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Beyond California

Posted by amy On March - 9 - 2009

Prop 8 is a huge fight that we have going on when it comes to equal rights for members of the LGBTQ community.  When JTI began, we called for everyone around the nation (and the world) to unite as one voice for equal rights.  We explained that Proposition 8 is much more than California’s problem.  If Prop 8 is not repealed, it sets a precedent that the majority can vote on the rights of the minority.  As argued on Thursday, it states that people who are NOT affected by a lack of rights, can choose to keep those rights from a suspect class.  This is appalling.  California is a HUGE battleground right now which we will all continue to be a part of.  Beyond California, there are many many issues at stake that we all need to support and take actions on.

  • Only 13 states have laws protecting LGBTQ citizens from employment discrimination based on sexual or gender identity.
  • There are 7 more states that protect LGB citizens, but do not protect Transgendered citizens from employment discrimination.  Soon we will all come together to support a federal ENDA law that secures equal protections in the work space.
  • Throughout the country, families are at risk of deportation because we can not legally sponsor our partner to become a citizen of the US.  The Uniting American Families Act has been reintroduced to Congress, and we encourage you to call your representative and ask that they support this act and support our families!
  • In the state of Washington (my current home) a Domestic Partnership Expansion Bill has been introduced and will hit the Senate and House this week.  This bill will give Washington LGBTQ citizens protections under the law at a state-wide level that are equal to the state-wide protections of marriage. Those who oppose same-sex civil protections are stating that this law (which again uses the semantics of Domestic Partnership) is seeking to redefine the word marriage, even though we are not.  They are taking action and we need to respond by educating our representatives on the realities of this bill and how it will help us.
  • In the state of Hawaii, another battle surges as our LGBTQ brothers and sisters fight for Civil Unions.  The opposition has come out in full force and Hawaii needs you!  If you are from Hawaii or know someone who is, please contact your representative (or ask your friend to) and ask that they support HB444.
  • HB2234 is going to the House floor for a vote in Illinois.  This same-sex civil union bill does not grant all of the state-wide rights of marriage, but it does grant some very important protections.  Please take action by contacting your representative (if in Illinois) and asking that they support this bill.
  • Here’s a great state by state breakdown on LGBTQ adoption rights.  Clearly we have work to do.  With an average of 500,000 children needing families every year, only 50,000 get adopted.  In a country where so many go without family, why do we have to fight to provide safety, shelter, and parental care?
  • Despite the evolutions in the field of science, we still live in a country where gay and bisexual men cannot donate blood.  This ban on blood donations began with the AIDS crisis and a fear that blood donations would be tainted with the disease.  According to the CDC, the incidence of AIDS is lowering in gay and bisexual men and raising in the heterosexual community.  Yet this ban does not extend to members of the heterosexual community.  A JTI member and amazing organizer for many great grassroots groups has worked hard on this front with her program called the Right to Save.  She is calling for national actions on May 16th 2009 to send a message to the FDA that this policy is discriminatory.
  • These are just a FEW of the many battles brewing in this EQUAL RIGHTS MOVEMENT.  Add more in the comments and let’s organize together to work toward winning these battles and our equal protections under the law.

A JTI Weakness

Posted by amy On March - 7 - 2009

This afternoon, I was running errands looking for the proper attire for a black tie event.  I’m going to an LGBTQ gala tonight and it’s formal, but the only dress I have is my wedding dress and my fashion sense is slim to none.  Anywho, I digress.  As I was trying to find a black tie (because I just can’t bring myself to wear a dress), I got a text message saying “Why didn’t I know that there was a JTI event today???”  My response was “What JTI event today?  There wasn’t one.”  The next response “The fliers said it was a JTI event.”

Herein lies a weakness of JTI.  We organize in the virtual space for the most part.  We talk online, text message, email, and call each other.  Willow and I barely see each other in person.  In fact, in San Francisco on Thursday, we saw each other for only the 2nd time since the launch of JTI.  Organizing online can sometimes lead to mixed messages.  JTI-national did not have any event today, but some of our organizers may have chosen to have an event in their city for something local.  JTI seeks to empower our members to stand up for what they believe in locally and nationally.  Because of this, sometimes there will be events that a member holds that Willow and I or JTI-national are not a part of.  Most of our organizers follow the protocol of checking in before listing JTI as endorsing an event that is not officially a JTI event.

So, this text message led me to thinking about this weakness, and wondering how we can fix it.  We do have an Official JTI Events page that speaks to events or protests endorsed, hosted, or sponsored by JTI.  We have an Other Events page, which speaks to events that we want to help get the word out on, but they are not run by, hosted by, endorsed, or sponsored by us.  Still, there seems to be confusion out there, and we’re curious about how you think we should help to clear up this confusion?  We do not want to become an organization that makes all the decisions of what to do, without listening to the needs of our members. This is why we’ve used The IMPACT the way we do and why we do not treat our organizers like employees… these organizers are what make us a success, we do not make them a success, and we want our actions to show our appreciation for them.  We will NEVER tell our organizers that they cannot have an event without our approval.  So how do we clear up the confusion when an event is held in our name, that isn’t actually one JTI is behind or even aware of?

We want to continue learning from you and working with and for you.  Willow is at Camp Courage today.  She is learning how to help provide more support for our organizers so that we can better serve you.  That is one step, but we know there are more.  So what do you think?

The voice of this movement

Posted by willow On March - 3 - 2009

Over the last week I’ve been continually inspired by the work of some college students in California who dream big. I can’t wait to meet them all in San Francisco on Thursday because it is EXACTLY this kind of energy that the movement for equality needs to support if we’re going to win. One of them, Urvi Nagrani, posted this on her facebook page and gave me permission to share it with you.

When the verdict is announced for the case to overturn prop 8, I do not want to feel the way I felt on November 5th. This is why I have been motivated to act.


I worked on the case against prop 8 in as intense a way as I felt I could – but looking at it now, I didn’t do enough. I made some calls, talked to friends, phone banked a few times, wore a button, posted a yard sign, put a bumper sticker on my backpack, had a few debates, and did all the basics – but I never stood above the crowd. I was just another supporter of a campaign which I hoped would succeed.

But when it failed I felt as if the wind had been knocked out of me and I erupted into tears. It might sound melodramatic, but when prop 8 passed I felt like my identity as a Californian shattered as I realized we weren’t as progressive as I’d like to believe. Sitting on the losing side I for the first time saw myself as a minority. I had always considered my identity as Californian first, and to me that included the idea of a progressive, educated, community oriented citizen. But those two identities no longer melded and suddenly I felt the need to define myself with many more words. After being dragged out of an election party where we’d been celebrating Obama’s victory, I found myself crying in disbelief wondering, “Why?” I blamed myself for not doing enough. I got angry at those around me who couldn’t relate. I became too defensive to listen to the mislead moderates who after talking to I found more understanding than I could have believed that night. I became a reactionary protester who’s only means of expression was dismay. And I don’t want to feel that way again.

So now I’m being proactive. On March 5th I’m going to go to San Francisco not to protest injustice, but to support rectifying the problem. I will stand for equality and civil rights rather than allowing myself to play the role of the victim. And I invite you to join me.

This March we Californians have an opportunity to show the judges we value equality and will support them if they restore it to our laws.

A lot of people say we should wait until 2010 and when we’ll vote again and hopefully win and since 8 is going to be overturned eventually we don’t need to be out there. But if we repeal 8 by that method and this case stands, we’ve still failed because we set legal precedent that it’s okay to remove rights through a simple majority. Which means every election cycle we’ll be playing the same game and spending millions of dollars to determine what rights are to be given. At which point rights aren’t assumed, they’re granted. Rights become privileges and not rights. An idea which offends my idea of what it means to live in a constitutional democratic republic. I like the idea of limits to democracy, and representational government over direct majority rule. And if we say the constitution is a flexible guideline that can be destroyed by a simple majority vote – that enables so many dangerous possibilities.

To quote Benjamin Franklin, “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.” Those who say they’re defending traditional marriage are clinging to the security of tradition, and sacrificing civil liberties to achieve that. I don’t expect by the end of this week that everyone who voted Yes on 8 will magically agree with me, but I want to get enough of them to see the risk of legally not protecting civil liberties. This isn’t an issue of Republican versus Democrat – this is an issue of what it means to respect civil rights and the equality of citizens under the law. I hope you take the time out of your schedule and pause to think of these issues before deciding you can’t skip a class – because this is bigger than just another day and just another rally. This is our last chance to have a voice before setting or breaking a dangerous legal precedent. Furthermore California has always been a somewhat progressive state, and if we digress, what will the non-progressive states look like?

I made it through my educational career without ever cutting class. (I do not count excused absences or being ill as cutting) But I will be absent on Wednesday and Thursday. I can think of no single day in my educational career that was worth more than this case will mean. If you can’t be there, I hope you will still give your active support and help invite people to the event! We need to do something above and beyond what’s been done before – after all we don’t want to ask ourselves on March 5th, “Why didn’t I do more?”

In cities throughout the country people like Urvi have been looking forward at what they are going to do to stand up for their rights. Every day you are all what inspires me and what motivates me to keep moving and do everything in my power to keep this movement alive beyond Prop 8, beyond equal marriage rights and to never ever give up. For that inspiration, and that continuing support, visible courage, and constant joy that serving you brings me- from the depths of my soul- THANK YOU.

And thanks to Perez Hilton for voicing his admiration too!

JUMBOTRON! JUMBOTRON! JUMBOTRON! ;-)

Speaking of students- they’ll be participating all over the country by joining us in wearing white on the 5th

This Weeks Events

Posted by amy On March - 2 - 2009

There are MANY events going on surrounding the March 5th opening arguments and this video highlights some of the biggest ones.  MANY grassroots orgs are coming together to make this happen.  Our COMMUNITY is comming together to make this happen.  Come to SF if you can on the 4th and 5th.  If you cannot, please light a candle on the 4th and wear white on the 5th to show your support for the 18,000 marriages in limbo, and the many marriages to come in the future.

Get Active Today – A Long Delayed Tools of the Week

Posted by amy On February - 24 - 2009

OK it’s official: my Flu is gone. This means that it’s about time I catch everyone up on some amazing things happening all over the nation as we continue moving toward equality. To begin, the conversation of equality has been going on for many many years, but the passage of Proposition 8 has made this conversation surge in ways never seen before. EVERYONE is talking about equal rights these days… and it’s making our opposition louder as well. We need to stay strong, stay loud, and STAY PROUD!

Here are some amazing ways that you can get out there and keep this conversation going, make some changes, and push us another step (or leap) forward on the path to full equal rights:

  1. “PROcott” Pepsi – so there is no official antonym for “boycott”  as such, I give you “procott.”  The American Family Association (the group that brings the nation anti-gay propaganda videos making members of the LGBTQ community out to be in-human), is now calling for a national boycott of Pepsi. They are angered by Pepsi’s pro-LGBTQ stance and outraged by the latest Pepsi Ads.  They have almost 200K people signed up to boycott Pepsi.  So, let’s show Pepsi how much we support them.  Check out this great Facebook Group asking you to BUY PEPSI.  We have millions of people involved with JTI… let’s show the AFA just how easy it is for us to cancel out their numbers!  Once you’ve agreed to Buy Pepsi, call them and thank them for their support (especially since they are getting calls from those against the LGBTQ community right now: 914-253-2000 or  1-800-433-2652).
  2. March Forth on March 4th: March 4th is the “Eve of Justice” and MEUSA is putting together an amazing candlelight vigil across California.  Join in from your home, your city center, or use The Impact to setup an event in your city.
  3. March 5th Wear White: Willow did a great post on this yesterday.  On March 5th, the CA Supreme Court will be hearing the opening arguments for and against Prop 8.  Please wear white (or a white knot) that day to support those fighting for all of us.
  4. March 5th – COME TO SF: That’s right… I know that the economy is in a downward spiral right now, but that also means that plane tickets are SUPER CHEAP.  Join myself, Willow, and thousands of JTI members from around the country outside of the SF Supreme Court to witness this amazing historical event!  Virgin Airlines and Travelocity are selling super cheap tickets to SF right now!  Let’s join the goal of getting 100K people outside of the courthouse on the 5th!
  5. Even if you can’t come to SF, help us share this with EVERYONE!  MEUSA is raising money to get a Jumbotron in front of the SF courthouse so that everyone in attendance can hear the opening arguments.  ANY DONATION HELPS!!!  Please DONATE TODAY!
  6. Ask Your State Rep to Support UAFA: The Uniting American Families Act was reintroduced on February 12th.  Call your state rep and ask that they support the UAFA.
  7. Stay tuned to this site for updates on future events.  If you have an idea for an event and would like the help of JTI, please submit your event here.

March 5- Wear White!

Posted by willow On February - 24 - 2009

As you may have heard, March 5 is the date the California Supreme Court will hear arguments on the validity of Proposition 8. This is a day that begins an historic process which directly affects the rights not just of those who seek a same-sex marriage, but all minority rights. Proposition 8 sets a precedent that allows the majority to vote on the rights of a minority any time there is a court decision. It can affect the rights of any minority that faces discrimination because it TAKES AWAY an existing right from a targeted minority. Prop 8 clearly affects the rights of the LGBTQ community, but it’s implications are far more reaching. Additionally, Prop 8 does not just affect the rights of Californians. All Americans are affected. The conservative right is bringing this fight to us in states throughout the Union. Yesterday in Hawaii 2,000 people stood AGAINST Civil Unions. Florida, Arkansas and Arizona also all lost ballot measures in their states on Nov. 4 to limit the rights of our families. We are under attack, and we MUST fight back.

We can all show our solidarity on March 5 by wearing white. This can be a wedding dress, sailor uniform, feather boa, all white leather, white tee, white knot, whatever you please.

We are calling for a loud voice to show up in San Francisco and be part of hearing the oral arguments. I’ve extended my trip in California. Amy’s flying down from Seattle. People have already purchased tickets from the east coast. Students from campuses all over have been granted funding for transport to be witness to this important piece of the political process. People will be calling off work to be there. Oh yeah, and did I mention there’ll be a JUMBOTRON? (Please help fund the jumbotron! No contribution too small!)

We know this economy is tough, but if you have the means- you should get there. Many airlines have announced drastically reduced rates recently, and this is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of them.

A college run website has emerged with a goal of driving ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND people to San Francisco for March 5. Some people say that number is crazy, I say that number is NECESSARY. There should absolutely be a larger turn-out than we’ve ever seen for this. We know our opposition will be there.

Let’s show them numbers they’ve never dreamed of!

March 5 Wear White at the San Francisco Supreme Court!!

Milk and the Oscars

Posted by amy On February - 23 - 2009

I’ve Been Sick

Posted by amy On February - 19 - 2009

Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to take a moment to apologize for not posting anything for awhile.  I have had a horrible flu for the past 2 weeks and am just now getting to the point where I can get back to business.  Soon you will see more posts, updates, and the like.

Here’s some quick updates:

  • Freedom to Marry Day was a HUGE success thanks to the amazing efforts of MEUSA!
  • We gathered another few feet (stacked) of signature pages on the Open Letter to Obama!
  • Willow Witte (the co-founder of JTI) is on a month-long visit to California.  She’s meeting with leaders in the movement, attending some amazing events, and finding great partners for future JTI events!
  • We are still working on what we want to lend our support to in March, which is a key month for the Prop 8 battle (We’ll keep you posted)
  • Finally, there are a few great winners for our “Share Your Ideas” contest in which we asked our members to share their ideas for future events.  We will be contacting the owners of those ideas soon and working with them to make each event a reality!

Thanks so much for your patience and your amazing emails wishing me a quick recovery!!  You guys are amazing!!!!

-Amy

Heroes of Love

Posted by amy On February - 13 - 2009

Share Valentine’s Day Love
with Champions of Marriage Equality

L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center’s ‘Heroes of Love’ Campaign
Thanks Courageous Straight Allies

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 2, 2009— As a kid, Valentine’s Day often meant slipping cheesy heart-shaped cards into the construction paper-decorated shoeboxes of classmates (though not necessarily the classmates you really liked). For adults, Valentine’s Day is about celebrating relationships—and the Heroes of Love campaign is about showing love for those who have supported the relationships of same-sex couples by being fierce advocates for marriage equality.

Visitors to www.LoveHeroes.com can sign oversized valentine cards that the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center will deliver to 15 courageous straight allies, Heroes of Love, who have stood with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in our fight for marriage equality. The goal is to show them how many thousands of people appreciate their support.

Because there are many more than 15 heroic supporters of marriage equality, visitors to the site can also personalize and send e-valentines, designed by celebrity supporters of the Center, to any hero of love they choose.

Straight Ally Heroes

“Our movement has made enormous progress regarding the freedom to marry, thanks not only to courageous LGBT people but to the dedication of many straight allies,” says Center CEO Lorri L. Jean. “We could not have come as far as we have without them, and they deserve our kudos and respect. With continued support from Heroes of Love like those we honor this Valentine’s Day, we will forge ahead, confident that Proposition 8 was only a temporary setback in our quest for justice and that full and complete equality will one day be ours.”

The 15 straight allies being honored are:

· Julian Bond, chairman of the NAACP

· Jerry Brown, California Attorney General

· Judy Chu, chair of the California Board of Equalization

· Maria Elena Durazo, executive secretary-treasurer of the L.A. County Federation of Labor

· Diane Feinstein, U.S. Senator

· Hon. Ron George, Chief Justice of the California State Supreme Court

· Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America

· Alice Huffman, President of the California NAACP

· Bill Maher, host of Real Time with Bill Maher

· Gavin Newsom, mayor of San Francisco

· Jack O’Connell, California’s Superintendent of Public Instruction

· Brad Pitt, A-list actor

· Jerry Sanders, mayor of San Diego

· Antonio Villaraigosa, mayor of Los Angeles

· Karin Wang, Vice President of Programs for the Asian Pacific American Legal Center.

Your Personal Hero

Use this Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to thank a boss who let you volunteer on Election Day, a parent who donated to the No on 8 campaign or friends who joined you for phone banking—recognize them all with free Valentine’s Day e-cards, including cards designed by Queer As Folk stars Michelle Clunie and Peter Paige and Girls Will Be Girls star and executive producer Jack Plotnick.

Canvass Campaign

The Center’s Vote for Equality Project, which has been educating voters about marriage equality for more than 4 years, is organizing a Valentine’s Day canvass to help change the minds and hearts of voters in parts of Los Angeles where Prop. 8 passed by a narrow margin. The canvass will begin with a full training, and lunch will be provided.

To volunteer or to learn about future canvassing opportunities, visit www.lagaycenter.org/voteforequality.

-30-

About the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center
Since 1971 the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center has been building the health, advocating for the rights and enriching the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Our wide array of services and programs includes: free HIV/AIDS care and medications for those most in need; housing, food, clothing and support for homeless LGBT youth; low-cost counseling and addiction-recovery services; essential services for LGBT-parented families and seniors; legal services; health education and HIV prevention programs; transgender services; cultural arts and much more. Visit us on the Web at: www.lagaycenter.org.

Happy Freedom to Marry Day!

Posted by amy On February - 12 - 2009

While hundreds of thousands of JTI members have joined with MEUSA today to take the message of marriage equality to marriage counters across the country, I unfortunately am stuck in bed with a fever of 103 :-(.  You see, over the past week, I have been incredibly sick, and therefor unable to get online and put up any blog posts or join in any of the fun planning for today’s events.  Let this be a lesson to each and everyone of you to get a flu shot when the opportunity presents itself.

Lucky for me, on today’s 12th annual Freedom to Marry Day, Evan Wolfson of FreedomToMarry.org wrote an amazing piece and has given me permission to re-post it on JTI… giving all of our readers a great update, and me another few hours to rest my eyes and fill up on emergen-c.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/evan-wolfson/marriage-and-gays-what-wo_b_165761.html

Evan Wolfson

Executive director of Freedom to Marry and author of Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality, and Gay People’s Right to Marry

Posted February 11, 2009 | 11:22 AM (EST)

Marriage and Gays: What Would Lincoln Do?

Abraham Lincoln may have been the first American to write about a same-sex couple getting married. His 1829 poem recounting the marriage of Nate and Billy was “perhaps the most explicit literary reference to actual homosexual relations in 19th century America.” Lincoln’s most important early biographer, William Herndon, initially included the poem in his Life of Lincoln, but as so often with gay subjects, it was subsequently omitted and largely ignored by later scholars.

Recently there has been greater willingness to debate evidence that our greatest president may himself have had same-sex attraction and even acted on it, as the iconic Lincoln biographer, Carl Sandburg, intimated in 1924 when he wrote of Lincoln’s “streaks of lavender.” In 2005, C.A. Tripp’s Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln marshaled accounts of Lincoln’s relations with men such as Captain David Derickson, including a November 1862 diary entry by the wife of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy that reads, “There is a Bucktail soldier here, devoted to the President, drives with him, and when Mrs. L is not home, sleeps with him. What stuff!” Like other scholars, Tripp explored Lincoln’s singularly intimate relationship with Joshua Speed, who told Herndon, “If I had not been married & happy — far more happy than I ever expected to be — [Lincoln] would not have married.”

But it’s not because of Lincoln’s sexual orientation or other “stuff” that February 12, Lincoln’s birthday, has for 12 years now been the centerpiece of National Freedom to Marry Week. Lincoln’s strongest connection to the freedom to marry cause lies in the values he embodied in his life, and embodies in ours. He was committed to equality, freedom, and lifting people up. He called Americans to the “better angels of our nature,” and he combined a deep moral integrity with a determined and strategic focus on achieving what is most important and right.

In the wake of last November’s Proposition 8 temporarily halting marriages in California, and with marriage equality shimmering within reach in other states such as New York and New Jersey, gay and non-gay people and organizations across the country will spend Freedom to Marry Week asking our fellow citizens to, in Lincoln’s words, “think anew” about how exclusion from marriage harms gay families while helping no one. Freedom to Marry Week in this Lincoln bicentennial year recalls his admonition, “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.”

In Lincoln’s Virtues, William Lee Miller described Lincoln’s distinctly independent mind and great empathy (both as a child and adult). Young Lincoln rejected much of his world (hunting, fighting, chasing girls, slavery, churchgoing, cruelty to Indians, etc.) and yet remained engaged in the world, embracing and non-dismissive of others. Lincoln’s ability and determination to put himself in the other’s shoes — to say of Southerners, as he did in numerous speeches as a candidate and as president, “they are just as we would be in their situation” — while holding steadfastly to his lifelong belief that slavery is wrong, offers a lesson to those of us seeking to further move the public toward marriage equality.

Lincoln‘s combination of tactical maneuvering and incremental action with consistent articulation of a clear moral standard over time helped elevate public understanding and commitment to what is right. Even while biding his time or falling short of “purist” demands for immediate and extreme steps — he was a politician, not philosopher — Lincoln understood that “explicit public clarity…that slavery is a great moral evil was essential to the permanent solution to the problem of slavery.”

Now slavery was an exceptional injustice, and I don’t equate the wrong of marriage discrimination to it. Likewise, the challenges confronting President Obama and our country today are many and serious, though not of the existential scope as those confronting Lincoln. Still, Obama, like me a fervent admirer of Lincoln, would do well to ask himself what Lincoln would do faced with the question of whether to continue the denial of the freedom to marry to these committed couples.

As a candidate for the Illinois Senate in 1996, a body in which Lincoln also served, Obama in his own hand supported the Marriage Resolution now on Freedom to Marry’s website. He said, “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.” I believe Lincoln, with today’s understanding of who gay people are, would, too. And once Lincoln had taken such a step, he would have stuck with it, as when he courageously refused to retreat from the Emancipation Proclamation even when facing a difficult reelection battle in 1864. As Lincoln said, “The promise, being made, must be kept.”

In recent years, Obama has wavered on marriage equality, while expressing commendable support for gay families and substitute legal status such as civil union — getting the what (equality) right, but not the how (marriage). Lincoln, however, would not have abandoned a clear commitment to the right result even when, where necessary, moving by intermediate steps.

President Obama seems determined to embrace Lincoln’s empathy model — “there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America; there’s the United States of America…. We coach little league in the blue states and, yes, we’ve got some gay friends in the red states.” I hope he and other politicians also embrace Lincoln’s courage and lessons on how to combine strategy with moral education, moral leadership, that prepares and moves Americans in fulfillment of our deepest values. After all, as a recent Freedom to Marry study reported, no legislators who voted for marriage equality or against anti-gay measures lost their seat in the last several election cycles.

As Lincoln’s words and actions skillfully paved the way for America’s “new birth of freedom,” he returned again and again to the Declaration of Independence’s promise that “all should have an equal chance.” Lincoln didn’t expect that promise to waft in by itself, or solely on the work of others. He led.