Saturday, December 20, 2008

It is important to say these things out loud.

President-elect Barack Obama believes "marriage is between a man and a woman".

Barack Obama does not think gay couples' relationships are worthy of the same stature as his and Michelle's.
He does not believe that gay couples deserve the precise same legal recognition or status that his marriage confers to him and his wife.
He believes we should have a different, inherently lesser, legal framework to protect each other and our children.

It is important to say these things out loud.

President-elect Obama enters the White House with a record of support and  a better platform on issues of LGBT equality than any other president this country has known.
He opposed amending state constitutions to single out gay couples to ban them from marriage. He supports  federally recognized Civil Unions. He oppose federal legislation and constitutional measures that ban marriage recognition for gay couples.
He supports the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, will push the Hate Crimes bill and supports an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination law. 

By all accounts he has a laudable record of pushing for equal rights and we must work with his administration relentlessly to manifest these promises.

But he also believes there is a quality to heterosexual relationships that make them worthy of a higher status by society under the law.
Barack Obama believes "marriage is between a man and a woman".
He says gay couples can have civil unions, domestic partnership, some other, different, diminished copy of an arrangement.

It is important that we not pretend we don't already know this.

I am awed by Barack Obama. His words inspire me. His intellect comforts me. His grassroots campaign was a beautiful, diverse and powerful thing to behold.
After years of a Bush/Cheney cynicism, war, arrogance and incompetence I wept tears of joy for Barack Obama's election.  For the historic shift and transformational meaning that a Black president heralds for our country, I beamed with pride. Change is coming and I am hopeful.

But when it comes to the issue of marriage, Barack Obama is wrong. 
I have criticized  the selection of Rev. Rick Warren to give the invocation at the inauguration. 
Warren compares gay relationships with incest and pedophilia and runs a psychologically reckless, "ex-gay" ministry out of his mega-church. 
His presence on the dias should be challenged vigorously. 

But I will not lie to myself. I will not make Warren the proxy for the unspoken disappointment and anger at Barack Obama for his more nuanced insult to gay couples when he says "marriage is between a man and a woman". We must be prepared to help President Obama lead and we must be willing to tell the truth when he is wrong.

When it comes to the issue of marriage Barack Obama is wrong. 
Gay people deserve equal protection under the law. Our families deserve precisely the same benefits, protection and legal recognition as straight couples receive.

It is important to say these things out loud.

John Ridley: The U.S. Goes Global With its Anti-Gayness

John Ridley: The U.S. Goes Global With its Anti-Gayness
Funny thing about this great land of ours. She's got no problem fighting for what's right (Civil War), but she doesn't always make the simple stand for righteousness (Civil Rights movement).

This past Thursday the United Nations, which excels at issuing proclamations, circulated one that is as marginally effectual as it is symbolically strong. It was just a little ole declaration seeking universal decriminalization of homosexuality.

Wasn't saying Gays could get married.
Wasn't saying Gays could show up at your house and read your kids Heather Has Two Mommies.
It was just saying, you know: "Hey, Iran, when you're done with that show trial, could you possibly not hang those two guys who engaged in a love whose name you dare not speak."

And if you think I'm being hyperbolic, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay notes that ten countries still have laws making homosexual activity punishable by death.

But the U.S. did not sign the declaration. 


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Newsweek "Takes a Bullet" On Gay Marriage

By Mary E. Hunt

As a theologian, I sometimes wonder if anyone cares about what we write. But Newsweek's cover story (December 15, 2008), "Our Mutual Joy," set off a firestorm of responses so voluminous that it temporarily shut down the magazine's comments function on their Web site. Time's "Person of the Year" issue would be lucky to get as much attention as the enormous response to a religion editor's pro-gay marriage piece. Apparently, religion still matters.

What does it mean, though, that this story has generated such controversy? The most obvious point is that people still care what religions say about matters of sexuality, for reasons that sometimes remain obscure. I doubt that the same reaction, and surely not the same huge numbers and rabid intensity, would have accompanied a progressive religious treatment of the war in Iraq or the death penalty. So why same-sex marriage? Why the private sphere and not the public forum?

One reason is that as Christianity has lost its hegemony in an increasingly religiously pluralistic society, Christian conservatives have staked their shrinking claims on changing personal ethics. First abortion, now same-sex marriage, and soon, end-of-life issues, are seen as litmus tests of orthodoxy. These issues define who's in or out and, more importantly, who's making decisions for a society.

The Rev. Richard Cizik, vice president of governmental affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals, has learned this the hard way lately. He has been urging his (kicking and screaming) colleagues to acknowledge global warming and join him in "creation care." They tolerated him even as they denied the scientific consensus because they mistakenly took ecology to be a larger-than-life issue that did not touch the daily lives of people.

But when he voiced tepid support, not for marriage, but simply for civil unions for same-sex couples, he was forced out of his position. Marriage is closer to home. That straw broke the camel's back because the issue is easier for people to grasp—and is thus where religious authorities could seem to be wielding real social power. Which is an illusion, after all, since global warming touches a lot more people than same sex marriage.

Read the rest here:

New ?York Times Bloggingheads: Ban Marriage?

Bloggingheads: Ban Marriage?
Jack Balkin of Yale and Ann Althouse of the University of Wisconsin debate whether marriage should be replaced with civil unions for both gay and straight couples.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Associated Press: Top evangelical resigns after backing gay unions

Top evangelical resigns after backing gay unions

An outspoken and polarizing voice in conservative Christian politics
resigned effective Thursday from the National Association of
Evangelicals after a radio interview in which he voiced support for
same-sex civil unions and said he is "shifting" on gay marriage.

The Rev. Richard Cizik's comments — made on a Dec. 2 "Fresh Air"
broadcast on National Public Radio — triggered an uproar that led to
his stepping down as NAE vice president of governmental affairs.

A fixture in Washington for nearly three decades, Cizik has played a
key role in bringing evangelical Christian concerns to the political
table. But in recent years, he earned enemies in the movement for
pushing to broaden the evangelical agenda. His strongest focus was on
"creation care," arguing that evangelicals have a biblical
responsibility to the environment that includes combatting global


Thursday, December 11, 2008

New ad blasts "No Mob Violence" ad

The Salt Lake Tribune, Dec. 11, 2008
Man behind it says 'I had to set the record straight.'

By Peggy Fletcher Stack

A pro gay-rights organization in Brooklyn, N.Y., has placed a full-page advertisement in today's Salt Lake Tribune, decrying the arguments made by religious leaders in an earlier full-page ad defending Mormon involvement in passing California's Proposition 8, a ballot measure that defined marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman.

The ad that ran Friday in the New York Times was headlined, "No Mob Violence," and condemned any attacks on people of faith, especially members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who have taken the brunt of the hostility. In the ad's final paragraph, signers pledged to oppose and publicly shame "anyone who resorts to the rhetoric of anti-religious bigotry, against any faith, on any side of the cause, for any reason."

That conclusion enraged Wayne Besen, executive director of Truth Wins Out, the nonprofit organization that placed today's ad. "I had to set the record straight."

The new ad carries the headline, "Lies in the name of the Lord," and features a cartoonish figure of Pinocchio and a Bible emblazoned with the words, "King Colson, Donohue and Cizik Version," referring to three signers of the earlier ad, Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship, William Donahue of the Catholic League and Richard Cizik of the National Association of Evangelicals. The ad blasts the New York Times ad as "misleading," especially its characterization of recent protests at Mormon temples as "mob rule."

Those protests were "remarkably peaceful," Besen said. "They took isolated incidents of people misbehaving and exploited that to make it seem like mob violence. It is immoral."

Brian Brown, executive director of National Organization for Marriage, which created the first ad, has a different perspective.

"There was not just one instance of vandalism," Brown said. "I was there in Westwood, [Calif. at the LDS temple protest]. I saw signs saying, 'Mormon scum,' and others encouraging the sort of hatred and violence we condemned. There have been fairly widespread attempts at intimidation, like calling Proposition 8 supporters at 2 a.m. and screaming into the phone."

Beyond the issue of whether gay protests constituted a "mob," Besen argues that the signers of the earlier ad are hypocrites for saying they will not use anti-religious rhetoric.

"These new defenders of the Mormon faith have long been the most prolific Mormon bashers in the nation," Besen said. "They have nothing in common but their anti-gay rhetoric. Promoting legal discrimination [against gays] with a group that would happily discriminate against you is a strategic disaster in the long run."

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Opponents of gay couples marrying often cite Scripture. But what the Bible teaches about love argues for the other side.

Our Mutual Joy
Lisa Miller
From the magazine issue dated Dec 15, 2008

Let's try for a minute to take the religious conservatives at their word and define marriage as the Bible does. Shall we look to Abraham, the great patriarch, who slept with his servant when he discovered his beloved wife Sarah was infertile? Or to Jacob, who fathered children with four different women (two sisters and their servants)? Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon and the kings of Judah and Israel—all these fathers and heroes were polygamists. The New Testament model of marriage is hardly better. Jesus himself was single and preached an indifference to earthly attachments—especially family. The apostle Paul (also single) regarded marriage as an act of last resort for those unable to contain their animal lust. "It is better to marry than to burn with passion," says the apostle, in one of the most lukewarm endorsements of a treasured institution ever uttered. Would any contemporary heterosexual married couple—who likely woke up on their wedding day harboring some optimistic and newfangled ideas about gender equality and romantic love—turn to the Bible as a how-to script?

Of course not, yet the religious opponents of gay marriage would have it be so.

The battle over gay marriage has been waged for more than a decade, but within the last six months—since California legalized gay marriage and then, with a ballot initiative in November, amended its Constitution to prohibit it—the debate has grown into a full-scale war, with religious-rhetoric slinging to match. Not since 1860, when the country's pulpits were full of preachers pronouncing on slavery, pro and con, has one of our basic social (and economic) institutions been so subject to biblical scrutiny. But whereas in the Civil War the traditionalists had their James Henley Thornwell—and the advocates for change, their Henry Ward Beecher—this time the sides are unevenly matched. All the religious rhetoric, it seems, has been on the side of the gay-marriage opponents, who use Scripture as the foundation for their objections.

The argument goes something like this statement, which the Rev. Richard A. Hunter, a United Methodist minister, gave to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in June: "The Bible and Jesus define marriage as between one man and one woman. The church cannot condone or bless same-sex marriages because this stands in opposition to Scripture and our tradition."

To which there are two obvious responses:

Monday, December 8, 2008

Orlando LGBT Community and Allies Form New Unity Coalition

Orlando LGBT Community and Allies Form New Unity Coalition

One Orlando unites a broad spectrum of diverse organizations and
individuals in a common purpose to obtain equality and dignity for all
Floridians, and to repudiate and oppose anti-gay bigotry and

Established in the aftermath of the passage of the discriminatory
"Marriage Protection Amendment" to the Florida Constitution, One
Orlando has been formed to unite the larger Central Florida community
in an effort to counter prevalent and dangerous anti-gay bigotry.
Nonprofit organizations, civic and community groups, faith
institutions, businesses and individuals throughout the Central
Florida region will combine their resources and talents to oppose
discrimination and prejudice wherever it occurs in our community. The
new coalition will also organize the local efforts of the national
grassroots movement Join the Impact.

Participating organizations include: The GLBT Center of Central
Florida; Equality Florida; Metropolitan Business Association (MBA);
Human Rights Campaign (HRC); ACLU of Central Florida; PFLAG (Parents,
Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) of Orlando, Brevard and Polk
Counties; Gay & Lesbian Lawyer Association of Central Florida (GALLA);
Joy Metropolitan Community Church; First Congregational Church of
Winter Park; Hope Unites United Church of Christ; First Unitarian
Church of Orlando; Oasis Fellowship Ministries; St Dorothy's Catholic
Community; Orlando Gay Chorus; Rainbow Democrats; Log Cabin
Republicans; Orange County Democrats; The Ryan Skipper Foundation;
UCF's GLB Student Union, GLBT Alumni Association, and Office of
Diversity Initiatives; Orlando and Lakeland Youth Alliances; Be Real;
Rollins College Office of Multicultural Affairs; Planned Parenthood of
Greater Orlando; and NOW of Central Florida. invites all like-minded individuals and organizations
to join us in this all-volunteer, grassroots movement as we stand
united against destructive anti-gay discrimination and homophobia in
our city and state. Upcoming events include a holiday food drive, and
a candlelight vigil on Saturday, December 20, 2008 at First
Congregational Church of Winter Park. Details will follow.

# # ## is a unity coalition of Central Florida nonprofit
organizations, faith institutions, businesses, and individuals which
are united in a common purpose to combat discrimination and anti-gay
bigotry in Florida. More information is available at

Will You Join Me? Wed Dec 10th 6pm

From: "Bart Coyle" <>

Dear Friends,
Will you join with me?
There is a place in Iran where people go to die, it is called Edalat Square. In 2005 two young boys in their teens were hung for the crime of being "homosexuals". The United Nations is trying to shun this kind of behavior by instituting a declaration against the imprisonment and or the execution of gay people. Yet the Roman Catholic Church is lobbying the United Nations to allow the imprisonment and execution of gay men and women throughout the world. I am sure that some Catholics are good with this thinking but I am more than sure that the majority of Roman Catholics want to have nothing to do with this absurd teaching as they would have nothing to do with the Church's teaching on birth control. Catholics that I know do not want people murdered because they are gay, however the official word from Rome is that Catholic Bishops do. There will be a candlelight vigil at the Catholic Cathedral in Venice, FL on Wednesday, December 10, 2008 at 6:00 PM reminding the Catholic Bishop of Venice that hate is not a virtue. I may be the only person standing on the steps of the Cathedral with a candle on Wednesday because the word got out late but know this, the voices of hate will in time be silenced.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

NEWSWEEK: The Religious Case For Gay Marriage

Gay Marriage: Our Mutual Joy |


Let's try for a minute to take the religious conservatives at their
word and define marriage as the Bible does. Shall we look to Abraham,
the great patriarch, who slept with his servant when he discovered his
beloved wife Sarah was infertile? Or to Jacob, who fathered children
with four different women (two sisters and their servants)? Abraham,
Jacob, David, Solomon and the kings of Judah and Israel—all these
fathers and heroes were polygamists. The New Testament model of
marriage is hardly better. Jesus himself was single and preached an
indifference to earthly attachments—especially family. The apostle
Paul (also single) regarded marriage as an act of last resort for
those unable to contain their animal lust. "It is better to marry than
to burn with passion," says the apostle, in one of the most lukewarm
endorsements of a treasured institution ever uttered. Would any
contemporary heterosexual married couple—who likely woke up on their
wedding day harboring some optimistic and newfangled ideas about
gender equality and romantic love—turn to the Bible as a how-to script?

Of course not, yet the religious opponents of gay marriage would have
it be so.

For more:

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Letter From A Loving Mother

My Child is Subhuman

From the day I found out I was pregnant she has been a ray of hope in my life.

She was a beautiful child . Helpful , very intelligent, giving, loving and kind.

She has grown in to a very competent woman . Civic minded, a productive member of the community.

I found out today she is not human. She does not deserve basic human rights according to this countries popular vote.

She cannot find legal or financial security in a partnership.

She, who has the ability to love a person for who they are, not because of their gender, but because she loves completely is not allowed to adopt a child if she chooses.

She is not allowed domestic partnership rights, health insurance, to hold the hand of her partner if they are dying in a hospital.

My beautiful girl who loves all is not allowed to love completely. She is not allow to celebrate her love publicly, legally or in the minds of most people evidently she cannot celebrate her love honestly.

She is your niece, cousin, friend, she is a human being in this country without human rights.

If you voted to not allow domestic partnerships in Florida, you also voted to not allow hetero partnerships too. There are a lot of folks who are widowed , who will lose their pension and other incomes of they get married again. So if they are lucky enough to find someone to spend the rest of their days with they will have to do so in poverty or with out human rights.

Evidently most people think this was a gay rights issue and it didn't have to do with them. It was a human rights issue that affects everyone. Your grandma or grandpa, your aunt, your uncle and eventually it will affect you.

If we are lucky enough to have another vote on domestic partnerships I hope you are able to think of the individuals concerned and not some ideology or perceived moral, ethical issue. It is about human rights, all humans...all citizen of this country deserve the blessing of liberty.

If you agree with this email please pass it along. If you do not, then I will hope you will eventually allow the gift of understanding and unconditional love enter your heart.

Think of my child and what an incredible person she is. Try to remember if she added something to your life and then think about what you are taking away from hers.

Elizabeth Sturino
Pandora's Box
2454 Central Ave.
St. Petersburg, FL

Friday, November 21, 2008

They Lied

Same-sex benefits targeted

Published Thursday, November 20, 2008 11:27 PM

TAMPA — Seeking to capitalize on statewide passage of a gay marriage ban, a leading antigay-rights activist is setting his sights on same-sex domestic partnership benefits.

David Caton, executive director of the Florida Family Association, says he will seek a change to the Hillsborough County Charter in 2010 to pre-emptively ban same-sex benefits for county employees.

Efforts to recruit volunteers and collect signatures from voters to get the issue on the ballot will begin early next year, he said.

In interviews with the St. Petersburg Times and Miami Herald on Thursday, Caton sought to frame the issue as a fiscal, as much a moral, argument.

"We're going to use the momentum from the marriage amendment to speak to the fact that most people in this state don't want a recognition of that type of relationship," Caton said. "At this time of economic stress, our government should not be providing benefits to nonemployees on the basis on their sexual relationships."

Gay-rights activists said any such effort by Caton will only galvanize an already motivated bloc of Hillsborough County voters. Those voters have shown greater evidence of organization and hustle in rallying for candidates and causes they support.

"We've got a coalition now, and we've got people who will work very, very hard to ensure he is not successful," said Sally Phillips, president of the Hillsborough County Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Allied Democratic Caucus. "He'll have a fight on his hands."

In addition to passage of Amendment 2, Caton said he probably would not be pursuing the matter at this time if not for the election of openly gay County Commissioner Kevin Beckner, who won office Nov. 4. He cited strong turnout at Beckner's swearing-in Tuesday as evidence that his supporters will press him to pursue a gay-rights agenda.

"I think the heavy turnout for his swearing-in was more than just friendship; it was a politically motivated event," Caton said.

Beckner did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Hillsborough County does not offer domestic partnership benefits to employees, although the city of Tampa does. A change to the County Charter would not affect city employees.

The city's benefits, however, also figure in Caton's strategy.

Caton said he would seek to use the political momentum of a Hillsborough charter change to influence Tampa elections for City Council and mayor in 2011. With gay marriage bans getting passed in several states, he called same-sex domestic partner benefits the next frontier in the gay-rights battle.

"Domestic partnership will be the battlefield between the pro-family agenda and the gay-radical agenda,'' Caton said. "They're saying it,'' and he and other like-minded people are prepared to respond, he said.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A great harm to the cause of equality

A great harm to the cause of equality

By Eva Jefferson Paterson
November 13, 2008

Proposition 8 was not just an assault on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. Proposition 8 injured us all.

It especially hurt those of us who historically have been vulnerable to societal discrimination because of our gender, the color of our skin,or the God we choose to worship. For Proposition 8 threw out the most central guarantee of our Constitution – that our laws must treat everyone equally.

I say this as a straight African/American Christian woman who is distressed by what I have been hearing in the aftermath of the election. I write these words as the co-founder and President of the Equal Justice Society, and as an attorney and activist who has fought against discrimination for over 30 years, side by side with people of every race, creed and sexual orientation.

It is not productive to fingerwag over who has been more oppressed than whom. It is not fruitful to scapegoat communities that fell prey to manipulative and dishonest campaign tactics.

Let us put blame on those who deserve it – on a political campaign that appealed to fear rather speaking to our higher selves. It was despicable for the Proposition 8 campaign to suggest that Barack Obama supported its passage, when in fact our new president-elect spoke out strongly against the discrimination that it embodies.

I'm reminded of Mildred Loving, whose landmark 1967 case of Loving v. Virginia allowed two people of different races to marry. She said last year on the 40th anniversary of the decision that she and her husband-to-be, Richard, were in love, and they wanted to be married. Mildred was African-American, and Richard was white. At that time, people believed it was OK to keep them from marrying because of their ideas of who should marry whom. The trial judge who condemned Mildred and Richard as criminals said that their marriage was against God and nature. Sound familiar?

I'm also reminded of the major victory in 1954 in the Brown v. Board of Education case. I am certain that if the ruling in that case had been put before the electorate, Brown would have been overturned by the majority, that at that time did not embrace the equality of African-Americans. This is exactly what was done to the cause of equality by the passage of Proposition 8.

An injury to one is an injury to all. Now is the time to stand together to do the work ahead, for we have a common enemy. It is injustice.

Paterson, an attorney, is president of the San Francisco-based Equal Justice Society.

Call In Gay-Volunteer for A Day

A new twist on the proposed Day Without A Gay- a plan to have a gay strike on Dec. 10th.
Instead of punching the clock, LGBT and supporters are asked to make it a day of volunteering.

Dec 10th is International Human Rights Day.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Home Depot Founder: Retailers Who Don't Support GOP "Should Be Shot"

Nadine Smith
10:00am Nov 19th
Home Depot Founder: Retailers Who Don't Support GOP "Should Be Shot"

Home Depot Founder: Retailers Who Don't Support GOP "Should Be Shot" - The Huffington Postk:

Liveblog our Executive Director Nadine Smith along with Kate Kendell and Barbara McCullough-Jones on Thursday @ The Bilerico Project!

Liveblog with anti-amendment leaders Kate Kendell, Nadine Smith and Barbara McCullough-Jones

Filed by: Bil Browning

November 19, 2008 1:30 AM

I'm pleased to announce that Thursday night Bilerico Project be hosting a liveblog with Kate Kendell, Nadine Smith and Barbara McCullough-Jones. We'll kick things off at 7pm EST.

The three women led the efforts to defeat marriage amendments in California, Florida and Arizona. Kate and Nadine are Bilerico Project contributors and Barbara is a frequent guest poster. They'll take your questions and comments about Prop 8, Amendment 2, and Prop 102, the recent protests, and what went wrong. Best of all, we'll talk about where we go from here.

Be sure to sign up below to get an e-mail reminder of the liveblog. We'll see you then!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Media quick to place blame unfairly on minorities

Amendment 2 not a ‘Black Thing’
Media quick to place blame unfairly on minorities

NOV. 13, 2008
Election Night was wonderful for me – mostly because I did not learn about the passing of Amendment 2 until the following morning. I had just spent over 3 months campaigning my ass off for Barack Obama and victory was sweet. I went door-to-door canvassing my neighborhood, I wrote blog entries, I registered over 200 new voters and I held signs for Obama out on the street. All together, I estimate that I gave the Barack Obama campaign over 165 hours of my time and most of my focus.

I am the President of the Democratic Student Assembly at the Art Institutes of Fort Lauderdale, and I am gay. I worked with most of the campaign staff in Fort Lauderdale and we have been instrumental in helping to get Art Institute students registered… and getting out the Gay vote.

I’m not trying to brag here – I’m just explaining my deflation factor on November 5th when CNN announced that Amendment 2 had passed in Florida, Proposition 8 had passed in California and it was all because of “black voters newly registered by the Obama campaign.” The evidence for this harsh accusation was CNN’s own exit polls…which revealed that 65% of black voters had voted “Yes” on Amendment 2.

I felt so betrayed – mostly by all the black voters that I had been registering and giving encouragement to over the last 3 months. How could this happen? Did they not listen to Barack’s message of diversity and acceptance?

I quickly sobered from my disillusionment when I took a closer look at these exit polls and realized that not only CNN, but Fox, MSNBC and CBS were all basically lying to us in a concentrated effort to blame the anti-gay amendments on the black community.

Do the math: CNN says that 4,755,000 people voted "Yes" on Amendment 2, and they say that 71% of Blacks voted "Yes" on the Amendment. But black voters make up only 11% of the electorate—approximately 523,000 people in this election—and 71% of them voting “yes” means you get a whopping 371,000 people. That’s 8% of the total 4.75 million “yes”
votes. That paints a much different picture, doesn’t it?

Another group which isn’t getting much press these days is Jews – who voted in a strong majority against both Prop 8 and Amendment 2 – proving once again, that minorities stick
together. Shalom!

Here’s another CNN exit poll statistic that isn’t getting much coverage among the pundits: Obama voters as a whole voted 57% AGAINST Amendment 2 in Florida while McCain voters voted 81% in favor of the anti-gay legislation.

So, at the end of the day, we need to place blame squarely where it’s due – back on the white, rural, Christian conservative Republicans over the age of 40, whose tyranny put this measure on the ballot to begin with. Do not let the media conquer us with division…even if the lowest blows come from that sexy little silver-haired newscaster we all admire so much. There is a subtle conspiracy between the media and its Republican advertisers to absolve themselves of responsibility when things get out of hand. A constitutional amendment that specifically targets gays and lesbians is definitely out of hand, and it’s right out of the Jim Crow playbook – Disenfranchisement For Dummies.

Governor Charlie Crist supported Amendment 2 and needs to be chastised as well. We have a new President whom, thanks to a majority of Florida voters, disagrees with our Governor on Amendment 2.

As we work to reverse this hateful act of discrimination (by whatever means necessary) we must always keep in mind that almost 3 million concerned Floridians said “No” to Amendment 2 and meant it.

My new campaign motto is “Yes We Did… and we’ll keep doing it too!”

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Equality Florida at Orlando "Join the Impact" Rally

Panama City Rallies Against Discrmination

Hey All,

I just wanted to let you that I have uploaded both News Channel 7 & News 13's broadcast to YouTube. Below are the links and embed codes if you want to upload them to your website, MySpace or facebook accounts.

A huge thanks to Wes and the GCCC GSA for leading this event! Every time I see the stories and see the amount of people we had, I can sincerely say each of our efforts are showing greatly! Two and a half years ago, I never would have thought this would be happening in Panama City! Thanks you all who have devoted their time and energy to help move equality forward!

YouTube links:
For News 7:
For News 13:

Embed links:
For News 7:

For News 13:


Michael Greene

Orlando Sentinel: Gays Creating A Blue State

The Sun Sentinel analyzes the growing Democratic trend in Orange and cites four key reasons, chief among them the growing influence of Orlando's gay community.

While Hispanics have been much ballyhooed as the new swing vote in Orange County, they are not the only bloc that turned Orange solidly blue this presidential election. Also at play is a powerful Democratic coalition that has evolved in the past couple of decades. The article also points to the emergence of the "creative class" arguably a factor related to the LGBT community as well.

Change No. 1: The emergence of labor unions.

Change No. 2: The influence of gays.

Particularly in the city of Orlando, the gay population continues to emerge as a potent political force. Gay residents make their views known and often get results. They played a particularly important role in 2003 when Democrat Buddy Dyer was elected as mayor in a nasty race with Repu blican Pete Barr. Though the position is nonpartisan, the party lines were drawn quite clearly by everyone involved. The city's gay rights ordinance was one of the most contentious issues in the campaign. A large turnout by gays was key in easily returning Dyer --who supported the law -- to office.

Change No. 3: An increase in the black population.

Change No. 4: The emergence of a "creative class."

Read more

Orlando Rally: PFLAG Mom Speaks Out

Poll shows Floridians believe gays and lesbians should have equal rights

Despite vote to bar gay marriage, equal rights are favored

By Scott Travis | South Florida Sun-Sentinel
November 16, 2008

Floridians may not support same-sex marriage, but they overwhelmingly believe gays and lesbians should have equal rights in a number of other areas, a survey indicates.

Gay activists are still reeling over a loss Nov. 4, when state residents voted 62 percent in favor of Amendment 2, which adds Florida's existing ban on gay marriage into the state constitution. But a poll conducted as part of that campaign also asked another question unrelated to marriage: Should gays and lesbians have the same rights as everyone else with regards to housing, job opportunities and public accommodations, such as restaurants and movie theaters?

The results showed 89 percent of respondents answered yes.

There were no significant differences among political parties, with 87 percent of Republicans, 90 percent of Democrats and 93 percent of independents supporting equal rights, the poll shows.

Read more

Jacksonville Rally

Peaceful Protest Across Florida: News Roundup

Democrat: Marchers protest Amendment 2

Times-Union: Gay advocates protest marriage amendment

Herald: Gay-marriage ban sparks rights rally

Herald Tribune: Rights groups protest ban on gay marriage

Sentinel: 1,000 turn out for gay marriage rally

Post: Hundreds protest gay-marriage ban

Tallahassee Rally Photos

Visit the slideshow

Saturday, November 15, 2008

San Diego Protest Culminate in Human Flag

I thought you might like this gigantic rainbow "flag" at the culmination of the SD march. Rex Wockner took the photo.

Street protest and beyond...

Day of Action Report From Our Sister Organization in New Jersey:

"Here in New Jersey, we had a couple of hundred of our protesters march from one end of our headquarters hometown right into our office, where we did phone banking and letter writing to public officials, all set up for them.   We didn't just want to do a protest, but instead turned it into on-site action to pass our marriage equality bill in New Jersey.  
Our message was:  Don't just cry over spilled milk in California – let's be the Harvey Milks of New Jersey.   Shape the future!"
Stephen Goldstein of Garden State Equality


Comedian Wanda Sykes Comes Out: "I’m Proud To Be Gay" and Married


Dozens of rallies were held around the nation on Saturday to protest the passage of anti-gay ballot measures in CA, Fl, AZ and AR. Sykes was married to her wife in California. The passage of Prop 8 and re-banned same-sex marriage and sparked a fury. But only one that I know of featured a prominent celebrity coming out of the closet, and that would be the one here at the GLBT Community Center. Here she is...

I've also posted the audio of Sykes' remarks and my brief interview with her in the podcast feed. It adds up to about 8 minutes and you can hear it by clicking here or you can save it to your computer by right-clicking here.

Here's a little bit of what Sykes said. She started by talking about how exciting it was to her to see Obama elected:

"I thought, man we are moving in the right direction. And then at about 11 o'clock I was crushed. We took a huge leap forward and then got dragged 12 feet back. I felt like I was being attacked, personally attacked, our community was attacked. I got married Oct. 25, I don't really talk about my sexual orientation, I felt like I was living my life, I wasn't in the closet, but I was just living my life. Everybody who knows me personally, they know I'm gay. And that's the way people should be able to live our lives, really. We shouldn't have to be standing out here demanding something we automatically should have as citizens of this country. ... They pissed off the wrong group of people. They have galvanized a community. We are so together now and we all want the same thing and we shouldn't have to settle for less. Instead of having gay marriage in California, no, we're gonna have gay marriage across the country. When my wife and I leave California, I want to have my marriage also recognized in Nevada, in Arizona, all the way to New York. ... I'm proud to be a woman, I'm proud to be a black woman and I'm proud to be gay."

In my interview with her, she said this: "People shouldn't have to talk about their sexual orientation, we shouldn't have to do it, but with the legislation that they passed, I can't sit by and just watch. I just can't do it."

Sykes also disputed the much-reported claim that 70 percent of black voters in California voted to ban gay marriage. Several prominent writers, including Dan Savage here, have railed against homophobic blacks. Wanda said the exit polls were wrong and admonished me, "Please stop spreading that 70 percent of African-Americans voted Yes on Prop 8 because it's just not true."

After the speeches, the very large -- figure more than 1,000 people -- crowd lined Sahara Avenue with signs.

Source: Karen Ocamb

No Gays for A Day

Forget the marches against Prop. 8's passage
This will hit people where it hurts

Joel Stein / LA Times
November 14, 2008

You wouldn't think gay people would need tips on staging a splashy
event from Mexican immigrants. Yet since they lost the right to marry
in California, gays appear to have no game plan, marching around West
Hollywood and Silver Lake with their old "No on 8" signs, which makes
about as much sense as holding a John McCain rally next month at John
McCain's house.

That's why I'm declaring Dec. 5 No Gays for a Day day. Patterned after
the 2006 Great American Boycott organized by Latino immigrants, on
that Friday, gays should stay home from work, school and do no
shopping, to prove how crucial they are to American society. No Gays
for a Day will demonstrate what it would be like if -- as so much of
the non-coastal U.S. seems to desire -- gays just disappeared. You may
not even know who all your daily gays are, so there's no predicting
the impact. It probably won't shut down the restaurant industry like
the immigrants did, but know this for certain: Dec. 5 will be a day
that fashion does not move forward.

full story:,0,2377851.column

Friday, November 14, 2008

Cluttering up the constitution

Sun-Sentinel, 11/14/2008
View article on Sun-Sentinel

I quite agree with your Nov. 7 editorial that the failure of Amendment 1 and the passage of Amendment 2 were travesties. I do not know how these amendments get on the ballot in the first place. At a meeting yesterday of the Voters Coalition, it was pointed out that the U.S. Constitution has had less than 20 amendments (not counting the Bill of Rights) in over 200 years. By contrast, there have been some 200 changes to the Florida Constitution. This is outrageous! Will the next one try to limit the time we spend on our computers?

Michael Paschkes, Boynton Beach

ACLU: Amendment 2 - a futile effort to delay the inevitable

Miami Herald, 11/14/2008

The vote approving Amendment 2 -- the so-called marriage-protection amendment -- was a devastating but temporary setback for the cause of equal treatment for all.

By a 1.9 percent margin, Florida voters prohibited allowing same-sex couples the opportunity to have their relationships legally protected, denying the religious institution of their choice the authority of law 'invested in the institution' to bless the relationship. Arizona and California also voted to add a ban on same-sex marriage to their state constitutions.

Despite the propaganda, gay marriage was not on the ballot. What Floridians approved was a prohibition on the legal recognition of anything 'that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof.' It will take years of lawsuits and countless lawyers to sort out the intended and unintended consequences of this measure.

The forces behind Amendment 2 have said that their mission is accomplished; marriage has been protected. But none of the economic and social pressures on marriage that have resulted in the terribly high divorce rate have been addressed. That would have been an honest program to 'protect marriage.' It remains a mystery how the institution of marriage is 'protected' by denying the right of some people the ability to enjoy its benefits.

First-class violation of rights

First-class violation of rights
Palm Beach Post, 11/14/2008

Thou shalt not inject religion into law.

The American republic is governed by the U.S. Constitution. Not the Bible, the Torah, the Quran or any other religious text. Separation of church and state is a cornerstone of the liberties that constitution guarantees.

Yet millions of voters in Florida, California and Arizona took their religious beliefs to the polling place last Tuesday - where they approved banning gay marriage - and demanded adherence to those beliefs from everyone else.

Among the 60 percent of Floridians who approved Amendment 2, the so-called 'Marriage Protection Amendment,' was a man who I happen to know cheats on his wife. He bragged with righteous indignation about voting for the amendment. But why shouldn't gay men and women have the right to make the same vows he chooses to break? Religious freedom gives the faithful the right to live their beliefs. They should let others do the same. 

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Who Was Really Behind Amendment 2?

Who funded Amendment 2?

Florida Family Action, INC. $1,059,639
Republican Party of Florida $300,000
Richard Devos $100,000
Florida Baptist Convention $68,000
Focus on the Family $56,000
Stand For Marriage, INC $12,582
WW Gay Mechanical Contractor, INC $10,000
Ray Berryman $10,000
Leadership for Florida's Future $10,000
First Orlando Foundation $10,000
National Marriage Org $10,000

Click here for a complete list of donors

Who Signed The Petition?

Know Thy Neighbor is in the business of making those who have supported discrimination by signing a ballot petition known. believes that citizens who sponsor an amendment to take people's rights should never be allowed to do so under the cover of darkness.

The names and addresses posted here were collected by as part of the citizens initiative petition process and have been verified by each individual Florida County Supervisor of Elections. They are part of the public record.

Click here to see who signed the petition.

Amendment 2 Exit Polls - 83% of Republicans Backed Discrimination

Check out the CNN exit poll

Supported the Amendment
83% White Republicans
72% Black men
71% Black women
62% Latino Men
66% Latino Women
61% White men
59% White Women

Opposed the Amendment
53% of 18-29 
52% of 18-24 
62% of Jewish voters
60% of non-protestant religons
65% No religious affiliation

It's Not Over

"Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up." -- Anne Lamott

Dear Friends,

It’s been a little more than a week since election night and our anger has not diminished over the devastating losses in Florida, California, Arizona and Arkansas.

Knowing that 3 out of 5 Floridians - our neighbors, co-workers, and perhaps even family members - voted to reduce us to second-class citizenship in our state Constitutions is an injury too deep to be ignored.

A grassroots driven, national day of peaceful protest has been spawned in the past few days with rallies planned for November 15th at City Halls and other locations across the nation. (see sidebar for Florida events)

But as this day of action approaches, let us not forget that anger alone is not enough. If there is going to be true change in Florida, then our passion for justice requires that we get engaged in the work ahead with our legislative session just around the corner.

Together we must:

1) Defend existing protections- We are working with our legal allies to explore all legal options and prepare to defend existing protections. We will fight in court anywhere domestic partnership provision are challenged.

2) Fight for expanded protections for our families
- Even as the majority voted to add discrimination into the constitution, 77% of Floridians now say they believe the law should provide all legal protections short of marriage to gay couples. It is a maddening contradiction but also a welcome opportunity to pursue more sweeping legal protections at the state and local level. We must work hard to achieve these protections and to defend them from legal threats posed by amendment 2.

3) Reach out to those who opposed Amendment 2 to help us educate and mobilize for it repeal- Nearly three million Florida voters stood with us and opposed adding discrimination to Florida's constitution. We must identify our supporters and engage them in this effort to undo 2.

4) Reach out to those who supported Amendment 2 but can be reached - We must communicate, educate and challenge those who voted to deny our rights. Polling shows us that communication with Black and Hispanic voters and greater engagement of young voters must be a major part of our effort. While we have built strong alliances with civil rights organizations and leaders, we must focus at the grassroots level as well.

5) Continue the ongoing work to end discrimination - Florida remains a state without a statewide non-discrimination law that includes LGBT people. We are the only state with a statute that singles out gay people and bans us from adopting, no matter how qualified we are to parent. And while we celebrated the passage of a statewide safe schools bill last year, we must work to ensure the new law is enforced properly at the local level to address the epidemic of anti-LGBT bullying.

With all that needs to be done in our state, demonstrating our anger at having rights stripped away is a good place to start, but it’s not nearly enough. The passion must translate into a commitment to get engaged and the resolve to stay involved in the work ahead. We have created a website to serve as an information hub for our campaign called "Undo 2".Click here to join the fight.


Nadine Smith

P.S. The far right announced they will sending people to the rallies. Remember these are non-violent demonstrations against this injustice. Don't let them bait you.

Visit the web address below to tell your friends about this.

From FiveThirtyEight: Prop 8 Myths

Prop 8 Myths

Writes Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee:

Last week, however, 10 percent of voters were African American while 18 percent were Latino, and applying exit poll data to that extra turnout reveals that the pro-Obama surge among those two groups gave Proposition 8 an extra 500,000-plus votes, slightly more than the measure's margin of victory.

To put it another way, had Obama not been so popular and had voter turnout been more traditional – meaning the proportion of white voters had been higher – chances are fairly strong that Proposition 8 would have failed.
Certainly, the No on 8 folks might have done a better job of outreach to California's black and Latino communities. But the notion that Prop 8 passed because of the Obama turnout surge is silly. Exit polls suggest that first-time voters -- the vast majority of whom were driven to turn out by Obama (he won 83 percent [!] of their votes) -- voted against Prop 8 by a 62-38 margin. More experienced voters voted for the measure 56-44, however, providing for its passage.

Now, it's true that if new voters had voted against Prop 8 at the same rates that they voted for Obama, the measure probably would have failed. But that does not mean that the new voters were harmful on balance -- they were helpful on balance. If California's electorate had been the same as it was in 2004, Prop 8 would have passed by a wider margin.

Furthermore, it would be premature to say that new Latino and black voters were responsible for Prop 8's passage. Latinos aged 18-29 (not strictly the same as 'new' voters, but the closest available proxy) voted against Prop 8 by a 59-41 margin. These figures are not available for young black voters, but it would surprise me if their votes weren't fairly close to the 50-50 mark.

At the end of the day, Prop 8's passage was more a generational matter than a racial one. If nobody over the age of 65 had voted, Prop 8 would have failed by a point or two. It appears that the generational splits may be larger within minority communities than among whites, although the data on this is sketchy.

The good news for supporters of marriage equity is that -- and there's no polite way to put this -- the older voters aren't going to be around for all that much longer, and they'll gradually be cycled out and replaced by younger voters who grew up in a more tolerant era. Everyone knew going in that Prop 8 was going to be a photo finish -- California might be just progressive enough and 2008 might be just soon enough for the voters to affirm marriage equity. Or, it might fall just short, which is what happened. But two or four or six or eight years from now, it will get across the finish line.

Rachel Maddow discuesses race and the passage of Prop 8

36.7% of eligible voters voted YES on Amend 2

I read a blog and someone stated that 60+% of Floridians hate gays.  This was my response.  

"Let's crunch some numbers.  The state of Florida has about 18,680,367 people living in it.  About 13,287,564 (71.1%) people are elgible to vote (meaning they are of age, not felons, etc.)  Out of the eligible voters, 11,247,634 (84.6%) are actually registered to vote.  Out of the people who are registered to vote, 8,440,206 (75%) actually voted.  Out of the people who actually voted, 7,889,593 (93.5%) voted on Amendment 2.  Out of the people who voted on Amendment 2: 4,885,009 (61.9%) voted yes.  Do the math:  Only 36.7% of the eligible voting population in Florida voted Yes on Amendment 2. 

So, NO!!!!; 60+% of Floridians do not hate homosexuals.  It's safe to assume that many of the people who voted YES did not understand the Amendment or voted because someone else told them to.  It's also safe to say that not all of the people that voted "yes" hate homosexuals.  I actually know some people that voted yes and I sincerely believe they voted yes out of fear."

 So as you can see, there is hope.  Voting only represents those who voted.  It does not represent the entire state.  Pass it on.


Mormons Resigning Despite Strong Heritage, Citing 'Hatred' by LDS Church

Mormons Resigning Despite Strong Heritage, Citing 'Hatred' by LDS Church
by Andrew Callahan
Wed Nov 12, 2008 at 09:06:59 AM PST

Mormons continued to register their resignations with, and post resignation letters to Signing for Something this week, citing "hatred" and "discrimination" among their chief reasons for quitting the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  These resignations come among the continuing backlash against the Mormon Church's involvement in passing California's Proposition 8 last week to take away the right of civil marriage for gays and lesbians.

Excepts of a few recent letters are posted here, with links to the full letters.

   I am a gay man who, after serving a [Mormon] mission to the Netherlands, left the mormon church (although not officially) as they have no place for me. I've always felt that I didn't need to upset my family or make waves by requesting that my name be removed from the records. After all, I didn't recognize the church's authority anymore so what was the point?

Ellen DeGeneres about Prop 8

My chat with Ellen DeGeneres...

By Greg Hernandez on November 12, 2008 2:58 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | ShareThis

The conference call with Ellen DeGeneres to talk about her upcoming TBS comedy special had been on the books for weeks. Who knew then that Prop. 8 would pass and end up dominating the conversation?

Of course we were warned that Ellen would only discuss the special but she was game for just about anything. When it was my turn to ask some questions, I mentioned that she sounded a little more subdued than usual and wondered if the election had taken a toll.