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Posts for November, 2008

Protests Continue This Week

Jim Burroway

November 12th, 2008

The protests against Prop 8 continue. Here are some more scheduled for this week:

Wednesday, November 12
Encinitas, CA
4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Corner of Saxony and Encinitas Blvd.
Phone: 5305759264
dancewithwolves@wildmail.com

West Hollywood, CA
7:00 p.m.
Santa Monica & San Vicente

New York, NY
6:30 p.m.
Manhattan Mormon Temple
125 Columbus Ave at 65th Street

San Diego, CA
7:00 p.m.
St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral
2728 Sixth Ave.
For more info, contact Chris Harris at (619) 298-7261 or harrisc@stpaulcathedral.org.

Sacramento, CA
11:30 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
Meet on the West Steps of the Capitol (10th Street Side)
March will end up back at the West Steps at 4:30 am
For those that can ONLY participate in the morning’s performance piece – arrive no later than 4:30 am.

Thursday, November 13
UC Riverside
11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
UC Riverside Bell Tower

Irvine, CA
4:30 p.m.
Corner of Campus & Culver Drive, Irvine
Marching to Culver & Alton.

State, College, PA
5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Allen Street Gates
Corner of College and Allen Streets
814-360-5717, hvstonewall@gmail.com

Friday, November 14
Tucson, AZ
5:00 p.m.: Assemble at El Presidio Park (155 N Church St)
5:30 p.m.: March to La PLacita Village
5:45 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Rally
See Wingspan for details.

UC San Diego, La Jolla
11:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
9450 Gilman Drive

Vanguard College
12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Lawn in front of Heath @ Vanguard
562-310-7470, Ebonee.Batiste@vanguard.edu

Hermosa Beach, CA
5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
The Intersection of Pier and Hermosa Ave.
Hermosa Beach Pier

San Francisco
6:00 p.m.
At the San Francisco Chronicle, 901 Mission St.

Saturday, November 15
Nationwide rallies. See Join the Impact for details.

Election Day Update Live Blogging

Jim Burroway

November 4th, 2008

As of 2:12 pm EST/11:12 am PST:
Okay, one last update. The Los Angeles Times declared Prop 8 as passed, and so will we. I hope we’re premature.

Now, this ends the live blog.

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,040,122 (56%) – Projected winner
No: 801,437 (44%)
99% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 573,873 (57%) – Projected winner
No: 434,406 (43%)
96% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 5,235,486 (52%) – Projected winner
No: 4,800,656 (48%)
97% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,710,928 (62%) – Projected winner
No: 2,877,193 (38%)
99% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 1:35 pm EST/10:35 am PST:
At this point, there has been no substantial movement in the election results for the past several hours — just a few tweaks here and there as the last precincts report in. There may be more changes as absentee and provisional ballots are counted over the next few hours and perhaps days. We will continue to update these figures periodically in other posts, and put this particular marathon “live blog” to an end for now.

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,039,845 (56%) – Projected winner
No: 801,346 (44%)
99% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 573,873 (57%) – Projected winner
No: 434,406 (43%)
96% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 5,220,694 (52%)
No: 4,792,873 (48%)
96% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,674,662 (62%) – Projected winner
No: 2,855,432 (38%)
99% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 1:20 pm EST/10:20 am PST:
Just a few minor tweaks to the Arkansas and Florida counts. No change on Arizona or California. The No on Prop 8 campaign called a hastily organized press tele-conference refusing to concede, saying that 3 million to 4 million ballots remain uncounted statewide.

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,039,792 (56%) – Projected winner
No: 801,315 (44%)
99% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 573,873 (57%) – Projected winner
No: 434,406 (43%)
96% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 5,220,694 (52%)
No: 4,792,873 (48%)
96% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,674,662 (62%) – Projected winner
No: 2,855,432 (38%)
99% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 12:20 pm EST/9:20 am PST:

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,039,792 (56%) – Projected winner
No: 801,315 (44%)
99% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 573,774 (57%) – Projected winner
No: 434,344 (43%)
95% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 5,220,694 (52%)
No: 4,792,873 (48%)
96% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,674,626 (62%) – Projected winner
No: 2,851,966 (38%)
99% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 11:30 am EST/8:30 am PST:

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,039,792 (56%) – Projected winner
No: 801,315 (44%)
99% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 573,873 (57%) – Projected winner
No: 434,406 (43%)
95% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 5,195,136 (52%)
No: 4,779,297 (48%)
96% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,674,654 (62%) – Projected winner
No: 2,855,427 (38%)
99% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 10:00 am EST/7:00 am PST:
It’s time for me to head to work, so updates may be sporadic.

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,039,606 (56%) – Projected winner
No: 801,279 (44%)
99% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 573,774 (57%) – Projected winner
No: 434,344 (43%)
95% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 5,163,908 (52%)
No: 4,760,336 (48%)
95% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,662,558 (62%) – Projected winner
No: 2,851,598 (38%)
99% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 9:35 am EST/6:35 am PST:
Interesting exit polling results for California’s Prop 8. The present is difficult, but the future is ours. Hang in there.

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,039,606 (56%) – Projected winner
No: 801,279 (44%)
99% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 571,392 (57%) – Projected winner
No: 432,512 (43%)
95% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 5,125,752 (52%)
No: 4,725,313 (48%)
95% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,662,558 (62%) – Projected winner
No: 2,851,598 (38%)
99% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 9:15 am EST/6:15 am PST:
Interesting exit polling results for Arizona’s Prop 102. Things will definitely be different in another decade or so. Despite these losses, time and history are clearly on our side.

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,039,606 (56%) – Projected winner
No: 801,279 (44%)
99% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 571,392 (57%) – Projected winner
No: 432,512 (43%)
95% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 5,019,930 (52%)
No: 4,656,291 (48%)
92% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,662,558 (62%) – Projected winner
No: 2,851,598 (38%)
99% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 8:45 am EST/5:45 am PST:
None of the networks are calling California’s Prop 8 yet.

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,039,606 (56%) – Projected winner
No: 801,279 (44%)
99% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 571,392 (57%) – Projected winner
No: 432,512 (43%)
95% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 5,010,855 (52%)
No: 4,650,469 (48%)
92% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,662,558 (62%) – Projected winner
No: 2,851,598 (38%)
99% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 8:00 am EST/5:00 am PST:
Well, we’re back. Let’s see where things stand right now.

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,039,606 (56%) – Projected winner
No: 801,279 (44%)
99% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 571,392 (57%) – Projected winner
No: 432,512 (43%)
95% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,948,765 (52%)
No: 4,597,609 (48%)
91% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,632,316 (62%) – Projected winner
No: 2,832,236 (38%)
98% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 2:15 am EST/11:15 pm PST:
I’m afraid this will have to be my last update for the night. My partner has rolled over and turned off the light, and our two dogs are staring at me with that look that says, “aren’t you done yet?” And there’s the fact that I still have to get up early in the morning for my real job.

So here is where things stand right now. We’ll pick it up in the morning. Feel free to add your updates in the comments.

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,008,420 (56%) – Projected winner
No: 776,896 (44%)
92% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 544,197 (57%) – Projected winner
No: 544,197 (43%)
90% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 2,457,023 (53%)
No: 2,202,737 (47%)
39% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,632,316 (62%) – Projected winner
No: 2,832,236 (38%)
98% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 2:00 am EST/11:00 pm PST:
California is still hanging in there.

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,007,350 (56%) – Projected winner
No: 776,264 (44%)
92% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 509,879 (57%) – Projected winner
No: 379,606 (43%)
84% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 2,282,644 (53%)
No: 2,055,774 (47%)
35% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,632,316 (62%) – Projected winner
No: 2,832,236 (38%)
98% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 1:40 am EST/10:40 pm PST:
As we continue to watch California’s results trickle in, there are some silver linings to report. Arizona State Sen. Tim Bee (R-Tucson) lost his congressional race against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, 55% to 43%, with 73% of precincts reporting. Bee is the guy responsible for casting the crucial sixteenth vote which put Prop 102 onto the Arizona ballot. His political career is now, fittingly, over.

And perennial Federal Marriage Amendment sponsor Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO) has lost her bid for re-election. With 67% of precincts reporting, Betsy Markey is thumping her 57% to 42%.

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,004,467 (56%) – Projected winner
No: 774,471 (44%)
91% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 501,385 (57%) – Projected winner
No: 373,806 (43%)
83% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 2,252,980 (53%)
No: 1,983,079 (47%)
32% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,614,855 (62%) – Projected winner
No: 2,816,930 (38%)
98% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 1:20 am EST/10:20 pm PST:
The web site for California’s results is extremely slow right now. It’s been slow all evening, but right now I’m really having a hard time getting the results to come up.

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,003,365 (56%) – Projected winner
No: 774,034 (44%)
91% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 481,397 (57%) – Projected winner
No: 361,804 (43%)
77% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,996,918 (53%)
No: 1,810,938 (47%)
29% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,614,855 (62%) – Projected winner
No: 2,816,930 (38%)
98% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 1:00 am EST/10:00 pm PST:
It’s official; Florida has fallen. California is still standing — and the gap is beginning to close.

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 998,429 (56%) – Projected winner
No: 771,350 (44%)
91% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 475,310 (57%) – Projected winner
No: 356,953 (43%)
75% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,867,373 (53%)
No: 1,633,120 (47%)
24% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,589,831 (62%) – Projected winner
No: 2,800,945 (38%)
98% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 12:40 am EST/9:40 pm PST:
I’m back home now, keeping an eye on Arizona and California. It looks like Arkansas and Arizona are lost. I can however take consolation that Pima County (Tucson), my home, has stayed true to its better nature and is trending against Prop 102. California and Florida are still too close to call, although I think we’ll be able to call Florida soon, unfortunately.

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 973,264 (56%) – Projected winner
No: 747,932 (44%)
85% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 446,081 (57%) – Projected winner
No: 337,638 (43%)
67% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,682,717 (55%)
No: 1,407,141 (45%)
22% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,479,514 (62%)
No: 2,719,369 (38%)
92% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 12:20 am EST/9:20 pm PST:

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 930,710 (56%)
No: 728,183 (44%)
81% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 415,261 (57%)
No: 317,625 (43%)
61% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,451,505 (55%)
No: 1,213,319 (45%)
17% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,414,880 (62%)
No: 2,678,415 (38%)
91% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 11:35 pm EST/8:35 pm PST:

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 877,204 (56%)
No: 684,143 (44%)
71% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 378,764 (57%)
No: 288,143 (43%)
54% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 1,053,742 (54%)
No: 894,081 (46%)
6% of precincts reporting.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,249,773 (62%)
No: 2,591,180 (38%)
86% of precincts reporting.
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 11:07 pm EST/8:07 pm PST:

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 754,526 (56%)
No: 585,886 (44%)
49% of precincts reporting.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 287,692 (57%)
No: 218,441 (43%)
40% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
No results yet.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 4,184,771 (62%)
No: 2,558,175 (38%)
84% of precincts reporting
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 10:00 pm EST/7:00 pm PST:

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
No results yet.

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 90,920 (59%)
No: 63,362 (41%)
3% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
No results yet.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 3,623,476 (62%)
No: 2,179,355 (38%)
62% of precincts reporting
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

As of 9:30 EST/6:30 PST:

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 3,388,335 (62%)
No: 2,066,794 (38%)
50% of precincts reporting
* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

Arizona: Proposition 102: (Marriage Amendment)
No results yet

Arkansas: Initiative 1 (Gay Adoption Ban)
Yes: 21,273 (57%)
No: 16,366 (43%)
3% of precincts reporting.

California: Proposition 8 (Marriage Amendment)
No results yet.

Florida: Amendment 2: (Marriage Amendment)
Yes: 3,388,335 (62%)
No: 2,066,794 (38%)
50% of precincts reporting

* The Florida constitution requires 60% for an amendment to pass.

Today Is The Day

Jim Burroway

November 4th, 2008

Star Spangled Banner

You know what to do.

Campaign Websites Against Marriage Bans Suffer Cyber Attacks

Jim Burroway

October 30th, 2008

No on Prop 8 in California and Red and Blue in Florida both report that they have experienced coordinated denial-of-service attacks on their web sites in an apparent attempt at disrupting their online fundraising activities.

California’s No on Prop 8’s website began experiencing a denial-of-service attack on Wednesday afternoon, and eventually brought the site down by Wednesday evening. The attack began just after No on Prop 8 issued a fundraising appeal ahead of the final push this weekend. Technicians for No on Prop 8 implemented hardware and software upgrades and were able to bring the website back online by Thursday morning.

According to Wired:

Geoff Kors, a spokesman for No on Prop 8, declined to speculate on who was behind the attack but had no kind words for the Yes on Prop 8 group.

“I haven’t seen the other side condemn the attack, which speaks volumes about the kind of campaign they have run and who they are as people,” Kors said.

The Secret Service is investigating.

The attack on Florida’s Red and Blue campaign against amendment 2 came on Thursday morning, which is a a particularly sensitive time because state law requires that fundraising end in that state at midnight Thursday. From the Florida Red and Blue campaign:

“With voters already casting ballots, the Internet is the quickest means our supporters have to donate and help defeat this unnecessary amendment,” said Derek Newton, Florida Red and Blue campaign manager. “Every minute our site is down not only loses us money but costs us votes.”

Denial of Service attacks work by sending floods of fake requests to a website for web pages in an attempt to overwhelm the website’s server. As the server is wasting its resources responding to these fake requests, legitimate access from real users aren’t able to get through. Attackers often use a network of computers compromised by viruses and trojan horses — often without the knowledge of the computer’s owner — to send large amounts of traffic simultaneously from multiple locations.

Update: It appears that Arizona’s No On Prop 102 web site was not targeted. It has been operating normally throuhout this period.

Amendment 2 Debate with Westboro Baptist

Jose Gabilondo

October 26th, 2008

The following is a guest post by Associate Professor José Gabilondo, faculty adviser to the Stonewall Legal Alliance at Florida International University’s College of Law, which recently hosted a debate on Florida’s Amendment 2 with Marge and Shirley Phelps, of Westboro Baptist Church.

Hi there. I’m the faculty adviser to the Stonewall Legal Alliance and the person who debated Marge and Shirley Phelps today, whom I had never met before. As it turned out, today was no circus and, instead, obeyed the ordinary rules and expectations of university exchange. Although I plan to write a more extended essay about the debate and the underlying issues and am, in fact, presenting on it at Wake Forest Law School next week, the commentary on this blog is so thoughtful that I did want to share some preliminary thoughts.

First of all, the Stonewall group really did reach out to several local and national proponents of Amendment 2, so let me reject in the most strenuous way the idea that their inviting Westboro was a crutch for what Stonewall or I feared would be a weak argument against Amendment 2. The students had no money to pay the expenses of any speaker, so their choices were limited. It was very important to them that the event include some kind of juxtaposition of views, in addition to the panel scheduled for the afternoon. The Stonewall students worked very hard on this event and it pained me (and them) to see them criticized and, at times, even ridiculed in this way. I was willing to participate in the debate because it relates to my research on the role of law in how heterosexuals come to see themselves (heterosexual subject formation) and a current article on how new Right operatives have made what are really reactionary views come to seem “conservative” by co-opting liberal ideas like “balance” and “diversity” for their ends. And Nate Phelps is right about his family. I have never followed the Phelps but what I saw today reflected experience and savvy with debate formats and traditional legal arguments, although of the more theocratic variety.

Second, and more disturbingly, what the debate brouhaha showed me was how poorly many people understand the function of a public university, the culture of intellectual exchange, and the rules of the game, as far as U.S. speech culture is concerned. Except on those rare occasions when a public university is addressing a question about its own corporate identity, the speech that goes on at a public research university is that of the many people and institutions that make up the rich mosaic which is a public university. To suggest some kind of vetting or oversight by administration officials of student activities, as some have, is the kind of prior restraint that Anglo-American legal culture long ago decided was repugnant to what we think of as freedom.

Moreover, the function of the academic enterprise is truth-seeking, not balance, although I realize that I am violating post-modernity’s Nicene Creed against the possibility of truth. The organizer of a speech event – students or otherwise – have the freedom to pursue their vision of its content and participants. To argue that the presence of “mainstream” institutions (whatever those are) is a proxy for the kind of intellectual rigor needed for truth-seeking is a big mistake: what this argument is really saying is “Please confine the scope of your inquiry to the existing consensus, as I have more faith in that than in having to think for myself about new material.” One of the most important decisions that a GLBTQ person must make is whether to see himself through his own eyes or through the perspective of straight society which, in case you hadn’t noticed already, IS the mainstream . A little original thinking on this score is not such a bad thing.

Finally, we are experiencing an important moment of openness and realignment in how we think about the gay-straight question. As I see it, it is an age of schism and cleavage in the heterosexual community, in the sense that faith communities are splitting on this issue (for Heaven’s sake! they should – what could be more important to a faith community than bearing witness to truth?) and that legal developments like the Defense of Marriage movements are calling the question, allowing people to take clear, public positions, so that we can see where people stand and act accordingly. (It’s about time.) A key thing that is happening is that heterosexuals are becoming increasingly aware of their individual and collective role in majoritarian abuses against sexual minorities. Some heterosexuals embrace the new consciousness; some object vigorously, trying in vain to put the toothpaste back in the tube; but most are still undecided and would benefit from a clear exposition of what is at stake when a supermajority works at erasing the existence of a minority. If you care about helping people to make choices that serve their core values (be they the values of old time religion and majoritarian overreaching or those of the secular human potential movement), you can help most by revealing the truth of what is at stake in these so called “marriage protection” amendments. In my opinion, today’s debate did that in spades, making a contribution not just on this issue but to speech generally as a way of finding and affirming your values.

Just for the record – the last two weeks have probably been the most stressful 2 weeks of my professional life due to intense hostility and scrutiny over this event, but now that it’s over, I feel relieved, proud of the courage and integrity of our Stonewall Legal Alliance and its leadership, grateful that I had the opportunity to bear witness to my truth on the question, and more convinced than ever about the value of open exchange on questions of faith and public policy.

(After I submitted this last night, Jim Burroway kindly gave me this forum, so I want to use it point you to material on my blog that some of you will like.  Start with the “Straight Question” essay on heterosexuality.  The first part especially was designed to be accessible and healing.  If you’re a visual type, go to the concept map.  Cheers.)

Twenty Florida Newpapers Oppose Amendment 2

Jim Burroway

October 26th, 2008

The count of Florida newspapers opposing Amendment 2 has now reached twenty, including all of Florida’s top papers.

Update: Add to that the Pensacola News Journal.

Westboro Baptist To Debate Amendment 2

Jim Burroway

October 21st, 2008

Florida International University is hosting a debate on Amendment 2, Florida’s so-called “marriage amendment.” Guess who they got to show up to support Amendment 2?

Westboro Baptist. I kid you not.

It turns out that Westboro Baptist was invited by the Stonewall Legal Alliance, an LGBT advocacy group at the FIU College of Law.

This should be fun. Not enlightening, but fun. Some on the right are not amused. I’m not a fan myself of giving this group legitimacy. What do you think?

Florida and Arizona Anti-Gay Activists Use Same Media Company

Jim Burroway

October 20th, 2008

Remember those nearly identical television commercials running in Arizona and Florida in support of those states’ proposed “marriage amendments”? The Miami Herald has noticed them as well:

Bloggers have pointed out that new ad uses many of the same images and the same format as an ad running in Arizona. Arizona and California are also deciding whether to pass a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between a man and a woman in November. Both the backers of Florida’s Amendment 2 and Arizona’s Proposition 102 hired the same media company, Stemberger said, but he said the fact that the ads were similar is “irrelevant.”

We posted both of those “irrelevant” ads alongside each other so you, too, can marval at the coincidences.

Arizona and Florida Anti-Gay Forces Sharing TV Commercials

Jim Burroway

October 19th, 2008

The video at top is the pro-Amendment 2 ad that has been unveiled for Florida. The video on the bottom is the pro-Prop 102 ad which has been running in Arizona for the past three weeks. Just for grins, click to play both of them at about the same time (as quickly in succession as you can at least) and see if you can spot the differences. There are a few, obviously reflecting the geographical and ethnic differences between the two states, but the similarities are startling.

YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image

[Hat tip: Tucson Observer blog]

Twelve Major Florida Newspapers Oppose Amendment 2

Jim Burroway

October 18th, 2008

A number of newspapers in Florida are now coming out in opposition to Amendment 2, Florida’s so-called “marriage amendment” to the state constitution. A few of those papers are:

Readers are encouraged to provide more links to Florida newspaper endorsements against Amendment 2 in the comments.

Update: Add to that the Lakeland Ledger.

Update: Here are some more, thanks to our commenters:

Miami Herald Opposes Amendment 2

Timothy Kincaid

October 12th, 2008

The Miami Herald has issued an editorial encouraging a No vote on anti-gay Amendment 2. In addition to banning gay marriage in Florida, it would reverse local domestic partnership provisions that are beneficial to both gay and straight unmarried couples. Florida has a large population of senior citizens, some of whom cannot marry lest they lose essential retirement benefits but who seek pragmatic protections for their personal relationships.

This amendment is mean-spirited and misguided.

It targets gay and lesbian couples, but it would cause grief and suffering to other couples, whether they’re gay or not. That’s because of ambiguous language that says any legal union that is the ”substantial equivalent” of marriage would not be recognized.

This would jeopardize the benefits and health insurance that many companies provide to unmarried, heterosexual couples.

[Hat tip: Stefano]

Protest Against DeVos

Timothy Kincaid

September 29th, 2008

Today the season ticket holders at Amway Arena in Orlando were met with protestors. Not against basketball, but because Rich DeVos, the owner of the Orlando Magic, had contributed $100,000 to efforts to constitutionally ban same-sex marriage and domestic partnerships in Florida.

DeVos is best known as the co-founder of Amway.

NYTimes Opposes Prop 8, Prop 102, and Prop 2

Timothy Kincaid

September 29th, 2008

Although there is no consideration of an amendment in New York to ban gay marriage, New Yorkers are impacted by the results of the vote on Proposition 8. Currently, same-sex couples in the Empire State will have their marriages recognized at home if they are conducted in a location where they are legal. If Prop 8 passes, New Yorkers will be limited to Massachusetts and foreign nations.

So the New York Times has taken an editorial position in opposition to Proposition 8 and to the propositions in Arizona and Florida.

Whether this important civil rights victory endures is now up to California voters. Opponents of giving gay couples the protections, dignity and respect that come with marriage are working furiously to try to overturn the court ruling through Proposition 8. It is our fervent hope that Californians will reject this mean-spirited attempt to embed second-class treatment of one group of citizens in the State Constitution.

Similar discriminatory measures are on the ballot in Arizona and Florida. They also should be rejected.

Why Each State is Important

Timothy Kincaid

September 9th, 2008

There are three anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment propositions on ballots in the upcoming election.

ARIZONA

Arizona has the distinct privilege of being the only state to date that has rejected efforts to instill anti-gay marriage discrimination into its constitution. Anti-gays have claimed that the only reason for their failure was because their last attempt in 2006 also sought to ban other forms of partner recognition and are now offering a “more benign” amendment that only bans same-sex marriage.

The Arizona battle is of tremendous importance.

If anti-gays win in Arizona, this will send a message that persistence pays off. And then future states (like Florida, if we win there) can expect that they will be back each election with an increasingly “nuanced” amendment until they win. But if Arizona rejects Proposition 102, the financial backers of anti-gay marriage amendments will be a bit more reluctant to throw their money into losing efforts.

This state has the unique opportunity to tell anti-gay organizers that “no” means “no” and not to come back for more.

CALIFORNIA

California is only one of two states which offer marriage certificates to same-sex couples. California is also by a significant margin the state with the largest population. And California is often considered a leader in social progress and a setter of trends.

Considering the sheer number of gay families impacted by Proposition 8, and the importance of the state as a leader, the California battle is of tremendous importance.

And this importance is not lost on anti-gays. As Donald Wildman, head of the American Family Association said,

If we lose California, if they defeat the marriage amendment, I’m afraid that the culture war is over and Christians have lost.

Hyperbole aside, this is the first time that voters have been voting specifically on marriage itself, rather than on the threat of possible marriage. If Californians vote to keep their same-sex marriages legal, it removes the claims by anti-gays that it is judicial activists and gerrymandered legislatures that are forcefully redefining marriage against the wishes of the populace.

According to the latest polls, voters seem to oppose the proposition and do not appear to be swayed by the efforts of the supporters. But the vote is very very close and no one can predict the outcome.

FLORIDA

The anti-marriage amendment in Florida appears – to me – to receive the least attention of the three, especially on this website. Part of that is because I live in California and Jim Burroway lives in Arizona and so these two states are the focus of our attentions.

Yet the Florida battle is of tremendous importance.

Of the three, only Florida’s amendment would ban civil unions and domestic partnerships. Florida’s Proposition 2 reads

In as much as a marriage is the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.

Those who oppose this amendment have an advantage; a constitutional amendment in Florida requires a 60% majority of those voting. Further, because Florida has a large retirement community and because this amendment would impact heterosexual senior citizens who use local domestic partnership arrangements to establish protections without endangering social security benefits, the opposition to this amendment has broader appeal.

The most recent polling shows that the proposition is favored by more than half of the voters (55%), but not by enough to pass. Additionally, it appears to be trending towards those who oppose the amendment. But again, this is far too close for comfort.

Florida is a swing state in the presidential election and turnout could depend on the direction and extent to which the state trends in the next two months. And while it is unlikely that either Obama or McCain will seek to tie their campaign to the success or failure of this amendment, it’s difficult to predict the impact of the election. A surge in either black voters or newly-energized evangelicals could provide those who oppose our lives with additional votes.

The Importance

Collectively, we have the opportunity to send a very strong message this year. Should we win in all three states we will be able to state that those who experience same-sex marriages within their communities have found them to be no threat, that anti-marriage efforts will not win you election in a swing state, and that coming back to a state that has rejected discrimination is a waste of time and money.

So here is a question for our readers: is this issue as important to you as a new pair of shoes? Does it matter as much as that luxury you may be allowing yourself, whether it’s a new car or just dinner out at McDonalds?

Most of us do have some expendable income and even those of us who live very close to the edge can often make sacrifices if the cause is important enough.

This is the most you will ever see me act like a political or religious fundraiser. But I’m willing to sound like Pat Robertson if it will encourage you to take the next step.

Please link below to the state of your choosing and make a contribution today.

Arizona: No on Prop 102

California: No on Prop 8

Florida: No on Prop 2

Florida Anti-Marriage Initiative “Barely Meets Deadline”

Jim Burroway

February 2nd, 2008

First it was on, then it was off. Now it’s on again:

After four years of signature gathering, backers of a measure to deny family benefits for unmarried Floridians barely met the requirements to place the so-called “Florida Marriage Protection” constitutional amendment on the November ballot, according to state election officials.

Demographically, Florida has much in common with Arizona, particularly a large Senior Citizen base. And Florida’s proposed amendment, like Arizona’s would strip unmarried seniors from local protections and benefits due them because of their unmarried status. Seeing how difficult it has been to get the required number of signatures in such a socially conservative state, Florida looks like it will be shaping up into a very interesting battle.

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