Category: marriage equality

National Organization for Marriage is begging again

It never stops – I guess old Pumpkin Face Brian Brown doesn’t know what to do if NOM has to close it’s doors. I mean they lost the marriage equality fight. Now they’re going after the transgender community. Enough is enough. Don’t give the bigots at NOM any more money.

I’m sort of surprised that hate still sells. Here’s the letter verbatim:

Anthony: Many people have responded with support for our critically-important Spring Matching Fund Drive, but with just one week to go, we really need your help. Every contribution we receive between now and midnight on May 1st will be matched, dollar for dollar. Unless we hit our goal of raising $100,000 during this time, we’re going to have to make drastic budget cuts. Can you help with an immediate financial contribution?

It’s followed by a bunch of links for donation $15, $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1000. I wish they still sent out those little self addressed stamped envelopes, it was always fun taping it a load of bricks and sending it back to them.

And the target seems pretty low to me, only $100,000 by May the 1st. I wonder – is that what Pumpkin Face goes through in a month or every two months? Doesn’t he know, bigotry doesn’t fly anymore. And note in this ┬ámissive they never say they’re against the LGBT community, but they are.

And it makes me wonder, what ever became of Maggie “The Loathsome” Gallagher?

What makes someone an expert in a particular field

I was reading today on how Pastor Rick Warren was on some MSNBC show talking about the economy. What exactly qualifies a religious man to talk about economic issues?

So I’d like to ask the leadership of MSNBC, what qualifications do you look for in your guests on your shows?

Because so far all the media has made some pretty poor choices. For example, on other programs the likes of Tony Perkins, and others are deferred to as experts in the matter of marriage. The reality is, they aren’t.

They are pundits, nothing more, nothing less. But why do news channels still continue to defer to them?

It’s because some networks, with the exception of Fox, want to appear to be fair and balanced.

But there’s no balance since the alleged experts with regard to gay related issues always use the same canard, the children. They actually have the gall to say that it’s wrong for children to find out there are LGBT people out there.

But all of it, every last bit of it is inspired by religious bigotry. All religions are full of bigotry if you really study them.

But religion is dying out. I see the Catholic church as having lost ALL credibility not just in the matter of the sexual abuse of children that was covered up, but in the gospel too. If they lied of committed the sin of omission regarding abuse, you can just imagine what other elements of a religion are made up.

It’s funny, every time I attend marriage equality hearings I always see the same cast of characters from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence defending the churches ‘rights’. But what they conveniently won’t tell you is that the state of Rhode Island isn’t 60% Catholic anymore. In fact it’s under 50% s why is it churches want to impose their will on the remainder of society?

It’s the same with the bigots like Tony Perkins, they want to see THEIR world view imprinted upon the rest of us.

My estimate of when Rhode Island will get true marriage equality

Over the last few years you know I was active with the Marriage Equality movement here in RI. I ended that affiliation when they ousted their Director and several board members resigned.

I think I’ve said before, I worked to transform MERI into a political organization. Because that was the only way we could get the politicians in the state of Rhode Island to direct their attention to us. You see, in order to be taken seriously in this state you have to be a political threat.

So today I saw the video about Ken Fish over on the CAUTION CHURCH AHEAD blog. I’ve met Ken on a few occasions but this video is interesting. He’s been all over the place and the story telling, it’s what I really miss. He talks about the friends he lost to the AIDS epidemic. I too lost some friends, not as many as Ken but lost friends who really mattered to me.

He also mentioned he’s active with the marriage equality. Ken touches down on the Corvese amendment and how the RI Civil Unions bill actually reduces the rights we have because of the religious exceptions in the law.

I think I’ve made it abundantly clear why I walked away from MERI so I won’t rehash it here. Suffice to say, I’m done.

Here is how I see the marriage equality fight playing out in RI. MERI will continue to spin its wheels for awhile, I say anywhere from six to eighteen months.

But on the federal level, I see the repeal of DOMA in 2012 or early 2013. By that point the number of people who have obtained civil unions will try to attempt to claim some of the benefits available under federal marriage law. And they will be pushed away because what they have is not a marriage but a civil union.

That’s when the court cases will start. You know, in Federal court again using the 14th amendment, and in RI under Article 1 Section 2 of our Constitution.

So 2013 – that is when I estimate we will have marriage equlity. But it will not be via the Rhode Island Legislature. So long as Gordon Fox is speaker and M. Theresa Paiva-Weed is President of the senate, it isn’t going to happen.

Instead the courts will grant us relief from the religious tyranny that is evident in Rhode Isalnd.

So come back in 2013 and see if I was right.

Post #1,981: Cuyahoga Falls Gay Couple told their marriage isn’t real

I don’t know where to start on this one.

Here’s how I see this playing out. Sooner than later the issue of marriage equality is going to hit the United States Supreme Court. And just as they did in Loving v. Virginia and numerous other cases, they’re going to propel civil rights forward despite the desires of the knuckle draggers out there.

We’ve seen case after case of insult to LGBT people and to couples thereof in the past couple of years. And even if the bigots at NOM want to scream and yell about it, there is a clear connection between what we LGBT folks are going through now and what the African-American community was going through in the 1960’s. There is apartheid, there is blatant discrimination, there are bigots that say that black people and white people shouldn’t mix (My own father spouted this one once!).

And in the case of Loving v. Virginia, a handful of states openly allowed black and white people to marry. But the insults of abuse perpetrated by the states landed the case before the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court.

I’m buoyed by the political turmoil on the part of the Republicans right now. It virtually assures that President Obama WILL get a second term.

And I suspect at least two if not three Justices on the court may either die or retire during an Obama second term. That would pack the court in our favor.

NOM is losing and they know it

I’m always interested to see how far down the path the National Organization for Marriage is going. There is the obvious oxymoron; if they were for marriage would they be saying such patently false, hurtful and ludicrous things to repress and dismantle LGBT marriage rights.

And now NOM is showing their true colors. Their President, Brian Brown (I left out Pumpkin Face for the moment) is now linking homosexuality to pedophilia. I hate to link to their site and if you want to read the whole stinking mess follow this link.

Here’s his attempt to link the acceptance of gay marriage to the acceptance of pedophilia. He’s using the slippery slope argument here:

NORMALIZING PEDOPHILIA

When you knock over a core pillar of society like marriage, and then try to redefine Biblical views of marriage as bigotry, there will be consequences. Will one of the consequences be a serious push to normalize pedophilia?

The Daily Caller raised the question by pointing us all to a high-level academic conference in Baltimore this week, “Pedophilia: Minor-Attracted Persons and the DSM: Issues and Controversies.”

The DSM is the diagnostic manual that defines mental illness. You probably recall that a key moment in the gay rights campaign was the 1973 decision by the American Psychiatric Association, the organization that produces the DSM, to remove homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses.

How do I explain this, we’re not asking to knock down a core pillar of society, but trying to enhance and improve it, to make it stronger not weaken it by creating a second class of citizens.

Brown tips his hand when he mentions the Biblical views. Hate to tell him but marriage even pre-dates the Bible, and I’m talking the Old Testament or Pentateuch. What of the Babylonians before them, or the Pagans? As usual, Brown commits the sin of omission when he says things like this.

Interesting that he now enumerates one of the feared ‘consequences’ of marriage equality as being an increased acceptance for other stigmatized practices that society frowns upon. But greater society is coming to the realization that they an no longer frown upon the LGBT community.

The words of Brian Brown only serve one purpose, to fan the flames of anti LGBT sentiments. Hate to break it to you Pumpkin Face, but somewhere out there is a mentally unbalanced moron who will hear your words and act upon them, either seriously wounding a member of the LGBT community, or killing them all because they read your disgusting twaddle on your ‘blog’.

The point is, the bigotry of NOM is becoming plainly evident as time progresses and they realize that they are on the losing side of history. So they’ll start showing their true motivation. If for example Mr. Brown wants us to adhere to Biblical standards, I say he should read the damned book first.

Because like it or not, NOM is losing.

This week in LGBT News

First and foremost, we have the final certification of the abolishing of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. About damned time if you ask me since most of the military groups of the Western world have started allowing openly gay soldiers, airmen, etc. to no detriment.

But what befuddles me is the 60 day wait until the act becomes official. What’s up with that? The military branches have already done all the training, etc. Is this just a move to allow the Christian Fascists time to re-enact the ban? What gives?

In other news it has been found that there is a strong correlation between gay marriage bans and an increase in rates of HIV infection.

The bigots out there would have us all believe that their words and actions aren’t in any way detrimental to LGBT people. But I’m happy to see science proving once again that the bigots are dead wrong.

By denigrating the LGBT community the bigots instill a sense of second class citizenship, a sense of severe limits on who we can profess our love of, and a sense of hopelessness that leads in some cases to promiscuity, the down low syndrome, etc. It’s no wonder that there is an uptick in HIV rates in states with marriage bans.

Brings up another thought. In states where their sex education was swapped with abstinence only education, they saw a sharp rise in all sexually transmitted diseases.

As one who believes that the next generation and those to come should be educated about sexuality at age appropriate levels. None of this pseudo-science, or religious claptrap. When you have a 13 year old with hormones running rampant, I’d much prefer to have them educated about sex than to be blindly ignorant and trying to adhere to a promise of abstinence.

But the education part, I’m glad that California law now requires acknowledging that some of our greatest thinkers, movers and politicians were LGBT people. Of course the bigots are foaming at the mouth over this because once again, it portrays LGBT people as a normal part of human existence. And the bigots simply cannot work this into their world view.

Finally we have President Obama himself coming on board for the Respect for Marriage bill. This would scrap that horribly unconstitutional law known as the Defense of Marriage Act. The Act should have never seen the light of day in 1996. It was a knee jerk reaction to the potential for marriage equality in Hawaii that propelled the Republicans to give us that awful law.

But I doubt the Act will get through the House. The Orange Goblin himself won’t let it happen. With letters to the editor like this one, is it any wonder? The letter accuses President Obama for violating his oath of office due to his support for the Respect for Marriage Act.

What happened to Marriage Equality in RI?

The Players

Marriage Equality Rhode Island (MERI)
HRC
GLAAD
RI Speaker Gordon Fox
RI Senate President M. Theresa Paiva-Weed

The Situation

We had a solid lock on the Rhode Island House of Representatives. This was even verified by Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Rep. Edith Ajello who said that during January and February, we were moving full speed ahead.

And I can verify what Rep. Ajello said. I have seen the tally board at MERI several times and the number who would vote FOR marriage equality in the House was not only a majority, but one that would have overridden a veto. There are 75 members of the House and you need a 3/5’s majority to override a veto, and that comes out to 45 representatives that needed to vote for the marriage euality bill.

But during the past week, House Speaker Gordon Fox quashed the bill saying he didn’t have the votes necessary. What he really meant was that Senate President Paiva-Weed wasn’t playing ball. So he told a half-truth there.

Instead he substituted a civil unions bill. In essence it goes on ad infinitum to try and enumerate all the rights present in marriage to civil unions but falls miserably short of the mark. I do not support the civil union bill, I support the marriage equality bill.

What Happened?

First we see MERI falling apart due to internal strife. That internal strife only came about after the addition of three former state Representatives to the mix, all Speaker Fox supporters. The only problem is that one of them whom I’ve met, doesn’t know his ass from his elbow about effecting political change.

The one I’ve met is one Ray Sullivan. I met him curiously enough at a Cinco De Mayo party hosted by Ted Jendzejec who I once worked with. Anyhow Sullivan’s behavior that evening lead me to sum it up as follows:

Overgrown Juvenile Delinquent.

I hear that Sullivan is countermanding planning for field operations. So why do they still have a field operations person at MERI?

It is at the same time that Sullivan came in that HRC and GLAAD suddenly took an interest in the marriage equality fight in Rhode Island. I have heard that HRC isn’t going to lift a finger to push for marriage equality in this legislative session but wait until the 2012 election season. I’m told that if you look at the debacle in Maryland you can swap out the state with Rhode Island and it’s the same exact situation playing out here.

So if we connect the dots we see that Speaker Fox likely pulled strings to get Sullivan and Company into MERI. After all, all three (Sullivan, Pacheco, and Segal) served with then Majority Leader Fox. If that is the case, and I’m awaiting more information, then Fox needs to come correct and move the bill for a vote.

I think the reason it happened was because MERI was becoming something of a political force. I had always said that MERI needed to act more like a political entity if we wanted to move forward. For example, they had volunteers at every public event in RI collecting signatures on postcards to send to Representatives and Senators. They started doing canvassing and phone banking.

In essence they were doing everything a politician would do if he or she were running for office. And I think that scared Fox. I did tell the powers at MERI that we needed to coddle the supporters, and sting the opponents. But I think Fox misinterpreted all of it because he had the perception that MERI was gunning for him.

So he reacted and here we are in the mess in Rhode Island with regard to marriage equality.

I’ll be periodically posting and updating as I talk to more people. As it is MERI has seen the departure of Executive Director Kathy Kushnir, Spokesperson Bill Fischer, Board members Joyce Anderle and Richard Corso, and employee Emma Garrett Nelson.

I’m also told the mood within MERI is now very stressful. I’m hearing from volunteers that they are seriously reconsidering doing things like phone banking etc. because they think we don’t care about the issue. I told that person we do care and that person related to me one gay couple that was spoken to during phone banking. They told that they married in CT and really couldn’t care about RI.

They should care. Your CT marriage doesn’t get you any privileges here in RI. In fact it was only last year that the legislature threw us a bone and gave us the right to bury our deceased partners.

Mark my words, the only way Rhode Island is going to see marriage equality is if the courts rule on it. But then we have to look at the other GLAD who thinks the RI judiciary is hostile to the cause. I should correct them, they’re not hostile to the cause, you just have to argue the case for what it is, a blatant violation of our civil rights.

A letter to a Rep. Trillo written by my friend supporting marriage equality

The following was sent to Representative Trillo but I will be sharing this with all the legislators. I think it lays out the case quite well. Hopefully Trillo will read through all of it. As has been demonstrated by legislator response thus far legislators do not appear to be the most erudite of the bunch.

I also this does a good job of debunking the claims of the religious bigots.

Dear Representative Trillo,

My name is {redacted} and I have been a registered Democrat that has voted in each state that I have resided in over the last twenty five years. For the last nine years I have called Rhode Island home. For all intents and purposes I plan to retire here. Before the House is one of the more important pieces of legislation for the past several years. It is a rare opportunity when a civil servant is given the opportunity to have an effect on history. In many ways civil rights have made advances for people of color, for the handicapped and in some minor ways for gays and lesbians. In this regard we have progressed as a people. My wife and I have enjoyed the opportunity to live in a state that in so many ways has shown an open view to various minorities and has taken for the most part a live and let live approach.

Presently Rhode Island once again has the opportunity to be in a position of leadership. Roger Williams one of the founders of this state formed what would eventually become Rhode Island on the basis of true religious freedom and tolerance. In many ways he was able to accomplish his goals. It is ironic that these same groups including Catholics are now at the forefront of trying to bar basic civil rights from another minority. Mr. Trillo I was raised Catholic and I know a little of American History. At one point Catholics were being considered as a group that should not be given voting rights very early in our nation’s history. At the time it was not popular to grant them the vote or to allow them to run for public office. A basic review of anti-papist literature in the early nineteenth century would attest to this fact. Our founding fathers did not have the vote or the good will of the people. However, they did have the strength of their convictions. In fact as we all know Catholics were given the right to vote, to hold property and to hold public office. Our country went to war rather than eventually wait for the votes to grant African Americans the full rights of citizenship. People that hold a bigoted or intolerant position never willingly surrender their views. It is often the act of brave legislators that move our society forward. If we consider how the world stands with full civil rights granted to African Americans and those who are handicapped do we not feel that these were positive outcomes?

It is often difficult to hold our religious beliefs and participate in a secular government. However, we do in fact live in just such an environment. We do this so that those of Muslim, Hindu or of the Ba’hai faith may worship in peace and security. Roger Williams would be proud of this development. So how do we answer the religious claims of our day that marriage is only between a man and a woman? How indeed do we answer the religious claim that abortion is a sin. The answer to these moral questions is individual responsibility. Although I was raised Catholic, my daughter has followed her mother and pursues the Jewish faith. No one tells her to stop using all electronic devices, or to walk instead of taking public transportation. No one tells her nor is their legislation on the books that bans all products using leavening during Passover. However, she does these things from her own personal conviction. The government neither sanctions nor prohibits her actions. In all things the civil government allows for civil unions and the ability of grown adults to govern their lives free from government intervention. To the person who is a good Catholic I say feed the poor, tend to the sick and raise your children as you see fit to serve God. No one will stop you from these pursuits. Mr. Trillo I say to you let adult men and women have the same choice to choose and celebrate the lives that they wish to live free from government prohibition. In this regard you will work in the true spirit of Roger Williams and will once again put Rhode Island where she belongs, in the position of leadership.

I thank you for hearing my concerns.

Sincerely,
{redacted}

Response from Legislators to my daily(somewhat) emails on Marriage Equality

So every time I find a blog post or media piece that supports marriage equality I copy the link, sometimes post a short summary and shotgun them out to ever legislator in the Rhode Island House.

I’ve also begun contacting certain Senators in the state. Overall the responses have taken the form of emails and one telephone call. 80% of them have been very polite and sometimes very enlightening.

For example, here are some messages from Karen MacBeth who overall seems to be supportive.

The first message:

I am elected by my district to represent them.
While I take the interest of the state into account I represent District 52.
Apparentely you have not done your research to determine where I stand on this issue or you would not feel the need to email me.
I find your emails to be on the cutting side it appears that you are carrying a major chip on your shoulder and attempt to put ones on the defense.

It is time that we all work together!

MacBeth’s next message to me is interesting.

Tony,
I stand for equality for all and am disappointed that both “sides” have those that are unwilling to work together.
I support legislation for equality. There are portions of the current proposed legislation that may discriminate against certain cultural beliefs.
For example in some cultures if a husband passes away the woman has to marry the younger brother if he is not married…this legislation
does not allow this. Whether I agree with the cultural requirements is not the point…I see it as discrimination against a group…exactly what I
stand against! I have asked the sponsor to address this for the last couple years but it is has not been addressed.

Are you aware that MERI had a candidate run for the seat I currently hold… Even though Kim Bright of MERI was well aware of where I stand on this issue.
I met with her in person. When I spoke with my former opponent this week she was shocked to see that we are on the same page. She asked me, “Then why did I (meaning she
run and just finish paying off $4000 in campaign debt? My question is, “Why was she misled and not told where I stand?”

I am strong in my conviction for equality for all and will continue to look past the negativity from both sides.
I look forward to working with anyone that is willing to work together.

Thank you for your correspondence. If you come to the state house I look forward to meeting you.

Karen

Another from MacBeth:

The speaker is doing the hurry up and wait because at this moment he does/may not have the votes on the house floor to pass this.
There are reps that have changed their mind and their are those that have not made up their minds.
Though I have not been a Fox supporter in this instance I have to respect him for what he is doing. Why put this to a vote now when
you may not have the votes….but may have the votes as the session goes on? Also why have people take a vote that may not pass
and then have it possibly cost them the election and then be replaced by someone that is not of the same mindset?
While I understand your frustration I do understand Fox’s choice.
I can not speak for Jabour but if he is willing to vote it out of committee I give him credit…what it appears he is saying is that he does not
support it but agrees that is should come to a vote and allow all to vote…again this is just my guess on this.
Karen

Next up is Tea Party Representative Doreen Costa:

Hi Tony,
Thanks so much for contating me on this issue.
Doreen

The response email was from an aol account that I won’t list here. I queried if she was in fact Doreen Costa and got the following:

Yes sir I am.

Now for the best one, Senator Maher. The only reason I contacted Maher was because a friend of mine on Facebook had forwarded me his exchange with Maher.

So I emailed Maher and told him his conduct was unbecoming of a state Senator and that I would help to hold him accountable for his words.

Here is what he wrote back to me:

Mr. Truthspew,

I have never taken a position to support or oppose or challenge NOM. Nor have I ever attended any their rallies or events despite numerous invitations. I have a opinion and all I ask is what others expect. Simple respect. However, if I do not receive it, I don’t give it. Ad the email I received from Mr. Siegal was inappropriate. I am done with communication on this issue. I tried to keep a open mind, but advocates such as yourself have gone far over the line with your own way of dealing with this.

To which I replied that I’d hold him accountable. Here is how I am holding him accountable, by posting it on my blog:

I did say I was done with communication on this issue. But now YOU have gone over the line. I will be forwarding our communications to the Rhode Island State Police for review. You words can be perceived as a threat.

Best regards,

Senator Frank Maher
Senior Deputy Minority Leader
222-2708

So let me get this right, Maher first says I threatened him and then threatens me with the State Police. And then has the stones to close with “Best regards,”.

I got one phone call from Rep. Spencer Dickinson. Rep. Dickinson and I spoke for about 40 minutes and he is an nteresting guy to talk with. But he supports putting this to a public referendum in order to legitimize it.

There are a couple of interesting things about Dickinson. The first is that this is the second time that Dickinson had been a state representative prior to this pass. It was during the 1980’s when RI had an anti-abortion referendum on the ballot that failed. He also brought up the failed Indian casino bill.

I countered with legislation in the 1990’s that enacted Employment, Housing and Credit non-discrimination for LGB people in 1996, and for transgender people in 2001. I also mentioned that the current legislature gave us the funeral rights bill. So there is progress and he countered that incremental change was happening. I countered that incremental was fine but we wouldn’t need to slog through the incremental approach if we had full marriage equality.

This is when he brings up on Victor Profughi who I’ve written about prior to this, thoroughly debunking his NOM 80% of RI’ers want to vote civil rights for LGBT people on a referendum.

Dickinson had paid Profughi to do some political polling and he swears by him. He was surprised to hear of my debunking of the 80% NOM number.

As to Speaker Fox, he’s setup filters in his email program to respond with a canned response that isn’t worth posting. In essence he says he’s a co-sponsor of the bill and thank you for emailing.

NOM’s RI Ad: Dead wrong as usual

Watch the ad and then I’ll pick it apart.

I note NOM has blocked me from commenting on their YouTube videos. A pity so now I’ll just call them out on the blog, and email them to Maggie Gallagher.

Ok, here’s the pick-apart:

NOM is playing apples to oranges here. Not only are they comparing the gubernatorial race to the lieutenant gubernatorial race, but they completely discount one little fact when they say Governor Chafee doesn’t have a mandate.


There were SEVEN candidates for governor. So NOM had more than enough opportunity to field candidates, I don’t know why they are crying about this now. And as to the Lieutenant Governor’s race, Elizabeth Roberts won re-election by 54.5%.

NOM is dead wrong. Even their assertion that 80% of RI’ers want this on the ballot. Wrong, wrong, wrong. I got the survey call on this performed by Quest Research. They’re a local polling company. It’s a company that still uses an @verizon.net email address, how much more fly-by-night could you get when it’s $5 to $6 a month to host your own domain. The owner is a man by the name of Victor Profughi. Mr. Profughi holds a Phd in political science.

Anyhow here’s some interesting reading about the studies (Multiples) conducted by Profughi and Quest Research:

It turns out that the polls in question were commissioned by NOM-RI, the group opposing same-sex marriage. Christopher C. Plante, the group’s executive director, said there were three surveys done by Quest Research, which is based in Rhode Island.

I joked that the 80 was a transposition error. But the questions are in fact loaded to the gills. A loaded question leads the respondent to answer in the way in which the pollster wants them to answer.

Most people are dumb-fuck ignorant about what it takes to get a question on the ballot here in RI. We don’t have citizen initiative here which I consider a blessing as we’ve seen the idiocy of the citizen initiative process in both California and New Hampshire.

But the smoking gun is who sponsored the surveys. It was Christopher Plante of NOM that did so. Now if Profughi and Co. had just gone out and surveyed for the hell of it, they’d probably do a sample size a little more than 400 people. But that’s all that answered the ‘survey’. I think they made some extrapolation errors too. I also believe that of the 400, about 399 came from NOM’s mailing list in the state.

So NOM is totally off base with this ad. But do contact the Governors office at 401-222-2080, the Speaker’s office at 401-222-2447 (He shares this line with Majority Leader Matiello.) and the Senate President’s office at 401-222-6655. You can also email the Speaker as rep-fox@rilin.state.ri.us and the Senate President at sen-paivaweed@rilin.state.ri.us

Let them know that as usual, NOM is full of shit.