TUESDAY, MAY 26, WILL BE THE CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT'S DAY OF DECISION ON PROPOSITION 8. Please visit dayofdecision.com to see if there will be a rally at near you on the afternoon/evening of May 26th. Here in C-U, Urbana is listed, but there is no information. Then, Saturday May 30th, MEET IN THE MIDDLE FOR EQUALITY is planning a March on the Fresno, CA City Hall at 1:00pm--BE THERE IF YOU CAN!
What are The Dallas Principles? This is the new rubric for the advancement of Equality for LGBT people in this nation. Will it replace the HRC, The Victory Fund, GMHC, NCLR, The Task Force, Lambda Legal and state and local organizations? No. Will it allow us to reframe our fight and our vision and reshape our language so that we are more effective? Maybe. Should you sign on? Absolutely. Even the Washington Post is giving it attention. The momentum in the community is sparking talk of another march on Washington. Its been 11 years--isn't it time for the next big call for justice?
NATIONAL/WHITEHOUSEWATCH: California Rep Berman, who introduced a bill into the House which included a provision to allow same-sex partners of State Department workers to receive the same benefits as heterosexual partners, has dropped the provision because the STATE DEPARTMENT HAS INSTEAD BEGUN THE PROCESS OF CHANGING THE RULES ITSELF! GO HILARY! Related, however (though not in the White House), both houses of our Congress have introduced a same-sex DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP BILL FOR ALL FEDERAL EMPLOYEES! Moreover, Berman has brought up an interesting speculation that the White House is planning a big LGBT announcement to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Too good to be true? The President DID meet with Judy Shepard this week about the Hate Crimes bill that passed the house, and is slowly making its way through the Senate. Obama also nominated out lesbian Jenny Durkin to U.S. Attorney in Seattle. The White House has also said officially that it IS reviewing what it can do about Don't Ask Don't Tell. We've been giving them hell, and they've been noticing. Why can't Obama do what Truman did? Rachel Maddow keeps pressing. Lieutenant Colonel Victor J. Fehrenbach says that there is NO MORE TIME TO WASTE! Today a gay former Army Ranger has written a WALL STREET JOURNAL Op-Ed about ending DADT. You rock, Sargent Hughes! The military is already recruiting lesbians in anticipation! When it comes to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Gibbs proves that he knows what it is! And thats about it. Obama vowed to end the HIV Travel Ban, but as he hesitates, a Cuban refugee is denied entrance into the U.S. because he is positive.
Unfortunately, the House has ALSO introduced a Defense of Marriage Act for D.C. that would undermine the city council's recent decision to recognize out-of-state marriages equally. The bill will likely not pass, but then again... we thought the same thing about Proposition 8 in California last year.
STATE2STATE: IN HUGE LOCAL NEWS, ILLINOIS IS SET TO SLIDE IN CIVIL UNIONS NEXT WEEK IN AN 11TH HOUR LEGISLATIVE MANEUVER, AND IT WILL GO INTO EFFECT 30 DAYS LATER!!! Colorado offers benefits to Domestic Partners of state workers! Nevada passes Domestic Partnerships, but the Governor is going to veto the bill. The 4-term Mayor of San Angelo, TEXAS has resigned because his partner can not gain legal entry into the U.S. MAINE's "People's Veto" referendum on Marriage Equality. NEW YORK TIMES calls Marriage Equality opposition "unorganized." Also in NEW YORK, Meghan McCain has told the NY GOP to embrace Marriage Equality. All while she continues to 'tweet' her support. In NEW HAMPSHIRE even though the GOP told Governor Lynch to "kill" Marriage Equality there, it looks as though the wrinkles are being ironed out on the passage of the Marriage Equality bill. There is a lot of politicking here. The governor, who is a Democrat, has ticked off the Republicans who originally supported the bill by sending it back with Executive revisions and expecting it just to be taken. They don't want to feel like patsies--they already went out on a limb for their parties. I am starting to feel a bit more relieved.
HOWEVER, on the subject of these "Religious Reassurances," I think we really need to work these into our work. Independent voters, who feel more comfortable when they know their lives won't have to change, are on the rise. Studies show that ministers polled on their views of recognition of Marriage Equality support that recognition at EXTREMELY HIGH numbers IF they are reassured that no church will EVER be forced to perform or recognize such unions. Governor Lynch may be on to something here. WE AREN'T TRYING TO FORCE ANYONE TO MARRY US THAT DOESN'T WANT TO. We just want legal recognition. This REALLY isn't about the church. Honestly. I can already have my relationship consecrated in almost ANY mainstream church in C-U, and I don't want to get married in front of a congregation that hates me anyway! So why don't we put it out there up front? What if we tell them we absolutely don't want to force religions to recognize our marriages, but we need full Equality--not a separate institution with a different name--but full Equality. Beyond the financial impact, there is a personal toll that is taken on same-sex couples that cannot have their relationships recognized. It affects the relationship and the individuals that are a part of it. When you're married, you're married, and noone can take that away from you. However, if you've got a long-time "partner" its scoffed at, and noone need take it seriously. You're constantly asked "Oh, are you still seeing..." or "are you and so and so still together?" Same-sex relationships are viewed as transient--even in our own community at times--but everyone knows that Marriage is solid. There is divorce--true--but how many of you have gone up to a real married friend and said "So, are you still with..."?