Friday, October 31, 2008
October 31, 2008
NYC Lesbians Hit Philly for Obama
A group of New York City lesbians took to the streets of Philadelphia to turn out the vote for Barack Obama. The Illinois U.S. senator holds a comfortable lead there, but John McCain has fixated on Pennsylvania as the only sizable blue state he hopes to turn red.
By Kerry Eleveld
It was around 8 a.m. last Saturday when a troupe of about 35 New York City lesbians and several men piled into a bus bound for Philadelphia, where they had signed up to knock on doors in an effort to get people to the polls for Barack Obama next Tuesday.
“It’s one of those elections where 20 years from now people will ask me where I was, and I want to have an answer,” said Katie Kelly, 24. The proclamation immediately inspired a protest from her 26-year-old girlfriend, Elspeth Greene. “Hey, that’s my line,” Greene said, as they stood next to each other in matching “Obama for President” T-shirts, one purple and the other green.
Pennsylvania has become increasingly important as John McCain pulled resources out of other states such as Michigan and Wisconsin that voted Democratic in 2004 to concentrate his efforts on winning the Keystone State’s 21 electoral votes. Most recent polls there show Senator Obama with anywhere from a 7- to 14-point advantage, but McCain’s advisers have argued that voting trends in the state are sometimes unpredictable and that it’s their last, best chance to steal a “blue state” from Obama, even as the U.S. senator from Illinois threatens to flip a handful of key red states such as Ohio and Florida.
Bus organizers Erin Drinkwater, 28, and Tanene Allison, 27, said the road trip was the second stage of a grassroots effort to get more LGBT women involved in the campaign. “The strategy was, How do you get new people engaged in the campaign and destigmatize canvassing -- make it fun, make it accessible?” Allison said, as the cult classic But I’m a Cheerleader played in the background on the bus’s video system. The three-step plan had started with a canvassing sign-up party held at a local lesbian bar called Henrietta Hudson the previous week, and the daylong commitment to walking Philadelphia was actually a baby step on the way to a bigger request -– who might be willing to spend the three or four days leading up to November 4 walking neighborhoods in a swing state like Ohio, where Allison planned to be.
When the movie ended, Drinkwater and Allison offered a mini training session. People would pair up and be provided with a “walk kit” that included a map of the area they were to canvass, the exact addresses of the doors they should approach, and the names, ages, and party affiliations of the people who lived there. At this point the campaign had enough intel about each area to know where Obama supporters were and who might still be a fence-sitter, but McCain backers would be skipped altogether. The main priority was motivating the right people –- Obama folks, in this case -- to the polls, especially since Pennsylvania has no early-voting option.
“The campaign tries to make four contacts with voters before Election Day -– the constant contact is what gets people to vote,” explained Allison. Volunteers were to mark down whom they spoke with, confirm whom that person planned on voting for, and urge them to vote. “The campaign will know who to target on Election Day based on what we do,” said Allison.
And if people seemed particularly enthusiastic, they should be given the opportunity to work with the campaign. “If people are interested in volunteering, there’s plenty of ways to engage them in their comfort zone,” said Drinkwater. “They can make phone calls without ever leaving their home.”
New York, a reliably blue state, has provided a rich well of volunteers to Pennsylvania throughout the primaries –- when many New Yorkers canvassed for Hillary Clinton –- and now into the general election for Obama. According to campaign aides, one or two LGBT-specific buses have been shuttling back and forth from New York to Philly ever since September 27 -– about eight in total (though the Henrietta Hudson bus, sponsored by local activist Yetta Kurland, was not officially coordinated by the campaign.)
It’s all part of a massive volunteer effort in Pennsylvania, but campaign officials aren’t divulging any numbers. When the group of women arrived at the Germantown field office, spilling out of the bus and onto the sidewalk, passersby knew exactly who they were and from whence they had come. “Thank you, New York!” one man offered spontaneously.
The Obama field office, one of 81 across the state that total about 700 staffers, was a bustle of activity –- from the “check-in” station up front, to an intensely focused crew of phone bankers with eyes glued to their call sheets, to a coordinator who was tracking their get-out-the-vote efforts for the day. The women were quickly given their marching orders and dispatched. Drinkwater paired up with one of the group’s 15 first-time canvassers, Melissa Hooper. “This is so exciting,” she enthused as the two approached their first door on Queens Street. “This is my first time to do this…ever!”
Germantown is a predominately African-American area, with a mix of Indian-Americans and lesbians and socioeconomic strata varying from blue-collar to middle-class. Drinkwater, a congressional aide by day, said she had worked a similar neighborhood the week before in Pittsburgh –- highly Democratic but with traditionally low turnout on elections. “The people there were so pumped,” she said, adding that it was sort of a nervous excitement. “You got the sense that the community wasn't really sure -– Can this really happen? Is this really going to happen?”
As the two white women weaved their way through the streets, they met with a similar dynamic. Most people had already encountered campaign workers and had quick answers for them. “We’re ready,” Beverly Banks offered immediately, while she and her family unloaded groceries from their car. “I’ve voted in every election since I was 18, whether I knew who was running or not,” she jested.
Banks patiently listened as Drinkwater ticked off the list of folks living at the address, confirming who was registered and who was voting, including her own three daughters. Then Banks proudly added that her youngest daughter, Alicia, was 33 and would be voting for the very first time in this election.
Another 33-year-old who planned to vote for the first time was Beatrice Harris. With tattoos ranging from paw prints to names and geometric symbols lacing her body from head to toe, Harris, donning a bright red “Obama for President” hat, declared her love for the candidate.
“I have this huge poster of him over my bed,” she said, approximating how big it is as her hands drew an imaginary square against the wall. “I think my boyfriend's a little jealous of him, actually.” Harris had been volunteering for the campaign, the first time she had been involved in the electoral process in any way. “This is something I will never ever forget,” she said.
Oliver, a white 20-something who declined to give his last name, was the closest Drinkwater and Hooper came to encountering an undecided voter in their 12-block radius. He answered the door chatting on his cell but got off the phone to engage. He said he wasn’t sure whom he was voting for but quickly followed with “I'm not voting for McCain.” As Drinkwater prodded him a bit about his hesitations with Obama, Oliver didn’t name anything specific. “I might just vote for Ron Paul because he's independent,” he concluded.
Back at the field office several hours later, the volunteers checked in their walk kits so the new data they had gathered could be entered into the computer system that night. As the band of women assembled to get back on the bus, field office volunteers broke into an “I love New York” chant.
During the 2 1/2-hour bus ride home, Drinkwater and Allison facilitated a group debriefing. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive. “It’s really moving to connect with people about something so important,” said Miranda Massie, a 41-year-old straight ally who was on the bus.
Athena Reich, 32, told the group how she had managed to get the phone numbers of 11 new volunteers for the campaign in one day -- a record, according to field office workers. “I just asked people if they wanted to volunteer, and if they said no, I would say, ‘But you can change the world.’ ”
Claudia, a 29-year-old Romanian who participated even though she is not eligible to vote on Tuesday, remarked at what an unusual opportunity it was to engage at random with other people in this country. “Americans in general are so private,” she said. “Being so close to their premises and reaching out to them -- it’s something that doesn’t happen so often; it’s very rare.”
Based on the number of walkers that day and the average number of doors and contacts that people typically make, Allison estimated that they had knocked on roughly 3,200 doors altogether and made about 1,600 contacts (though Drinkwater and Hooper’s route yielded less than a 50% contact rate).
But more importantly, Allison asked for a show of hands as to who planned on canvassing in a swing state and who else might be ready to sign up. Of the 35 volunteers, nine had already committed to going and 12 more said they would be interested in doing so.
Allison took her seat and reflected on their experiment in attracting new Obama recruits. “It worked,” she beamed.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Patti Smith provides some inspiration while organizing
or...below is a video
to wait for jamie so we can hit the road. Goal: recruit college
volunteers to come to Pittsburgh for Monday and Tuesday's GOTV. The
call is for snow the entire time we are gone, here's to staying warm.
Monday, October 27, 2008
During the singing of the National Anthem I recalled how in high school at my basketball games my mom would harp on me about not putting my hand over my heart during the singing (I would instead stand respectfully with my hands behind my back); well, it was different this time. This time, I listened to that song and I stood in a room of 20,000 individuals and was more than proud of my country. I felt the hope that I've always wanted to know and I knew that this, electing Barack Obama to be the next president of the United States of America is, in fact possible. I even teared up. I was a proud, queer, female American. I know that we can truly become "angels of our better nature."
It is not the idealist in me - it is the realist in me. The part of me that knows and truly believes that we are better than these last eight years, that we, with Obama as President will be so much better off in 8 more years.
As I edit this and add text, we are almost 4 days out, there are people who I have met along this journey that I am so grateful for, there are many more, whom I have never met, but their stories are inspiring and it is these stories that keep me motivated in the late hours of the night, it is the thought of tomorrow that gets me up every morning before the sunrise to get out and organize, it is the students, the veterans, the moms, the dads, the disenfranchised, the poor, the women, the queers, the folks that just need a little help - - - it is the idea that America can become a place that I am truly proud of that keeps me going.
the bus to take me down to the Obama headquarters.
Steelers lost yesterday, what a let down. But the fact that Obama will
be here later today more than makes up for this.
I'll keep you posted...
One more thing, many thanks to ne and boy for picking me up and then
indulging in Mexican food :)
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
please check out this site - amazing. in the fight to defeat Prop. 8 and so many other referendums that will roll back equality, take a minute to look at some folks, who are not the enemy...
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
NEW YORK – Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin says she supports a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, a break with John McCain who has said he believes states should be left to define what marriage is. In an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network, the Alaska governor said she had voted in 1998 for a state amendment banning same sex marriage and hoped to see a federal ban on such unions.
"I have voted along with the vast majority of Alaskans who had the opportunity to vote to amend our Constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman. I wish on a federal level that's where we would go. I don't support gay marriage," Palin said. She said she believed traditional marriage is the foundation for strong families.
McCain, an Arizona senator, is supporting a ballot initiative in his state this year that would ban gay marriage. But he has consistently and forcefully opposed a federal marriage amendment, saying it would usurp states' authority on such matters.
As governor, Palin vetoed a bill that would have denied benefits to the partners of gay state employees. In a debate with Democratic rival Joe Biden, Palin said she was "tolerant" of gays and said she supported certain legal protections for same-sex couples, like hospital visitation rights.
In the CBN interview, Palin also said she would speak out if she heard a supporter at a rally yell violent or threatening comments about Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee.
"What we have heard through some mainstream media is that folks have hollered out some atrocious and unacceptable things like 'kill him,'" Palin said, referring to a Washington Post story two weeks ago about angry supporters at a Palin rally in Florida. "If I ever were to hear that standing up there at the podium with the mike, I would call them out on that, and I would tell these people, no, that's unacceptable."
CBN released excerpts of the interview Monday and planned to broadcast it in its entirety Tuesday.
Palin also claimed religion and God had been "mocked" during the campaign, although she offered no evidence to support that.
"Faith in God in general has been mocked through this campaign, and that breaks my heart and that is unfair for others who share a faith in God and choose to worship our Lord in whatever private manner that they deem fit," she said.
Palin is a conservative Christian who was baptized and grew up attending Pentecostal churches. In September, Obama defended Palin's religious beliefs and said it would be "offensive" to portray her faith as strange or wrong.
Palin also reaffirmed her view that Obama had been "palling around with terrorists" because of his association with Bill Ayers, a 1960s-era radical who helped found the violent Weather Underground group to protest the Vietnam war. The group was responsible for bombings of several government buildings.
"I would say it again," she said.
Ayers and Obama live in the same Chicago neighborhood and have served together on charity boards. Ayers also hosted a house party for Obama when he was first running for the Illinois state Senate.
Monday, October 20, 2008
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Joan's blog post: A Tree Grow's in Pittsburgh. Be sure to check out her video, she wanted "to show her kids what hope looked like." (these, her children that years ago were my campers at the camp I spent so many years of my life at...small world.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
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Saturday, October 18, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
1st RULE: You do not talk about FIGHT CLUB.
2nd RULE: You DO NOT talk about FIGHT CLUB.
3rd RULE: If someone says "stop" or goes limp, taps out the fight is over.
4th RULE: Only two guys to a fight.
5th RULE: One fight at a time.
6th RULE: No shirts, no shoes.
7th RULE: Fights will go on as long as they have to.
8th RULE: If this is your first night at FIGHT CLUB, you HAVE to fight.
Sarah Palin wigs come to Borough Park
October 11th, 2008
I always thought that Sarah Palins hair did resemble one of those sheitles worn by Hot Chani types strolling along Central Avenue in the five towns, but I never seriously thought about it. Mainly because I just don’t care for sheitels, I myself prefer my natural hair and until the Rabbis make a chumra that unmarried men have to cover their hair as well - to prevent the shidduch crisis of course - I will stick to my regular hair.
The Sarah Palin sheitel is available at Georgies in Brooklyn and its selling like crazy, although you can be assured that when some chumradikeh guy reads this they will be banned. I just coined that term by the way, because in frum-speak you can add the word “dikeh” to any word to make it into a active word. Someone who appreciates chumras may be called chumradikeh.
Don’t believe me- you can get the Sarah Palin Sheitel for $695 from Georgies.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Help for Haiti
This year has been especially cruel to Haiti, with four back-to-back storms that killed hundreds of people, uprooted tens of thousands more and obliterated houses, roads and crops. A far richer country would have been left reeling; Haiti is as poor as poor gets in this half of the globe. Those who have seen the damage say it is hard to convey the new depths of misery there.
The Bush administration promised Haiti $10 million in emergency aid and Congress has since authorized $100 million for relief and reconstruction. The United Nations has issued a global appeal for another $100 million. We have no doubt that Haiti will need much more.
There is something the United States can do immediately to help Haitians help themselves. It is to grant “temporary protected status” to undocumented Haitians in the United States, so they can live and work legally as their country struggles back from its latest catastrophe.
This is the same protection that has been given for years, in 18-month increments, to tens of thousands of Nicaraguans, Hondurans, Salvadorans and others whose countries have been afflicted by war, earthquakes and hurricanes.
While the Bush administration has temporarily stopped deporting Haitians since Hurricane Ike last month, it has not been willing to go the next step of officially granting temporary protected status to the undocumented Haitians living here.
Haiti’s president, René Préval, and members of Congress have urged the administration to change its mind. We urge the same.
There is very little that is consistent in the United States’ immigration policies toward its nearest neighbors, except that the rawest deal usually goes to the Haitians. Cubans who make it to dry land here are allowed to stay; those intercepted at sea are not. Hondurans and Nicaraguans who fled Hurricane Mitch 10 years ago have seen their temporary protected status renewed, as have Salvadorans uprooted by earthquakes in 2001.
Haiti, meanwhile, more than meets the conditions that immigration law requires for its citizens here to receive temporary protected status, including ongoing armed conflict and a dire natural or environmental disaster that leaves a country unable to handle the safe return of its migrants.
If Haiti is ever going to find the road to recovery after decades of dictatorship, upheaval and decay, it will take more than post-hurricane shipments of food and water. Haiti desperately needs money, trade, investment and infrastructure repairs.
It also needs the support of Haitians in the United States, who send home more than $1 billion a year. What it does not need, especially right now, is a forced influx of homeless, jobless deportees.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
On the wall today at the campaign office there was a place for volunteers to write what brought them there...
I came to Lancaster PA for:
My niece and nephew
Micheal Curtain, killed in Iraq
Sarah Smalls, killed in Afghanistan
Because I believe in a better America
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The Washington Post
Obama and McCain Tax Proposals
According to a new analysis by the Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain are both proposing tax plans that would result in cuts for most American families. Obama's plan gives the biggest cuts to those who make the least, while McCain would give the largest cuts to the very wealthy. For the approximately 147,000 families that make up the top 0.1 percent of the income scale, the difference between the two plans is stark. While McCain offers a $269,364 tax cut, Obama would raise their taxes, on average, by $701,885 - a difference of nearly $1 million.
24 days out, I get sick...
I'm in Lancaster still and woke up this am and well, sore throat, cough, and that raspy voice I tend to actually like ;) but nonetheless, sick.
Today I'll be at the Lancaster field office, phonebanking and then a round of canvassing.
My hope, that we can change some hearts and minds and that the fresh Lancaster air sets me on a road back to health :)
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Saturday, October 11, 2008
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Friday, October 10, 2008
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There's something great about being on a train, a pair of Levi's, a white, v-neck tee and my boots. I forgot the bourbon, but I'm not too far away from a dream.
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"Justice Zarella went further in his dissent, ruling that there was no fundamental right to same-sex marriage in Connecticut because the state's marriage laws deal with the regulation of pepcreation, a factor not triggered in the case of gay marriage. "The ancient definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman has its basis in biology, not bigotry," he wrote."
Oh really, biology, not bigotry? If that were true wouldn't marriage not be limited to one man and one woman, because scientifically I would imagine that monogamy is biologically less efficient than polygamy.
Again, just saying, so riddle me that logic, Justice Zarella.
below is the article -
Gay Marriage Is Ruled Legal in Connecticut
By ROBERT D. McFADDEN
A sharply divided Connecticut Supreme Court struck down the state’s civil union law on Friday and ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. Connecticut thus joins Massachusetts and California as the only states to have legalized gay marriages.
The ruling, which cannot be appealed and is to take effect on Oct. 28, held that a state law limiting marriage to heterosexual couples, and a civil union law intended to provide all the rights and privileges of marriage to same-sex couples, violated the constitutional guarantees of equal protection under the law.
Striking at the heart of discriminatory traditions in America, the court — in language that often rose above the legal landscape into realms of social justice for a new century — recalled that laws in the not-so-distant past barred interracial marriages, excluded women from occupations and official duties, and relegated blacks to separate but supposedly equal public facilities.
“Like these once prevalent views, our conventional understanding of marriage must yield to a more contemporary appreciation of the rights entitled to constitutional protection,” Justice Richard N. Palmer wrote for the majority in a 4-to-3 decision that explored the nature of homosexual identity, the history of societal views toward homosexuality and the limits of gay political power compared with that of blacks and women.
“Interpreting our state constitutional provisions in accordance with firmly established equal protection principles leads inevitably to the conclusion that gay persons are entitled to marry the otherwise qualified same-sex partner of their choice,” Justice Palmer declared. “To decide otherwise would require us to apply one set of constitutional principles to gay persons and another to all others.”
The ruling was groundbreaking in various respects. In addition to establishing Connecticut as the third state to sanction same-sex marriage, it was the first state high court ruling to hold that civil union statutes specifically violated the equal protection clause of a state constitution. The Massachusetts high court held in 2004 that same-sex marriages were legal, while California’s court decision in May related to domestic partnerships and not the more broadly defined civil unions.
The Connecticut decision, which elicited strong dissenting opinions from three justices, also opened the door to marriage a bit wider for gay couples in New York, where state laws do not provide for same-sex marriages or civil unions, although Gov. David A. Paterson recently issued an executive order requiring government agencies to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
The opinion in Connecticut was hailed by jubilant gay couples and their advocates as a fulfillment of years of hopes and dreams. Hugs, kisses and cheers greeted eight same-sex couples as they entered the ballroom at the Hartford Hilton, where four years ago they had announced they would file a lawsuit seeking marriage licenses.
One of those couples, Joanne Mock, 53, and her partner, Elizabeth Kerrigan, 52, stood with their twin 6-year-old sons, choking back tears of joy and gratitude. Another plaintiff, Garret Stack, 59, introduced his partner, John Anderson, 63, and said: “For 28 years we have been engaged. We can now register at Home Depot and prepare for marriage.”
Religious and conservative groups called the ruling an outrage but not unexpected, and spoke of steps to enact a constitutional ban on gay marriage. Peter Wolfgang, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut, blamed “robed masters” and “philosopher kings” on the court. “This is about our right to govern ourselves,” he said. “It is bigger than gay marriage.”
But the state, a principal defendant in the lawsuit, appeared to be resigned to the outcome.
Gov. M. Jodi Rell said that she disagreed with the decision, but would uphold it. “The Supreme Court has spoken,” she said. “I do not believe their voice reflects the majority of the people of Connecticut. However, I am also firmly convinced that attempts to reverse this decision, either legislatively or by amending the state Constitution, will not meet with success.”
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said his office was reviewing the decision to determine whether laws and procedures will have to be revised — local officials will issue marriage licenses to gay couples without question, for example — but he offered no challenge and said it would soon be implemented.
The case was watched far beyond Hartford. Vermont, New Hampshire and New Jersey all have civil union statutes, while Maine, Washington, Oregon and Hawaii have domestic partnership laws that allow same-sex couples many of the same rights granted to those in civil unions. Advocates for same-sex couples have long argued that civil unions and domestic partnerships denied them the financial, social and emotional benefits accorded in a marriage.
The legal underpinnings for gay marriages, civil unions and statutory partnerships have all come in legislative actions and decisions in lawsuits. Next month, however, voters in California will decide whether the state Constitution should permit same-sex marriage.
The Connecticut case began in 2004 after the eight same-sex couples were denied marriage licenses by the town of Madison. Reflecting the contentiousness and wide interest in the case, a long list of state, national and international organizations on both sides filed friend-of-the-court briefs. The plaintiffs contended that the denial of marriage licenses deprived them of due process and equal protection under the law.
While the case was pending, the legislature in 2005 adopted a law establishing the right of same-sex partners to enter into civil unions that conferred all the rights and privileges of marriage. But, at the insistence of the governor, the law also defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
Arguments in the case centered on whether civil unions and marriages conferred equal rights, and on whether same-sex couples should be treated as what the court called a “suspect class” or “quasi-suspect class” — a group, like blacks or women, that has experienced a history of discrimination and was thus entitled to increased scrutiny and protection by the state in the promulgation of its laws.
Among the criteria for inclusion as a suspect class, the court said, were whether gay people could “control” their sexual orientation, whether they were “politically powerless” and whether being gay had a bearing on one’s ability to contribute to society.
A lower-court judge, Patty Jenkins Pittman of Superior Court in New Haven, sided with the state, denying that gay men and lesbians were entitled to special consideration as a suspect class and concluding that the differences between civil unions and marriages amounted to no more than nomenclature. The Supreme Court reversed the lower-court ruling.
“Although marriage and civil unions do embody the same legal rights under our law, they are by no means equal,” Justice Palmer wrote in the majority opinion, joined by Justices Flemming L. Norcott Jr., Joette Katz and Lubbie Harper. “The former is an institution of transcendent historical, cultural and social significance, whereas the latter is not.”
The court said it was aware that many people held deep-seated religious, moral and ethical convictions about marriage and homosexuality, and that others believed gays should be treated no differently than heterosexuals. But it said such views did not bear on the questions before the court.
“There is no doubt that civil unions enjoy a lesser status in our society than marriage,” the court said. “Ultimately, the message of the civil unions law is that what same-sex couples have is not as important or as significant as real marriage.”
In one dissenting opinion, Justice David M. Bordon contended that there was no conclusive evidence that civil unions are inferior to marriages, and he argued that gay people have “unique and extraordinary” political power that does not warrant heightened constitutional protections.
Justice Peter T. Zarella, in another dissent, argued that the state marriage laws dealt with procreation, which was not a factor in gay relationships. “The ancient definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman has its basis in biology, not bigotry,” he wrote.
About 1,800 couples have obtained civil unions in Connecticut since the law was adopted three years ago, although gay-rights advocates say the demand has slowed. They cite complaints that the unions leave many people feeling not quite married but not quite single, facing forms that mischaracterize their status and questions at airports challenging their ties to their own children.
But marriage will soon be a possibility for gay couples like Janet Peck, 55, and Carol Conklin, 53, of West Hartford, who have been partners for 33 years. “I so look forward to the day when I can take this woman’s hand, look deeply into her eyes and pledge my deep love and support and commitment to her in marriage,” Ms. Peck said.
Sharon Otterman and Christine Stuart contributed reporting.
Court finds law discriminates by limiting marriage to heterosexual couples
updated 12:25 p.m. ET, Fri., Oct. 10, 2008
HARTFORD, Connecticut - Connecticut's Supreme Court ruled Friday that same-sex couples have the right to marry, making that state the third behind Massachusetts and California to legalize such unions.
The divided court ruled 4-3 that gay and lesbian couples cannot be denied the freedom to marry under the state constitution, and Connecticut's civil unions law does not provide those couples with the same rights as heterosexual couples.
"I can't believe it. We're thrilled, we're absolutely overjoyed. We're finally going to be able, after 33 years, to get married," said Janet Peck of Colchester, who was a plaintiff with her partner, Carole Conklin.
Justices overturned a lower court ruling and found in favor of the plaintiffs, who said the state's marriage law discriminates against them because it applies only to heterosexual couples, therefore denying gay couples the financial, social and emotional benefits of marriage.
"Interpreting our state constitutional provisions in accordance with firmly established equal protection principles leads inevitably to the conclusion that gay persons are entitled to marry the otherwise qualified same sex partner of their choice," Justice Richard N. Palmer wrote in the majority opinion that overturned a lower court finding.
"To decide otherwise would require us to apply one set of constitutional principles to gay persons and another to all others," Palmer wrote.
Gov. disagrees, but won't fight ruling
Connecticut already permitted same-sex civil unions that grant largely the same state rights as to married couples, but lack the full, federal legal protections of marriage.
Gov. M. Jodi Rell said Friday that she disagreed with the court's ruling, but will not fight the ruling.
"The Supreme Court has spoken," Rell said in a statement. "I do not believe their voice reflects the majority of the people of Connecticut. However, I am also firmly convinced that attempts to reverse this decision — either legislatively or by amending the state Constitution — will not meet with success."
Because Friday's decision was based on the state constitution, the ruling cannot be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, NBC News reported. The ruling is to take effect shortly.
Eight same-sex couples sued in 2004, saying their constitutional rights to equal protection and due process were violated when they were denied marriage licenses.
The plaintiffs wanted the court to rule that the law discriminated against them because it applies only to heterosexual couples, therefore denying gay couples the financial, social and emotional benefits of marriage.
The only U.S. states that allow same-sex couples to marry are Massachusetts and California.
Peck said that as soon as the decision was announced, the couple started crying and hugging while juggling excited phone calls from her brother and other friends and family.
"We've always dreamed of being married," she said. "Even though we were lesbians and didn't know if that would ever come true, we always dreamed of it."
© 2008 msnbc.com
Read what is being said over at Queerty.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Read this and do something, send money, make calls to friends in CA.
This is too important to sit back and do nothing.
More to come when not posting from a rocket launcher.
Sent from my BlackBerry wireless handheld.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
Watch CBS Videos Online
Crimes based on gender identity and expression, along with those based on sexual orientation are among the highest in the country, behind racially and religious based crimes. When these stories break they are often long overdue and rarely given the attention warrented.
On February 12th of this year, 15 year old, Lawrence "Larry" Fobes King, was shot and killed by fellow student, fourteen-year-old Brandon McInerney. This story was ignored by the mainstream media almost entirely. These are just two cases over the last ten years - there are unfortunately plenty more.
The Human Rights Campaign reports that," evidence indicates that hate crimes are underreported; however, statistics show that since 1991 over 100,000 hate crime offenses have been reported to the FBI, with 7,722 reported in 2006, the FBI’s most recent reporting period.
Violent crimes based on race-related bias were by far the most common, representing 51.8 percent of all offenses for 2006. Violent crimes based on religion represented 18.9 percent and ethnicity/national origin, 12.7 percent. Violent crimes based on sexual orientation constituted 15.5 percent of all hate crimes in 2006, with 1,195 reported for the year."
Read more here .
As someone who lives as an out lesbian working within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community I want to say a few things. I want to thank our straight allies, for true equality to be reached the LGBT community will continue to need your support. This isn's about tolerance, I deserve every right that my heterosexual peers are entitled to. It breaks my heart when I hear people argue that same-sex couples should not be extended the right to marry or to raise children. If you know me, you know that these two things are important to me. I too, like Ellen and the hundreds and thousands of LGBT individuals out there, am NOT a second class citizen.
But this conversation goes beyond those particular rights, this conversation goes to being able to walk down the street and be safe. It means the right to go to work, school or out in my community without the fear that because of who I love I will be put in an unsafe situation. It means loving without fearing.
In this post I've focused on the deaths of Matthew Shepard and Lawrence "Larry" Fobes King, this is in no way meant to take away from the attention of the other individuals within the LGBT community that we have lost because of Hate.
Tonight, I will remember love.
The Supreme Court’s New Term
The Supreme Court begins its term on Monday, and the indications so far are that it could be a quiet year. There will be at least a few high-profile cases, on issues ranging from obscenity to church-state separation, but the swing vote of Justice Anthony Kennedy is likely to keep the court on a generally centrist path. The real excitement this fall is occurring on the outside — in a presidential race that could shape the court for years to come.
Historians will remember this as the Roberts Court’s fourth term, but as a practical matter it is likely to be another year of the Kennedy Court. Poised between a bloc of four liberal justices and four conservatives, Justice Kennedy — a moderate conservative — has for several years been able to decide most close cases.
This term’s docket includes Federal Communications Commission v. Fox Television Stations, a challenge by broadcasters to the F.C.C.’s policy on “fleeting expletives.” The commission, in a sharp reversal, started imposing large fines for television programming with brief profanities — like a Golden Globe awards show in which the singer Bono uttered a single offending word. A federal appeals court rightly struck down the policy, which seriously infringes on free speech. We hope the court sides with the broadcasters.
The court will also consider, in Pleasant Grove City v. Summum, whether a Utah municipality that allows a privately donated Ten Commandments monument to be displayed on public property must let another religion put up its own statue of similar size. The court should rule that the Constitution does not allow government to favor one religion over another.
The court’s conservatives have been on a campaign to close the courthouse door to people with legitimate legal claims. They have expanded a variety of doctrines to send wronged parties away empty-handed, including one known as “pre-emption.”
That issue is central to a case being argued on Monday, a challenge by Maine smokers to Philip Morris’s marketing of “light cigarettes” as safer than regular ones. The smokers say the marketing violated Maine’s consumer protection laws, but Philip Morris argues that they are pre-empted by federal law. We hope the court agrees with the Boston-based Court of Appeals for the First Circuit that the smokers’ suit can go forward.
The court is still accepting cases for the term, and it could add major ones, including a challenge to the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act, or the case of Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, which raises the question of whether the president can order someone lawfully in the United States held indefinitely as an enemy combatant.
The same day the court hears arguments in the “fleeting expletives” case next month, Nov. 4, Americans will be voting for a new president. John McCain is promising to nominate more archconservatives, which could tip the court far to the right. Barack Obama would appoint justices who are more liberal.
The election’s outcome is likely to have an enormous impact on questions like the right to abortion, the wall between church and state, and the power of the president to detain Americans. Since several justices could depart in the next four years, this could be the most important election for the court in many decades.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
as i lay here, attempting sleep i am next to a white envelope contents: a twenty;
close by the contents of my pockets -
an empty bottle of bourbon,
a twenty minus the blue moon and new company.
keys and a lighter.
books surround my sleep, words that were meant to inspire thoughts, something worth saying.
instead i'm sleepless -
the ideas around changes are caught in the corners of grey matter.
is she still drinking?
will i know when she stops.
i walked home tonight and told myself not to look up as i passed -
im not that strong.
i looked up to a dark window.
headed to the park -
a stint on the swings -
only wishing to fly, higher.
i passed a bride -
a saturday night well spent.
the universe is a complicated thing, that is what they say.
an exploratory committee.
thoughts that may pass.
sleep that doesn't come, when body is exhausted but mind streams on.
Friday, October 3, 2008
The Vice-Presidential Debate
We cannot recall when there were lower expectations for a candidate than the ones that preceded Sarah Palin’s appearance in Thursday night’s vice-presidential debate with Joseph Biden. After a series of stumbling interviews that raised serious doubts even among conservatives about her fitness to serve as vice president, Ms. Palin had to do little more than say one or two sensible things and avoid an election-defining gaffe.
By that standard, but only by that standard, the governor of Alaska did well. But Ms. Palin never really got beyond her talking points in 90 minutes, mostly repeating clichés and tired attack lines and energetically refusing to answer far too many questions.
Senator Biden did well, avoiding one of his own infamous gaffes, while showing a clear grasp of the big picture and the details. He left Ms. Palin way behind on most issues, especially foreign policy and national security, where she just seemed lost. It was in those moments that her lack of experience — two terms as mayor of a tiny Anchorage suburb and less than two years as governor — was most painfully evident.
Asked about Israel, Ms. Palin reeled off her support for “a two-state solution, building our embassy also in Jerusalem, those things that we look forward to being able to accomplish with this peace-seeking nation.” Asked about the possible use of nuclear weapons, she declared “nuclear weaponry, of course, would be the be-all, end-all of just too many people and too many parts of our planet.” On Iraq, all she had to offer was the false accusation that Barack Obama wants to surrender.
Mr. Biden directly challenged Ms. Palin’s debate prep on Afghanistan — pointing out that the commander there had disagreed with Mr. McCain’s call for an Iraq-style “surge” in Afghanistan. Ms. Palin tried to contradict him, but the most memorable part of her answer was that she got the general’s name wrong.
One can argue (and her supporters will) that Ms. Palin is a newcomer and can’t be expected to know all of the wonkish details, that what matters is the image she projects. Except, anyone who is running for vice president in these very dangerous times needs to have detailed knowledge.
When it came to domestic issues, Ms. Palin mainly relied on enthusiasm and humor, talking about hockey moms, soccer moms and Joe Sixpack almost as often as she used the word “maverick” to describe Mr. McCain or herself.
But she offered virtually no detail — beyond the Republican mantra of tax cuts — for how she and Mr. McCain would address the financial crisis or help Americans avoid foreclosure or what programs they would cut because of the country’s disastrous fiscal problems.
Ms. Palin’s primary tactic was simply to repeat the same thing over and over: John McCain is a maverick. So is she. To stay on that course, she had to indulge in some wildly circular logic: America does not want another Washington insider. They want Mr. McCain (who has been in Congress for nearly 26 years). Ms. Palin condemned Wall Street greed and said she and Mr. McCain would “demand” strict oversight. In virtually the next breath, she said government should “get out of the way” of American business.
There were occasional, disturbing flashes of the old, pre-campaign Sarah Palin. Asked about the causes of global warming, Ms. Palin suggested that man had some role — but she wasn’t saying how much.
In the end, the debate did not change the essential truth of Ms. Palin’s candidacy: Mr. McCain made a wildly irresponsible choice that shattered the image he created for himself as the honest, seasoned, experienced man of principle and judgment. It was either an act of incredible cynicism or appallingly bad judgment.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
when i think about the debate tomorrow night, so many thoughts come to mind - embarassment regarding the fact that palin is even on the gop ticket, and excitement for another stellar performance by palin as demonstrated by the couric interview...
oh, tomorrow's debate can't get here soon enough - pour me another round of bourbon, this is going to be entertaining...