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November 28, 2008


As you can see above, I've added a new banner to my blog. It represents a new symbol in the fight for equality.

According to Brooks Barnes of the New York Times Politics Blog and a story posted on Queers United, which first drew my attention to the White Knot Ribbon Campaign, the symbol represents our ongoing struggle for marriage equality.

Frank Voci, whose primary job is running a consultancy for interactive media companies, created the ribbon design two weeks ago in response to the passage of Proposition 8 in California. He got the idea after the prop 8 protests died down. “We needed a symbol, something to keep the conversation going,” Frank said.

His ultimate goal is to use the website, whiteknot.org, to recruit people sympathetic to the cause in less liberal locales.

Brook Barnes wrote:

The entertainment industry and celebrities — gay friendly but also a group that rarely turns down a ride on good bandwagon — are already jumping on board. At the recent premiere of the movie “Twilight” about two dozen of the knotted ribbons could be seen dangling from designer bags and pinned to suit lapels. Celebrities like Ricki Lake, Lucy Lawless (a.k.a. “Xena: Warrior Princess”) and T.R. Knight (of “Grey’s Anatomy”) have been photographed wearing them.

November 27, 2008

Just want to wish all of my readers a very

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thank you for your continued support. Enjoy.

November 26, 2008


The California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) has agreed to investigate unreported, nonmonetary contributions to the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign by the Mormon Church.

Roman Porter, the Commission’s executive director, said that the commission is acting on a complaint filed by Californians Against Hate which accuses the Mormon Church of failing to report the value of work it did to support Proposition 8. Porter said that the complaint does merit further inquiry.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Californians Against Hate, which is an independent nonprofit organization formed to track Prop 8 donations, charges that the LDS church failed to report money invested to organize phone banks, send out direct mailers, provide transportation to California, mobilize a speakers bureau, send out satellite simulcasts and develop Web sites as well as numerous commercials and video broadcasts.

Fred Karger, a retired political consultant and head of Californians Against Hate, said that this step by the commission is a good sign since the commission normally takes on less than 5% of complaints they recieve. "I'm hopeful that the LDS Church will cooperate and share all the records and all the information they have about their activities in the Proposition 8 campaign."

If the FPPC determines fault, the commission could fine up to $5,000 per violation and may also file a civil lawsuit, which could lead to remedies amounting to three times the amount of unreported or misreported contributions.

November 25, 2008


According to an article in today's Miami Herald, Florida's 50-year-old ban on gay adoptions has been declared unconstitutional.

In a 53-page ruling, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman said, "It is clear that sexual orientation is not a predictor of a person's ability to parent."

Judge Lederman's ruling would allow Frank Gill, a gay man from North Miami, to adopt two foster children he has been raising since 2004. The two boys are half-brothers ages 4 and 8. Gill said he was ''elated'' by the ruling. He added, "I cried tears of joy for the first time in my life."

Of course Florida's irrational, homophobic politics being what they are, the state plans on appealing the ruling. Assistant Attorney General Valerie Martin released a statement saying, "We respect the court's decision." Which, in legalize doublespeak, is always a precursor to an action that shows no respect whatsoever. And, sure enough, she went on to say, "Based upon the wishes of our client, the Department of Children & Families, we will file an appeal."

Hopefully, their higher court system is a little more rational and intelligent than their politicians. If it is, then the massive and overwhelming evidence from virtually all segments of the professional childcare community, from psychologists to psychiatrists to caregivers, will convince them that gay adoptions aren't the "dangerous threat" to children that those fanatics keep screaming about.

Keep your fingers crossed.

November 24, 2008


Because I missed getting a posting up last Friday, I am posting below several stories and a commentary that I believe would be of interest to everyone who reads my blog. Most are new but some are stories that I haven't been able to post yet and want to get published before they become too dated.

San Diego Hotel Owner In Hot Water Again...
Last July I wrote about a boycott of the Manchester Grand Hyatt hotel because of a $124,000 donation that owner Douglas Manchester made to the Yes On 8 campaign. Well, it seems that Mr. Manchester has, once again, caused another call for another boycott.

This time, it's a labor dispute involving unfair labor practices. According to a story in The Advocate, the boycott is supported by an LGBT group affiliated with labor issues, local unions, Hyatt employees and 300 members of the National Communication Association (NCA) -- an association of collegiate speakers -- who object to their national convention being held at the contentious Hyatt.

Dana Cloud, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin and an NCA member participating in the boycott said, "I'm supporting the boycott because in our country we're forced to feel like second-class citizens. I'm also part of this because of the participation of the unions. The solidarity between the labor movement and the gay rights groups is unprecedented… It demonstrates that working people need the benefits and rights that marriage allows."

San Diego's Other Side...
According to a posting at the blog site san diego:dialed in, blogger Rosemary was on her way to Bar Pink when she spotted the following billboard at the corner of University & 30th, above the Union Bank:

Since some of the words are obscured by the lighting, Rosemary translated for us. It reads:

Mission Gathering Christian Church
Is Sorry
For The Narrow-Minded, Judgmental, Deceptive, Manipulative
Actions Of Those Who
Took Away The Rights And Equality
Of So Many
In The Name Of God.

As Max, one of the postings commenters, put it, "Beautiful! It's refreshing to see a Church get it right. If only all christians had this much morality and good judgement..."

Vermont Lawmaker And His Family Threatened...
Because Vermont Senate Majority Leader John Campbell (D-Windsor) announced that he intended to introduce legislation to legalize same-sex marriages, his life and the lives of his family were threatened.

According to Jim Burroway of Box Turtle Bulletin, a St. Albans woman was so upset with his announcement that she called the state house and threaten to blow up Sen. Campbell’s home.

Burroway said:

Officer Dale Manning, who took the call, says that police do not take threats like this lightly and are investigating. The caller did not identify herself.

Sen. Campbell characterized the call as disturbing, saying, “This wasn’t directed just at me, but at my family, which is quite unfortunate.”

Vermont was the first state in the country to offer civil unions on July 1, 2000.

Unfortunately, the Republican Governor, Jim Douglas has since announced that he considers the civil unions to be adequate for his state and he will not support Senator Campbell's legislation. Since Campbell has said that without the governor's support, the bill would have no chance of winning, it's unlikely that he'll go through with the introduction.

Between the homophobia of Governor Douglas and the extreme, violent homophobia of that anonymous woman, Vermont has had its once positive image and reputation severely tarnished.

What a shame. It's a beautiful state.

New York Times Columnist Maureen Dowd Speaks Out...
Renowned columnist Maureen Dowd speaks out about the upcoming film "Milk;" about and with Senator Dianne Feinstein, who found Harvey Milk's bullet-ridden body; about the sadly ironic similarities of the gay rights movement then and now and about Proposition 8.

In her Op-Ed piece published on Sunday, Dowd said:
The movie, chronicling the rancorous California fight of gay activists against church-backed forces in the ’70s to prevent discrimination against gays, is opening amid a rancorous California fight of gay activists against church-backed forces to prevent discrimination against gays.

For those of you who don't know too much about gay history, Harvey Milk was a strong-willed and very outspoken gay activist of the early seventies in San Francisco. He became the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California, as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

He was gunned down by Dan White, who had served on the board with Milk and Feinstein. White was an Irish Catholic former policeman and Vietnam vet who opposed Milk’s equal rights initiatives for gays. In a moment of frenetic emotion he resigned his position and then immediately wanted his seat back. Milk helped persuade the mayor, George Moscone, to reject White's request which later caused an irrational White to climb through a City Hall basement window with a loaded gun and shoot down Moscone and Milk. At his trial, White tried to use the now infamous “Twinkie defense,” arguing that junk food had left him stressed out. It didn't work and he was convicted.

I have always admired Maureen Dowd for her insightful and well written observations but this particular Op-Ed piece really struck a cord and I highly recommend that you take a few minutes to read it in it's entirety. It's really not that long and I guarantee that you'll be glad you did.

In case you missed the link above, you can find Dowd's piece at: New York Times

November 20, 2008


I just received the following from Equality Arizona:

In November of 1998, Rita Hester, a transgender woman in Boston, Massachusetts, answered a knock at her door. Instead of a friend, however, the person at the door was an assailant who forced entry into her apartment and stabbed her over twenty times. Rita's death that night proved to be the event that focused the attention of transgender people everywhere on the terrible violence often inflicted on trans people.

Today, November 20th, is Transgender Day of Remembrance. This day honors the memory of persons murdered during the past year. Transgender Day of Remembrance is a time to stand up against this violence and say "NO MORE."

Come remember and support our community at these upcoming events:

- Today, November 20th, at 6:30pm hosted by the LGBTQ Coalition at Arizona State University
- The event will be on the university campus in Tempe, Arizona, on Hayden Lawn.
- For more information, contact lgbtq.coalition@asu.edu

- Today, November 20th, hosted by Southern Arazona Gender Alliance
- Interfaith Service at 4:30pm at the Quaker House (931 N. 5th Avenue), followed by a vigil and procession at 5:30pm, Catalina Park (309 E. 1st Street) and a Puertas Abiertas Reception w/ Keynote Sylvia Guerrero at 6:45pm, Wingspan.
- For more information, please visit their website at: http://sagatucson.org/saga/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=159&Itemid=2

- Observed on Sunday, November 23rd at 5:00 P.M. at the Arizona State Capitol located on 1700 West Washington Street.
- For more information, visit www.azdor.org or email at Transforum@gmail.com


According to today's LA Times, the California Supreme Court voted 6-1 to hear arguments against proposition 8, the now infamous anti-gay marriage amendment.

The fact that the court agreed to hear arguments does, on one hand, seem to be a good sign that the proposition may be overturned. The easiest thing for them to do if they were sure they would let proposition 8 stand, would have been to simply refuse to hear the case at all. But, since they refused a concurrent request to stay the proposition and allow same-sex marriages to continue until a final decision is made, makes it very difficult to read their intentions.

UC Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu said "A stay is an extraordinary measure," and the court's refusal to put Proposition 8 on hold pending a ruling did not suggest that the court would eventually uphold the measure.

UCLA law professor Brad Sears, an expert on sexual orientation law, said "If the justices were really leaning towards upholding Prop. 8, and that was clear, they would have wanted to do it as quickly as possible and put the issue to rest." The delay, he said, could indicate that the justices were divided and needed time to resolve the issues.

The court did say that they would expedite the proceedings and it's possible that they could hold hearings on the lawsuits as early as March. That's a timetable law scholars said was swift considering the complexity and importance of the legal issues.

When propostion 8 passed, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said that he expected the court to overturn the proposition and indicated that he favored that outcome. A terse statement made through an aide today said, "The governor believes the Supreme Court ought to bring clarity to this issue."

I couldn't agree more. I am personally, albiet guardedly, optimistic that they will end up overturning it. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

To read the full story, go to: LA Times

November 19, 2008


First up, a note about yesterday's posting. I said that in today's posting I would write more about a concerted effort to expose and educate those who oppose us. Well, when I started to write out my suggestions, I quickly realized that to be effective I would have to be much more specific than I originally intended. So what I'm going to try to do over the next few days is break it down into segments and post each under the heading of "Activism 4.0." That's an ID phrase that was just recently coined by writer/journalist/blogger Rex Wockner. I think it's a great label for the new direction our movement is clearly headed in.

Now, about Obama's plan...
President-elect Barack Obama has just released his multilevel, civil rights approach plan. In addition to its intent to strengthen civil rights overall, it also includes an aggressive GLBT-specific agenda. Below is the outline of his plan for our community and for civil rights in general:

Support for the GLBT community:

* Expand Hate Crimes Statutes: In 2004, crimes against LGBT Americans constituted the third-highest category of hate crime reported and made up more than 15 percent of such crimes. Barack Obama cosponsored legislation that would expand federal jurisdiction to include violent hate crimes perpetrated because of race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or physical disability. As a state senator, Obama passed tough legislation that made hate crimes and conspiracy to commit them against the law.

* Fight Workplace Discrimination: Barack Obama supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, and believes that our anti-discrimination employment laws should be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity. While an increasing number of employers have extended benefits to their employees' domestic partners, discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace occurs with no federal legal remedy. Obama also sponsored legislation in the Illinois State Senate that would ban employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

* Support Full Civil Unions and Federal Rights for LGBT Couples: Barack Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples. Obama also believes we need to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enact legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally-recognized unions. These rights and benefits include the right to assist a loved one in times of emergency, the right to equal health insurance and other employment benefits, and property rights.

Yes, he is still using the phrase "Civil Unions." But I do think that if he is successful in repealing DOMA and guaranteeing the same full rights that heterosexual married couples receive, he wouldn't be opposed to changing that label if it were successfully challenged in court or brought up in congress. And, let's not forget that when that phrase has been challenged in state supreme courts it has been deemed to be an unconstitutional "separate but equal" status and overturned.

* Oppose a Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriage: Barack Obama voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2006 which would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman and prevented judicial extension of marriage-like rights to same-sex or other unmarried couples.

* Repeal Don't Ask-Don't Tell: Barack Obama agrees with former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili and other military experts that we need to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The key test for military service should be patriotism, a sense of duty, and a willingness to serve. Discrimination should be prohibited. The U.S. government has spent millions of dollars replacing troops kicked out of the military because of their sexual orientation. Additionally, more than 300 language experts have been fired under this policy, including more than 50 who are fluent in Arabic. Obama will work with military leaders to repeal the current policy and ensure it helps accomplish our national defense goals.

* Expand Adoption Rights: Barack Obama believes that we must ensure adoption rights for all couples and individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation. He thinks that a child will benefit from a healthy and loving home, whether the parents are gay or not.

* Promote AIDS Prevention: In the first year of his presidency, Barack Obama will develop and begin to implement a comprehensive national HIV/AIDS strategy that includes all federal agencies. The strategy will be designed to reduce HIV infections, increase access to care and reduce HIV-related health disparities. Obama will support common sense approaches including age-appropriate sex education that includes information about contraception, combating infection within our prison population through education and contraception, and distributing contraceptives through our public health system. Obama also supports lifting the federal ban on needle exchange, which could dramatically reduce rates of infection among drug users. Obama has also been willing to confront the stigma -- too often tied to homophobia -- that continues to surround HIV/AIDS. He will continue to speak out on this issue as president.

* Empower Women to Prevent HIV/AIDS: In the United States, the percentage of women diagnosed with AIDS has quadrupled over the last 20 years. Today, women account for more than one quarter of all new HIV/AIDS diagnoses. Barack Obama introduced the Microbicide Development Act, which will accelerate the development of products that empower women in the battle against AIDS. Microbicides are a class of products currently under development that women apply topically to prevent transmission of HIV and other infections.

Strengthen Civil Rights:
* Combat Employment Discrimination: Obama and Biden will work to overturn the Supreme Court's recent ruling that curtails racial minorities' and women's ability to challenge pay discrimination. They will also pass the Fair Pay Act, to ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work, and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

* Expand Hate Crimes Statutes: Obama and Biden will strengthen federal hate crimes legislation, expand hate crimes protection by passing the Matthew Shepard Act, and reinvigorate enforcement at the Department of Justice's Criminal Section.

* End Deceptive Voting Practices: Obama will sign into law his legislation that establishes harsh penalties for those who have engaged in voter fraud and provides voters who have been misinformed with accurate and full information so they can vote.

* End Racial Profiling: Obama and Biden will ban racial profiling by federal law enforcement agencies and provide federal incentives to state and local police departments to prohibit the practice.

* Reduce Crime Recidivism by Providing Ex-Offender Support: Obama and Biden will provide job training, substance abuse and mental health counseling to ex-offenders, so that they are successfully re-integrated into society. Obama and Biden will also create a prison-to-work incentive program to improve ex-offender employment and job retention rates.

* Eliminate Sentencing Disparities: Obama and Biden believe the disparity between sentencing crack and powder-based cocaine is wrong and should be completely eliminated.

* Expand Use of Drug Courts: Obama and Biden will give first-time, non-violent offenders a chance to serve their sentence, where appropriate, in the type of drug rehabilitation programs that have proven to work better than a prison term in changing bad behavior.

At this point, I can't tell you how happy I am to have supported and voted for Obama. Not only has he made significant history by just being elected but with the publication of this civil rights plan, he has become the first President in the 232 year history of this country who not only supports our community but will make our specific civil rights a very real part of his Presidential agenda.

I am very excited about the very real possibilities we now have but I am also still keeping my fingers crossed.

November 18, 2008


5 years ago, when the Massachusetts Supreme Court handed down its landmark decision allowing same-sex couples to wed, opponents warned that traditional, heterosexual marriage would be severely harmed, churches would be forced to perform gay weddings, homosexuality would be taught in schools forever damaging the fragile psyches of vulnerable young children and former governor Mitt Romney predicted that the state would become the "Las Vegas of same-sex marriage."

Well, no church has been forced to perform gay weddings unless they chose to do so and children were not forced to learn about homosexuality in school unless their parents agreed, in writing, to allow them to attend any class that examined or even just discussed the subject.

Also, to Mitt Romney's embarrassment, Massachusetts has not become the "Las Vegas of same-sex marriage." In fact, according to the Boston Globe, the gay marriage rates have leveled off at about 1,500 a year or about 4 percent of all state marriages in 2006 and 2007. And, the state's divorce rate, including both gay and straight marriages, has remained the same and is still the lowest in the country.

Clearly, the opponents of gay marriage outright lied about everything they said. None of their dire warnings or predictions happened and gay marriage has become very matter-of-fact. Virtually no one scowls at hand-holding couples anymore and children from both gay and straight families play together, go to school together and attend events and functions together. In truth, gay families have become just another part of the communities they live in.

Unfortunately, the hate-mongers who, in fact, are basically the same people who were the driving forces behind the recent anti-gay measures in California, Arizona, Florida and Arkansas, learned important lessons from Massachusetts. The only way to win was for them to spend tens of millions of dollars and simply overwhelm the general electorate by flooding the airwaves with false and misleading advertising, putting thousands of church-instructed volunteers on the streets marching from door to door and encouraging minority community clergy to preach their brand of homophobia from their pulpits as well.

Although Massachusetts wasn't deluged with quite that kind of a massive undertaking, the biggest difference between the people of that state and the other four is that the majority didn't believe the homophobic, apocalyptic rantings. Most of them simply knew better.

That's why a concerted effort of not only exposing the lies of these frauds but also reaching out and educating the uninformed is so important. I'll have more on this in my posting tomorrow.

November 17, 2008


Well known comedian Wanda Sykes decided that it was time for her to go public with her sexuality. And she did just that at the Join The Impact rally in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Wanda is an Emmy award-winning American stand-up comedian and actress. She is well known for her blunt observations on current events, the differences between the sexes and races and life in general. She is probably best known for her roles on two Emmy winning series, The New Adventures of Old Christine, opposite Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Barb and on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm, as herself.

She has never been secretive about her sexuality but she has never come out and discussed it publicly before either. She told the crowd that the passage of Proposition 8 spurred her decision to officially come out.

"Everybody that knows me personally, they know I’m gay. But that’s the way people should be able to live their lives.”

“We took a huge leap forward and then got dragged 12 feet back. I felt like I was being attacked, personally attacked — our community was attacked."

Watch her full rally statement below:

SIDE NOTE: Check out the pictures (top right column) my partner took at our Join The Impact rally here in Phoenix. If you want to see larger versions with captions, just click on any picture and it will take you to our album.

November 14, 2008


There has been much written about the tyranny of majority rule when it is applied to the rights of a minority. That potential tyranny is exactly what the founding fathers intended to counter balance with the creation of the justice branch of government. And, in particular, the Supreme Courts structure that encompasses state to federal levels of ultimate recourse in matters of conflict between the legislative processes and the tenets and intents of our constitution.

The genius of that structure is held in awe by us and by most of the world. And this is the heart and very foundation of the question of same-sex marriages. On one hand you have the constitutional guarantee of equal treatment under the law and on the other you have discriminatory legislation that was passed by majority votes. This is clearly the epitome of that conflict and I fully expect that this is a matter that can only be eradicated at that supreme court level.

But what about the tragic stupidity of the Arkansas adoption measure? This is something that was written to prevent gay couples from adopting children. But, the proponents realized that they probably couldn't get it passed if it only targeted gay couples so, in an act of sheer, desperate stupidity, they wrote it to ban ALL people who are “cohabitating outside a valid marriage.” It passed by a whopping majority of 57%!

According to an Op-Ed piece written by Dan Savage for the New York Times,

Right now, there are 3,700 other children across Arkansas in state custody; 1,000 of them are available for adoption. The overwhelming majority of these children have been abused, neglected or abandoned by their heterosexual parents.

Even before the law passed, the state estimated that it had only about a quarter of the foster parents it needed. Beginning on Jan. 1, a grandmother in Arkansas cohabitating with her opposite-sex partner because marrying might reduce their pension benefits is barred from taking in her own grandchild; a gay man living with his male partner cannot adopt his deceased sister’s children.

It's thoroughly disgraceful that qualified, loving and stable gay partners are barred from adopting. But now, thanks to the extraordinary blind-sighted actions of, again, religious zealots, hundreds more children in Arkansas will likely be forced to grow up in an understaffed and underfunded institution totally void of the loving care of parents and family. What could possibly be considered Christian about that?

Clearly, true Christianity has been almost completely overrun by fanatics whose zealotry and single-mindedness can only be compared to the early Puritans or, worse, the infamously cruel and murderous Spanish Inquisitions.

Is this what we want for our country? Is this the legacy we want to leave future generations?

I think not!

November 12, 2008


Let's get one thing straight from the start. Blacks, as a group, WERE NOT responsible for the passage of proposition 8! Religious zealotry, religious fanaticisms and religious avarice for money and power is what got propositions 2, 8, 102 and the very dangerous and hateful Arkansas anti-gay adoption measures passed. Period.

In our frustration over the success of those hate-filled measures, we seem to have lost focus of the root cause of our defeat. Religious and national leaders who lacked the strength of their own supposed convictions have always found it easier to rally the emotions of their followers by giving them scapegoats to fear and revile. From the current Pope to Thomas Monson and James Dobson to Hitler and Stalin, these pathetic but persuasive individuals all used the same simple tactic to acquire and maintain their power. Fear. We have become the scapegoats for that segment of the religious community. And they're using us to swell their rolls, fill their coffers and build their so-called prestige throughout the general populations of the world.

Before I go too far with this, I want to make it very clear that I AM NOT talking about religion in general. There are many churches, religious organizations and devout people who have supported us in our struggles for equality and who have stood by us in opposition to the many ludicrous propositions that the obsessed right-wing has put forward. Even within the groups that are trying to oppress us, there are many brave individuals who have challenged their leaders and told them, very publicly, that they were wrong. I am only talking about those churches and institutions that have chosen to use divisive fear and unsubstantiated hate mongering to further their goals.

At the top of that list are two of the most manipulative and underhanded church institutions and one of the most vile and disreputable right-wing religious groups. The Mormon and Catholic churches and the national group Focus On The Family have all invested millions of dollars and countless manpower hours in an unconscionable and un-American drive to prevent our community from achieving our constitutional right of equal treatment under the law. Not to mention our constitutionally guaranteed privilege of living-out our "right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

There are, of course, other groups and religions (i.e., many evangelicals, orthodox jews, etc.) that have also worked against the GLBT community but none of them have the staggering monetary and robot-like human resources that the top three possess. The leaders of these groups are our primary enemies. They're the ones who brainwash and manipulate their followers into believing that a supposedly all-loving, benevolently omnipotent God would actually want to see a whole segment of his own creation persecuted.

So, before we, ourselves, blindly castigate a whole group of people by virtue of nothing more than skin color, let's remember that prejudice begins with what we are taught to believe by those we trusted and thought were above reproach. To win our battle, we can't resort to the same blind hatreds used by our enemies. We must, instead, reach out and work to expose the lies and the people who preach them.

Now is not the time to divide our community by our differences, now is the time to work together and focus our formidable talents and energies on our real enemies. The greedy and slimy hate mongers.


Fight the H8 in Your State

Protests against the anti-gay marriage and adoption propositions that were passed in California, Arizona, Florida and Arkansas are taking on a life of their own.

Not only hasn't the November 4th defeats dampened our spirits, it has energized our community in ways not seen since the Stonewall uprising in 1969. Since election day, protests have continued and new, more energized activists groups have been forming across the country.

I was one of those early activists in New York city following Stonewall and I can tell you, first hand, that this new movement is starting to look and feel a lot like a very welcome return to the contagious energy of that time. We were driven by intense idealism that was founded in an unshakable belief that the fight for equal rights and equal treatment was a clear and unquestionable moral imperative. To most of us who dove in head first, it wasn't a question of "Should I do this?" it was something we felt compelled and driven to. It was the right thing to do and that was that.

Now, a new group called Join The Impact is organizing a nationwide day of protest. It's scheduled for SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 15TH in cities throughout the nation. In a statement on there blog, they said:

The gay pride parade has become a great party, but it has lost the memory of Stonewall and therefor given the nation another reason to cast us aside as irresponsible. It’s time we come together for debate, for public recognition, and for LOVE!

Let’s move as one full unit, on the same day, at the same hour, and let’s show the United States of America that we too are UNITED CITIZENS EQAUL IN MIND, BODY, SPIRIT AND DESERVING OF FULL EQUALITY UNDER THE LAW!

Here in Arizona the demonstrations are planned for 11:30am in...

Phoenix, City Hall at Cesar Chavez Memorial
200 W Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85003

Tucson, City Hall:
255 W. Alameda
Tucson, Az 85701

Flagstaff, City Hall
211 W. Aspen Avenue
(protest on side facing Rte. 66)

and in downtown Kingman

To find the time and location in your city, go to: Join The Impact

November 11, 2008


Keith Olbermann is, by far, one of the most articulate, intelligent and straight forward journalists working in America today. I've featured his video comments on this blog before and, true to form, his take on the passage of proposition 8 is a very powerful rebuke of those who voted for this discriminatory, church-backed proposition. I want to make sure that as many people as possible see and hear this because this fight is not even close to over.

We've been fighting for simple, basic rights and equal treatment under the law for a very long time and we're certainly not going to fold up our tent and go away now.

Protest demonstrations (including St Paul, MN today and New York City tomorrow) against the passage of prop 8 continue through today and tomorrow. Thanks again to the diligence of Box Turtle Bulletin, here's a list of some of those planned.

Rancho Cucamonga, CA
1:00 p.m.
Corner of Haven and Foothill.

Redlands, CA
4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Redlands Mormon Temple
1761 Fifth Avenue

Santa Monica, CA
5:00 p.m.
321 Santa Monica Pier

Fresno, CA
5:00 p.m.
Fink-White Playground
Amador St and B St.

San Francisco, CA
5:00 p.m. - 10:00p.m.
San Francisco City Hall
1 Dr Carton B Goodlett Pl

San Diego, CA
5:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
San Diego Mormon Temple
7474 Charmant Drive

Los Angeles, CA
6:00 p.m.
La Cienega Blvd and Centinela Ave

Saint Paul, MN
3:00 p.m.
State Capitol (Meet on Old Main Lawn)

Encinitas, CA
4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Corner of Saxony and Encinitas Blvd.
Phone: 5305759264

West Hollywood, CA
7:00 p.m.
Santa Monica & San Vicente

New York, NY
6:30 p.m.
Manhattan Mormon Temple
125 Columbus Ave at 65th Street

San Diego, CA
7:00 p.m.
St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral
2728 Sixth Ave.
For more info, contact Chris Harris at (619) 298-7261 or harrisc@stpaulcathedral.org.

If you have the time and you're in any of the above areas, JOIN THEM. I can personally guarantee that the feeling of pride and accomplishment you'll get from participating will be like nothing you've ever felt before.

November 10, 2008


Protests against the passage of Proposition 8 in California have continued through Sunday.

In numbers and passions not seen since the murder of Matthew Sheppard, the GLBT community, along with many of their straight allies and supporters, again filled the streets and sidewalks to protest the gross injustice forced on the gay community by proposition 8.

The following chronology was taken from an excellent story posted at Box Turtle Bulletin:

In Los Angeles an estimated 12,500 boisterous marchers converged at Sunset and Santa Monica boulevards in Silver Lake near the site of the former Black Cat bar, which the city recently designated a historic-cultural monument for its ’60s role as home of the local gay rights movement. Police guided the demonstrators through the streets for more than three hours without major confrontations. No arrests were reported.

In San Diego, an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 people marched from Hillcrest to North Park behind a giant rainbow flag in protest of Proposition 8.

“I don’t want anyone to take away my right to marry,” said Ken Hagen, a University City newlywed who marched down University Avenue alongside his partner, John Young. Chants for equality were sometimes drowned out by drivers honking their horns in support of the passing crowd.

In Oakland, hundreds of protesters rallyed outside the Mormon Temple on Lincoln Avenue in the Oakland Hills. Same-sex marriage supporters carried signs, blew whistles, and passing cars honked in support outside the largest Mormon temple in the Bay Area.

The California Highway Patrol was forced to shut down the nearby Joaquin Miller and Lincoln on and off-ramps to the freeway due to the Oakland protest. A CHP dispatcher said the highway ramps were closed to protect pedestrians from traffic.

In Orange County about 300 protesters gathered in front of Saddleback Church holding signs reading “Shame on Rick Warren” and “Preach Love not Discrimination” as they chanted “Equal rights now.”

Hundreds also protested, without incident, in Laguna Beach and Huntington Beach with more protests planned in Lake Forest, Laguna Niguel and Rancho Santa Margarita today.

In Sacramento, thousands of people massed in front of the California statehouse. The event was the latest demonstration in Sacramento and across the state since the passage of Proposition 8 Tuesday.

In Santa Barbara, many people protested not only the passage of Proposition 8 but the fact that it was even on the ballot to begin with. “This should not have been a ballot measure, the basic fundamental human rights shouldn’t be voted on by the electorate,” said David Selberg with Pacific Pride Foundation.

In Long Beach, more than 2,000 demonstrators marched Friday night, protesting the passage of Proposition 8.

The march started about 7:30 p.m. and within an hour had taken over Broadway, with protesters shouting and holding signs with such messages as “Did we vote on your marriage?” Fifteen people were arrested.

Sunday protests also spread as far as Seattle, Washington where dozens of people picketed in front of a local Mormon church. As Mormons and their families walked to the church for services, they were met by protesters chanting “shame on the church” and “equal rights now.”

According to an article in today's Los Angeles Times, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on Sunday expressed hope that the California Supreme Court would overturn Proposition 8. He also predicted that the 18,000 gay and lesbian couples who have already wed would not see their marriages nullified by the initiative.

"It's unfortunate, obviously, but it's not the end," Schwarzenegger said in an interview Sunday on CNN. "I think that we will again maybe undo that, if the court is willing to do that, and then move forward from there and again lead in that area."

The governor has, in the past, said that he believes marriage should be between a man and a woman and even rejected legislation that would have authorized same-sex marriage. But he has also said that he wouldn't care if same-sex marriage were legal as long as it was decided by the voters or by the courts.

Schwarzenegger did, finally, come out publicly in opposition to Proposition 8 but his declaration was a little too late to have any real impact in the face of the massive amounts of money (70% from the Mormon church) that was spent on misleading and outright false TV and radio ads, direct mailers and the thousands of Mormon minions that were put into the field.

There have been multiple law suits filed with the state supreme court challenging the validity of the infamous proposition.

There is also a concerted effort underway to challenge the tax-exempt status of the Mormon church and others that used their substantial resources to pass prop 8.

In addition, there is a serious call for a boycott of the state of Utah similar to the successful boycott of Arizona when that state refused to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. day in the early nineties.

I'll have more on these developments as the week progresses.

November 7, 2008


At this point I think we all know that if it wasn't for the multimillions of dollars in donations and the extraordinary number of Mormon minions put into the field in California and Arizona, props 8 and 102 would not have passed.

Well, we can do something about that. We can personally and directly challenge their tax exempt status.

Thanks to the efforts of a Feast Of Fools chat room friend who goes by the net name of TrickyToro, we have a way to do just that. I am including his entire chat post below because it includes a step by step outline of how we can each file a report of false exemption with the IRS.

To report the LDS Church to the IRS, simply take 5 minutes to print these articles out and any others you can find:


There is also an excellent NY Times Opinion piece that, point-blank, states that the Mormon church led the drive to pass prop 8. It's at: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/06/opinion/06thu1.html?ref=opinion. If you do copy this article, I suggest highlighting the 5th paragraph before you include it with your IRS submission.

Then print and fill out http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f3949a.pdf

List the taxpayer as:

Thomas S. Monson, et al
50 East North Temple
Salt Lake City, Utah 84150

List his occupation as President and the business as the ridiculously full name of the church (same address).

The full name is: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Check the boxes for False Exemption and Public/Political Corruption.

Then in the Comments section demand that the LDS Church be fined and their tax-exempt status revoked for repeated and blatant violations of the IRS's separate of church and state rules, and for conspiring to interfere with a state's political process.

Check Yes under "Are books/records available?" and write in "campaign finance records."

You don't have to provide any of your own personal info. Mail the form and the printed articles to:

Internal Revenue Service
Fresno, CA 93888

I suggest keeping copies of the articles and the filled-out IRS form that you submit. It would greatly enhance the impact of this action if we send copies to our own senators and congressmen. And just in case the current IRS director chooses to ignore our submissions, we can always resubmit after the Obama administration (and a new IRS director) take office in January.

I also want to give a big shout out and thank you to TrickyToro for taking the time away from his schoolwork to put this info together.

I strongly urge everyone to do this. And encourage your friends to take part in this effort as well. If you have a blog or any online venue that would allow you to post this info, please feel free to use this posting in its entirety. You can also refer them back to my blog at http://desertspeak.blogspot.com/.

November 6, 2008


Yesterday, a joint press release announced that The American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and the National Center for Lesbian Rights filed a writ petition urging the California Supreme Court to invalidate Proposition 8 if it passes.

Although it appears that Prop 8 will pass, there are still millions of provisional and absentee ballots being counted. As of 7:00 this morning the difference between passing and defeating this measure is only 504,479 votes so there is still a slim chance that it could be defeated.

According to the joint press release;

The petition charges that Proposition 8 is invalid because the initiative process was improperly used in an attempt to undo the constitution’s core commitment to equality for everyone by eliminating a fundamental right from just one group – lesbian and gay Californians. Proposition 8 also improperly attempts to prevent the courts from exercising their essential constitutional role of protecting the equal protection rights of minorities. According to the California Constitution, such radical changes to the organizing principles of state government cannot be made by simple majority vote through the initiative process, but instead must, at a minimum, go through the state legislature first.

The California Constitution itself sets out two ways to alter the document that sets the most basic rules about how state government works. Through the initiative process, voters can make relatively small changes to the constitution. But any measure that would change the underlying principles of the constitution must first be approved by the legislature before being submitted to the voters. That didn’t happen with Proposition 8, and that’s why it’s invalid.

Also, according to The Advocate, a second challenge was filed with California’s supreme court Wednesday morning.

This suite was filed by Robin Tyler and Diane Olson who were the first couple named in the lawsuit that overturned California's ban on gay marriage and the first same-sex couple legally married in Los Angeles County in June.

Robin Tyler said, “This is a civil rights issue. It is not about a lifestyle, it is about our lives.”

I totally agree with Robin. This has everything to do with civil rights and should not be considered solely as a marriage issue. Hopefully the California Supreme Court will, once again, agree with that premise.

November 5, 2008


Yesterday was one of the most momentous and historic events in the history of our country. When the anticipated but still stunning announcement flashed, blipped and raced through the media on televisions and radios and across the global internet, cheers went up around the world. Barack Obama would be the first black president of the United States of America!

After I got home from poll duty, which was an amazing experience in itself, I glued myself to the tv screen watching every result as it was beamed into my psyche. From the first tiny, 8 inch circular black and white screen to today's mammoth sets, I have watched history unfold live, right before my very eyes. Both Kennedy assassinations, the Viet Nam war, the murder of Martin Luther King Jr., 911, Katrina - they all riveted my attention and struck awe in everyone I knew. Last night, however, was probably the most emotionally perplexing and dichotomous event I've ever witnessed.

On one hand I was elated that Barack had such a huge win and that the democrats took almost total control of the congress and senate. But on the other hand, watching all three anti-gay marriage propositions succeed in Arizona, California and Florida was a definite downer.

Today, in the light of day, I find that my hope and resolve has actually gotten stronger.

True, the right-wing bigots succeeded in scaring the uninformed (and mostly uneducated) voters to act according to the totally bogus fears implanted into their unquestioning minds by an astounding multimillion dollar advertising campaign. BUT, how it was done and who it was done by has opened doors for substantial legal challenges. And each challenge will be accompanied by the subsequent media coverages and commentaries about the highly dubious tactics used by supposedly tax-exempt institutions.

I also believe that most of the socially aware and politically savvy people in this country will come to realize that even though those measures won, their underlying principals aren't much different from the racial and ethnic prejudices held by majorities in our past. Proving that majority rule isn't always the best mechanism for achieving just and equatable solutions. After all, if it had been left solely up to those majorities, blacks would still be enslaved, the Irish would still be the bottom rung in New York and psychics would still be burned at the stake.

With the now drastically changed political landscape across the country, I really believe that it is only a matter of time before we see those blatantly prejudicial measures and even attitudes overturned.

The most admirable and formidable thing about the GLBT movement in this country is that we will never stop fighting. Ever!

November 3, 2008


A few days ago, I received a comment from one of my blog readers. His screen name is "Reuven" and he was responding to my posting about the mafia-like tactics of the Yes On 8 campaign.

Reuven's comment simply said, "True Christians know one thing: Jesus Says No On 8." The banner on the left is from the website he provided this link for. Of course, I had to check this out and when I did I found a brief but heartfelt account of how he came to his own, personal decision to oppose California's Proposition 8. It's worth taking a minute or two to read. Just click on the "Jesus Says No On 8" link above.

Also at that site were two persuasive video's I include below. The first is a segment from a sermon delivered by Rector Ed Bacon of the All Saints Church in Pasadena.

In an earlier sermon, Rector Bacon announced the church's decision to open marriage ceremonies to all people regardless of their sexual orientation. If you would like to watch this video, go to: California Marriage Equality

The second video below is a short (1:21) compilation of comments from 10 California Clergy about why they oppose Proposition 8.

Of course the arguments made by all of the clergy above would hold just as true for Proposition 102 here in Arizona and Proposition 2 in Florida.

SIDENOTE... Just so you know, I volunteered to be a poll worker for tomorrow's election. We have the site set-up this evening and then I have to be back there at 5:30 in the morning. If the voting predictions of an 80-85% turnout are accurate (and judging from the extraordinarily heavy early voting turnout, they are), I probably won't get home til 9, 10 or even 11 tomorrow night. So, of course, I won't have a regular posting tomorrow.