Thursday, December 28, 2006

Profiles in Courage

MassEquality, the organization working to protect same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, delivered copies of John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage to the 109 brave legislators who voted on November 9th to recess the Constitutional Convention. They are urging legislators to adjourn on January 2, killing the anti-gay amendment once-and-for-all.

JFK's Profiles in Courage describes acts of bravery and integrity by eight United States Senators from throughout the Senate's history. The profiled senators defied the public opinion of their constituents to do what they felt was right and suffered severe criticism and losses in popularity because of their actions. The book won the Pulitzer Prize in 1957 and remains one of the definitive books written on political courage.

The 109 legislators that voted to recess the Constitution Convention are perfect examples of Profiles in Courage. The recent SJC ruling lambasting the legislature for not voting on the anti-gay amendment is putting a lot of pressure on pro-equality lawmakers.

If the anti-gay side is able pressure at least 8 representative to abandon the adjournment strategy they will be able to force a vote on the amendment. If the amendment does come to a vote it will pass with just over the 50 votes needed.

Thank the 109 legislators who bravely stood up for equality at the last Constitutional Convention. Ask them to do the right thing again on January 2nd and end the war on equal rights.

Contact your representatives and ask them to stop the anti-gay amendment on January 2nd.

Thank the full list 109 legislators that voted to recess on November 9th.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

SJC Rejects Romney's Anti-gay Lawsuit

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts has refused to force the legislature to vote on the anti-gay marriage amendment. This is an important victory for the pro-equality side. If the legislature had been forced to vote on the amendment, we would have lost.

In its decision the SJC scolded the legislature, saying that it is their constitutional duty to vote on the amendment. However, the court did agree with the pro-equality lawyers saying, "there is no presently articulated judicial remedy for the Legislature's indifference to, or defiance of, its constitutional duties."

The SJC had some harsh words for the legislature:
The members of the joint session have a constitutional duty to vote, by the yeas and nays, on the merits of all pending initiative amendments before recessing on January 2, 2007. With respect to legislative action on proposals for constitutional amendments introduced to the General Court by initiative petition, the language of art. 48 is not ambiguous.
The decision goes on to state:
Some members of the General Court may have reasoned, in good faith, that a vote on the merits of the initiative amendment in accordance with the directives of the pertinent provisions of art. 48 was not required by the constitutional text and that their duty could be met by procedural (or other) votes short of a vote by the yeas and nays on the merits. [FN7] Today's discussion and holding on the meaning of the duty lays any doubt to rest. The members of the General Court are the people's elected representatives, and each one of them has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution of the Commonwealth. Those members who now seek to avoid their lawful obligations, by a vote to recess without a roll call vote by yeas and nays on the merits of the initiative amendment (or by other procedural vote of similar consequence), ultimately will have to answer to the people who elected them.
The court has made it very clear that the legislature has a "constitutional duty to vote" on the pending anti-gay marriage amendment. I believe that both sides will be claiming victory with this ruling.

This is a civil rights issue. It is just for the legislature to practice civil disobedience by refusing to vote on the pending anti-gay amendment.

If the legislature practices civil disobedience by refusing to vote on the amendment, they will be taking part in a long standing tradition in the commonwealth. Massachusetts has a very long history of civil disobedience when it comes to matters of freedom and civil rights. Let us not forget the Boston Tea Party and the American Revolution.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Vigil for Peace and Reconciliation

In response to the violence perpetrated by Larry Cirignano, Executive Director of Catholic Citizenship against pro-marriage equality demonstrator Sarah Loy, The Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project and The Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry are co-sponsoring a candlelight vigil on Wednesday, January 10th.

The tentative plan is to gather at Copley Square, and process to the offices of Catholic Citizenship at 198 Tremont Street in Boston.

The invitation I received goes on to say:
There will be a call to dialogue to anti-marriage activists in Catholic Citizenship, the Catholic League, and the Archdiocese of Boston, as we seek to move beyond the bitter and divisive debate over the proposed ban on same-sex marriage that has raged for over 3 years now. We seek to affirm peace, tolerance and mutual respect for all citizens of the Commonwealth. The tone will be respectful as we seek to dispel the anger and aggressiveness that culminated in the violence in Worcester on Saturday.

There is more news about "ShoveGate", as a reporter from Bay Windows refereed to the scandal now surrounding
Larry Cirignano, over at KnowThyNeighbor. Edge Boston is reporting that Cirignano admitted to police that he did push Loy to the ground. "He pushed her down and he admits that as well," said Sgt. Kerry Hazelhurst of the Worcester Police Department.

Interesting because in the Boston Globe Cirignano is quoted as saying,
"I promise you, I did not throw her to the ground." The Globe article states:
Cirignano acknowledged guiding the woman away from the event with his arm on her back, but said he had a portfolio in his left hand and did not knock her down. He said he did not see her fall.

Now we see that Larry Cirignano not only pushed a woman to the ground, but also lied about doing it. Is this the man the members of Catholic Citizens want as their leader? I doubt it. It is time for Larry Cirignano to resign.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

President of Massachusetts Catholic Citizenship Attacks Woman

The WORCESTER TELEGRAM & GAZETTE is reporting that Larry Cirignano, the president of Catholic Citizenship, physically assaulted a woman at the anti-gay marriage rally in Worcester on Saturday.

Sarah Loy, 27, of Worcester was holding a sign in defense of same-sex marriage amid a sea of green “Let the People Vote” signs when Larry Cirignano of Canton, who heads the Catholic Citizenship group, ran into the crowd, grabbed her by both shoulders and told her, “You need to get out. You need to get out of here right now.” Mr. Cirignano then pushed
her to the ground, her head slamming against the concrete sidewalk.

Larry Cirigano, who is a very visible member of the anti-gay movement in Massachusetts, was also a speaker at the rally.
Just moments before he pushed the woman to the ground, he had opened the afternoon rally by leading a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Afterward, Ms. Loy, in tears, arose and yelled to no one in particular, “That’s what hate does. That’s what hate does.”

Larry Cirigano is also part of the VoteOnMarriage team. The picture on the left was taken inside the State House. It shows Larry Cirguano with Kris Mineau, president of Massachusetts Family Institute, and Evelyn Reilly, executive director of the Massachusetts Family Institute. All three also act as lobbyists for VoteOnMarriage.

Larry Cirigano is also a spokesman and consultant for the Political Action Committee, MIPAC (Massachusetts Independent Political Action Committee). MIPAC is the PAC for VoteOnMarriage, Massachusetts Family Institute, and Catholic Citizenship.

MIPAC is "Dedicated to Restoring Traditional Family Values in Massachusetts" by electing anti-gay candidates to office. MIPAC claims that "
Since its founding nearly 8 years ago, MIPAC has raised several hundred thousand dollars and helped elect some of the leading legislators in the Massachusetts House of Representatives."

Larry Cirigano has ties to the radical anti-gay group, MassResistance. He was a special guest on the infamous MassResistance radio show. He was on the radio show on July 29th, 2006 as a representative from MIPAC to discuss the upcoming November elections for Legislature & Governor's Council.

I have my own relationship with Larry Cirigano. In January of 2006 we had an extensive email exchange. Here are just a few of the interesting things that Larry had to say to me:

"Chris we pray for your recovery from same sex attraction everyday."

"I pray that they do not find a "gay Gene" or most gay people will be aborted."

"You might have a homosexual inclination or be bi-sexual BUT you choose to be gay and celebrate your sexuality. Its not okay and never will be."

"Black people are born that way and Gay people to choose to act that way."

"What about celibate instead of celebrate?"

"Jim McGreevey and many others are bisexual or tri-sexual (try anything once, twice if I like it) Its behavior, a choice. There are lots of former homosexuals and lots of people with same- sex attraction that are celibate.

There are no "former" black people except maybe, Michael Jackson."

Larry Cirignano

This is from the man who shoved a woman to the ground because he did not like her message. This is completely unacceptable.

Call Catholic Citizenship and let them know how disgusted you are in the actions of their president. Then call VoteOnMarriage and express your outrage with one of their leaders.

Catholic Citizenship
(617) 755-7668

(617) 795-2667

Saturday, December 16, 2006

One Last Rally

The anti-gay organization, VoteOnMarriage, has held a few rallies across the state recently. They are supposedly to show the legislature that people all over Massachusetts want to vote on civil rights.

These rallies have been met each time by pro-equality supporters drowning out the anti-gay crowd.

At the New Bedford rally pro-equality supporters actually outnumbered the anti-gay crowd two to one at their own rally. Think I am exaggerating? Read the newspaper article.

"About 100 people rallying at City Hall in support of efforts to place on the ballot a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage yesterday were confronted by double their number in opponents."
That is certainly a bad sign for VoteOnMarriage.

At the Barnstable rally the pro-equality side nearly matched our opponent's turnout. There were cha
nts of "Equal Rights" and "Give It Up" as the anti-gay ringleader, Massachusetts 'Family' Institute President, Kris Mineau spoke about "tyranny today in our commonwealth."

At the Springfield rally the pro-equality side kicked the bigots out of their own rally. VoteOnMarriage never actually secured a permit for their rally. MassEquality realized this and quickly filed for a permit for the same time and place as the VoteOnMarriage rally.

The bigots showed up with their signs and sound system. Then the pro-equality forces stepped in and produced their permit. The LGBT crowd kicked out the bigots and had a rally of their own. The anti-gay crowd was forced across the street into a small park.

There is one last rally in Worcester Today at 1:30PM at City Hall. It should be quite a sight. I encourage everyone in the area to attend and wave goodbye to the bigots. My favorite chant, "You Lost. Go Home. Get Over It."

Monday, December 04, 2006

Join the Protest

This Wednesday a number of people and organizations affected by Romney's latest budget cuts will be holding a protest outside the State House.

Wednesday, December 6th
State House

One of Romney's last actions in office has been to slash $425 million from the state budget. These last minute cuts affect a number of programs. LGBT related programs are among the worst hit.

Here is the break down on how Romney's budget cuts will affect the LGBT community:

LGBT youth
: The entire $150,000 Safe Schools budget cut from the Department of Education. Romney also cut $300,000 from a DPH line item that includes $350,000 in gay and lesbian youth program funding. The cuts include $100,000 from SHCGLY, a program aimed at reducing LGBT youth suicide.

HIV/AIDS: $735,000 cut from the Department of Public Health funding for HIV/AIDS programs and services.

Domestic violence: The entire $158,000 in the Department of Public Health budget for the Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project cut, representing a loss of one-third of the organization’s annual budget.

LGBT elders: Romney cut $250,000 from the councils on aging’s budget. The councils were scheduled to allocate $50,000 to the LGBT Aging Project.