Posts Tagged ‘Washington’

I’m Imposing A Political Gag Order on Myself

This is it!  I’m done with it.

Mark October 18th on your calendar because unless something happens over the next few weeks to tick me off, I’m not going to mention the race for the White House again until I breathe a sigh of relief on the evening of Tuesday, November 6, 2012.

I’ve made it clear that President Obama has my vote and I admit that he’s had a rough four years.  It also should come as no surprise that I think Republican presidential wannabe Mitt Romney is having an equally hard time keeping his stories straight to even know what he thinks or believes.

On election night, I’ll be glued to the television just like I did when I was younger watching the returns come in from around the country.  I will waiting to see if America chooses to re-elect President Obama (which I think they will by a small margin) or if Mitt Romney will be the next President of the United States.

However, that is just one race that I’m concerned with this year.  I’ll be watching to see how the great people of Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington vote on making marriage possible for all residents in their respective states.

In Maryland and Washington, the governors of those states initiated this process and things look good for marriage equality.  A SurveyUSA poll in Washington show that 55% support marriage equality and 40% are opposed.

And, in Minnesota, things are looking good for marriage equality for the first time this election season.

On the ballot this November is a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.  The latest poll from Public Policy Polling show that only 46% support this ban and 49% are opposed!

Independent voters are credited with the swing in the polling.  52% now oppose the ban.

Another race that is important to me is also in Minnesota.  I want to see former failed Republican presidential candidate (and whack job) Michele Bachmann voted out of office.

The latest poll from SurveyUSA/KSTP shows Bachmann leading her Democratic opponent, Jim Graves, in the race for the 6th Congressional District by a margin of 50-41%.

What is shocking to me is that Bachmann has an 18% lead among the men polled, while Graves leads in women polled by 1%.

Graves is definitely feeling the momentum in this race and there’s no disputing the fact that Bachmann feels threatened in her re-election campaign.

I was very vocal last spring about Bachmann’s anti-gay rhetoric when she was a contender for the Republican nominee for president and that is why I want her voted out of office in Minnesota this fall.  This woman is mean.

Bachmann’s lesbian stepsister, Helen LaFave  says that she’s “hurt and disappointed that my sister is leading this charge.”  LaFave and her partner, Nia, have been together for almost 25 years.

In the past, she sent Bachmann a letter that the candidate never responded to and said, “You’ve taken aim at me.  You’ve taken aim at my family.”

Family is everything and everyone should do whatever they can for their family.  Bachmann’s children have campaigned for her and I sense that the congresswoman loves her family — as long as your family is not gay.

Anthony

 

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Allies Come Forward in the Fight, While Opponents Preach The Same Tired Story

“Should marriage be redefined in our state, the very foundational nature of marriage for the good and strength of human society would be harmed beyond repair.”  Those are the words of consistently anti-gay Washington Bishop Peter Sartain.  (He was a Chicago-area bishop until 2010 when he moved to Seattle and I’ve posted an interesting link at the bottom of the blog on why this man should not really be casting stones and living in a glass house!)

Washington is one of four states that can make marriage equality a reality for all of its residents in November and this has some pushing the panic button to scare people.

The last time I checked Iowa was still a state and it had not fallen into the Mississippi River.  As a matter of fact, with over three million people, the population has increased 4.6% since the 2000 census.  Since the state legalized same-sex marriages in 2009, people are not leaving Iowa in droves for California and North Carolina, two states that recently voted down marriage equality.

When Americans go to the polls in November, the biggest contest will be to re-elect President Barack Obama or replace him with Mitt Romney.  This race is important to me and so are four other ballot measures that I cannot even vote on because they are in other states.

Voters in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington will decide if marriage equality is important to them and if every loving couple that live in their state should have the same rights.    Six states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New  Hampshire, and New York) and the District of Columbia already allow same-sex couples to marry.

Those rights were awarded by legislation or court rulings.  When voters in the previously mentioned four states go to the polls and approve marriage equality, history will be made and the tide will turn.

Sarah Warbelow, state legislative director for the Human Rights Campaign, a gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender rights advocacy group, says, “We’re feeling positive. The reality is, we haven’t won a ballot measure on marriage yet.  I think it’s very reasonable and realistic to expect that we’ll win one or more of these ballot measures; certainly the polling suggests that all four are … a possibility.”

And, while polling numbers before an election can be off and misleading, there is definitely reason for optimism.

In Maine, a mid-September poll showed 53% support marriage equality, while 44% are opposed.

Last February, Washington Governor Christine Gregoire pushed forward and made same-sex marriage legal in that state.  However, enough signatures were gathered to force a vote in November.  The good news is that an early September poll shows that 56% are for upholding that law and making marriage equality a reality there, while 38% want it overturned.

The same thing happened in Maryland.  On March 1, 2012, Governor Martin O’Malley made same-sex marriage legal, but opponents got enough signatures to put it on the November ballot.  In a July poll, 54% of those polled are for marriage equality and 40% are against it.

However, in Minnesota, the current home state of conservative whack job Michele Bachmann, the race is much closer with 48% wanting to ban same-sex marriage and 47% for it.  While Bachmann has never been shy with her anti-marriage equality rhetoric during her failed presidential bid, she is facing stiff competition for her congressional seat in Minnesota from Jim Graves.

Graves states, “My stand is, I’ve been for 39 years in a loving and committed relationship.  I’m very fortunate. It’s been the best thing in my life and, by gosh, everybody in America has the same rights under the law and everyone should be able to marry who they want to, when they want to. As far as what churches want to do, or synagogues, again, I believe in separation of church and state. I don’t care what the Catholic Church wants to do. I happen to be born a Catholic. But under the law everybody has the same rights and I believe very strongly in dignity and respect for everybody.”

And, Graves isn’t the only high profile ally we have in Minnesota and in Maryland.

Baltimore Ravens’ linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, a father of two, is for marriage equality.  He has been fighting for it since 2009.

Once Maryland’s governor signed marriage equality into law this year, Ayanbadejo’s support meant even more.  This provoked Maryland state assembly delegate Emmett Burns enough that he wrote a letter to the owner of the Ravens on official state letterhead demanding that he “take the necessary action … to inhibit such expressions from your employee.”

The Ravens’ owner and president responded with “we support Brendon’s right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment” and Brendon vowed not to remain silent.  And, while football is a tough contact sport, Ayanbadejo got support from another NFL  player halfway across the country in a state where the fight for marriage equality was also being waged — in Minnesota.

Minnesota Vikings’ punter Chris Kluwe, a married father of two, wrote the most eloquent letter defending Brendon and marriage equality and blasting Burns.  And, he added a new phrase to lexicon of gay life! 🙂

Kluwe wrote, “I can assure you that gay people getting married will have zero effect on your life. They won’t come into your house and steal your children. They won’t magically turn you into a lustful c–kmonster. They won’t even overthrow the government in an orgy of hedonistic debauchery because all of a sudden they have the same legal rights as the other 90 percent of our population.”

If you are Catholic, please don’t take this the wrong way.  However, I really have issues with people like Bishop Sartain.  Here is more of the quote I posted at the beginning of this blog:

“We urge our Catholic people to uphold our consistent Catholic teaching on marriage for the good of the Church, society, husbands and wives and their children. Therefore, we bishops reject the redefinition of marriage as a ‘civil contract between two persons.’ … Redefining marriage as a means of dealing with important issues of equality and respect for all persons will not achieve the goal of defending the rights of all and would overturn centuries of common law. To suddenly change the God-given and time-honored understanding of marriage would be a very harmful thing for our state and for the world. … Should marriage be redefined in our state the very foundational nature of marriage for the good and strength of human society would be harmed beyond repair.”

Bishop Sartain should not be condemning marriage equality and talking about how “human society would be harmed beyond repair” for two men or two women to get married.  According to this blog, he has other skeletons that he should be working to get out of the closet rather than fighting against same-sex marriage.

http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/dailyweekly/2010/09/j_peter_sartain_new_seattle_ar.php

It’s nice to know we have people like Governor Gregoire, Governor O’Malley, and Governor Andrew Cuomo (New York), Brendon Ayanbadejo, Chris Kluwe, Jim Graves, and people like you (I know I have many friends that support marriage equality)  on our side, the right side of history, and I wish we had fewer people like Bishop Sartain and his followers that speak out against equality while closing their eyes and ears to indiscretions in their own house.

Anthony

I’m A “Second Class Citizen”

Update:  January 20, 2013

I’m still a “Second Class Citizen”.  While the overall picture hasn’t changed on a federal level from when I first wrote this for my blog one year ago, there are more court decisions that agree that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as that between a man and a woman, is unconstitutional.  And, this spring, the U.S. Supreme Court has scheduled arguments to hear a case that may finally put to rest the debate that DOMA is wrong and that decision may force DOMA to be repealed just as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was in the fall of 2011.

Also, in the past year since writing this, three more states, Maine, Maryland, and Washington now allow marriage equality.   This is huge because it wasn’t decided by politicians or court-appointed judges.  This measure was voted on and passed by the great people of those states in an election.  And, in Minnesota, while marriage equality wasn’t voted on, people there voted NOT to add that marriage should be between a man and a woman to the state constitution.  That sets the stage in the future for a vote that would allow same-sex marriage!

More states are preparing to make marriage equality and civil unions a priority this year!

Even with these accomplishments, we still have a long way to go.

For instance, this past November, voters in two Kansas cities (Salina and Hutchinson) repealed gay-inclusive anti-discrimination laws that had been adopted by the cities’ government early in 2012.

And, that isn’t all.  Kansas state lawmakers also tried to pass the “Kansas Preservation of Religious Freedom Act”, which would allow anyone to discriminate against LGBT people if they think that it violates their “religious freedom.”  Luckily, it died when the session ended and the Senate did not vote on it.  Kansas Governor Sam Brownback said that he would have signed the bill.

I’ve always said that LGBT activists alone will not win these fights, our straight allies will be the catalyst for success.  But, my friends, here is my original blog from one year ago with the most amazing and compelling video.  I hope you take the time to watch it and understand why I do what I do.

Anthony

ORIGINAL POST:  January 8, 2012

To my friends, some think I’m first class, but to the federal government and 44 states, I’m a second class citizen. But, because of our constant fight for equality and great people like you being open-minded and working with us, we’re making progress for equal rights.

While only Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, and the District of Columbia have marriage equality, three other states:  Maryland, Rhode Island, and New Mexico officially pledge non-discrimination against marriages between same-sex couples from other states.

“Freedom to Marry” reports that there are other protections, short of marriage, in other states:  civil unions in Illinois, Hawaii, and New Jersey, and broad domestic partnership in Oregon, Washington, Nevada, and California. Smaller packages of protections for same-sex couples are available in Maryland, Maine, Colorado, and Wisconsin.

And, recently Washington Governor Christine Gregoire introduced a marriage equality bill by saying, “Some say domestic partnerships are the same as marriage. That’s a version of the discriminatory, separate but equal argument of the past….We must tell these children and their families that they’re every bit as equal and important as any other family in Washington state.”

We’re making advances, but with all of hate being spewed by many Republican Presidential wannabees and hate groups like National Organization of Marriage, the Family Research Council, and many religious groups spreading misinformation about how gay people will undermine the institution of marriage and families, we have to work harder.

“Freedom to Marry” reports that over 35% live in a state with either marriage or a broad legal status such as civil union/domestic partnership. That also means that about 65% live in a state where I would be treated as a “second class citizen”.

Take a minute, well, seven minutes to watch this amazing video put together by Ryan James Yezak.  It shows you why I’m so vocal about equality and why I fight for my rights.

Peace, my brothers and sisters.  One person at a time, one day at a time, and one state at a time.

Anthony