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.


Kudos to a Senator and an Author

July 31, 2009

Two recent quotes caught our attention — one, from Senator Christopher Dodd, and one, from author Nora Roberts — that we thought should get your attention as well.

In an editorial published last month in the Meridien Record-Journal, Dodd talked about his evolving position on gay marriage. While formerly supporting a distinction between civil union and marriage, he now supports gay marriage, based on a better understanding of the legal protections necessary for all Americans. In the editorial, he stated:

“My young daughters are growing up in a different reality than I did. Our family knows many same-sex couples – our neighbors in Connecticut, members of my staff, parents of their schoolmates. Some are now married because the Connecticut Supreme Court and our state legislature have made same-sex marriage legal in our state.

But to my daughters, these couples are married simply because they love each other and want to build a life together. That’s what we’ve taught them. The things that make those families different from their own pale in comparison to the commitments that bind those couples together.

And, really, that’s what marriage should be. It’s about rights and responsibilities and, most of all, love.

I believe that, when my daughters grow up, barriers to marriage equality for same-sex couples will seem as archaic, and as unfair, as the laws we once had against inter-racial marriage.

And I want them to know that, even if he was a little late, their dad came down on the right side of history.”

Author Nora Roberts, in a statement of support for gay marriage for Equality Maryland, created a simple and elegant articulation of the essence of the pro-gay marriage position:

“Love is a gift. Marriage is a celebration of and commitment to that gift — a promise between two people. The right to legally marry should never be denied based on the gender of those who love, but instead honored, respected and protected for all.”

These statements are affirmations from two of the millions of people across the country who support LGBT rights — but the statements are particularly powerful and inspirational, and we’re lucky to have supporters like Sen. Dodd and Ms. Roberts within our ranks.

Video Update from Lobby Day

March 10, 2009

Here’s some video from last week — this is former Soulforce Media Director Paige Schilt with Atticus Circle member Stephanie Molnar, talking about their experience talking to Texas state legislators during last week’s Lobby Day event. The Equality Texas event, which involved a number of Atticus Circle members, involved nearly 500 Texans who talked face-to-face with legislators about their support for a series of bills seeking to give LGBT individuals, couples, and families in Texas equal rights.

Here are Paige and Stephanie talking about their experience:

A Promising Week for Advancing LGBT Rights

January 24, 2009

All in all, it’s been a good week for us.

With President Obama in the White House (and finally President rather than President-Elect Obama), I finally feel like there’s an ally for LGBT rights in the White House. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the new White House website yet, visit this page and scroll down to the section on LGBT rights. President Obama is calling for a repeal of DOMA and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, civil unions affording LGBT partners the same legal rights and privileges that married couples enjoy, and a pledge to fight hate crimes and workplace discrimination. I know that what lies ahead won’t be easy, but I feel that our voices will be heard in this new era that was so dramatically ushered in on Tuesday.

If you missed the inspirational words of Bishop Gene Robinson, who kicked off Sunday’s We Are One concert with an invocation, you can read it here or view it here. Unfortunately, many people missed it, as HBO’s coverage of the concert, though available to all cable TV subscribers, didn’t include the invocation. You can view reactions to that here or even add your own.

In the meantime, consider what you can do in the weeks and months ahead to help advance LGBT rights. Encourage your family and friends to join Atticus Circle to keep up-to-date on our calls to action. Wear a T-shirt that encourages discussion of these vitally important issues. We are in what could be a pivotal era for the advancement of LGBT rights — but it won’t happen if we sit idly by and wait for change. This week’s inauguration is the end result of a campaign that involved millions giving time, energy, and money to turn “Yes We Can” into “Yes We Will.”

We may have a powerful ally in the Cabinet soon

January 8, 2009

The Huffington Post just summarized a Wall Street Journal report on the American Rights at Work founding executive director, Mary Beth Maxwell, who would become the nation’s first openly gay Cabinet member if named Labor Secretary.

She does have considerable competition — Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, two key Obama allies throughout his campaign. But her nomination would do several things:

1. It would give an openly gay American an executive-level post, perhaps opening the door to more high-level appointments and high-profile elected officials for LGBT politicians.

2. It would place someone who identifies with the challenges of an LGBT worker and parent — for she has an adopted African-American son — in a position where LGBT Americans could use help. As head of the Department of Labor, Maxwell would oversee the division of government entrusted with overseeing workers’ rights and benefits, at a time where many LGBT Americans might have risked their jobs for participating in the Day Without a Gay campaign, and when many more LGBT Americans want to marry and be able to enroll their partners in their health plans.

3. It could, sadly, trigger a nomination battle in which the fear-based ideological battles we’ve seen in recent Presidential administrations could resurface.

It’s therefore worth following this story, to make sure that if Maxwell is nominated, that this doesn’t become the same sort of political mess that came with the debate over gays in the military and the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell “solution.” It may require straight and gay supporters of Maxwell to come forward and demand her confirmation.