New Hampshire House Approves Marriage Bill

By a vote of 198-176 the New Hampshire House approved a Marriage Equality bill that contains the Governor's demanded religious protections.  Now it just needs his signature.
http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticN ews/idUSTRE5526NV20090603

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An Independents View: Support Same Sex Marriage

I am a christian, a bona fide independent, and a happily married man (15 years this fall).  My wife and I are willing to cross to either side of the aisle for legislation that we feel makes our country better. We voted for Obama last year, and have in the past supported Reagan, Clinton, and Dean, Gingrich, Webb, and Feingold.

I've never voiced support for same sex marriage, and had in the past criticized the GLBT for being mostly reactive. The primary focus of the GLBT seemed to be to get several lawsuits in place that would set precedent law and essentially -  legislate from the bench. The last wave of this approach will find itself dashed against the rocks of the California Supreme Court this week, when they will decide not to overrulle proposition eight.

So that approach wasn't epic fail. But it was not successful either.  And I was a critic of it. Still am.

And now I say, in all seriousness - that my view of Same Sex Marriage is that its time to get legislation in place to legalize it. Why?

Well, first off - for personal reasons. My uncle was a priest in the episcopal church that helped get the issues surrounding this topic out into the world. We supported him, and still do. His son is gay. That means I have a very happily married gay cousin (they went to Spain to get hitched and now spend their days in a sun bleached Casa de Playa).

And because, I honestly believe that if two people want to have the legal right to have a marital squabble, for the sake of the Good lord, just let them! The types of recognition that are provided by society here - really aren't so valuable that they'll be really  missed - these two lovebirds can file a joint tax return, get someone out of the hospital, adopt kids, etc.  - Let them have it. The IRS can handle the workload and I am sure the hospitals are happy to see family and friends and spouse around their cold white walls. Don't get me started about kids. I swear, they're like donuts. One is great... two.. three... you get the picture.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly to my many friends in the GLBT community - its because now, if you seek this process through legislation. You will win. And thats what I'm here for. I helped my deep red state to get carried for Obama by 68% of the primary vote. And I am more than willing to help these guys finish their agenda.  As long as I can play golf every now and then on the weekends, I'm game for it.

I supported Dean in 2004 - I did so because the guy could balance a budget - not because he was some kind of champion for civil unions. But trust me, the masterminds behind his campaign were the GLBT - they were the first 100k of his campaign. The fact that Dean ran a somewhat badly managed campaign (a fact that Joe Trippi will try to deny) more or less killed support amongst my crowd for him - we saw the most money ever raised online - disappear all too rapidly offline. Again, the leadership of the GLBT at the time was largely to blame. And of course, Joe. But he will deny that.

But as to the issue of civil unions -  Dean, as governor of Vermont - wanted  Vermont legislature decide the issue. Not the courts. Hello, was anyone listening?  Today, it looks like Civil Unions will go one step farther in Vermont - and we'll see same sex marriage legalized. Good for them. And through the right channel - the legislative channel. No expensive lawsuits. No legislation from the bench.

And if the majority support it, then it should be so. Remember,
the religious fundamentalists were the ones who got our economy out of balance in the first place with their pie-in-the-sky foreign and economic policies championed under the Bush administration.

Independents don't care about whether government is smaller, or bigger, we care about whether or not its doing its job right. Is it the role of government to tell them they can't be there at that morning coffee as husband and wife?

Those states that adopt - through legislation - same sex marriage will likely get a boost to their economy.  Seriously, this is a bottom line kind of decision. Gays are, almost to a fault, a bit more wealthy and educated than your standard man off the street. Living in San Francisco for many years taught me this.

As Dean said - the legislative branch is the right branch of the government to decide the issue. And thats who's deciding the issue these days.

I met someone last week who was arrested on an anti-sodomy charge. I thought to myself. For God's sake, why would anyone want to pay attorneys, cops, judges, prison officials, and the whole retinue of probation officers and clerks - to keep people from a good orgasm? To be sure, sodomy is not exactly my cup of tea.  But so what.  The concept of having laws to keep people from doing it , is to my mind bizarre. Even if it wasn't safe sex. Its still their choice.

Further, I spoke with this person (I was giving them a ride) and found that the courts pressured a guilty plea. If this person (I am referring to this person carefully because they're in the process turning from he, into a she..) didn't plead guilty - they would register them as a felony sex offender in the sex offender database. It would ruin their career - the sex offender database is online. They were the valedictorian of their class, but for a night of harmless activity - they're now a felon?!

So. I decided. Hey. The GLBT are barking up the right tree this time. AND there are people out there that this kind of legislation will really help.

My question is. Ok. So yeah, Same sex marriage isn't a big deal and it might be a good idea to get it done.  What do I do, to help out?  Is there anything I can do to help this person (who is now camping out in one of my friends office building - a person with a perfect 3.9 GPA on their way to college!) ?
Would there be any way that any of us indies out there, who quite honestly - have cared less - about this issue - lend support to the effort?

Which states are good candidates to go next in the legislative process to legalize same sex marriage?

Thanks!

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What Do Mormons Have Against Love?

There may not be any suspense as to whose column California's electoral votes will go this year (latest Field Poll has Obama up 16%) but that doesn't mean we don't have some tight electoral battles in CA in November, perhaps most notably Proposition 8, which seeks to prohibit same sex couples from marrying in California, as they have been doing happily since June 16.

I think AG Jerry Brown's ballot summary puts it even better:

"ELIMINATES RIGHT OF SAME-SEX COUPLES TO MARRY. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. Changes California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry. Provides that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

You can imagine the conniption fit that the right-wing had when they saw Brown's summary, calling it "biased" against the initiative. Umm, if you're going to seek to eliminate ones right, best not to complain when someone calls it what it is.

On the bright side, the momentum seems to be with No on 8. The new Field Poll shows 55% against and just 38% in favor (last month it was 51%-42%.) So, good right? Well, this momentum is fueling the other side to the point where, even with Brad Pitt's generous $100,000 donation yesterday, the Yes on 8 forces are outraising No on 8.

From The LA Times:

As of today, Prop. 8 opponents have raised $11,119,614.56, while the Prop 8 supporters side has amassed $16,647,476.77. (Pitt's contribution hasn't made it's way to the official tally yet, so add $100,000 to the no side of the equation.)

And, as Julia Rosen points out at calitics, wealthy Mormons are largely fueling the Yes on 8 fundraising AND activism surge.

The Mormon church is getting heavily involved in the campaign.  It looks like about 35% of contributions to the other side have come in from Mormons, or at least that is what they are claiming over at this Mormons for 8 website.  A high percentage of the large checks are coming from Utah.

Here is the question: is a religious institution trying to buy this election and change the California Constitution?

They aren't just donating.  They are fueling their GOTV activites.  Mormons have been invading neighborhoods en mass.  They are not using walk lists, but rather descend in large groups to knock doors and try and pass out the million yard signs they think is going to win them this election.  It's flat out creepy.  It freaks out entire communities and usually the No on 8 campaign hears within a few minutes where the Mormons have decided to invade on any given day.

It would appear that the answer to Julia's question would be Yes. Check out this letter from the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The call to action is clear.

The Church will participate with this coalition in seeking its passage. Local Church leaders will provide information about how you may become involved in this important cause.

We ask that you do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman. Our best efforts are required to preserve the sacred institution of marriage.

And they are answering that call, big time. So, the No on 8 folks are taking nothing for granted. They figure that, judging by how other statewide anti-gay marriage initiatives have polled prior to election day, that they'll need a 7 to 10 point cushion in order to prevent this thing from passing.

If you can, help Californians protect equality by contributing to No on 8 over at the Calitics Equality ActBlue page.

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Exposing the Bullshit of iProtectmarriage.com

It's Sunday, and I am looking around the web on what is going on on what I consider as important as or more important an issue than this year's presidential election: protecting the right to marry the person they love for every Californian. On May 15, the California Supreme Court ruled that the right to marry was a fundamental right under the equal protection clause of the California State Constitution. Now, conservative reactionary right wing fundamentalist hate groups have put on the ballot something called "Proposition 8", a ballot initiative that would write in the Constitution of our state discrimination against same sex couples and remove this fundamental right.

What's more hideous is that these right wing fundamentalist groups see clearly that the future is free from their form of hatred and prejudice. Polls have found that two-thirds of young people in California oppose Prop 8 and support the right of all loving (adult) couples to enter into marriage, and so, they are putting on an effort to spread their hatred among people my age. They are funding this website, iProtectMarriage.com, where they have picked and recruited some young folk who either have sold their soul for money, or are too happy to have an avenue to spread hatred.

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Census Bureau: Same sex marriages don't count

Diane Curtis and Ellen Leuchs live in a state that provides fair and equal marriage rights to all its citizens, regardless of whether the person they want to marry is of the same sex. But in the 2010 census, the federal government won't recognize Diane and Ellen's very legal and legitimate marriage.

Their children Romy and Jamie will be counted as having single parents. They won't be counted as a family.

The Bureau followed the same procedure for the 2000 census, as a result of specific language in the Defense Of Marriage Act, signed into law by President Clinton in 1996. The law requires all federal agencies to recognize only opposite-sex marriages for the purposes of administering federal programs. The Census Bureau does not plan to change its procedure even though gay and lesbian couples can now marry in California and Massachusetts. Curtis was quoted in the Washington Post:

"It's like we've been Photoshopped out of the picture. How long is the federal government going to pretend we don't exist?"

This is just another example of how we need a new direction in this country. We need progressive leaders who will stand up for fairness and equality for all Americans and will recognize fairness and support it wherever it is. Electing Democrats is not enough -- we need truly progressive leaders who will go above and beyond.

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