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Sent: Wednesday, July 07, 2004
Subject: Please help stop the spread of ignorance, bigotry, hate and fear!
I am sorry to be bothering you, but the situation is beyond dire and the struggle enormous and I believe complacency by the fair-minded is opportunity for the hate- mongers. One way I am battling the overwhelming disappointment and depression I am experiencing at present is by connecting with all my friends to ask for support and any help you can lend. I hope you realize it isn't easy sending this out to everyone, and that I wouldn't be doing so were I not so concerned and feeling that the existence of many is hanging in the balance.

I know this will be lengthy, but please, please, please try to read as much of it as you are able. (Installments?)

As you may know, The group Citizens for the Protection of Marriage (the AFA-Michigan is a coalition member of the group...by the way, the AFA is currently targeting anti-harassment policies in public schools stating "given the high-risk threat of fatal disease and premature death resulting from homosexual behavior, so-called 'anti-harassment' speech codes that prohibit young people from compassionately warning fellow students about the severe medical consequences of such behavior not only violate the Constitution, but arguably put young lives at greater risk," http://www.afamichigan.org/news/release.shtml?Release=20010222a.htm) submitted nearly 500,000 signatures to have their proposed anti-gay (and anti-others as well as you can see below) amendment placed on November's ballot. (Under Michigan law any citizens group which collects 317,000 valid signatures from registered voters can have an issue put to voters.) This hateful and extreme amendment would carry unfathomable consequences. Should it be adopted by Michigan voters, it would eliminate of ALL domestic partnership benefits (including opposite and same sex partnerships) and permanently prohibit government entities, such as state universities (U of M and Michigan State included) and local governments, from offering domestic partnership benefits to their employees, and would remove any such benefits that these entities already offer. This could also void wills, medical directives, insurance policies, joint bank accounts, health benefits and home ownership agreements. (And this has been a stated goal of these groups.) The concept of any of this occurring is chilling, but the fact that many of us could have our bank accounts, mortgages, medical directives and wills stripped away is almost beyond my comprehension. (And I know it is difficult for most of us to believe anything this extreme could occur...but guess what?...a very similar law went into affect July 1 in Virginia. The so-called"Marriage Affirmation Act" prohibits civil unions, partnership contracts or other arrangements "purporting to bestow the privileges or obligations of marriage." Included in this sweeping hate legislation are all of the items listed. The Governor, Gov. Mark Warner amended the "Marriage Affirmation Act" by removing the "partnership contracts and other arrangements" language. However, the Assembly rejected those changes and voted to pass the original version of the bill, sponsored by Del. Robert Marshall, R-Manassas. Both chambers passed the measure by more than a two-thirds vote – disallowing a veto by the governor. )

Further proof of this ultimately far-reaching movement to attack many -including single parents- can be evidenced by the recent advertisement by FMA extremists: http://www.hrc.org/millionformarriage/ads_fma.html

The fact is that the country is facing more anti-gay (and I am still amazed at the comfortable use of the term in this country) initiatives than EVER. The forces are HUGE, well-funded and organized. We are fighting at the state(s) and national level. I feel one of the biggest hopes there is to combat it is to connect with as many individuals as possible. We can't win this battle without MUCH help.

There are so many concerns I have at this point. As I get older, I am worry about what we are leaving behind for future generations...deficits, conscription, the lack of education and health care access...and what about the gay kids (I was one...I KNOW they exist) who get to go through each day feeling worthless because of the incessant attacks directed at them (for which the AFA is fighting) or their parents? How can they look forward to the joys of life and developing loving relationships when they are often told they will be loathed for the life of “gay promiscuity” they were destined to lead and simultaneously told that a committed relationship is not acceptable? How can they feel any worth? (Gay teen suicide rates are already conservatively estimated at three times the rate for heterosexual teens) As an adult, I often find it extremely difficult to handle the attacks that are centered on my family, relationship...very existence. To feel that I will never be able to experience the "boring" life that those sitting in judgment take for granted is overwhelming. This atmosphere certainly doesn't seem to be creating a productive environment in the U.S.

In case further and specific information would assist, I am including a list of links. I will attempt to include a diverse range from varying perspectives because I want to help provide honest information. I know this can get really thick without some variety and, possibly, entertainment along the way so I will make a stab at that, too. Those included will, hopefully, provide information that could clarify, prove helpful as well as realistic and honest thoughts and dialogues and answers on the issues, lists of additional groups and organizations aligned to stop the hate (please check them out...you might be surprised) as well as ways one can help.

In this country where it appears the only chance of equality - or even safety- is, frighteningly, becoming based upon being a majority, we need everyone. I'm hoping people can find the answer in their hearts, but, if not, all I ask is that people reflect back on the past weekend and the pledge of allegiance...."liberty and justice for ALL".

So, what can those interested in helping do? Each site has a tremendous list of ways to help. Contacting your reps. is imperative...donations are so needed, but I feel that getting the word out is the most important first step. Here is an interesting list from loveisloveislove.com that could help.
1) Sign MY petition. Tell Bush and Congress what you think about amending the Constitution to deny people rights. Help the DNC get rid of Bush.
2) Sign the HRC petition urging Congress to oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment
3) Send a free fax to your Representatives, telling them you oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment (through the ACLU website)
4) Pledge to oppose politicians who support anti-gay amendments to the US Constitution
(The site http://www.democracyforamerica.com/features/2004/07/02/about_democracy_for_america.php "."provides an amazing list of fiscally responsible, socially progressive candidates at all levels of the government--from school boards to the presidency.)
5) Tell Members of Congress that you support Marriage Equality by signing the "Million For Marriage" petition
6) Sign the People for the American Way petition to Congress & tell them you oppose the FMA
7) Write a letter supporting Marriage Equality to the editor of your local newspaper (get tips here from the HRC)
8) Host a letter-writing party! (Get tips and addresses for members of Congress from People for the American Way)
9) Get involved & create change with others in your area through Marriage Equality Meet Ups!
10) Join an organization for Marriage Equality in your state. These organizations, many brand new, are doing hard work to fight state constitutional amendments. Please consider donating your money and/or time.
11) Join the Boycott for Equality Day on Friday, October 8th! NEW LINK!
CALL YOUR SENATORS TODAY!!! http://www.hrcactioncenter.org/campaign/senate_oppose_fma_i_called
I would like to start a mailing list of those interested in news and, possibly, helping. If you are willing/interested, please let me know. I will attempt not to bother those who would prefer that I not in the future. I will be very selective about sending anything. I promise. If you send any of this information out, please let folks know that I would love to include them on the list, too!
I cannot thank you enough for your time. PLEASE pass the word along. (Feel free to forward any part or all of this mail if you feel it would help.)

Thank you for being in my life,

Chris

Here come the links:

Coalition For A Fair Michigan ("We are a group of fair minded leaders and organizations committed to keeping Michigan from adding a cruel amendment to our constitution that would do much more than define marriage." Help Michigan!!!)

http://www.coalitionforafairmichigan.org/

Human Rights Campaign (Working for LGBT rights...TONS of political information included as well!)

http://www.hrc.org/

(HRC's "Frequently Asked Questions" about marriage equality. And click here for information on The Congressional Budget Office's recently released analysis showing that the recognition of marriages for same sex couples would benefit the federal budget! http://www.hrc.org/Template.cfm?Section=Press_Room&CONTENTID=20217&TEMPLATE=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm Not what we've been told, huh?)

http://www.hrc.org/Template.cfm?Section=Center&CONTENTID=14392&TEMPLATE=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm

Margaret Cho's "Marriage Equality Resource Site" (One of THE BEST! PLEASE check this out!)

http://www.loveisloveislove.com

The Religious Coalition For A Fair Michigan ("As religious and spiritual people, clergy and community leaders, we are committed to working for justice and equality for all Michigan citizens. While we are diverse in our understanding of homosexuality as a moral issue, we are one in affirming the full rights of all people and families to equal legal protections that secure and strengthen the family.")

http://www.afsc-fan.org/rcfm.htm

http://www.afsc.org/lgbt/default.htm

People For The American Way ("...is an energetic advocate for the values and institutions that sustain a diverse democratic society. Many of these are now threatened by the influence of the radical right and its allies who have risen to positions of political power. Our most fundamental rights and freedoms -even our basic constitutional framework are at risk-...)

http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/default.aspx?oid=112

 

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