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Here’s an extremely inspiring video of various religious, labor, and civil rights  leaders (including Eric Lee of SCLC) as well as those who worked so hard to put the powerful “Meet In the Middle 4 Equality” march and rally together (Robin McGehee) yesterday.  This video is from just prior to the 14 mile march from Selma, CA to the MITM4E rally in Fresno, CA.  Big thanks to Unite the Fight for these videos, as well as getting the live feed of the rally on ustream. Read the rest of this entry »

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Unite the Fight will have a live feed from the “Meet In the Middle 4 Equality” rally in Fresno, CA, today at 1pm PST on USTREAM. You can also see videos from the 14 mile equality march from Selma, CA to Fresno, CA on Unite the Fight’s qik site. To see these folks marching for 14 miles in over 90 degree heat is pretty darn inspirational to me, and makes me very proud of them. Saw San Diego in the house, as well as Planned Parenthood, in this video. Also great to see folks representing us straight allies!

You can also follow “Meet In the Middle 4 Equality” by putting #mitm4e in the search box on Twitter for up-to-the-minute tweets.

Best of luck to everyone involved in today’s equality rally and march!

***Live feed for “Meet In the Middle 4 Equality” just went up @ 12:40pm PST…they’re welcoming the 14 mile equality marchers. :)***

Dear GLBTQ community,

Please know that not everyone in California thinks the way those who voted Yes on Prop 8 do. Please know that the illogical decision handed down by the Supreme Court of California WILL be challenged. Please know that you have countless straight allies, such as myself, out there who are ready, willing, and able to continue to fight with you to gain equality in every aspect of the law.  Please know that you ARE valued individuals (not second class citizens), that who you love should NOT matter, and the fact that you continue to stand firm in your love in the face of this ignorance is still truly amazing to me.  Don’t be discouraged for too long,  don’t look at every person and wonder how they voted, don’t think that things will never change, and don’t give up hope.  Everything is just going to take a bit longer than anticipated or hoped for, but change WILL come and I look forward to being right there with you when it does.

Much love and admiration,

Laura Read the rest of this entry »

News just broke that the Supreme Court of California will file its decision on the constitutionality and validity of Proposition 8, this coming Tuesday, May 26th at 10:00 a.m.  Click here for the official court notice of filing, and here for “Day of Decision” rallies.

One can only hope that a just decision will be handed down, that love will prevail, and that equality will finally be extended to each and EVERY Californian regardless of who they choose to marry.

***Added after the Supreme Court of CA upheld Prop 8: Open letter to the GLBTQ community in California regarding Prop 8 (video)

Tomorrow is a HUGE day for those in California (gay, straight, trans, and everything in between!) who believe in equal rights FOR ALL, in this case the right for everyone to marry the person they love. Of course it isn’t JUST for those in California since this outcome will send a signal to the rest of our country and the world. Fingers crossed it’s a signal of equality and hope. Please watch the following video and TAKE PART in tonight’s vigils across not only California, but other areas of the country.

This anticipation of change is exciting folks, it’s REALLY exciting.

From Eve of Justice:

EVE OF JUSTICE

Candle

The Eve of Justice: Lighting the way for the Supreme Court

Chico Costa Mesa Delano Fort Bragg Fresno Kernville Long Beach
Los Angeles Mariposa Miami, Florida Modesto Napa New York Palm Springs
Palo Alto Phoenix, Arizona Riverside Roseville Sacramento San Diego San Francisco
San Jose San Luis Obispo San Mateo Santa Barbara Santa Cruz Santa Maria Stockton
Thousand Oaks Tulsa, Oklahoma Tucson, Arizona Tuolumne Ukiah Ventura Visalia

Wednesday, March 4 is the day before the California Supreme Court hears oral arguments on the validity of Prop 8. That evening, we’ll stand together and send a unified message to our fellow Californians, including the Supreme Court Justices, that individual liberties like the right to marry are guaranteed by the Constitution to everyone and cannot be stripped away at the ballot box by a bare majority. Just as important, we will give our love and support to all the families headed by same-sex couples who are threatened by the recent electoral outcome, as well as same-sex couples whose hopes and dreams of marriage and family have been frustrated by enactment of Prop 8.

To read the parties’ filings and the dozens of amicus ‘friend of the court’ briefs filed on behalf of Civil Rights Organizations, Bar Associations, Academics, Women’s Groups, Faith and Religious Groups, and many others go to http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/courts/supreme/highprofile/prop8.htm

March 5th – Supreme Court Oral Argument Hearing 9am to noon.

Television viewing: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/courts/supreme/highprofile/prop8viewing.htm

Local Public Viewings: Check your local city for viewing locations as they become available.

Equality should not be put up for a popular vote.

• Prop 8 is a radical and unprecedented change to the California Constitution that puts all Californians at risk.
• Prop 8 defeats the very purpose of our constitution, which is to protect minorities and to make sure the law treats everyone equally.
• This is the first time the initiative process has successfully been used to change the California Constitution to take away a fundamental freedom from a particular group and to mandate government discrimination against a minority.
• If prop 8 is upheld, the courts will no longer have a meaningful role in protecting minority groups or women, since any decision prohibiting discrimination could be reversed by a simple majority.

Nationwide/Statewide Sponsors of Eve of Justice

Marriage Equality USA Human Rights Campaign EQCA Join The Impact
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation PFLAG COLAGE National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Courage Campaign California Faith for Equality Progressive Jewish Alliance Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry, California Amnesty International Gay-Straight Alliance Network

This election is something I obviously felt quite strongly about, not only on the presidential level, but especially with some California propositions I took to heart; Prop 2, Prop 4, Prop 8.  One would think that with my choice for President, Barack Obama, being swept into office, and two of the propositions I felt strongly about all going the way I had hoped, I would be running to my blog, sharing my happiness and thanking everyone who voted the same way I did.  But the joy at seeing my beloved country make the historic choice it did for President, was unfortunately overwhelmingly deflated when I realized that the majority of my fellow Californians who took the time to vote on Proposition 8 (defining marriage as only between a man and a woman, thereby stripping away the civil rights of the GLBT community to marry the person they love) voted to support this antiquated, hateful, and discriminatory proposition. 

This has affected me in a profound and extended way which admittedly has surprised me.  I’m not gay.  I’m not married, and don’t have any mad desire to be (have already traveled down that road).  But why should I have rights my friends and neighbors don’t have just because I was born straight?  Why should my love for someone else be deemed “appropriate” and “legal” just because as a female I may want to wed a man and not a woman?  I don’t get it folks, I really, really don’t.  I don’t get how someone thinks that they have the right, usually based on their religious beliefs, to legislate who someone else can spend their life with, who they can love and be with.  I don’t get the hate–and yes it’s hate so don’t try to sugarcoat it–that people have for others who believe in something different from what they might believe in. 

And where is this unbelievable hell that we are all supposed to descend into if gay people are allowed to marry?  They’ve had the legal right in California for several months now, and I’m not seeing the heterosexual marriages needing protection from that.  I’m not seeing the marriages of straight folks falling apart any faster than they already were.  And have your children come home from school over the past months, suddenly preaching “the gay lifestyle” because they are being indoctrinated into it at their public school?  Hmmm, the sky has not been falling Chicken Little?  Say it ain’t so! 

How ridiculous all of this is.  Ridiculous that this proposition even made it to the ballot, especially considering our State courts have already stated that disallowing gay marriage is unconstitutional.  This is definitely going back into the courts which is only going to extend the divisiveness, the hate, and the pain being inflicted upon members of the GLBT community who have to face each day knowing that other human beings are considering them to be second class citizens without the right to love the person they choose and have that love be acknowledged legally in marriage.

Do any of you that voted yes on Prop 8 REALLY think that you will be keeping gay marriages from being legal for all time?  Really?  Do you really feel so strongly about the issue that you are willing to spend your time fighting against equality for all?  Is there nothing you could be spending your time on more productively?  Really?  How sad it is that you choose to spend even a second of your life fighting against love.  I feel for you.  I really do.  What a sad little life you have if needing to strip away the rights of others is a priority for you.  Sad and pitiful.  Shame on you, narrow-minded, hateful person, shame on you.

Transcript of Keith Olbermann’s “Special Comment” on gay marriage

Finally tonight as promised, a Special Comment on the passage, last week, of Proposition Eight in California, which rescinded the right of same-sex couples to marry, and tilted the balance on this issue, from coast to coast.

Some parameters, as preface. This isn’t about yelling, and this isn’t about politics, and this isn’t really just about Prop-8.  And I don’t have a personal investment in this: I’m not gay, I had to strain to think of one member of even my very extended family who is, I have no personal stories of close friends or colleagues fighting the prejudice that still pervades their lives.

And yet to me this vote is horrible. Horrible. Because this isn’t about yelling, and this isn’t about politics. This is about the human heart, and if that sounds corny, so be it.

If you voted for this Proposition or support those who did or the sentiment they expressed, I have some questions, because, truly, I do not understand. Why does this matter to you? What is it to you? In a time of impermanence and fly-by-night relationships, these people over here want the same chance at permanence and happiness that is your option. They don’t want to deny you yours. They don’t want to take anything away from you. They want what you want—a chance to be a little less alone in the world.

Only now you are saying to them—no. You can’t have it on these terms. Maybe something similar. If they behave. If they don’t cause too much trouble.  You’ll even give them all the same legal rights—even as you’re taking away the legal right, which they already had. A world around them, still anchored in love and marriage, and you are saying, no, you can’t marry. What if somebody passed a law that said you couldn’t marry?

I keep hearing this term “re-defining” marriage. If this country hadn’t re-defined marriage, black people still couldn’t marry white people. Sixteen states had laws on the books which made that illegal in 1967. 1967.

The parents of the President-Elect of the United States couldn’t have married in nearly one third of the states of the country their son grew up to lead. But it’s worse than that. If this country had not “re-defined” marriage, some black people still couldn’t marry black people. It is one of the most overlooked and cruelest parts of our sad story of slavery. Marriages were not legally recognized, if the people were slaves. Since slaves were property, they could not legally be husband and wife, or mother and child. Their marriage vows were different: not “Until Death, Do You Part,” but “Until Death or Distance, Do You Part.” Marriages among slaves were not legally recognized.

You know, just like marriages today in California are not legally recognized, if the people are gay.

And uncountable in our history are the number of men and women, forced by society into marrying the opposite sex, in sham marriages, or marriages of convenience, or just marriages of not knowing, centuries of men and women who have lived their lives in shame and unhappiness, and who have, through a lie to themselves or others, broken countless other lives, of spouses and children, all because we said a man couldn’t marry another man, or a woman couldn’t marry another woman. The sanctity of marriage.

How many marriages like that have there been and how on earth do they increase the “sanctity” of marriage rather than render the term, meaningless?

What is this, to you? Nobody is asking you to embrace their expression of love. But don’t you, as human beings, have to embrace… that love? The world is barren enough.

It is stacked against love, and against hope, and against those very few and precious emotions that enable us to go forward. Your marriage only stands a 50-50 chance of lasting, no matter how much you feel and how hard you work.

And here are people overjoyed at the prospect of just that chance, and that work, just for the hope of having that feeling.  With so much hate in the world, with so much meaningless division, and people pitted against people for no good reason, this is what your religion tells you to do? With your experience of life and this world and all its sadnesses, this is what your conscience tells you to do?

With your knowledge that life, with endless vigor, seems to tilt the playing field on which we all live, in favor of unhappiness and hate… this is what your heart tells you to do? You want to sanctify marriage? You want to honor your God and the universal love you believe he represents? Then Spread happiness—this tiny, symbolic, semantical grain of happiness—share it with all those who seek it. Quote me anything from your religious leader or book of choice telling you to stand against this. And then tell me how you can believe both that statement and another statement, another one which reads only “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

You are asked now, by your country, and perhaps by your creator, to stand on one side or another. You are asked now to stand, not on a question of politics, not on a question of religion, not on a question of gay or straight. You are asked now to stand, on a question of love. All you need do is stand, and let the tiny ember of love meet its own fate.

You don’t have to help it, you don’t have it applaud it, you don’t have to fight for it. Just don’t put it out. Just don’t extinguish it. Because while it may at first look like that love is between two people you don’t know and you don’t understand and maybe you don’t even want to know. It is, in fact, the ember of your love, for your fellow person just because this is the only world we have. And the other guy counts, too.

This is the second time in ten days I find myself concluding by turning to, of all things, the closing plea for mercy by Clarence Darrow in a murder trial.

But what he said, fits what is really at the heart of this:

“I was reading last night of the aspiration of the old Persian poet, Omar-Khayyam,” he told the judge. It appealed to me as the highest that I can vision. I wish it was in my heart, and I wish it was in the hearts of all: So I be written in the Book of Love; I do not care about that Book above. Erase my name, or write it as you will, So I be written in the Book of Love.” 

So the Yes on Prop 8 folks are at it again–lying, and distorting the truth to meet their low standards!  Guess that’s what a campaign resorts to when they know their issue is flawed, discriminatory, and based on nothing but hate.  This time they targeted African-Americans attempting to have them believe that Barack Obama supports California’s Proposition 8, which he and Joe Biden most definitely do not.  I’ll include the NO on Prop 8 press release with the portion of the statement from the Obama/Biden campaign in blue.  Magic Johnson also says NO on Prop 8 and has recorded a phone message for California voters.  I’ll post the text of the message at the end of this blog.  But first, here’s the newest video from the NO on Prop 8 campaign titled “Divisive”, with words from Barack Obama, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the California Teachers Union, leading California newspapers, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.  (Thankfully he’s right on this issue, but SOOOO wrong on backing McSame/Failin’…sigh.)

No on 8 Reveals New Ad Showing Obama, Schwarzenegger, Feinstein Joining Together Calling for Defeat of Unfair Initiative
Ad Answers Proposition 8’s Dishonest Flyer Targeting African-American Voters

SACRAMENTO – Hours after the Proposition 8 campaign admitted it had mailed a flyer to African-American voters that lies about Sen. Barack Obama’s position on the initiative, the NO on 8 Campaign launched a statewide television ad reminding voters that Sen. Obama, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, as well as the state’s leading newspapers, have all called for the defeat of Proposition 8.

Using the words each of these leaders has used to describe the unfair initiative, the new ad makes clear that Sen. Obama has called Prop 8 “divisive and discriminatory,” that Gov. Schwarzenegger has said “it should never happen,” and Sen. Feinstein closes by telling voters: “No matter how you feel about marriage, vote against discrimination, and Vote NO on 8.”

No on Prop 8 Campaign Slams Dishonest Mailer Targeting African-American Voters
Mailer Misrepresents Sen. Obama Who is Opposed to Proposition 8; Misleading African-American Voters is Clearly the Goal of Deceptive Prop 8 Campaign

SACRAMENTO – The NO on Prop 8 campaign today condemned an official Proposition 8 mailer clearly targeted to African-American voters that completely misrepresents and lies about Sen. Barack Obama’s position on Proposition 8. In fact, the Obama campaign felt compelled to release a new statement tonight making it absolutely clear that he and Joe Biden oppose Prop 8 in the strongest terms.

The mailer, from the Proposition 8 campaign, twists Sen. Obama’s comments about marriage to suggest support for the unfair initiative — when just the opposite is true. In a June 29 letter to the Alice B. Toklas Democratic Club, Sen. Obama wrote that he opposes the “divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution.”

The mailer drew a strong reaction from San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris.

“It is despicable that the Yes on 8 campaign would send out a last minute mailer to the African American community in a clear attempt to mislead voters about Senator Barack Obama’s position on Proposition 8,” said District Attorney Harris. “The leadership of this campaign should issue an immediate retraction and apology for this transparent attempt to deceive the public.”

The Obama letter reads in part:

“As the Democratic nominee for President, I am proud to join with and support the LGBT community in an effort to set our nation on a course that recognizes LGBT Americans with full equality under the law…And that is why I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states. For too long, issues of LGBT rights have been exploited by those seeking to divide us. It’s time to move beyond polarization and live up to our founding promise of equality by treating all our citizens with dignity and respect. This is no less than a core issue about who we are as Democrats and as Americans.”

Tonight, in response to the mailer, the Obama campaign released the following statement:

“Senators Obama and Biden have made clear their commitment to fighting for equal rights for all Americans whether it’s by granting LGBT Americans all the civil rights and benefits available to heterosexual couples, or repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” said a statement issued by campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt. “Senator Obama has already announced that the Obama-Biden ticket opposes Proposition 8 and similar discriminatory constitutional amendments that could roll back the civil rights he and Senator Biden strongly believe should be afforded to all Americans.”

SACRAMENTO – Magic Johnson, enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame after winning five NBA championships as a Los Angeles Laker, and three Most Valuable Player awards, has lent his voice to the chorus of those calling Proposition 8 wrong and unfair.

In a recorded telephone call to California voters, Johnson says:

“This is Magic Johnson calling to ask you to join me and Barack Obama in opposing Proposition 8.

“Prop 8 singles out one group of Californians to be treated differently – including members of our family, our friends, and our coworkers.

“That is not what California is about. So this Tuesday, vote no on Proposition 8. It is unfair and wrong. Thanks.”

The telephone message from Magic Johnson will reach millions of California voters in the final days, urging voters to reject this discriminatory and unfair initiative.

For more information on NO on Prop 8 please visit www.noonprop8.com.

NO on Prop 8 needs ‘on-the-ground’ volunteers for Election Day visibility and talking with folks before they vote.  You can get your training this weekend (as I will be! :)), then do your part on Election Day.  For those of you who don’t live in California, but desperately wish you could help to defeat this hateful and discriminatory proposition, you CAN help by making phone calls to inform registered California voters on the facts.  Click here for more information on volunteer opportunities on both fronts

And it goes without saying that any financial help would be greatly appreciated.  I know times are tough (boy, do I know), but if there’s any amount you can spare it would be put to good use.  The Yes on Prop 8 campaign has had massive amounts of (mostly out-of-state)money come in over the past few days, so the NO on Prop 8 campaign is really struggling to keep up the airing of their television ads which bring the truth about this proposition to light and repudiate the barrage of lies the Yes on Prop 8 ads put forth.  PLEASE help out financially, if you can, or at least on the volunteer front.  Thanks!

The Yes on 8 campaign (California) has constantly been airing despicable television ads full of lies (click here to find out the truth about Prop 8), but to now find out that they have used images of children whose parents have NOT given their permission for their use in the Yes on 8 ad, shows just how disgusting the depths Yes on 8 will go to get their hateful proposition passed.  I have worked in the California school system and know full well the privacy issues involved with allowing the image of ANY child to be published without a parent’s consent.  Putting even that aside, common sense would dictate that anyone the least bit interested in children and families, as the Yes on 8 folks “claim” they are in their ads, would realize that you do NOT place a child’s image in the public eye WITHOUT consent! It will be interesting to see how this plays out and what legal action, if any, the parents can/will take.  I will let the following press release and video tell you the details. 

Outraged Parents of Children Featured in Latest Prop 8 TV Ad Demand that Commercial be Taken off the Air Immediately

Latest Campaign Gimmick Termed Exploitative and Shameless by Parents 

SACRAMENTO – The parents of the two children most prominently featured in the latest multi-million dollar Prop 8 political spot today termed those ads “distasteful and exploitative” and demanded that the ads be taken off the air immediately.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 26, 2008

Contact: Julia Spiess

Phone: 916-601-8282

julia@perrycom.com

Outraged Parents of Children Featured in Latest Prop 8 TV Ad Demand that Commercial be Taken off the Air Immediately

Latest Campaign Gimmick Termed Exploitative and Shameless by Parents

SACRAMENTO – The parents of the two children most prominently featured in the latest multi-million dollar Prop 8 political spot today termed those ads “distasteful and exploitative” and demanded that the ads be taken off the air immediately. Both sets of parents – Laura Hodder and Matt Alexander and Jen Press and James Moore, sent two hand-delivered letters this morning. The first letter is to the Prop 8 Campaign demanding the ad be removed from its television and its Web site where it is being used as a fund raising tool. The second letter to the San Francisco Chronicle asks them to intervene on their behalf. The Prop 8 campaign manipulated video that the Chronicle has posted on its Web site.

In their letter to the Prop 8 campaign, the parents wrote: “We are absolutely outraged that you have chosen, without permission, to shamelessly hijack the images of our innocent children to promote a cause that we in no way, shape or form support. It is even more maddening that you have willfully and calculatingly edited the images of our children, with menacing music in the background, in a way that is completely contrary to their nature and harmful to them.”

The footage manipulated by the Yes campaign, without authorization from either the parents or the Chronicle, was originally captured on Oct. 10 when the children took a field trip with their classmates and several parents to share the moment of their teacher’s wedding to her longtime partner. All parents were notified well in advance of the trip which was organized by some parents, and, in fact, two families chose to have their children not participate under California’s broad opt out law.

“I’m a school principal so I know something about education and parents’ rights,” said Matt Alexander whose son, Ben, is featured in the ad. “And the opt out law is something we readily apply all the time. So, let me join every other educator in the state and ask Prop 8 to also stop lying about the opt out law.”

“This field trip was about sharing a special moment with a teacher these kids love,” said Jen Press whose daughter, Lucy, is prominently featured in the political ad. “To turn around and distort images of our children is outrageous. We’re opposed to Prop 8, but irrespective of our position, it’s wrong to use any image of children without their parents’ permission. And we think every parent in California would agree with us.”

In the letter to the San Francisco Chronicle, the parents wrote, in part:

“Our children are being exploited and used as pawns to further a political cause…We ask that you intervene immediately on our behalf and issue a cease and desist letter to the Yes on 8 campaign. If the campaign does not remove the ad, we ask that you pursue legal action against them.”

Added Jen Press: “Prop 8 claims to be about families, but we’re here to say you can’t be for families by attacking our families. You can’t be for families and take these children’s innocent images and flash them not only on television statewide, but on your fund raising page. This must stop right now.”

Click here to read the letter to the San Francisco Chronicle.(pdf)

Sniffin’ out the info

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