3-2-1 Countdown for Equality: No Bittersweet Victories

Progressives are closer than ever to a victory on health care reform. As 2009 comes to a close, we’ve also moved forward on other issues. But what’s looming up ahead could be a disappointment.

On Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009- less than a week away- there will be critical votes on LGBT equality in three states: Washington State, Maine, and Michigan. With so much attention devoted to other issues in the political realm, progressive bloggers are banding together to ensure we don’t forget the ones with a firm deadline next week.

In support of that effort, the Courage Campaign has put together a summary of the who, what, and how of these three contests. If you haven’t heard of these campaigns, and/or haven’t done anything yet to support them, please consider helping out. If you are a blogger please feel free to grab this content whole cloth and use it for your blog posts.

Last year, as Obama and Democrats were winning across the country, we lost marriage equality in California. It was a bittersweet victory. Pitch in to make sure 2009 isn’t a bittersweet year. Take action to support LGBT equality TODAY.


Who we are: Approve Referendum 71 is the campaign to preserve domestic partnerships in Washington State. By voting to approve, voters retain the domestic partnership laws that were passed during this year’s legislative session, including using sick leave to care for a partner, adoption rights, insurance rights, and more.

What we need: We need phone bankers to get our supporters out to vote. Washington is an all mail-in ballot state, and we need to ensure our supporters put their ballots in the mail. Also, youth turnout is a critical component of our campaign, and youth turnout historically drops in off-year elections. So we need a lot of help to turn them out.

How you do it: Sign up here to make remote calls for Approve 71. We’ll then contact you for a training, and you can make GOTV calls.


Who we are: The No On 1/Protect Maine Equality campaign is working to protect Maine’s recently-passed law legalizing marriage equality for same-sex couples. Our opponents have put the issue on the ballot for Nov 3, 2009. Because of Maine’s early voting election laws, people are already voting at the polls, so we need help immediately to turn out our side at the polls.

What we need: We need you to devote a few hours to Call for Equality. Call for Equality is a virtual phonebank set up so that you can call Maine voters wherever you are. Much of Maine is rural, where canvassing isn’t effective, so we need to reach these voters- along with other supporters- by phone. All you need is a phone and internet connection. No experience required! We’ll provide the training, and all you need is a a few hours to help get a win in Maine.

How you do it: Click here to sign up for a training and your shift. There are lots of times available for your convenience.

Kalamazoo, MI:

Goal Thermometer

Who We Are: The Yes on Ordinance 1856 / One Kalamazoo campaign is working in Michigan to support the City Commission of Kalamazoo’s twice approved ordinance for housing, employment, and public accommodation protections for gay and transgender residents. Opponents forced a public referendum on the ordinance so dedicated local volunteers, led by former Stonewall Democrats Executive Director Jon Hoadley, are working to ensure voters say YES to fairness and equality and keep Ordinance 1856.

Why The Urgency: In the final weeks, the opposition has gone all out with aggressive disinformation and misleading red herrings to try to defeat the ordinance. This includes signs that say “No to Discrimination” (even though voting No actually supports continued discrimination of GLBT residents), transphobic door hangers and fliers, and now radio ads that falsely suggest that criminal behavior will become legal when this simply isn’t true. The Yes on Ordinance 1856 supporters are better organized but many voters who want to vote for gay and transgender people are getting confused by the opposition.

How To Help:

1) Help the One Kalamazoo campaign raise a final $10,000 specifically dedicated to fight back against the lies on the local TV and radio airwaves and fully fund the campaign’s final field and GOTV efforts.

Give here: http://www.actblue.com/page/3-2-1-countdown

2) If you live nearby and can physically volunteer in Kalamazoo sign up here. If you know anyone that lives in Kalamazoo, use the One Kalamazoo campaign’s online canvass tool to remind those voters that they need to vote on November 3rd and vote YES on Ordinance 1856 to support equality for gay and transgender people.

Contact voters: http://www.onekalamazoo.com/tellfriends2

Chino Blanco

--- We are men of action, lies do not become us. ---

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3 Responses

  1. Kullervo says:

    I wonder how fast things would change if we spent effort actually trying to convince people and change their minds instead of spending all our effort on political maneuvering and ballot initiatives.

    Politics in this country is in my opinion irredeemable as a mechanism for social change, because it has evolved into a chess game. Both sides want to win by politically outmaneuvering the other instead of actually trying to convince people that they are right.

  2. chanson says:

    Kullervo — I’m completely in favor of a “changing people’s minds” approach, and I don’t agree that this is a valid criticism of the gay rights movement. It has been all about visibility from the beginning, and because people’s minds have changed on this issue, the changes to the law naturally follow.

    By the same token, I actually get a lot more angry with the CoJCoL-ds for their deceitful rhetorical games than for their political actions, because it’s their lying that makes open and honest discussion difficult.

  3. Andrew S says:

    Kullervo, while I agree with you…the thing that nags at me is: can we really convince others?

    Consider both sides. Each has terms that they feel are nonnegotiable. The other side cannot, will not, or must not concede the validity of the one side’s terms…so trying to convince the other person is essentially to try to convince the other person to stab their own cause…which they are committed against doing.

    I mean, I know change happens, but rarely is it dramatic or momentous. I don’t see changing societal attitudes as being exemplary of people changing attitudes, but rather of a new demographic that has been raised with different attitudes that is displacing old demographics

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