Juan and Ken Ahonen-Jover

Legal Victories Are Not Enough!

Filed By Juan and Ken Ahonen-Jover | October 13, 2008 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Action Alerts, Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: Amendment 2, Arizona, California, constitutional amendment, eQualityGiving, Florida, LGBT civil rights, marriage, Prop 102, Prop 8, same-sex couples

Let's savor Friday's tremendous victory allowing same sex couples to get married in Connecticut.

And let's not forget the same feeling that we got when the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality in May.

But these victories can be short lived if we do not defend them at the ballot box (and contribute generously to do so).

Beyond winning the presidency, the most important priority for LGBTQ Americans this year is to defeat three constitutional amendments that are critical for achieving legal equality.

The good news is that we can win all of these three constitutional amendments. The bad news is that considerable contributions are needed immediately. Check the updates on the three constitutional amendments.


California's Proposition 8 threatens to take away the right of same-sex couples to marry. Defeating this amendment is critical not only for people in California, but for advancing legal equality in other states and at the federal level.

Polls 12 days ago showed that we were winning. However, more recent polls show that we are losing by 5 points due to a tremendous infusion in cash for ads by the opposition (the Mormon Church in particular). The opposition has raised $25 million versus the $15 million that we have raised. Their ads are spreading the lie that if the amendment is not approved churches would be required to marry same-sex couples. Of course, this is absolutely not true. But it is working very effectively.

Your generosity, at any level, to defeat this most important amendment is requested. Please contribute to No On Prop 8 now.

FLORIDA- Amendment 2

Florida has a proposed amendment, Amendment 2, that would not only ban same-sex couples from marrying (which is already forbidden by state law), but it would also forbid any type of "substantial equivalent" to marriage.

This would negate existing domestic partnership ordinances in several municipalities which would have a tremendous negative impact on couples, including non-married heterosexual couples.

The latest polls show that this amendment can be defeated because in Florida a super-majority of 60% is required to pass a constitutional amendment. Give to help defeat Amendment Two here: Say No 2.

ARIZONA- Prop 102

Arizona was the first state (out of 28) to defeat a marriage constitutional amendment in 2006. The extreme right is back at it with another amendment to forbid same sex marriage.

The same winning team that defeated the amendment is back again to help; they are doing the work for free. Therefore, every dollar you give goes to directly to ads and flyers to defeat the amendment. Give to Arizona Together.

We can win all of these three amendments. But more funds are urgently needed since the votes will be close.

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Angela Brightfeather | October 13, 2008 11:47 AM

Juan & Ken,

I am with you 100% on fighting these discriminatory amendments to state constitutions to limit marriage rights, even to the point of actually contributing cash to the fight.

But, since I am Transgender and one of the lucky ones who has a job, I can help and do help as much as I can, even in these hard and uncertain times.

But I have to wonder while filling out my check to send to the state GLBT funds that are fighting these amendments, if they are going to be there for my community next year, the same way I am around for them this year, when ENDA comes back into play. I worry about this a lot. Based on the lack of support last year and the continuing support offered to HRC during the course of this year from the GLB community, I have to wonder.

Many Trans people like myself really do want to be involved in this fight for marriage rights, but without jobs, it is very difficult just to make it through the week for many of us and we are left out of this most important fight, having to choose between contributing to it financially, or feeding ourselves.

As noted, some of us do still find the money to give. We just hope that we can get more people involved by their having jobs in the future that would add a lot of extra money to this fight in the future. Passing an inclusive ENDA would mean a quantum jump in funds available in the GLBT community to carry on the repeal of discriminatory amendments in future states. I know a lot of people don't think about that very much, but while our hearts are together on this, it's our pocketbooks that need some equality also, so we can all win this fight together.

Pardon me for a me-too post, but like Angela Brightfeather I'm an MtF trans who was extremely lucky in her transition. I've donated to the No on Prop 8 campaign, even though I don't stand to benefit personally, and even though Barney Frank, Chris Crain, John Aravosis and a whole host of other gay and lesbian people have come out to say that I and my other trans brothers and sisters had to wait our turns until AFTER all the straight-appearing gays and lesbians got THEIR marriage rights and got THEIR protection from employment discrimination.

I hope we all win these battles. I hope my contribution helps make the difference here in California. I hope that Prop 8 is soundly defeated.

I hope I don't end up feeling taken advantage of...

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | October 13, 2008 2:22 PM

Marriage equality is not just a GLB issues. It would mean that anyone whether LGB or T would be able to legally marry the person of their choosing. Framing this as LGB vs T kind of thing makes it seem like trans people do not want to marry and I can't believe that is true.

It is also worth noting that the heads of the state groups in CA and FL have been among the most vocal LGB supporters of of trans civil rights. I am not very familiar with the AZ group.

Winning these amendment fights will make it easier for all of use to achieve full equality.

Wow! That's three amendments! Plus that one thing that's on the ballot in Connecticut that could lead to one of these amendments....

Angela and Hazumu,

Thanks for expressing so clearly your support as well as your well founded concerns.

On October 1, 2007---just a few days after the first signs of the problems with ENDA, we sent a long alert to our members that said, in part:

"LET IT BE KNOWN WHERE WE STAND: eQualityGiving supports ENDA including sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. We do not support passing ENDA without gender identity and expression, even if this means that we have to delay passing this bill while more legislators are educated on the issue."

And, of course, we are one of the 300+ organizations that are part of United ENDA.

I think that 2009 will *not* be a replay of 2007 regarding ENDA:

1) Members of Congress fully understand now that Barney Frank does not represent the views of all of our community. They also know that while HRC is the largest organization, it is not the only one.

2) Now there is an LGBT caucus.

3) Jared Polis and Linda Ketner are likely to become members of Congress.

4) Senator Obama has expressed support for a fully inclusive ENDA.

5) The Democratic Party is likely to get 60 senators (or very close to that number).

6) United ENDA is there and ready to fight.

This does not mean that we can take the result for granted, but hopefully many things will be very different than they were a year ago.

But, while we are at it, why not ask for a trans-inclusive ENDA which also covers housing, public accommodation, and credit---the same protections that other minorities have?

Bringing change to Washington means asking for more than we have been promised for 30 years and has never been delivered.

All three equality orgs also supported a fully inclusive ENDA.