HB 300 still alive and kickin’ sayeth the City Paper

You can read the nice write up from Marty Levine here.

If you read my summary of the recent Valley New Dispatch article, you won't be surprised that there really isn't any more news on the legislation.  It is sitting in committee with about 100 million amendments to protect religious bigots and is under assault from the highly organized right wing.

The left wing is struggling.  There have been no recent missives with targeted calls to action.  There was a meeting this past Sunday, but no communication about the meeting has been shared (I think that's where Marty got his information).  I have no idea which legislators are wavering so I can't tell you if you need to ramp up the momentum in your district.  I am trying to get that information.

My call?  This legislation stands no chance in hell of passing without the public support of the County ordinance by Dan Onorato. The two bills are inextricably intertwined, especially in terms of the public support of the SW block of Democrats.  Without high profile public support, such as what Onorato could bring to the local franchise of the party, it won't go anywhere.  That's painfully evident in that the primary sponsor and champion of the statewide bill is a local Democrat (Frankel).  The contrast of Frankel to other local elected Democrats illustrates that there is work to be done right in our own backyard.

That's a shame for those in our community who are not protected by local ordinances.  Clearly, a statewide protection is in the best interests of everyone, including heterosexuals.  Equally clear to me is that we need to be better oganized. But we haven't done the heavy lifting here in SW Pennsylvania to generate the groundswell of support necessary for forward movement.  We need more champions at the County level and that's not going to happen if information is not shared with the general community.  No, inviting people to a meeting in the middle of a Sunday does not count.  Sorry.  It may be useful, but in an era with tremendous technological options, it is not enough.  There's no use of twitter on this issue.  There's very little use of Facebook. 

I'm clearly not on board with a statewide agenda because I think it is diverting attention and energy away from a more practical focus on the local level. That's a very unpopulat position to take, but my experiences with the organizers have convinced me that we simply don't have the infrastructure to make it happen. Frankel is smart to keep the statewide bill in committee and avoid an unfavorable floor vote b/c it does give our community a chance to tout the progress of being voted out of committee in the first place. 

I'm in an unusual position of being in the middle of an oddly liberal area of the Northside.  Our reps on the City, County and State level are a smidge left of center so that they are all pretty much on board with this issue.  I don't have to convince Tonya Payne or Amanda Green that gay people are people, too.  We're good. 

I've still think Onorato and Ravenstahl are both going to use PrideFest to grandstand, costing us more than six more weeks of the rightwing chipping away at LGBTQ legislative support in this region.

So my call to action is for you to call the Mayor's office (412-255-2626) and the County Chief Executive's office (412-350-6500) and ask them when they will go public (Mayor on LGBT Advisory Council and Onorato on endorsing the County ordinance) in support of the LGBTQ community. 



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  • I don't even know who the gay organizer are. The gay Democrats were at Cattivo last weekend, but they didn't have any information about the County bill. They just wanted signatures. I didn't understand why I was signing something about a marriage amendment instead of something about the County. Is there a marriage amendment?
    Who are these organizers?

  • The “organizers” locally are exhausted people like myself doing this work on an entirely volunteer basis and struggling to keep up with our day jobs. I have frequently put the call out to ask people to get on the http://www.equalitypa.org “take action list” to get updated info.
    I have also tried to remind people that we need you to get on the http://www.steelcity.org e-blast list to get what info we have and check the website.
    ALso, come to the meetings. The Equality e-blast will tell you when they are and where. That is the best way to get info and we even discussed the marriage amendment at the last meeting and why it is also on the letter you were asked to sign. I was not able to attend the Cattivo event as I had a severe family emergency.
    I realize that it has been difficult to get information but I think you can see those of us doing this volunteer work are working to the best of our ability while trying to manage numerous other stressors. Do the basic steps, get on those e-blast lists and you'll get basic info at least and will also at least know a point of contact for follow up questions.
    Feel free to contact me with any further questions through my president e-mail listing on the Stonewall web page. I hope that that will at least give everyone out there a contact person to go to with your questions. I am very happy to answer them. I do realize there is so, so much more we could be doing and so much we need to be doing better. No doubt. But, I need all of you to take those first steps, get on the communication lists that currently exist, and we will all continue to work to improve our communication in spite of the limited time we have to do so.
    -Dana Elmendorf

  • “I'm clearly not on board with a statewide agenda because I think it is diverting attention and energy away from a more practical focus on the local level.”
    IMHO, that is about as lame as the Democrats in Washington saying the Obama administration can't deal with “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” because they have to focus on the economy.

  • You are comparing apples and organes, Half-Elf. The national debate is not between two gay issues, it is between one gay issue and other general issues. It is also a little silly to compare a blogger in Pittsburgh to the entire Democrat party.

  • Dana, thank you for all you do. It sounds like the problem is that this is all volunteer. If you don't have time to communicate, it sounds like a big problem.

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