You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Lambda Legal’ tag.


You all know this already: the CA Supreme Court will issue its decision on the constitutional challenge to proposition 8 and on what will become of the legal marriages entered by 36,000 people tomorrow at 10 am PST.

Here is what is happening tomorrow night: Day of the Decision. On Saturday, everyone will be meeting “in the middle” of the state…Fresno (which, by the way, has a happening LGBT film festival every year, so don’t totally discount its scene). Here is the info on that: Meet in the Middle. (So Cal folks check out Orange County and Long Beach events.)

Fortunately or unfortunately, my wife and I will be on a remote island in the Caribbean for the next week. Though we wish we could be with you during this historic time, we will relish the opportunity to get away from the struggle and, for a brief time, remember why we are fighting so hard.

With love and in solidarity,




The ACLU of Southern California yesterday filed suit against the Newport-Mesa Unified School District and officials of Corona del Mar High School for permitting and sanctioning an atmosphere that is hostile to female, lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender students in general, and has led to despicable threats of violence against one student in particular. The student was called a lesbian and threatened with rape and murder by three senior boys who posted their vitriol in a public video on Facebook. The boys, shown in the above image, are allegedly named Joey Jones, Max Haase, and Noah Molnar.

Corona del Mar High School is the Orange County school where a production of the musical “Rent” was canceled in February before widespread, negative media coverage led school administrators to reverse themselves and allow the production to go forward.

The homophobic harassment and bullying at the school unfortunately typify a rise in hostility toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students throughout California in the wake of the divisive campaign over Proposition 8.

The full story.

button-give-us-this-day-lgIn a recent post, I made a list of the “Must Dos” for marriage equality this holiday season. One of the things I am doing this year is asking family to give me “the gift of equality” by supporting non-profit, legal organizations that are making the case for equal marriage rights around the country. My personal favorite is Lambda Legal.

If you are in southern California, come join us tonight for a Christmas card writing party and ask your family and friends to do the same. The details are as follows:

Orange County Equality Coalition and Chapman University’s OUTLAW Present:

“Give The Gift of Equality”

Wednesday Dec. 17th


(open house: come and go as you please)

Chapman University Law School

Room 379

We will be writing holiday cards to friends and family asking them to show their support for marriage equality.

We will ask friends and family to “give the gift of equality” by donating to one of four organizations.

Lambda Legal, ACLU, EQCA and and to also show their support for marriage equality by wearing a white knot.

Please Bring: Address Book, Holiday Cards, Envelopes, Extra Pens and Stamps

We will provide:

*Food & Beverages*

Stamps, White Knots, Donation Information

Because everyone should be able to tie the knot.

Because everyone should be able to tie the knot.

If you would like more information or to become a member of Orange County Equality Coalition, send an email with your interest and pertinent info to

It’s shaping up to be quite a big week on the forefront of equality. California, New Jersey, New York, Iowa, and Mike Huckabee are all covered briefly below.


eastman1So you remember me writing about Chapman Law School’s Dean Eastman and his financial support of Prop 8, the Dean’s endorsement of “Yes on 8” tables in the lobby, and his law school’s frighteningly biased “symposium” on the topic (no seriously, the “lawyer” from BYU, Scott Loveless, called gay people child molesters, and Eastman responded by telling the OC Register he was pleased with the “civil debate”—WTF?).

John has now submitted an official letter (amicus curiae) to the CA Supreme Court urging them to uphold Prop 8. He is joined by the likes of the “Kingdom of Heaven” who filed a brief “demanding the Almighty Eternal Creator’s Law and the State of California Constitutional Amendment: Marriage Between One Man and One Woman Stay In.” The “Kingdom’s” conclusion is as follows:


Yikes. Separate Church and Hate, I thought you may find that interesting.


The state Supreme Court will hear arguments in an appeal case over same gender marriage. In 2007, a district court ruled Iowa’s Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional. The usual cast of anti-family characters appealed, and the case headed to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, UCLA’s Williams Institute was commissioned to study the economic impact of overturning Iowa’s ban on same gender marriage. The study’s Executive Summary states, among other things, that:

• Same sex couples marrying in Iowa would boost the state budget by $5.3 million per year.
• Approximately 2,917 of Iowa’s same-sex couples would marry in the first three years.
• State expenditures on means-tested public benefits programs will fall.
• Income tax revenues will rise when same-sex couples file jointly.
• Inheritance tax revenue will fall.
• Sales tax revenues will rise as a result of new spending on weddings.
• Administrative cost increases will be less than fees generated.
• No increases in court system expenditures are likely…
• The impact on the cost of state employee retirement benefits will be negligible.

Iowa has long been a civil rights leader. The state Supreme Court repealed Iowa’s ban on interracial marriage in 1851, eight years after Massachusetts was the first state to do so, and over one hundred years before the US Supreme Court overturned these laws in 1967.

Lambda Legal has posted a timeline of the current case–Varnum vs. Brien. Iowa has posted the screening statement.


After being directed by the NJ Supreme Court to provide “marriage rights or their equivalent” to same gender couples, the NJ legislature passed a bill today creating civil unions for same sex couples. New Jersey already had a civil union law, oh wait…and a domestic partnership law, but these institutions were proven to be legally inferior to marriage (Lewis v Harris).

Steven Goldstein, director of Equality New Jersey, told Bloomberg that the vote was a mixed blessing for the state’s gays and lesbians because there was no guarantee non-government entities would honor the decision…and said that providing the benefits of marriage without calling it marriage was tantamount to the “separate but equal” treatment of a discriminated group.

According to a new statewide Zogby Poll commissioned by Garden State Equality, 59 to 36 percent of New Jerseyans support changing the civil union law to marriage equality. So why aren’t the elected representatives, representing the electorate?!


More and more is driveling out about the total caving of the New York Senate over legislation that would support same gender families. Even though a bill supporting gay marriage passed the state assembly last year, Governor Paterson is widely thought to support such legislation, and the democratic party won a majority of seats in the state senate after campaigning for full equality for all families, the party is thought to have acquiesced to demands made by three outer borough dems in a closed door session. One of the gang of new bloggers, Quasisuspectclass treats us to the back story along with seriously good suggestions of what we can do about it. Quasi includes a cut and paste letter to your senator and a link to where you can find that senator’s email address. The letter:

Dear Senator _____________:
By being denied the fundamental right to marry, same gender couples suffer institutionalized discrimination on a scale not suffered by any other group. For the price of a marriage license, state and federal laws provide married couples with over one thousand legal rights and protections. They can automatically make life and death decisions for each other. They can buy and sell property together and inherit property from each other without tax consequences. They can share medical insurance and other benefits with their spouses and their children tax free. They automatically inherit and become primary next of kin. They automatically become the legal parent of a child born or adopted during their marriage. If one spouse is injured or incapacitated, there are social and legal safety nets set up to protect them and their children. The same is not true for unmarried couples even if they are registered as domestic partners or enter into a civil union. Exclusion of same gender couples from the benefits of these rights, resources and protections is discrimination. This is unconstitutional and unjust. I will not vote for any political candidate who does not support the civil rights of all people. I strongly urge you to support marriage equality legislation in New York.

It will take two minutes to copy and paste this and email it to your New York senator. Seriously, go to Quasi’s place and check it out, and while you’re there, check out:


Most of us have seen snippets of Huck’s appearance on The View. Catch up with my story here, and check out more of the same Huck Chuck at Joe’s Place. In the spirit of truth, Quasisuspectclass articulates the question: “How much blood must be shed before we can have the same rights as all Americans?”

Quasi goes on to give us all a stirring reminder of some of the highlights from the modern queer struggle for basic human rights, as well as some of the cruel tactics used by those who oppose freedom and equal treatment for all people. This is a sobering reminder of the violence we face and a memorial to some we have lost in this battle.

From 2006 to 2007 the total number of victims reporting anti-LGBT violence increased 24% with 16.6 percent of all hate crimes reported by the FBI in 2007 “resulted from sexual-orientation bias.” A 2007 study by the University of California, Davis, found that “[n]early four in 10 gay men and about one in eight lesbians and bisexuals in the United States have been the target of violence or a property crime because of their sexual orientation.”

These numbers are staggering considering that the LGBT population makes up around 3% of the US population. Check out Quasi’s full article.


And in case you missed the post of “Must Dos for Equality” activist tips, check out the comments section. Things are getting a little lively around here.

So, the burning desire to buy all the poster board from my local drug store, make cleverly worded protest signs, and take to the streets every night, has finally started to wane a bit. It’s getting a little chilly, and the holiday season is upon us. Plus, my truck is starting to overflow with all the aforementioned, cleverly worded, protest signs.

I am starting to need more. I want some bang for my buck—I want targeted action and continued visibility, but I want to focus my time in ways that feel constructive. So here it is…my list of the absolute, “must do,” activism activities this holiday season:

December 10: Day Without a Gay – this is the day that you “call in gay” to work. The organizers suggest that we spend the day volunteering in our local communities. I am hoping to volunteer with GLASS. GLASS provides social service support to LGBTQ youth in the foster care system. Lawrence King, the eighth grader who was murdered earlier this year by his classmate because he was gay, lived in a foster home. Sadly, he was not in a GLASS home. The Ali Forney Center, which provides services to homeless LGBTQ youth in New York, reminds us that 25% of LGBTQ young people are rejected by their families to the point of homelessness. These are our kids. Let’s care for them.

December 20: Light up the Night 4 Equality – This vigil is the second nationwide demonstration planned by Join the Impact, the group that organized the highly successful “Rallies for Equality” on November 15th. So far, there are several event locations listed on their website, including one in Long Beach, a handful in LA and OC, and several in cities and states around the country.

Now through January 20th: Project Postcard – Buy a postcard (or 20!) from your area, write a message asking the President Elect to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act, mail it to the Presidential Transition Team office in Chicago (address and details can be found at the Project Postcard site linked above).

Now through March 2009: This is when the California Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments for the case aimed at repealing Prop 8. There are many ways to show support. The “must dos” are as follows:

  • Email a LegislatorEquality California has sponsored two resolutions to be voted on in the state legislature that, if passed, would make it official state policy that Prop 8 should be overturned. Go to their site Action Center and sign up to have an email sent in your name to the appropriate state congress people and politicians. Seriously, this will take you 3 minutes. Click here to do it now.
  • Write Letters – I know this is easier said than done, but between now and March it is crucial that we all pitch in on this effort. Trust me, read some op-ed letters written by anti-equality people, and you will find yourself motivated to respond. Letters (or emails or blog comments) can be directed to your local paper, websites, or blogs. Great examples and information to help you craft your letter can be found at NCLR’s action page. I’m actually going to a Holiday Letter Writing Party. We will create “All I Want for Christmas Is Equality” cards to send to the elected officials in our state and federal districts.
  • GiveLambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the ACLU are behind the current lawsuit filing which challenges the validity of Proposition 8. In lieu of presents this year, I’m asking my family and friends to make a contribution to these organizations.
  • Support Your Judges! – Okay, so we already talked about letter writing, but this is a great topic to write about in those letters. When the justices voted in May to overturn Proposition 22, thus legalizing same gender marriage, they were performing their essential and traditional role: to uphold and protect the constitution and the principles therein. For doing so, they have been called activists and threatened with recall (story). Lambda Legal’s Fair Courts Project says it best:

    “Threats to judges over their decisions and rulings are a threat to everyone’s access to justice. When politicians and extremist organizations make such threats, they are trying to weaken the courts, our system of checks and balances, and thereby weaken everyone’s rights.”

    Writing a letter to the editor of your local paper, posting comments on blogs, etc., can help to educate the public about the role of fair and unbiased judges. For some ideas, check out Lambda’s Fair Courts Project.

So there you have it…the “must dos” of the season. As for the “must don’ts,” well…I, for one, won’t be spending the holidays with anyone who introduces my wife as my ‘friend’ or my ‘roommate.’ Peace, people.