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Maine Question 1: We’re Working too Hard to Lose …

posted by GeoT

by Paul Hogarth‚ Nov. 02‚ 2009 SOUTH PORTLAND – I’m writing this on Monday, November 2nd at 2:00 a.m., and will get up early so I will be brief. This weekend has been intense, as myself and Jay Jonah Cash have placed “No on 1” campaign volunteers from New Hampshire, New York, Boston, Vermont and 20 Yale students in a South Portland hotel for our Drive for Equality program. It’s inspiring to see the passion as we sense this election’s national implications for marriage equality. And we’re still on the phones and sending out e-mails, asking folks to make spur-of-the-moment plans to drive up to Maine. Sign up at our website, and we’ll stuff as many committed volunteers into hotel rooms as we can.

We have a better ground game than our opposition, but it will be close. Literally before going to my bedroom for the night, a new poll came out with us down by 4 points. “We expect there to be almost twice as many voters over 65 as young voters,” said the pollsters, “but if that gap narrows so would the vote on Question 1. With a race as close as this, it all comes down to which side can get its people out to the polls. It could go either way depending on who actually shows up to vote.” We’re working too hard to lose this …

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Sen. Schumer at ESPA 2009 Fall Dinner: ‘If Dick Cheney Can Support Same-Sex Marriage, So Can Every Senator’

Speaking last week at a fundraising dinner for the top New York gay rights group ESPA, Senator Chuck Schumer articulated a far broader vision for same-sex marriage than he or most Democrats typically state publicly. “If Dick Cheney can support (same-sex) marriage, so can every Senator.”

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86 Year Old, Life-long Republican and WWII Vet on Gay Marriage- “What Do You Think I Fought For?”

Posted by Audiegrl

votenoon1maineIn this poignant video below, 86 year old Philip Spooner, who is a life long resident of Maine and a Republican, speaks out on the reason we need marriage equality in this country. The fight for marriage equality in Maine is coming up in two weeks. If the “No on 1” campaign is successful, Maine will become the first state in the nation to successfully defend marriage equality in the voting booth.

Get this video out to as many people as you can.

Transcript: Good morning, Committee. My name is Phillip Spooner and I live at 5 Graham Street in Biddeford. I am 86 years old and a lifetime Republican and an active VFW chaplain. I still serve three hospitals and two nursing homes and I also serve Meals on Wheels for 28 years. My wife of 54 years, Jenny, died in 1997. Together we had four children, including the one gay son. All four of our boys were in the service. I was born on a potato farm north of Caribou and Perham, where I was raised to believe that all men are created equal and I’ve never forgotten that. I served in the U.S. Army, 1942-1945, in the First Army, as a medic and an ambulance driver. I worked with every outfit over there, including Patton’s Third Army. I saw action in all five major battles in Europe, and including the Battle of the Bulge. My unit was awarded Presidential Citations for transporting more patients with fewer accidents than any other ambulance unit I was in the liberation of Paris. After the war I carried POW’s back from Poland, Hungary, and Yugoslavia, and also hauled hundreds of injured Germans back to Germany.

I am here today because of a conversation I had last June when I was voting. A woman at my polling place asked me, “Do you believe in equal, equality for gay and lesbian people?” I was pretty surprised to be asked a question like that. It made no sense to me. Finally I asked her, “What do you think our boys fought for at Omaha Beach?” I haven’t seen much, so much blood and guts, so much suffering, much sacrifice. For what? For freedom and equality. These are the values that give America a great nation, one worth dying for.

I give talks to eighth grade teachers about World War II, and I don’t tell them about the horror. Maybe [inaudible] ovens of Buchenwald and Dachau. I’ve seen with my own eyes the consequences of caste systems and it make some people less than others, or second class. Never again. We must have equal rights for everyone. It’s what this country was started for. It takes all kinds of people to make a world war. It does make no sense that some people who love each other can marry and others can’t just because of who they are. This is what we fought for in World War II. That idea that we can be different and still be equal.

My wife and I did not raise four sons with the idea that three of them would have a certain set of rights, but our gay child would be left out. We raised them all to be hard-working, proud, and loyal Americans and they all did good. I think it’s too bad those who want to get married, they should be able to. Everybody’s supposed to be equal in equality in this country. Let gay people have the right to marry. Thank you

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Why I’m Optimistic About Maine by Paul Hogarth

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Why I’m Optimistic About Maine by Paul Hogarth

Posted by Audiegrl

gay_rights_sign_by_Beyond Chron/Paul Hogarth—I’m back home in San Francisco, after spending 10 days on the ground in Maine with the “No on 1” campaign. After my time there, I truly believe that – with our help – Maine will become the first state in the nation to successfully defend marriage equality at the ballot box, providing a roadmap for California to repeal Proposition 8. Maine activists have been working hard for five years to pass gay marriage, but events in the last few days now point to what should be an historic victory on November 3rd. With only 19 days left, what I’m seeing from the “Yes on 1” campaign reminds me of where “No on 8” was at this point last year – outgunned by the opposition, unable to control the message and at a loss about what to do. If Question 1 passes, it will be our fault for not having done more. But if Question 1 fails, those of us who get involved will have made history – which is why I hope to go back for the last four days. Here are the reasons for my optimism …

An Early Fundraising Advantage

votenoon1maineOne reason why I got involved in this effort was that “No on 1” said they only needed $3 million dollars for the entire campaign – a pittance compared with California efforts. “We’re a cheap date,” said campaign manager Jesse Connolly at this year’s Netroots Nation Convention. New fundraising totals that came out this week show that “No on 1” has already raised $2.7 million (with most of the money coming from Maine residents) – and bloggers are planning a big fundraising push for today that should keep them on track with their goal.

The bigger news, however, is that “Yes on 1” reported only raising $1.1 million – with a campaign debt of $400,000 (our side has no debt.) This provoked their spokesman Marc Mutty (who is on loan from the Portland Archdiocese) to send out an urgent message on October 13th that their cause was under “financial assault.” In the mass e-mail, which can be reviewed in full here, Mutty says they had known from the opposition’s superior ground game that our side had been raising more money. But they had “never dreamed the situation was as dire as it is,” and are now urging their supporters to make a “sacrificial contribution” to pass Question 1.

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More @ Beyond Chron, San Francisco’s Alternative Online Daily

Paul Hogarth

Paul Hogarth

Paul Hogarth is the Managing Editor of Beyond Chron, San Francisco’s Alternative Online Daily, where this piece was first published.

To find out more about Beyond Chron, click here.

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Jon Stewart Hits Fox for Ignoring Gay Rights March After Aggressively Promoting 9/12 March

FoxNewsRNC_ThinkProgress/Amanda Terkel —During the tea party protests and the more recent 9/12 march, Fox News argued that it was justified in covering them incessantly because the network doesn’t “pick and choose these rallies and protests” — it covers them all. At the same time, it slammed other networks for not giving enough coverage to the right-wing rallies. But as Jon Stewart noted on The Daily Show last night, Fox ignored the weekend’s National Equality March, whose turnout was comparable to the 9/12 March. “You didn’t even send your own camera crew?” exclaimed Stewart. “You have a Washington bureau! Tell them to go to the window and point the camera down!”

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New Justice Official: I’ll Fight Anti-Gay Discrimination

Posted by Audiegrl

Justice Dept. Seeks Action vs. Gay Discrimination

Gay March on Washington 10/11/09

Gay March on Washington 10/11/09

Associated Press/Devlin Barrett—The Obama administration’s point man on civil rights said Wednesday he will seek to fight discrimination against gays, an area in which the Justice Department has had only a small role in the past.

Tom Perez, the assistant attorney general in charge of the department’s Civil Rights Division, said pending legislation in Congress will allow the department to attack discrimination against lesbian, gays, bisexuals and transgender people, a group often referred to by the acronym LGBT.

That would be new territory for the division that has historically gone after discrimination based on race, gender or religion. It would also be a major shift from the division’s work during the Bush administration, which opposed expansion of the federal hate crimes law to prosecute those who attack gays.

Tom Perez

Tom Perez

Perez on Wednesday he gave his first speech to division employees, saying the division must be transformed “so that we are capable of tackling the civil rights challenges of the 21st century,” include issues not historically addressed by the department.

We must fight for fairness and basic equality for our LGBT brothers and sisters who so frequently are being left in the shadows,” he said, and to “ensure that there’s a level playing field in which our LGBT brothers and sisters are judged by the content of their character.”

Allison Herwitt, legislative director for Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay rights group, called Perez’s words “fantastic.”

What’s so different between this administration and the last is that we have people who want to have these protections in place and to enforce these protections, and you have the top of the Civil Rights Division willing to openly talk about these protections,” said Herwitt.

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Schwarzenegger Signs Two Gay Rights Bills and Creates Day Honoring Harvey Milk

Posted by Audiegrl

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

The Dessert Sun/Nicole C. Brambila—Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed into law a bill recognizing gay civil rights leader Harvey Milk and another recognizing the rights and benefits of legally married same-sex couples.

Schwarzenegger signed the two pieces of legislation as he dealt with nearly 700 bills on his desk. Sunday was the deadline to sign legislation passed in regular session.

Schwarzenegger attached the following statement to the same-sex couple law:

As required by Proposition 8, California will not recognize such couples as ‘married.’ However, Senate Bill 54 will provide the same legal protections that would otherwise be available to couples that enter into civil unions or domestic partnerships out-of-state. In short, this measure honors the will of the People in enacting Proposition 8 while providing important protections to those unions legally entered into in other states,” Schwarzenegger wrote.

The Harvey Milk Day bill calls for a day to honor of the slain, gay civil rights leader. It also seeks to educate Californians about the former San Francisco City Supervisor, the nation’s first elected openly gay person.

Advocates considered both necessary for advancing gay civil rights.

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Harvey milkAssociated Press/Don Thompson— Slain gay rights activist Harvey Milk will get a special day of recognition in California, making him only the second person in state history to gain such a designation.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s signing of the bill establishing “Harvey Milk Day” each May 22, Milk’s birthday, was announced Monday.

The Republican governor vetoed similar legislation a year ago. In the interim, Milk was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in August and was the subject of a movie for which Sean Penn won the Academy Award for best actor.

In this file photo from June 26, 1978, San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk is seen in San Francisco's seventh annual gay freedom parade. Milk was assassinated 30 years ago.

In this file photo from June 26, 1978, San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk is seen in San Francisco's seventh annual gay freedom parade. Milk was assassinated 30 years ago.

Penn spoke out in favor of the bill last spring, saying he didn’t want to insult Schwarzenegger’s intelligence by assuming the governor would again oppose creating Harvey Milk Day.

He has become much more of a symbol of the gay community than he was a year ago because of those things,” Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear said. “That may be the difference from last year: he’s really come to symbolize the gay community in California

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