Sunday, July 30, 2006

Anti-gay Group Vows to Continue Fight

Recently we reported that the anti-gay group, MassResistance, was questioning whether they could go on with their anti-gay agenda. They considered the creation of an independent commission on gay and lesbian youth as a crushing defeat for their organization. This is because they had spent countless hours in the weeks leading up to the vote lobbying lawmakers and trying to get their members involved. In the end, not only did they lose the fight, but according to their email, their members didn't even seem to care.
I didn't think MassResistance would be down for long. A few days ago they sent an out an email claiming:
We got an enormous amount of email on this, from across the country and as far away as Europe. I was really quite surprised.
And just about all of it (at least that I've read so far) was exhorting us to continue, not give up, and push forward. (A few emails suggested just moving out of Massachusetts - which is something some of own people, unfortunately, actually are doing.)
The email goes on to state:
This means that we have the challenge before us of ramping up MassResistance in a big way. In order to be effective, we need to bring pro-family political activism to a level that it's never been at before in Massachusetts. This includes organizing and raising money. But much more importantly, it includes a much more serious attitude toward confronting this.

MassResistance offers this suggestion as to why their members did not join them in the state house lobbying against the commission on gay and lesbian youth:

I'm starting to realize that this latest issue in the Legislature - homosexual funding and the commission - is so outrageous and horrible that many people have trouble even dealing with it. Maybe that's why fewer people did something this past week.
Perhaps people did not join MassResistance in spending their summer lobbying against gay youth because they were spending time with their families, on vacation, or enjoying the beautiful weather. Perhaps not every one of their members is as obsessed with homosexuality as the leaders of MassResistance. Or maybe they just don't have as many members as they think they do. I don't think MassResistance realizes that most of the emails they send out go to gay activists who are keeping tabs on what this radical fringe group is up to. The email continues:
I guarantee you this: the other side is not standing still. They're moving quickly to spend that money and move into your schools like never before. And elect their candidates to the Legislature this November. And more. If you want to stop them, this will be when it counts.
True, we are not standing still. We are going to do our best to make schools safe for all students. We are also going to work as hard as we can to elect pro-equality legislators in September’s primary and November's general election. To get involved visit, which will soon have a link to the MassEquality PAC website. MassEquality PAC is where you can find information about campaigns and learn how to volunteer to elect pro-equality legislators. The MassResistance email ends with these words:
So, we're going to be calling on people to stand up and take action. And occasionally help out. At times it may not be comfortable. But what's the alternative?
Let's remember that they are not giving up anytime soon. We need to keep active and be ready to defend ourselves and our community. We are under attack by the radical right. They will do everything they can to destroy our rights, our dignity, our community, and our lives. To answer the question they pose in the last sentence; get a life, spend time with your family, volunteer to feed the poor, help out homeless children, stop trying to destroy people that are different than yourself. That's the alternative.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Big Loss in Washington

The Washington state Supreme Court just ruled against same-sex marriage. In the court's decision they stated that gays and lesbians are not discriminated against because they are allowed to marry. The catch is that they are allowed to marry members of the opposite sex only.
Equal Rights Washington is organizing events throughout the state to protest the court's decision.
This is a sad day for civil rights. Once again, Massachusetts stands alone in the fight for marriage equality. This makes it even more important that we keep equal marriage legal here. Massachusetts stands as a beacon of hope for gays and lesbians throughout the nation.
I will have more on the decision and the aftermath later.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Anxiously Waiting in Washington

The Washington state Supreme Court has announced that it will release its decision on same-sex marriage Wednesday morning. People all across the country have been anxiously waiting to see if Washington will become the second state to legalize gay marriage.
The announcement will be made at
11:00(EST). I will post the news as soon as I hear it. You can also check out the Washington court's website here. Equal Rights Washington is planning events around the state where people will gather to either celebrate or protest the court's decision.
A few weeks ago
New York's highest court ruled against same-sex marriage. Anti-gay organizations around the country called the New York decision the "Gettysburg" in the gay marriage war. The president of the conservative Marriage Law Foundation actually said, "When people look back and write the history of this issue, they will view the New York decision as the Gettysburg in this big contest." Hopefully tomorrows ruling will prove them wrong.
If the court in
Washington rules in favor of allowing gays and lesbians to marry it will be a huge victory for us. By becoming the second state in the country to allow gay marriage it will take some of the heat of Massachusetts. It will also force anti-gay marriage organizations to split their efforts and money between both states.
There will be a lot of people with their fingers crossed tonight. Let's hope the court in
Washington does the right thing.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Fred "God Hates Fags" Phelps Coming to Mass

The Kansas based hate group lead by Fred Phelps is coming to Fitchburg, Massachusetts this Friday, July 28th. This group is famous for their in-your-face “God Hates Fags” message. The group is coming to town to protest at the funeral of Marine Lance Cpl. Geoffrey Cayer who was killed in Iraq. The Phelps clan usually protests at the funerals of gay men and lesbians who have been murdered or died from AIDS. Recently the group has moved on to demonstrating at the funerals of soldiers that have died in Iraq.
Fred Phelps says that the reason soldiers are dying is because
god hates America for tolerating gays and lesbians. A press release from the Phelps clan about the upcoming protest in Fitchburg states:

God Himself Has Now Become America's Terrorist, Killing and Maiming American Troops in Strange Lands for Fags Sins

They turned America Over to fags; they're coming home In body bags

I was born in Fitchburg and spent most of my life in that area. It is not the place you would expect someone life Fred Phelps to visit. I guess he goes where ever the funerals are taking place.
If you are near St. Joseph's church on Friday around 10:00AM beware of the hate. There will be a few disturbed people holding signs that read, "Thank God for IEDs", "Fags Doom Nations, and "Thank God for Dead Soldiers".
I suggest staying away from the Phelps protest altogether. Usually I would plan a counter-protest, but I believe that at a funeral the best thing to do is to ignore them. A counter-protest would be loud and only draw more attention to their hate-filled message.
It is possible that the Phelps clan might not be there on Friday. They sometimes don't even show up to their own protests. Let's hope that is the case this time.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

ACLU Defends Fred "God Hates Fags" Phelps

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Kansas based hate group lead by Fred Phelps. The group got its start protesting funerals of gays and lesbians. At the funeral of Mathew Shepard the Phelps clan held signs that read "God Hates Fags", "Matt's in Hell", and "AIDS Cures Fags".
Some other signs I have seen the Phelps group holding are, "Thank God for 9/11" and "God Blew Up the Shuttle".
Recently the Phelps group has been protesting at the funerals of soldiers that have died in Iraq. Fred Phelps says that the reason these soldiers are dying is because god hates America for tolerating gays and lesbians.
A number of states have enacted laws in response to the protests. Most of the laws ban demonstrations from happening near a cemetery where a funeral is being held. The ACLU is arguing that these new laws infringe on religious freedom and the right of free speech.

As a gay man I completely abhor Fred Phelps and his clan. They have protested at the funerals of gay men who have been murdered and those that have died of AIDS. The extra pain that they cause grieving families to go through is repulsive.
I have even counter-protested the Phelps clan when they came to Massachusetts last year. They came to a few schools around the state to protest gay/straight alliances. I joined others in the state as we chanted, "gay youth under attack! What do we do? Stand up, fight back!" and "go home, don't come back!"
Nevertheless I commend the ACLU for taking this case and fighting for the rights of Fred Phelps. The ACLU will do what it takes to protect the constitution of this country. The 1st amendment rights of Fred Phelps are exactly the same 1st amendment rights of us all. If we allow our government to stomp on his rights, what will stop them from taking away our rights next? If the government can strip the Phelps clan of their rights because of what they are saying, then we all lose. The constitution and the bill of rights are more important defeating Fred Phelps.
The ACLU warned the state of Minnesota
that the popular push to ban protests at military funerals may actually end up causing the state to finance future protests by the followers of Fred Phelps.
“Speech that is cruel, distasteful and upsetting is still protected by
the First Amendment, and by leaving the state on precarious legal footing, what this bill is doing is encouraging Phelps to sue, and have the state help fund his operations.”
The irony in all this is
that Fred Phelps claims that god hates America. Yet it is the United States constitution that guarantees him the right to carry his disgusting signs and shout "God Hates Fags" in public.
Down with Fred Phelps! Cheers to the ACLU!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Anti-gay Groups Furious

Anti-gay organizations in Massachusetts are furious with the overrides of Romney's vetoes of safe schools. MassResistance is questioning if they can even go on with their anti-gay agenda after this crushing defeat. Read their latest email update here.
Massachusetts 'Family' Institute (MFI) said in an email update today that legislators “disregarded children” in overriding Romney's vetoes of safe schools. The more “main-stream” anti-gay organization, MFI, mentions the radical fringe group MassResistance in their email. Here are some excerpts from the MFI email:
MFI would like to thank the hundreds of concerned citizens who e-mailed their legislators to ask them to uphold Governor Romney's vetoes of the dangerous budget items increasing the exposure of public school children to the homosexual agenda. Unfortunately, the lobbying of all of you and the lobbying of MassResistance was not enough to stop the powerful homosexual lobby on Beacon Hill.

The initial vote was 99-52! The veto had been upheld and the commission defeated. According to MassResistance, an uproar ensued and the chamber had to be gaveled quiet. There was then a motion to reconsider, which was taken up following a brief recess. When the dust had settled, and a second vote was taken, the strong-arming had taken its toll. The vote switched to 104-44 and the homosexual lobby and their powerful allies in the leadership had exerted its power once again.

The result of these votes is dangerous and means that parents must be even more vigilant in finding out what their children are being taught and exposed to in school. The homosexual lobby on Beacon Hill is stronger than ever, and they have succeeded in pushing their unhealthy and immoral agenda even further into the mainstream and into your children's classrooms. Do not be afraid to ask your child's teachers and administrators what sexuality issues will be taught, and when same-sex marriage and homosexual will be a part of the lesson plan or a subject of a school activity or event. If they refuse to answer, take your case to other parents and the school committee. The Legislature has betrayed the parents of the Commonwealth, so it is up to each mother and father to be there more than ever for their children.
The Massachusetts 'Family' Institute is once again putting their anti-gay agenda above the safety of children. If they had succeeded in upholding the vetoes of the safe schools programs countless children would have been put in danger. Luckily we were able to stop them this time. We must be ready for many more battles to come. Anti-gay organizations are not going away anytime soon.
Meanwhile Governor Romney wasted no time abolishing the original 14 year old Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth.

By the way, the MFI email mentions the "homosexual agenda". What exactly is the "homosexual agenda"? Go here to find out.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

VICTORY!!!! Gay Youth Protected!

The Massachusetts House of Representatives has voted to override the governor's vetoes of safe schools!
This is a huge victory for gay and lesbian youth in Massachusetts. Congratulations to everyone who called and emailed their representatives. We have made schools safer for LGBT youth.

I am happy to report that today we defeated MassResistance and Massachusetts ‘Family’ Institute in their attempts to make schools unsafe for LGBT youth.
These anti-gay organizations have been lobbying everyday; urging representatives to de-fund the safe schools program. MassResistance has focused all of its energy in the past few weeks on sustaining these vetoes. Massachusetts ‘Family’ Institute urged their members to call their representatives and tell them to block the funding for safe schools. These anti-gay organizations took a huge blow today.
The vote was extremely close and filled with drama. First the representatives voted to sustain the governor's veto of the Commission for Gay and Lesbian Youth. We lost by two votes.
Then the pro-gay reps made a motion to reconsider the vote. A few reps spoke about the need to make schools safe for LGBT students. Not surprisingly, Rep. Travis spoke against safe schools.
In the end, a couple of legislators switched their votes and the override passed. I was in the gallery watching all this happen. We won by one vote. The fact that it was so close speaks to how much work we have to do to educate legislators.

Update: Here is the roll call for the final vote to override the governor's veto of the Commission for Gay and Lesbian Youth. Take a few minutes to thank the reps that voted Yes. Tell the reps that voted No that you are disappointed in their votes. (X = did not vote)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Mass Family Institute Joins Attack on Gay Youth

The Massachusetts 'Family' Institute (MFI) has joined other anti-gay organizations in attacking gay youth. Today MFI sent out an email to all their members urging them to contact their legislators to tell them to oppose an override of Governor Romney's vetoes of safe schools. The MFI email states:
Gov. Mitt Romney, who has been a pro-family leader for us on Beacon Hill, recently took out his veto pen and took out four budget items that would quadruple the funding for homosexual programs in the state's schools. The funding to push the homosexual agenda on our youth would grow to nearly $2 million. He also vetoed the creation of a new legislative "commission" made up of primarily homosexual activists that would decide how to spend the money. The Legislature has positioned itself to take up the vetoes this week and if the pro-gay legislators can marshall a two-thirds vote together, they can override the veto and put the money and the commission right back into the budget.

We need everyone to E-mail their state representative today and ask them to vote to uphold Gov. Romney's vetoes. Click on the link below for an E-mail message that you can personalize to your legislator.
The MFI email gives their members a link to send an pre-written email to their legislators. The pre-written email mentions MassResistance, a fringe radical anti-gay group. The email states:
I am writing to you today to ask you to NOT override Gov. Romney's vetoes of four budget items linked to the homosexual agenda in public schools. These budget items - Item # 4590-0250 (Dept. of Education), Item # 7010-0005 (Dept. of Education), Item # 4513-1130 (Dept. of Public Health), and Section 4 - are tools that the homosexual lobby will use to further their radical agenda at the cost of parent's rights.

While the funding may at first appear innocent, the reality is quite the opposite. The funding has been used in the past to fund programs that teach homosexual acts and cross-dressing to children, encourage experimentation, and push the normalcy of homosexuality. These programs are very dangerous to children, and overrule parents when it comes to teaching about these very sensitive subjects.

The first 3 items would increase funding for pro-homosexual programs in Massachusetts public schools to as much as $2 million. The current budget is $250,000--which is, according to MassResistance, more than any other state in America. In typical fashion, these funds are hidden under seemingly innocent titles and descriptions, but the truth has been revealed over and over again.
This is going to be a tough fight. We NEED to take action now! This vote will probably happen tomorrow or the next day. Young LGBT teens deserve to be safe in school. Go here to keep schools safe!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Memorial Service for Eric Rofes

A memorial service will be held for Eric Rofes on Thursday, July 20th at 7:00pm. The service will be at First Church Boston, 66 Marlborough (at Berkeley).
Eric Rofes helped lay the foundation for the gay rights movement in
Massachusetts. In 1970 he was part of a team in Boston that published the world’s first weekly gay newspaper called Gay Community News. In 1982 he founded the Boston Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance. This organization became a key player in city politics. We would not be where we are today if not for the hard work of Eric Rofes. Eric died at age 51 of a heart attack in Provincetown on June 26th.
Every gay person who values their rights owes Eric Rofes thanks. Let's show our gratitude by attending his memorial service on Thursday.

"Eric was an absolute giant of the gay movement -- as an intellectual, an organizer, and an activist," said anthropologist and community historian Gayle Rubin. "He was a massive presence, whose influence was felt across a broad range of constituencies and issues and organizations. It’s as if a mountain has suddenly vanished."

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Keep Calling for Safe Schools

The Massachusetts legislature has not yet voted on Romney's vetoes of safe schools. We must continue to call and email these legislators. Tell them why you believe schools should be safe for all students. Urge them to vote yes to override Romney's vetoes of safe schools. This vote could happen any day now. Don't wait, call and email these legislators immediately.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Protecting the Constitution

Congratulations to everyone who showed up at the State House for the constitutional convention. Supporters of equality outnumbered our anti-equality opponents even though they were busing people in from all over the state.
All in all we had a good day. The legislature postponed the vote on the anti-gay marriage amendment until November 9th. That gives us four months to work on getting the votes we need to defeat this amendment.
We have a lot of work to do in the next four months. It is time to step up our efforts and kill this discriminatory amendment once and for all. It's going to be a lot of hard work, but no one said that protecting the constitution would be easy.
How many more days at constitutional conventions are we going to have to take out of our lives to attend? What could we have been doing today instead of fighting for our rights? What could our opponents have been doing today instead of trying to strip gays and lesbians of their right to marry?
We all could have been spending time with our families, taking the kids out for ice cream, going to a water park, reading a book with the children, taking a walk in a park, going out to dinner with our families....but once again we were forced to spend the day at the state house protecting the constitution.
Enough is enough. Let's come back in four months with the votes we need to end this thing once and for all!

Constitutional Convention

The constitutional convention starts at 1:00pm today. Show up at the State House any time before that and grab a sign. The anti-gay organizations are busing people in from all over the state. Their busses will be arriving in Boston at about 9:00am. If you absolutely can not make it to the state house, you can watch the rally here (live with sound!).

No matter what you do today, don’t forget to call and email your state representatives and urge them to vote to override Governor Romney’s vetoes of safe schools. This vote will take place on Thursday. Take Action Now.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Two Big Days, Two Important Votes

Wednesday is the constitutional convention. It is crucial that you show up at the state house between 9:00am and 1:00pm. Bring as many people as you can. If you have never attended a rally or been involved in any political action before, now is the time do something. All you have to do is show up. The anti-gay forces are busing people in from all over the state. Same-sex marriage supporters will be greatly outnumbered. We need you there!

Thursday the Massachusetts House of Representatives will vote on whether or not to override Governor Romney's vetoes of safe schools for LGBT students. We must act fast! Call and email these legislators today! We must make schools safe for all students.

Monday, July 10, 2006

SJC Ruling Places Ball in Legislature's Court

The SJC ruled today that the amendment to strip gays and lesbians of their right to marry can go forward. This ruling comes as no surprise. The case did not have much of a chance. One good thing about this ruling is that it clearly places the ball in the legislature's court. Our representatives now have to stand up and do the right thing. They must kill this discriminatory amendment any way legally possible. Contact your legislators TODAY!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

ACTION ALERT: Romney Vetoes Safe Schools!

We must take action now to save gay/straight alliances! Governor Romney has vetoed the funding needed to keep schools safe for LGBT youth. He has also vetoed the new Commission for Gay and Lesbian Youth. We need to convince the legislature to override the governor's vetoes. We don't have much time. Anti-gay organizations are working overtime, calling legislators to urge them not to override the vetoes.
The facts are clear. LGBT youth are in danger. A study from the Massachusetts Department of Education finds that LGBT youth are over five time more likely to have attempted suicide than their peers. It has been proven that gay/straight alliances are crucial to making schools safer for gay teens.
Go here to find out what you can do to save gay/straight alliances. Take a few minutes to make a phone call, send an email, or write a letter. The safety of LGBT youth is at stake. Take Action Now!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Proven: Gay/Straight Alliances Save Lives

A new study of Massachusetts schools published in last month's issue of the journal Psychology in the Schools proves that gay/straight alliances are crucial for making schools safer for gay youth.
The study was conducted in 52 schools with and without support groups for LGB students.
The study states:
Sexual minority adolescents - those self-identifying as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) or with same-sex desires or sexual experiences - report higher rates of victimization and suicidality than their heterosexual peers...
We see just how bad it can be for gay youth by looking at an earlier study conducted by the Massachusetts Department of Education. This study shows that LGBT teens are over five times more likey to have attempted suicide than their peers. The same study shows that gay youth are three times more likely than their peers to miss school because of feeling unsafe. They are also three times more likely to have been injured at school.
We now have proof that schools with gay/straight alliances are safer for gay youth. The new study of 52 schools with and without
support groups for LGB students reports:
As hypothesized, sexual minority adolescents in schools with LGB support groups reported lower rates of victimization and suicide attempts than those in other schools.
Gay/straight alliances save lives. We have known that to be true for a long time. Finally we have the proof. Now we need to keep these life saving groups in our schools. Anti-gay organizations are trying to take funding away from these groups. Take action now to save gay/straight alliances!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Massachusetts Stands Alone

New York's highest court ruled today that gay and lesbian people are not equal to their peers. In the 4 - 2 decision against equal marriage rights the court said,
"For the welfare of children, it is more important to promote stability, and to avoid instability, in opposite-sex than in same-sex relationships.”
Once again we hear the bogus argument that banning same-sex marriage is in the best interest of children. This argument not only sounds foolish, it has also been proven wrong by the nation's largest pediatricians group.
In the fight for equal marriage rights, Massachusetts continues to stand alone; a beacon of hope for gay and lesbian couples throughout the nation.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Anti-gay Organizations Hurting Children

The nation's largest pediatricians group says that children would benefit from the legalization of same-sex marriage. The American Academy of Pediatricians has released a 16 page report which found that children of same-sex parents do better in areas of the country which recognize their parents' relationships. The report lays to rest the bogus argument that banning same-sex marriage is in the best interest of children.
The report also touches on the effects that anti-gay organizations have on children. The rhetoric that anti-gay organizations spew daily has a deeply disturbing negative impact on
The report states:

"As children, many gay and lesbian persons experience considerable isolation, peer rejection, ridicule, harassment, and/or depression at some time. At least 47% of gay and lesbian teens have seriously considered suicide, and 36% have actually attempted suicide. They may experience rejection by their families, homelessness, maltreatment in school, and violence. As adults, gay and lesbian people continue to experience social marginalization, discrimination, and hate-crime violence."

The findings in this report prove what many people already know to be true. Organizations such as the Massachusetts 'Family' Institute, The Catholic Action League of Massachusetts, Vote on Marriage, and Massresistance are causing a great deal of harm to children. Ironically these organizations, and others like them, often claim to be protecting children. In reality, these groups are just out to advance their political agenda. They don't seem to care that there own ambitions are hurting children.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Gay Youth Under Attack!

We need to act fast!
The GOOD news is that the
Massachusetts legislature has just released the new budget which includes funding for the Governor's Commission for Gay and Lesbian Youth. This funding is used to make schools safe for LGBT students.
A recent study conducted in
Massachusetts shows that LGBT teens are over five times more likely to have attempted suicide than their peers. The same study shows that gay youth are three times more likely than their peers to miss school because of feeling unsafe. They are also three times more likely to have been injured at school.

The Governor's Commission for Gay and Lesbian Youth saves lives! Gay/straight alliance clubs in schools provide safe places for LGBT youth to meet. These clubs build community spirit, mutual understanding, promote tolerance, and combat homophobia.
The BAD news is that these gay/straight alliances are UNDER ATTACK! A radical anti-gay organization is trying to stop the legislature from funding the Governor's Commission for Gay and Lesbian Youth. The scary part is that if we don't act now we could actually lose this one!
It looks like Governor Mitt Romney is going to veto the funding that we need to keep LGBT students safe in schools. However, we might be able to convince him not to veto the money.
First, call the governor (you will speak to one of his aids) and explain why you believe gay/straight alliances are so important in our schools. Then send him a follow up email expressing your concern once again. We might be able to convince him to do the right thing.

However, if he does veto the funding, we can override his veto if we have enough votes. To override his veto we will need 105 legislators in the House to vote with us. That means the anti-gay groups only need 53 votes to beat us!
Anti-gay organizations are having hundreds of people make calls to a targeted group of state legislators to try and stop the funding for gay/straight alliances. They are even having people that live in other states call OUR state legislators!
We need to be calling these same legislators and telling them to vote to override the governor's veto. Start by calling your own legislators.
Next, we will use the list provided by the anti-gay group to call the same targeted group of legislators. Start with the top of the list and work your way down. Their WebPages are included so you can send them an email as well. When you call you will be speaking to an aid. Politely tell this person why you think our schools should be safe for ALL students and urge them to vote to override the governor's veto.
We Must Take Action Now!