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Gay New Jersey couples seek marriage rights

Saturday, October 10, 2009

What Effect will the Equality March have?

I've been thinking and I'm not quite sure what the Equality March will have on the true march toward family equality. What is our agenda? I've found this has taken on different meaning for different people in the GLBT community. My support for the march I'm sure is not what yours might be yet, I'm perplexed when I think about the overall efforts being made as well as their expected outcomes. Take a look at what Barney Frank had to say about it just this week.

Rep. Barney Frank, the first openly gay member of Congress, says he’d rather see gay rights supporters lobbying their elected officials than marching in Washington this weekend, calling the demonstration "a waste of time at best."

Frank , in an interview with The Associated Press, said he considers such demonstrations to be "an emotional release" that does little to pressure Congress.

"The only thing they’re going to be putting pressure on is the grass," the Massachusetts Democrat said Friday.

Thousands of gay men and women are expected to gather for Sunday’s National Equality March.

Many gay rights advocates have criticized President Barack Obama for not moving faster to keep his campaign promises to extend gay rights, and Congress has also drawn flak for not doing more. Obama plans to speak Saturday at a dinner hosted by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay rights group.

This weekend’s activities in Washington aren’t likely to have much impact with lawmakers, Frank said, since most of them are back in their states or districts for the Columbus Day holiday weekend.

Frank’s comments underscore divisions in the gay community over the pace of progress on civil rights.

Obama’s election, coupled with the Democratic control of the House and Senate, boosted hopes in the gay community for breakthroughs on sweeping measures to end discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

March organizers have said they’re no longer willing to quietly wait for Democratic office holders to make good on decades-old promises. They contend that lawmakers’ actions should catch up to the growing acceptance of gay relationships.

Organizers say the march is only part of a broader effort that includes the kind of lobbying Frank is urging.

"We hear Congressman Frank when he says this is about getting back into your district and doing the work there," said Kip Williams, co-director of the march. But he said the march in Washington "is about building community and building a network who will go back and do that work."

But Frank said the real problem is gathering enough votes in the House and Senate to win passage of anti-discrimination legislation.

Gay rights advocates should borrow from the playbooks of the two most effective interest groups, the National Rifle Association and the AARP, said Frank.

"Call or write your representative or senator, and then have your friends call and write their representative or senator," Frank said. "That’s what the NRA does. That’s what the AARP does."

Congress is on the verge of making it a federal crime to assault people because of their sexual orientation. The so-called hate crimes legislation was attached to a major defense bill approved by the House.

Friday, October 9, 2009

FamilyBlendz Social Network: Gaining Momentum!

I cannot thank the many of you who have already expressed interest in the FamilyBlendz Social Network; a group of Same Sex Couples who are raising a family or has a desire to so. O ur first event was successful and turnout was amazing especially since most of our contacts were by word of mouth. Your help in building our Twitter following is another great way of getting the word out about this family oriented social network for what we believe has become America's new modern family; a new normal.

Knowing this however is not enough! We know how to showcase our PRIDE, but now as a true familyblendz, we need to show how PROUD we are by being the new face and examples that will be required to move forward. Everything we do and are makes us activists of the sort simply because everything we do the "live", is what the media calls "unpredented".

What you are doing today, has not been done, so this makes you and I and the rest of this new group the best blueprint for the agenda, the policy, as well as the followthrough for what is to come with America's equality. Who we are, is unprecedented. If you are able to help with some event planning and setup (minimal), please let me know. Our next get together will be a casual networking function, i.e. light and fun. As soon as we confirm the next venue, all of the information, (Date/Time) will be posted up. Contact me at: or on Twitter

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

My 14 year old Champion!

Looking to plan a birthday party for our oldest daughter next month. It will be her first birthday party in so many years. I think each year, we've wanted to plan one for her, but it just never seemed to pan out as we would have wished.

So this year, as she turns 14, wow, just to think of that, 14 years old, I think we've settled on a, I think. She wants a skating party at a rink with some friends from school. Elle and I are more inclined to just go along with that...I mean, she's got her own ideas of what she wants and how she wants to celebrate it so...I dunno.

Through it all, she's handled a lifetime of transition like a champion would. She's still 14 and very much still a child, but in so many ways her support for my happiness has been unconditional and full. We're still a month away from her birthday, but wanted to get a head start with some of the details to ensure we get it right!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

* This is a follow-up to my previous blog, "Equality Arrested?": President Barack Obama plans to address the nation’s largest gay rights group this weekend in an effort to mollify an uneasy Democratic constituency frustrated with the White House’s slow pace.Obama plans to address Saturday’s Human Rights Campaign fundraising dinner gala, the organization and the White House announced Monday afternoon.

"It is fitting that (Obama) will speak to our community on the night that we pay tribute to his friend and mentor Sen. Edward Kennedy, who knew that as president, Barack Obama would take on the unfinished business of this nation - equal rights" for the gay community and for "every person who believes in liberty and justice for all," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.

The dinner falls on the eve of the National Equality March, expected to draw thousands of gay and lesbian activists to the National Mall. Many have been critical of Obama’s slow pace on redeeming campaign promises to end a ban on gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military and pushing tough nondiscrimination policies."Eleven months after his election, he has failed to deliver on any of his commitments to gay Americans, but even worse has been his refusal to engage around these issues," said Richard Socarides, who advised President Bill Clinton’s administration on gay and lesbian policy."What he needs to do now is engage and deliver," said Socarides.

"Spend some of his political capital on ending the gay military ban, a hugely symbolic issue. And with no intellectually sound arguments left against it, come out squarely for gay marriage equality."Obama wasn’t likely to go that far, though, despite a rocky relationship with gay grass roots activists. He has taken a slow and incremental approach to the politically charged issues.

He has expanded some federal benefits to same-sex partners, but not health benefits or pension guarantees. He has allowed State Department employees to include their same-sex partners in certain embassy programs already available to opposite-sex spouses.But that remains far short of his campaign rhetoric."At its core, this issue is about who we are as Americans," Obama said a 2007 statement on gay issues.

"It’s about whether this nation is going to live up to its founding promise of equality by treating all its citizens with dignity and respect."Since then, he publicly has committed himself to repealing the "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy that allows gays and lesbians to serve in the military as long as they don’t disclose their sexual orientation or act on it.

On Jan. 9, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs answered "yes" when asked whether the administration would end a policy that has seen the dismissal of more than 12,000 troops after their sexual orientation was revealed.But as president, Obama hasn’t taken any concrete steps urging Congress to rescind the Clinton-era policy that some former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have acknowledged is flawed.

Yet the office of the current chairman, Adm. Mike Mullen, signed off on a journal article that called for lifting the ban, arguing that the military is forcing thousands of military members to live dishonest lives.Obama also pledged during the campaign to work for repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, which limits how state, local and federal bodies can recognize partnerships and determine benefits. But lawyers in his administration defended the law in a court brief.

White House aides said they were only doing their jobs to back a law that was already on the books.Even before Obama took office, he disappointed gay and lesbian activists who objected to the invitation to evangelist Rev. Rick Warren’s participation in the inauguration despite Warren’s support for repealing gay marriage in California.

Arrested Equality?

The White House yesterday, announced that President Obama will speak to GLBT community on the eve of the National Equality March on Washington, D.C. My question to you, 'family, is what does Obama need to say to quel some of the angst building against his presidency?

When campaigning, Obama promised many things to the GLBT community, but has failed to deliver. Being forward about this however, the community has been extremely patient giving the current economic agenda and full plate that now rests on his Oval Office desk.

Now that the National Equality March is approaching, questions are being raised and answers are being demanded from this administration. Promises were made a year ago, so clearly there is no more room at the table for promises or proposals. As states who have already awarded right and benefits are repealing both, action is being required from the president. I truly believe that 'equality's development has been arrested. Shackled by tradition, sentenced by society for a lifetime of injustice to families. He, Obama, better speak and dammit, he better speak fast.