My morning was started off pretty bad. I was looking at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution website and ran across this letter entitled "Gay wedlock would lead to worse" that was published this morning. This opinion letter, citing some of the most unbelievable propaganda and right-wing, fundamentalist lies I've ever had the displeasure to read was penned by Atlanta attorney George M. Weaver of the lawfirm Hollberg & Weaver, LLP. Note that on his fields of specialty, he has the nerve to list "Civil Rights". I want all of you to send George M. Weaver an email explaining what YOU think about him and his letter in the AJC this morning, but please consider your tone before you do. The last thing you need to do is vilify him by send him something that is equally as hateful as what he wrote. Make intelligent, well thought points or please - don't bother.
Also published was another story on how the Ga. House should divorce Senate's gay marriage ban that you should also read. It, along with the words of a friend I respect immensely and my penchant for activism led me to this post. You see, I have this friend. He was involved in a car accident a few years ago that resulted in the death of his boyfriend. His partner died alone calling for him because our government feels that unless you are a married heterosexual couple, your love for your partner is invalid and it doesn't matter if they are asking for you to be with them while they are dying. We don't count. We don't matter in the eyes of the law. The very thought of this brought me to inconsolable tears. No one deserves that. That is yet another reason why legal sanctioning of gay marriage is SO important. Yesterday the government in my own state introduced a ban on gay marriage, but it doesn't go into effect unless it passes a vote in the house in November. There is much work to be done before then.
I hear talk of people who think that settling for civil unions that don't guarantee the same benefits and protections offered to heterosexuals is what we should strive for. I say TO HELL with settling on second class. If I'm going to ride the bus, you can bet your ass I'm not sitting in the back. What about you? Below is a list of resources for you to get involved and help bring about this change.
- If you haven't already done so, go to www.dontamend.com and sign the petition pledging not to vote for anyone who supports the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment. go to Lambda International and print out a copy of the Marriage Resolution. What is the Marriage Resolution? It looks like this:
Fill it out and fax it or email it back to Lambda at email@example.com. And while you're at it, make extra copies of it and give it to your friends. Leave copies lying around in strategic places where strangers can see it--your public library, for example, or the computer labs in your school.
- Learn about gay history! But also concern yourself with contemporary gay issues that go beyond marriage. For the issue of gays in the military, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network is absolutely the best resource I've found. Lambda Legal helps protect the civil rights of LBGT and/or HIV-positive persons on state and national levels. PFLAG is, as always, the definitive resource for information about being an ally. And 365gay.com provides comprehensive world-wide coverage of just about everything in gay news and issues.
- If you're too cheap for stamps and don't like the telephone, take the online route and contact your elected officials -- all of 'em. People For the American Way has been generous enough to amass all the contact information in one place in a manner comprehensive enough that I could contact my Comptroller of Public Accounts and Railroad Commission Chair, if I felt so inclined. It lets you contact everybody from the President to your local elections authority. A well-written, spell-checked email only takes ten minutes or so to write, and you can even send the same one to several people - I doubt they compare notes.
- Follow Google's directory links for Politics of Sexuality and Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Politics, which encompass a variety of viewpoints on a variety of issues, and can keep a mind occupied for several hours.
- Find out what's going on in your area by signing up with the HRC'S Grassroots Advocacy Action Center, which sends out action alerts and volunteer opportunities tailored to specific geographic and legislative areas. Browse PFAW's network of progressive organisations to see which ones are working on LBGT issues.
- If you've got money - which none of us do, I know - follow nearly any of those links up there and you will find an organisation not only worthy of monitary donations, but desperately in need of them. Consider buying this year's commercial winter holiday gifts from worthy places such as the HRC Corner Store, Activist Gear, or Over the Rainbow.
- If you're of the legal mind, read this summer's Lawrence v. Texas decision, or about the Bowers v. Hardwick decision - and the corresponding sodomy laws -- that it overturned. Learn about how gay marriage in Canada is panning out beyond Ontario and British Columbia.
- Call the White House. The White House switchboard is (202) 456-1414.
- Call Congress. The Congressional switchboard is (202) 224-3121.
- Contact the Coalition to Protect Marriage and yell at them. A bunch. *Especially* if you are a member of, an affiliate of, or a constituent of any of the following groups which comprise this organization. Take a good look at this list. I've linked directly to their contact pages below. Hell, even if you aren't affiliated with them, email them.
American Association of Christian Schools
American Family Association (and as a bonus, check out their subsidiary group NoGayMarriage.com. Ugh, I HATE the AFA, I really, really do.
American Values Institute
Citizens for Community Values
Concerned Women for America (scroll all the way to the bottom, past their "11 ways to fight the homosexual agenda" and their "15 reasons to oppose sexual orientation codes in schools" articles.)
Eagle Forum (email firstname.lastname@example.org)
Family Research Council
Focus on the Family (Another group I absolutely loathe.)
Free Congress Foundation
Gideon Christian Fellowship Church--New Orleans, LA. Pastored by the Rev. Willie Wooten. Give them a call at (504) 947-9781. :D
Home School Legal Defense Association
INSP TV Network (the Inspiration Network.)
National Religious Broadcasters
Prison Fellowship Ministries and their Wilberforce Forum
Religious Freedom Coalition
Southern Baptist Convention. Sigh. Their site seems to be totally non-functional at the moment, hopefully for the reason that it has been taken over by a horde of angry liberal christians. If any of you are a member of a Southern Baptist church, please contact that church and let them know how you feel.
Thomas Road Baptist Church. This would be Jerry Falwell's church, folks. I really really hope none of you attend. :D
World Magazine. (This appears to be such a radical conservative magazine that it's practically a tabloid.)
- Educate yourself. Check out the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's findings and opinions on same-sex marriage. If you're looking for an excellent argument about why religion has absolutely no place in the question of legal marriage, check out this article: "It's Time to Privatize Marriage" by Wendy McElroy.
- Send your US Congressmen a free fax regarding the proposed US Contitution amendment which would invalidate all state and local domestic partnership laws and nullify civil rights protections based on marital status.
Also, if you're not a member of the ACLU, consider joining. They're the good guys.
- If you're one of those people with more money than I have, then check out Freedom to Marry and their Partners, and consider making a donation to any of these coalitions.
- Explore People for the American Way's listing of progressive gay rights organizations. Includes community, state, and national organizations. Just reading about some of these groups, such as the Marcus Wayman Memorial organazation, is mobilizing. You guys from Boston--now would be a great time to think about joining The Freedom to Marry Coalition of Massachusetts.
Thank Dog for Cafepress and freedom of speech. Order Black Thursday's "Support Gay Marriage" tees. Check out Activist Gear's entire anti-Bush selection, though they don't have gay activism slogans. If you're a member of a heterosexual family unit, constantine has set up a really kickass cafepress shop for heterosexual families to voice their support for ALL kinds of family structures. In addition, check out Over the Rainbow's bumper sticker collection. Browse through the top-100 t-shirt stores and find a political statement that's right for you, and then wear that sucker all over town.
I have my own cafepress.com shop set up, so go buy something!! Here's the current design:
And while you're at it, don't forget to order your Republicans for Voldemort t-shirt.
This is by no means a complete list; however, like ten thousand lawyers chained together at the bottom of the ocean, it's a good start.
Just do something. Write something. Say something. If you don't feel comfortable opening your mouth, open your wallet. If you're not sure how to begin talking to your friends and family about LBGT issues, stick a sticker on your car and wait until someone asks. Maybe you're the first gay or allied person someone has ever known - believe me that putting a face with a issue can change a person's entire worldview - or maybe you're the first other gay or allied person someone has ever known -- and unless you've been there, you can't know what a difference that makes - or maybe you're just another voice among many - but every voice makes a difference. Change starts small. It always has.
So what it comes down to is this: If you're gonna be in the choir, fine. But you better sing real pretty.
I make this post in memory and in honor of Travis...
Many thanks and much gratitude to xtex and ladysisyphus for inspiration and information