Thursday, September 30, 2004

Moran & Scott Stand up for Equality AGAIN

I just received great news from the Virginia Partisans:

The Republican attempts to write discrimination into the US Constitution with the so-called federal "Marriage Protection Amendment" did NOT pass--thanks to a vote mainly on party lines.

Congressman Jim Moran and Bobby Scott were the *only* two Virginia representatives to vote down this vote. Some of you may be aware that Congressman Moran was also a huge supporter of Campaign 101--without his help, Campaign 101 would never have taken place.

You are probably aware that the Republicans have been attacking civil rights for the GLBT community (Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transsexuals) as a way to force Democrats to cast controversial votes in an election year. Congressmen Moran and Scott not only did the right thing, they also both put their careers and their re-election chances on the line by standing up for civil rights and against discrimination.

These are two Democrats who do so much for Virginia. Please, please, please: thank them by calling them on Friday and volunteering to help out on their campaigns this weekend. And if you can't this weekend, go and help as soon as you can--and bring 3 friends with you.

Northern Virginia:
Jim Moran for Congress

Richmond/Central Virginia:
Bobby Scott for Congress
(757) 245-5500

H the email from the Virginia Partisans below, which include Congressman Moran's remarks in the floor debate on the Amendment.


I am pleased to report that today, the Republican-run US House of Representatives failed to muster the necessary 2/3s majority to pass an amendment to write discrimination in our US Constitution. Almost every Democrat voted with us, almost every Republican voted against us.

I am particularly pleased to say that Congressmen Bobby Scott (3rd District) and Jim Moran (8th District) both stood with us and voted no. We have endorsed both for re-election, this further re-affirms our faith in these two strong supporters of inclusion and equality. I am enclosing Congressman Moran's comments on the House floor---I believe they speak for themself.

Every Virginia Republican voted against us on this---even "moderate" Tom Davis, who had earlier pledged his opposition to the amendment. Call them and express your disappointment 202-224-3121 is the Capitol Switchboard. But more importantly, remember this on November 2nd and be sure to vote for good Democratic candidates who believe inclusion. As always, you can find our endorsed candidates thus far at:

With a Democratic majority and a Democratic administration, a vote like this would never have come up to begin with! We have just over a month to make sure we elect Kerry-Edwards and Democrats to the US House... You can donate to our Federal PAC via our website. You can get information on volunteer opportunities, all across Virginia, by e-mail me at . Please make sure we do everything you can to make sure Virginia make a strong pro-equality and pro-Democratic statement on November 2nd.

Best regards,

Josh Israel

Representative James P. Moran
Federal Marriage Amendment Debate Remarks
September 30, 2004

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to the so-called "Marriage Protection Amendment."
Today, we stand on the floor of the people's body, the U.S. House of Representatives, with the intention of writing discrimination into the Constitution for the first time in our nation's history.

The "Marriage Protection Amendment" is a cruel joke. How it does anything to protect marriage in this country is beyond me. Will it instruct individuals on the necessity of communication in a successful relationship? Does it help reduce promiscuity or stop unwanted pregnancies? Will it strengthen people's resolve to work through the hard times that every marriage brings? No, sadly it will do none of those things.

What it will do, however, is single out one group of people for discrimination, declaring them forever unworthy of the same legal protection all other Americans enjoy. Further, this amendment would usurp the will of the people in states that have used their traditional states' rights authority to define civil marriage and civil union laws. State laws passed by elected representatives in places like Vermont will be wiped clean off the books. In situations where a loved one is sick in the hospital, same-sex couples will once again lose the right to sit bedside and help nurse their partner back to health. These couples' ability to plan a financial future together and share healthcare benefits will also be forever washed away.

Mr. Speaker, this push to tamper with the Constitution is misguided because we already have sufficient legislation to allow individual states the ability to retain and structure marriage laws the way they see fit. While I opposed and continue to oppose the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which passed the House back in 1996, this law is still fully functional and in effect. No state in the union has to accept any other state's laws with respect to same sex marriage. Since the bill's enactment eight years ago, it has not been successfully challenged in any court, anywhere in the country.

Why then, do we need to preemptively amend the Constitution? We've seen where preemptive war has gotten us so far, let's not make the same mistake with this most cherished of American documents.

Mr. Speaker, the Constitution should not be used as political football. Members across the aisle continue to play a risky game of Russian roulette with the blueprint of our democracy. I stand in opposition to this crass attempt to politically divide the American public in an election year and urge my colleagues to vote against amending the Constitution.

Building a Broader Coalition In The Commonwealth since 1992.

Virginia Partisans Gay & Lesbian Democratic Club

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Thanks and congratulations to Josh Isreal and the Virginia Partisans, too, for their outstanding public education and advocacy on this bill.

Peer Blogging

Bear with me on an elliptical story:

I just learned that my friend paperwight's blog, Fair Shot, is part of a student writing project for a Composition Class at USCA. The students in the writing class, as part of their assignments, are all writing their own blogs. You can find links to the students' blog on their class homepage, here. (Any of you who drop in and read BOP News may recognize Paperwight as a frequent commenter there--he is an oustanding writer and thinker and I recommend his blog to you, too.)

Now, in the first place, that is too brilliant. The instructors at USCA are succeeding where I have so far (nudge nudge) not quite yet succeeded with you: in making their students familiar and comfortble with blogging tools, including basic html. I wanted to check in with you: are any of you taking classes where blogging is part of the assignment format? Have you even heard of this at the schools you are attending?

One of their assignments has been to write up an assesment of a blog, and one of the blogs on the list was Paperwight's, which is how I stumbled onto their project. (Their other assignments look very interesting, too. I'm quite jealous.)

The students are writing real, live blogs--accessible to the public, with comments turned on. Unfortunately, this weekend, the student blogs were trolled: a number of outside people found the blogs and posted mean-spirited, rude and confrontational comments.

Their instructor, however, seized the opportunity to talk about how writing isn't done in a vacuum, as is too often the case in the classroom--and their collective response to adversity really reminded me of some of our adventures in trying to make Campaign 101 happen.

Now, a handful of you have expressed to me privately that, for a range of reasons, you find blogging intimidating--I've been through the same learning curve myself, very recently, and I really understand what you're talking about. Which is why I encourage you to check out these blogs, written by people your age.

I feel empathy for the student bloggers and their recent negative experience, I am very impressed with the project, and I want to get the rest of you blogging, so I am asking you a favor:

Please go over and check out a couple of the student blogs, and write them some comments. That's all.

You don't have to agree with what they say--the students express quite a range of opinions. I think part of what you'll find interesting is the political opinions of students in a different part of the country, and the way they express themselves. I have great faith in your abilities to be articulate, courteous, and encouraging, even when your views are different. Remember, part of why I am so damn gung ho about getting you blogging is that I want to get you used to articulating your ideas about politics, and writing and conversing about politics with people who may approach the same topics from a very different set of assumptions.

The student blogs are listed in the sidebars on this page. (Incidentally, it looks like it is Section 15 and 16 that have been writing about my friend Paperwight's blog.)

And then...let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing back from you.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Best Ad Ever

Okay, I have a new favorite election ad:

Satan for Bush 2004

Good marks for concept and execution and viral potential; my only complaint is, I wish it was harder hitting.

But hey! Do your part and pass it on.

Via the great folks at Bag News.