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Archives – September, 2011

Courage Campaign members call on Sen. Reed to co-sponsor Respect for Marriage Act

By Adam Bink

Today, Courage Campaign members in Rhode Island are asking Sen. Reed to become the 31st Senator to co-sponsor the Respect for Marriage Act. He is currently the only member of the RI congressional delegation to not do so. We’re joining with Ocean State Action, Marriage Equality Rhode Island and Freedom to Marry in penning a letter to Sen. Reed, which you can find at the bottom of this page.

Local press coverage of our efforts can be found here, here and here, and it’s spreading. This morning, Sen. Reed held a transportation-related press conference, and word is that the first question was about…DOMA. He said he’ll make a decision “very shortly.”

Below, you can find an e-mail to members in Rhode Island from Beth and Elizabeth, a couple of 26 years, married in Massachusetts and living in North  Smithfield, RI. They tell their story about how every year they burn up $7,000 because of DOMA. Beth and Elizabeth also took the time to travel to Washington, DC for a press conference we held the day before the Sen. Judiciary Committee hearing on the Respect for Marriage Act.

Please sign and share with your friends, family and colleagues in Rhode Island. Sen. Reed has been a supporter of LGBT equality, and it’s time he joined the rest of the delegation in taking a stand for his constituents who are suffering discrimination like Beth and Elizabeth.

Courage Campaign

Dear Adam,

What if you had to take $635 each month and light it on fire? That’s what we have to do. Why? Because we’re a loving, committed couple of 26 years, who happen to be lesbians. You see, we married in Massachusetts in 2004, and because one of us is a federal employee, we’d normally be eligible to add a spouse onto our health insurance plan. But because of the Defense of Marriage Act, we’re treated as strangers — and so one of us has to purchase an individual health insurance policy for $635 a month. DOMA costs us over $7,000 a year…money that could be better spent elsewhere, like saving for retirement. 

Fortunately, your Senator and ours, Sheldon Whitehouse, is one of 30 Senators who, along with President Obama, support legislation to repeal this horrible law. You’d think you’d find Sen. Reed on that list. You’d be wrong. How is this possible?

Click here to tell Sen. Reed: treat same-sex couples equally, support the Respect for Marriage Act to repeal DOMA!

Sen. Reed, there are many other couples like us in Rhode Island. We pay our taxes, work hard and support each other in sickness and in health. But DOMA treats us differently than other married couples, and that’s discrimination. Are you going to let that happen to your constituents?

Rhode Island recently passed a civil unions law. It states that any same-sex couple who had a civil union in another state would be recognized as civilly united here. However, those of us who are legally married would have to have a civil union in order to make sure we are treated as a couple in Rhode Island. Because of DOMA, our legal marriage has less value in Rhode Island than a civil union. How unfair is that?

Click here to sign a letter to Sen. Reed from Courage Campaign and their friends at Ocean State Action, Marriage Equality Rhode Island and Freedom to Marry. We’ll deliver your signatures personally.

Thanks for helping us and other Rhode Island couples gain a little more respect,

Beth Vorro and Elizabeth Coderre

North Smithfield, RI

16 Comments September 28, 2011

Does the NHL tolerate homophobia?

By Adam Bink

I’m a hockey fan. A big one. I could go on and on about why I think my Buffalo Sabres could make a run this year, but I’ll skip that for now.

When I was a kid, several Sabres were my favorite people on planet Earth. Cooler than the Power Rangers. Dominik Hasek. Michael Peca. Rob Ray. I followed their every move and watched every game I could. I can honestly say I looked up to them.

Earlier this week, Philadelphia Flyers player Wayne Simmonds called New York Rangers forward and marriage equality advocate Sean Avery a “fucking faggot.”

Now, when Lakers player Kobe Bryant did this a few months ago, the NBA swiftly verbally disciplined him and handed him a $100,000 fine. Kobe apologized. A model of a mistake and a correction.

This case? The NHL comes up with a lame excuse about how it wasn’t verified by the refs and Simmonds glosses over what he did. Thing is, video can be found here on Towleroad. Unless he was using a different language, it’s clear evidence of what he said.

Not acceptable, NHL.

This morning, we’re petitioning the NHL to reconsider. Please sign and share this action.

You can also tweet:

RT @couragecampaign Fight homophobia in sports! Tell @NHL to discipline Wayne Simmonds. Sign here:

This stuff matters. Why? Google Wayne Simmonds and you’ll see this is on ESPN, USA Today, Huffington Post. There are kids watching who don’t think calling someone “faggot” matters. There are parents watching who think it’s no big deal for their kids to use that kind of language. Culture and sports set a tone. The NBA set the bar. The NHL isn’t living up to it. For all the impact of “It Gets Better” videos, it would be nice to start with the source of the bullying and get it right from the start, wouldn’t it?

Sign here.

Update: A good piece from Johnette Howard at ESPN looking at the history of epithets hurled around in sports and what the NHL should be doing.

9 Comments September 28, 2011

Prop 8 trial: Judge Ware dismisses two motions as moot related to Prop 8 tapes

By Adam Bink

This is fairly minor, but because of yesterday’s decision by the 9th Circuit to stay Judge Ware’s decision to release the Prop 8 tapes, today Judge Ware dismissed two motions before the district court seeking a stay because the 9th Circuit has already stayed the district court’s order. Text can be found here.

27 Comments September 27, 2011

Stop SB 48 campaign uses child molestation posters to entice voters to sign referendum petition

By Adam Bink

Just wow.

27 Comments September 27, 2011

In letter to Obama Administration, House Democrats seek protections for bi-national same-sex couples

By Adam Bink

Chris reports:

U.S. House Democrats are calling on the Obama administration for more explicit assurances that new immigration policy will enable foreign nationals to stay in the United States if they’re in same-sex relationships with American citizens.

In two separate letters dated Sept. 27, 69 lawmakers seek additional clarification from the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department that bi-national same-sex couples will be included in policy that aims to take low priority cases out of the deportation pipeline.

“The recognition of LGBT family ties as a positive factor is a critical step forward in identifying key family and community ties to implement common-sense immigration enforcement,” the letter states. “We ask that you ensure that this recognition is reflected in the work of DHS and DOJ employees and the newly-established working group in implementing your priorities for immigration enforcement.”

The letter is signed by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), sponsor of the legislation known as the Uniting American Families, which would allow gay Americans to sponsor their foreign partners for residency in the United States. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and 68 other Democrats — including gay Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and David Cicilline (D-R.I.) — make up the additional signatories of the letter.

Under current immigration code, gay Americans can’t sponsor the foreign partners for residency in the United States because same-sex marriage isn’t legal in many places in the country and because the Defense of Marriage Act prohibits federal recognition of these unions. Consequently, foreign nationals who are in committed relationships with gay Americans may have to leave the United States or face deportation.

In a June 17 memo, U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement allows immigration officials to exercise prosecutorial discretion in cases they deem low priority for deportation, although this memo offers no explicit guidance on foreign nationals in same-sex relationships.

On Aug. 18, the Obama administration unveiled new policy based on this memo saying it would examine foreign nationals facing deportation on a case-by-case basis and take those who are low priority out of the pipeline.

Officials are set to weigh a person’s ties and contributions to the community and family relationships as reasons to take potential deportee out of consideration. Administration officials have stated that being in a same-sex relationship will be considered in the context of community contributions and family relationships.

However, lawmakers in the letter seek additional assurances that bi-national same-sex couples won’t be left out as part of this consideration.

House Democrats ask that LGBT family ties be made an explicit component of the guidance for the working group examining deportation cases to ensure field staff are aware of the policy.

“Without specific guidance, it is unlikely that agency officers, agents, and attorneys making decisions about individual cases will be aware that LGBT family ties are a factor for consideration for exercising discretion in closing or not initiating removal proceedings,” the letter states.

Additionally, lawmakers ask that the working group include a member experienced in working with gay immigrants and their families to ensure that these factors are recognized in the working group’s case-by-case review of deportation cases.

“The vulnerability of LGBT immigrants — the historical stigmatization of whom both within and outside the U.S. is well-documented — makes knowledgeable review a necessity,” the letter states.

16 Comments September 27, 2011

Prop 8 trial: 9th Circuit issues stay on Judge Ware’s ruling to release tapes

By Adam Bink

Text (short) is below.

Briefing schedules tend to take several weeks because of the length of time between responses from opposing parties. So, we will expect briefs regarding the proponent’s request for an emergency stay, and then go from there.

[scribd id=66451592 key=key-1u7qoe3yr7qlx7aqhsvj mode=list]

85 Comments September 26, 2011

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