Tuesday, May 10
by Sue on Tue 10 May 2011 10:20 PM EDT
Other good stuff happened ...
In New York, openly gay State Assemblyman Danny O'Donnell has announced the introduction of a marriage equality bill. He announced it by Twitter. You can follow him @DanielJODonnell
How can you not follow this guy? It would be like denying yourself a breath of fresh air. I just nearly gassed myself with weed killer in a death match with poison ivy so the fresh air analogy is the best you are gonna get from me right now.
So New York is a battleground. More than 1,000 folks turned out for a lobby day on Monday and the Governor supports the legislation. There's always a but ... however, today we are just going to bask in the good news.
Next, we have word from The New York Times
And then some very sad news from Uganda which is reportedly set to pass their anti-homosexuality bill. The one that includes "punishment by death."
It is hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that were I living in Uganda, I could be executed. I strongly encourage you to follow the link and delve into some of the nuances of that legislation.
Then come back and tell me that I have nothing to fear from those right wing Christians who SUPPORT this legislation. They may not be trying to kill me, but ... they are unabashedly denying my humanity.
Hurrah for New York and the Presbyterian Church. Prayers for the people of Uganda as they struggle for their very lives.
Monday, May 9
by Sue on Mon 09 May 2011 03:28 PM EDT
Over the past few days, bloggers have taken note of a piece by Andy Birkey in The American Independent describing a carefully planned campaign by "Family Policy Councils" in now Republican controlled states. Essentially, an infusion of cash from an unidentified source will fund a three prong approach:
This quasi-relationship issue is nothing new to PFI which made headlines earlier in the year by partnering with Chick-Fil-A to sponsor a marriage workshop in Central PA, a workshop that fits smack into the larger context of the IGNITE plan. While Chick-Fil-A denied formal affiliations with anti-marriage groups, the blog Good As You found close ties between the company's philanthropic wing and organizations such as the National Organizations for Marriage.
Chick-Fil-A corporate has tried to parse the situation so as to create a wall between their investment of "marriage strengthening resources" and their desire to sell you a chicken sandwich without judgment. It is artifice at its most dangerous because most people still think they were simply donating a few chicken sandwiches to a local church event.
My suspicions were raised when PFI announced that their annual dinner would take place in Cranberry Township, an affluent suburb about 40 minutes north of Pittsburgh. Cranberry is home to Pennsylvania State Representative Darryl Metcalfe, a tea partish uber-conservative with a long history of anti-gay initiatives. Metcalfe is also chair of the powerful State Government Committee and recently introduced legislation to pass a Marriage Amendment in PA. The most recent attempts to write bigotry into our Constitution were rebuffed (2008 and 2010) at the committee level. Metcalfe's current's chairmanship coupled with a newly elected Republican Governor and shifts in the composition of the Legislature make this battle more threatening.
Things just seem a little too cosy.
Getting back to Ignite, PFI's annual operating budget averages $1.4 million yet they plan to spend $1.5 million over the next 18 months. In December 2010, they announced a matching pledge drive to raise $7500 which Birkey says was successful, but the source of the matching funds remains anonymous. Coupled with similar grants around the country, the numbers start to really add up. Where is this money coming from? These groups aren't saving that much by scraping up chicken sandwich donations, my friends.
The plan itself is somewhat uniform.
Here's a little more detailed glimpse into what PFI has in mind . (Click on image for larger view)
Full brochure is attached below.
Plans include marriage seminars, supporting legislators that promote their agendas and concerted focus on choice and the marriage amendment.
PFI has launched the marriage workshops, invited anti-choice darling Lila Rose to be their keynote speaker, hosted a large event in Metcalfe's backyard and got a seed grant of $7500 from an anonymous source. There's a plan at work here and one that potentially involves the investment of millions. The plan is in motion and the Marriage Amendment is just one strand.
There's a pattern amidst these threads ... Metcalfe, Cranberry, Chick-Fil-A, Winshape Foundation (Chick-Fil-A foundation), the Cathy family which owns Chick-Fil-A. Is the Winshape Foundation and their larger partners behind the donations? Is Metcalfe one of the "statesmen" PFI lauds in their brochure?
I hope progressives continue to dig. Chick-Fil-A went on a PR frenzy to convince you to keep buying chicken sandwiches and milkshakes and waffle fries. If there's more to that particular relationship, we need to know.
The money came from somewhere and isn't limited to Pennsylvania. Birkey's piece details goings on in South Dakota, West Virginia, Indiana, Louisiana, Arizona and Florida.
The source of these anonymous seed grants matters, but the bigger issue is the fact that our opponents are in the trenches and they are well funded on multiple fronts. The current PFI blog posts focus on school choice and abortion. These are hot topics in the Corbett Administration.
It also illustrates the need to build coalitions and pool our resources. When I read that PFI plans to target half a million on three issues, one of which is the marriage amendment, I believe we need to broaden the scope of our own individual agendas. Destroying the public school system, for example, will not be good for children in LGBTQ families and/or children who identify as LGBTQ.
Please continue to pay attention. Elections are right around the corner and you can make an impact by electing (or retaining) progressive women and men. We need to support the attacks on labor, public education, health care, reproductive justice as vigilantly as we defend our community. Finally, we need to pay attention to the well-laid plans of those who would deny us our freedom and liberties.