Dan Furmansky is the Campaign Manager of the Standing on the Side of Love Campaign.
The message below went out to Standing on the Side of Love supporters on Thursday, May 12, 2011. You can sign-up for these emails here.
On Tuesday, President Obama reinvigorated his push for immigration reform with a speech in El Paso. We commend President Obama for this greatly needed push on an important issue that has been unnecessarily stalled.
As he correctly pointed out, the primary impediment to the passage of comprehensive immigration reform is Congressional opposition.
However, while we are “waiting for Congress to catch up”, President Obama can use his executive power to improve the lives of immigrant families now.
Similar regulatory actions were taken in the late 1920s and 1930s when immigration policy caused too much harm. As long as the laws of this nation are broken, President Obama should do everything within his power to fix them.
According to Colorlines:
Obama’s failure to use his executive power has resulted in record numbers of deportations, including, contrary to his own claims, hundreds of thousands of people deported through Secure Communities with no criminal history whatsoever.
Standing on the Side of Love
Reverend Peter Morales is the President of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
The message below went out to Standing on the Side of Love supporters on Tuesday, May 10, 2011. You can sign-up for these emails here.
Fear and hatred are once again fueling homophobia in Uganda. Recent news reports indicate that the Ugandan Parliament might soon pass the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill (AHB) that will endanger the lives of LGBT citizens of that country. We must not allow this violation of basic human rights to go unopposed.
I am deeply troubled by this unconscionable attempt to legitimize hatred and bigotry. There is credible speculation that the AHB is being used to blind the world to the Ugandan government’s failure to address problems of rampant inflation and civil unrest. Whatever the motivation, it is clear that AHB is an attack not only on LGBT Ugandans but on the basic principles of inclusivity and human rights.
We at the UUA are coordinating our response to the developing situation with our Unitarian Universalist minister in Kampala, as well as our partner LGBT human rights organizations in Uganda and the United States. In the face of this inhumanity, the UUA has extended its continuing commitment and support to our congregants and partners. The Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office (UU-UNO) also is pursuing opportunities for coalition work opposing the bill.
And your donation to the UUA/UU-UNO LGBT Uganda Fund will continue to support important LGBT civil rights work in Uganda even if the AHB does not pass – but becomes even more essential if this bill does pass.
As we continue this fight for justice, please hold all LGBT Ugandans in your thoughts and prayers. Right now they are uniquely vulnerable, and quite possibly in physical danger.
Join me in standing on the side of love with our LGBT brothers and sisters in Uganda.
Rev. Peter Morales
Unitarian Universalist Association
Post submitted by Karen Johnston, on behalf of Standing on the Side of Love at the Unitarian Society of Northampton & Florence
The first Saturday of May brings our local Pride celebration and march in Northampton, Massachusetts. The Unitarian Society of Northampton & Florence shared our table at the rally afterwards with the recently-formed group, Progressive Muslims of the Pioneer Valley, standing with them in spirit and next to them in body. We gave out general information about Unitarian Universalism, including information from our Big Ol’ Gay Committee.
Our newly-formed congregational Standing on the Side of Love efforts knew this would be the perfect moment to help folks make connections between queer rights and immigration rights. We created a handout about the Uniting American Families Act, a bill which would allow same-sex couples to sponsor their partners for legal residency in the U.S, introduced by New York City Representative Jerrold Nadler in the House and by Senator Patrick Leahy in the Senate. We created an email address for folks to contact us about ongoing plans to organize around immigration rights.
So much networking took place at the Pride rally: we met an immigration lawyer running for Senate, who recently, successfully, won asylum for a gay man, and talked to a local university feminist organizer who is working to bring immigration legal assistance to our county. It was a great day of both celebration and standing on the side of love and justice.More >
Until 9th grade, I lived in the suburbs of Minneapolis — a young, gay kid mired in shame. The shame didn’t come from within. It was implanted in me through societal homophobia, reinforced by the veil of silence in the media around homosexuality, and hammered home by classmates who tormented me, yelled “faggot” down the hallways, tripped me and pushed me into lockers.
Suddenly, I have deja vu.
I feel like the Republican majority in the MN legislature pushing to ban marriage between same-sex couples in the state constitution are those bullies from school. Now that Republicans have finally taken control of both houses of the legislature, they are moving forward an anti-gay agenda. Their first goal? Writing discrimination into a document that is designed, in part, to protect and extend minority rights. Who knows what’s next?
Not all Republicans support this amendment. But those that oppose it aren’t loud enough.
The marriage amendment has already been passed on party line votes in committees, and appears headed for fast-track votes by the full House and Senate soon, maybe next week. If the amendment passes the legislature, Democratic Governor Mark Dayton, who supports marriage equality, has no opportunity to veto it. It will go to the ballot for approval by the voters.
I don’t live in Minnesota anymore, but I have family and friends that do. And it breaks my heart that my friends’ kids, and my own nieces, will be subjected to awful, homophobic public discourse…just the kind of discourse that always surrounds these ballot measure campaigns.
These amendments have been found by social scientists to enact an emotional toll on LGBT people. In other states where these amendments have passed, most notably California, the rhetoric employed in television ads by the proponents of the constitutional amendments is shameful. Drawing on decades upon decades of historical associations of gay people with predators, the proponents’ ads usually talk about how we have to make sure our children aren’t “taught gay marriage” in school.
Denying marriage in itself is a public health issue that should make those who oppose marriage equality think twice. But subjecting LGBT people to an emotionally damaging, bullying referendum campaign that etches the denial into the state constitution should make proponents downright ashamed.
Sadly, it doesn’t.
So far, mega-corp. Target is refusing to come out against the amendment, as is the state’s chamber of commerce. Target pumped big money into electing Republicans last November. Gregg Steinhafel, the CEO of Target Corp. should feel the heat. You can call Target Corp. at 612-304-6073.
Thankfully, there are heroes fighting this amendment, including the state’s LGBT civil rights group, OutFront Minnesota, people of faith, and legislators like Representative Steve Simon (DFL Hopkins/St. Louis Park). Rep. Simon’s comments earlier this week to his colleagues during a voting session on the amendment have gone viral.
“How many more gay people does God have to create before we ask ourselves whether or not God actually wants them around?” he asks.
Urge your family and friends in Minnesota to communicate with their legislators against the amendment. They can do so here:
Minnesota has never had a staunchly anti-gay reputation. In fact, a sexual orientation anti-discrimination law passed in 1993. Through its state Human Rights Act, Minnesota is also one of only eight states that protects individuals from discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression. And thus far, Minnesotans have avoided writing discrimination into its state constitution.
If the measure passes the legislature, I believe Minnesota could be the first state to reject one of these anti-LGBT constitutional amendments. But LGBT people in Minnesota shouldn’t have to be subjected to a popularity vote on their rights, accompanied by harmful rhetoric. At a time when the media has taken notice of the epidemic of young LGBT kids taking their lives, it’s clear that Minnesota should be doing better by its young people.
I thankfully survived my childhood growing up gay in Minnesota, but not without a lot of pain along the way. I was silent to the bullying as a kid. Never again. Please join me in speaking out against the bullying. Stand on the side of love with LGBT people in Minnesota and everywhere.More >
John Glasheen, Chair of the Social Justice Council and the Standing on the Side of Love group at UU Congregation of South County in Rhode Island, let us know about a significant event.
House Speaker Gordon Fox, an openly gay man who vowed to allow a vote on marriage equality in Rhode Island, has since stated he will push for civil unions instead of marriage equality due to opposition in the State Senate. Civil unions are opposed by the statewide LGBT group Marriage Equality Rhode Island, who want an up or down vote on the bill. Rhode Island is surrounded by states with marriage equality, and has some of the highest polls in the country on the issue (approximately 60% of the population favors marriage equality, according to most polling data).
“But the rally below shows we won’t take it!” Glasheen says.
“It was announced that our bill [marriage equality] would be offered as an amendment to the bill brought forward by leadership [civil unions]. Our battle continues on. Our amendment has 28 co-signers; with a House of 70 members, we need to pick up 6 or 7 additional votes. Keep the cards and letters coming!! And especially the phone calls.”
Click here to find out how you can help.
“If you watch the Projo (Providence Journal) video,” Glasheen adds, “the rally was started by singing “our” songs: “We are a Gentle, Angry People” and “Standing on the Side of Love”, led by Beth Milham of Channing Church.More >