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NOM doesn’t have a valid argument November 17, 2010

Posted by truthspew in Gay rights, marriage equality.
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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 March 18, 2010

Posted by truthspew in Gay rights, marriage equality.
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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.

March 3rd, 2010 Marriage Equality Rally at the RI State House March 4, 2010

Posted by truthspew in Gay rights, marriage equality, Uncategorized.
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Forgive the shaky video. I was up on the third floor shooting down. And don’t try to clap when you’re holding the camera. Another bit of advice, in a situation as pinched as this, seek high ground hence my being up on the third floor overlooking the area under the dome.

Part II

An analysis of religious bigotry February 18, 2010

Posted by truthspew in Gay rights, marriage equality, religion.
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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.

Moving a Senator to Support Marriage Equality: Another thing to love about Rhode Island January 24, 2010

Posted by truthspew in Gay rights, government, marriage equality.
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This is a marriage equality post but it also brings out what I’ve often said about moving marriage equality forward in the state. Your reps and senators are human, just like you. As such they shop in the same places, live in your district, in short they are your neighbors.

So this evening I had an opportunity to stop at the Walgreen’s store on Atwells Ave, in Providence. As I’m coming out I had to do a double take but there he was, my state Senator Paul V. Jabour scraping dog crap off the bottom of his shoe.

Being an opportunist I stopped by and said “Senator, I think we need a pooper scooper law in the state or the city.”. He laughed. I went on to tell him I wanted to talk to him about marriage equality. He’s on board. But he said something very interesting.

A lot of senators are scared to do anything with the amount of voter outrage that is out there right now. I told him that I’ve been suggesting that we in the marriage equality camp need to encourage our legislators and explained to him that in his district alone there are close to 400 supporters of full equality and that the area in general was pretty much the gay central of Providence.

He also let slip that Sen. Rhoda Perry is holding the equality bill which surprise the hell out of me. I think she needs to be convinced that she won’t suffer at the ballot box for moving this bill forward.

It almost appears as though we have enough support in both the house and senate to move this with a veto proof majority but everyone is terrified of it. We need to assuage their fears. One hand washes the other. If they support us, we help out on their campaigns, not that many of us haven’t already been doing that.

But we really need to put on the full court press if we want marriage equality in RI in 2010.

Prop 8 Appeal to be Webcast: And Maggie Gallagher gets her panties in a bunch January 6, 2010

Posted by truthspew in Gay rights, marriage equality, National Organization for Marriage.
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gallagher in the crosshairs

gallagher in the crosshairs

Apparently Judge Vaughn has decided to webcast the proceedings of the Prop 8 appeal via the court’s YouTube channel.

Here’s the test of the system they’re using to switch off microphones or cameras if a witness doesn’t wish to be recorded:

And of course, Maggie “The Loathsome” Gallagher is already crying foul about it.

I’d like to pick apart a few things in Loathsome Gallagher’s article.

To deliberately and needlessly expose these people to a new wave of publicity and attacks by televising the trial is outrageous.

She need not worry. As evidenced in the above video, they can turn cameras and microphones on and off at will. So the bigots can remain under cover so to speak.

Prior to that quote above, Gallagher pulled this from the fun folks at the Heritage Foundation:

But this is no ordinary trial. This is a trial in a case where thousands of ordinary citizens have already faced a wave of hatred for participating in democracy. On Oct. 22, the Heritage Foundation released a report titled “The Price of Prop. 8,” which concluded that “supporters of Proposition 8 in California have been subjected to harassment, intimidation, vandalism, racial scapegoating, blacklisting, loss of employment, economic hardships, angry protests, violence, at least one death threat, and gross expressions of anti-religious bigotry.”

I must first make it clear, the people who supported such a discriminatory measure as Prop 8, or Question 1 in Maine, deserve my hatred, my ridicule and my scorn for they are bigots. It is one thing to personally dislike the fact that gay people can marry, it is entirely another when you sign your name to a petition, donate money, or allow usage of your visage in ads for the opposition.

Those who did the above acts need to understand then when one signs a petition or donates money, we all have the RIGHT to know that they did so. It’s all under the public records doctrine.

However I feel I must tell Loathsome Gallagher something: While your side suffers those slings and arrows, we gay people have experienced the exact same thing from bigots like you and your ilk. Regarding the death threat, I suspect that one is simply wishful thinking, a tempest in a teapot if you will, whereas we gay people have been murdered for even looking like we’re gay. When is the last time a religious bigot suffered that fate?

Maybe it’s because I surround myself with educated people. That’s right Maggie, educated. Your only claim to fame is that you’ve written as a family policy expert, I think Goebbels would be proud of you, repeat the same lie over and over again and it becomes the truth or at least so it is in your mind.

But so long as I’m around, I’m not going to let you get away with it.

Gay Rights: The Adam Lambert Problem on WSJ December 19, 2009

Posted by truthspew in Gay rights.
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2 comments

Here’s the article. Go and read and come back for my comments.

What I take from this article is that people had their delicate sensibilities offended, to which I reply, it’s too fucking bad!

Noonan sees a sort of cultural shift going on. You’re damned right, I’m not going to shut up and be nice to people who would deny me my civil rights. They’re going to get every ounce of venom and derision I can dish out.

And here is something else to chew on. TV viewership is measured at 14.2 Million people but the complaints number 1,500. Doing a little math, (1,500 / 14,200,000 = .000105633 or 1/1000th of a percent of total viewers. )

Noonan and ABC seem to think that those 1,500 complaining viewers should have their arguments weighted so that they can overrule the remaining 14,198,500 viewers who really didn’t take issue at all.

And as to protecting the precious young ones, if parents are really THAT concerned they need to put up proxies that filter not only by site blacklist, but by content. Because your little precious ones know where all the good stuff is on the web. If you visit the link above you’ll understand that even kids at 7 are searching/surfing porn on the web.

Not to mention, the age of 8 is generally accepted as the age of reason. Kids know right from wrong at that age and a display of blatant homosexual activity is by no stretch of the imagination wrong. Morals don’t play here.

Instead we’re seeing a homophobic, anti-gay streak from the likes of Noonan and the WSJ.

The truth about the opposition October 28, 2009

Posted by truthspew in Gay rights, marriage equality, politics, religion.
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I’m speaking of the opposition to gay rights and marriage equality.

Here is what I see as the real truth. The opposition numbers far below supporters. For example today at the Maine State House.one Peter LaBarbera (aka Porno Petey) of Americans for truth against Homosexuality (ATAH), was having a little pre-voting speech. Of course the entire content of LaBarbera’s speech was filled with religious biogtry.

The real issue is how many supporters of LaBarbera and ATAH showed up. There were about 36 people from what I read over at Pam’s House Blend.

Per the breakdown only 9 of them were part of Porno Petey’s Posse.

I’ve seen the same thing here in RI when NOM does a dog and pony show. They get maybe five or six of their ‘friends’ to come out. Here is one example from a Marriage Equality RI gathering back on June 6, 2009.

They’re to the center left in the above photo, all five of them including Chris “The Whore” Plante, NOM RI Director.

What I’m trying to say is this, those who oppose us are a vocal minority. It isn’t easy being a bigot. That’s why you’ll see several hundred supporters and maybe a dozen opposition if you’re lucky.

Same was true at the National Equality March in D.C. You had the usual crazies like the WBC but the opposition was maybe 0.00000001% of the total crowd.

And then let us look at the Catholic Church in Rhode Island.

How many people still attend church? I know when I go by Holy Ghost church down the street from me on a Sunday morning I don’t see a full parking lot nor do I see a lot of people in there.

Nope, instead who do we hear from? That dwindling class, the clerics who oppose marriage equality. They’re loud about it too. You get bigots like Malone in Maine, or Tobin here in RI. They are bishops but I refuse to respect use of the honorifics for the religious. And I’m sure we’ll hear from John Codega or Bernard Healey at the next round of hearings. But the reality is, they’ve lost this battle and they refuse to admit it. Instead they’ll beat around biblical passages to try and prove that their god is in the right.

Their god has been wrong before (Need I mention slavery? Or the other Levitical passages regarding grooming and eating habits?).

But we on the side of equality will prevail. We are learning how to outshout the opposition without having to raise our voice because of the sheer numbers we have that support us.

And I’m putting Speaker Murphy and Senate President Paiva-Weed on notice once again. You’re both playing with fire. You don’t want to see what happens when the body you lead goes against your wishes.

And to Governor Carcieri, hugs and kisses! It is now my prime mission to not only aggravate you but to annoy you so much that the real bigot in you will shine through.

I attended the National Equality March for gay rights October 12, 2009

Posted by truthspew in Gay rights, government, marriage equality, politics.
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We left Saturday evening around midnight. We were supposed to leave at 11PM but the one of the drivers had twisted his ankle.

It’s a good thing too. We had about 34 people a the Stop & Shop on Branch Ave rally spot, and we picked up another 20 students from Brown University. So we managed to fill a bus, in fact we actually had to turn a few people away.

On the ride down I think the only one who got any sleep was my friend Rich. Otherwise I was either listening to my iPod (Which needs a little surgery, the earphone jack is messed up.) or talking or trying to sleep but I was far too excited to sleep. Very early in the morning I did hear someone explaining quantum physics and the Standard Model to Luther but I’m not sure who it was, probably one of the Brown students.

Other people that I knew on the bus were both Brians (Brian C. and Brian R.), Josh, James, Shaun, Paul H. and Paul L, and Brandon and probably some whose names escape me at the moment since one of the effects of sleep deprivation is loss of cognitive function.

We got in to Washington, D.C. at 7:30AM and the first order of business was breakfast and yes, coffee. I needed the caffeine blast. Supplemented it with Coca Cola later on at lunch.

We went to this little Burger King since it was the only thing that was a) not a Starbucks and b) We couldn’t find a basic mom and pop shop in D.C. that served breakfast. So Burger King it was. I had a sausage croissant with something that might pass for home fries but turned out to be hard little pucks of potato .The second floor of the place was straight out of the 1970′s:

Burger King in DC

Burger King in DC

Don’t worry – you’re not seeing things. I guess the caffeine had kicked in when I snapped the above frame.

After BK we ran into the Equality Utah folks at a convenience store. Rich was a little shocked by that since Utah is well known as a Mormon stronghold

We spent a little time wandering around D.C. checking out statuary, monuments and such.

Saw the White House and I can’t believe how dinky it looks.

White House

White House

She who hocked the Jewels to finance the journey of Columbus. Apropos for Columbus day isnt’ it?

Queen Isabel

Queen Isabel

The inscription roughly translates to “Ysabel’s first Catholic kingdom of aragon castile islands and mainland of the ocean sea.

The Washington Monument:

Washington Monument

Washington Monument

We saw that as well as statues of Andrew Jackson, and other notables.

We grabbed lunch at a little place called Cosi’s. I had the roast beef with wasabi and pickled ginger. It was a little pricey since the sandwich, chips and a drink came to $9.99. Though I very rarely order out anymore so I may have lost touch with prices. I ended up taking $60 with me and only spending $30 throughout the day.

I noticed during the morning that we didn’t see a lot of people milling around. I found out later why that was the case.

They staggered the locations and times for all the bus drop offs.

Just before the march there was a little warm up march.

We left the restaurant at about 11:30AM and made our way over to the rally point at 15th and K Streets. What we hadn’t realized it buy by the time we got to the really point, there was that a large group had already stepped off for the march. If you click on my flickr photos you’ll see a few parts where the pictures capture the march as it’s already turned the corner and is heading down another street.

Here is a video when we were waiting to kick off the march. They staged it pretty well though.

An Edge Providence photographer took some pics with me, Rich, RI Rep. Frank Ferri, and his partner Tony Caparco. Rich and I both had our MERI t-shirts on.

I’ll have more video from the march soon. I hadn’t realized what a bear it is to process just 15 or so minutes of raw video.

During the march itself we were chanting various things. At one point a D.C. cop helped us to keep cadence with his whistle.

When we finally got to the U.S. Capitol it was getting mobbed. I decided to go use the facilities but couldn’t get back in to hear the speakers. So I wandered the city a bit instead but I can tell you this, the crowd was at least a quarter million people or more.

And there were only a small handful of religious idiots on the sidelines. One carried the standard “1 Man, 1 Woman” sign. Fucking bigot. I believe but cannot verify that I told him to “Stick your god up your ass.”

Otherwise the parade was uneventful. We did have a chant-off with a group from Texas though. And I loved every minute of it. As I post more video and pictures you’ll understand. In fact the march had a certain energy to it. I really really loved being there.

On the bus ride back we watched the movie “Milk”. The movie was ideally coupled to what we just did. That was Harvey Milk’s main modus operandi. Get out and be an activist.

One funny moment came when Paul L. was perusing Facebook learned that I was gay. I just gave him the “It’s pretty obvious.” look.

Otherwise on the ride back we pretty much slept. I even slept from the end of Milk until we were just about out of Connecticut. So that’s about an hour and half. I did wake up in time to see Orion just above the horizon when we were still in the Connecticut woods.

Got home around 2:40AM, kissed Keyron, and went to bed. Rolled out of bed at 9AM. And I’m still recovering. My throat is sore and I’m just coming down off a major caffeine jag. This is the reason I don’t normally drink coffee.

I know that this one came on kind of fast but I think we’ll see another one next year. I just have that feeling because of the foot dragging over DADT and DOMA. So I think they should start planning now. We need to turn up the pressure on our elected reps. If you didn’t make it this year, you damn well better make the next march!

And I promise to be more coordinated next time, E.g. I’ll buy a throw-away cell phone so we can all link up. And I think knowing the city a little better I can suggest rally points (10th and K is actually a good one) for those who wish to join the group.

And when I got home I had an idea. The idea was to find all Marriage Equality supporters in Governor Carcieri’s home districts. Couple that with the fact that Carcieri has open door Thursdays and you can see where this is going. I found 250 people on the list so here we go!

Moving Legislators to Marriage Equality September 10, 2009

Posted by truthspew in Gay rights, marriage equality, Uncategorized.
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Last night I was at the MERI offices for their training seminar called “Moving Legislators Your Way: Winning Marriage Equality in Rhode Island”.

MERI District Leader Workbook Cover

MERI District Leader Workbook Cover

I thought I’d share some of the things presented during the seminar here as well as some of the stories that came out of this session.

First the story. One person had a legislator dead set against a marriage equality bill. The legislator brought up the standard arguments, he was Catholic, his district was highly Catholic, etc.

But that person went one step further. She canvassed her district, surveyed about 400 of her district neighbors and found out an interesting fact. Despite being heavily a heavily Catholic district, it ran 2:1 in support of marriage equality. She presented those results to her legislator and by doing that she’s brought him into the camp that supports marriage equality in RI, to the point that he’s a big proponent of the move to grant us full equality.

You can change a legislators mind. One of the ways we can communicate with legislators is to setup in-person meetings. Some tips for successful meetings with your legislator follow:

1) Location of meeting
2) How will you setup the meeting?
3) Determine topics of discussion
4) Listen – meeting with your legislator is also an intelligence gathering activity.
5) Is a follow-up necessary? In some cases yes, in others no.
6) Information pass along. If you’re working with a group establish the protocol for the passage of information.

Believe it or not the best place for a meeting is at your own home. People tend to drop their guard a little bit in that environment so you it allows a full exchange to occur.

Some legislators are skittish though, so suggestion for alternate locations include coffee shops, libraries, etc. Some legislators even hold open office hours so try to schedule a time then.

As to the intelligence gathering, remember this is a two way conversation. You’re trying to convince your legislator to support marriage equality, but at the same time listen to your legislator for clues as to the motivations behind his/her position and pass that along to the group you’re working with so better strategic decisions can be made.

As to what to talk about, personal stories work best. Go from there and hopefully you can swing a legislator in our column.

You can do some research on your legislator. Here in RI it’s as simple as going to the Legislative Web Site and searching for your legislator and looking at their Bio and legislation sponsored.

Here are some items you can find out about your legislator. You might just have something in common with them.

- Legislative priorities can be gleaned from the bio.
- What do they do for a living?
- Where do they live in your district?
- Where did they go to school?
- Other offices they may have held?
- Community group involvement?

Additionally you can:

- Brainstorm with group members
- Ask other state legislators who may know your legislator well. This one is a bit more difficult but you can find out by researching bill history.
- Meet with progressive organizers and groups, as well as service organizations.
- Attend a city or town council meeting. You’d be surprised how many politicos show up at those.
- Social club membership is a gold mine too.

Letter writing is also important (An increasingly so are emails).

Here are some tips for letter writing:

1) Hand written letters carry more weight but should be brief and to the point.
2) Stay positive
3) Tell YOUR story.
4) Ask legislator to support marriage equality
5) Sign with your name, address, and email address.

Letters to the Editor should follow the same rules as above, with the exception that you can use word processing or email programs. In my case my handwriting is such chicken scratch they’re getting a printer letter. I can also type a lot faster than I can write so it works out better for me.

Unfortunately I live in a district that has full support from both our State Representative and our State Senator. But I’m in the camp that says we need to go after the leadership in the house and senate. We did float the idea of a legislative intel operation which I fully support. Do the canvassing in their areas and find out that more than likely, there is 2:1 support for marriage equality (Which btw, mirrors the surveys I’ve seen, both the formal and informal surveys all track in at 60/40, or near enough to 2:1). And as we get more press and inform more people I think we’ll see that ratio rise.

But it was great to talk about ideas for pushing this forward and even get a new t-shirt:

MERI T-Shirt

MERI T-Shirt

BTW, the new screen on the laptop is super bright. I love it.

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