Friday, February 1, 2013

Listen up Carpetbaggers!


Wyoming Equality has helped to make historic progress for the LGBT community in this legislative session.  For the first time ever a Domestic Partnership bill passed out of committee with overwhelming bipartisan support!  Unfortunately, the bill was killed on first reading in the house of representatives. Here's what may surprise you, of the 25 aye votes 17 were Republican.

Although we made history, one thing became painfully clear, WE STILL HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO!! Here is a sample of what your elected officials had to say about you;


Rep. Lynn Hutchings (R) Laramie county; 

"Being black is the result of genetics; it is inborn... science does not (have) evidence of a genetic involvement to sexuality... it is a choice." She went on to say, "Stop carpet- bagging on our civil rights movement! Homosexual behavior has been shown to be harmful to body, mind, and spirit"  Finally she referred to AIDS as "Gay-related immune deficiency or GRID."




Rep. Mark Baker (R) Sweetwater County;

"Let me give you some statistics, cause we all know this is about same sex marriage.... The median age of homosexual man dying of aids is 39, the median age of a homosexual man dying of all other causes is 42, the median death of a lesbian dying in 45, only 1% of homosexuals dye of old age... Now I'll spare you the details about the diseases and statistics that are available.... there are disastrous consequences to this bill."



Rep. Robert McKim (R) Lincoln County;

“She say’s we can’t cherry pick (referring to Rep. Sue Wallis’ testimony regarding the Wyoming Constitution) we cherry pick every day.”


Rep. Kathy Davison (R) Lincoln/Sweetwater/Uninta Counties;

“You don’t need a certificate to do these things…. You can already do all of things that you are saying in this bill you want to do, I don’t think you need a legal certificate.”





And at times the testimony was flat out bizarre!

Rep. Nathan Winters (R) Big Horn/Fremont/Park/Hot Springs Counties;

“This bill would then become a down payment on future lawsuits leading to same sex marriage… just look at the nutmeg state and if you don’t know what that is use pig-latin for cut confetti… In voting no on this bill we are not denying love, we are not infringing on rights.”






Wyoming Equality wants to keep fighting on your behalf and combat these myths, ignorant statements, and bigotry.  But we can't do it without your continued financial support. Can you please help us now and make a tax deductible contribution that will allow us to make sure Wyoming lives up to her name as "The Equality State!"


Jeran

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I need you to send an email ASAP


URGENT ACTION ALERT!

I'm hearing our opponents are kicking our butt in regards to sending emails and making phone calls!  Help me turn that around now!  We don't have much time!  Ask your friends and family to participate.  The first floor reading is happening tomorrow!

Help Us Pass Domestic Partnership Rights and Responsibilities Act in the Equality State.

The Domestic Partners Rights and Responsibilities Act was passed by the House Corporations Committee by a vote of 7 to 2, with strong bipartisan support, a vote is expected by the full House tomorrow.   This is an historic opportunity to provide critical protections for same sex and opposite sex couples and their families. 

But victory is only possible with the help of equality supporters in Wyoming.
This is what you can do tonight and tomorrow morning as we only have hours to get the needed votes.

Call or email your representatives and ask them to support the domestic partners bill (HB 168.)  You can use the bullet points below as a guide, but it is always best to personalize your message, explain why the bill is important to you, and why you believe it is good for Wyoming. The list of Wyoming House members can be found here.

We have the very real opportunity to make critical progress for LGBT people in Wyoming and, with your help, victory is within reach.


Together, we will continue making history!

Jeran

Talking points on Domestic Partnerships

Why Wyoming should support HB0168:

  • Wyoming's tradition of small government rejects the government telling people who they can love or what their families must look like.  Wyoming laws should support all Wyoming families.

  • Research has consistently shown that strong families are less likely to require state sponsored assistance. The DPR bill will save taxpayer dollars by allowing Wyoming families to solidify the bonds that create both the rights and responsibilities required for enduring family ties. For example, only the spouse of a deceased police officer, fire fighter, or emergency medical technician will receive monthly pension benefits or be able to handle the remains and possessions of the fallen officer. Under HB0168, the partners of gay and lesbian police officers, fire fighters, and emergency medical technicians will become eligible to receive the same pension benefits and given the same right to handle the remains as spouses.#

  • Presently, domestic partners have no rights under Wyoming law.  HB0168 will provide these families numerous rights including the ability to make health care decisions, funeral arrangements, and handle the remains of their deceased partner. HB0168 will instead treat everyone equally and fairly under the law.

  • HB0168 provides domestic partners not only rights, but also responsibilities, ensuring that their families and taxpayers are protected.  For example, HB0168 will help ensure that children are provided for by both parents in a domestic partnership, protecting children and saving taxpayers money.  


Domestic partnerships and religious freedom
  • HB0168 defines domestic partnership as a civil contract that does not involve clergy. It spells out that a domestic partnership agreement is granted by a court house not a church. Religious freedom is protected.

  • Wyoming clergy are free to choose whatever unions they solemnize, recognize or celebrate and to reject those unions that do not conform to their religious beliefs.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Legislative Action Alert!

Friends, Allies, and Supporters,


We are ready to rock and roll with Marriage Equality (HB169) and Domestic Partnerships (HB168) here in Wyoming. These two bills have been assigned to the Corporations Committee in the House of Representatives.  They are going to be heard at noon on Monday, January 28th.

All of the committee members names below are linked to take you to their legislative website.  The website contains phone and email contact information.

Here are my notes on what you can do to help;

Madam Chairwoman Rosie Berger,  Have not had a chance to speak with Chairwoman Berger but other Reps say to work on her.  Needs emails from across the state and especially from LGBT residents and allies living in Sheridan County.  Could become friendly but is going to take some work.  Email Rep. Berger now!

Rep. Gregg Blikre  I spoke with Rep Blikre this morning and he doesn't know where he stands.  He said he wants to hear all the arguments and make a decision from there.  So please email him and ask him for support, especially if you live in Gillette or Campbell county.  Again, I think we can get his support but he needs to hear from all of us.  Email Rep. Blikre now!

Rep. Dan Kirkbride  I spoke with Rep. Kirkbride this morning and he said he is a probably a no vote on both bills.  He doesn't think his constituents in Platte County are favorable. Personally I know Rep. Kirkbride and he is good man.  I expressed how important these are to me personally and he promised to keep an open mind a listen to our arguments.  He really needs to hear from LGBT members and allies in Platte County.  Email Rep. Kirkbride now!

Rep. Jerry Paxton  I have not had a chance to visit with him yet.  I'm hearing that he is moderate and persuadable.  His district includes parts of Albany, Sweetwater, and Carbon Counties.  Emails and phone calls of support would be great.  Email Rep. Paxton now!

Rep. Gerald Gay  A 100% no vote.  Don't waste your time on lobbying efforts.  This is the guy that publicly stated on the house floor that out of respect to his last name "we should call these people what they are, homosexual sodomites... not gay."

Rep. James (Jim) Byrd  100% yes vote.  Co-sponsor of both bills.

Rep. Matt Greene 100% yes vote.  Co-sponsor of Domestic Partnerships and supports marriage equality.

Rep. Ruth Ann Petroff 100% yes vote.  Also co-sponsor of both bills and an absolute delight to work with.

Rep. Dan Zwonitzer 100% yes vote. Co-sponsor of both bills and a tremendous ally.

Here are some resources to help;

This is a great video from our friends at QAN in Laramie on how to be an effective citizen lobbyist.  A little lengthy but worth the listen.  Get a group of friends together and watch this.

One of the most effective forms of communication is email.  Some simple guidelines to follow; always be polite, keep emails short and sweet, and talk about how this relates you personally.

Here are some talking points on the Domestic Partnership Bill;

HB0168

What is the Domestic Partnership Rights and Responsibilities Act?
Gay and lesbian couples share the same values of lifetime commitment and family as any other couple. This bill affords them the most basic legal protections they don't have now -like being able to make emergency medical decisions for each other and to properly care for the well being of their children. The bill also carries certain responsibilities that comes with entering into a domestic partnership.


Why Wyoming should support HB0168:

  • Wyoming's tradition of small government rejects the government tell people who they can love or what their families must look like.  Wyoming laws should support all Wyoming families.

  • Census data# shows that there are lesbian and gay couples living in almost every Wyoming county. In some counties, most or all of these families are raising children. These kids need legal protections; otherwise these families continue to be at risk of being torn apart.

  • This bill is good for business. States like Wyoming that do not recognize lesbian and gay couples make it difficult for companies with non-discrimination policies to recruit or transfer employees.

  • Research has consistently shown that strong families are less likely to require state sponsored assistance. The DPR bill will save taxpayer dollars by allowing Wyoming families to solidify the bonds that create both the rights and responsibilities required for enduring family ties. For example, only the spouse of a deceased police officer, fire fighter, or emergency medical technician will receive monthly pension benefits or be able to handle the remains and possessions of the fallen officer. Under HB0168, the partners of gay and lesbian police officers, fire fighters, and emergency medical technicians will become eligible to receive the same pension benefits and given the same right to handle the remains as spouses.#

  • Presently, domestic partners have no rights under Wyoming law.  HB0168 will provide these families numerous rights including the ability to make health care decisions, funeral arrangements, and handle the remains of their deceased partner. HB0168 will instead treat everyone equally and fairly under the law.

  • HB0168 provides domestic partners not only rights, but also responsibilities, ensuring that their families and taxpayers are protected.  For example, HB0168 will help ensure that children are provided for by both parents in a domestic partnership, protecting children and saving taxpayers money.  


Domestic partnerships and religious freedom

  • HB0168 defines domestic partnership as a civil contract that does not involve clergy. It spells out that a domestic partnership agreement is granted by a court house not a church. Religious freedom is protected.


  • Wyoming clergy are free to choose whatever unions they solemnize, recognize or celebrate and to reject those unions that do not conform to their religious beliefs.



Here are talking points on the Marriage Equality Bill;

Marriage Definition - HB0169

What is HB0169?
This bill would amend state law to grant committed same-sex couples the freedom to marry. HB0169 supports Wyoming’s interest in promoting strong and stable families.


Why should Wyoming support HB0169?

  • Under Wyoming law, same-sex couples can be denied the ability to make emergency medical decisions or take other measures to protect life and property. HB0169 allows same-sex couples to formalize their relationship as legal families with the ability to make emergency decisions.
  • Our choice of marriage partners is one the most important decisions we’ll ever make and, as written, Wyoming law denies LGBT people that decision.
  • HB0169 supports Wyoming’s tradition of small government, which reserves the right to choose a marriage partner to residents of the state, without government influence.
  • No one should be told it’s illegal to marry the person they love. If an adult can pay taxes, vote, serve in the military, own a gun and start a business then we should grant them the freedom to marry.
  • Census data# show that there are same-sex couples living in almost every Wyoming county. In some counties, most or all of these families are raising children. Without the protections offered by legal marriage, these families are treated as strangers under the law.
  • Businesses across the country support marriage for same-sex couples because it allows them to recruit the best and brightest employees to their state. Marriage equality is good for Wyoming businesses.

Marriage and religious freedom

  • Wyoming law defines marriage as a civil contract. Clergy and religious organizations will continue to be able to refuse to recognize, solemnize or perform any marriage that does not conform to their religious beliefs.

  • HB0169 protects religious freedom by supporting the growing number of religious denominations that choose to marry same-sex couples.


Civil unions are not sufficient
  • In a crisis situation, not everyone knows what a civil union means. Only marriage provides families the protections they need if their loved ones are in the hospital or have a school emergency.

  • Parents dream of the day when their child gets married, not the day that they sign a legal civil contract. There is nothing like marriage, and a civil union is not a substitute for it.

  • Only legally-recognized marriages are eligible for federal protections and benefits such as federal taxation, social security, military survivor benefits and hundreds more.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Please help us fight for Equality in Wyoming!











Wyoming Equality members and allies,

2013 has arrived, and it’s looking to be a giant year for Equality in Wyoming.

We have been working very hard with our friends in the Legislature to make equality a reality in the upcoming legislative session.

We are looking at three bills so far this year;

1)    Marriage Equality.
2)    Domestic Partnerships
3)    Passing ENDA (Employment Non-Discrimination Act) Legislation

We can’t do this without you!

Make no mistake, passing full blown marriage equality is going to be tough; but we are more optimistic than we have ever been before.  We fully believe  Domestic Partnerships and ENDA can become a reality for Wyoming in this session!

Here’s where you come in.  We need to know about your relationship with your Senator and Representative.  Do you have a personal relationship with them? Would you be willing to call or email them?  Would they sit down and have lunch with you?  Do you have a close friend or relative that has a personal relationship with a Wyoming lawmaker?  These are the kinds of lobbying efforts that will make the difference between equality passing or failing in this session.

We are also excited that we will have help on the national level in this session.  Our friends at NCLR (National Center for Lesbian Rights) and HRC (Human Rights Campaign) have agreed to be an integral part of making equality a reality in Wyoming.

Both organizations are sending experts to help lobby and testify at committee meetings and HRC is willing to help with the costs associated in hiring a full time professional lobbyist to fight on our behalf.  This is wonderful news!!

HRC has challenged Wyoming Equality to help raise funds for these goals.  W.E. needs money to help with the expense of this session.  We are planning a legislative reception, once again, that will allow us to be up close and personal with the very law makers that will be voting on our rights.  Last year the feedback from our reception was overwhelmingly positive and we want to make a huge impression once again.

Can you help us with a $5, $10, $100 donation or more?  Donating is as easy as clicking the link below. 

Become a member, make monthly or quarterly contributions, or scroll down to "one time gift" link to go to Paypal.


  
We’ve never been more excited about a legislative session! Please consider helping us make equality a reality in 2013!

Jeran

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

UPS ends charitable contributions to Boy Scouts.

I love stories like this!



Apparently UPS is ending their charitable contributions to the Boy Scouts because of their discriminatory policies toward gays.

Read the AP story here.

We are finally getting to a place in this country that being discriminatory towards the LGBT community is bad for business!  UPS and Intel are two major corporations sending a message to the Boy Scouts of America that their policies are out of touch!

When the whole Chick-fil-A debacle was going on I got some hateful phone calls and emails calling me a hypocrite. They wanted to know why I was calling on Chick-fil-A to stay out of the business of equality and stick to the business of making great chicken sandwiches.  "Where were you when JC Penney came out in support of gays; telling them to stick to the business of making clothes?"

Standing for Equality is always the right thing to do! This is a civil rights movement and standing up and saying "I've had enough!" is what all corporations should be doing.

Should companies stay out of personal issues? maybe? But this is not a personal issue, this is about civil rights, and bringing a group of minorities into full inclusion as a viable member of American society! This is about being treated as a full and equal citizen! ENDA discrimination needs to pass in all 50 states! Being gay is not a legitimate reason for being fired. Marriage Equality needs to pass in all 50 states!

I would imagine many corporations felt the same way about civil rights in regards to African Americans and later saw the error of their ways and ended up apologizing for their backward stance. I truly believe the same will come about, hopefully in a few short years.

Jeran


Monday, November 12, 2012

Brilliant summary of the election!

What are the lessons to be learned from this election?  I have a couple of take aways....


  • This country is no longer the property of middle aged white men.  
  • Elections can't be bought by giant super PAC's.
  • A grassroots effort can be extremely effective and victorious.  
  • The tide has finally turned on gay rights and people will stand up for equality at the ballot box. 
  • Women are more suited to make their health care decisions vs. 80 year old Senators.
  • The Tea Party should be nervous.
  • Democrats can't be afraid to play "rough" just like Republicans have been doing for years.
  • Racism is alive and well in this country.

So will Republicans learn anything from this election? Will they continue to blame Hurricane Sandy for stopping Romney's momentum and stick to the extreme policies that ultimately cost them this election?

I think Republicans need to do some soul searching and shift away from an image of exclusivity. As long as they continue to align themselves with super radical Judeo Christians, stand for a policy of self deportation, make stupid comments about how's a woman's body can shut down a pregnancy resulting from rape (or call it God's gift,) and reserve the holy sanctity of marriage as only between one man and one women, they will continue to lose elections.

The Republican Party has cancer and I believe an all out civil war is about to ensue.  As long as you have the Tea Party screaming at the middle and vice versa, as long as you have RINO hunters, and as long as you continue to profess "My way or the highway," Democrats will continue to pick up seats.

I think Rachel Maddow sums it up perfectly! Could not have said it any better myself!



Jeran

p.s.  Florida and Arizona get your shit together!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Deny it all you want, racism is alive!


Hmmm.  See any correlation?

I've had it with this hatred towards our president! I keep seeing Facebook posts saying things that are, well, downright hateful!

I've never seen such hatred and vitriol spewed out towards any president.  I remember how disappointed all the dems were when George W won a second term but I don't recall the name calling, finger pointing, and fighting that has ensued since Obama was re-elected.

I've seen people saying we've re-elected the Muslim. We've re-elected a president who disrespects the flag. We've re-elected a president who will take away our guns.  We've re-elected a president who wasn't even born in this country. We've re-elected a president who is a socialist.

Really? Really?? First, the last I checked we lived in a country that professed freedom of religion. Our president isn't a Muslim but even if he was it shouldn't matter! Second, disrespecting the flag and taking away your guns??  Has there been evidence of this in his first term?  The birther and socialist thing.. give me a break! Saying these types of things make you look like an ass just like Donald Trump!

This really leads me to believe the underlying factor in this hatred has to be racially motivated. None of the other statements hold water..

Check this out. I found this fascinating!

click on the pic to enlarge
Jeran