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Archives – May, 2010

Roundup Time

By Julia Rosen

It’s a relatively slow news day, so I figured that I’d update a few news stories in gay politics today.

First off is a campaign our sister organization the Courage Campaign is running, with friends at Open Left, CREDO Mobile and AMERICAblog. It’s a “Dear John” style letter to the Democrats, expressing disappointment with the progress on legislation, particularly Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the Employee Non-Discrimination Act. If it speaks to how you are feeling you can add your name to it. Here is how it starts.

Dear Democrats,

We need to talk.

This may be a hard letter to read, but I need to figure out if this relationship is still healthy for me.

Speaking of DADT, the big news today is that Senator Nelson will not be voting in favor of repeal next week when amendments the defense authorization bill are voted on by Armed Services Committee. He wants to wait until the Gate/Mullens report is done in December.

This is not particularly surprising news. Nelson was a target, but not a particularly likely one. There is still a chance that repeal passes the committee next week, but the votes are not lined up yet. The most intriguing possibility is that the language that makes it into the must pass defense authorization bill is would be delayed implementation of the repeal. AKA an amendment would be added to the defense bill that states DADT would be repealed at a later date, after Gates/Mullen are done with their study.

John Aravosis over at AMERICAblog is continuing to pick apart the White House/DNC’s claims that the administration has done significant and meaningful things when it comes to advancing LGBT rights.

40 Comments May 19, 2010

Media Coalition Requests Closing Arguments Be Filmed

By Julia Rosen

The Media Coalition has sent a formal request today to Judge Walker that they be allowed to film the closing arguments, tentatively scheduled for June 16th. As most of you remember, Judge Walker originally was going to let the trial be recorded and posted to YouTube, but the Supreme Court overturned his ruling. Given all that transpired, it would be surprising if Judge Walker rules in favor of open access.

Merc:

In the letter, media lawyers argued that the local federal court has now properly established rules for televising federal court proceedings, and that concerns about witnesses are no longer relevant for closing arguments conducted by the lawyers.

Here is the letter the Media Coalition sent to Judge Walker:

[scribd id=31569783 key=key-rw1zmpygqir37y1r0fr mode=list]

67 Comments May 18, 2010

Lack of Political Power in Minnesota and Script 5

By Julia Rosen

One of the main arguments by the plaintiffs in Perry v. Schwarzenegger is that LGBTs lack the political power to protect their basic rights. Nowhere is that more evident today than Minnesota. Governor Pawlenty, who many expect will run for president in 2012, just vetoed a bill that would have allowed same-sex partners to decide what should happen with their loved one’s body when they die. Pioneer Press:

Pawlenty had said he would veto the bill, calling it unnecessary because partners can draw up a living will. But advocates argue that married couples do not have to do that and that legal documents often cost money to draft.

The “Final Wishes” bill would have been the second one supported by Project 515 to be passed into law. The group is named after the 515 Minnesota laws it says discriminate against same-sex couples, though the group is not seeking marriage rights for gays and lesbians.

Pawlenty’s actions are absolutely reprehensible. Can you imagine what it would be like for a surviving member of a same-sex couple to have to watch a perhaps distant relative make that decision because they forgot to go to a lawyer to pay them for documents that a marriage automatically provides?

This issue of political power is actually Script No. 5 “Gary Segura: Do gay and lesbians lack political power.” Fight back against Pawlenty. Go reenact Script 5 and spread the message that unless marriage equality is the law of the land, we will continue to have losses just like today in Minnesota.

53 Comments May 17, 2010

Testimony in the news

By Julia Rosen

It was a heck of a day yesterday. We had our big kickoff press conference with the legendary Dolores Huerta, the conceiver of Testimony Cleve Jones, the wonderful Rev. Eric Lee and many more.

The press coverage continues to roll in. My favorite headline is from the Advocate: “The Theater of the Unheard”.

For a quick reminder of the importance of Elena Kagan — or any potential Supreme Court nominee — look no further than the high court’s recent decision to block cameras in the federal Proposition 8 trial, in which testimony was heard in January and closing arguments begin in June. Decided down ideological lines, that ruling kept the wrenching testimony of gay plaintiffs like Kristin Perry and Paul Katami from the public. Now the Courage Campaign, a California marriage equality group, is trying to maneuver around that decision by encouraging nationwide reenactments of the trial.

Reenactments have been coming in from all over the country, everywhere from Shaker Heights, OH to Austin, TX. Some are incredibly inventive, while others are simply done. And that’s the point. What happened in that courtroom in San Francisco should not stay in that courtroom. It is up to all of us to bring this trial to life no matter where we live.

As Rick Jacobs said in a article on KTVU “Success for us will be if we lose control of this project.” More from that article:

Jones, after watching today’s re-enactment, said, “I’m really excited about it.

“There was an incredibly historic trial and the majority of Americans were oblivious to it. The technology gives us incredible power to connect people online,” Jones said.

We are all very excited, but this is only the beginning. There’s is a lot more to come.

37 Comments May 14, 2010

Wall St. Journal on Testimony: A “Marisa Tomei makeover” for the Prop 8 trial

By Eden James

Earlier today, Academy Award-winning actor Marisa Tomei helped the Courage Campaign kick off “Testimony: Equality on Trial” — the most important campaign for full equality we have ever waged.

The Wall Street Journal quickly followed up with a piece on the campaign, calling it a “Marisa Tomei makeover” for the Prop 8 trial and describing how Tomei’s trial reenactment video came to pass:

Acting in a West Hollywood park Tomei portrays Kristin Perry, one of the lesbian plaintiffs in the case seeking to marry her partner. Actor Josh Lucas plays Theodore Olson, one of the legal powerhouses supporting the challenge. The scene portrays the plaintiffs’ argument that gays and lesbians face discrimination in their everyday lives.

Other Prop 8 trial reenactments on the site star Alan Cumming, Michael Urie, Cheyenne Jackson and more. Dramatic portrayals of real trials haven’t been this star-studded since Spencer Tracy and Gene Kelly in 1960’s “Inherit The Wind” about the Scopes trial.

Hmmm… a “Testimony” movie on the Prop 8 trial? I can already see the marquee.

Speaking of films, here is the full text of Marisa Tomei’s email to Courage Campaign members about Testimony and her trial reenactment video with Josh Lucas. If you want to see their video, click on the links below…


Dear Eden —

They thought they could get away with it. With your help, we can prove them wrong.

Supporters of Prop 8 tried to stop Americans from watching one of the most important trials in a generation, televised for all to see on TV. They didn’t want the public to see the pain caused by decades of discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.

The Supreme Court let it happen, overruling U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision to televise the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial.

But you have the power to change it. You can bring this trial to life, just like I did a few weeks ago in a park with my friend and fellow actor Josh Lucas.

Please join me in participating in Phase 1 of “Testimony: Equality on Trial” — a national, year-long volunteer-driven campaign to get the truth out about the Prop 8 trial.

“Testimony” is the vision of legendary LGBT community organizer Cleve Jones and it starts today with live reenactments of the trial in cities and towns across America, from New York and Durham to San Francisco and Shaker Heights.

Americans need to see the truth about the Prop 8 trial. That’s why I filmed a reenactment of one of the most provocative moments of the trial for “Testimony: Equality on Trial.” Will you watch the video now, check out the Courage Campaign’s amazing new web site and then do your own reenactment?

Testimony

My good friend Bruce Cohen — one of the Academy Award-winning producers of the film “MILK” — has personally selected the most important, dramatic or emotional scenes straight from the court transcripts.

But Phase 1 of “Testimony” — reenactments of key scenes from Perry v. Schwarzenegger — is not about professional actors and producers making a film. It’s about people like you grabbing a video camera, a couple of friends and bringing this trial to life in your own town square, living room or park.

So while Partricia Clarkson, Alan Cumming, Ellen Greene, Cheyenne Jackson, Josh Lucas and Michael Urie all made videos, there was no script memorizing, no crew, not even a director.

Today, volunteers just like you are participating in live reenactments of the Prop 8 trial in cities across America. Will you share this email with your friends and consider creating your own reenactment video? Click here to watch my “Testimony” video. And then watch the videos created by my fellow actors as well as volunteers just like you:

http://www.EqualityOnTrial.org

Through “Testimony: Equality on Trial” the American people will finally be able to witness and participate in the most transformative trial in modern American history. They will witness how Perry v. Schwarzenegger destroyed the myths and lies that have been used to discriminate against LGBT people.

Together, we will make sure that the truth about this historic testimony is heard outside the courtroom. Together, we’ll change the way America thinks about equality.

Thank you for helping my friends at the Courage Campaign get the truth out. We can’t do this without you.

Marisa

34 Comments May 13, 2010

We are live!

By Julia Rosen

Prop 8 trial reenactments are happening across the country at this very moment. From town squares and living rooms to parks and malls, people are bringing the Prop 8 trial to the American people.

We are proud to share with you all Phase 1 on a year-long volunteer-driven campaign to get the truth out about the Prop 8 trial.

Inspired by the community at the Prop 8 Trial Tracker we have launched Testimony: Equality on Trial to allow those who were unable to follow the liveblogging minute by minute to witness and participate directly in the most transformative trial in modern American history. Over the next year, participants will witness how Perry v. Schwarzenegger destroyed the myths and lies that have been used to discriminate against LGBT people.

Now it is your turn. Go check out the trial scripts — 10 of them in all hand selected by Academy award winner Bruce Cohen from the trial transcripts. Grab some friends and a video camera. Then reenact the trial and share it with the world!

A few notes about our blog. We wanted to make sure the Prop 8 Trial Tracker was an integral part of this project and involve the community as much as possible. So, it is actually the blog for the Testimony site! All posts on the Trial Tracker are fed in automatically to EqualityOnTrial.org. You can leave comments at either site.

Got any questions, feedback, props? Leave them here!

9 Comments May 13, 2010

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