Category: Gay rights

Response from Legislators to my daily(somewhat) emails on Marriage Equality

So every time I find a blog post or media piece that supports marriage equality I copy the link, sometimes post a short summary and shotgun them out to ever legislator in the Rhode Island House.

I’ve also begun contacting certain Senators in the state. Overall the responses have taken the form of emails and one telephone call. 80% of them have been very polite and sometimes very enlightening.

For example, here are some messages from Karen MacBeth who overall seems to be supportive.

The first message:

I am elected by my district to represent them.
While I take the interest of the state into account I represent District 52.
Apparentely you have not done your research to determine where I stand on this issue or you would not feel the need to email me.
I find your emails to be on the cutting side it appears that you are carrying a major chip on your shoulder and attempt to put ones on the defense.

It is time that we all work together!

MacBeth’s next message to me is interesting.

I stand for equality for all and am disappointed that both “sides” have those that are unwilling to work together.
I support legislation for equality. There are portions of the current proposed legislation that may discriminate against certain cultural beliefs.
For example in some cultures if a husband passes away the woman has to marry the younger brother if he is not married…this legislation
does not allow this. Whether I agree with the cultural requirements is not the point…I see it as discrimination against a group…exactly what I
stand against! I have asked the sponsor to address this for the last couple years but it is has not been addressed.

Are you aware that MERI had a candidate run for the seat I currently hold… Even though Kim Bright of MERI was well aware of where I stand on this issue.
I met with her in person. When I spoke with my former opponent this week she was shocked to see that we are on the same page. She asked me, “Then why did I (meaning she
run and just finish paying off $4000 in campaign debt? My question is, “Why was she misled and not told where I stand?”

I am strong in my conviction for equality for all and will continue to look past the negativity from both sides.
I look forward to working with anyone that is willing to work together.

Thank you for your correspondence. If you come to the state house I look forward to meeting you.


Another from MacBeth:

The speaker is doing the hurry up and wait because at this moment he does/may not have the votes on the house floor to pass this.
There are reps that have changed their mind and their are those that have not made up their minds.
Though I have not been a Fox supporter in this instance I have to respect him for what he is doing. Why put this to a vote now when
you may not have the votes….but may have the votes as the session goes on? Also why have people take a vote that may not pass
and then have it possibly cost them the election and then be replaced by someone that is not of the same mindset?
While I understand your frustration I do understand Fox’s choice.
I can not speak for Jabour but if he is willing to vote it out of committee I give him credit…what it appears he is saying is that he does not
support it but agrees that is should come to a vote and allow all to vote…again this is just my guess on this.

Next up is Tea Party Representative Doreen Costa:

Hi Tony,
Thanks so much for contating me on this issue.

The response email was from an aol account that I won’t list here. I queried if she was in fact Doreen Costa and got the following:

Yes sir I am.

Now for the best one, Senator Maher. The only reason I contacted Maher was because a friend of mine on Facebook had forwarded me his exchange with Maher.

So I emailed Maher and told him his conduct was unbecoming of a state Senator and that I would help to hold him accountable for his words.

Here is what he wrote back to me:

Mr. Truthspew,

I have never taken a position to support or oppose or challenge NOM. Nor have I ever attended any their rallies or events despite numerous invitations. I have a opinion and all I ask is what others expect. Simple respect. However, if I do not receive it, I don’t give it. Ad the email I received from Mr. Siegal was inappropriate. I am done with communication on this issue. I tried to keep a open mind, but advocates such as yourself have gone far over the line with your own way of dealing with this.

To which I replied that I’d hold him accountable. Here is how I am holding him accountable, by posting it on my blog:

I did say I was done with communication on this issue. But now YOU have gone over the line. I will be forwarding our communications to the Rhode Island State Police for review. You words can be perceived as a threat.

Best regards,

Senator Frank Maher
Senior Deputy Minority Leader

So let me get this right, Maher first says I threatened him and then threatens me with the State Police. And then has the stones to close with “Best regards,”.

I got one phone call from Rep. Spencer Dickinson. Rep. Dickinson and I spoke for about 40 minutes and he is an nteresting guy to talk with. But he supports putting this to a public referendum in order to legitimize it.

There are a couple of interesting things about Dickinson. The first is that this is the second time that Dickinson had been a state representative prior to this pass. It was during the 1980’s when RI had an anti-abortion referendum on the ballot that failed. He also brought up the failed Indian casino bill.

I countered with legislation in the 1990’s that enacted Employment, Housing and Credit non-discrimination for LGB people in 1996, and for transgender people in 2001. I also mentioned that the current legislature gave us the funeral rights bill. So there is progress and he countered that incremental change was happening. I countered that incremental was fine but we wouldn’t need to slog through the incremental approach if we had full marriage equality.

This is when he brings up on Victor Profughi who I’ve written about prior to this, thoroughly debunking his NOM 80% of RI’ers want to vote civil rights for LGBT people on a referendum.

Dickinson had paid Profughi to do some political polling and he swears by him. He was surprised to hear of my debunking of the 80% NOM number.

As to Speaker Fox, he’s setup filters in his email program to respond with a canned response that isn’t worth posting. In essence he says he’s a co-sponsor of the bill and thank you for emailing.

NOM’s RI Ad: Dead wrong as usual

Watch the ad and then I’ll pick it apart.

I note NOM has blocked me from commenting on their YouTube videos. A pity so now I’ll just call them out on the blog, and email them to Maggie Gallagher.

Ok, here’s the pick-apart:

NOM is playing apples to oranges here. Not only are they comparing the gubernatorial race to the lieutenant gubernatorial race, but they completely discount one little fact when they say Governor Chafee doesn’t have a mandate.

There were SEVEN candidates for governor. So NOM had more than enough opportunity to field candidates, I don’t know why they are crying about this now. And as to the Lieutenant Governor’s race, Elizabeth Roberts won re-election by 54.5%.

NOM is dead wrong. Even their assertion that 80% of RI’ers want this on the ballot. Wrong, wrong, wrong. I got the survey call on this performed by Quest Research. They’re a local polling company. It’s a company that still uses an email address, how much more fly-by-night could you get when it’s $5 to $6 a month to host your own domain. The owner is a man by the name of Victor Profughi. Mr. Profughi holds a Phd in political science.

Anyhow here’s some interesting reading about the studies (Multiples) conducted by Profughi and Quest Research:

It turns out that the polls in question were commissioned by NOM-RI, the group opposing same-sex marriage. Christopher C. Plante, the group’s executive director, said there were three surveys done by Quest Research, which is based in Rhode Island.

I joked that the 80 was a transposition error. But the questions are in fact loaded to the gills. A loaded question leads the respondent to answer in the way in which the pollster wants them to answer.

Most people are dumb-fuck ignorant about what it takes to get a question on the ballot here in RI. We don’t have citizen initiative here which I consider a blessing as we’ve seen the idiocy of the citizen initiative process in both California and New Hampshire.

But the smoking gun is who sponsored the surveys. It was Christopher Plante of NOM that did so. Now if Profughi and Co. had just gone out and surveyed for the hell of it, they’d probably do a sample size a little more than 400 people. But that’s all that answered the ‘survey’. I think they made some extrapolation errors too. I also believe that of the 400, about 399 came from NOM’s mailing list in the state.

So NOM is totally off base with this ad. But do contact the Governors office at 401-222-2080, the Speaker’s office at 401-222-2447 (He shares this line with Majority Leader Matiello.) and the Senate President’s office at 401-222-6655. You can also email the Speaker as and the Senate President at

Let them know that as usual, NOM is full of shit.

NOM Approved my Comment

Imagine my shock. I noticed this on my blog statistics page:

Blog Statistics
Blog Statistics

Note that second log, a referral from the NOM Blog? So I had to go and check and sure enough my comment is now missing the awaiting approval tag.

Comment Approved
Comment Approved

Some guy who goes by the name of Don on there tries saying we’re not persecuted. I have to bring this up.

I once worked for the state’s top law enforcement agency. I had dealings with the FBI’s CJIS division and here’s what I can tell you. A lot goes unreported or under-reported by local police so the FBI doesn’t catch EVERYTHING.

And persecution includes the statements made by NOM, FRC, AFA et al.

Look at the young LGBT folks committing suicide because they feel persecuted. Look at the violence committed against LGBT people on a regular basis yet Don won’t listen to any of that. Oh no, he’d rather push falsehoods. Just like Tony Perkins of the FRC with his falsehood about the American College of Pediatricians. If you didn’t know, the ACP is comprised of religiously bigoted pediatricians. The actual group is the American Academy of Pediatricians.

But by using a similar sounding name, Perkins is trying to lean the public AGAINST we LGBT people. So I’d love for Don to comment here and try to counter this. But he won’t because he’s a coward who blots out his email and contact info.

NOM doesn’t have a valid argument

So it seems Brian S. Brown and Christopher Plante (Both from NOM) went on former mayor of Providence Buddy Cianci’s radio show on WPRO.

The callers John, Midge and Mark made some VERY good points in our defense of full marriage equality.

You can listen to the show here.

What astounds me is that Brian Brown keeps banging his head on the “It’s all about the children” bit.

It is and it isn’t about the children Brian. Sure, some kids might just find out that there are in fact gay people out there and that we are really no different from everyone else. And yes, some of those kids may challenge the religious beliefs held by their parents. It isn’t called evolution for nothing!

Then of course there are the children of gay couples. They deserve every right and privilege that their cohort deserves from their straight parents. But according to Brown, there will be consequences!

But we also have the move by Brown and NOM to put marriage equality on the ballot in Rhode Island. Absolutely NOT! Every time our rights have been put to a PUBLIC referendum we’ve had our rights stripped away from us.

At least in Rhode Island getting the question on the ballot pretty much takes an act of the legislature. So like they say in the program, call and write your representatives. Tell them that gay people deserve the full and same measure of rights that straight people take for granted.

If you’d like to find out who your representatives are visit the RI Secretary Of State’s Voter Information Center. Then go to the Legislature web site and find your Representatives and Senators. They have contact information on their Constituent Services links.

Tell them we want equality. Nothing else will do.

Gay Activism at its finest

This is what I’ve been waiting for all this time. It is what I’ve said we need to do, we need to be thorns in the side of our legislators. Simply writing letters, calling their office, etc. won’t do it. Direct action is necessary at this juncture.

Look at the whole DADT debacle. The leadership is hemming and hawing about studies, etc. but the reality is that a majority of the citizens of the U.S. support allowing gay people to serve openly in the military. In other major NATO countries that have rescinded the ban, they did at as follows: One a certain date, gay people could serve openly without penalty. Simple.

But today Lt. Dan Choi put a shot across the bow of HRC. He wasn’t asked to speak at the event in D.C. but Kathy Griffith invited him to the stage at which point he invited the crowd to march on the White House. Totally upstaged HRC and Joe Solomonese. In my opinion this is good, HRC needs to be reminded that the nice-nice politics don’t get us anywhere. ACT-UP knew this, and we’re just figuring it out again.

Lots more coverage on the event at Towleroad

Once they got to there Choi and Captain Jim Pietrangelo handcuffed themselves to the White House fence and were arrested.

And now word even says that there was an occupation of Speaker Pelosi’s offices in both D.C. and San Francisco. Excellent, so excellent. It almost sucks having supportive federal people in my state like U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, or even potential governors who have now publicly proclaimed that they will sign a marriage equality bill when the legislature brings it forward.

In fact every Democratic and Independent and even Moderate candidate has expressed their support, Caprio (D), Lynch (D), Chafee (I), and Giroux (I) and Block (M). That’s progress not to mention a very exciting gubernatorial race here in Rhode Island. Four candidates to choose from in the general election for Governor. Unprecedented. Of course both Republican candidates (Who if I’m asked don’t have a prayer in hell of the governors chair.) maintain the same asinine viewpoints of our current Asshole in Chief, Don Carcieri.

And on the 24th, Marriage Equality Rhode is having a Lobby Day at the Rhode Island State House. Sad thing is, if you can call it sad is my state Representative Steven Costantino and state Senator Paul Jabour are both supporters of marriage equality and I think Jabour has even moved into the co-sponsor column. Woot! But I won’t waste the opportunity, maybe I’ll go talk to Senate President M. Theresa Paiva-Weed.

Not only that AIDS Care RI is having a little welcome soiree for newly minted Speaker Gordon Fox. I’m going to do my best to make that one because I want to talk to Fox and tell him to grow some stones and lead equality through the house.

I’m absolutely giddy with excitement. Like I’ve always said, our politicians are people like us and accessible should we wish to do so.

Lets make ourselves seen, heard and let us get their undivided attention. We will not stop until we have a federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act, we will not rest until Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act are repealed. We will not rest until we have FULL equality.

An analysis of religious bigotry

And that is precisely what drives all of the opposition to GLBT people having full equality. The Southern Poverty Law Center does a nice job of showing the bigots for what they really are. By coaching it as special rights it devalues our cause. We cannot continue to let them get away with this. Expose them for what they really are Christians of a hypocritical nature. They cannot see the forest for the trees.

This paragraph grabbed me though:

Writing in support of DOMA, Bauer predicted that gay marriage would have dire consequences for Americans of faith: “If they succeed, all distinctions based on sex may fall, and the worst aspects of the rejected Equal Rights Amendment will be imposed. Homosexuals will gain the ‘right’ to adopt children; … churches will be pushed outside civil law; and government power will be wielded against anyone who holds the biblical view of homosexuality.”

I’d like to see Bauer’s explanation of the ‘worst aspects’ of the ERA. I think it’s just an anti-feminist attitude to be honest. The concept of women as equals is abhorrent to the religious bigots.

The use of single quotation marks shows Bauer’s attitude about what he things of civil rights equality. Because that’s what this fight is all about, that we are EQUAL to everyone else, not necessarily better than or lesser than but equal under the eyes of the law.

As to his claim of churches being pushed outside civil law, I’d welcome that. The churches had the better part of two millenia to get it right and they never did. So much so that Martin Luther tacked his 95 theses on the door of the church in Wittenburg. And of course in the U.S. you’ve got Methodists, Southern Baptists, Presbe…oh screw it you know many crazy ass sects are in the U.S. If even they can’t agree on basic doctrine what makes them think they can agree about equal rights?

I had to pin progress in civil right as starting in one era I’d say the industrial age is what propelled society. You can sort of see this going on in China right now as people flock to the cities where jobs are plentiful and money isn’t as short.

There was a poll on facebook about what was a better environment for kids to grow, city, suburbs or rural. I explained that the city was the best place. Cities mix it up. I made the same argument when the likes of Tucker Carlson moaned that people who complete a four year college are more liberal than others. Of course they are, you go to college and you meet people from other countries, states and cultures. You’re required to take what I term soft arts courses like sociology,l psychology. To charge those areas with a liberal bias is ridiculous, Studies of the humanities by their nature are liberal because they deal in truths about existence.

The same applies to social attitudes. I can remember when the area I live in was predominantly Italian. That only started to change in the late 1980’s. Now it’s Italian, Dominican, Puerto Rican, Lebanese etc. The signs on the church down the street and at the nearby supermarket are in English, Spanish and Italian.

But you mix it up. Granted we have a long way to go but it’s happening. It happened when my father of Italian descent married my mother who was predominantly Irish. And it happens today when my Irish descended friend’s brother marries a Puerto Rican girl. Over and over again. And that’s good. Good for the genome, good for society.

Enough of that. His reference to the biblical view is comical. If you’ve ever read the entire book you get a fairly schizophrenic read on the Bible. Contradictions galore. But the religious always say you can’t throw the baby out with the bath water. That’s an apples to oranges comparison. If the Bible is the inspired and literal word of God, don’t you think divorce is wrong? Or that people who eat shellfish are committing and abomination?

Of course not, the anti-homosexual bigots are taking things out of context in the Bible. The folks at the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible can only pull 38 quotes out of the entire Bible. Compare that to the 453 contradictions, or the 1,582 absurdities. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read the entire book but the folks at Skeptic’s have done a nice job assembling it all for easy reference.