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Speaker Boehner’s Office has Petitioners Arrested Violating 1st Amendment of Constitution

March 09, 2011 By: jaysays Category: LGBT News, Marriage Equality

Activists at John Boehner's OfficeToday, five activists from GetEQUAL Ohio, a direct action LGBT rights group associated with the national organization, GetEQUAL, were arrested while attempting to deliver a petition to Speaker of the House John Boehner at his office in Columbus.

The petition, which urged the Speaker to focus on job creation rather than using tax payer money to defend the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), contained over 33,000 signatures.

Upon arriving at the office, the group was locked out and denied their First Amendment right to petition the government.  Not to be deterred in their representation of those who should be treated equally under the law, five members of GetEQUAL OH began reading the names of the petition signers in front of the office while others participated in a demonstration on the sidewalks.  Shortly thereafter, they were arrested for “trespassing” and removed from the premises.

Speaker Boehner sent a clear message with these arrests: the U.S. Constitution has no value to him, his office or our government.  It is undeniable that citizens of the United States have a right to petition their government.  Such right falls squarely within the First Amendment and is a fundamental right enjoyed by all Americans.  The right can be simply defined as “the right to present requests to the government without punishment or reprisal.  This right is guaranteed in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution” (History Central, 1).

If Speaker Boehner is willing to violate the rights afforded within the “Bill of Rights” there is no reason he will not continue to deny the rights provided by the 14th Amendment, which is the portion of the Constitution that deems DOMA unconstitutional.

Call, write, email or visit (at your own risk) Boehner’s office and demand an immediate apology for continually violating the rights of Americans.  Tell him to focus on creating jobs as the Republicans promised instead of using tax payer money to defend unconstitutional government policies.

Those arrested include: Sean Watkins, Morgan Bonney, Jesse Bonney, Liz Mills and Karay Miller (pictured).

Today, five activists from GetEQUAL Ohio, a direct action LGBT rights group associated with the national organization, GetEQUAL, were arrested while attempting to deliver a petition to Speaker of the House John Boehner at his office in Columbus.

 

The petition, which urged the Speaker to focus on job creation rather than using tax payer money to defend the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), contained over 33,000 signatures.

 

Upon arriving at the office, the group was locked out and denied their First Amendment right to petition the government. Not to be deterred in their representation of those who should be treated equally under the law, five members of GetEQUAL OH began reading the names of the petition signers in front of the office while others participated in a demonstration on the sidewalks. Shortly thereafter, they were arrested for “trespassing” and removed from the premises.

 

Speaker Boehner sent a clear message with these arrests: the U.S. Constitution has no value to him, his office or our government. It is undeniable that citizens of the United States have a right to petition their government. Such right falls squarely within the First Amendment and is a fundamental right enjoyed by all Americans. The right can be simply defined as “the right to present requests to the government without punishment or reprisal.  This right is guaranteed in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution” (History Central, 1).

 

Today, five activists from GetEQUAL Ohio, a direct action LGBT rights group associated with the national organization, GetEQUAL, were arrested while attempting to deliver a petition to Speaker of the House John Boehner at his office in Columbus.

The petition, which urged the Speaker to focus on job creation rather than using tax payer money to defend the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), contained over 33,000 signatures.

Upon arriving at the office, the group was locked out and denied their First Amendment right to petition the government.  Not to be deterred in their representation of those who should be treated equally under the law, five members of GetEQUAL OH began reading the names of the petition signers in front of the office while others participated in a demonstration on the sidewalks.  Shortly thereafter, they were arrested for “trespassing” and removed from the premises.

 

Speaker Boehner sent a clear message with these arrests: the U.S. Constitution has no value to him, his office or our government.  It is undeniable that citizens of the United States have a right to petition their government.  Such right falls squarely within the First Amendment and is a fundamental right enjoyed by all Americans.  The right can be simply defined as “the right to present requests to the government without punishment or reprisal.  This right is guaranteed in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution” (History Central, 1).

If Speaker Boehner is willing to violate the rights afforded within the “Bill of Rights” there is no reason he will not continue to deny the rights provided by the 14th Amendment, which is the portion of the Constitution that deems DOMA unconstitutional.

Call, write, email or visit (at your own risk) Boehner’s office and demand an immediate apology for continually violating the rights of Americans.  Tell him to focus on creating jobs as the Republicans promised instead of using tax payer money to defend unconstitutional government policies.

If Speaker Boehner is willing to violate the rights afforded within the “Bill of Rights” there is no reason he will not continue to deny the rights provided by the 14th Amendment, which is the portion of the Constitution that deems DOMA unconstitutional.

 

Call, write, email or visit (at your own risk) Boehner’s office and demand an immediate apology for continually violating the rights of Americans. Tell him to focus on creating jobs as the Republicans promised instead of using tax payer money to defend unconstitutional government policies.

Texas Sees First *Legal* Same-Sex Wedding

October 11, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Marriage Equality

Marriage Celebration ProgramThe wedding between Mark Reed-Walkup, a provisional Board Member of the LGBT equality organization, GetEQUAL, and the “love of his life,” Dante Walkup, wasn’t the first wedding ceremony performed in Texas, but it was the first same-sex wedding performed on Texas’ soil which will have legal recognition.

The couple applied and received a “Certificate of Marriage” in Washington, D.C. back in May.  On October 10, 2010, Mark and Dante declared their love publicly to their friends and family in a small ceremony in Dallas, Texas.

As I took my seat in the ballroom, I began reading the wedding program.  “The Marriage Celebration of Thomas Mark Reed and Dante Karl Walkup” declared the program in a traditional fashion.  My heart swelled with joy for the very happy (and nervous) couple.  As I continued thumbing through the program, I quickly saw a difference between this wedding and those of heterosexual couples I have attended:

We Remember: Asher Brown, Billy Lucas, Tyler Clementi, Seth Walsh, Raymond Chase & the many other young LGBT lives who died due to suicide.  It does get better.

While weddings generally bring tears to my eyes, the tears are usually due to happiness for those celebrating their love.  In this instance, the tears were for the children we have lost before they had a chance to truly live.  Somehow, in spite of all the efforts of so many to make the world better for them, they lost hope.  I immediately thought of the words of Harvey Milk, “You’ve got to give them hope.”

As the wedding procession began, my tears continued to flow swelling with pride, joy, hope and even sorrow.  These amazing men were standing before me, declaring their love, declaring their devotion and declaring to all watching that “It does get better.”  This was no ordinary Texas wedding.

In order for Dante and Mark’s wedding to be legal in Washington, D.C., the ceremony had to be performed by an official authorized by the District to conduct weddings.

To overcome the jurisdictional issues, Mark and Dante arranged for the officiant to appear via Skype along with several witnesses in D.C., while the couple stood within the boundaries of their home state before their friends and family.

Mark and Dante have shown us that love endures and regardless of how hard people try to stop us, our love will carry us through.  It seems, after all, love does conquer hate.

On a more personal note to the newly weds:  Thank you for being a part of my life.  You have inspired me, pushed me and even carried me in more ways than you can possibly realize.  You have given me hope.

ExxonMobil Says No Gay Rights Without Legislative Intervention.

May 22, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Discrimination, Featured

Boycott ExxonMobilBefore 1999, Exxon and Mobil were two different companies. Mobil was generally progressive on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employment rights and had a fully inclusive employment non-discrimination policy. By that, I mean their policy prohibited discrimination in employment matters based upon sexual orientation AND gender identity.

Unfortunately, progress took a hit with Exxon Corp’s purchase of Mobile Corp 11 years ago. Exxon’s employment policies were not inclusive of sexual orientation or gender identity. Essentially, without such a policy, LGBT employees of ExxonMobil could be fired simply because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.  This sparked a boycott of the newly created company, ExxonMobil. Unfortunately, time took its toll on the memories of LGBT people and our allies. Not only did we fail to relay this tidbit of gay history to our youth, but we altogether stopped talking about it – kind of like the Exxon Valdez oil spill for which the company still hasn’t paid.

Recently, GetEQUAL has offered a reminder of gays gone by and launched protests outside of ExxonMobil stations in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. After the first protest, organizers for GetEQUAL contacted ExxonMobil to request a policy change. The response from the Vice President of Investor Relations was telling. In a few more words, which I’ll quote shortly, he essentially said that ExxonMobil will only change the policy if they are forced to do so by law, or to put it another way, “go ahead faggots, make us.”

Here’s what ExxonMobil had to say, in their own words:

Where we [ExxonMobil] operate in countries in which the national laws require specific language regarding nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity be included in policies, we have amended our policies as appropriate.

Seems where there’s no law, they aren’t going to bother.  The battle line has been drawn and it is obvious that a full scale, vocal boycott of ExxonMobil is in order. This time, may we not forget.

I implore you, dear reader, grab your friends and your signs and head to the nearest ExxonMobil station. Make fliers to hand out at local events encouraging others to do the same. While we fight for full equality legislatively, we must also do so with the power and force of the free market. Together, we are millions of dollars lost.

VIDEO: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Protests Interrupt Obama Fundraising – Dan Choi and Others in Chains Again

April 20, 2010 By: jaysays Category: DADT, Featured

GetEQUAL activists interrupted President Barack Obama during a speech designed to raise funds for California Senator Barbara Boxer’s re-election campaign.  The group shouted for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the U.S. Military’s policy prohibiting openly gay soldiers from serving this country.

President Obama attempted to regain control of the speech and stay on topic, by acknowledging the group, then returning to endorsements for Senator Boxer.  Early on during the interruption, Obama states:

I don’t know why you have to holler, we already hear you.

Thereafter, Obama continually advises the group that he supports the repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell, but again reiterates his inquiry:

Barbara and I are supportive of a repeal of don’t ask don’t tell, so I don’t know why you are hollering.

But support doesn’t equate to action, and therein lies the problem.

In what is becoming typical fashion for GetEQUAL organizers, bicoastal events were held.  The day after the group interrupted Obama in Los Angeles, Dan Choi, Autumn Sandeen and 4 others chained themselves to the the gates of the White House [photo by David Mailloux of dymsum]:

Repeal DADT GetEQUAL: Protestors outside of the White House

CNN has some video footage of the chained veterans available here.

I am dangerous for believing in LGBT Equality.

March 18, 2010 By: geekgirl Category: Featured, LGBT Lessons for Straight People

Thursday, March 18th,  three LGBT activists were arrested. Lt. Dan Choi, Captain Jim Pietrangelo and Robin McGehee. It made more news than the 200,000 LGBT equality supporters made when they marched on Washington D.C. last October.

This is only the beginning. I will not wait any longer for my friends to have the equality and protection that they deserve.

I am not willing to wait for a world where LGBT children can grow up in a society where all of us know that they are normal. Where being LGBT is as different as being a redhead or left-handed.

I’m imagining a day where LGBT activists go into every legislative building in this country.

This is not a call for violence. This is a call for demanding equality. Citizens have the right to peaceful assembly to protest the actions of their government. We did that last October. Very little changed.

Some have called this a juvenile act that will set back the LGBT movement. A circus. A stunt.

Do we remember Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, Lech Walesa, Mahatma Gandhi as juveniles?

If refusing to move off the White House lawn, Capitol Hill, an elected official’s office, a government building in order to stand up for what is right, results in me being arrested, I will wear that as a badge of honor. I will have accomplished something with my life. I will make my family proud of me. I will have harmed no one. I will be living my values, not just writing words on the Internet.

I’m straight. I’m a child of the sixties. Civil disobedience is in my blood. I’m going to be wearing comfortable clothes, comfortable shoes, have my cell phone, some cash and a jacket just in case. My civil disobedience survival pack is ready to go.

I would like to see the embarrassment on a politician’s face when an older, average looking, slightly overweight, mom-type gets hauled off by the police. Because I am so dangerous for believing in LGBT equality.

Now. Who do I visit?

jaysays.com contributor geekgirlgeekgirl: Jude, the author of this post, is a straight woman, a mom and has been married for 32 years to the same wonderful man. She believes in Buddhism and attends the United Church of Christ. She is a molecular biologist, her best friend is a lesbian, and she believes that every human deserves equal rights, respect and a life free from hate, fear and discrimination. The only thing she hates is pickles. Her science blog can be found at LGBT Latest Science.

GetEQUAL Goes to Jail, But Passes Go.

March 18, 2010 By: jaysays Category: DADT, Featured, LGBT Action Alerts, LGBT News, Uncategorized

Today, I learned that action is inspiring.  Tomorrow, I hope to learn that it’s also contagious.

As my facebook, twitter and email exploded today with little clips of the DADT Rally, I marveled at an act of well timed genius.  While the HRC was negotiating equality with the well-oiled political machine, the people were speaking.  Grassroots activists took to the streets refusing to negotiate their rights… our rights.

When the group of marchers reached the steps of the White House, Robin McGehee assisted Lt. Dan Choi and Capt. Jim Pietrangelo as they handcuffed themselves to the gates and demanded a repeal of the militant Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy established under the Clinton regime.  For her assistance, Robin was thanked with a set of charming silver bracelets becoming the first arrest of the day.

Simultaneous demonstrations were underway.  By 3:00 p.m. activists such as Kip Williams were staging “sit-ins” inside Nancy Pelosi’s offices in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. demanding an inclusive ENDA be taken to the floor for a vote.

But now tweets bounce back to Lt. Choi – he and Capt. Pietrangelo have been cut down from the gates and arrested.  My Spanish Novellas are suddenly much less dramatic than my twitter feed.  Gay, Inc. and their supporters are pissed and claiming that the jouvenile acts of today set us back, are immature and make us look crazy.

Now, not only do I have to wrap my head around one of the most important moments in LGBT History, I now have to think of it in terms of “politics.”  Am I not allowed to simply be proud of my brothers and sisters?  Must I now think in terms of political strategy.

But what has that political strategy been – what has it done for us at the Federal Level?  It’s the same kind of political strategy used during the Clinton Administration to keep him in office as an LGBT friendly president while allowing him to pass Don’t Ask Don’t Tell as a compromise to our rights.  It’s the same kind of political strategy used that allowed the same LGBT friendly Clinton to pass the Defense of Marriage Act.

I’m tired of negotiating my rights.  I will not stop until my personal life is deregulated.  It’s time to GetEQUAL.