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Breaking News – Author of DOMA Asks for Repeal

Posted by amy On January - 5 - 2009

One week before our National DOMA protest, the waves of change are already starting to form! Bob Barr, the infamous author of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), wrote an op-ed in the LA Times stating that DOMA should be repealed!  This is something worth celebrating, and something we should take to the next level.

Ever since we announced January 10th’s National DOMA Protest, we learned that many members of the LGBTQ community do not even know what DOMA is.  DOMA, put simply, is one current reason LGBTQ rights are so hard to come by.  When you drill down to the heart of DOMA, it was launched as an effort to keep same-sex couples from gaining the same rights as heterosexual married couples… in other words, it was born out of a need to restrict the rights of the LGBTQ community.  DOMA has been used time and time again to continually restrict the rights of the LGBTQ community in employment, spousal benefits, property ownership, insurance, etc.  Many view it as discrimination written into the constitution (I am one of those many).

On January 10th, we are protesting to repeal DOMA and to gain 1 Million Signatures on our Open Letter to Barack Obama.  This letter is meant to serve as a reminder to Obama of the promises that he made to our community, which he wrote in an Open Letter to the LGBTQ Community in early 2008.  In that letter, he promised to repeal DOMA.  We drafted a letter that uses his exact words in an effort to remind him just how accountable we expect him to be for his promises.  Many requests have been made to broaden this letter and add a request for full gay marriage, or other initiatives to the list.  We do not want to deter from the point of the letter though: Repeal DOMA.  Hold True to Your Promises.  Your Words DO Have Meaning.

DOMA Defined:

On September 21st, 1996, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was signed into federal law. DOMA, wrote discrimination into the Constitution with two strict regulations:

  1. No state (or other political subdivision within the United States) need treat a relationship between persons of the same sex as a marriage, even if the relationship is considered a marriage in another state.
  2. The Federal Government may not treat same-sex relationships as marriages for any purpose, even if concluded or recognized by one of the states.

To drive the point even further, 37 states slowly but surely adopted DOMA as a state-wide regulation further amending state Constitutions. This appalling law tells the American people that it is OK to discriminate. That it is OK to recognize the LGBTQ community as less than equal. This same law, that the California Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional set the precedence for Proposition 8. This same law has nullified many rights that come with Domestic Partnerships. This law does not just affect members of the LGBTQ community – it also repeals rights from heterosexual non-married couples.  This law has nullified the heterosexual rights that come with Common Law Marriage. This law blurred the lines of separation of church and state even further. And this law, is one of many that President Elect Barack Obama has PROMISED to repeal in his “Open Letter to the LGBTQ Community.

DOMA is not a speed bump on the road to full equality.  It is not even a road block.  DOMA is a gigantic brick wall that is crumbling!  On January 10th, we encourage you to find a protest in or near your city.  Join in this important national moment, where we will work together to shed light on the negative effects of DOMA.  Help us get signatures between now and Jan 10th on the Open Letter to Barack Obama.  Bob Barr, who created the beast, is now in our corner to help us defeat it!  He started the wall crumbling, now it’s time we come together this Saturday with our own “demo team” to help tear it down!

Richmond’s Jane Doe – Update

Posted by amy On January - 2 - 2009

4 people were taken in as the alleged rapists of December 13th’s brutal gang rape and attack on a Richmond, CA woman.

This is the beginning of a new year. Over the next 12 months, we will continue to win in the face of ignorance. We WILL continue to remain visible and strong. We WILL continue to unite for full equality. We WILL take leaps forward in our struggle in ways that this country has not yet seen! And during all this, we must remember what has happened to those who are fighting with us. We must remember that not everyone we deal with will change. We must remember that there is a loud minority who wants to make us victims, and a quiet majority that wants us to be victors. We need to give that quiet majority a voice. We need to drown out the hatred of those who want to hurt us. We MUST remember what has occurred since the beginning of this movement and realize that we have many mountains to climb, but our goal IS reachable and WILL be won!

We must remember what happened in Richmond, CA on December 13th, 2008.

They attacked her because she was gay. Our government provides our community and our love with less rights than our heterosexual allies. This causes a sense of entitlement for those who are ignorant and violent.

They raped her because she was gay. Proposition 8 passed in California stating that same-sex couples do not deserve the same recognition as heterosexual couples. Her partner, in the eyes of the law, does not deserve the same recognition.

They beat her because she was gay. We just spent the past 8 years under a president of who openly stated numerous times that it is a sin to be LGBTQ. When the leader of the free world openly discriminates, what is to stop anyone else?

They left her helpless because she was gay. In 30 states it is still legal to fire someone because they are a member of the LGBTQ community. If your employer can discriminate against you, your government can, and your state voters can, then what is to stop someone from feeling justified by violence?

We are ALL connected. What we say, what we do, and what we vote on DOES affect everyone. When we turn our eyes away from hatred, we allow it to occur. When we remain silent while somebody calls us Faggot, we allow the stereotypes to continue. When we hear a teen year old say “That’s so gay” and don’t speak up, we allow him or her to grow up thinking that it is OK to speak like that about a minority.

Of those arrested, two were teenagers: 15 and 16.

I look forward to a world when I don’t have to say that anyone, did anything, because someone is gay, lesbian, bi, transgendered, or queer.

Please DONATE to Richmond’s Jane Doe and help her and her partner get back on their feet. Her partner needs time off to care for her. We can help. Please learn how you can donate here:http://www.facebook.com/n/?event.php&eid=40712604850

Ringing in the New Queer – With George Bush?!

Posted by amy On December - 31 - 2008

Well, after 8 years of discrimination with a smile, Bush turned a corner that has officially shocked me, but I’m not about to complain.  Yesterday, Bush signed Worker, Retiree and Employer Recovery Act of 2008 into law! This new bill provides important protections for LGBT families and is something we should celebrate!  At Join the Impact, we come together in one very hard and long struggle.  Let’s take this moment to come together in celebration.  Tonight, as you ring in the new year, do so with the knowledge that we are ONE STEP CLOSER to achieving full equality for all!  This is a win worth celebrating.

Tomorrow is not just a new day, it’s a new year in the fight for equal rights.  What do you resolve to do?  I resolve to DOUBLE our impact on November 15th 2009 with over 2 million people protesting world-wide.  I resolve to have MANY more celebrations of equal rights gained as marriage passes in many states, Prop 8 gets repealed, and Obama begins to act on the promises he made us.  I resolve to continue my conversations of equality.  I resolve to not be the victim and instead be the victor.  I resolve to be a 1st Class Citizen.

Happy New Queer!

Unfortunate News – We Must Respond

Posted by amy On December - 23 - 2008

Join The Impact is about visibility. It’s about showing this country that if you mess with one of us, you have to face ALL of us. It’s about uniting as one strong and fierce community to gain the basic human rights that EVERY HUMAN BEING DESERVES. It’s about coming together to celebrate, and coming together to mourn.

On December 13th, a woman in the San Francisco Bay area was brutally beaten and gang raped for being a lesbian. The news just broke a little under 9 hours ago. We need to let this woman know that she is not alone. We need to let her know that our ENTIRE community is there for her. For her safety, her name has not been released. I have spoken with the Richmond, CA police department and learned that there are some initiatives already underway to support her. Soon, a trust will be setup where people can donate directly to her, which will help her get on her feet and feel more secure. I will keep everyone posted when that is set. Also, the Richmond PD is checking to see if we can send letters and holiday cards to any specific destination that can then deliver those letters to her.

First we must show her that she is not alone. Next, we must show the nation that we will not stand for this! On January 10th we are having national rallies to protest DOMA and remind President-Elect Barack Obama of the promises he made in his Open Letter to the Gay Community. We must also focus on stronger hate crimes legislation and use this time as an opportunity to bring attention to this horrible crime, and the 1400 hate crimes that occur each year against the LGBTQ community. We will work with you on ideas to ensure this happens.

From my conversation with the Richmond PD, it is clear that they are taking this issue to heart and working hard on behalf of this woman. Not all cities and towns are like this. We need to work together as a community to ensure that atrocities like this do not go unnoticed, or unpunished. We need to make it harder for someone to hurt another just because they are LGBTQ. We need to show the nation that hatred toward our community is NOT ACCEPTABLE.

While you celebrate your holidays, I encourage you to start the conversation of equality by making everyone aware of this horrible atrocity. Share her story with friends and family. Tell allies, and tell those who do not yet understand. In a world where the government does not see us as equal, an expectation is set for everyone, and it is a low one. If our government does not see us as worthy, why should others? The final quote in the article sums it up perfectly: “Anytime there is an anti-LGBT initiative, we tend to see spikes both in the numbers and the severity of attacks… People feel this extra entitlement to act out their prejudice.”

People NEED to learn about this event. Too many people think that Matthew Sheppard was the last to be attacked (as crazy as that sounds, it’s true). We need to be visible in EVERY WAY and, too often, events like this go unnoticed. Too few people understand how the treatment of our community under the law, drives “extra entitlement” for those that hate us. We are better than this! Our country is and should be better than this! NO MORE SILENCE!

UPDATE – the JoinTheImpact Alliance Coordinator created an event on Facebook to raise money:
Event: Help A Sister Out
“Benefit for Hate Rape Victim”
What: Fundraiser
Host: Matt Flanders
Start Time: Tuesday, December 22 at 5:00pm
End Time: Thursday, December 31 at 5:00pm
Where: From Your Heart

To see more details and RSVP, follow the link below:

Take a STAND on January 10th

Posted by amy On December - 22 - 2008

Across the country in hundreds of cities, we came together on December 20th in vigil. This was a protest in the spirit of the holiday season, and one that helped us reach 1 Million people with our message of equality. While we didn’t change the hearts and minds of all 1 Million, we did change the lives of many. This highly successful event grew our base, and that growth will show with our next goal: 1 Million Signatures.

On January 10th, 2009 we ask that you join us to unite again! This movement WILL NOT BE WON WITHOUT VISIBILITY. 50 Cities across the country have already jumped on board to organize. And that’s just in a few days of planning. We got 300 cities with 1 week of notice on November 15th. We can easily exceed that this time around. So, on January 10th, we ask that you join us in your city for one or all of the following events:

  • A protest in your area to bring attention to DOMA and the promise that Barack Obama made to repeal DOMA.
  • Organize a transportation unit in your city to get people to the closest DOMA protest
  • Canvas your city to get signatures for our Open Letter to Barack Obama.

In response to President-elect Barack Obama’s “Open Letter to the Gay Community,” we ask that you join us in signing our “Open Letter to Barack Obama,” to be revealed soon. It’s time we show the government how numerous we are. We need to show our impact and we’re going to take it to the White House!

The work done over this weekend will help us achieve and exceed this important goal. Help us get 1 Million signatures, and we’ll get it the letter in Obama’s hands.

Light Up the Night – Videos From Around the Nation

Posted by amy On December - 21 - 2008

If anyone asks you what JoinTheImpact is, you tell them “You’re looking at it.” YOU ARE THE IMPACT. Last night, it was YOU that stood up and demanded change! It was YOU who said that you will not be silenced anymore. It was YOU who touched 1 million people with the message of equality. YOU lit up the night! YOU are this movement. YOU are the hope for equality. YOU ARE THE IMPACT!

Watch Your Impact:

News Stories:

Rex Wockner

Q News


Google News Link

Join the Impact Press Release

Light Up the Night Illuminates 1 Million Lives!

Posted by amy On December - 21 - 2008

I’m still sorting through emails and phone calls, but can say with great confidence that tonight’s vigils reached over 1 million people! Our amazing volunteers (all of you!) trudged through crazy snowstorms, rain, and traffic to ensure that their light could shine bright on the sea of change! Over 1 million 5 Rights Holiday Cards were passed out and hundreds of thousands had important conversations, educating the nation about our struggle.

In my own experience, I was met with eyes of confusion, disbelief, and even offense. Many people were angered that I wore the slogan “2nd Class Citizen.” Anger is an emotion that is extremely powerful, yet fleeting. If handled correctly, it can be changed into something extremely positive. People joined our march as they walked from point A to point B, they grabbed flyers and handed them out, one even started chanting for equality. And those who were angry, you ask? Well, some remained that way and didn’t want to speak. Others, took a moment to talk. Many, walked away with a feeling of new understanding. One elderly man told me that he will be at our next rally, and he was sorry he hadn’t understood before.

1 Million people educated

1 Million people touched

1 Million people reached

1 Million people illuminated.

Press Release Here.

In a roller coaster ride of hypocrisy yesterday, the Yes on 8 Campaign filed a brief to revoke the 18,000 marriages of same-sex couples that were made between June 16th and November 4th. Yes that’s right, the very people who have sworn that their actions were meant to “protect” marriage and families, are now trying to FORCE 18,000 FAMILIES INTO DIVORCE! How does this protect marriage or the family at all?!

Do they understand how this takes their entire argument one gigantic step backwards? Granted, their arguments have always been illogical, but this just seems to take the cake. How is it possible to protect marriages and family by saying to the nation that it’s imperative the state force 18,000 families into a state of divorce? Seeing the lack of logic in their argument, the CA Attorney General quickly filed a motion to revoke Proposition 8! This was a surprise change of mind on his part and part of me wonders if the Yes on 8 hypocrisy sparked this.

That’s the message that we need to BURN into the minds of everyone around the country:

This effects everyone of us, regardless of the state we live in. I have heard a lot of people say lately “Why should something in California effect me?” It’s simple: If it can happen in California, it can happen ANYWHERE with ANY of our RIGHTS! In Ohio, for instance, Domestic Partnership Registries were just passed (at the city level in Cleveland). This is simply a registry – something where you can document that you’re partners. How does this harm anyone? Well, a group of proponents to this initiative have already begun planning their own version of Prop 8 to take away this registry. In Arkansas, same-sex couples were denied the right to adopt. Throughout the nation, 37 states have DOMA written into their constitution. TONIGHT is the time to illuminate the hate with love, knowledge, visibility, and honesty. NO ONE has a right to force my family into divorce!

Tonight is your opportunity to spread this message far and wide! Show the nation what our struggle is all about! Let’s LIGHT UP THE NIGHT FOR EQUAL RIGHTS!

Good Luck to ALL of you tonight. And thank you SO MUCH for all of your hard work!

Shedding Some Light on Rick Warren

Posted by amy On December - 19 - 2008

In the spirit of tomorrow’s national vigils (Light Up the Night for Equal Rights), I thought it would be a great idea to shed some light on the Rick Warren debate. Many people have added some great comments. I’ve highlighted a few here… what are your thoughts? Read the rest of this entry »

The Elephant in the Room – Rick Warren

Posted by amy On December - 18 - 2008

Over the last 24 hours, many have asked what Join The Impact’s take is on the pick of Rick Warren for President Elect Barack Obama’s invocation speech. Thousands of members have expressed anger, fear, sadness, confusion, aggrevation… the list goes on. Simply put, this is a slap in the face… especially in the wake of Proposition 8. In an effort to unify America, Obama’s choice could easily divide us further. In such a historic election, it is embarrassing that a man who DOES NOT stand for change is given a stronger voice than those that do.

The Reverend Rick Warren has spoken openly about his approval of Proposition 8 – saying that allowing Same-Sex Civil Marriage will somehow take away his freedom of speech. Honestly, I have no clue how an argument like that even holds water. There are still racists in this world Mr. Warren, and they still have the freedom to express their ignorance as unfortunate as it may be. This will not change for you WHEN WE DO RECEIVE FULL EQUALITY. The fact is, our fight for equality is like pulling off a band aid: if you continue to fight it, it’s only going to hurt more… either way, that band aid is bound to come off and you’ll realize that there is no scarring at all. Our rights do not affect you, they affect US!

If President Elect Barack Obama DOES NOT revoke his invitation to Rick Warren, then I see only one solution for the President Elect: find an openly gay leader and ask that they too have an opportunity to speak. Obama’s goal is to represent ALL Americans and he is grossly under-representing 10% of the population! To save face, he must contact an intelligent, well-known, political, and LGBTQ man or woman to speak at his inauguration. Some ideas that come to mind: Eliza Bayard of GLSEN, Joe Solmonese of the HRC, Andrew Sullivan, Kevin Jennings, Rea Carey of the NGLTF, the list goes on and on. Ultimately this might be a golden opportunity to educate the public and increase LGBTQ representation on Inauguration day by DEMANDING an LGBTQ speaker. Of course, if Obama were to choose a fully inclusive religious leader to give the invocation speech, then he can kill two birds with one stone… but it seems like he’s making it difficult on himself, so it’s time we give ourselves a voice and make our visibility known! We will NOT BE IGNORED!

I keep coming back to the following: Obama can’t go back on his word. Sure, politics is politics – everyone goes back on their word too many times to count. But President Elect Barack Obama has made it clear that these should not be the standards. He sold us on his character, his ethics, and his morals. He sold us on his promises. In many ways, this issue is a double-edged sword. He promised to give EVERYONE a voice and that includes Rick Warren. He promised to include ALL ideas and beliefs in his cabinet. Therefore, in SOME points of view, his choice of Rick Warren, could also be viewed as him sticking to his promises. So, Mr. President Elect, we at JoinTheImpact implore you to CONTINUE sticking to your promises. If EVERYONE deserves a voice – then GIVE US ONE AS WELL. You made many PROMISES to the LGBTQ community. So when will you start calling on one of our leaders to speak? It is our duty to continuously remind President Elect Barack Obama of the MANY promises he made to our community: REPEAL DOMA, REPEAL Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, STRENGTHEN Hate Crimes Legislation, PASS a Fully Inclusive Federal ENDA law… and now, since you have clearly given one viewpoint a voice, you must also give us a VOICE on inauguration day as well!

On December 20th – We will all UNITE to Light Up the Night for Equal Rights. Our Goal is to REACH 1 Million People. Based on our numbers, this is an easy goal to accomplish. So now is the time to STEP IT UP A NOTCH. Now is the time to show this country exactly why Rick Warren DOES NOT speak for us. If Obama won’t give us a voice, then WE HAVE TO DO IT OURSELVES! On December 20th, we have been asking that you come with “2nd Class Citizen” shirts on. Clearly, Barack Obama has chosen someone who DOES consider us 2nd Class Citizens to speak on behalf of all the people. We need to let the people know the words that are being put in their mouths. As such, I’m grabbing a sharpie and making some changes to my message on Saturday night. The messaging on my shirt will say the following: “RICK WARREN THINKS I’M A 2nd CLASS CITIZEN… Do You?” Join us to make our voices heard! Join us to make an impact! And Join us to SHED LIGHT on the darkeness of this important issue!