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First House Republican to Support DOMA Repeal

By Domingo Martinez

Andrew Harmon of The Advocate has an article on Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) becoming the first House Republican to support repealing the “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA). Rep. Ros-Lehtinen’s history of supporting equality includes her vote against the 2006 constitutional amendment defining marriage as a man and a woman and her vote to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Now, she’s cosponsoring the Respect for Marriage Act. Read the full article here.

48 Comments September 23, 2011

Maggie Gallagher steps aside

By Arisha Hatch

NOM just announced that Maggie Gallagher has been replaced in her role as Chairman of the Board by John Eastman. Eastman, described as a “distinguished Constitutional law scholar” by NOM, once clerked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and is the former Dean of Chapman University Law School in California.

Gallagher, a co-founder of NOM, will remain on the Board of Directors. You can find out more about NOM’s new Chairman in his profile here.

NOM’s press release is here.


34 Comments September 22, 2011

Our first-ever LGBT-inspired flash mob – Sept. 16 in LA

By Ana Beatriz Cholo

We’re trying something new next Friday and we’re pretty excited. If you live in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, we hope you’ll join us for a – da-dum – politically oriented, LGBT-inspired flash mob!

In a “casting call” email we sent out to Courage Campaign members, we said, ”if you believe in equal rights and think we should accept one another for who we are, this is the event for you! We’re looking for dancers, singers, actors, drama queens, drag queens, theatre majors, and just plain regular folk who are motivated and comfortable being in front of cameras.”

The response has been amazing. Who knew we had such talented members?

As for the flash mob, we can’t divulge the exact location or details – yet. If you’ve watched these choreographed performances on You Tube or in person, you know the surprise factor is part of the fun. Suffice to say that we’ll be peacefully and creatively dancing and singing for equal rights.

Here’s a piece in Beyond Chron that describes how flash mobs are the direct action of the future. An excerpt:

“In Taking on the System, Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas argues that political activists must adapt to the technology of their era. Gandhi used newsreels shown in movie theaters, Sixties protesters used the mass street protest — which was effective at the time, because everyone only watched 3 channels and getting Walter Cronkite on your side could move the country. Today, with our decentralized media and more people online, YouTube flash-mobs are the direct action of the future.”

So, are you motivated now to get your flash mob on? If so, sign up here. We’ll send you more information, including the instructional dance video. We’ve got a rehearsal in Sherman Oaks and another in Long Beach tomorrow.

Leotards are optional.

Hope to see you soon!


57 Comments September 9, 2011

Hurricane winds won’t keep us from getting DOMA repealed

Adam Bink, Courage Campaign's Director of Online Programs

By Ana Beatriz Cholo

This afternoon, Adam Bink, Courage Campaign’s hardy Director of Online Programs, and Jo Deutsch, Freedom to Marry’s Federal Director, battled wind, rain and fleeing residents on the I-95 from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore, Maryland to deliver 3,000 signatures to Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s district office.

Fortunately, they arrived before the office closed for the day. Adam and Jo spoke to Mikulski’s office director for about 20 minutes. Together with Freedom to Marry and Equality Maryland, we’re scheduling a meeting for early next month with Sen. Mikulski on Capitol Hill.

Marylanders are urging the Senator to become a cosponsor of Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Senator Cardin has already signed on as a co-sponsor.

No word if Adam and Jo pitched in to help with setting up the sandbags.

Here’s the joint press release that was sent out earlier today regarding the petition delivery:


Groups Deliver Nearly 3,000 Signatures Urging Sen. Mikulski to Sign onto Respect for Marriage Act

Baltimore, MD – Today, Courage Campaign, Freedom to Marry and Equality Maryland will present Senator Barbara Mikulski with nearly 3,000 signatures urging the Senator to become a cosponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

“The Democratic governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley, is backing a bill to extend marriage to gay and lesbian couples next year,” said Rick Jacobs, chair and founder of the 700,000-member Courage Campaign. “Surely Senator Mikulski wants to lead the effort to assure that all married people in Maryland are treated fairly, which requires repeal of DOMA.”

The signatures were collected through an online campaign by the three groups. They represent a variety of constituents from around Maryland, which will likely consider a bill that would extend marriage equality to committed same-sex couples in the state. Currently, Maryland honors the marriages of same-sex couples married out of state, but those couples are still harmed by federal marriage discrimination under DOMA. Senator Cardin has already signed on as a co-sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act.

“Recent census data show nearly 17,000 same-sex couples living across the state of Maryland. These loving, committed couples and their families are harmed every day by the denial of marriage, and by federal discrimination against the marriages they are able to celebrate across the border in the District of Columbia and six other states,” said Evan Wolfson, founder and President of Freedom to Marry. “We hope that Senator Mikulski will heed the call of her constituents and join us in ending marriage discrimination at the federal level and in Maryland.”

The signatories signed onto a letter that reads:

We write on behalf of thousands of Maryland families who are presently denied critical protections and recognition under the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act”, or DOMA. Married same-sex couples are treated as legal strangers in the eyes of the federal government because of DOMA and excluded from the more than 1,100 federal laws in which marital status is a factor, including Social Security, immigration, and family and medical leave.

For the full text of the letter, click here.

“A majority of Marylanders support the right of loving and committed same-sex couples to marry — and Maryland is poised to ensure that all married couples have their relationships legally recognized by their home state.,” said Lisa Polyak, acting chair of Equality Maryland. “However, same-sex couples will never be equal under the law until federal restrictions are banished. This means the so-called Defense of Marriage Act must be repealed. Sen. Mikulski’s support as a co-sponsor of this bill would reflect the will of her constituents, and make clear that she stands on the side of legal equality for all citizens.”


Courage Campaign is a multi-issue online organizing network that empowers more than 700,000 grassroots and netroots supporters to work for progressive change and full equality in California and across the country. Through a one-of-a-kind online tool called Testimony: Take A Stand, the Courage Campaign is chronicling the sights, sounds and stories of LGBT families and all who wage a daily struggle against discrimination across America. For more information about Testimony, please visit,

Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage nationwide. We are pursuing our Roadmap to Victory by working to win the freedom to marry in more states, grow the national majority for marriage, and end federal marriage discrimination. We partner with individuals and organizations across the country to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage and the protections, responsibilities, and commitment that marriage brings.

Equality Maryland is Maryland’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights group, with thousands of members across the entire state. Equality Maryland includes: a 501© (4) advocacy organization that lobbies in Annapolis and across the state to create equal protection under the law for LGBT Marylanders and their families; a 501©(3) educational foundation that works to eliminate prejudice and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity through outreach, education, research, community organizing, training and coalition building; and Equality Maryland PAC, which exists to influence elections. For more information, visit






16 Comments August 26, 2011

What happened yesterday at church

By Arisha Michelle Hatch

When I first saw this YouTube video of Pastor Jack Hibbs I couldn’t believe that he was from my hometown of Chino Hills.  I just had to stop by his church on Sunday.

After an interesting sermon where he talked about racial segregation being wrong, I was shocked when I exited the church and saw a booth setup collecting signatures to overturn the FAIR Education Act, a law that requires California schools to have non-discriminatory instructional materials that integrate age-appropriate, factual information about social movements, current events and the contributions of LGBT people and people with disabilities.

A Stop SB 48 signature-gathering booth at Calvary Chapel
Stop SB 48 booth

When my brother approached the signature gatherers and asked what Stop SB48 was about, he was told that we’re trying to “teach homosexuality to kindergarteners; [and] we don’t think babies need to know anything about that.”

“They will gradually be imbedding it into all of their curriculum from kindergarten on up,” explained another signature gatherer when asked what students might be taught. “It will start off on a rather benign levels and just keep working it on up. They just want homosexuals to basically be appreciated like every other person.”

I couldn’t believe my ears.  We all know that the FAIR Education Act is not about sex-ed, it’s about history.  I wonder how many of my neighbors heard that misinformed message?

Please join me in committing to decline to sign this hateful petition, and help with our campaign to keep it off the ballot.


48 Comments August 22, 2011

The votes are in: the new “Stop SB48” video gets a resounding “thumbs down”

By Ana Beatriz Cholo

When I watched the new Stop SB48 video ad yesterday, I noticed it had five likes, seven dislikes and about 100 views. I became the eighth person to give it a “thumbs down.” I posted it on Courage’s Facebook page and tweeted about it.

For obvious reasons, it touched a nerve.  After all, this is an offensive video that’s chock full of lies. Some people, disturbed after watching it, made the comment that perhaps we should ignore it and not publicize it.

Wrong answer.

We need to do all we can to expose the likes of Pastor Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel in Chino Hills. He and his ilk are not shying away from what they are doing. Hibbs’ role is clear:  he’s the shepherd tending to his sheeple. His job is to scare his flock into believing that the world might just end if schoolchildren get an inkling that – shudder – Walt Whitman was, in fact, gay, or that for the first time in history, gay individuals fought back against discriminatory, government-sponsored raids in 1969. This, of course, sparked the gay rights movement globally during the Stonewall Riots.

In turn, our job is to educate our friends and neighbors on how the FAIR Education Act is not about indoctrinating kids to a gay “lifestyle” or teaching kids to “become” gay. And isn’t it so bizarre that the bigots are, in ways subtle and not, always obsessing about sex?

Anyway, what the new law does is free up teachers to teach history in an accurate and comprehensive manner. For example, under the new law, they would now be able to include a lesson on Harvey Milk in the civil rights unit without getting any backlash like they have in the past.

Ignoring the haters won’t make them magically go away. We need to expose them for who and what they are. Let’s not let them get away with this stuff.

Oh, and while you’re here, can you go ahead and give this hateful little video a thumbs down? Thanks!

Here’s the email we sent out to our members this morning:



It’s like Prop 8 all over again. The Stop SB48 campaign — the folks trying to erase LGBT people from California’s history books — are up with their first online ad, which you can see on the right. Just as we expected, it’s filled with the same misleading lies that our opponents used to pass Prop 8. We can’t let this stand.

We need your help to respond ASAP. Can you chip in NOW to help us fight back?

It’s an understatement to say that the ad about SB 48 — the FAIR Education Act — is offensive. Pastor Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel in Chino Hills (where I grew up) does a spectacular job of twisting the law’s true intent — to be respectful and inclusive of LGBT contributions throughout history. Here are just a few choice quotes from the ad:

“The indoctrination of our children regarding gay and lesbian, transgender lifestyles and practices as it relates to state history, as it relates to US history, and as it relates to our own economy…This new teaching, frankly, comes against the very ministry of Jesus Christ, the word of God, and you and I.”

“If we don’t stop it, this will be the indoctrination of our children, on our watch…There’s no opting out for your student, they must take this course, there’s no getting away from it.”

You and I know better. Folks like Equality California and the Gay-Straight Alliance Network worked hard to pass the FAIR Education Act to make the curriculum more inclusive — inclusive of movements like the push to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the Stonewall Riots. Inclusive of gay and lesbian figures like Billie Jean King, Walt Whitman, Bayard Rustin and Harvey Milk. But if we don’t get that word out, their lies will seem like truth.

America is made stronger by telling the story of all Americans: black, Latino, gay, straight, Jewish, Christian, Muslim. We are all part of the powerful fabric that builds our nation. Pretending that some of us don’t exist is not the American way.

Click here to watch their video, and chip in to respond today… before their lies start to stick.

Thanks for all you’re doing,

— Arisha Hatch, National Field Director, Courage Campaign



87 Comments August 19, 2011

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