Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bible-Based Marriage

Monday, June 1, 2009

Progress in Nevada? Yes, But We Still Have Work to Do!

(Cross-posted at My Silver State)

It finally happened. In case you missed last night's big news, the Nevada Legislature overrode Idiot-in-Chief Jim Gibbons' veto to make comprehensive domestic partnerships into law. Nevada is the first Mountain West state to offer legal recognition for same-sex couples, and is the first non-coastal state to do so by way of the Legislature. Believe me, I'm quite proud of "my other home state" today.

But hey, our work isn't over yet.

It's quite true that SB 283, the domestic partnership (DP) bill, will go a long way to help LGBT families. Gay and lesbian couples previously had little legal protection under state law. But starting in October, both same-sex and opposite-sex couples can register for a DP and receive largely the same legal rights as married spouses.

Again, this is a major step forward for equality in Nevada. However, it's not enough. We're still dealing with "separate but equal", and we still have far more work to do. Nevada now prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, but not gender identity. The LGBT working poor are still coping with brutal budget cuts to essential social services. And of course, gay & lesbian couples still aren't allowed the dignity and respect of full civil marriage.

I know it's easy for us to look at what happened over the weekend, pat ourselves on the back, and conclude that "gays have rights in Nevada". Perhaps so, but LGBT people still don't have full civil rights and we must keep working to eventually achieve equality for all.

Separate is never equal. LGBT people have the same hopes and dreams as everyone else. Our families deserve to enjoy the same commitment, dignity, and responsibilities of marriage. Our workers, whether they be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, deserve to be safe at work and judged for what they do, not who they are. No one deserves to be discriminated against simply because of one's sexual orientation or gender identity. All people are created equal, and the law should fully recognize that.

So let's celebrate the progress we're making today, then get back to work tomorrow. HRC Nevada did some great work with the SB 283 this year, and hopefully they'll keep it up. The Southern Nevada LGBT Center has never given up, and continues to deserve our support as they support all of our community. Nevada Women's Lobby, Progress Now Nevada, and Progressive Leadership Alliance Nevada are also committed to continue working for LGBT equality.

We're not even halfway through 2009 yet, but we've already seen so many leaps forward and falls backward. I'm heartened and joyful that Nevada's now one of those leaps forward. But hey, we're still just halfway up the stairs. Let's keep going until we achieve full equality.

Meeting in the Middle for Equality in Fresno

(Originally from my updates at OC Progressive)

I had so many questions before last weekend. And honestly, I still don't know exactly what lies ahead. However, I had many of my questions answered as I saw a glimpse of hope rising after the storm.

And yes, believe it or not, my questions were answered in Fresno!

I arrived in Fresno on Friday for Meet in the Middle 4 Equality, and I was already being blown away from the very beginning! Local LGBT civil rights activists, like Meet in the Middle Organizer Robin McGehee and Jay Matthew from Erase the H8, have clearly put together a stellar operation for this weekend. And with support from other state groups like Courage Campaign (Rick Jacobs himself was there!) and OCEC, it looked like the town was already filling up for this one-of-a-kind event.

My friend Linda and I arrived in Fresno just in time for the press conference for local media. Before the radical right could get any start demonizing all of us as "teh homosexual invaezjon army!!111!!!!1", such luminaries as Cleve Jones, Lt. Dan Choi, and Robin Tyler & Diane Olson explained that they're here in Fresno not to provoke controversy but to start dialogue on marriage equality and greater issues of civil rights. Local activists like Robin McGehee also explained that they're here all the time and they're committed to working with allies in other social justice movements to achieve equality for all in The Central Valley.

Not too long after the presser, I checked into the hotel... But only for a few minutes. I then rushed off to the other "first event of Meet in the Middle", which was the pre-party hosted by Equality Army and Erase the H8 with most of the proceeds benefitting Meet in the Middle. I connected with a few old friends, met plenty of new ones, and all around had a blast partying with my fellow queer love warriors. It was a great way to get fired up and ready to go marching the next day!

And speaking of that next day, we started off the morning walking from Selma to Fresno early Saturday morning. Yes, that's right. Hundreds of queer folks and straight (but not narrow!) folks who care about civil rights marched up Golden State Highway, many marching the entire 14.5 mile route, to demonstrate how much we want full equality for all.

We sweated together. We walked together. We jogged and ran together when necessary. But together, we all sent a powerful statement on today's civil rights struggles.

After my group marched for about 10 miles and over 3 hours, we arrived at the rally site in Downtown Fresno. We were greeted by numerous thousands of cheers! And yes, the cheering supporters far outnumbered the scattered few counter-protesters insulting us.

Once all of us marchers arrived for the rally, we were also greeted by some amazing speakers.

Charlize Theron, T.R. Knight, Eric McCormack, Cleve Jones, Rick Jacobs, Robin McGehee, Robin Tyler, and many more came to speak. But more importantly, the progressive grassroots from the Central Valley was present... And was backed up by many good activists from all over California.

I met wonderful new friends in Fresno. I chatted with old friends from Courage Campaign. I hanged with my BFFs from OCEC. It was truly a beautiful experience.

This truly felt like the start of the movement to repeal Prop H8, the start of a new way forward on securing equality in California and nationwide. I had so many questions before last weekend. And honestly, I still don't know exactly what lies ahead. However, I had many of my questions answered as I saw a glimpse of hope rising after the storm.

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to stay in Fresno for the LGBT Leadership Summit. Remember when I told you all about that Equality Summit in LA in January? Well, it looks like we've all learned some important lessons since then. Courage Campaign and Equality California are getting along better. Most activists are ready to move on from the past. And yes, we're mostly ready to build a winning campaign for 2010 and beyond!

Yep, it seemed like this time we didn't have a problem coming together. And really, that's what we all need to do in order to secure our civil rights once and for all. We've survived the mistakes of the past, so now we need to work together to build a better future.

I feel like I saw a glimpse of the future in Fresno last weekend. I saw it with the young students who are organizing their schools. I saw it with the various grassroots Equality Teams from all over the state that are committed to changing hearts and minds one door knock at a time. I saw it with the new outreach strategies that aim to educate by showing the people in our community, not hiding them. This is the future, and I hope I'll be seeing much more of it in the days ahead.

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Fear & Loathing in California... There's an Election Next Week!

Believe it or not, California will be voting next week. Yes, thanks to this state's dysfunctional "democracy" we will have yet another election. And this time, we're promised to see fire and brimstone rain down upon the state!

The Governor's decision to roll out an early May [budget revision] puts into perspective some of the very ugly cuts that the Legislature will have to make in the next few months. Yet some opponents of the May 19th ballot initiatives seem to think this is nothing but a pre-election PR ploy. Think again. These proposals are very, very real.

Progressives like [State Assembly] Speaker Karen Bass and [State Senate Pro-tem] Darrell Steinberg already are warning that the magnitude of the cuts that will need to be made are so severe that there isn't much "protecting" they will be able to do. Traditional Democratic allies already are preparing for the worst, as no one expects the new Republican leaders Sen. Dennis Hollingworth and Assemblymember Sam Blakeslee to even entertain the thought of revenue increases. Even fee increases may be off the bargaining table, as well as borrowing.

This is going to be ugly folks. And even uglier if the props don't fast [sic?]. The Governor's action is, at the very least, serving to show the public that the legislative leaders haven't been crying wolf.

So what are we to believe? Will California sink into the Pacific if the May 19 Special Election Initiatives fail? Or is this whole discussion "fail"?

Let's get real. We have no good choices right now in California. Thanks to both "The Great Recession" and three decades of awful radical right tax policy, this state is in a fiscal abyss.

So what are we to do? If we're to believe the "Yes on 1A-1F" campaign, passing these initiatives is our only hope. The Governator has just released a truly disastrous budget proposal, but we may not have any other choice if the May 19 initiatives fail.

Or do we? Robert at Calitics mentioned today an article by Joe Stiglitz and Peter Orszag explaining why it's better for us to tax thr rich than cut the poor.

Consumers buy less and businesses produce less when the economy is weak. Therefore,
the key to promoting the state's economic growth in the short run is to encourage spending on goods and services. Stiglitz writes: "In a recession, you want to raise (or not decrease) the level of total spending - by households, businesses and government - in the economy. That keeps people employed and buying things, and makes it more likely that businesses will want to invest to serve that consumer demand." However, state spending reductions have the opposite effect: Each dollar less that the state spends generally reduces consumption by the same amount. This dollar-for-dollar reduction in consumption tends to occur because state spending cuts disproportionately affect lower-income Californians, who typically spend all of their incomes. For example, every dollar of cash payments to low-income families that the state cuts would reduce the money that these families have to spend on rent, groceries, and other goods and services by an equal amount.

So why don't we just do that? Unfortunately, California's budget rules call for 2/3 support in the legislature to agree to any budget and/or tax increase. And unfortunately for the rest of the state, Republicans in the California Legislature would rather just see the state "do away with high taxes, like Nevada did". However, they seem to forget that (1) California can't rely on casino revenue to balance the budget, and (2) neither can Nevada.

So in essence, this is why we ended up with the May 19 ballot. Back in February when the original budget was being debated, most Republicans didn't want to play ball. That's why Arnold and the Democrats hunted down and co-opted as many "renegade Republicans" as they could to agree to a craptastic package of temporary tax increases (that won't take place until 2011 if passed) and budgetary gimmicks like borrowing off state lottery revenue that may not actually materialize and stealing money from children's services and mental health programs to pay for some new slush fund that won't actually "stabilize the budget" as advertised.

And yes, I'm recommending that you "Just Say No" to this special election simply because all the "solutions" being offered aren't real solutions at all.

Prop 1A is the cornerstone of this special election, and it's the primary reason to vote it all down. If passed, it will permanently tie the state's hands and prevent the state from spending what's necessary to stimulate our economy and provide basic services to California residents. Even in years like this one when it's raining cats and dogs, we'll still be required to redirect funds from needed services to the "rainy day fund". Is that insane, or what?

And if passed as well, Props 1D & 1E will only exacerbate the problem created by Prop 1A's passage. Even though voters had already agreed to protect child services and mental health services, 1D & 1E (respectively) will undo those protections and allow Arnold the Governator to further raid these programs' budgets to avoid addressing the real crisis in our budget, which is the regressive income tax structure. Why must our budget always be "balanced" on the backs of the working poor? 1D & 1E will only worsen this crisis if passed, so why should we let them be passed?

And as for everything else, it's all crap. 1B isn't really that bad, but since it's tied to 1A it'll be rendered moot if 1A fails (as 1A should). 1C is an attempt to raise funds by selling bonds tied to the state lottery revenues. Now how is this gimmick better than all the other failed gimmicks of the recent past? And 1F? All I'll say is that it's much adieu about nothing.

While I understand that we'll have a difficult conversation on taxes, fiscal policy, and progressive priorities WHEN Props 1A-1E fail, the fact of the matter is that we can no longer avoid it. California's bag of "magic" budgetary gimmicks is now empty. We can't afford to keep kicking this can down the road. And yes, a vote for the May Props is just a vote to keep kicking that beat-up old can down the road to nowhere.

The fact of the matter is that we need to talk about real tax reform. We need to make our tax system more progressive. We need to stop trying to "balancing the budget" on the backs of the working poor. And yes, we need to make the ultra-rich and fat cat corporations pay their fair share. We may have an uphill battle in either convincing Republicans to go along with this tax package or repealing the 2/3 budget rule before then, but we need to do either or both simply to end the radical right's overpowering veto of California's future.

[...] These ballot propositions are sadly typical of the product of the Democratic legislature over the last 30 years - a slightly less wingnutty set of proposals that Democrats feel obligated to support, and that they insist we become a party to by ratification at the ballot box. If the grassroots had any confidence that the Democratic legislature had a clear and compelling plan to fight for progressive budget solutions, more of them might be willing to reluctantly back the initiatives as a necessary evil. (To be clear, I do not count myself among this number, and I cannot imagine a scenario where I would support 1A or 1C-1F.)

What is happening is that Democratic and progressive grassroots activists, joined by a number of prominent progressive organizations (from labor unions like CNA to good government organizations like the League of Women Voters), are rejecting the entire way of thinking that went into the May 19 proposals.

The current crisis is the product of too much short-term conservative-lite solutions. No matter what happens on May 19, we will be confronted with the same basic crisis on May 20. It is long past time for us to articulate progressive proposals, educate the public on their value and the problems with conservative "solutions," and organize voters to enact them.

That is what the opponents of the May 19 initiatives are saying. Perhaps we will have to produce a May 20 strategy ourselves.

So are you ready to start talking about a real "May 20 Strategy"? I hope so.

Monday, May 11, 2009

CA-32: Why Judy Chu's Our Best Choice for Congress

I usually don't like to wade into LA politics. I usually have enough on my hands with Orange County matters, so I just don't have time for Los Angeles electoral fights. However, I have to say something about the special election coming up in California's 32nd Congressional District.

I just have to say first that I used to like Gil Cedillo because he was a leader on immigrant rights in the California Legislature. I really thought he cared about people's civil rights. However, his recent gutter-level attacks have forced me to question his sincerity. Would any "civil rights leader of our time" accuse a local community organizer of "gang-banging"? And would he use race-baiting tactics to attack another long-time community organizer and neighborhood leader?

I've had it with Gil Cedillo's low blows. Seriously. Calitics has already given him an "anti-endorsement", but I want to go one step further and do something positive. If my own fabulous member of Congress, Loretta Sanchez, can do it, then so can I.

Heck, if these people can do it, so can I!

Judy Chu has a long record of accomplishments that speaks for itself. Her tax amnesty program actually brought in $4.8 billion dollars in tax revenue that helped keep California moving. She's always stood firm on economic justice, environmental justice, and social justice, and has the long and accomplished record to prove it. And yes, she's always been stood strong with progressives on LGBT civil rights.

This was the ultimate kicker for me. It shows me that Judy Chu gets it. She understands our common struggle, our continuing struggle for equal rights, our ongoing struggle to make ends meet, our current struggle to make sure our families are provided for. Judy Chu gets it, and that's why we need to send her to Congress.

If you're in the San Gabriel Valley, please help her campaign in this final week before the May 19 special election. And if you know someone in the district, let them know more about why we need Judy Chu in Congress. Thanks.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Is FAIL, Needs to Go

(Proudly cross-posted at OC Progressive)

OK, so today's Mothers' Day. I'm planning to stop by my mom's house shortly and check up on her. But before I do that, I must address this:

President Barack Obama's national security adviser says allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military is in the early discussions.

But retired Marine Gen. James Jones says it's very preliminary in a very busy administration.

Jones said Sunday he's not sure if the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy would be overturned, although Obama has said he wants it eliminated. Jones said the decision to go forward lies with the president.

For now, Jones says, "We have a lot on our plate right now."

Mr. Jones, President Obama, and members of Congress, you just allowed this fine patriotic soldier to be fired. And believe it or not, we've already lost too many thousands of good soldiers simply because they're queer. Now's the time to lift the military service ban. Seriously.

There was no good reason for Dan Choi to be fired, none at all. He was a good soldier. He still loves this country. He served this country honorably. Yet because he showed real courage in coming out, we have to lose him. Why?

Really, why? Because the old timers in the "national security establishment" like Jim Jones are too afraid to allow LGBT people to serve openly in the military? Because Washington politicians are too afraid of doing something that most Americans now support?

Why are we willing to risk our own national security to fire good soldiers that happen to be LGBT? Is the good intelligence provided by an Arabic speaking linguists not really "good" if he's gay? Are the soldiers being protected by a fellow soldier out on the battle field not really "safe" if that solider happens to be a lesbian? Are the lives being saved by an army medic not actually "saved" if that medic is transgender? Give me a break!

President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid, what are you waiting for? Why should any more soldiers be fired? Why should we continue this ridiculous kabuki dance of forcing LGBT servicemembers into the closet any longer? Haven't we had enough of this BS?

Please, please speak out and demand the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell"! Legislation has been introduced in Congress, but now's the time for Congress to stop talking about it and start passing it. And yes, now's the time for President Obama to stop talking about repealing the ban and start acting to actually repeal it.

We can't allow this injustice any longer. We simply can't afford it.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

No Mo' Joe?

Stop the presses... (even though we haven't received the press release yet). Time Magazine is reporting - burying rather - the news that Joe the Plumber, also known as Samuel Wurzelbacher, is quitting the GOP. That's big news considering Joe became the new GOP mascot during the McCain campaign and has since advised the party during conferences and in Capitol Hill briefings.

Yes, that's right. The GOP's once "new mascot" is officially out of the GOP. Why, you ask? He thinks they "spend too much", though he can't say what he wants cut. Ain't the Republican life grand!

So who can the GOP use as their "new new mascot"? Teabaggers

CA-47: Battleground in My Backyard?

(This is the start of my multi-part series on emerging Western Congressional races in 2010.)

If we're to believe the local news reports, Democrats may actually lose a Congressional seat in Southern California. Central Orange County Assembly Member/Local GOP Power Broker Van Tran has announced he will challenge seven-term Democratic incumbent Loretta Sanchez next year. Already, Republicans are cheering victory and preparing to dance on Loretta's political grave... But are they celebrating too early?

Believe it or not, the GOP is. But how can that be? Isn't Orange County extremely conservative and Republican-friendly? Not exactly.

Overall, the county is changing and becoming less of a "red county" and more of a "swing county". But in the 47th Congressional District, we saw quite a sharp turn left in the once "swing district" now turning increasingly blue. President Barack Obama cruised to a 60-38 win in the district last November. Just in the last three years, Democrats have jumped from a meager 4% registration advantage to a much heftier 12% advantage. And of course, Loretta had no problem crushing her GOP opponent by a gigantic 69-25 margin while Van Tran struggled to defeat a Democrat with little money in his own State Assembly district by a tinier 54-46 margin. So what is The OC Register seeing that I'm not when they say my home district will be among "the hottest races in 2010"?

I guess they see the GOP pouring money into this district and galvanizing the Vietnamese-American vote. And let's face it, they're trying hard to score a win anywhere they can find. But even if Van can build a massive campaign operation, he still needs to overcome his own controversial reputation in Little Saigon while simultaneously eroding Loretta's long history of serving this district. Oh yes, and it doesn't help Van that he's been shopping for a race, any race, to win now that he's termed out of the Assembly while Loretta's been busy preparing for just this kind of challenge.

So what should we do? Well, we shouldn't just take CA-47 for granted, even with all the good stats in our favor. Rather, we should see these good stats as encouragement to make sure Loretta Sanchez defeats Van Tran by a large enough margin to provide coattails to Democrats running to turn GOP-held "red" state & local seats (like Van's own 68th AD seat) blue. Since we need to undo the damage of both the radical right ideologues still running local governments in Orange County and the GOP minority in Sacramento that's still large enough to hold the state hostage, this can be our opportunity to not just keep the 47th Congressional District strongly "blue", but also elect more Democrats to office in OC.

And hey, Loretta deserves our support. She's been voting more progressive as the district's been turning bluer. And though she once had to tout "Blue Dog" membership to win over moderate Republicans, she's been doing a good job of listening to what we the constituents wants and voting accordingly. And more importantly, she always works hard for Orange County and delivers real results for real people. That's why all the local school districts, police departments, fire departments, and city agencies go to Loretta first to ensure our tax dollars come home to work for us.

So if you can, please make sure Loretta Sanchez goes back to Congress in 2010. But not only are we investing in Loretta's reelection, we're also investing in building a stronger Democratic majority in Central Orange County and a more progressive future for the whole county. We're turning OC bluer one new Democratic voter registration at a time, and we shouldn't let a Van Tran challenge scare us away from continuing our good work.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Marriage Equality Comes to Maine!

Hooray! Here's the release from national Stonewall Democrats:

Washington, DC - Today, the Stonewall Democrats released the following statement in response to the signing of marriage legislation in Maine:

"Stonewall Democrats loudly applauds Democratic Governor John Baldacci for signing into law legislation that extends the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. Local advocates and Democratic leaders built the support necessary to pass this bill and we congratulate them. This legislation will provide economic and legal security for families in Maine.

It is now time for New Hampshire Democratic Governor John Lynch to follow the example of his neighboring state and sign the final version of marriage legislation once it reaches his desk. Stonewall Democrats worked with local advocates in Maine and New Hampshire to add support for the freedom to marry in the platforms of the Democratic Parties of those states. Democratic support proved to be a crucial component in the broad coalition of advocates who are moving marriage equality forward in Maine and New Hampshire."

- Jon Hoadley, Executive Director, Stonewall Democrats

Earlier today, Democratic Governor John Baldacci signed LD 1020, "An Act to End Discrimination in Civil Marriage and Affirm Religious Freedom." The Act had been sent to his desk after it received passage from the Democratically controlled Maine Senate and then the Democratically controlled Maine House of Representatives.

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

Last month in neighboring New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Senate voted to approve legislation allowing same-sex couples the freedom to marry. Similar legislation legislation had already been approved by the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Upon reconciliation, the bill will go before Democratic Governor John Lynch who has not yet indicated how he will act on the bill.

Stonewall Democrats continue to build support for the freedom to marry in addition to working on broader pro-equality issues. In Wyoming, the organization worked with the newly-forming Wyoming Stonewall Democrats earlier this year to help Democrats stop an anti0marriage ballot initiative introduced in the state legislature. In Massachusetts, the Bay State Stonewall Democrats played a key role in building Democratic support for marriage legislation enacted in 2004. Last month, two Stonewall Democrats - Kate and Trish Varnum - won a landmark decision by the Iowa Supreme Court (Varnum V. Brien) that recognized the rights of all Iowans to Marry. Stonewall Democrats is continuing its work in Iowa by aiding statewide advocates liek One Iowa to build support for the Democratic Leadership of the Iowa House and Senate who continue to stand against an onslaught of special-interest attacks from the far right. And last month in Vermont, Stonewall Democrats initiated a campaign that contributed to three Democratic lawmakers switching their previously anti-marriage votes in order to override a gubernatorial veto and enact marriage legislation in that state.

With more than 120 local chapters the Stonewall Democrats is the national organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and allied Democrats. Stonewall Democrats works to elect pro-equality Democrats to public office and improve the Democratic Party on issues important to pro-equality Americans.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Progress? Finally?



Just in the last six months, Connecticut, Iowa, and Vermont have moved to enact marriage equality. Just today, The District of Columbia moved one step closer to full marriage equality with the city council passing 12-1 an ordinance to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages. And just today, Maine is on the verge of making history as the second state to legalize marriage equality by way of legislation as the House just passed the marriage bill that recently passed the Senate. Meanwhile, Kate Kendell has changed her mind and now feels hopeful about the California Supreme Court's upcoming Prop H8 verdict as New Hampshire inches even closer to becoming the second/third state (depending on what happens in Maine) to enact marriage equality by legislation.

And wait, there's more! Marriage equality may actually come to New York some day soon. Washington state and Nevada are moving closer to establishing "everything but 'the m word'" domestic partnerships (DPs). Colorado is finally taking baby steps toward equality by allowing for domestic partner rights and benefits. And now, we're even starting to see progress on the federal level.

Wait, progress? You mean we're seeing progress on LGBT civil rights? Yes, now may finally be our time for progress.



Last week, I attended the Pride Parade/Festival in "my other hometown" of Las Vegas. And unlike past Pride events I've attended in California and Nevada, I really sensed some hope. Why? It looked like we're really making progress. Anti-discrimination and DP proposals are advancing here like never before. In a state that passed a marriage ban just seven years ago, things have turned around. Most major casinos now offer domestic partner benefits and anti-discrimination protection as more and more Nevadans are coming out and being part of a more vibrant LGBT community.

And guess what? Nevada's not a "stereotypical far left ultra-liberal state". And neither is Iowa. And neither is New Hampshire. A sea change in attitudes is happening throughout the nation, and now may finally be the time for progress.

I know there's been some tension lately on how hard our community should push President Obama to push harder for civil rights. And while I understand the President is concerned about major issues like the economy and health care, he should understand how many LGBT families are suffering in this economy precisely because they have no health care benefits, no anti-discrimination protection, and little to no benefits from the recent tax breaks passed in the stimulus. These issues are connected, and it's time for the federal government to start catching up with states across the country in making progress.

Again, this is no longer a "red state vs. blue state hot-button social issue controversy". In fact, it never really was. This is a civil rights issue and a human rights issue. Do we really believe in liberty and justice for all? Do we really believe in equal protection under the law? And if so, why are we still allowing so many people to suffer such injustice and inequity?

Now's the time for progress. Now's the time for fully-inclusive workplace protection. Now's the time to end the ban on federal spousal rights and benefits. Now's the time to end the military service ban. Now's the time to make progress for civil rights on the national level.

So what are we waiting for? The people are ready for progress. It's now up to us to make Washington make it happen.

Please support our national allies like NCLR and ACLU that are working to secure our rights nationwide. And wherever you are, please support local organizations like Courage Campaign (CA) and The LGBT Center of Southern Nevada. Make sure we see more progress so we can one day reach full equality.






Thursday, April 30, 2009

BREAKING: Justice David Souter Retires from US Supreme Court

Just as many court watchers were expecting, Souter will be stepping down from the high court. Even though he was appointed by President George H.W. Bush, Souter became increasingly independent of the right-wing bloc and eventually aligned himself with the center-left bloc on issues like environmental justice, women's reproductive rights, LGBT rights, workers' rights, and the Bill of Rights.

President Obama will soon be naming a replacement. And with a friendly Senate likely to confirm Obama's choice, let's hope he makes a good one.


So much for the NOMbies screaming about "freedom". This is what real freedom looks like:

We the people stand together for the freedom to marry. Simple as that.

Maine Senate Approves Marriage Equality

Wow, another state! This time, the Maine Senate approved a marriage equality bill on a party-line 20-15 vote (all 20 Dems voting for, all 15 GOPers against). Now the bill heads to the House for approval.

And its chances for final passage? We're not totally sure. The Governor, Democrat John Baldacci, has suggested he may sign it. However, we don't know yet if it will survive a House vote and/or possible "citizen veto" (think Prop H8 in CA, but even before the bill is finalized). But if LGBT civil rights activists can get through all of that, Maine may end up the 5th state to allow marriage equality (depending on what happens soon in New Hampshire and California).

House Passed Hate Crimes Bill

Fortunately, it now goes to the Senate and is likely to be signed into law by President Obama. I just want to share with you what may have been the most powerful speech in support of the Matthew Shepard Act from the House floor.

Jeez, if only more of our Congresscritters had the conscience that Barbara Lee has...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

New Hampshire Senate Passes Marriage Equality!

Apparently, The Granite State may be a step closer to marriage equality. The State Senate narrowly approved the bill 13-11. But now, we will see if NH Gov. John Lynch has enough courage to sign the bill into law. So far, he's indicated he may veto the bill once it reaches his desk.