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Archives – April, 2011

P8TT and prizes

By Adam Bink

Please click here to chip in towards our spring drive — and earn prizes!

We’re almost entirely member-funded at Courage Campaign, and we always tell our members what their expenses go towards. Money raised with Louis’ help goes towards making couples like Ed/Derence more visible, and they’re covered in publications like the LA Times. Money you chipped in during the bus tour helped cover Arisha/Anthony/Phyllis expenses, and lead to success with Louis coming over to the right side and the story being covered on MSNBC and Newsweek. Members are funding our DOMA repeal work so we can bring more Senators onboard, as we’ve done with Sens. Kohl/Klobuchar and are doing with Sens. Bingaman and Tom Udall.

Today, we have a little twist — a double match on every dollar you give, and some giveaways courtesy of some generous donors, with the money going towards our Prop 8 and DOMA work. If you give:

  • You’re matched $1 for every $1. So your $10 donation becomes $20 in the bank to fund our work. And that means fewer asks for dollars from me!
  • You could win an iPod Touch. In fact, Larry S. of Los Angeles and Annie B. of Dodge City, KS have already won their own iPod Touches earlier in the week because we have daily drawings.
  • Or you could win a tour of Harvey Milk’s Castro with Cleve Jones (which is actually nothing short of a remarkable experience).
  • Or a visit to the set of CBS’s hit show The Good Wife.
  • Or tickets to see the play Master Class by Terrence McNally on Broadway, with Tyne Daly playing the part of Maria Callas.

In just 48 hours we’ve raised $40,583 (as of this post). Every dollar up to $50,000 gets matched. Period.

Please chip in today to help fund our work — and have a shot at some great prizes in drawings today and tomorrow!

You’ve worked with us to achieve our victories. You know how important our work is. You know what we’re up against. You fight our enemies every day. You also know we don’t have the vast corporate resources they have. We rely on members like you.

We answer to you, not a handful of corporate contributors. That’s why it’s so important for grassroots activists like you to keep Courage strong and fighting.

Thanks for your consideration and for coming here to participate in this movement of ours!

27 Comments April 28, 2011

New Mexicans demand Sens. Bingaman and Udall support DOMA repeal

By Adam Bink

Yesterday, Courage Campaign, Progress New Mexico and Democracy for New Mexico members asked Sens. Bingaman and Udall to co-sponsor DOMA repeal. They support would make them the 23rd and 24th Senators to support Sen. Feinstein’s bill.

Last week, over 1,000 Courage members in Wisconsin wrote to Sen. Kohl, asking him to become the 10th vote we need to pass DOMA repeal through the Senate Judiciary Committee. Our efforts were covered yesterday in the Washington Blade. Previously, we worked with OutFront Minnesota to get Sen. Klobuchar onboard. As I’ve written, we’re going one by one on the way to 60.

Sign here (especially if you’re a New Mexican) to ask Sens. Bingaman and Udall to support DOMA repeal.

Some examples of messages from New Mexicans to the Senators:

I did indeed work for Sen. Udall and contribute to his campaign and have also supported Sen. Bingaman.  We have been fortunate to have these Senators and I know they will do the RIGHT thing and vote to repeal the federal DOMA.  Sarah and I have lived in NM for 9 years and love it’s diversity.  Unfortunately, that does not include acceptance of our 33 year relationship.  Thanks for supporting us! -Chris in Albuquerque

I voted for Senators Bingaman and Udall and I expect both senators to uphold the Democratic Party platform of New Mexico which recognizes the rights of all its citizens.  DOMA is an abomination and should be done away with and I expect my senators to be leaders in this effort. -Christy in Las Cruces

I hope that you will add your strong support to the repeal of DOMA being considered in the Senate.  My lifepartner and I have been together for nearly 25 years in a committed relationship.  DOMA bars us from most of the rights and privileges enjoyed by those who can enter into heterosexual civil marriages.  That is not only unjust, but it makes our lives much less secure.  Please lend your support to removing this oppressive measure from U.S. law. -Kenneth in Albuquerque

What are you thinking Senator Udall?  To quote your blog of February 3, 2010 03:00 PM “As I remarked at the Committee hearing, quoting Republican Barry Goldwater, ‘You don’t have to be straight to shoot straight.’ And being gay certainly shouldn’t disqualify service members from protecting our national security in vital positions such as fighter pilots or Arabic translators.”  Are you telling me that we are good enough to protect our national security (and possibly die for our country) but we don’t deserve basic human rights?  Rethink your position on DOMA and do the right thing Senator! -Maggie of Pena Blanca

Sign here (especially if you’re a New Mexican) to ask Sens. Bingaman and Udall to support DOMA repeal.

An e-mail to our members from a lesbian couple — Barb and Mary Ellen of Democracy for New Mexico — is below.

From: Mary Ellen and Barb, for Courage Campaign
Date: Wed, Apr 27, 2011 at 9:19 AM
Subject: Ask Sens. Bingaman and Udall to support DOMA repeal!
To: Adam Bink

Courage Campaign
Dear Adam,

The reason we decided as a same-sex couple to move to Albuquerque 18 years ago was because we knew people would be fair-minded — including our representatives in Congress. We supported the campaigns of Sens. Bingaman and Udall — voting, volunteering, donating, and blogging — because we knew they were supportive.

So imagine our surprise when we found out that neither Senator is a co-sponsor of legislation to repeal the “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) — legislation that would provide critical protections for us and other families in New Mexico.

Please join us to ask Sens. Bingaman and Udall to become the 23rd and 24th Senators to support Sen. Feinstein’s legislation to repeal DOMA. We’ll deliver your message in person.

Since 2006 we have been watching New Mexico Domestic Partnership bills get defeated in our Legislature. We have been devastated each time one fails, sometimes by very close margins.

But over the past month, we’ve seen huge gains in the long march towards DOMA repeal. Just a few days ago, the Courage Campaign led the effort to get Sen. Kohl (D-Wis.) to become the tenth vote necessary to pass the bill through the Senate Judiciary Committee. Over 1,000 Courage Campaign members from Wisconsin responded to this call to action. We now have 22 Senate co-sponsors of the bill, and now it’s New Mexico’s turn.

Join me in urging Sens. Bingaman and Udall to support our families.

Now’s the time for Sen. Bingaman and Sen. Udall to support our future together as a committed couple in sickness and health. As we grow older we need the same securities afforded other New Mexicans. By co-sponsoring legislation that will repeal DOMA, we will be able to dream of a day off in the future when we might be married here in this Land of Enchantment state.

Repealing DOMA moves us closer to that dream. Sens. Bingaman and Udall are key to moving this bill forward. They should be on our side, but they need you to remind them to come out and publicly support repeal by co-sponsoring the bill.

Speak up for equality in New Mexico. Ask Sens. Bingaman and Udall to support repeal of DOMA.

We did our part. Now it’s time for them to do theirs.


Mary Ellen & Barb

Courage Campaign members

51 Comments April 28, 2011

NOM-entrenched Haas family: Reared on diet of ‘ex-gay’ therapy?

In addition to NOM’s Ruth Institute pushing ex-gay therapy -Adam

Cross-posted at Good As You

By Jeremy Hooper

We’ve already established that Brian Brown, Charles Limandri, David Lejeune, and any number of other (male) National Organization for Marriage personalities are members of the Catholic organization Legatus, so just the fact that words like the following appeared in that organization’s March membership magazine would be concerning enough:

Screen Shot 2011-04-28 At 8.00.25 AmThere are many reasons why people suffer from SSA disorder. Some “discover” this tendency within them. Others grow into it through pursuits of pleasure or experimentation. Some use it to punish themselves or others. Whether the disorder has some deep, unknown roots over which one has virtually no control, or whether it’s a developed disorder resulting from bad choices, it leaves an individual disposed toward activities and a lifestyle that are dangerous — physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Fortunately there is hope for those who suffer from the disorder. The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality reports that significant numbers of homosexual persons have undergone treatment and had their sexual drives properly ordered. These findings are a beacon of hope to those suffering from SSA, as well as for their family and friends who desire their happiness and good health. Finally, for those who for whatever reason cannot be cured, there is a support group known as Courage to help them live safe, moral, chaste lives. Those who continue to suffer from this disorder can find true help through an orientation toward their Savior and Redeemer, “the Orient from on High,” and the life that He offers them in Himself.

Sexual ‘disorientation [Legatus Magazine]

Scientifically-shunned “ex-gay” propaganda is always concerning. But in this case, there is more. So much more. Because you see, the man who penned this column answers to the name of John M. Haas, Ph.D. The same John Haas who holds several different high Catholic positions (president of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, founding president of the International Institute for Culture, etc). The same John Haas who resides in Philadelphia, PA. The same John Haas who teaches seminars purporting to unveil “the truth” about the gay movement. And oh yea — the same John Haas who has nine children, several of whom either have worked or do currently work for NOM as we speak:


The Haas family is ALL UP in NOM’s ranks. In fact, Justin Haas, in particular, serves in a major capacity:

Screen Shot 2011-04-28 At 8.07.16 Am

[SOURCE: CT Family]

And the Haas patriarch whose Catholic teachings seemingly helped his children come to such beliefs? Yea, well — he refers to our love as a “disorder” and our lives nothing more than “lifestyles” from which we need to escape via propagandistic junk science. Insightful, aint it?

Now, we should say that we have no record of the father doing direct work for the organization. But the branches are certainly fanning the “protect marriage” flames, even in the trunk is staying planted in the larger Legatus pasture.


*NOTE: Maggie Gallagher also has Legatus connections. Last fall, she spoke at a Houston chapter meeting, for one.

42 Comments April 28, 2011

Washington Blade profiles our work to pick up DOMA votes

By Adam Bink

From The Washington Blade’s Chris Johnson:

Votes lined up in Senate committee for DOMA repeal

New support for legislation that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act assures that the necessary votes are in place for a favorable Senate committee vote on the measure as advocates maintain hearings should take place first before advancing the bill.

Last week, the Respect of Marriage Act, legislation sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) that would repeal the 1996 anti-gay law that prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriage, gained two additional co-sponsors: Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Herb Kohl (D-Wis.).

Kohl’s support for the legislation is critical because he’s a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and would have a vote when the roll is called to move the legislation to the floor. Lynn Becker, a Kohl spokesperson, said the senator had previously considered DOMA a state issue.

Meanwhile, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), another member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has also said she’d vote for repeal of DOMA in committee, although she’s stopped short of co-sponsoring the legislation. Last month, the Minnesota Independent reported that the senator would back the Respect for Marriage Act.

In a statement provided to the Washington Blade, Klobuchar confirmed that legislation to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act has her support.

“I would vote to repeal this law because I believe same-sex couples and their families should have access to the same basic rights, including hospital visitation and survivor benefits,” Klobuchar said.

The support from Kohl and Klobuchar means that the Respect for Marriage Act has at least 10 votes in the Senate Judiciary Committee — enough to advance the bill to the Senate floor.

The two Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee publicly came on board in support for DOMA repeal after the Courage Campaign, a progressive California-based grassroots organizing network, pushed the lawmakers to articulate their support.

Rick Jacobs, chair of the Courage Campaign, said his organization began eyeing important votes in the committee upon introduction of the Respect for Marriage Act in March.

“It was two situations where we had this idea … to have people tell their stories locally and to make sure … that these legislators heard that they all have constituents, supporters and donors who are affected by DOMA,” Jacobs said.

In Minnesota, Jacobs said the Courage Campaign circulated an online petition to encourage Klobuchar to voice support for the Respect for Marriage Act. After the initiative, the Minnesota senator said she’d support the legislation.

“We published a blog post on our Prop 8 Trial Tracker asking about her,” Jacobs said. “That got picked up by the Minnesota Independent, and together with folks in state, there was a little pressure put on, and within about a day, as I recall, a state senator had gotten confirmation that she would repeal of DOMA.”

Similarly for Kohl, Courage Campaign launched an online campaign to encourage his support for DOMA repeal. According to the organization, more than 1,000 people wrote to Kohl urging him to back the Respect for Marriage Act.

“We contacted our members in his state — we’ve got 7,000 — and they contacted him,” Jacobs said. “They gave us some really terrific stories and, again, last week, his state director contacted the local equality organization that we’re working with to confirm, to say, ‘Yes. yes, yes, we are going to be on board.’”

Despite having the votes in the Senate Judiciary Committee, imminent plans that exist for the Respect for Marriage Act in the panel are unclear. Erica Chabot, a Senate Judiciary Committee spokesperson, said she was unable to communicate with Chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) during the congressional recess about his plans.

Advocates working to advance the legislation say hearings should take place before the bill is sent to the Senate floor to follow regular order and build additional support.

Michael Cole-Schwartz, a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, said “a tremendous amount of work” is needed before the Senate is ready to pass DOMA.

“We are working with Chairman Leahy and other leaders to build support for the bill and we believe a hearing is a good first step to start that education process before decisions are made on tactics for passage,” Cole-Schwartz said.

Jacobs said he would defer to Feinstein’s judgment on when the time is right to hold a committee vote on the Respect for Marriage Act.

“I would defer to Sen. Feinstein, and I say that because I really do trust her on this issue,” Jacobs said. “She looked me in the eye in February — and I’ll never forget this — and she said, ‘I want to repeal DOMA.’”

Still, Jacobs maintained supporters of DOMA repeal “don’t have to sit still for two years” and said congressional testimony would be a big step because pro-repeal hearings have never taken place in the Senate.

Brian Weiss, a Feinstein spokesperson, deferred to earlier comments the senator made during a news conference in March upon introduction of the legislation where she articulated a sentiment similar to HRC’s.

Feinstein predicted that hearings would be held in the Senate Judiciary Committee, followed by a successful vote to report the bill to the floor.

“We use the regular order as much as we can and we can use it the entire way so that the hearings are held and no one can say we pushed anything through, so that everybody has a chance to express themselves,” Feinstein said.

Even if the bill is reported to the Senate floor, significant hurdles remain in passing the legislation. Ending a filibuster in the Senate requires 60 votes, so at least seven Republicans would have to vote in favor of ending debate on the measure. The Respect for Marriage Act as of Tuesday had no GOP support.

Further, the legislation is unlikely to see a vote in the GOP-controlled House, where U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has directed the House general counsel to litigate on behalf of DOMA in court.

To facilitate more support for DOMA repeal, Jacobs said Courage Campaign intends to have a grassroots volunteers in each state by early May and in each congressional district by the end of June pushing lawmakers to back the Respect for Marriage Act.

“We’re going to organize and organize and organize,” Jacobs said. “I assure you, we will see more senators getting on board.”

Today, we’re launching a new action targeting two more Senators on which I’ll be posting later. You can sign up for our DOMA campaign updates here.

68 Comments April 27, 2011

Serving jury duty today

By Adam Bink

But during voir dire, I plan to tell to tell the court that I cannot serve if a man is on trial, seeing that I am a man and that may imperil my ability to judge, since men are naturally driven to support members of their own sex. Right?

Or because I am gay, since as many male homophobes presume, if someone is gay, he must be attracted to you. That would surely bias my judgment.

Or if he’s a resident of DC, since I naturally feel a sense of solidarity towards the denizens of our fair city. Or worse, a Sabres fan and I don’t know it!

At least, that’s what Andy Pugno and Chuck Cooper might argue.

Anyway, a light posting day today as I will probably be without wi-fi. What are you reading?

38 Comments April 27, 2011

Attorney General Eric Holder defends Paul Clement

No, really:

“Paul Clement is a great lawyer and has done a lot of really great things for this nation. In taking on the representation–representing Congress in connection with DOMA, I think he is doing that which lawyers do when we’re at our best,” Holder said during a roundtable with reporters at the Justice Department. “That criticism, I think, was very misplaced.”

Holder also compared the criticism of Clement to the attacks on Justice Department lawyers for their past work for detentainees at Guantanamo. “It was something we dealt with here in the Department of Justice…The people who criticized our people here at the Justice Department were wrong then as are people who criticized Paul Clement for the representation that he’s going to continue,” Holder added.

I’m not exactly thrilled to be compared to anti-Muslim zealots who thought Guantanamo detainees should be held forever on an island without right to trial by jury under a fiat issued by the Bush Administration. And it’s unclear to me what exactly are the great things that Paul Clement, a former Bush Solicitor General and all-around conservative, has done for this country. The cases he’s argued the United States Supreme Court on which he’s argued for the wrong side include McConnell v. FEC (campaign finance) Rumsfeld v. Padilla (trial by jury), Hamdi v. Rumsfeld (right to challenge detention), Rumsfeld v. FAIR (law schools have the right to freedom of speech in refusing military recruiters on campus excuse of DADT) Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (military commissions), and Gonzales v. Carhart (woman’s right to choose). I suppose Holder would defend all of those by saying Clement was “assigned” the cases, rather than noting where the man’s heart is. There’s also McDonald v. Chicago in which he, in private practice, carried water for the NRA in striking down sensible gun restrictions that protect urban residents like me.

Of course, this is the same Eric Holder who authorized a DOMA brief comparing gay rights to incest and pedophilia in the summer of 2009, and the same Eric Holder who claimed he was unaware of the vote in Maine when present in the state a week prior to the election. So I’m not sure why I should bother listening to Eric Holder’s opinion anyway.

There is a lot more I feel like saying, but John Aravosis pretty much said it for me.

78 Comments April 26, 2011

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