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Texas Democratic Executive Committee Gambles Away Human Rights

November 22, 2011 By: jaysays Category: Discrimination

David Trevino stifles his anger long enough to smile for the camera.

From protest of ousted Bexar County DP Chair, Dan Ramos.

The Texas State Democratic Party bowed to fear this past week when the Executive Committee met to vote on proposed primary ballot referendum.  In a move that silenced one of the most staunch populaces aligned with the Democratic Party, the LGBTQ community, Texas Democrats voted 33-22 to exclude a marriage equality referendum on the 2012 Democratic Primary ballot.  However, legalizing gambling will be on the ballot.

According to a press release received from Dan Graney, President of the Texas Stonewall Democrats, arguments against including the marriage equality measure were:

  1. The Republicans will go after us on this.
  2. This will negatively impact on our Democratic candidates.
  3. What if the measure should fail?

As to the first argument, the Republicans are going after the Democrats anyway.  All that was accomplished by excluding even a chance for marriage equality in Texas was that Democrats were silenced and we will now see Democrats going after Democrats in Texas for their blatant disregard for their own party platform, which states:

Democrats believe that we all have a part to play in promoting equality and protecting Americans against discrimination, and we continue to work vigorously toward greater freedom and equality in America.

Working vigorously toward greater freedom apparently means bowing to political pressure, fear and intimidation, as is noted by the second opposition view that supporting freedom and equality will negatively affect Democratic candidates.  In this instance, the lack of integrity and moxy will do more to negatively impact candidates than standing up for your party values EVER would have.

Perhaps the most disturbing argument presented in keeping marriage equality off of the primary ballot is the argument, “What if the measure should fail?”  For that, I turn to other thinkers and provide the following motivational quotes:

“The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try nothing and succeed” – Lloyd Jones

“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.” – Unknown

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

“Try and fail, but don’t fail to try.” Stephen Kaqqwa

“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” – Dale Carnegie

“The worst thing one can do is not to try, to be aware of what one wants and not give in to it, to spend years in silent hurt wondering if something could have materialized – and never knowing” – David Vicsott

“I am not judged by the number of times I fail, but by the number of times I succeed: and the number of times I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times I fail and keep trying.” – Tom Hopkins

“You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.” – Beverly Sills

“There is no comparison between that which is lost by not succeeding and that lost by not trying.” – Francis Bacon, Sr.

Try as I might, I was unable to find any motivational quotes encouraging people not to try.  However, I was able to find a quote by an unknown person that sums up my feelings toward the Texas Democratic Party:

Fuck you for giving up on me.

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.

Anti-Equality Messiah, Maggie Gallagher, Wants Her Equal Protection and to Eat it Too!

June 17, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Marriage Equality

National Organization for Marriage - the Anti-Gay NOM NOM NOMAssuming yesterday’s closing arguments are any indication of which way Judge Walker will rule in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger Prop 8 case, it looks like an obvious victory for marriage equality advocates.  In a statement on the National Organization for [Heterosexual Only] Marriage’s website the group’s messiah, Maggie Gallagher, seemed to admit this defeat, stating:

Americans have a right to vote for marriage. Ted Olson doesn’t seem to understand the argument, and judging from today’s exchanges neither does Judge Walker. I expect Judge Walker will overrule Prop 8.

But what makes marriage different from other things on which Americans don’t really have the right to vote, like for president in the landmark case, Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 (2000)?  In that case, the Supreme Court negated the recount of votes (cast by Americans) which effectively secured the previously certified win of George W. Bush in Florida and gave him the necessary electoral votes to be President (like it or not).  Why was that ruling “ok” but a ruling to grant civil rights to a suspect class of people that were taken away by voters not “ok?”  I’m sure Attorney Cooper would answer with something about the natural creation of children – as that’s about all he could come up with in the closing arguments for any question posed by Judge Walker.

The real parallel of the two cases is the rationale used by the Supreme Court in determining George W. Bush was the winner.  In its decision, the Court declared, in part, that the method for recounting ballots used in Florida was a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which states, “no state shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”  That clause was included within the Constitution of the United States in an attempt to prevent violations of the well known standard, “all men are created equal.”  The Supreme Court decided that there was no “equal” standard for counting votes in Florida so votes in one county might be counted one way, while votes in another county might be counted another.  This logistical problem was enough to invalidate the right to vote based upon the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution (as least in the Court’s opinion at that time).

In the Prop 8 case, we clearly have a much more blatant violation of the Equal Protection Clause than we saw in Bush v. Gore.  There is no hypothetical “it might happen” in the Prop 8 debacle, there is an “it did happen and will continue to happen.”

2010 – The Year of the Lesbian Parent.

June 14, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Discrimination, Featured

Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Rep.-WA)Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (Rep-WA) voted no on the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, also more formally known as the Patrick Amendment to H.R. 5136, which would repeal the discriminatory policy banning openly gay service members from defending freedom and equality.  In fact, Rep. McMorris-Rodgers has only supported 3% of progressive actions, but has supported, either through voting or co-sponsorship, 61% of legislation which is considered “regressive” – or rather that which, “erodes freedom, knowledge and security.”   Here are a few examples of her regressive legislation support:

  • Amendment 35 to H.R. 2647 was proposed to counter the current push to cover-up American military and interrogation activities. Amendment 35 would require military interrogations to be videotaped, with an exception provided at times when there may not be time to set up a camera.  Cathy McMorris-Rodger’s voted against this measure.
  • H.R. 11, also known as The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is a bill that simply says that workers cannot be expected to file suit for compensation for wage discrimination before they actually find out that they have been discriminated against.  Cathy McMorris-Rodger’s voted against this measure.
  • H.R. 2608, was introduced after the government of Washington, DC voted to approve same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia. H.R. 2608 seeks to overturn the local decision of DC government by imposing a congressional prohibition on same-sex marriage in Washington, DC. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers co-sponsored this discriminatory legislation.

Here’s an expression I’m sure you’ve heard, “A wolf in sheep’s clothing.”  Cathy McMorris-Rodgers has now sponsored a bill, which on its surface appears acceptable, simple and certainly non-controversial.  But when you read the text of the bill, you find a phrase that can be very disturbing, particularly to same-sex couples with children.

H. Con. Res. 285 was introduced to recognize the important role that fathers play in the lives of their children and families and to support the goals and ideals of designating 2010 as the Year of the Father.  Sounds fairly benign, right?  But what are the goals and ideals of designating 2010 as the Year of the Father?  From the text of the bill, we find this statement:

Whereas it is well documented that children involved with loving fathers are significantly more likely to have healthy self-esteems, exhibit empathy and prosocial behavior, avoid high risk behaviors, have reduced antisocial behavior and delinquency in boys, have better peer relationships, and have higher occupational mobility relative to parents…

Anyone else see the problem? Isn’t it also well documented that Lesbian mothers are better at raising children to be more self-confident, do better academically and are even LESS likely to have behavioral problems?  In fact, here’s what TIME reported on the research:

The authors found that children raised by lesbian mothers — whether the mother was partnered or single — scored very similarly to children raised by heterosexual parents on measures of development and social behavior. These findings were expected, the authors said; however, they were surprised to discover that children in lesbian homes scored higher than kids in straight families on some psychological measures of self-esteem and confidence, did better academically and were less likely to have behavioral problems, such as rule-breaking and aggression. ‘We simply expected to find no difference in psychological adjustment between adolescents reared in lesbian families and the normative sample of age-matched controls,’ says [researcher Nanette] Gartrell. ‘I was surprised to find that on some measures we found higher levels of [psychological] competency and lower levels of behavioral problems. It wasn’t something I anticipated.’ In addition, children in same-sex-parent families whose mothers ended up separating, did as well as children in lesbian families in which the moms stayed together.

So, here’s to 2010 – the Year of the Lesbian Parent.

Stupid Things People Say About Gays: The Prop 8 Trial Series, Part 7

February 11, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Stupid Things People Say About Gays

It didn’t take long for the opponents of equal rights to scream “BIAS!” when the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the justice presiding over the Perry case (the Prop 8 case) is a homosexual.  On the blog for the leading anti-equality organization, the National Organization for [Heterosexual Only] Marriage (NOM), its executive director, David Duke Brian S. Brown, had this to say about the justice:

He’s been an amazingly biased and one-sided force throughout this trial, far more akin to an activist than a neutral referee.

The painfully obvious truth is that had the Judge presiding over the trial been a heterosexual, white, Anglo-Saxon, protestant (as has been the case in most trials against equality), and had the queers yelled fowl as often and in the same manner that the bias-based organization NOM has yelled fowl, we would be considered radical extremists intent on denying the religious freedoms of all — oh wait, we already are considered that to NOM!!!

Since a straight judge would be biased against the gays, and a gay judge is purportedly biased against the straights, here’s my theory:  Only a bisexual judge can be unbiased and see both sides of the story… of course, even an unbiased person should be able to easily recognize the repugnant lies being told by Hate, Inc. about us queer folk.

For the New Year – Love Takes Over.

January 01, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Community Outreach, Featured, LGBT Action Alerts

Love Takes Over - News PapersWe’ve written a lot of letters, most of which have been to our elected officials and representatives.  While those letters have made a difference, we have to ask ourselves, “How do we reach the people?”

Our friend from the Nationwide Chalk Message Project, Jen Dugan, came up with a fantastic idea a couple of months ago to do just that.  Love Takes Over asks that supporters of marriage equality take over America’s local newspapers and get people talking about marriage equality across the entire country.  To do so, simply write an editorial to your local newspaper explaining why marriage equality matters.

Since that time, Jen, along with the fantastic, Hugh Yemen, have been working hard at getting the message out.  Here’s the press release:

NEW YORK – Love Takes Over is a nationwide initiative calling on citizens to write to their local newspapers about marriage equality during the week of January 3rd-January 9th. Love Takes Over seeks to promote and foster dialogue about marriage equality on a local level.

The idea behind Love Takes Over is simple: One week. One unified voice. Everyone take over America’s local newspapers and get people talking about marriage equality across the entire country at the same time.

Love Takes Over encourages American citizens to open up dialogue on a variety of issues pertaining to marriage equality. These issues include why civil marriage is a civil rights issue, why Civil Unions and Domestic Partnerships are not equal to marriage, how inequality affects the families and children of same-sex couples, and why the issue of marriage equality is personally important to the author of each article.

“We believe in the power of small,” say the activists behind Love Takes Over, “We believe that the small steps people take everyday to educate their families, friends, and local communities are a vital part of any social justice movement.”

Articles are to be published during the week of January 3rd-January 9th. College students on Winter Break are encouraged to write to their hometown newspapers and submit a piece to their campus newspaper at the start of the new semester.

To speak with the activists behind Love Takes Over, please contact Jen Dugan at (201) 247-6419 or email ltonewspapers@gmail.com. More information can also be found at Love Takes Over’s official project blog: lovetakesover.tumblr.com.

Thus, beginning tomorrow, we must start submitting our editorials to our local papers.  To help inspire you, jaysays.com is asking that you submit your editorial to this site.  Submissions will be reviewed and the best editorial will be selected for publication here.  The winner will receive a copy of Will and Grace Season 3 on DVD.  To enter, simply fill out the below form:

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The Little Engines that Wouldn’t – Courage Campaign and Lambda Legal Refuse to Fight.

December 01, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Featured, LGBT News, Marriage Equality

LittleEngineThatWouldntRick Jacobs, founder of the Courage Campaign (Los Angeles), has announced that polling indicates that overturning Proposition 8 via a ballot measure in 2010 looks bad. According to the Courage Campaign sponsored polling, providing equal rights to all Americans is not supported financially, with strong leadership or with an edge in public opinion.

While the leadership problem could easily be solved if the Courage Campaign would step up and lead, that doesn’t seem to be in the organization’s plan.  Instead, they have given up on a 2010 ballot initiative preferring instead to waste the valuable human resources, passion and drive available to the organization after over a year of rallies, protests, marches and lobbying days.

But Courage Campaign isn’t alone in its criticism of the 2010 ballot initiative.  Lambda Legal declared that, although it will do anything to gain equal marriage rights for LGBT couples, it won’t support this effort.  Why?  Because a loss could “polarize voters” and “hurt and anger supporters of same-sex marriage.”

Well, this supporter of same-sex marriage is more hurt and angered by organizations unwillingness to fight.  The entire scenario smells like garbage to me.  It wreaks of “If it turns out they may actually win, we’ll throw our name in the basket and ride the glory to our next fund drive.

The coalition of various small organizations sponsored by Love, Honor, Cherish, known as Restore Equality 2010, is refusing to give up on their rights.  They intend to press forward in spite of the lack of support from the large, well-funded organizations and continue to seek out volunteers using social media outlets to help them gather the 1,000,000 signatures needed to put an overturn of Proposition 8 on the ballot.  Jo Hoenninger, chair of the interim Executive Committee for Restore Equality 2010, said:

This is a movement for equality. Harvey Milk didn’t wait for research. He hit the streets year after year. We honor his memory by gathering signatures now so our rights can be restored in 2010 not at some later time when it might be an easier struggle.

The end of the year is quickly approaching and with that will come the tax season.  As you consider which organizations deserve your hard earned money, consider which organizations are fighting the hardest, loudest and most resiliently for your rights.  Should your answer be Restore Equality 2010, here’s a link to make your contribution.

Restore Equality 2010: When They Fight, They Give Us Hope

November 16, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Headline, LGBT News, Marriage Equality

Restore Equality 2010Perseverance may will pay off in California next year.  Restore Equality 2010 officially launched its petition drive along with a social networking site, today.  The statewide group is a coalition of organizations committed to repealing the unconstitutional Proposition 8 which narrowly passed last November, damaging thousands of families in the state and destroying what could have been the election’s most prized lesson: prejudice and discrimination are a thing of America’s past.

Restore Equality 2010 has not been without critics, including some within the LGBT community.  Many large, well-funded state and national groups have taken the position that a 2010 ballot initiative won’t give organizations and activists enough time to prepare.  However, the passion, enthusiasm and promise of the people behind Restore Equality 2010 remind this blogger that “…there is hope that the system can work for all minorities if we fight. We’ve given them hope.” — Harvey Milk

According to Jeffrey Taylor, spokesperson for Restore Equality 2010, “This is the moment activists across our great state have been waiting for. Restore Equality 2010 is thrilled to mobilize in support of SignForEquality.com and Love Honor Cherish’s inspiring and unwavering stand for the immediate restoration of marriage equality in California.”

Proponents of the ballot initiative have until April 12, 2010 to gather approximately 1 million signatures.

Closet Talk: Dr. Michael T. Schmitt – Same-Sex Marriage’s Threat to Heterosexual Identity

November 11, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Closet Talk, Community Outreach, Featured

Closet TalkI was first introduced to Dr. Michael T. Schmitt’s work by way of jaysays.com’s resident scientist, Jude.  After seeing his video presentation, I knew I had to have him on the show.  Dr. Schmitt, along with Dr. Justin Lehmiller and Dr. Allison Walsh, published the article, “The Role of Heterosexual Identity Threat in Differential Support for Same-Sex ‘Civil Unions’ versus ‘Marriages'” in the journal Group Processes and Intergroup Relations.

During the show, I found myself attempting not to use the words that came to mind; words like, heterosexual supremacist, egotist, snob, etc.  After the show, I found myself thinking: “Well, if it’s a cat, call it a cat.”

Essentially, the experiments determined that the majority’s desire to remain superior to the minority results in a broader support of “civil unions” instead of “marriage”.  This determination can be exampled in current events with the defeat of a marriage equality law in Maine and the passage of a “domestic partnership” law in Washington state.  In this case, there’s no reason to take my word for it, instead, Dr. Schmitt explains it nicely:

As mentioned, Dr. Schmitt is an Associate Professor at Simon Fraser University.  SFU, like many educational institutions, is suffering from under funding.  Find out how you can help at savesfu.org.

Closet Talk: Ami and Ruby – Are We Married?

October 30, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Closet Talk, Community Outreach, Featured

Closet TalkAmi and Ruby were married in a ceremony that was not recognized by their state; however, once marriage was allowed in California, and knowing that Proposition 8 was looming, the couple headed south and tied the knot. Now, they are trekking around the country through many states that don’t recognize their marriage with the goal of visiting all states that do (including the District of Columbia).

Ami and ruby shared some stories from the road and it was a great pleasure to have them tell these stories. You can hear what they had to say using the player below: