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Houston’s LGBT Protections Ordinance Survives Initial Attack

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

Texas mapThe City of Houston determined that the opponents of a new LGBT civil rights ordinance failed to gather enough valid signatures to put a repeal on the ballot.

The Dallas Voice reports:

The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance will not appear on the November ballot, Mayor Annise Parker announced at a press conference today. “The petition is simply invalid,” said David Feldman, the city’s attorney. Officials said there were too many irregularities in the petition. Some of the pages weren’t notarized, and too many of the signatures were not registered voters, they said. Feldman said, essentially, that there were so many problems with the petition as it was submitted that the city couldn’t accept it. Mayor Annise Parker predicted that opponents will take legal action. Because of expected legal action, she will then delay implementation of the ordinance.

It’s sad that the implementation has been delayed, but this does shift the fight to the courts, which are a lot harder to sway than public opinion with lies and deception.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Texas.

Houston LGBT Rights Ordinance Challenge May Fall Short

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

Texas mapThe city is close to finishing a validation of the signatures turned in by opponents of the new Houston LGBT rights ordinance.

Joe.My.God reports:

From JMG reader Mike Craig of Out & Equal Houston: When the Houston Area Pastors Council turned in 7 boxes of petitions to the City on July 3rd, they boasted of gathering more than 31,000 valid signatures. An independent group of concerned citizens has spent the last three weeks independently reviewing each page of that repeal petition in an effort to provide additional accountability to the referendum process. This was a grass-roots effort involving more than 100 volunteers who communicated via social media and participated in a crowd-sourced effort that uncovered fatal flaws with what was turned in. Having finished this exhaustive review, the HERO Petition Review Working Group concluded that the petitioners did not, in fact, turn in enough valid signatures in order to place this issue on the ballot… Based on these simple criteria, this independent review showed only 16,499 valid signatures were turned in. Additional scrutiny can only lower that number further. A full report detailing these findings has been provided to the City Secretary, City Attorney and Mayor. While it is our hope that the City’s own determination will come to a similar conclusion, we understand that it is ultimately the legal & statutory responsibility of the City Secretary and we will abide by that office’s findings.

The official report has not yet been released, so we have to wait and see if the repeal does quality for the ballot. If not? Expect a lawsuit.

Cases like this make it really clear. It was never really about the word “marriage”. It’s about preventing the granting of any right at all to LGBT citizens.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Texas.

Houston Gay Rights Opponents Turn in Signatures to Repeal LGBT Rights Ordinance

Saturday, July 5th, 2014


It looks like opponents of the new LGBT rights ordinance in Houston have turned in more than enough signatures to force a public vote in November.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

Opponents of Houston’s new LGBT-inclusive equal rights ordinance on Thursday delivered what they say are thousands of voters’ signatures requesting that it be repealed. The group, consisting of pastors and faith-based organizations, said they had collected more than 50,000 signatures calling for a ballot referendum aimed at repealing the measure; a total of 17,269 valid signatures are required to place the issue on the November ballot. They say they want the public to have a chance to vote on the anti-discrimination ordinance, and not just city council members.

It’s amazing to me that these folks hate us enough to want to block even employment and housing protections for the LGBT community. Remember how they always used to tell us it was just about the word “marriage”?

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USA, California: Judge Rules Against Group Trying to Repeal Transgender Kids Law

Saturday, April 19th, 2014

Transgender FlagA group fighting to repeal a bill protecting transgender kids suffered another setback in court today.

LGBTQ Nation reports:

A judge in Sacramento has ruled that elections officials in 30 California counties do not have to turn over records that would help sponsors of a failed ballot referendum challenge the invalidation of thousands of voter signatures. Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley on Friday granted the state’s request to quash subpoenas issued on behalf of Privacy for All Students, which sought to repeal a new law that spells out the rights of transgender students in public schools. Relying on counts submitted by county offices, the secretary of state determined in February that the group was about 17,000 signatures short of the number needed to qualify its proposed referendum to repeal the law.

Hopefully this will put an end to this hateful attempt to take away the rights of some of the most vulnerable kids in the state.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in California.

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.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in California.

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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Finland: Citizen’s Initiative Forces Parliament to Consider Marriage Equality Bill

Friday, February 21st, 2014

Finland FlagThe Parliament is now debating a marriage equality bill in Finland after citizens gathered enough signatures to force consideration.

Gay Star News reports:

Despite same-sex marriage legislation being defeated before, gay rights activists are hoping politicians will do the right thing on their second chance. But unlike last time, politicians are discussing the bill on the will of the people.

Under Finnish law, petitions can be started to force parliament to discuss bills that matter – called a ‘citizen’s initiative’. These petitions require 50,000 names within six months. The marriage equality bill achieved nearly 100,000 signatories in 24 hours. With the final tally at 166,000 names, the proposed petition will be discussed in parliament at its initial stage today where it will be sent to Finland’s legal committee.

According to the article, 58% support marriage equality in the country, with only 34% opposed. Will Finland become the next country to approve marriage equality?

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USA, Oregon: Marriage Equality Group Has 120% of the Signatures Needed

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Oregon United for Marriage ButtonThe Oregon United for Marriage group has exceeded the number of signatures needed (if all are valid) to put marriage equality on the ballot there in November. From their press release:

During Valentine’s Day weekend, Oregon United for Marriage is kicking off a series of parties and events across the state to finish collecting the signatures needed to place the Freedom to Marry and Religious Protection initiative on the ballot.

“We have nearly 140,000 signatures in hand, and we know there are thousands more out there,” said campaign manager Mike Marshall. “Now is the time to get them in to Oregon United’s headquarters. And if you haven’t signed yet—and you want to put your name on this historic petition—you have just a few weeks to help us put this on the ballot.”

All signatures are due to the campaign on March 15. Most of the signatures have been collected by volunteers, and the campaign cannot start processing the signatures for turn in to the Oregon Secretary of State until they are all in hand. To qualify the marriage equality initiative for the November ballot, 116,284 valid signatures must be turned in the the Oregon Secretary of State by July 3.

Volunteers can drop off petition sheets at the campaign headquarters at 727 NE 24th Ave., Portland, 97232; at the Eugene office at 120 West Broadway, Eugene, 97401; or mail them to Oregon Says I Do, PO Box 14250, Portland, Ore. 97214. More information:

During this Oregon Unites for Love weekend, Oregon United for Marriage has planned two dance parties and more than 100 house parties across the state. The campaign will also have a kissing booth set up.


They are also planning some upcoming events:


Pre-Valentine’s Day Dance Party: 9 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 13, Dig A Pony, 736 S.E. Grand Ave., Portland. IBQT will anchor the evening with a live performance. Music by IBQT, Holla ‘N Oates, Roy G Biv. Free. 21+. RSVP.

Valentine’s Day Kissing Booth: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Feb. 14, at all Salt & Straw Scoop Shops. While you’re there, enjoy a scoop from the new line of chocolate ice creams. A part of the proceeds will go to Oregon United for Marriage for the entire month. RSVP

Post Valentine’s Dance Party: 7 to 11 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 15, The Melody Ballroom, 615 S.E. Alder St., Portland. DJ Jimbo and XRAY.FM, featuring dance hits of the 70s and 80s. Silent auction. $45 general admission and $100 VIP tickets include beer, wine, cupcakes, truffles, cheese cake and other appetizers. RSVP.

House Party: The home of Jan Waitt, 4 to 6 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 16, 147 Manzanita St.


House Party: The home of Stu Rasmussen, 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 16, 313 N. James St., Silverton, 97381.


House Party: The home of Shelley Dubkin Lee, 4 to 6 p.m., Sunday Feb. 16, 1115 NW 30th, Corvallis, 97330.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Oregon.

US, Ohio: Marriage Equality Group Has More Than Enough Signatures to Make the Ballot

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

OhioA group pressing for a 2014 or 2016 vote on marriage equality has gathered almost twice as many signatures as they need for the ballot, but are pushing for more.

The Columbus Dispatch reports:

The group pushing to overturn Ohio’s 12-year-old constitutional amendment limiting marriage to a man and a woman says it has 650,000 signatures on a petition to put a gay-marriage measure on the statewide ballot. FreedomOhio’s goal: a million signatures by this summer’s filing deadline for the November election. Only 385,247 valid signatures are needed. “We see strongest support amongst women, single moms, minority and youth voters, which is also termed the ‘rising American electorate,'” said the group’s leader, Ian James. “At FreedomOhio, we call these folks ‘the base.'”

But even if the group gets the million names, the decision on whether to go to the ballot in 2014 or 2016 remains up in the air. It will depend, James said, on “having the resources to identify and mobilize majority support.”

The last poll we’ve seen, from last April, favored marriage equality 48-44%.

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USA, Ohio: FreedomOhio Says It Has Enough Signatures To Put Marriage Equality on the Ballot

Friday, December 20th, 2013

titleIt looks like Ohio is jockeying to be one of the next states to pass marriage equality. And a new poll shows a majority now support the initiative.

Dot429 reports:

The co-founder of FreedomOhio, Ian James, announced on December 19 that their campaign to collect enough signatures to put the legalization of marriage equality on the ballot for 2014 has surpassed its goal. At a news conference, James said that they had exceeded their goal of 385,247 signatures—the minimum required—to put the issue on the state ballot. A second requirement, gathering signatures from 44 of the 88 counties in Ohio, has also been met. James declined to state exactly how many signatures FreedomOhio has been able to collect, but said that they were working to get a full one million signatures by early July, the deadline to file for a ballot referendum in November.

If they collect enough valid signatures, it looks like both Ohio and Oregon will be on the ballot in 2014. States number 18 and 19? Or will someone else get their first? What do you think?

A new poll shows that support for marriage equality in the state has risen to 52%.

Buzzfeed reports:

The survey, conducted by Public Policy Polling of 1,011 Ohio voters from Dec. 6-8, 2013, concluded that 52% of voters would vote in favor of an amendment that “would allow two consenting adults to be married, so long as they are not nearer of kin than second cousins, are not currently married to someone, and no religious institutions will be required to perform or recognize a marriage.” Thirty-eight percent would oppose the amendment, and nine percent were undecided.

Of the 38% who would vote against the amendment, however, PPP asked a follow-up question: “This constitutional amendment protects religious liberties by allowing any house of worship, such as a church or synagogue, to refuse to marry a same-sex couple. Knowing this, if the election were held today, would you vote in favor of this amendment to the Ohio Constitution to allow same-sex couples to marry, or would you vote against it?” More than 10% of those initially against the amendment said that information would change their vote to supporting the amendment, which brought the total support up to 56%.

In related news, proposed legislation in the state would allow same-sex couples to file their taxes jointly.

Edge Boston reports:

Proposed legislation would allow same-sex couples in Ohio to file joint state tax returns in line with a U.S. Supreme Court decision that permits such couples to jointly file federal taxes. Backers say the bill could be enacted despite a 2004 constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in Ohio.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Ohio.