Sunday, September 30, 2012

Austin Texas Passes Gay Marriage

This is very encouraging. The Austin City Council endorsed marriage equality on Thursday making Austin the first Texas city to evolve on gay marriage. Council members said the endorsement will land them on the right side of history & compared gay marriage to women’s suffrage & civil rights. Now this vote does not overturn the ban on gay marriage in Texas but Council Member Sheryl Cole said the endorsement carries weight, noting that on other polarizing social issues through the years, “one thing we have learned is that simple, symbolic acts matter.” Cole added that she wants the city’s lobbying team to work at repealing the state’s Defense of Marriage Act when the Legislature meets next year. One Austin citizen stated, “I am so blessed to live in the best city in Texas. Thank you Austin City Council for your endorsement of marriage equality. Indeed, history will show your compassion & understanding that doing the right thing may not be the most popular thing to do but it is the right thing.” As you know the Governor of Texas is the anti gay homophobe Rick Perry who “believes in the sanctity of marriage between a man & a woman” according to a statement on his office website. DOMA (The Defense of Marriage Act) has been found unconstitutional in federal court numerous times & is now making its way to the US Supreme Court. So hang in there. It’s just a matter of time. We Congratulate the Brave People of Austin for Doing the Right Thing. Updates to Come…:)  OUTTAKE VOICES™ NOW ON HUFFINGTON POST...:)
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Friday, September 28, 2012

Boston Latin@ Gay Pride Awards

 
Tonight The Latin@ Pride Committee is proud to present 3 awards at their Boston Latin@ Pride Community Award Reception September 28th from 6 - 8:30P at the Milky Way in Jamaica Plain. This is the second year that Latin@ Pride has been under the Boston Pride umbrella & the second year that the NEW Latin@ Pride Committee is hosting this award ceremony to raise funds for programming throughout the year. First the Ejemplar Award honors a Latin@ LGBTQ individual who has made valuable & significant contributions to the community & serves as a role model to all of us. This award will be presented to Deigo Miguel Sanchez APR for his continued work with Rep Barney Frank, who will be in attendance to show support for his Legislative Assistant Diego MiguelSanchez & Boston Latin@ Pride. The Solidaridad Award will be presented to Gonzalez & Associates for their ongoing sponsorship & presence in both Latin@ Pride and Boston Pride events. The Alianza Award will be given to the Latino Health Institute for their ongoing efforts to spread education & awareness of Latino health matters. Tickets are $35 in advance or $50 at the door. Attire is cocktail reception/business casual. Boston Latin Pride runs through September 29th.  For Tix & Info: latinoprideawards  OUTTAKE VOICES™ NOW ON HUFFINGTON POST...:)
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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Gay Leaders On Kosilek Appeal

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) & the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) reacted with disappointment to the Commonwealth’s announcement that it will appeal the district court decision which established that gender reassignment surgery is necessary medical care for prisoner Michelle Kosilek. Earlier this month U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf ruled that the only adequate treatment for Kosilek's gender-identity disorder, a condition Wolf said is a "serious medical need" would be a sex change operation that would be funded by taxpayers. He said denying surgery violated Kosilek's Eighth Amendment rights. This was the first time a judge has ordered prison officials to provide sex-reassignment surgery to an inmate. Now Governor Deval Patrick's administration is appealing the federal judge's ruling that the state must pay for a sex reassignment surgery. Jennifer Levi, Transgender Rights Project Director for GLAD said, “Constitutional rights belong to everyone, even the least loved, least popular people among us. Prisoners have a right to necessary medical care & this is indisputably medical care, as the very strong district court decision established. There really is no legal ground for this appeal. We believe the district court decision is very solid & will stand.” Kosilek, now 63, was named Robert when married to Cheryl Kosilek & was convicted of her 1990 murder. Kosilek has received hormone treatments & lives as a woman in an all-male prison. Updates to Come…:)  OUTTAKE VOICES™ NOW ON HUFFINGTON POST...:)
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Monday, September 24, 2012

Emmy Award Show Falls Flat

The 64th Emmy Award show opened literally in the bathroom & went downhill from there. Jimmy Kimmel spent 3 hours telling jokes that weren’t funny & presenting comedy skits that fell flat. Someone should tell the producers of the show that the Emmy Awards honor the best in television & they should choose a host that brings some level of respect to the stage for the TV industry. Maybe the cheap shots work on Mr. Kimmel’s own show but not for the global audience. With that said the actual acceptance speeches at least became the highlight of the evening. The big winning dramatic show was Showtime’s “Homeland” which won the Emmy Award for Best Dramatic Series & Best Writing for a Drama Series. Its lead actors Damian Lewis & Claire Danes both picked up an Emmy for their performances. ABC's "Modern Family" also captured 4 comedy awards including the top sitcom prize. Eric Stonestreet won an Emmy for supporting actor in a comedy series playing a gay man & his acceptance speech was the only mention of our LGBT community in the broadcast besides a clip of the Tony Awards with Neil Patrick Harris singing a gay anthem that did help Glenn Weiss pick up an Emmy Award for Outstanding Direction for a Variety, Music or Comedy Special. Perhaps next year Jon Stewart should take the hosting position since he has picked up the Emmy for The Daily Show ten years in a row. (Yes the Emmy Above is Mine :)
See Complete Emmy Winner List…. 
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Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Day with HIV Photo Contest

UPDATE: Photos Are Begin Accepted Until Monday :)
Positively Aware is asking people to take a digital photograph on Friday September 21st to record a moment of their day that will focus the world’s attention on the daily trials & triumphs of people living with HIV. For the third year A Day with HIV will help remove the stigma of HIV & advance an international community of care through this collective photographic portrait. Anyone can record a special image, a time with friends & family, at work or play, or any moment in the day that helps people better understand how HIV impacts people, loved ones, colleagues & communities. Jeff Berry, Editor of Positively Aware magazine stated, "By coming together on one single day, we can build a virtual community of support & help raise awareness about HIV not only in our own communities but everywhere. Our hope is that by bringing together individuals from all walks of life, both HIV-positive & negative, we can not only show support for one another but we can also demonstrate to others that while HIV may affect us, it does not define us." Participants have until the following Tuesday, Sept. 25, to email their pictures, along with their names & a caption. The photographs will be featured in Positively Aware magazine's November December issue. A panel of judges will select 4 submitted pictures to appear on 4 different covers of the magazine. The panel of judges include bass player for the band Styx Chuck Panozzo, actress, activist Sheryl Lee Ralph & Diego Sanchez, Senior Legislative Adviser To Rep Barney Frank & the first openly trans person to work on Capitol Hill. Sanchez is also a national LGBT leader & HIV/AIDS advocate.
To Submit Photos by Sept 25th...
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Thursday, September 20, 2012

DADT Repeal Anniversary Observed

This is the first anniversary of repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law & we must acknowledge the smooth transition the military has made in allowing gay, lesbian & bisexual Americans to serve openly in the military. Now we must call on the White House, Pentagon & Congress to embrace & advance the final work necessary to achieve full LGBT equality in the Armed Forces. Aubrey Sarvis Army veteran & Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) Executive Director stated, “We cannot forget even as we celebrate this day that there is still work to be done in order to reach full LGBT equality in the military. Even now, families of gay & lesbian service members, veterans, are treated as second-class citizens, unable to receive the same recognition, support & benefits as the families of their straight, married counterparts. We must repeal the Defense of Marriage Act & all federal laws that prevent the military from providing the same support for all service members & their families. We cannot have two classes of service members.” Also among the issues remaining to be addressed is that of transgender service. Currently medical regulations prohibit transgender service though OutServe counts among its more than 6000 members a number of actively serving transgender military personnel. "It's a positive step that gays & lesbians serving our country can no longer be discharged just for who they are or whom they love. Sadly, that is not true for transgender people, who have served & are serving honorably while sacrificing who they are. Today we are thinking of our trans brothers & sisters, and commit that we will fight for their equality as well,” said Sue Fulton, Executive Director of Knights Out, an organization of West Point alumni, staff & faculty united in supporting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender Americans. She is also a member of the OutServe board of directors. So we’ve come a long way but we still have a long way to go for full LGBT equality in the military. Updates to Come..:) OUTTAKE VOICES™ NOW ON HUFFINGTON POST...:)
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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

GOP Senator Collins For LGBT Equality

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) once again is proving her mettle as an ally & leader for LGBT families by becoming the first Republican to co-sponsor the Uniting American Families Act which will allow Americans the same ability to sponsor permanent same-gender partners for immigration purposes. Senator Susan Collins stated, "This legislation would simply update our nation's immigration laws to treat bi-national couples equally. More than two dozen countries recognize same-gender couples for immigration purposes. This important civil rights legislation would help prevent committed, loving families from being forced to choose between leaving their family or leaving their country." So at least one GOP Senator is brave enough & understands that gay rights are human rights. Let’s hope this legislation is put on the fast track to Obama by the end of 2012. Former Republican Congressman Jim Kolbe added, "I'm very pleased that Senator Collins has agreed to co-sponsor the United American Families Act. As an individual whose own relationship would be personally affected by the adoption of this legislation, I am hopeful Senator Collin's sponsorship will encourage other Republicans in the House and Senate to add their names as co-sponsors." Updates to Come…:)
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Boston LGBT History Project Awards

The History Project is celebrating Boston & Massachusetts’ gay, lesbian, bisexual & transgender history with a premier fundraising event presenting 2 awards to community members that make history every day on September 20th. This year the HistoryMaker Award is presented to Grace Sterling Stowell, longtime advocate & leader in the transgender community & the Executive Director of BAGLY (Boston Alliance of Gay & Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Youth). The Lavender Rhino Award is presented to Chris Mason, a nationally recognized leader & organizer on LGBT issues with a fierce passion for social justice. The ceremony will be followed by a reception featuring cocktails & hors d’oeuvres provided by The Paris Creperie at the Goethe Institute 170 Beacon Street, Boston, from 6P-9P. For more than 30 years Grace Sterling Stowell has been a source of light and inspiration not only for LGBT youth but for the entire LGBT community in New England & beyond. As well as being a long-time advocate & leader in the transgender community Grace is also a nationally known speaker, consultant & trainer on the needs & issues facing transgender youth & young adults. She has been a leading member of several local & national transgender education & advocacy organizations & currently serves on the Steering Committee of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC). Her steadfastness & selfless commitment are the hallmarks of a true HistoryMaker. Audio Interview w/ Grace on OUTTAKE VOICES™
Since 2009, the annual HistoryMaker Awards event honors 2 individual or organizations who have shown their commitment to celebrating, supporting & furthering the rich history of the greater Boston area’s LGBT community. See You There! :)
For Tix & Info: historyproject.org
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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

GOP LGBT Discrimination Manifesto

Marriage Equality USA (MEUSA) has published the first streamlined side-by-side comparison of the new political platforms just adopted by the major parties regarding marriage equality & related LGBT issues. As you know the Democrats are LGBT inclusive while the Republicans want to change the US Constitution to discriminate against our LGBT community. In their official platform on page nine the GOP want to allow discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Then on page ten of the GOP really get into their hate agenda with plans to Amend U.S. Constitution to ban marriage for same-gender couples, ban weddings on military bases for same-gender couples, deny tax breaks to same-gender couples, allow immigration only for opposite-gender spouses & for federal civilian workers, deny benefits to LGBT families. On page twelve the GOP want to allow faith-based adoption offices to discriminate against LGBT families & of course allow public discrimination against LGBT people based on religious belief. Though the GOP continues to be silent on bullying it opposes “political correctness” on campus. Ned Flaherty, MEUSA Projects Manager who devised the chart stated, “This comparison contains everything you want to know at one glance. It’s invaluable for everyone who hasn’t seen the plans for LGBT people described in the political parties’ 4-year platforms. The Republican Party just voted to oppress LGBT Americans in 12 ways & the Democratic Party voted not to.” Updates to Come...:)
See Chart For The Full Comparison: marriageequality.org
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Monday, September 17, 2012

Gay Inclusive Rosh Hashanah Prayers

This is the first full day of Rosh Hashanah the Jewish New Year that began at sundown last night. The year 5773 marks the celebration of the creation of the world & the human being. Rosh Hashanah begins a 10-day period of introspection & contemplation culminating in Yom Kippur the Day of Atonement. Rosh Hashanah is marked with a special rituals. Prior to the arrival of the day it is customary to send new years greetings to friends, to buy new clothing & to examine ones behavior. On Rosh Hashanah eve you eat apples dipped in honey signifying a sweet year. At Rosh Hashanah services the day is marked with a special liturgy in which we pray for the whole world. A highlight of the Rosh Hashanah service is the sounding of the Shofar a ram's horn which is meant to shock the listener into self-examination. Now there’s a new LGBT inclusive prayer book for Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur. The contemporary text for Conservative congregations acknowledges LGBT relationships by making references to "partners", faltering faith, depression, loneliness & financial difficulties has been hailed as "an extraordinary event" by the Rabbinical Assembly the New York-based organization of Conservative rabbis that is behind its creation. Rabbi Jacob Luski of Congregation B'nai Israel states that the new prayer book brings a sensitivity to "issues of the 21st century" with its gender-neutral language & practical approach. "Yom Kippur is a fast day, yet some of us have medical issues. There is a prayer for those unable to fast. There is a prayer for caregivers. It's a sensitivity we've always had, but here there is a prayer just for that. There is a prayer for remembering a hurtful parent during the Yizkor, or memorial service, on Yom Kippur.” This is a great step forward in our quest for LGBT Equality.
L'shanah tovah ("for a good year") to all Our LGBT Jewish Families!
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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Barbara Walters Hosts DADT Event

On September 18th in commemoration the first anniversary of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Barbara Walters & Broadway Stars will join SLDN (Servicemembers Legal Defense Network), OutServe & the Interbank Roundtable Committee (IRC) in presenting “Celebrating Our Heroes: A Tribute to America’s Service Members & Veterans” aboard the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Pier 86 in New York City. The event will be a tribute to American service members & veterans & will honor former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, who played a significant leadership role in repeal which took place on September 20, 2011. Barbara Walters, ABC News & co-host of The View will emcee the event featuring remarks by Admiral Mullen & there will be 3 Broadway ensemble performances. Army Veteran & SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis stated, "This historic & emotional event presents a unique – indeed, a once in a lifetime – opportunity to reinforce the meaningful part that Admiral Mullen played in the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' repeal process. No one played a more pivotal role than Admiral Mullen in securing the support of Congress and the military for repeal.” The September 18th celebration in NYC will be the first in a series events hosted by SLDN & OutServe across the country during the week to commemorate the first year of open service by America's gay & lesbian service members. It is sponsored by: UBS - Verizon - Bank of America - Bloomberg - BNY Mellon - DiversityInc - Viacom - Winston & Strawn LLP - Absolut - Citigroup - Ernst & Young - GlaxoSmithKline - HBO - Hilton Worldwide - Human Rights Campaign - Hershey’s - Log Cabin Republicans - Merck - Miller Lite - Renna Communications - UPS - Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids - Comcast & NBC/Universal - Credit Suisse - GM - Informatica - SAP - Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP - Gay City News - FSIX - Interbank Roundtable Committee - The OUT NYC - KTCHN - XL Nightclub. The event will begin with a VIP reception at 5:30P The general admission event will begin at 6:30P & will conclude at 9:30P. Updates to Come...:)
For Info & Tix: sldn.org/intrepid2012
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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Harbor to the Bay AIDS Bike Ride

This is the 10th anniversary of Harbor to the Bay the one-day 125 or 68 mile bike ride from Boston Harbor to Provincetown Bay. Today Saturday September 15th 500 riders & volunteers will make this trek to increase awareness in our community to help prevent HIV infection & to care for those already impacted by HIV/AIDS. What makes this fundraiser different is that 100% of the money goes to support organizations which advance the quality & accessibility of HIV & AIDS care. Over the years almost 3 million dollars have been raised. Harbor to the Bay was the brainchild Michael Tye. He created this ride so that every penny donated would go to the beneficiaries. Michael passed away at the age of 49 after a long courageous battle against Multiple Myeloma cancer just 71 days before the first ride in 2003. His brother Mark will be making the ride this year for the 10th time. Jim Morgrage who helped found Harbor to the Bay is the president of the organizing committee rides as well. This year Boston Mayor Thomas Menino will help kick off the event which begins this Saturday morning with breakfast at Trinity Church & yes the breakfast is donated too. Even the volunteers actually pay a fee to work. Every penny given to Harbor to the Bay goes to fighting AIDS & the proceeds go to Fenway Community Health, Aids Support Group of Cape Cod, Community Research Initiative & AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts. Amit Dixit who is HIV positive will ride Saturday for the 4th consecutive year. Dixit stated, “The ride is powerful & challenges me to remember. Each pedal, you think about people. Everyone has someone to remember.” Updates to Come…:)
For More Info: harbortothebay.org
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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Gay Marriage November Ballot States

This is a crucial election year for gay marriage with it appearing on the November ballot in 4 states. Support for gay marriage continues to soar in Washington State with Referendum 74 advancing 56-38 percent in the latest SurveyUSA poll of Washington voters. Washington United for Marriage (WUM), the coalition working to defend the state's marriage law announced that more than 5,000 new donors helped raise $1.758 million during the month of August raising the total campaign treasury to $7.290 million. We predict that Washington will uphold marriage equality. In Minnesota there’s a dead heat with 48 percent in support of the constitutional amendment defining marriage between a man & a woman & 47 percent opposing a state constitutional amendment. The fact that the battle is so close in this state is still encouraging. In Maryland since a January 2012 Gonzales poll data with 49 percent supporting marriage equality & 47 percent opposing an update provides 54 percent in favor. This week thousands rallied for marriage equality throughout the state of Maine & are leading in the polls with 57 percent of Mainers polled supporting gay marriage just 3 years after residents defeated the marriage equality in 2009. All around it looks very promising that we could have possibly 3 more states passing marriage equality in November. However let’s not become complacent. If you are able to help our LGBT community in these battlegrounds states in anyway please do. Updates to Come…:)
For More Info: freedomtomarry.org
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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Public Officials At Anti Gay Summit

There will be an extreme anti LGBT event sponsored by the hate group Family Research Council this weekend. A coalition of human rights groups is calling on public officials not to attend the upcoming Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. hosted by the Family Research Council who have spread demonizing lies about our LGBT community & because one of its co-sponsors the American Family Association has linked homosexuality to the Holocaust. “Given the FRC’s & AFA’s public statements, we urge you not to lend the prestige of your office to the summit,” the coalition wrote in letters to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, Sens. Jim DeMint & Rand Paul & other public officials who have been invited to speak at the summit including Ann Romney. “The FRC is far outside the mainstream,” the letter states. “It has engaged in repeated, groundless demonization portraying LGBT people as sick, vile, incestuous, violent, perverted & a danger to the nation. One of its officials has gone so far as to say that homosexuality should be criminalized. The FRC’s extremism is vividly illustrated,” the letter adds, “by the fact that it has invited the American Family Association (AFA) to co-sponsor the Summit at which you have been invited to speak. Here is what Bryan Fischer, the AFA’s Director of Issue Analysis, wrote in 2010: ‘Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler & homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine & 6 million dead Jews.’” The coalition letter also points out that the FRC has repeatedly claimed that gay men molest children at far higher rates than heterosexual men do, despite the fact that all credible scientific authorities reject the claim. The three-day summit begins Friday Sept 14th to Sept 16th. To Read Letter: splcenter.org
The human rights groups that signed the letters are: the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC); People for the American Way Foundation (PFAWF); the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRCF); the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD); the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC); the National Council of La Raza (NCLR); & Faithful America. Updates to Come….
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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

LGBT Community Remembers 9/11

As we commemorate the eleventh anniversary of 9/11 everyone has a story to tell. Where they were when it happened as our entire country went into shock. For the weeks to follow we were united in our grief. There were many LGBT people who were involved or died on that infamous day. Tom Ryan was a retired New York City firefighter who upon hearing of the attacks on World Trade Center called his firehouse & rushed to the scene. At the time Tom was the only openly gay firefighter in the FDNY. Father Mychal Judge was the gay Catholic priest who was killed by debris from the collapsing World Trade Center as he was caring for victims. Father Judge, 68, was a chaplain at the New York Fire Department & was known in the New York LGBT community for his work with AIDS outreach. His funeral Mass held at St. Francis of Assisi Church where he resided brought over 2,000 people. Tom Ryan was a pallbearer at Father Mychal Judge’s funeral. In the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan next door to the now closed St. Vincent’s hospital the LGBT Community Center offered immediate assistance to survivors & later counseling services for those grieving. More than 30 LGBT organizations held a memorial for victims of the World Trade Center attacks at the Center.

In 2002 I produced & directed this music video tribute dedicated to those who perished on September 11th 2001. Michael Feinstein performs Leonard Bernstein & Stephen Sondheim's "Somewhere" from "West Side Story" with Keith Lockhart & the Boston Pops.
Eleven Years Later... Let's Take a Moment to Reflect....
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Monday, September 10, 2012

Gay Marriage Rallies Kick Off In Maine

Mainers United for Marriage will hold a Yes on 1 Kick-off rally at 4 Maine locations throughout the state today. Maine is one of the states that has marriage equality on their November ballot. Last July we reported that a new poll conducted by Critical Insights of Portland showed 57 % of Mainers polled supported gay marriage just 3 years after residents defeated the gay marriage law in 2009. This is encouraging news but we must not become complacent at this crucial time. Especially with an anti gay homophobic presidential candidate like Mitt Romney on the campaign trail. The rallies will take place in Portland at Portland City Hall at 1P, at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Kennebunk starting at 5:30P, on the University of Maine Orono Campus Bangor Union from 6P to 8P & in Sanford at the Sanford Unitarian Universalist Church at 5 Lebanon Street starting at 5:30P. All rallies will provide speakers, an interactive presentation about the campaign & there will be food & refreshments available. They will also provide ample Yes on 1 lawn signs, bumper stickers, etc to ramp up our visibility throughout the state. This is an opportunity to learn all about the campaign as you help us celebrate the first YES on 1 campaign for marriage equality in Maine.
Updates to Come…:)
For More Info: mainersunited.org
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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Gay Marriage 20 Million More Campaign

Marriage Equality USA has announced The Campaign for 20 Million More a coalition to win the freedom to marry & defeat anti equality ballot initiatives in election 2012. Brian Silva, MEUSA Executive Director stated, “This fall, over 20 million Americans will be affected by decisions surrounding marriage equality. We can all recall the joy & excitement felt by millions last spring when New York passed state-level marriage equality. Today, Marriage Equality USA is taking a bold step to help spread that joy across the nation by launching The Campaign for 20 Million More.” Stuart Gaffney, MEUSA Media Director added, “Voters are going to the ballot box in November to vote on marriage rights in Washington, Maine, Minnesota & Maryland. Marriage Equality USA members nationwide are eager to join grassroots efforts, both locally & in these four states, to share our personal stories with voters so they understand that our marriages mean the world to us & our families.” The campaign is an effort by local coalitions to support the efforts of marriage equality partners in Washington, Maine, Minnesota & Maryland as they face their own state battles this fall & to help educate the voters in those state regarding marriage equality. Joining the campaign means that we will help to recruit more members & volunteers to support local phone banks & participate in canvassing weekends in Washington, Maine, Minnesota & Maryland. This is crucial work to secure marriage equality. Updates to Come…:)
For More Info: 20millionmore.org
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