenge to the marriage equality law. Both women grew up believing that marriage is the foundation of a family and want that strong foundation for their own family. She believes that the vote is all about children.

    “This vote IS about my child. Marriage equality will absolutely affect him. He deserves the right to have parents who are more than legal strangers. He deserves married parents, and that’s what I’m asking my fellow citizens of Maine to make happen today. It is now time to say NO. Say NO to inequality. Say NO to discrimination. Say NO to Question 1,” said Bev Uhlenhake.

    According to NO on 1 Campaign manager Jesse Connolly, the Get-Out-the-Vote effort over the next seven days will involve thousands of volunteers across the state who will talk with friends and neighbors, staff phone bank operations, and knock on doors reminding supporters to vote NO on 1 for equality and fairness for all Maine families.

    "The key to winning this election is getting our supporters out to vote. This is a true grassroots effort and we continue to be overwhelmed by the level of support and energy," said Connolly. "Mainers have dug deep, whether that's manning extra nights at our phone banks, double shifts knocking on doors, or writing another check.”