Monday, November 2, 2009

Vote for Equality!!

Cross-posted from Main Street Plaza. Original post by Chino Blanco.
Progressives are closer than ever to a victory on health care reform. As 2009 comes to a close, we’ve also moved forward on other issues. But what’s looming up ahead could be a disappointment. Tomorrow, Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009, there will be critical votes on LGBT equality in three states: Washington State, Maine, and Michigan. With so much attention devoted to other issues in the political realm, progressive bloggers are banding together to ensure we don’t forget the ones with a firm deadline next week.
In support of that effort, the Courage Campaign has put together a summary of the who, what, and how of these three contests. If you haven’t heard of these campaigns, and/or haven’t done anything yet to support them, please consider helping out. If you are a blogger please feel free to grab this content whole cloth and use it for your blog posts. Last year, as Obama and Democrats were winning across the country, we lost marriage equality in California. It was a bittersweet victory. Pitch in to make sure 2009 isn’t a bittersweet year. Take action to support LGBT equality TODAY.


Who we are: Approve Referendum 71 is the campaign to preserve domestic partnerships in Washington State. By voting to approve, voters retain the domestic partnership laws that were passed during this year’s legislative session, including using sick leave to care for a partner, adoption rights, insurance rights, and more.
What we need: We need phone bankers to get our supporters out to vote. Washington is an all mail-in ballot state, and we need to ensure our supporters put their ballots in the mail. Also, youth turnout is a critical component of our campaign, and youth turnout historically drops in off-year elections. So we need a lot of help to turn them out.
How you do it: Sign up here to make remote calls for Approve 71. We’ll then contact you for a training, and you can make GOTV calls.
Who we are: The No On 1/Protect Maine Equality campaign is working to protect Maine’s recently-passed law legalizing marriage equality for same-sex couples. Our opponents have put the issue on the ballot for Nov 3, 2009. Because of Maine’s early voting election laws, people are already voting at the polls, so we need help immediately to turn out our side at the polls.
What we need: We need you to devote a few hours to Call for Equality. Call for Equality is a virtual phonebank set up so that you can call Maine voters wherever you are. Much of Maine is rural, where canvassing isn’t effective, so we need to reach these voters- along with other supporters- by phone. All you need is a phone and internet connection. No experience required! We’ll provide the training, and all you need is a a few hours to help get a win in Maine.
How you do it: Click here to sign up for a training and your shift. There are lots of times available for your convenience.
Kalamazoo, MI
Who We Are: The Yes on Ordinance 1856 / One Kalamazoo campaign is working in Michigan to support the City Commission of Kalamazoo’s twice approved ordinance for housing, employment, and public accommodation protections for gay and transgender residents. Opponents forced a public referendum on the ordinance so dedicated local volunteers, led by former Stonewall Democrats Executive Director Jon Hoadley, are working to ensure voters say YES to fairness and equality and keep Ordinance 1856.
Why The Urgency: In the final weeks, the opposition has gone all out with aggressive disinformation and misleading red herrings to try to defeat the ordinance. This includes signs that say “No to Discrimination” (even though voting No actually supports continued discrimination of GLBT residents), transphobic door hangers and fliers, and now radio ads that falsely suggest that criminal behavior will become legal when this simply isn’t true. The Yes on Ordinance 1856 supporters are better organized but many voters who want to vote for gay and transgender people are getting confused by the opposition.
How To Help:
1) Help the One Kalamazoo campaign raise a final $10,000 specifically dedicated to fight back against the lies on the local TV and radio airwaves and fully fund the campaign’s final field and GOTV efforts.
Give here:
2) If you live nearby and can physically volunteer in Kalamazoo sign up here. If you know anyone that lives in Kalamazoo, use the One Kalamazoo campaign’s online canvass tool to remind those voters that they need to vote on November 3rd and vote YES on Ordinance 1856 to support equality for gay and transgender people.
Contact voters:


  1. Thank you for posting this. *Keeping fingers crossed for all our GLBT brothers and sisters*

  2. Ditto. I wish I still lived in Washington so I could vote for Ref. 71. Whether it passes or fails, it will show opponents for what they are. On a recent visit to WA, I saw a yard sign that read: "Protect Marriage, Protect Children. Vote NO on Referendum 71." So, apparently, even if it isn't called marriage (which is one of the sticking points for a lot of people) that still isn't enough. Do any of these people understand what life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness mean? Do they remember that one of the pillars of American society is Equal Justice Under Law?

    While the slippery slope fearmongering tactics are clever on a crass political level, it's going to seem like homophobia to the average person. I hope the polls are right that overt homophobia is declining in the general population. That said, a person's private moment marking his or her ballot can produce some unexpected things.

  3. I am hopeful... I donated what I could in money to Maine, and I have some friends in WA who I am hoping will vote progressively.

  4. Well, the results from last night again show that votes for gay rights will prevail at present only in jurisdictions in America where there are urban liberal strongholds who can demographically outweigh more traditional constituencies. So Kzoo is successful, Seattle outweighs the rest of Washington states opposition, and Maine's referendum repeals the law passed by the legislature.

    On a religious front, there has been a step forward in the Community of Christ, where the First Presidency had made it clear over the summer that they felt issues of gay rights within the church were too explosive to discuss, not only within the North American church, but especially because of implications for the church overseas. They were clearly hoping to delay any decision for several years.

    Insistence by several jurisdictions within North America on passing resolutions in their "stake" conference equivs that must come to the floor at the 2010 World Conference have forced the Presidency's hand. The World Church Leadership Council was forced to focus on this issue at its September meeting, when the whole focus for months has been on whether baptism requirements for membership should be altered.

    The link ”” gives some of the issues that are causing the conflict, in which the church must basically decide which casualties they wish to take.

    Actually figuring out how to be Christian in the real world sucks some times, doesn't it?


  5. Wow, fascinating link FireTag.

    It would be nice to know if leaders of the LDS church wrestle with these questions. Often it seems that they are just stuck in their own "righteous" attitudes and make proclamations without regard to its effect on individuals. That is great that CoC so openly deals with these questions. I wish there was more transparency in the LDS hierarchy.

  6. Mister C:

    The written version of the Saints Herald (our official church mag) just arrived in the mail, and it contains two more articles, one by the prophet, and one by the world church secretary (who is in charge of the parliamentary prep of conference legislation). Both of these articles stress the extreme importance of not dividing the church over issues of either membership requirements or human sexuality.

    This "reprogramming" of world conference is being forced by the membership. The church has been carefully focused on conditions for membership (rebaptism) for at least a year, and even to discuss discussing the issue of gay rights is significant movement. (The legislation isn't even being printed on the church website because of concerns its discussion will provoke persecution of our people in some countries.

    If you go to my website and link on Welcoming Community Network or Beware the Chicken, you can read some of the discussion between the Presidency and the activist community as well as the legislation itself.


  7. Hey, thanks for posting this info. As Meat Loaf might say, two out of three ain't bad. And 47% in a rural state like Maine with 60%(!) turnout ain't bad either. Especially considering that demographically Maine is the oldest state in the union.