Atticus Circle launches new website!

October 16, 2009

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


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?

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.

Join Us for Summer Love Tonight!

July 22, 2009

If you’re in Austin (or can make it here quickly), we’re throwing a fun event with our friends at Soulforce called Summer Love. If you can’t make it, but want to help us fight the good fight for LGBT equality, please consider buying a ticket online, as we have a generous donor who will match donations made this week, up to $3,000. Just click on the Summer Love link in this paragraph to be magically transported to the event page (and the donate button).

And if you’re in town, we hope you can join us!

DOMA Enters the Sotomayor Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings

July 16, 2009

Certainly, it was to be expected. With the Defense of Marriage Act one of the more high-profile and controversial matters the Supreme Court might be enlisted to rule on, it’s no surprise that DOMA entered Sonia Sotomayor’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings, via a question from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) yesterday. Metro Weekly offers a transcript and video of the exchange.

As Hillary Sorin noted in her San Francisco Chronicle politics blog last week, the cracks in DOMA are widening, in part due to Massachusetts’s bold decision to sue the United States over DOMA. Whether or not this will expose DOMA as unconstitutional remains to be seen, but a number of legal and political observers in the media, including Wall Street Journal Law Blog and Politico’s Ben Smith, are taking notice and are intrigued by the possibilities. Those on both side of the issue seem aware of the possibility that a confirmed Justice Sotomayor might be one of nine people with a critical role in determining DOMA’s fate in the not-so-distant future.

72 Hours Away from Our Meeting With Rev. Hagee

June 25, 2009

As we write this, we’re a mere 72 hours away from a day meeting Rev. John Hagee and the Cornerstone Church congregation. As you likely know by now, it’s our launch event for our Sundays of Solidarity project – launching, appropriately enough, on the 40th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

We’re asking our friends in Atticus Circle and Soulforce to visit faith communities around the nation. The program encourages groups of LGBT people and their allies to train in nonviolent direct action and communication with members of religious congregations who do not yet welcome LGBT worshipers.

When we let Rev. Hagee know we would be visiting his congregation several weeks ago, we made a request to meet with him personally to find what common ground we shared, as well as to talk about our concerns.

His agreeing to meet with us is an encouraging first step in engaging with one of Texas’s single-largest faith communities. We are hopeful that we will have open, productive conversations with congregation members about the importance of LGBT equality. Those of us wearing “Gay? Fine By Me” buttons will peaceably elaborate on the significance of those words – that we are inclusive rather than exclusive, that we support equal rights for everyone, that we refuse to stand silently in a society that doesn’t allow all couples to marry, and then awards a separate set of rights to married couples and their children.

Those of us wanting to join us, it’s not too late! We ask you visit the SOS site, register, and meet us for the mandatory nonviolence training at 9 a.m. Sunday.

If you’re looking to do a Sundays of Solidarity action in your community, you may want to start with the Fine by Me SOS page, which has everything necessary to identify yourself as LGBT equality supporters.

And, of course, watch this space for updates on what happens this Sunday.