Action Alert: Get Engaged for Marriage Equality in California!

June 19, 2009

Now that we’re on the road to recovering from the disappointment and sorrow we feel at the California Supreme Court’s upholding Proposition 8, and efforts to regain marriage equality here in California are moving forward. LGBT equality groups throughout the state are working on behalf of the Get Engaged Tour in order to leverage grassroots support for marriage equality.

The Get Engaged Tour is an unprecedented effort to integrate the grassroots community in creating the roadmap for the future campaign to repeal Prop 8 and restore the freedom to marry to all loving and committed couples in California. They are organizing events in cities and towns all across California.

Join the Get Engaged effort by attending an upcoming event or help host one of these community gatherings in your home town.

You can find all the Get Engaged Tour events here—there are five next week alone, in San Mateo, San Diego, Santa Cruz, and Orange County!

The Get Engaged group has also created a tool kit to help make your event easy to plan and a big success. If you have any questions or want to sign up, please visit the website or contact the Get Engaged Tour folks at

At each event, they will provide information about the latest polling information, an analysis of the region’s No on 8 vote, timing scenarios for moving ahead on the ballot, and what the community wants to see in the next campaign.

Please join the Get Engaged Tour today and help bring back marriage equality to California!

Please say yes,

White House Looks to Include Same-Sex Unions in Census Count

June 19, 2009

by Jake Sherman | Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON — The White House said Thursday it was seeking ways to include same-sex marriages, unions and partnerships in 2010 Census data, the second time in a week the administration has signaled a policy change of interest to the gay community.

read more

A Statement from NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter on the California Supreme Court’s Modification of Its Opinion in Prop 8 Challenge

June 19, 2009

06.19.09—The California Supreme Court has issued a modified version of its opinion in the cases challenging Proposition 8, to correct a factual error pointed out in a petition filed by NCLR and our co-counsel (Lambda Legal, the ACLU, Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, and David Codell) and joined by the City and County of San Francisco. The revised opinion clarifies that the racially discriminatory initiative amendment that was challenged on federal constitutional grounds in Mulkey v. Reitman was also challenged, in a companion case, on the alternative ground that it was an unlawful revision to the California constitution (i.e., the same ground upon which we challenged Prop 8). This correction will be helpful to future courts, as the distinction between an amendment and a revision will continue to be an important issue under California law.

read more

click here to read ‘A Statement from NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter Clarifying the Recent Court Filing in the Prop 8 Challenge’ 06.09.09

read more about the Prop 8 legal challenge

Holder Tells Senate Judiciary Committee Hate Crimes Legislation Is A DOJ Priority

June 19, 2009

US Attorney General Eric Holder recently announced that the passage of a federal hate crimes bill is one of the top priorities for the Department of Justice under the Obama Administration. He also expressed the support for the recent passage of the Federal Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevent Act in the House of Representatives which expanded the existing hate crimes legislation to include sexual orientation and gender identity and expression in its protections.

read more

CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Dustin Lance Black & Richard Socarides Discuss President Obama’s LGBT Campaign Promises and Next Steps

June 19, 2009

Rethinking LGBT Issues

June 19, 2009

An important and heartfelt message from our friends at Michigan Equality:

Sometimes it is too easy to think about LGBT issues only in adult terms. The reality is that the number of kids needing equality and civil rights protections is growing very, very rapidly. Recently I was at a conference about transgender health. The conference focused on medical, emotional, social, and spiritual health. The first day of the conference was for providers of care for these health concerns. That day I spoke to over 45 transgender pastors, priests, rabbis and other faith leaders. The second day was for the whole community. I was very deeply moved to see scores of parents in attendance with their transgender children. The “kids” ranged from 6 or 7 up through early 20’s. It was powerful and moving to see so many supportive parents.

This is not always the case. Recent research in both Detroit and New York City revealed that about 40% of the homeless youth are LGBT kids that have been thrown out of their homes or felt they needed to run away for their own well-being. They are on the streets because there are very few places that will take them in. It is a sad, hard and dangerous way to live.

The problems for kids are growing because kids are coming out sooner and sooner. Whereas the coming out age for most gay “kids” used to be college age, it is now middle school. I serve on boards for both PFLAG – [Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (and also Transgender!)] and TYFA (Trans Youth Family Allies). Both groups are experiencing significant growth in their work. TYFA has already this year come alongside over 150 families with kids – most under 12 years old – who are transitioning in their gender presentation at school and home. Media coverage, legislative actions, and growing training for medical, counseling, and social work professionals are all contributing to this boom in out LGBT kids.

Unfortunately more kids out does not always translate into greater safety. LGBT kids in Michigan are increasingly subject to bullying behavior ranging from harassment to physical assault. This increase has had a dramatic negative impact on academic performance as well as general well-being. Whether or not the state legislators pass a meaningful anti-bullying bill this year, we all need to help watch out for our younger LGBT brothers and sisters. Please make sure your local school district is clear in its language and procedures for protecting all kids, including LGBT kids, in school. No child should have to fear for their safety in school. Talk with counselors, join a local PFLAG group, and contribute to organizations like Michigan Equality that are seeking to make a difference. As always, please contact us if we can be of help.

Basic LGBT equality and civil rights are all about kids too.

California Gay Marriage Fight Goes to Chinatown

June 19, 2009

by Peter Henderson | Reuters

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – The path to gay marriage in California may start in Chinatown.

After a double defeat at the voting booth and in court, gay advocates are reassessing their plans to push for legal same-sex marriage in the most populous U.S. state.
The new drive, focused on getting the issue on the ballot again as soon as November 2010, is more personal and reaches farther beyond the liberal confines of San Francisco’s Castro or Los Angeles’ gay heartland West Hollywood.

read more