Six Days for Marriage Equality

October 29, 2008

In six days, voters will head to the polls across this great country to vote, among other things, for the future leadership in Pennsylvania and across America.  Although most everyone will probably be relived to take a breather from the non-stop polls and pundits, this election is turning into quite a historic moment for both this country and the LGBT movement.

One of the most important issues on the ballot for LGBT Americans will be voted on in California, as voters will decide whether or not to pass Proposition 8, a measure that would eliminate the fundamental right for same-sex couples to marry in California.

From the No on 8 website,

Prop 8 is Unfair

Regardless of how you feel about this issue, we should not eliminate rights for any Californian. Prop 8 would mandate, under the laws of our state, that one group of people would be treated differently form everyone else. That’s just unfair.

Prop 8 is Wrong

Prop 8 is fueled by special interest groups that have engaged in a deceptive campaign.

The government has no business telling people who have been together for years that they can or cannot get married.

In California, we let people decide for themselves what’s best for them. We believe in the freedom to make choices without government interference. Prop 8 is wrong for California.

This is truly a historic moment for our community.  Between now and election day, please spread the word to your friends and family in California and ask them all to VOTE NO on 8!

Discrimination should never be written into the constitution.

Click here for more information on Write to Marry Day!

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October is GLBT History Month!

October 2, 2008

GLBT History Month highlights and celebrates the many amazing achievements of GLBT people throughout our history, and specifically focuses on one hero special person each day.  To see the daily videos on these fantastic pioneers for the GLBT community, click here.

And amazing props to Equality Forum for organizing and supporting such a special and important project!


70% Support for Marriage or Civil Unions for Same-Sex Couples.

October 1, 2008

You read that right, seventy percent of Pennsylvania voters support marriage or civil unions for same-sex couples!

New polling results released this weekend show about 70 percent of Pennsylvania voters supporting same-sex marriage or civil unions, according to the Southwestern Pennsylvania Program for Deliberative Democracy, a public opinion polling organization based at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA.

These results confirm recent polling data released by Susquehanna Polling and Research in February indicating that 65 percent of Pennsylvania residents support civil unions for same-sex couples while just 27 percent oppose it.  Support for civil unions include 58 percent of Republicans, according to the Susquehanna poll, with just 35 percent of registered GOP voters opposing.

Pennsylvania voters are obviously ahead of their elected officials on this issue.  Seventy percent– it’s very hard to get seventy percent of people to agree on anything— support equality and fairness for LGBT people and their loved ones.

The Deliberative Poll was conducted this past Saturday at Carnegie Mellon University, Slippery Rock University, Shippensburg University, and the Community College of Philadelphia and required participants to research information on the topic, hear from experts, and then answer survey questions.

For more information on the poll, click here.


Two Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities in Philly- Aug. 26 and Sept. 9!!!

August 17, 2008

Over the summer months, volunteers across the state collected thousands of letters in support of non-discrimination legislation and against the so-called “marriage protection amendment.” Before the state legislature returns to work in September, we urgently need volunteers to help sort, district, and organize these letters to show our elected officials that people from across the state stand for equality and against discrimination!

Join other fabulous activists in the Philly area for two upcoming volunteer nights:

Tuesday, August 26, 2008 from 5:30 – 7:30pm
Tuesday, September 9, 2008 from 5:30 – 7:30pm

As always, fantastic food, great music, and outstanding company will be provided. These two nights are super important so that we can really show our legislators that tremendous support exists across the state for non-discrimination legislation. For more information or to RSVP for one of these nights, please e-mail Jake at jkaskey@equalitypa.org or call him at (215) 731-1447 x 14.


UPDATED INFO: Equality Forum: LGBTQ Youth Event on Saturday, May 3, 2008

April 29, 2008

LGBTQ youth ages 13-23: Join us on Saturday, May 3, 2008 at the Attic Youth Center for a fun and information-filled day! Drop in between 11am-7pm at the Attic at 255 South 16th Street in Philadelphia. Food will be provided!

As part of Equality Forum, the Attic Youth Center is hosting a day of activities, speakers and information for LGBTQ youth. Katie Stewart, Youth Law Project Attorney, will be presenting a workshop about LGBTQ youth legal rights and advocacy. In addition, there will be workshops about student rights, HIV 101, strengthening your GSA, and much more!  The workshops will begin around 1:30pm or 2:00 pm.

Come & learn about your rights! Come & ask Katie (and the other lawyers, social workers and activists) your questions! Or just come & grab some food and meet other LGBTQ youth! But don’t miss the fun.

If you have any questions or want to know more about Saturday’s event, contact Katie Stewart at kstewart@equalitypa.org.


Pittsburgh Blog for Equality Day!

March 31, 2008

The friendly folks out in ‘da ‘Burgh are really fantastic and today held what I believe is the first-ever Pennsylvania-centric Blog for Equality Day!

Bloggers together, in one voice, stepped up to voice their opposition to the Marriage Protection Amendment. Some spoke from personal experience, others spoke of inequality and the Pennsylvania we want to see— but they all together committed to spreading information about this legislation and educating their readers on how to make their own voices heard.

Major kudos to Pittsburgh Lesbian Correpondents for bringing this all together. For a complete list of participating blogs, just click here.


Papers across Pennsylvania SLAM SB 1250!

March 29, 2008

Erie Times-News
March 28, 2008 Editorial “State Marriage Amendment Unnecessary”

“As Pennsylvanians have certainly noticed, the state Legislature didn’t get around to passing a smoking ban, property-tax reform, health-care reform, equitable funding for education issues, and so forth. But the Senate Judiciary Committee members did find time to debate and vote on Senate Bill 1250, the marriage amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution…We have to wonder why 10 senators would try to push a constitutional amendment that seems unnecessary and undoable. It looks like an effort to curry favor with the agendas of some religious groups and others. Meanwhile, major issues such as health care and education remain on the sidelines.”
http://www.goerie.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080328/OPINION01/803280370/-1/OPINION

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
March 22, 2008 Editorial “Marriage Mischief: Another Attempt to put Bigotry in the Constitution”


“When it comes to the continuing attempt to make the Pennsylvania Constitution explicitly say that marriage is between one man and one woman, it is hard to say what is worse — the obsession or the waste of time. Can we now assume that the Legislature has adequately addressed the issues important to most Pennsylvanians? For example, has it taken all the steps needed to reform itself? Has it enacted comprehensive property tax reform? How about equitable funding for education? The answer, of course, is ‘no.'”

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08082/867107-35.stm

Beaver County Times
March 23, 2008 Editorial “A Gay Time”

“The state Senate Judiciary Committee last week voted 10-4 to send to the full Senate a proposal that would amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to ban gay marriages and civil unions. We know, we know. Despite soaring gasoline prices, skyrocketing home heating oil costs, escalating grocery bills, a tanking economy, Wall Street gyrations, home foreclosures, the fifth year of the Iraq occupation and a fascinating presidential Democratic primary, gay marriages and civil unions are what everybody has been talking about. Never mind that state lawmakers refuse to tackle mundane issues like adequately funding the state’s crumbling roads and bridges, helping municipalities upgrade their aging water and sewer lines, fixing the state’s inequitable school funding formula or doing something about the commonwealth’s excess of small municipalities and school districts.”
http://www.timesonline.com/articles/2008/03/23/opinion/editorials/doc47e3ebad15128372036962.txt

The Morning Call
March 19, 2008 Blog Posting by State House Reporter John L. Micek

“As if the bill itself isn’t goofy enough (it also includes a ban on civil unions), the committee held just one public hearing on it (Monday) before reporting the bill out to the full Senate on Tuesday. We’ll also point out this action came in the age of alleged reform where the public is supposed to get plenty of time to vet and review legislation.”
http://blogs.mcall.com/capitol_ideas/2008/03/a-solution-in-s.html

Philadelphia City Paper
March 13, 2008 Pandering Guide

“The problem: Gay marriage is illegal in Pennsylvania. And the situation might get worse. Two years ago, a bill was proposed in the State House that would amend the state constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage and civil unions. The House is voting on Bill 1250 this month. If it passes, there could be serious side effects in Philadelphia, which has concocted a slew of marketing campaigns to attract LGBTQ folks (and their money).”
http://www.citypaper.net/articles/2008/03/13/the-pandering-guide

Lancaster Intelligencer Journal
February 28, 2008 “Red Herrings, In Our View”

“To listen to some local politicians this year, the two biggest problems facing Pennsylvania are gay marriage and denying gun rights to people who want to pack heat while taking a leisurely walk through
county parks. Welcome to fantasy land. In fact, Pennsylvania faces a mountain of problems, but some legislators and legislative candidates seem more interested in spreading ideology than in solving problems.”

http://eedition.lancasteronline.com/pages/news/edition/IJAM/20080228/A/10/20

York Dispatch
March 25, 2008 Editorial


“If any timely words of wisdom could be imparted to the state Senate in this time of partisan sniping at the state and national level amid concerns over healthcare reform, highway maintenance and onerous
property taxation, they would be: Stick to important business. But as usual, such caution is wasted in the political wind. So the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, with a pile of important issues on its plate, in a 10-4 vote decided it was time to amend the state Constitution by banning gay and lesbian marriage — and halt those looming threats to civilization, civil unions, in their tracks…A suggestion to those who claim the commonwealth may not survive unless the state Constitution is so amended: not now.” Instead, in the face of election pressures, show some backbone and deal with the ever-growing problem of school property taxes and commensurate education funding. Deal with the rising cost of health care for all Pennsylvanians and put some effort into ensuring this state has a safe and modern transportation system. Marriage, traditionally, has done quite well in protecting itself down the centuries. Any legislative alterations can wait, for a very, very long time.”

Lancaster Intelligencer Journal
March 20, 2008 article by Jeff Hawkes, “The Curious Rush to Ban Gay Marriage”

“Speed should not be of the essence when contemplating a change to the constitution, the bedrock of principles upon which a democracy is built. Yet the Republican-controlled state Senate, known for dragging its feet on festering problems Pennsylvanians want fixed — from burdensome property taxes to the high cost of health insurance for the working poor — has put the pedal to the metal in trying to amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage once and for all…The primary effect of the amendment would be to make gays and lesbians second-class citizens. It’ll be Pennsylvania’s loss when that message of intolerance causes couples to move to states where they’re valued. But beyond the basic unfairness of the proposed amendment is the specter of unintended consequences resulting from the wording of the bill itself.”