Saturday, October 31, 2020

Join the Impact

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I Heart Iowa!

Posted by amy On April - 3 - 2009

I’m sure you all know the amazing news: The Iowa Supreme Court ruled in favor of Same-Sex Civil Marriage today!  As someone who is originally from Ohio, I never expected a Midwest state to jump on the marriage equality bandwagon before the coastal states, but Iowa has just proven me wrong!  Thanks to the amazingly hard work of groups like One Iowa and Lambda Legal, we are another great step closer to winning equality for all LGBTQ citizens!

Please take a moment today to celebrate.  Share the story with friends and family.  Tell your co-workers about today’s historic event.  Tell a neighbor.  Send an email.  Change your Facebook/Twitter status.  Or join one of the many celebratory rallies that are springing up around the nation:  MEUSA has planned one in San Francisco, many are happening in Iowa (thanks to One Iowa),  and the Civil Rights Front is holding one in Manhattan.  Check The Impact to see if a local organizer has set something up for your city.  Continue the conversation of equality with this amazing news!

Here’s some links to stories about it:

Finally, on a personal note, since the launch of Join the Impact, I have had the privilege to meet some extremely amazing people who are working toward gaining full equality for all LGBTQ citizens on both the local and national level.  One of those people is a man named Joe Maribella.  Joe organized the Seattle Light Up the Night event, and, since I live in Seattle, I have had many great opportunities to work directly with him as he organizes for Join the Impact in Washington State.  Joe is originally from Iowa and (by shear coincidence), he and his partner (also named Joe… yup, it’s confusing) of 5 1/2 years were home in Iowa visiting this week.  This morning, they woke up and saw their home state embrace their commitment.  They applied for a marriage license an hour ago with a formal proposal outside of City Hall!!  Congratulations to Joe… and Joe :-).  Also, congratulations to all of the amazing couples that will be married in Iowa!  And congratulations to all of you, who are working hard for the LGBTQ community as a whole and know that a win for one state is a win for all of us!

Domestic Partnership VS. Marriage

Posted by amy On January - 29 - 2009

In my current home state (current because Ohio will always be my real home state) of Washington, our state-wide LGBTQ organization, Equal Rights Washington, just introduced a state-wide Domestic Partnership Expansion Bill*.  Currently, our state provides partial rights under our Domestic Partnership laws including property rights, real-estate related taxes, powers of attorney, and a few more.  The DP expansion bill would provide WA-state LGBTQ families with even more rights, making our relationships almost equivalent (at least at the state-level) to heterosexual married couples.  Since yesterday’s announcement of this bill, there has been some heated debate about weather it is “too little vs. too much” and of course, the consistent debate amongst our own community of “Domestic Partnership” vs. “Marriage.”

As the debate rages, I feel the need to bring attention to a very specific quote from ERW: They say that this DP bill is “part of a broader effort to secure full marriage equality in Washington.”  While we all work together to achieve full marriage equality, we need to understand that there are steps to be taken in this process.  Some of these steps include starting off with a word that many of us are not comfortable with: Domestic Partnership.  This word, from what I gather, is meant to be a “start,” but definitely not an end in our evolution toward full equality.

So now I want to bring this question to YOU on a national level.  If you were given the option to fully protect your family RIGHT NOW, but have those protections categorized under the term “Domestic Partner” or to wait an uncertain amount of time (months, years, possibly more) so that you can have the entire package – the word and the rights… which would you choose?  Now, I am in no way trying to under play the word “marriage.”  Beyond the 1100 PLUS Federal rights that come with the word “marriage,” there are also numerous unspoken social rights that come with the word.

As this debate rages in our community, there are LGBTQ families in need of equal protections NOW.  With our current economic state, we need to ensure that families can share pensions, health insurance, life insurance, and more.  In some states, these protections can come immediately, but only if the semantics come with it.  Many are angry about this.  Many feel that this is an all or nothing situation and they will not support a Domestic Partnership because it does not come with all of the federal and social rights of Civil Marriage.  I say, that we must come together as a community, which was the call to action that began Join the Impact.  We cannot let our community continue to be divided in this debate, while elderly members of our community loose out (as many DP rights are set to protect these people the most).  A DP is NOT FULL EQUALITY, but it IS a step in the right direction, and I think we need that step to be taken in states that require it.  Not all states can skip the step of DP, but we are lucky to have those that can.

While we continue this discussion, we each must realize that there is an internal struggle we must deal with as well.  We are raised to believe that the highest form of commitment only comes with the word “marriage.”  This is why I call my wife, “my wife.”  This is why I call my relationship a “marriage.”  And this is why I spent a whole lot of money on a full-blown “traditional” ceremony with family and friends to celebrate my love.  I did this because the word is extremely important to me.  I did this because I have a deep rooted pride and respect in the word marriage.  And the internal struggle exists when those outside my family do not understand my relationship or revere it the way I do, or the way they would a heterosexual marriage of two perfect strangers.  The majority of these people do not “hate” me or my relationship.  Instead, they believe that they are protecting their families when fighting to keep this word theirs.  We, on the other hand, are protecting our families when fighting for this word as well.  Herein lies the divide, which is rooted in an equal end goal: protection of one’s family.  Well, I’m going to protect my family in any and every way that I can.  I will do this by upholding my definition of marriage:  A monogamous, consensual, life-long commitment rooted in love, honor, respect, and responsibility.  I will do this by fighting for equal protections under the law.  I will do this because I know that one day, the ENTIRE package of equality will be sitting at my doorstep.

This is a chicken vs. the egg scenario.  What will come first, the legal rights, or the social rights?  That is up to you.  If the legal rights come to me here in Washington before the social rights do, I won’t complain.  I won’t because I demand those social rights everyday in everything that I do.  I know what my relationship is, and I am confident enough in it that nobody’s beliefs can change it.  No law will tell me what I can and cannot call my family.  No law will tell me how to regard my wife.  I AM MARRIED, and the LAW and the SEMANTICS will just have to catch up to my PRIDE!

*If you are in WA and would like to support this next step toward civil-marriage, please email your legislature today!

*If you are in a state where similar initiatives are taking place, PLEASE post them on this blog, The Impact, and email JTI with them as well… JTI will do whatever we can to help get the word out and help!

Hours Away: America’s New President

Posted by amy On January - 19 - 2009

Tomorrow marks an amazing moment in the history of America that I am honored to witness. I still remember what everyone, including myself, was saying a year ago: America is not ready for an African American president. Now look where America is only one year later. In less than a year, we emerged from the overwhelming idea that America was not ready and took to the polls to prove that we were and we are!

I spent my evening talking with someone about laws governed by society. This conversation was about Same-Sex Civil Marriage. The person I was speaking with stated that Civil Marriage for same-sex couples will not happen because society is not ready. So where do you want us to be in a year? Will society be ready for Same-Sex Civil Marriage? What about a gender-identity inclusive Federal ENDA law? The passage of the Matthew Shepard Act? National adoption rights for LGBTQI couples? These are just a few opportunities in front of us. Help us decide, and then help us make it a reality. Share your ideas to make an IMPACT here.

Look how far our country has come in one year!  What will your IMPACT be to get us to the next level?  I can’t wait to see where we are next year, with the help of amazing people like you!

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:
NO FORCED DIVORCE!

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!

Friday 12/12/08 – Tools of the Week

Posted by amy On December - 12 - 2008

As we near closer to our next HUGE NATIONAL EVENT on December 20th, we want to continue keeping everyone informed about what they can do between now and then to continue the conversation of equality and continue forward movement for LGBTQ Civil Rights.

A few things came up this week that made me realize just what this movement means to everyone. As we continue to drive attention to LGBTQ rights, more and more people are getting on board and Joining in to make an Impact. The conversation of equality is seeping into households that ignored it in the past. 8% of Those who voted “Yes” on 8 say they would vote “No” if they had a second chance. Day Without a Gay brought national attention back to this conversation with news coverage on ABC, CNN, and other national networks. Those who oppose us are starting to speak louder and we can’t let our voices be drowned out by them. On November 15th, we rose together as one, and now we must remain standing tall as one strong voice! We need to understand that this movement will NOT be won overnight. It will take time. It will take tears. It is the beginning ONLY of the next round, not of our struggle. So between now and December 20th, continue on with the Food Drive and utilize the following tools to help keep our visibility at a level this nation has never before seen!

Newsweek put out an amazing article on behalf of Same-Sex Civil Marriage. Newsweek has now seen a surge of angry letters from those that oppose our call for equal rights. Please join the HRC in letting Newsweek know that we support them and help to ensure our voices are not drowned out by others.

GayWallet.com, is a great website for the conscious LGBTQ consumer. Join them in the December 23rd, Gay Dollar Day Campaign in which we show how supportive our dollars can be and just how much we impact our economy.

It’s time we take our visibility to the next level. Join us in putting positive LGBTQ imagery EVERYWHERE. Let’s start by creating videos to raise awareness about our struggle, our lost rights, and the rights that 1 in 10 US citizens have never had. Create a video today that begins with one sentence: I Joined the Impact Because… Post this to YouTube and TheImpact and we’ll keep spreading the visibility of our movement and community!

Are you a Washington citizen? Join Equal Rights Washington in their One Minute For Marriage Campaign.

This is YOUR IMPACT. Join the Impact is your movement and your voice! Help us continue making an impact on this nation and the world! Join us on December 20th to Light Up the Night for Equal Rights and show this nation who we are!