Affairs of the Heart in the Heartland: Evan Wolfson to Speak in Midwest about Marriage

Freedom to Marry Executive Director Evan Wolfson will be speaking next week at both the University of Michigan and Ohio State University.

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View From Washington

Despite the first two years of the Obama administration leaving progressives dissatisfied, Evan Wolfson points out: '"Even if we can’t get the political advances, we have a tremendous opportunity to do the public engagement work that absolutely needs to be done in order to lay the foundation for the defensive fights we might have to endure and for when the political climate changes."

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Record number of LGBT candidates elected to office

The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund today announced that more openly LGBT candidates won election to public office in the U.S. in 2010 than in any year in America’s history.

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North Carolina gears up for anti-gay marriage protest

LGBT community members here and across North Carolina are gearing up to counter NOM's scheduled stop on its national tour against marriage equality for same-sex couples.

Freedom to Marry's Sean Eldridge stated, “Freedom to Marry is working very closely with every state marriage equality organization and local partner to figure out what makes the most sense in each area.”

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Asheville, North Carolina Faith Leaders stump for Same-Sex Partner Benefits

The debate on whether to extend benefits to gay partners of Asheville, North Carolina city employees is playing out across the city — in coffee shops, barber shops and now in church pews.

Religious leaders of various backgrounds — from Baptist ministers to Wiccan priestesses — have joined the fray.

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Asheville, NC City Council moves forward on Benefits for Gay Couples

Asheville Citizen-Times
February 10, 2010
The City Council of Asheville, NC voted 4-2 on Tuesday to have city staff report March 9 on how workers' same-sex domestic partners could get the same benefits as heterosexual employees' spouses, including health insurance, bereavement leave and prescription drug coverage. A majority of council members said they expect to vote for a final measure after the report. [Link]

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NC County Considers Benefits for Gay & Lesbian Partners

FoxCharlotte.com (North Carolina)
December 7, 2009
Commissioners in N.C.'s Mecklenburg County could vote on Dec. 15 on whether to approve a measure that would extend health benefits to the partners of gay and lesbian county employees. [Link]

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Pro-LGBT Candidates Win Races in Asheville and Durham, North Carolina

Q Notes
November 3, 2009
Progressive candidates across North Carolina led in municipal elections on Tuesday with a key LGBT-friendly candidate claiming victory in Asheville. Outspoken pro-LGBT candidate Gordon Smith won an at-large seat on the Asheville City Council, while in Durham, all incumbent City Council candidates who voted for a marriage equality resolution earlier this year held on to their seats. [Link]

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Openly Gay Kleinschmidt is Next Chapel Hill, NC Mayor

Q Notes
November 3, 2009
Mark Kleinschmidt emerged victorious in his campaign for mayor of Chapel Hill on Tuesday, with 21 of 21 precincts reporting. He will become the third openly gay man to hold mayoral office in the state. Kleinschmidt, a leading civil rights and LGBT advocate in NC, is a former board member of Equality North Carolina. [Link]

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Volunteers say yes to No on 1 ‘vacation’

Portland Press Herald
October 6, 2009

Volunteer vacation week for the No on 1/Protect Maine Equality campaign began Sunday. Volunteers from around the state and the country are being asked to serve as full-time campaign staffers during October.

"We have started getting quite a bit of interest from people living out of state, though the vast majority of our volunteers are from Maine," Monique Hoeflinger, No on 1's deputy campaign manager said. "People are rearranging their lives so that they can volunteer."

One volunteer shares her story of why she's joining the No on 1/Protect Maine Equality campaign:

Pam Perkins, a 50-year-old professional gardener from Hendersonville, N.C., expected to start volunteering after honeymooning in Maine.

She and her partner, Cathy Jackson, were joined in a civil union in Vermont nine years ago and returned to marry Sept. 1, the first day same-sex marriage was allowed in that state.

Perkins had to return home unexpectedly because her mother died. She didn't think she would make it back to Maine, but she was able to come under a program that brings volunteers to the state with donated frequent-flier miles.

"I'm going to be here for the duration – until we win," she said.

Perkins will work with the volunteer recruitment crew, helping to sign up people for the effort and match them with the right tasks.

She hopes she will someday be able to use what she learns in her home state, which she said is behind on the issue.

Perkins said she's astounded by how much of a difference getting married has made.

The couple's grandchildren like to say how the grammies are married, and she has noticed a change in Jackson's co-workers.

"After we got married, they wanted to see the picture, they wanted to see the rings," she said. "It was like, before I was invisible, and then I wasn't."
(Link)

Help out in Maine here.

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