October 31, 2012
Apologies for our absence–Scottie is dealing with computer issues, while my apartment (located in downtown Manhattan) lost power and water yesterday from Hurricane Sandy. It’s been a ride for both of us. I’m now in Brooklyn with power and Internet, and Scottie is on his way back to full operational status. But we’re less than a week away from the election, and of course the marriage equality news has continued apace, despite the storm. Here’s a look at some of the big headlines over the last few days:
- At an Obama campaign event in Sarasota, Florida, Vice President Biden called transgender discrimination the “civil rights issue of our time” after speaking to a woman whose daughter was Miss Trans New England and who asked the vice president if he could help transgender individuals.
- The New York Times editorial board endorsed the pro-marriage equality ballot measures up for a vote next Tuesday in Washington, Maine and Maryland, and spoke out against Minnesota’s anti-gay marriage amendment. The Times also wrote, “The freedom to marry is a fundamental right that should not have to be won or defended at the ballot box. In fact, ballot initiatives are a bad way to write or rewrite laws of any kind.”
- Washington United for Marriage, the pro-equality group campaigning for voters to approve Referendum 74 in Washington, investigated the sudden and inexplicable increase in ‘likes’ for marriage equality opponents on Protect Marriage Washington’s Facebook page, and found that most of those likes had come from Makati, a city in the Phillipines, Chemintz, Germany, Bankgog and Vilnius, in Lithuania.
- The Los Angeles times reported this morning that Brat Pitt is donating $100,000 to the Human Rights Campaign’s National Marriage Fund. In an email to HRC’s supporters, Pitt wrote, “It’s unbelievable to me that people’s lives and relationships are literally being voted on in a matter of days. In Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington, voters will go to the polls to decide if gay and lesbian couples — our friends and neighbors — are worthy of the same protections as everyone else.”
- All four anti-marriage campaigns in Maine, Washington, Maryland and Minnesota have been running variations on the same ad that feature David and Tania Parker, a couple from Massachusetts who were upset by the fact that their kids learned in schools that same-sex couples were allowed to marry. Jeremy Hooper rounded up 15 clips of David Parker’s anti-gay advocacy, in which he calls homosexuality a disease and claims that gay people use children to further their own agenda.
- Mike Signorile found footage of Mitt Romney speaking at a meeting of conservative voters in South Carolina in 2005 about gay parents, a year after Massachusetts legalized marriage equality during his time there as governor. ”Today, same-sex couples are marrying, under the law, in Massachusetts,” Romney said ”Some gays are actually having children born to them. We’ve been asked to remove the phrase ‘mother’ and ‘father’ and replace it with ‘parent A’ and ‘parent B.’ It’s not right on paper. It’s not right in fact. Every child has the right to have a mother and father.
- A new Baltimore Sun poll showed a substantial weakening in support for Question 6, the pro-marriage equality ballot measure in Maryland, with a statistically insignificant lead of one point for opponents of the measure. A September poll found the measure leading by a 10-point margin, with 49 percent of voters supporting it and 39 percent opposing it. Most of that shift came from African-American voters, who supported equal marriage rights in the September poll but opposed it by a 50-42 margin in the October poll. Some critics of the poll have pointed out that it only asked voters if “same-sex marriage” should be legal or illegal, which does not match the language on the ballot measure. Question 6 instead refers to “gay and lesbian couples” and includes explicit protections for religious exemptions.
- In Maine, Brian Arsenault, a straight man being raised by a lesbian couple, recorded one of Mainers United for Marriage’s two final ads in support of Question 1. The other features Rob Stanton and Amy Bongard, a married couple who express their belief that the term “family values” can include gay and lesbian couples, who should have the right to marry.
With the election so close, and the stakes so high, we’re going to need all the help we can get with the four marriage equality campaigns. We’re less than $500 away from our goal of $30,000 in Washington state, where Courage will be helping Washington United for Marriage help Referendum 74 to success in the state. Check out the links below to find out how you can help in Washington. You can find more information about how to get involved in the other state campaigns for marriage equality here: Mainers United for Marriage, Marylanders for Marriage Equality and Minnesotans United for All Families.
Update (4:50 p.m.): We hit the $30,000 mark! Let’s keep raising for Washington–the new goal is $32,000.
What you can do to pass marriage equality in Washington:
1. Contribute to the campaign to approve marriage equality in Washington, via ActBlue.
2. Volunteer to make calls to voters in Washington.
3. Sign up to travel to Washington and help get out the vote! Courage Campaign is arranging out-of-state caravans and travel assistance is available.