Legislative/Political Stuff You Should Know

From Equality Advocates:  (To do something, click here).

On January 17, 2008, Pennsylvania State Senators started working to pass a so-called Marriage Protection Amendment that would amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to define marriage as solely between one man and one woman and prohibit civil unions and potentially more.

Please take a moment to call and e-mail your Senator and give a voice to the millions of Pennsylvanians who oppose writing discrimination into our State Constitution. To find your State Senator's contact information, visit http://equalitypa.org and click on the link to Locate Your Legislators.

In 2006, Equality Advocates, with the help of countless LGBT Pennsylvanians and allies across the state, defeated the attempt to amend the Pennsylvania Constitution. This over-reaching amendment would have prohibited relationship recognition for all unmarried couples in the state.

Please act now to help ensure fairness for all Pennsylvanians!

Additionally, if you are interested in becoming more involved to help defeat this legislation, and pass pro-LGBT legislation in Pennsylvania, please e-mail Jake at jkaskey@equalitypa.org.

Thank you and with your continued support we will defeat this amendment once again!

Here's some cheery polling data:

Polling data released by Equality Advocates Pennsylvania this November shows that voters across Pennsylvania overwhelming support the current LGBT non-discrimination bill being considered in Harrisburg.

Seventy-one percent of voters support the current legislation (House Bill 1400 and Senate Bill 761) prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in employment, housing, and public accommodations. Additionally, eighty-six percent believed that there should be workplace equality for LGBT people, eighty-four percent supported laws prohibiting LGBT discrimination in housing and eighty-nine percent favored equal access to public accommodations.

Obama on homophobia. h/t Pam's House Blend. (she has the video posted).

For most of this country's history, we in the African-American community have been at the receiving end of man's inhumanity to man.  And all of us understand intimately the insidious role that race still sometimes plays – on the job, in the schools, in our health care system, and in our criminal justice system.

And yet, if we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that none of our hands are entirely clean.  If we're honest with ourselves, we'll acknowledge that our own community has not always been true to King's vision of a beloved community.

We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them. The scourge of anti-Semitism has, at times, revealed itself in our community.  For too long, some of us have seen immigrants as competitors for jobs instead of companions in the fight for opportunity.

Every day, our politics fuels and exploits this kind of division across all races and regions; across gender and party.  It is played out on television.  It is sensationalized by the media.  And last week, it even crept into the campaign for President, with charges and counter-charges that served to obscure the issues instead of illuminating the critical choices we face as a nation.

I probably should pull this out for a separate thread, but I gotta get some Ledcat-approved work done tonight. 

This is the inverse of the conversation that I have never heard in Pittsburgh no matter how many community forums I've attended or leadership trainings I've participated in or celebrations I've celebrated — why do we scorn and ignore our gay brothers and sisters of color?  I had a chat recently with someone about some openings for leadership and the value of actively seeking to diversify the membership.  The response fell into the worn out refrain of “why don't they come to us?” 

I've said before that the most diverse segment of our community is the under 30 crowd.  Diverse in terms of race, gender, queer identity, etc.  We could learn a lot from that group and I'm rather thankful that I'll be around as they move into the leadership roles — or create their own. 

Just my $.02.  It comes to mind whenever I hear the overly simplistic assessments of the intersection of race and gender in the Democratic primary campaigns.  I hear a lot of local homos bitching and moaning about homophobia in the African-American community, but very little effort to stretch our own comfort zones out to get more involved in the local black gay community. 

You should bookmark Pam's blog.  She and her compatriots explore these themes on a regular basis. I don't have any answers, but I do like to keep bringing up the question. 

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