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USA, California: Anti Gay Group Goes to Court to Revive Anti Transgender Initiative

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Transgender FlagAn anti gay group is going to court to challenge the state’s count of signatures for an initiative to repeal the bill that offers protections to transgender kids in schools.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

The Pacific Justice Institute, a Christian legal group, announced Tuesday that it has filed papers in Sacramento Superior Court seeking a court order that would compel Secretary of State Debra Bowen to qualify the measure for the November ballot. Attorney Matthew McReynolds says the group is arguing that county election officers improperly invalidated more than 17,276 signatures from the petitions the referendum’s supporters circulated. McReynolds says his own signature was thrown out because it did not match the one on his original voter registration card, a discrepancy he attributed to the fact that he is now blind.

They never, ever, ever, ever give up, do they? They will even go after children in their zeal to keep the LGBT community down. Truly sickening.

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USA, California: Opponents of Transgender Kids Law Not Giving Up

Monday, March 17th, 2014

Transgender FlagOpponents of the new law to protect transgender kids in California are still trying to find a way to quality for the ballot.

SDGLN reports:

Opponents of a new law that allows transgender students a choice of which restroom and locker room to use are scouring thousands of signatures that were tossed out in San Diego County and elsewhere, hoping to uncover enough evidence to prove that their referendum should be placed on the November ballot. But it will not be easy. They must painstakingly double-check each signature for any hint that county elections officials erred. Statewide, nearly 132,000 were disqualified while about 487,500 were found to be valid.

These people never give up. We could learn from them.

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USA, Oregon: Attorney General Accepts “Discrimination” Wording for Right to Discriminate Initiative

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

Oregon Gay MarriageOregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum agreed with proponents of marriage equality that a proposed ballot initiative that would allow wedding vendors to refuse service to same sex couples should include the word discrimination. reports:

Proponents had avoided ballot measure language that mentioned the word ‘discrimination’ in their ‘Protect Religious Freedom Initiative’. Rosenblum disagreed, issuing a ballot title that reads:

“Religious belief” exceptions to anti-discrimination laws for refusing services, other, for same-sex ceremonies, “arrangements”

This was the language sought by opponents of the ballot measure such as Oregon United for Marriage as it “makes clear this measure creates exemptions to non-discrimination laws.”

It seems likely that fewer people will sign a petition that clearly states what the initiative would do. Maybe this thing won’t make the ballot, after all.

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USA, Oregon: Update from Oregon United for Marriage

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Oregon Gay MarriageOur friend Peter Zuckerman, Press secretary for OUFM, sent over an update on the fight there:


It’s an incredible time for the freedom to marry in Oregon. In the courts or at the ballot, we will win—and defend—marriage in 2014!


Support for the freedom to marry in Oregon is at a record high of 55%, according to polling Oregon United for Marriage released on February 20. This is a huge shift over just the past four years– which mirrors what we’re seeing nationally. More and more people are coming to understand that no one should be denied the freedom to marry the person they love.


Over the next four months, we have a new–and huge–job ahead of us: we need to educate Oregonians on an effort by our opponents at the Oregon Family Council to qualify a discrimination initiative, a measure that would allow businesses to deny commercial services to people because of who they are and who they love. Treating people differently based on who they are is discrimination.

At a moment when Oregonians should be celebrating the imminent end of discrimination against loving, committed couples, we’re gearing up to fight another effort to write discrimination back into our laws. This hurtful measure weakens our current anti-discrimination laws so that corporations and commercial businesses can discriminate against gay and lesbian couples by denying them services on their wedding day. Freedom means freedom for everyone, and it is wrong to treat people differently because of who they are and who they love.


Since we launched the Oregon United for Marriage campaign, our goal has been clear: secure the freedom to marry in Oregon through the surest, quickest means possible.

The amazing movement Oregonians have built is continuing the work to win and defend marriage. Oregon United for Marriage is sorting and prepping the signatures, so they’re ready to turn in on a moment’s notice if we need to. And supporters will keep organizing and talking to friends and neighbors to make the case that Oregon is ready for marriage–and not interested in adding discrimination back into our laws.


We hope you can join Oregon United for Marriage at one of the stops on the
TBD locations will be announced soon. Watch for more details in the coming days.


The oral arguments in the marriage equality lawsuit are in mid April, and there could be a ruling as soon as May (though it may take longer). OUFM has until 7/3 to turn in their signatures to put marriage equality on the November ballot.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Oregon.

Find Your Voice

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

Pennsylvania mapGreetings everyone from Pennsylvania. I am a new contributor here on Purple Unions, and I am happy to be here. I am the founder and President of Marriage Equality for Pennsylvania. We are in the midst of becoming a non-profit organization, as we have already filed our incorporation paperwork with the Commonwealth. I could not possibly be more excited about launching this organization. Three years ago, I didn’t think this day would ever come.

In 2011, the organization was nothing more than a thought. I was on the couch in my living room, watching television coverage of the New York General Assembly passing marriage equality. I was ecstatic when the bill passed and headed for Governor Cuomo’s signature. I decided that Pennsylvania needed an organization of people to speak out, write letters to the editors of newspapers across the Commonwealth, and to rally together. I had found my voice, and from that evening, I built Marriage Equality for Pennsylvania.

I encourage others to find their voices. Come to rallies in communities near you. When you come, speak out. When Pride organizations hold annual festivals, attend and stop at the booths. When people ask you to sign a petition to end discrimination or to support marriage equality, sign and tell your friends to sign too. If you don’t think you can make a difference with your own voice, then you aren’t speaking loudly enough to be heard. I could have stayed on the couch until the vote was finished and gone to bed. I didn’t. I used my voice to speak out that people here need to be treated and respected equally. I have used my voice to speak out for marriage equality, so that our lives and loves are respected equally. I have spoken for the children of Pennsylvania who have been bullied in their classrooms and schools.

Although my voice is directed to those who have been rallying for longer than I have, I encourage you to bring your neighbors, friends, and families to rallies in your local communities and states. Rally season is nearly here; what will you say when the time comes to speak?


China: Students Urge Lawmakers to Legalize Marriage Equality

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

Great Wall of ChinaA group of Chinese students has sent letters to the Government to urge them to legalize marriage equality.

Gay Star News reports:

Liang Wenhui, a graduate student from Guangdong University of Foreign Studies and founder of Chinese Gay-Straight Alliance, with the help of other students wrote and posted 3,000 individually-addressed letters to individual deputies of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) last week urging them to legalize same-sex marriage. Twenty-two students from Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou are said to have spent five and half hours stuffing the letters in the envelopes, piling them into four big boxes before taking them to the post office. According to The Nanfang news website, Liang says that same-sex couples have experienced a lot of discrimination when it comes to receiving medical and health services, social welfare, and rights related to the disposal of property, commercial insurance, banking and the purchase of a home.

Change comes, albeit slowly, even in communist China.

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Win, lose, or draw in Arizona?

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

While Governor Brewer’s decision to veto SB 1062 is obviously the right decision to make, it doesn’t make for a complete victory on this issue or this bill.  Simply by passing the legislation in the first place the state legislature legitimized feelings of bigotry and hatred, particularly toward the LGBTQ community.  Passage of this legislation said, in essence, “Its OK to hate and discriminate”.  Clearly the wrong message to send anytime or anywhere.

Now that the bill has been vetoed those who supported it will undoubtedly do as they typically do and blame “the liberal media” while completely ignoring the fact that this legislation is a clear violation of the US Constitution.  They will feel victimized and may lash out toward members of the LGBTQ community in Arizona and elsewhere around the country where these measures are offered up, and defeated (as they should be).

Words and actions have consequences.

USA, Arizona: My Take on Arizona

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Right to Discriminate - Rocco's PizzeriaI can think of few things that would be a more clear violation of our constitution than what is being attempted in Arizona, Missouri, Georgia, Kansas, Ohio, and I’m sure others will follow suit.  Laws that would legalize discrimination have no place in America.  Passing them only validates homophobia, intolerance, and bigotry.  If Governor Jan Brewer vetoes this laws, bigots and homophobes will claim she only did so because of the “liberal media” and not realize that this kind of law is simply wrong.

Like I said, the simple act of passing this law by Arizona’s legislature has fed the fires of hate.  There need to be consequences for these actions.  That is why I created a petition demanding that the NFL relocate the 2015 Super Bowl.  Regardless of whether or not it gets signed into law, the NFL needs to take a stand.

USA, Oregon: AG Won’t Defend Marriage Equality Ban; Poll Shows 55% Support

Friday, February 21st, 2014

titleOregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced yesterday that she will not defend the state’s ban on gay marriage in court.

The Washington Blade reports:

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced on Thursday she won’t defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriage against a legal challenge, saying the law cannot withstand judicial scrutiny “under any standard of review.” Meanwhile, the campaign led by Oregon United for Marriage to bring marriage equality to the state via ballot measure in November says it is holding the surplus of signatures already collected pending the outcome of the lawsuit.

The hearing in the case is set for April 23rd.

Also, from Oregon United for Marriage, the polling looks good:

The campaign also released updated polling today, showing that 55 percent of likely November voters favor allowing gay and lesbian couples the freedom to marry, with just 41 percent opposed. “This is tremendous news. The Attorney General has taken a close look at the facts, and came to the same conclusion that courts around the country and freedom-minded Oregonians have: there is no reasonable or legal justification to exclude committed gay and lesbian couples from marriage,” campaign manager Mike Marshall says. “The dramatic increase in Oregonians’ support for the freedom to marry–from 42 percent support in May 2010 to 55 percent support today–mirrors the movement we’re seeing nationally. More and more people understand that no one should be denied the freedom to marry the person they love.”

So marriage equality in Oregon by 2015? That would lock up the West Coast…

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USA, California: Effort to Repeal Transgender Kids Law Failing So Far

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Transgender FlagThis just in from Equality California:


All kids should have the opportunity to do well in school and graduate. It’s that simple, really.

We promised to keep you updated on the status of a referendum attempt to overturn the School Success and Opportunity Act, or AB 1266, the law that came into effect on January 1 and ensures all kids can go to school, be themselves and do well. The early reports are encouraging.

Opponents of the law did not qualify on the first count, but met the threshold for a full, hand count of all their signatures. The opponents, many of whom were also behind Proposition 8, need to have gathered 504,760 valid signatures to qualify the referendum.

Early returns from the hand count suggest they are not uncovering the additional signatures they need. Of 58 counties, 40 have submitted their final signature counts, and 99,537 of those 125,894 signatures are valid. That is a validity rate of about 79 percent; less than the 81.4 percent they need to qualify. The remaining counties would need to dramatically improve over the spot check in order to make it to the ballot. It will still be close, but I am cautiously optimistic — unless there was a significant problem with the spot check — they will not have enough signatures. To be clear, it is possible, but very improbable, and we just won’t know until the final count. February 24 marks the final deadline for the state to complete a full count of the signatures submitted by opponents who are trying to repeal the law.

I’ve met young people whose lives are already being changed by AB 1266, and I know there are many more out there. For example, Ashton is a 16-year-old transgender boy from Manteca. He lives as a boy but was assigned to girls’ gym class — this singled him out and made going to school difficult. After learning about AB 1266, his school administrators met with him and his parents and made a plan for him to join the boys’ PE class. Now Ashton is happy and doing well at school. Zoey, a 12-year-old transgender girl in the Los Angeles area, has a supportive mom who says that the new law has already provided helpful guidance for her principal, teachers and classmates so that her little girl can be herself at school.

While I never would have chosen to have AB 1266 challenged like this, we have come together as a community to support these transgender kids. The students have been joined by their parents, friends and classmates. Together, Equality California, the Transgender Law Center, the American Civil Liberties Union of California, National Center for Lesbian Rights, GSA Network, Gender Spectrum, the LA Gay and Lesbian Center, and nearly 100 organizations have stepped up as part of the Support All Students effort to defend the law.


In related news, after losing in the federal appeals system three times, the opponents of the law are petitioning the US Supreme Court to support their cause.

Equality on Trial reports:

As anticipated, the group challenging California’s ban on so-called LGBT “conversion therapy” for minors has filed their petition asking the Supreme Court to review the case. A three-judge panel for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled that the law is constitutional, when Liberty Counsel brought a challenge on behalf of several anti-LGBT groups, including National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). The challengers sought en banc review in the Ninth Circuit, a request for the case to be heard by a larger panel of 11 judges in that circuit. That request was denied by a majority of sitting judges.

Tenacious in their efforts to ensure some of our most vulnerable members have no protections, aren’t they?

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