Atticus Circle launches new website!

October 16, 2009

This blog will be obsolete. To visit the new blog now, click here.


How “Gay? Fine By Me” Campaign Making a Difference At UNC

September 30, 2009

We were delighted to see this blog post from an MBA student at the University of North Carolina recently. In her post, Alicia Conway is talking about things she sees on campus that makes her proud to be part of her school, which includes:

Mostly, though, I’d have to say that my pride stems from the fact that everywhere I turned throughout the day, I was greeted by a bright and welcoming shirt like this one:

I can’t speak with much authority on what it feels like to be gay in business school (or at all, for that matter), but I’d imagine that it’s not an easy place for one to be so. Traditionally, most people aren’t really “out” on Wall Street. However, just like the face of business is changing to incorporate different perspectives on sustainable practices, so too is there a shift in focus to be more inclusive and mindful of diversity in the workplace.

The change has not been overnight, nor are we close to done. But it was encouraging to be engulfed in a rainbow of inclusive and well-intended Kenan-Flagler students who were wearing their hearts quite literally on their sleeve. All said and done, Ally Pledge Day was a success. We rounded up 329 signatures – 283 in person and another 46 online (a few more at the West End Wine bar social in the evening).

We’re glad that Ally Pledge Day at UNC was such a success, and that LGBT rights supporters there were willing to proclaim their support via Fine By Me T-Shirts. It’s heartening to see projects like this, as well as groups of fine folks like this one standing up for LGBT rights:

By the way, within the next week, we’ll be announcing a campaign that will allow LGBT supporters at campuses across the nation to show their support and wear their Fine By Me shirts with pride. Look here for more info on how those of you at colleges and universities — whether students, faculty, or staff — can become involved.

Respect for Marriage Act — An Announcement Whose Time Has Come

September 16, 2009

There’s very exciting news on the marriage equality front! Yesterday, a group of Congressmen and Congresswomen announced the launch of the Respect for Marriage Act — a piece of legislation that would overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, and take a significant step in acheiving marriage equality.

In a press release issued by Freedom to Marry, bill co-sponsor Jerry Nadler (D-NY) is quoted as saying, “When DOMA was passed in 1996, its full harm may not have been apparent to all Members of Congress because same-sex couples were not yet able to marry. It was a so-called ‘defense’ against a hypothetical harm. This made it easy for our opponents to demonize gay and lesbian families.

By repealing the outmoded Defense of Marriage Act, and replacing it with the Respect for Marriage Act, we’ll begin to honor and support all couples who pledge to honor and support one another as they work to raise families, hold jobs, and contribute to their communities.

The proposed legislation is an opportunity to re-engage in the fight for marriage equality, as it opens the door to public discourse on marriage equality, and builds upon the momentum we’ve been gaining with same-sex marriage triumphs throughout the year.

If you’d like more info on the bill, the Freedom to Marry site has an excellent page, including a link to the HRC’s Repeal DOMA page, which will allow you to send a message to President Obama and your Congressional representatives.

Please spread the word: We have a great opportunity to make progress toward equality in marriage.

Small steps towards Equality

September 9, 2009

Cody Daigle reported in blog, The Times of Acadiana that a local newspaper for New Iberia, Louisiana, ran the same-sex wedding announcement of Andre Castaing and Dr. Michael Magursky.

The couple will wed in Boston on Friday, and the couple lives in Atlanta. The announcement is one thing. But the lack of any sort of raised ire about it in the community is quite another.

New Iberia is a small city, predominantly conservative, and it’s never been known for an exuberant acceptance of … gay folks. So, a wedding announcement (which ran right above the birth announcements and to the left of a 50th wedding anniversary announcement) is a signal that even here, in the inhospitable south, things can change.

We at Atticus Circle believe that when more allies support equality for their same-sex friends, family members, and neighbors change can happen. As we have learned over the course of America’s history, change happens in small ways and then over time become U.S. law.

What can you do to make a small step towards Equality today?

Taking It to School: Atticus Circle Annnounces Shirts for College Supporters of LGBT Equality

August 17, 2009

We’re proud to announce a new campaign today for the fall semester, involving college students who want to make a difference in the ongoing campaign for LGBT equality. The Fine By Me T-shirt campaign, as this release details, is ramping up for the Fall 2009 semester by making the “Gay? Fine By Me” and “Gay Marriage? Fine By Me” shirts available for bulk purchase.

Since its inception, the Fine By Me project — now part of Atticus Circle’s overall mission of education on LGBT issues — has been inspiring conversations about LGBT rights and the need for LGBT equality. We’re hoping for dialogues to be created in two key areas — the recent momentum toward same-sex marriage from a number of states, and the re-energized discussion around LGBT individuals in the military, and the potential repeal of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy.

If you (or a college activist you know) wants to know more about coordinating a shirt campaign on a specific campus, go to the Fine by Me website for more info.

Austin City Council Adds to Non-Discrimination Policy

August 7, 2009

On Thursday evening, the Austin City Council passed a resolution adding to the city’s non-discrimination policy, which already requires contracting companies to have a non-discrimination policy including sexual orientation and gender identity. Companies applying for a city contract will now have to submit a copy of their policy.

The resolution also included a provision requiring the city manager to amend all economic loan programs and incentives for businesses. Businesses applying for these will not be required to adopt domestic partner benefits or non-discimination policies inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity; however, both elements will now be a part of a company’s scoring during evaluation for said incentives. Providing domestic partner benefits and an inclusive non-discrimination policy will be viewed as a favorable part of an application.

The resolution was sponsored by straight allies in our City Council, Laura Morrison and Bill Spelman, and was passed on consent (all seven members voted for it). According to Marti Bier, Policy Aide to Ms. Randi Shade, the first openly gay City Council Member in Austin, Shade felt “truly appreciative that we have such a strong group of allies in our City that they would carry this forward.”

Atticus Circle would like to extend our thanks to the City Council members, and to Morrison and Spelman in particular.

Anne Wynne and Kathryn Jean Lopez in the pages of the Statesman

August 5, 2009

This morning’s Austin American-Statesman includes the voice of Atticus Circle founder Anne Wynne, who wrote a response to an editorial that ran Monday in the same paper from National Review columnist Kathryn Jean Lopez.

Lopez’s editorial asserted that the momentum toward gay marriage is shifting away from acceptance. Wynne cites recent victories in a number of states to refute Lopez’s claims, and makes the simple arguments that equal rights for all are essential.

Thanks to the Statesman for allowing us to enter the public debate on its editorial page — we hope that readers better understand the importance of LGBT equality upon reading both editorials.