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Gay Philanthropist Donates $100K To Equality March

Jim Burroway

September 15th, 2009

From the Washington Blade:

Gay philanthropist Bruce Bastian of Utah has donated $70,000 to the National Equality March in D.C. and plans to contribute another $30,000 for the event because he strongly believes it will jump-start the LGBT rights movement.

Jump-start the LGBT rights movement? Nothing will jump-start it like two victories in Maine and Washington, and nothing will deflate it like two more defeats in November. Remember the huge letdown after Prop 8? Or are our attention spans really that short?

I appreciate the passion for the March but it is being foolishly misdirected. Not only are its goals ill-concieved and not thought through, but it’s slated for October 11 when Congress will not be in recess and President Obama will be out of town.

Frankly, this whole March idea may be a great ego boost for the organizers, but it’s incredibly selfish considering the needs of LGBT people who face ballot initiatives right now aimed at stripping them and their families of basic rights. That $130,000 can make a huge difference in those fights, not on the grassy lawn of the Mall while everyone else is out of town.

Please donate to No on 1 in Maine and Approve Ref.71 in Washington.



September 15th, 2009 | LINK

I keep reading that people are starting to support it. And it still seems ridiculous to do it when no one is there. You’re right.

September 15th, 2009 | LINK

Hear! Hear! I’ve donated to No on 1 and will send something to WA State.

Timothy Kincaid
September 15th, 2009 | LINK

While I appreciate Bastion’s generosity, the community is as motivated as I’ve seen in a decade or so. The “jump-start” was the loss of Prop 8 which woke us up.

We are a different people. I see a change in the way that folks are streaming in to report police abuse rather than sit back and not want to draw attention. I see it in the Chico’s Tacos situation in which a handful of guys refused to let being kicked out of a restaurant happen. I see it in small organizers here in LA who aren’t listening to the big dollar boys tell them to wait til 2012. I see it absolutely non-political folk suddenly finding an interest in politics.

We don’t need a jump start. We need a win. In Maine and in Washington.

I’m with Jim on this. Before you buy your plane ticket to DC, send a check to Maine or Washington.

September 15th, 2009 | LINK

As a resident of a conservative southern state that is currently fighting to uphold its ban against gay adoption, please tell me how a victory in Maine or Washington (not even marriage, BTW) will affect me. I am happy for the progress being made piecemeal across the country but it does nothing for the vast majority of LGBTQI’s throughout the country. The most inclusive path towards equality is federal equality.

Please read the promational material in re the march. The entire point is to afffect a grassroots change by serving as a focal point of networking and education on best practices. While there may be a stroll around the Capitol that is not the only reason for the march.

Those who speak of Maine see this first-hand in the partnership the California No on 8 has formed with Maine’s Yes on 1 campaign. Wouldn’t that purpose be better served if shared with all 50 states?

September 15th, 2009 | LINK

Have you forgotten: Mr. Bastian gave a million of HIS money to the defeat of Prop 8. It didn’t work. He must have felt sick in seeing how his million evaporated. I know I would feel a little helpless if I lost a million that way.

Give him some slack.

September 15th, 2009 | LINK

Also from a Southern state that offers only spite for gay people. Maine and Washington are important, but not to those of us living in legally- and police-hostile areas like Georgia and Texas. (Think of recent bar raids.) Our only option is asking the Federal Government to help stop general populace votes on civil rights.
Columbus Day is briliant because this is for the media attention and so many are off work on Monday. Come on, the flights are like $150 round trip and the hotel rooms are less that $100!

September 15th, 2009 | LINK

* Use EqualityMaine’s and the CourageCampaign’s phonebanks
* Call friends and family in Maine and encourage them to vote no on repealing marriage equality
* Write to Mane newspapers, websites and tv stations in support of marriage equality
* Make videos in support of marriage equality and what repealing it will do online at youtube, dailymotion, veoh etc.
* Donate money and time to EqualityMaine
* Twitter and blog in support of marriage equality

September 15th, 2009 | LINK

Dennis emotes:

“As a resident of a conservative southern state that is currently fighting to uphold its ban against gay adoption, please tell me how a victory in Maine or Washington (not even marriage, BTW) will affect me.”

States act as laboratories for policy. Public policy is tested in states, then compared and contrasted by legislators in other states. Having multiple states with marriage equality demonstrates to the entire country that the claims of the anti-gays are untrue and that marriage equality is sound public policy. One reason we have legislatively enacted marriage equality in New Hampshire and Vermont is because those states were able to look at the experience of Massachusetts. One reason we have civil unions in CA and NV is because they had the experience of Vermont to draw on. Winning in Maine will directly benefit people in NY, NJ, and DC, who may vote on marriage by the end of the year. Those states coupled with Maine comprise 10% of the population of the US. 10% of the population may not matter to you, but it should.

A win in Maine and Washington does not mean that win everything you want in TX, but it is a start in that direction. By contrast, the “federal equality” you seek could not give you adoption rights since that is a state issue, not a federal one. And even if the federal government was relevant to this equation, marching in an empty city for the upteenth time won’t accomplish what you want. If the 1979, 1987, 1993, and 2000 marches didn’t establish “federal equality” why would you think the 2009 march will do it. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Enjoy your stroll on an empty mall. I am sure that will make a big impact on the TX legislature.

September 15th, 2009 | LINK

What a waste. At least he should have donated that money to help Maine and Washington preserve their newly-obtained rights.

September 15th, 2009 | LINK

$100,000 for portapotties? Seriously?

I dunno. Anything is better than nothing. But I remain skeptical.

September 16th, 2009 | LINK

Yeah, I would have to agree. While many like to look back on the Civil Rights marches as inspiration for a march like this, we tend to forget that it was the people working hard in the background to change policy, pass legislation, and help change behavior that did most of the work. Yes, marches can be helpful, but people actually buckling down and working with the system to accomplish change….that’s when change happens.

September 16th, 2009 | LINK

Jim – I agree with you 100%. Why do you think Tony Perkins and his fellow christianists were not in D.C. with their fellow tea-baggers this past weekend? They were in Maine holding closed-door rallies and spreading falsehoods about the state marriage-equality law. They understand that at this point, Maine and Washington state (not D.C.) are the front lines of the lgbt battle for dignity and equality. The anti-gay forces are pouring massive resources into those states. They know that once we win one ballot issue in one state (for the first time since what – Harvey Milk/Ronald Reagan and the Briggs thing in California?) the momentum will swing in many states and at the FEDERAL level.

But our lgbt “leaders” are all focused on their own October “tea party” in D.C. – mostly out of pique that Obama in his first 7 months in office has prioritized dealing with such minor matters as the recession, Iraq, Pakistan/Afghanistan and health care over re-igniting the culture war at the federal level by pushing our issues prematurely.

September 18th, 2009 | LINK

Maine poll.. 48% Yes, 46% No, 6% Undecided

Not looking good considering the trend of support fading by the time people head to the ballot box.

October 9th, 2009 | LINK

I’ll be at the march…I hope you all will be thee too. PS – 70K + 30k = 100K, not $130K

Emily K
October 9th, 2009 | LINK

The “jump-start” was the loss of Prop 8 which woke us up.

And what happened as a result? A massive organizing of public demonstrations across the nation. I can’t afford to go but I wouldn’t brush aside the power of people meeting other people in person so quickly. It’s very easy to get jaded when people think the only way to make “change” is to whip out the ol’ credit card from behind a computer screen.

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