Jane Wishon of Restore Equality 2010, Jay Arseno, LGBT Issues Update
Originally released: November 16, 2009
On episode 11 of Nathan Outloud you will hear my conversation with straight ally and marriage equality activist Jane Wishon. You will also hear a song by Jay Arseno from his recently released album “From the Ashes”. I will also provide an update on recent developments within the LGBT community.
I had the opportunity to speak with Jane Wishon is a member of Restore Equality 2010Interim Administrative Group. The Restore Equality 2010 campaign is working to repeal the anti-marriage equality proposition 8 in California in 2008. Since our conversation there have been several developments, the language has been submitted to the California Secretary of State, restoreequality2010.com is live with volunteer opportunities, donation information and the latest on the ballot initiative. Restore Equality 2010 has also launched the “Million for a Million” fundraising campaign. Organized by Yes! on Equality and TruthandHope.org, in collaboration with Restore Equality 2010, the goal of the “Million for a Million” campaign is to raise the $1 million necessary to fund getting the more than one million signatures needed to place a marriage equality initiative on the ballot.
Jay Arseno began his career as a singer in a church choir and musical theatre in his native Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is a passionate, true artist with emotional expression. He is a writer, a producer, a performer. Jay also enjoys collaborating with other artists, to meld unique tastes in sound and texture. Over the past year he has worked with hit producers I-ROC and RADIO towards the ending results, “From The Ashes”.
Jay’s new single, “Take It From The Ashes”, comes off of his new album titled, “From The Ashes”, released on March 6, 2009. You can easily identify with this new single. It applies to everyone, although Jay admits that it may be somewhat autobiographical. “It draws on the legend of the Phoenix, in that it’s about starting over, a rebirth, a trial through fire where you come out on the other side with a fresh start.” The mission statement of the single is simple: No matter what you go through in life, you can always pick yourself up, gather all the pieces together and keep moving forward.
Since the last episode there have been several developments that affect the lives of LGBT people across the country. First, our biggest win! Just days after the 11th anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s death, the “Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act” was passed by both Congress and the Senate and signed into law by President Obama. This is long overdue piece of legislation expands protections to people who are victims of violence which are perpetuated by their sexual orientation or gender identity. This is the first of many legislative priorities for our community, and just the beginning of what we will be working for until full equality is achieved.
The next major piece of legislation that has been introduced on the federal level is the “Employment Non-discrimination Act”. For the first time ever, a member of the current administration has testified in both Congress and the Senate in favor of a fully inclusive ENDA. Although it doesn’t appear the Senate will vote in this legislation until early next year, it is imperative that our representatives and senators hear from us on this vital piece of legislation for the LGBT community. The Human Rights Campaign has set up www.passendanow.com for the latest on ENDA, also you can also contact your representatives by clicking the link on that site.
Additional legislation that has been passed and signed into law by the President includes reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act. At the signing of the bill, President Obama also announced plans to remove a ban on travel and immigration to the U.S. by individuals with HIV. Obama called the 22-year ban a decision "rooted in fear rather than fact".
On November 3rd, the voters of Maine approved a citizen’s veto of the Marriage Equality bill that was passed by the Maine legislature and signed into law by their governor. Unfortunately, the lies won out again and marriage equality has been set back in Maine. Although the No on 1 campaign ran a flawless campaign, and truly shed light not only on the lies being told by the opposition, but also showed what our families really look like. Their moving ads and stories throughout the campaign brought to the forefront that this isn’t about gay or straight, it is about our families and being able marry and be with the person we love. The battle for marriage equality in Maine is far from over and there are many dedicated to seeing this fight through.
Although the Maine vote kind of over shadowed other key votes across the country, there was a lot of very good news for the LGBT community out of this Election Day. In Kalamazoo, MI an ordinance was upheld by the voters which ensures fairness and equal treatment. One Kalamazoo ran a great campaign to ensure that the fully inclusive Non-Discrimination ordinance was upheld.
In Washington state, the Yes on 71 campaign pulled out a major victory by ensuring that the state Domestic Partners law was upheld by voters. Washington’s ‘everything but marriage’ law provides domestic partners the same rights, benefits and recognitions provided by the state.
And finally the Victory Fund announced that on Election Day of the 79 LGBT “Victory Fund Endorsed” candidates on ballots across the country, 49 won their elections and 6 are still undetermined. Some of the highlights include:
• Annise Parker advanced to a runoff in her race to become the next mayor of Houston.
• Charles Pugh will become Detroit’s first openly gay city councilmember after finishing first among 18 candidates for 9 at-large seats. Placing first also means Pugh will become city council president.
• Steve Kornell won his race for the St. Petersburg, Fla. City Council, becoming the first openly LGBT candidate to do so.
• Sandra Kurt overcame anti-gay attacks to become the first openly LGBT member of the Akron, Ohio City Council.
• Simone Bell advanced to a runoff election in her race for the Georgia State House of Representatives. Bell will become the country’s first openly lesbian African-American state legislator if she wins her runoff election.
• Eric Resnick won a seat on the Canton, Ohio school board. • Mark Kleinschmidt was elected mayor of Chapel Hill, N.C.
As you can tell it has been a busy couple of months for the LGBT community. Get involved – 2010 is going to provide us a huge opportunity to work and move our community forward. Let’s not let this pass us by.