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Rick Jacobs bears his Testimony

Testimony Videos

By Adam Bink

This video was sent in the following e-mail to Courage Campaign members in Tennessee, as part of organizing we’re doing with the Tennessee Equality Project against the “don’t say gay” bill, which is expected to rear its ugly head again. We have to start telling stories — straight or LGBT — of why we support equality to being this long-term process of changing hearts and minds in places like Tennessee.

There are a few days left to enter the Dustin Lance Black challenge. It’d be pretty cool if Lance and his film crew flew to Tennessee and put a story on television.

If you know folks in Tennessee, please pass along.

Courage Campaign
Dear Adam, 

I was born and raised in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, right near Knoxville, the home town of Tennessee governor Bill Haslam. I have always loved my home place and had intended to live my life there, but I knew I was gay. At the time, East Tennessee was not a place to be out, so I moved to California. I still have lots of friends back home. My parents just moved from there three years ago.
I love Tennessee, so imagine my disappointment and anger when Gov. Haslam signed the recent bill outlawing protections for LGBT people… and may sign legislation banning the word “gay.” To fight back, I recorded my video Testimony, and I want to share it with you.

Marriage may now be legal in New York State, but in Tennessee, it may be soon be illegal for teachers to say “gay” in schools. We have to change that.
Tennesseans love good stories and those stories really do change minds. That’s why, together with our good friends at the Tennessee Equality Project, we hope you’ll record your own 1-2 minute Testimony, which we’ll share with Academy Award-winning filmmaker Dustin Lance Black (who wrote Milk and many other incredible films). He’s going to take three of the best stories and literally fly out to wherever the person lives to film the story for TV. Imagine if he selects yours to air in Tennessee to show Gov. Haslam and the legislature that hurting gay people hurts the state.
Think about it: your story could be shown in front of hundreds of thousands of people — people who aren’t sure about their son or daughter being gay, or who don’t understand why schools need LGBT-inclusive bullying policies. It could be shown in front of people who aren’t sure about why equality in the workplace matters, who haven’t considered the importance of repealing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), or other important issues that come down to basic decency. It may even be the first time Tennesseans see LGBT people in an affirming light.
Don’t worry, your video doesn’t have to be perfect. Look at mine – I’m no videographer. The story is what counts.
Thanks for all you do,
Rick Jacobs
Chair and Founder, Courage Campaign, and native Tennessean


  • 1. Alan_Eckert  |  June 29, 2011 at 12:27 pm


  • 2. Ann S.  |  June 29, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    Thank you, Rick!

  • 3. Kathleen  |  June 29, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    Wonderful video and GREAT testimony! Thank you, Rick, for speaking out and for all you do.

  • 4. rick jacobs  |  June 29, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Thank you! We have to remember that most of the nation is not "front line" on LGBT equality. In Tennessee, it's practically illegal to be gay.

  • 5. Alan_Eckert  |  June 29, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    There is a new blog post on KQED about same sex couples and taxes. There will be a report on air tomorrow evening on the California Report. (

  • 6. Alan_Eckert  |  June 29, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    I submitted my story to the reporter to help with this report.

  • 7. rick jacobs  |  June 29, 2011 at 8:40 pm


  • 8. Lodi Gal  |  June 29, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Wow, that was a powerful video. Thank you.

  • 9. rick jacobs  |  June 29, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Thank! Have you Testified?

  • 10. Kevin  |  June 29, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Anyone have a PACER account I can use/borrow?

  • 11. Kathleen  |  June 30, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Kevin, write to me: prop8tt at gmail doc com

  • 12. Phillip R  |  June 29, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    It's a step….

  • 13. Sagesse  |  June 29, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    Gay Bells in Bondage
    Most Americans now support gay marriage. But they can't legalize it, thanks to the voters of 2004.

  • 14. Sagesse  |  June 29, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    Why Obama won’t embrace gay marriage

  • 15. rick jacobs  |  June 29, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    I was at the WH briefing and reception today. It was all very impressive. We may get more progress more quickly than we think. And if anyone doubts it all, the briefing was amazing. Half a dozen cabinet/agencies reported, including the General Counsel of DoD. The breadth and depth of what the Obama Administration has done for LGBT people is staggering. We want him there on marriage. Let's get him first there on the Feinstein bill to repeal DOMA. That's tachlis. Soon. Soon.

  • 16. Ann S.  |  June 29, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    Rick, that's good to hear. Will you be telling us more?

  • 17. Sagesse  |  June 30, 2011 at 4:53 am

    Agree that getting Obama to endorse DOMA repeal is emminently doable, and a priority. It is a federal law, and within his jurisdiction as president. Marriage is a matter for the states and the courts, and his support would be wonderful and powerful, but it is moral support.

  • 18. Sagesse  |  June 30, 2011 at 5:20 am

    Main federal health survey will ask about sexual orientation, gender identity

  • 19. Alan_Eckert  |  June 30, 2011 at 9:55 am

    I like watching this video, Rick. It's like sitting across the table all over again (which was a pleasure and a nice treat!)

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