Archive | 2010 Elections RSS feed for this section

VA’s Gov. McDonnell Playing Politics with Children

7 Apr

The state of Virginia is known historically for leading the way among the southern colonies so that our country could declare our independence from a tyrannical King George.

VA Gov. Bob McDonnell

A few centuries later, the great state of Virginia is now behind the times with the actions of bigoted Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who tried to force VA’s colleges to rescind their LGBT-inclusive policies and now GOP Gov Bob McDonnell is set to stop VA’s adoption policies from including lesbian and gay families.

Family Equality Council is leading the fight to educate the Governor on some terrifying statistics. 1 in 3 youth in Virginia’s foster care system wind up aging out of it before ever finding a permanent home. Nearly half of the kids in the system have been in 3 or more homes. Research shows us that youth who age out of foster care without ever finding permanency are at a high risk for poverty, homelessness, incarceration, and early parenthood.

McDonnell is claiming that his decision is to “protect” Catholic charities and other faith-based adoption agencies from being “forced” to give gay parents children. One should note: the current adoption laws include single parents who could be gay or straight.

Family Equality asks the important question: With all of these problems facing the Virginia foster care system, why is the Governor intentionally limiting the number of loving families ready and waiting to adopt?

Please take a moment to visit Family Equality Council’s website here, sign this urgent petition to help these kids and pass it along to your friends.

Advertisements

Compromising on Equality

27 Dec

As most of us here on the East Coast are snowed in, what better to do with this new-found free time than a little edugaytion?

From On Top Magazine today, we find a brief rundown of the candidates for the new Republican National Committee Chairperson. The current chair (who is also running for re-election), Michael Steele opposes gay marriage, claiming it would be “bad for small businesses.” This is somehow related to the fact that businesses would be required to provide insurance for same-sex spouses like they already do for the other 90% of the population. So his argument is that we should not have the same rights because small businesses should still be allowed to discriminate.

Recently, the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage interviewed the leading candidates for RNC Chair and unsurprisingly, they are all against equality. NOM’s chair, the outspoken Maggie Gallagher interviewed Wisconsin GOP Chairman Reince Priebus, Save American Jobs Project Chairman Saul Anuzis, former RNC political director Gentry Collins and former Missouri Republican Chairwoman Ann Wagner.

As On Top mentions, Collins said gay marriage “devalues the relationship that is shared by my wife and I and a number of committed married couples.”

“Marriage is an institution that has been around for 3,000 years. It’s part of our faith. It’s part of out culture,” Anuzis said. “It’s important to have a mother and a father … People care that you’re a family person.”

Opposition to gay marriage is a “pillar” of the Republican platform, Wagner said in her interview.

“I think that’s where the American people are. They believe in traditional marriage. They want to lift that up. … It’s important that we hold true to those tenants and values that I think are a pillar of our Republican party and our platform.”

Priebus said marriage was given to us by God and needs to be protected from “activist judges.”

“I believe marriage is a gift from God and the sanctity of marriage ought to be protected … and I don’t believe the comedy clause in the constitution allows for activist judges to redefine what marriage is,” he said, referring to the constitution’s Full Faith and Credit clause.

GOProud, an organization for gay Republicans, jumped in and is willing to throw their support behind any candidate who is not Michael Steele. Said GOProud’s Chris Barron “We need an RNC Chair who understands that his or her role is to raise money and build party infrastructure, not to sell books, hire friends and family, and pontificate on policy.”

Barron goes on to claim some credit for the November midterm elections: “Were it not for the hard work of outside groups, who were forced to step in to fill the void left by an ineffective RNC, success at the ballot box in November would never have occurred.”

What a tremendous conflict it must be to be gay and have to argue in favor of someone who opposes equality so vehemently. Change is occurring of course, and some within the Republican party – and groups like GOProud are partly responsible for that – let’s hope they can keep changing minds from the inside without having to compromise more of their own personal freedoms.

Making Progressive Allies

16 Nov

How many times have you heard “We need to make allies in the broader progressive movement” come out of an LGBT activist’s mouth? Well I’ll say it again. Its true. We do need to build stronger ties to other social movements in order to help us identify new pockets of supporters and to link our issues to the broad campaign against injustice everywhere.  Pooling resources, sharing ideas, and trading tips strengthens both the fight for LGBT equality and the progressive movement as a whole.

The New Organizing Institute has created an opportunity for us to do just that.  RootsCamp is an incredible chance for LGBT leaders to meet other progressive organizers and make the connections we need.  The NOI team calls it the “unconference” because we get to set the agenda, drive the conversation, and skip the boring powerpoints.

Details:

What:  RootsCamp – 5th Anniversary

When:  December 11-12

Where: George Washington University, Washington DC

Who: Volunteers, field staff, new media gurus, data geeks, state-based bloggers, campaign managers – anyone and everyone who played a part in the 2010 cycle, with civic engagement campaigns or as a part of issue groups.

RSVP here: http://rootscampdc.eventbrite.com/

Jamie and I will be attending, representing TAE, and sharing what we have learned from all of you.  You should probably join us.

Intro to Direct Action 101.

22 Oct

Meet Tonei Glavinic, a collegiate LGBT organizer. Below is a guest post about Tonei’s introduction to Direct Action:

Last week, I participated in a direct action with a national grassroots LGBT rights organization called GetEQUAL. GetEQUAL isn’t much like other nonprofits I’ve worked with in the past. They don’t write policy or file lawsuits. Instead, they take to the streets, the White House, and Congressional offices to put pressure on Democrats who have been getting elected and funded for years on a platform of achieving civil equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, but have failed to deliver.

Until this weekend, I thought GetEQUAL was kind of obnoxious.

One major source of this feeling was that some of GetEQUAL’s supporters have in the past been extremely critical and dismissive of the work that national organizations do, which frustrated me because I was working with these groups and was directly involved in a lot of important efforts that are leading to or have already led to positive change. I reacted to this by in turning dismissing GetEQUAL as a bunch of misguided activists who weren’t actually doing anything productive to make a difference, and were perhaps actually damaging our efforts by angering people who were supposed to be our champions on Capitol Hill.

But when a friend of mine gave me the opportunity to travel to Miami to participate in an action, I jumped at it. I’d never been to Florida before, and it sounded like it could be fun.

The action itself was rather elaborate (you can read the plans and the AP article), but my role was simple: go with a team holding banners outside the entrance to the estate where Obama was holding a massive fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and take pictures and video.

You wouldn’t think that this would be a particularly empowering experience, but when I captured President Obama on film directly acknowledging us (I was at that point holding up the center of a banner, while my camera sat on top of a police car), I realized the important purpose that GetEQUAL serves.

All of our policy work is incredibly important, and change couldn’t happen in our government without it, but somebody has to keep our issues at the forefront of the President’s mind – and GetEQUAL can let Obama and the Democrats know that we’re not going away anytime soon in ways that policy organizations can’t.

This by itself wouldn’t have been enough to change my mind about the organization. It was the conversations I had with other activists and GetEQUAL co-founder Robin McGehee that made me realize that the organization itself was very supportive of the work of many other national advocacy groups.

While I still have a few unresolved qualms about the organization itself (specifically the recent sudden firing of a friend of mine without notice), that weekend definitely changed my opinion of GetEQUAL’s work – and direct action in general – as an important piece of the larger movement for LGBT civil rights and social justice.

Tonei Glavinic is an Alaskan queer activist at American University in Washington, DC. For more information or to contact Tonei, visit frozenactivist.net.

Obama Says “It Gets Better”

22 Oct

On the heels of some unpopular decisions and for a community that sees him as not living up to the “Fierce Advocate” label he gave himself during the campaign, President Obama has taken a step forward by addressing anti-gay bullying in this “It Gets Better” video.

He may not be the superhero we all hoped he would be, but it’s encouraging to see him addressing this vital issue…and he’s even wearing a purple tie.