Blog Entries by Megan Kinninger

ABA Human Rights Magazine Names Mary L. Bonauto and Evan Wolfson Human Rights Heroes

American Bar Association Human Rights Magazine
Summer 2009


Kristen Galles writes, "Twenty years ago, the nation did not know or think much about GLBT civil rights. Now, thanks to the work of [Evan] Wolfson and [Mary] Bonauto, the nation and its legal landscape have changed and we can all look forward to a day when all citizens have the freedom to marry." (Link)

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White House Says No to Antigay Referenda

Advocate
October 16, 2009

The White House issued the following statement regarding President Barack Obama’s position on anti-gay voter referenda in Maine and Washington.

“The President has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same-sex couples, and as he said at the Human Rights Campaign dinner, he believes ‘strongly in stopping laws designed to take rights away.’ Also at the dinner, he said he supports, ‘ensuring that committed gay couples have the same rights and responsibilities afforded to any married couple in this country.’" (Link)

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Breaking: New Yes on 1 Ad Repeats the Lies

Open Left
October 16, 2009

Yesterday, the Maine Attorney General herself smacked down the argument that changing Maine law will force children to learn about marriage equality in public schools. This follows up on the Maine Department of Education stating the same thing.

Despite this, we just got this new Yes on 1 ad sent to us here in Portland. (Link)

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Why I’m Optimistic About Maine

Huffington Post
October 16, 2009

Paul Hogarth writes about his experience volunteering for No on 1/Protect Maine Equality, and lays out the reasons why he's optimistic about the outcome of the Maine election. (Link)

He also highlights the ways you can still get involved:
But while I remain optimistic about Maine, the "No on 1" campaign will need volunteers for the last 19 days in order to score a victory. That's why getting involved for the final push will be so critical. If we lose, it will be because not enough of us got involved.

Out-of-state volunteers can make phone-calls from home, while there are organized phone-banks going on across the country. East Coast volunteers can take a day (or weekend trip) to Maine and find a carpool through an online feature that pairs up people in your area. And you can donate money or airline miles to send volunteers for a week at Travel for Change. Or you can give to the California Young Democrats, who will be helping the last-minute college campus push by getting plane tickets for volunteers who will be on the ground during the last four days.
(Link)

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No On 1/Protect Maine Equality Thanks the Netroots

OpenLeft
October 16, 2009




(Link)

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Parents in Maine on the Freedom to Marry: ‘It’s all about the kids’

Portland Press Herald
October 13, 2009

Maine residents Brenda Nichols, 38, and her partner, Christine Nichols, 39, juggle work with family and try to keep their daughters safe, healthy and happy. For them, being able to be legally married isn't about a fancy wedding – it's not their style – but about protecting their children.

It's about making sure the family is legally protected in case one of them dies, about getting tax benefits to help them save money for college, and about a stability that comes from growing up with married parents. (Link)

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California marriage equality advocates to re-launch public education campaign

Sacramento Bee
October 16, 2009

A coalition led by gay-rights group Equality California announced today plans to invest more than $15 million in an ongoing educational campaign to build support for the freedom to marry.

The new three-year effort, Let California Ring, will partner paid advertising with a grassroots community outreach campaign with the goal of "(enabling) hundreds of thousands of Californians to learn first-hand why marriage matters so much to same-sex couples." (Link)

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Donate Today to Help Maine Run a Response Ad to Protect Equality

No on 1/Protect Maine Equality
September 16, 2009


The latest email out of Maine:
Did you check out our opponents' new TV ad yesterday? If you did, I'm sure you are as angry as I am about their cynical and fear-mongering claims regarding Maine schools. They don't want to talk about treating loving, committed same-sex couples equally through marriage, so they distort, change the subject and incite fear.

Now we must make sure the voters of Maine get the facts. We have a new ad because we will not let any of these ridiculous claims go unanswered. It goes up this afternoon.



Click here to watch our ad and help set the record straight.


But here's where you come in. We're coming up short on our budget to keep it on the air next week.

Right now, we're just $8,243 short of our goal for next week's ad buy—but we need the money in the next 24 hours or our ad will stop airing on some key stations. Can you help us buy next week's air time?

$100 airs this ad prime time.

$50 airs this ad daytime network television.

$35 airs this ad on cable.

Our positive message about respecting families and protecting marriage equality will resonate with the voters of Maine—as long as we can get it in front of them.

Please watch the ad and chip in to help set the record straight.

Thanks for your support—together, I know we can win this!


Jesse Connolly
Campaign Manager
NO on 1 / Protect Maine Equality


PS—Did you miss yesterday's email with the other side's new TV ad? You can still watch it here.

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Nadler, Baldwin and Polis Introduce the Respect for Marriage Act to Repeal the Defense of Marriage A

Freedom to Marry Press Release
September 15,2009


Nadler, Baldwin and Polis Introduce the Respect for Marriage Act to Repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)

Civil Rights advocates and LGBT Americans herald new legislation to overturn one of the nation's most discriminatory laws

“In America, we don’t have second-class citizens and we shouldn’t have second-class marriages either.” –Evan Wolfson, Freedom to Marry


Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO), along with Congressman John Conyers (D-MI), Congressman John Lewis (D-GA), Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA), with a total of 91 original co-sponsors to date, introduced the Respect for Marriage Act in the House of Representatives. This legislation would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a 1996 law which discriminates against lawfully married same-sex couples.

The 13-year-old DOMA singles out legally married same-sex couples for discriminatory treatment under federal law, selectively denying them critical federal responsibilities and rights, including programs like social security that are intended to ensure the stability and security of American families.

The Respect for Marriage Act, the consensus of months of planning and organizing among the nation’s leading LGBT and civil rights stakeholders and legislators, would ensure that valid marriages are respected under federal law, providing couples with much-needed certainty that their lawful marriages will be honored under federal law and that they will have the same access to federal responsibilities and rights as all other married couples.

The Respect of Marriage Act would accomplish this by repealing DOMA in its entirety and by adopting the place-of-celebration rule recommended in the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act, which embraces the common law principle that marriages that are valid in the state where they were entered into will be recognized. While this rule governs recognition of marriage for purposes of federal law, marriage recognition under state law would continue to be decided by each state.

The Respect for Marriage Act would not tell any state who can marry or how married couples must be treated for purposes of state law, and would not obligate any person, church, city or state to celebrate or license a marriage of two people of the same sex. It would merely restore the approach historically taken by states of determining, under principles of comity and Full Faith and Credit, whether to honor a couple’s marriage for purposes of state law.

Supporters of DOMA argued in 1996 that the law is necessary to promote family structures that are best for children, but every credible medical, social science and child welfare organization has concluded that same-sex couples are equal parents. Married gay and lesbian couples pay taxes, serve their communities and raise children like other couples. Their contributions and needs are no different from those of their neighbors. The Respect for Marriage Act would ensure that couples who assume the serious legal duties of marriage are treated fairly under federal law.

The introduction of the Respect for Marriage Act responds directly to a call from President Obama for Congressional action on the issue. As the President recently confirmed: “I stand by my long-standing commitment to work with Congress to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. It’s discriminatory, it interferes with States’ rights, and it’s time we overturned it.”

Standing with the Members of Congress today were couples who have been harmed by DOMA, numerous members of the clergy, and many of the nation’s leading LGBT and civil rights organizations – including Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Freedom to Marry, the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, People for the American Way, and the National Organization of Women. Also supportive of this legislation, and of this particular strategy for repealing DOMA, are the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), who are leading the litigation efforts challenging DOMA in Gill v. Office of Personnel Management.

“So-called ‘DOMA’ was a radical departure from the way federal government has treated married couples throughout most of American history. It makes more sense to respect marriages than to destabilize them. In America, we don’t have second-class citizens and we shouldn’t have second-class marriages either,” said Evan Wolfson, Executive Director of Freedom to Marry and author of Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality and Gay People's Right to Marry.

“The full repeal of DOMA is long overdue,” said Rep. Nadler. “When DOMA was passed in 1996, its full harm may not have been apparent to all Members of Congress because same-sex couples were not yet able to marry. It was a so-called ‘defense’ against a hypothetical harm. This made it easy for our opponents to demonize gay and lesbian families. Now, in 2009, we have tens of thousands of married same-sex couples in this country, living openly, raising families and paying taxes in states that have granted them the right to marry, and it has become abundantly clear that, while the sky has not fallen on the institution of marriage, as DOMA supporters had claimed, DOMA is causing these couples concrete and lasting harm. Discrimination against committed couples and stable families is terrible federal policy. But, with a President who is committed to repealing DOMA and a broad, diverse coalition of Americans on our side, we now have a real opportunity to remove from the books this obnoxious and ugly law.”

“In support of families throughout the nation, our legislation will extend to same-sex, legally married couples the same federal rights and recognition now offered to heterosexual married couples, nothing more, nothing less,” said Rep. Baldwin, Co-Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus. “As we continually strive to form a more perfect Union, repealing DOMA is a necessary step toward full equality for LGBT Americans.”

“No one should be denied the opportunity to choose his or her spouse,” said Rep. Polis. “It is a basic human right and deeply personal decision. Throughout history, we have only moved forward when society has distinguished between traditional values and valueless traditions. The Defense of Marriage Act – DOMA – is a valueless tradition that undermines the spirit of love and commitment that couples share and sends the wrong message to society. It is time for its repeal.”

“Respecting the dignity of every human being and the people’s right to freely make decisions about their own lives is in keeping with the most sacred and fundamental principles of our democracy,” said Rep. Lewis. “That is what made the Defense of Marriage Act so wrong. From the founding of this nation, we made exceptions to this high moral mandate, and as our history shows, it has always led to the gravest injustice. Before we travel too far down the wrong path, we must right this wrong. We must repeal DOMA and put in its place federal action that restores the integrity of our democracy. Over the years, thousands have paid the price to make this a more open, inclusive society. We must not turn back. We must progress to that point where we seek to build a national community at peace with itself.”

“We must work to promote fairness, tolerance and justice for all Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation,” said Rep. Velazquez. “The Respect for Marriage Act will help to ensure that the rights provided to married couples are extended across state lines and without prejudice.”

“The so called Defense of Marriage Act is discriminatory and unfair and denies fundamental civil liberties to countless families across America,” said Rep. Lee. “Gay, lesbian and transgendered Americans deserve nothing less that equal protection under the law.”

“The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is a hurtful and cynical law enacted to discriminate against loving, committed same-sex couples. It does real harm by denying thousands of lawfully-married same-sex couples the federal rights and benefits that only flow through marriage. Many of these include the protections couples turn to in times of need, like Social Security survivors’ benefits, medical leave to care for an ailing spouse and equal treatment under U.S. immigration laws. Today’s introduction of legislation to repeal DOMA is a welcome step, and as more states recognize the commitment of loving same-sex couples and their families, it's time for this law to go into the history books where it belongs,” said Joe Solmonese, President of the Human Rights Campaign.

“DOMA is and has always been an immoral attack on same-sex couples, our families and our fundamental humanity. This hateful law has only served to discriminate against people and belittle our nation's heralded values of freedom, fairness and justice. It is long past time to repeal DOMA, which has left a moral scar on this country. We thank Reps. Nadler, Baldwin and Polis for taking this step toward closing an ugly chapter in our country's history, and for working to ensure same-sex couples and our families are treated fairly,” said Rea Carey, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

“It is long past time for DOMA to go. When DOMA passed in 1996 it was a gratuitous slap in the face. But now, 13 years later, there are thousands of married same-sex couples who are hurt by this law. We've come a long way in 13 years and the federal government shouldn't be in the business of deciding that some married couples are worthy of federal respect and others are not. Married same-sex couples pay federal taxes just like everyone else and have a right to the same important benefits and protections as everyone else,” said Kevin Cathcart, Executive Director at Lambda Legal. (Link)

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Catholics for Marriage Equality Issues Statement in Response to Diocesan Fundraising for Campaign to

No on 1/Protect Maine Equality
September 11, 2009

The campaign defending marriage equality in Maine just released the following statement:
Catholics for Marriage Equality Issues Statement in Response to Diocesan Fundraising for Campaign to Repeal Maine’s Marriage Equality Law

Portland, Maine (Friday, September 11, 2009)---Catholics for Marriage Equality (C4ME), an organization urging Catholics and all Mainers to vote no on Question 1 on the November 3rd ballot, today issued the following statement in response to the Diocese of Portland’s fundraising for the campaign to repeal Maine’s marriage equality law:

“Catholics for Marriage Equality calls on its members and all Catholics who share our support for marriage equality to take two peaceful but effective actions in our parishes this Sunday so that the diocese will know it is not speaking for all faithful Catholics.

“First, instead of money, we urge parishioners who support marriage equality to place a note in the special collection envelope stating that they do not support the bishop's stance to deprive same-sex couples of the right to civil marriage and will instead donate funds to NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality (http://www.protectmaineequality.org), which opposes Question 1, or to a charity that is inclusive of all families.

“Second, we ask supportive Catholics to sign our petition affirming that the Church can define marriage as it wishes for its members but that marriage as a civil right is the prerogative of the state to define. Our petition is available at: http://religiouscoalition.org/

“C4ME exists to give hope to those who are hurt and angry because of our bishop’s determination to overturn the legislature’s passage of marriage equality. We will disseminate information that is truthful and respectful stating why marriage equality is a matter of civil rights and social justice that Catholics are free to support—indeed, may feel compelled to support as a matter of social conscience and responsible citizenship.”

Contact: Anne Underwood, Catholics for Marriage Equality, (207)650-1588

(Link)

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