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We Could Lose Maine

On May 6th of this year, Maine became the first state to pass a marriage bill through its legislature and have the bill immediately signed by its governor. The law was to go into effect in mid-September.

Marriage Bill Passes Maine Senate

Except that, two days after the bill's passage, a formal challenge was filed by the opposition.

Because Maine, like California, has a referendum system.

If the anti-marriage organizers could get 55,087 valid signatures together, the bill would be put to a vote before it would be allowed to take effect. And, like Proposition 8, that vote could destroy equal marriage in the state of Maine.

The anti-marriage campaigners hired the same public relations firm that helped to pass Proposition 8 in California to help them run the referendum effort. They also started lying to get signatures:

Gerard Caron walked into the Auburn Post Office and was met by a woman with a pair of clipboards. "This petition is against gay marriage and this other petition is to support gay marriage," she said, according to Caron. The Poland man said he asked her why there would be a petition to support something that already happened, referring to the petition "in support of" gay marriage. "She just kinda gave me a little grin and didn't say anything," he said. Then he looked at the two petitions and discovered they were identical, both were supporting the repeal of the same-sex marriage law, Caron said.

Because of free speech protections, there is no law in Maine that says you cannot lie to get someone to sign a petition – up to and including saying that someone's signature will protect marriage equality when it will in fact help to destroy it.

When the anti-marriage campaign reported its donations it was discovered they had out-raised pro-equality activists by two to one. Only check out where their donations came from:

$160,000 (nearly half of the fundraising) from the National Organization for Marriage
$100,000 from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland
$50,000 from the Knights of Columbus of Washington, D.C.
$31,000 from Focus on the Family, a Christian group based in Colorado Springs
$400 from four Maine citizens

Eight donors. This not what one would call a "grassroots" battle on the anti-marriage side.

Pro-equality activists had 501 people donating in that same time period, with the largest donation ($50,000) from a native Mainer. At the end of July the anti-marriage campaigners submitted 100,000 signatures (in most ballot battles the "best practices" number of signatures to get is twice the required amount).

The bill was held. There would be no September marriages in Maine. Dawn, a Maine building contractor who had planned to marry her sweetheart Laura, posted soon after hearing:

It's official: our wedding has been postponed.

We had planned to be married September 19, three days after the law went into effect that would allow us to get married, but now opponents of our civil rights have submitted something like 100,000 signatures, nearly twice the required amount, to force a state-wide public vote on whether we can get married.


So what do we do now? We fight like hell, that's what. We organize, and identify voters and talk to people. We attend public events wearing buttons that say "ask me why marriage equality matters" and "Vote No On 1" and we raise money, buy ads and do all of the campaign stuff we know how to do.

We ask for money. Like now. I'm asking you, my blog readers, to make a donation to help win this fight. The Catholic Diocese has pledged $2 MILLION. We're up against some pretty tough opponents. Your donation now at the No On 1 - Protect Maine Equality site will help us protect the law our legislature passed and governor signed.


And we talk and educate and raise money and keep at it. We're down to 94 days before the election is OVER. That means we have less than 100 days before the whole state gets to vote on whether we get married.

To my married readers - how many people did YOU have to ask for permission to get married? We have to ask the whole State of Maine.

Four days ago the required number of signatures was certified. The referendum is on the November 3rd ballot.

The pro-equality folks, No on 1, have two commercials on the air right now, both with real people talking about their families:

Sam Putnam:

Bill Whitten:

Meanwhile the anti-marriage campaigners have put out a casting call, so they can pay some people to pretend to be authentic Mainers.

Maine's voting laws allow no excuse absentee ballots - anyone who can vote in Maine can ask for an absentee ballot. This means people will begin voting on 1 as early as October, 24 days from now.

Campaign manager for the pro-equality No on 1, Jesse Connolly, says, "Every internal poll that I've seen shows it's very close."

We could lose Maine, just like we lost California. No on 1 needs your help.

What You Can Do

1. Go to Maine. The No on 1 folks are set up for "volunteer vacations" in October – people can come up, and from one Sunday to the next they can help the campaign recruit other volunteers, talk to voters, and help run the Get-Out-the-Vote operation.

2. Donate. Even small amounts help – they need to keep their commercials on the air, and keep paying for the phonebanking equipment they use to reach voters.

3. Call from Home: As with Vermont's battle, MassEquality, the organization that helped Massachusetts win and keep marriage equality, is lending a hand by letting people call remotely using its phone banking system. You'll be identifying supporters and helping get out the vote.

4. Talk to People. Do you know anyone who lives in Maine? Call them. Talk with them, and make sure that if they support equal marriage that they vote "no" on 1, whether by absentee ballot or on November 3rd.


Coming Back Around Again

Hi! Hi! I'm probably still a bit moshed, but rumbling slowly back to life.

Missed you all.



Just sold my story "An Organization Man in the Time Long After Legends" to Shimmer.

You know that thing you do? With the jumping and spinning around a lot, throw some hand clapping in?

Oh yeah.

I am alive! Many things are happening!

I will still not be able to post regularly for a bit, though I will try to pop in. Reading of LJ has also been spotty, for which I apologize – I've managed hit and runs, but missed most of the last half of June, and the first week of July, so please feel free to jump into the comments and be all, "Check out the shit that has been happening to me!" and then I will.

First, both A and B are safely away and into good homes. I tried to get the shelter to reveal googleable information – "Why, what kind of good home do you mean? Is it a good home with an address? What might that address be?"

But they were too canny for me, so no google stalking of kitten homes. Which is, uh, probably the healthiest for everyone involved.

Second, Think Galacticon happened! It rocked! Eleanor Arnason was there! Panelists were amazing! Members also amazing! I will post more as soon as I can!

Third, the New York Senate has gone stark barking mad, the marriage bill's future is… well, nobody knows what it is, though everybody's still trying. And Maine's headed for a massive ballot battle to keep the marriage rights they won. And I'm going to be in California for a bit, where they have call centers set up to help get support to roll back Prop 8, and they're doing door-to-door canvassing, and I am going to try to do both of those things. Whatever I manage, I will come back and tell you about.

Fourth, I have been reading books! I want to say things about them! I finished the religious pirate romance, for one. Spoilers: Faith finds God.


I went into truly lunatic photography mode in the last few days I had the tacos, trying to get some good pictures of A. I ended up with about 50 pictures of kitten blur and 10 pictures of A – most of the them when I was holding him or he was pummeling B, as those were the only times he wasn't tearing around the place ensconced in his own personal probability field.

This is what usually happened: 1) I lean over to get the camera on A's level, 2) A notices, 3) I attempt to depress the shutter button before the camera and my hand is attacked. I actually pulled off two photographs in quick succession, starting early enough to give you an idea of what this was like.


Phase 1: Notice Camera


Phase 2: AAAAAAAA!!!


More beneath the cutCollapse )

We went back to the shelter on Sunday, and they were brave little guys. When I first picked them up, they were in the back seat of the car mewing and mewing (after all, the people they knew had just put them in a big box and given them to a stranger who had put them in an even bigger box that vibrated and made scary noises, so). But on the way back there was not a peep, and when I was at red lights and looked back to check on them they'd be at the front of the carrier, their little faces pressed against the grid, watching the world go by.

There was an oh shit moment, when the woman I was giving them to said she needed to go weigh them – kittens under two pounds cannot be adopted because they are too tiny. A was definitely over two pounds, as he'd been bulking up his little jock self since arriving. But B had never been a big eater, and was much smaller than his brother.

For a moment there was a potential universe in which A was adoptable and B wasn't, and I'd have to take him away from his brother to be all alone in the world until he ate more (once I accidentally closed the door to a room when A was in it, while B was with me. Oh the wailing. So unhappy, the separated kittens).

The woman came back smiling. B was two pounds even. The little guy just barely skidded into home.

Their adoption pages are up. A's is here, B's here. Here's wishing them long and lucky lives full of people who love them.


Programming Participant Deadline is TODAY, Friday June 5th! If you want to be a panelist, please sign up!

Preregistration ends June 12th! If you have any friends and loved ones who should be attending Think Galacticon, but aren't yet registered, remind them to register!

Program book ads: email isabel.schechter at gmail.com by June 5th for more info.


We have some fantastic events for you this year at Think Galacticon! In 2007 one of the biggest points of feedback we got was the need for evening and late-night socializing. We hope you enjoy our offerings!

Friday Night Activity: Salon
Bring your creativity! There will be an open-mic for readings (your own or others), mad libs, music, poetry, and performance. Tables centering on different activities such as Exquisite Corpse, decoupage, and conversations will be available. Don't let these suggestions stop you from making your own activity!

To all the published authors attending: if you would like to be part of an author reading before the open mic starts, and be listed on our website and program book, please inquire by 6/7!

To everyone: please bring any decoupage, craft, and/or drawing materials to the salon! Glue, markers, paper, and scissors will be provided.

Friday Night Activity: LACK
A one-shot LARP, perfect for beginners. You've just woken, naked, inside some sort of nutrient gel tank. Around you, many others are also emerging. You appear to be in some sort of underground bunker. You remember nothing except a vague sense of alarm and disaster. How did you get here? Who are you? What happened? And what is that moving through the vents? Join us for a 3-4 hour one shot live action roleplaying (LARP) experience. This scenario is specifically designed for people new to LARPing (which is a bit like tabletop roleplaying games mixed with improv acting -- you are your character). The rules are simple and characters are provided. You and the other characters will be exploring your environment, establishing a way to make decisions and work together, and uncovering a series of interlocking mysteries. Numerous thought-provoking challenges will be placed before you that should raise as many questions as they answer.

Saturday Night Activity: Boogie and Boggle!
Dancing and board games: something for everyone! For those wanting to move and groove we will be having a Dance Party! Participate in interactive djing with your Ipods! Members are encouraged to create ~20 min. playlists of music for you and your fellow attendees to dance to. If you are not in the dancing mood (or want to take a break) a variety of board games will be available, or bring your own to share!

Please email Heather (heathergalaxy at gmail.com) if you plan on preparing a dance mix or you plan to live DJ on your iPod. Heather will unleash 80's/new wave dance hits unless you decide to bring something extra to the mix!

The Bazaar! (Saturday 10-6, Sunday 10-3)
Are you:
an artist/artisan who has works you want to display and/or sell?
an activist who would like to inspire your fellow convention members to action?
an author who has a book/zine/chapbook you would like to promote/sell?
anyone that has something to share, give, or sell that would be of interest to our convention attendees?
If so, we have a free table available for you in our Bazaar!

For more details, or to reserve a table, please e-mail Heather (heathergalaxy atgmail.com). For those who don't need a whole table for yourself, but want to sell/show something, we have opportunities for you as well. The tabling is free but the space is limited, so inquire now!

Think Galacticon is also participating in the Worldwide Vegan Bakesale at the Bazaar! http://www.veganbakesale.org/ While we will be offering up our mostly vegan hospitality suite again, have a little something sweet and help support Think Galacticon!

Finally, we're one of the conventions mentioned in the Chicago Tribune!

See you all in three weeks!


More Tacos!

They're doing fine. B is eating more, which makes me happy.

A still won't stop moving long enough to be photographed as anything more than a kitten-sized blur, so all the pictures below the cut are of B.

B!Collapse )


New Hampshire

The New Hampshire House passed the marriage bill 198-176. The governor is already on record as saying he will sign with the new language. The bill is expected to reach him this afternoon, tomorrow at the latest. Update: Confirmed, Lynch will sign the bill at 5:15 EST.

UpdateUpdate: And, SIGNED.



When we last checked in with New Hampshire, Governor Lynch had said he would sign the marriage bill if a few religious protections were strengthened.

Ah, if only it were that simple.

The bill was rewritten, and the New Hampshire Senate passed it handily 14-10 (directly along party lines). Then, after vicious debate in House, the bill failed.

The vote was 188-186. Two votes short of equal marriage in New Hampshire. There was a motion to table the bill, essentially killing it, but it was luckily overruled and the bill sent to committee for rewriting.

Last Friday, May 29th, the joint Senate-House Committee approved language for the rewritten bill. Governor Lynch said he approved of the language, and would sign the bill if it came to him. In the meantime there have been several special elections. In all of them, the anti-marriage candidates have outspent the pro-marriage candidates by four or five times as much – with most of their money coming from out of state.

In what I'm sure is unrelated news, Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) keeps sending out press releases about how the anti-marriage candidates are the ones getting elected.

The bill is being voted on today, and is the last chance New Hampshire has for equal marriage in this session. The outcome here is also likely to affect Maine, which is going to have to fight off a referendum that will try to repeal equal marriage in that state.

Minutes before I posted this, the New Hampshire Senate passed the bill 14-10 (thanks to Jed for this news). The House will see the bill this afternoon. The House vote is up in the air completely, given how narrow the loss was last time. Who is actually there to vote will likely be a key determinant.

Keep your fingers crossed, folks.



I've been back and forth on the idea of getting a pet for a while now.

I like animals. My family had a bunch growing up, but I haven't since I moved out ages ago. But I travel a lot, and I don't want to commit to buying an animal until I know I can take care of it for its entire life. Also I overburden my schedule, and the idea of another living thing depending completely on me is scary. I kill all my plants, okay?

But at the same time, I love on other people's pets whenever I visit.

But I have discovered a solution to the terrible tension between these two points! My local humane society has a foster program for the tiny animal babies it gets that are too young to adopt. Sometimes their mommies are with them, and sometimes they have lost their mommies and are alone in the world1. They need someone to take care of them until they're old enough to get their shots and be adoptable.

So the idea is that I only grab the babies who I have to return to the shelter before traveling again, and I don’t have to worry about whether I'll be able to take care of them five years from now. And they get to be with someone who cuddles them and plays with them instead of hanging out in a little lonely shelter space (when they're too young to get their shots, it's really easy for them to get sick from the other cats, so they have to be isolated – a home is one of the safest places for them).

I went to the training session over a month or so ago, but between work and upcoming WisCon travel nobody lined up. Until I was in Madison, and got an email that said they had two babies that only needed about two more weeks until they would be ready.

So these two came home with me.Collapse )

If temporary home invasions of cuteness sound like your style, check your local no-kill shelter to see whether they have a similar program3 – it's kitten season right now, so most of them are probably drowning in the little guys. It's puppy season all year, and most will let you foster either or both. You get to help out in a crucial way without having to commit to taking care of an animal for its entire life – the more fosters they have out in homes, the more space they have to take in babies. And you get to show an animal that even if the world is big and scary, there are people in it who want it to be happy and loved.

1. This xkcd SO applies to me:


So, you know, heads up.

2. I get the idea this is important. They made me sign a form and initial a line that said I had to give them back when it was time, so clearly there've been some, ah, issues in the past.

3. I'd google your city, "kittens" or "puppies", and "foster care" "shelter". They may also do adult fostering, if they get an adult animal in who is recovering from something and needs to be back up to speed before being adoptable.


California: Proposition 8 Stands

Proposition 8 stands. California lost equal marriage on November 4th, and the California Supremes confirmed it this morning. It is legal in California to remove the rights of a minority group by popular vote.

But the 18,000 marriages stand. No one will be divorced against their will1.

Now the ballot fight begins.

Right now the best source of action is Courage Campaign. Go here. Sign up.

I'm going to be posting about how the remote calling works.

83% of Courage's membership has voted for a 2010 ballot battle (rather than waiting until 2012). They have retooled the "Fidelity" video that played across the blogosphere, and will put it on California airwaves in the next 72 hours.

Go here to see the new video and to donate.

In the meantime:

Day of Decision protests will happen tonight in over 98 cities across the country. A particularly massive rally is being planned for New York City. You can also text "RALLY" and your zip code (example: RALLY 94131) to 27336 and you should get a text message with the event closest to your neighborhood.

On Saturday, May 30th, thousands of people will Meet in the Middle, in Fresno, California.

Protesters are already blocking traffic in San Francisco:

People are reading through the ruling now - apparently so long as rights are removed not from the entire population, it's constitutionally legal. Nick Mamatas has some suggestions.

1. The ruling is here.


Marriage in California

The California Supremes will rule in a little over 12 hours, at 10am PST.

I've already posted about the leadup to Prop 8, and what happened after it passed.

But how did we even get here?

The Past

The history of equal marriage in California resembles twin looping strands of DNA, one legislative, one judicial.

In 1996 the Hawaiian Supreme Court ruled that the Hawaiian legislature had to provide equal marriage rights unless they had a good reason not to. Everyone freaked out, and Defense of Marriage Acts (DOMAs) swept the nation.

California's hit in 20001. It passed 61% to 39%, and created a statute (not a constitutional amendment) that limited marriage to between a man and a woman.

Then in 2004, the mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom, ordered city officials to defy state law and hand out marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. From February 12th to March 11th, San Francisco offered equal marriage, and people from across the country and beyond it journeyed there to be married. The demand was so high on Valentine's day that almost every official in the city had to be deputized to perform marriages. It's been called the Winter of Love.


Over 4,000 couples received marriage licenses before Newsom was halted. The marriages were later voided by the California Supreme Court on procedural grounds.

But from the San Francisco marriages a lawsuit sprung up in the San Francisco courts. A year later, on March 14, 2005, Judge Kramer ruled that California statutes depriving gay and lesbian couples of the right to marry were unconstitutional. The case was immediately appealed and the ruling stayed.

That same year, in the California legislative session, a member of the California Assembly, Mark Leno, introduced a marriage bill. The bill made it to the Assembly floor but died there. Another Assembly member, Patty Berg, sacrificed a bill of her own, already in the Senate, replacing the text of her bill with the text of the marriage bill. The Senate passed it, 21-15. It went to the Assembly, and this time passed, 41-35. California was the first state in the country to legislatively pass a marriage bill without court pressure to do so.

The governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, vetoed the bill 6 days after it reached his desk.

Meanwhile, a California Appellate Court heard the marriage cases and ruled 2-1 that the statute limiting marriage to between a man and a woman should stand. In November 2006 the California Supreme Court was petitioned to review the Appellate Court decision, and agreed to do so.

Before the hearings occurred, the California legislature tried again, passing another marriage bill through both the Assembly and Senate in 2007. Schwarzenegger vetoed it again.

Oral arguments were held in the California Supreme Court on March 4, 2008. They ruled a little over two months later, on May 15th, striking down the anti-marriage statutes 4-3.

California became the second state with equal marriage.

Until November 4th, when Proposition 8 passed 52% to 48%.

The Present

The California Supreme Court agreed to hear the case on November 19th, and the oral arguments occurred on March 5th. They had 90 days to rule.

In the meantime, California began to organize. Stepping forward to replace the previous No on 8 campaigners, the Courage Campaign took the lead on organizing grassroots support to get a proposition on the ballot to overturn 8, should the California Supremes uphold it.

It was Courage campaign that created the Fidelity video that swept the blogosphere in the days before the oral arguments were heard:

"Fidelity": Don't Divorce... from Courage Campaign on Vimeo.

They have created a series of intensive two-day training sessions across the state, showing would-be organizers how to mobilize supporters, called Camp Courage. Camp Courages have already been held in West Hollywood, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, and Fresno. As soon as they have enough money (largely through donations), Courage holds another.

They back a 2010 ballot initiative, which means there isn't much time, and if the court upholds 8, they will need to move fast.

Camp Courage, and thousands of organizers across California, stand poised at the verge of beginning the first statewide ballot battle for equal marriage, rather than against it, affirming equality rather than limiting it. We learn tomorrow whether this will be settled, or the stage set for a battle around the ballot box to rival that around Prop 8.

The world has changed since the California Supreme Court heard the oral arguments on Prop 8. Iowa's Supreme Court unanimously made marriage equal. Vermont overrode their governor's veto and became the first state to make marriage equal legislatively. Maine became the first state that didn't have to override it's governor to pass equal marriage legislation. They join Massachussetts and Connecticut, making five states with equal marriage. New Hampshire hovers at the brink while New York shies away from it.

The country in which the California Supremes heard the arguments is vastly different from the one we stand in now.

We find out tomorrow if the country will change again.

What you can do:
There will be rallies in over 90 cities across the country on Tuesday. Check whether there's a Day of Decision rally in your city.

A particularly massive rally is being planned for New York City.

On Saturday, May 30th, thousands of people will Meet in the Middle, in Fresno, California, to show their support for No on 8 folks in the central counties that went overwhelmingly for 8.

If the Supremes retain the 18,000 marriages and overturn 8, the rallies will be celebrations. If they uphold 8 (even if they retain the marriages), the rallies will be protests.

If the CA Supremes uphold 8, you'll be hearing more from me on what can be done. Courage is already employing the volunteer calling system that the Obama campaign used to such good effect – you can sign up from anywhere, and use it to identify supporters in California in order to save time later. I'm already in the system.

1. I'm ashamed to say I spent the last bunch of years wandering around claiming that if they tried to install a DOMA in California now, of course people wouldn't vote it through. Psssst - hey, PastMe. Heads up.


Brace yourselves.

There will be rallies across the country on Tuesday. Check whether there's a Day of Decision rally in your city.

On Saturday, a week from now, thousands of people will Meet in the Middle, in Fresno, California, to show their support for No on 8 folks in the central counties that went overwhelmingly for 8.

If the Supremes retain the 18,000 marriages and overturn 8, the rallies will be celebrations. If they uphold 8, the rallies will be protests.



My schedule resembles a mosh pit right now, which is why my posting is so choppy. I'm back at the place where I have 36 hours a day of stuff to do, and only 17 or so hours of consciousness. Some quick notes:

WisCon – I am going to it!

Arrival: Thursday Evening
Departure: Way Too Early Monday Morning

I am staying with the inestimable orbitalmechanic. I'll be tagged with my little eyeball grid for easy identification purposes.

Let's hang out! Comment or email me if you want to get something sorted ahead of time.

Think Galactic Party – We are having it!

Friday night, room 611, start time 8:45pm!

There will be vegan-friendly foods, the table of tinfoil for spaceships, and NOW sock-puppet materials!!!1

Interested in coming to this summer's Think Galacticon? You can register at the party, or at a registration table the fantastic folks at WisCon are letting us set up next to theirs (we'll be staffing it at various times throughout the con).

1. !!!!


New Hampshire, Inches Away

Governor Lynch says he will sign the marriage bill.

"In the past weeks and months, I have spoken with lawmakers, religious leaders and citizens. My office has received thousands of phone calls, letters and emails. I have studied our current marriage and civil union laws, the laws of other states, the bills recently passed by the legislature and our history and traditions.

"Two years ago, we passed civil unions legislation here in New Hampshire. That law gave same-sex couples in civil unions the same rights and protections as marriage. And in typical New Hampshire fashion, the people of this state embraced civil unions and agreed we needed to continue our tradition of opposing discrimination.

"At its core, HB 436 simply changes the term 'civil union' to 'civil marriage.' Given the cultural, historical and religious significance of the word marriage, this is a meaningful change.

"I have heard, and I understand, the very real feelings of same-sex couples that a separate system is not an equal system. That a civil law that differentiates between their committed relationships and those of heterosexual couples undermines both their dignity and the legitimacy of their families.

"I have also heard, and I understand, the concerns of our citizens who have equally deep feelings and genuine religious beliefs about marriage. They fear that this legislation would interfere with the ability of religious groups to freely practice their faiths.

"Throughout history, our society's views of civil rights have constantly evolved and expanded. New Hampshire's great tradition has always been to come down on the side of individual liberties and protections.

"That is what I believe we must do today.

He listened.

The only catch is that he wants more protections for religious groups, similar to those seen in Vermont and Connecticut's marriage laws (e.g., you can't sue a church organist if they don't want to play at your wedding).

This is fine, except that to make these modifications requires another bill to go through the legislature. The same legislature which barely passed the first marriage bill. All of NOM's money will now, I am guessing, be directed to the NH Senate, where the first marriage bill so barely passed (at 13-11)1. If these modifications are not passed, then the governor will veto. For those of you following at home:

House Bill 436 is the marriage bill, passed by the full legislature, which has not yet reached Lynch's desk.

House Bill 310 is a modification/clarification of that bill, also passed by the full legislature, also soon to reach Lynch's desk.

House Bill 73 is an unrelated bill already in play that relates to various marriage statutes - the protections the governor has asked for could be written into this bill.

It is my hope, that since HB 73 is creating more religious protections, that it will pass with greater margins in both the House and Senate regardless of how much money NOM pours into things.

If this is true, all three bills could be on Lynch's desk as early as next week.


1. Also, remember that "new poll data" that came out showing the majority of New Hampshire voters as against equal marriage? The one that claimed they surveyed every household in NH? Bullshit!

2. Also, huge shoutout to orbitalmechanic, from whom I heard this first. I was out on the town, and not on email to get the news until later. Is it insane that I'm thinking of letting twitter pipe into my phone just so I can get marriage updates in realtime? Because I totally am.


Hawaii and New Hampshire


Remember the civil unions bill that got stuck in committee? Remember how they tried to do an end-run around the committee, using an old rule that said if they knew they had the votes to pass the bill on the floor, they could pull it from committee? And how the House Speaker killed the attempt?

They tried again.

And this time the bill made it out.

And then got stalled again with legislative tomfoolery - several legislators managed to amend it. With an amendment, a third vote would have to be taken before the bill could go to the Senate. The Hawaiian Senate requires 48 hours notice before a final vote from the House. And the legislative session ended this Saturday. The clock ran out.

But the bill is live.

When the legislature reconvenes in January of 2010, it will be at the doors of the Senate, having already been passed by the House.

New Hampshire

Governor Lynch has still not made a decision. Once the marriage bill reaches his desk, he will have five days to veto, sign, or let it pass into law unsigned1.

Governor Lynch

The bill has not yet officially reached his desk, so the five day 'clock' hasn't started. Jed Hartman asked one of the legislators, Representative Splaine, about the process, and got a great, detailed answer about the process. Summary: The bill should hit Lynch's desk sometime this week.

A conservative organization claims to have polled every household in New Hampshire, and although there's been open doubt about that claim, they're asserting that 64% of New Hampshire does not support equal marriage (as opposed to a previous poll, which found that 55% did)2. The number looks unsound, but they're still going to have it all over the airwaves.

Representative Splaine also explicitly said: It doesn't matter if you don't live in New Hampshire.

Call or fax Lynch and ask him to sign the bill or to let it pass into law without his signature.

If you are gay or lesbian, send him your picture, tell your story. If you know someone who is gay or lesbian, tell him about them. Let him know we ALL count, and should be treated equally.

Whatever you do, PLEASE DO IT NOW. Governor John Lynch can make up his mind anytime on signing House Bill 436.

Let him know that most people in our state want full marriage equality for all of us who live in our state. This is about fairness, and being treated fairly.

Telephone: (603)271-2121
FAX: (603)271-7680
Email him here.

The legislators that fought to get this bill through fought for it hard. They put themselves out there, and argued for it on the floor of the House and Senate more honestly and openly than I have ever seen legislators speak before. I leave you with something that Representative Kris Roberts said before he voted for the bill:

For the people who believe that HB436 will destroy the American family I will tell I have been married almost 32 years, have three daughters and eight grandchildren, I can't see any way that two people who truly love each other, regardless of gender could weaken my family. I grew up in a very harsh and brutal family, I still bear the physical, emotionally and physiological scars. I am a productive member of society because I meet people most heterosexual, other gay, other lesbian that had loving relationships, I told myself I want someone to love me, that I deserved to have someone to love me. Families are strengthened by love, destroyed by indifference and abuse.

Call. Please. He could announce his decision at any time.

1. From the looks of it, they can throttle the speed of that process, determining if the bill will reach the governor swiftly or slowly. It looks to me like Lynch wanted it to be 'slowly' - that means he's less likely to have made up his mind yet. We can move him.

2. The poll was loaded - it was also, from what I've read, entirely robo-run, so that if people responded to any question with something other than a "yes" or "no" (for example, "What do you mean "dangerous" bill that will legalize same-sex marriage?") the system hung up on them. Wanna bet marriage supporters were more likely to go "off script"?



The bill passed the concurrence vote in the Senate this morning.

And Baldacci signed it.


Maine is the first state to pass a marriage bill through the legislature and have it immediately signed by their governor.

Vermont was the first to do it through the legislature, but had to fight off a veto attempt by their governor.


New Hampshire and Maine

New Hampshire

The New Hampshire Senate voted on the marriage bill last Wednesday, April 29th.

The day before the vote, things did not look good. Blue Hampshire was keeping a running tally of which Senators had stated how they would be voting on the bill. Of the 24 Senators, 12 were on record as "no" votes. The Republicans were voting party line against it. The Democrats were scattered:


It was possible that a 12-12 vote, rather than killing the bill, could still be workable (with some sort of hail mary play, the details of which I'm unclear on, but whose likelihood of success would be similar to the one that failed in Hawaii). But given that at least one other Dem looked to be leaning heavily "no" (D'Allesandro, at 20), and several others were uncommitted, I braced myself.

I literally started pre-writing a post the night before, with a sentence that said, "New Hampshire has now joined Hawaii, New Mexico, and Minnesota with dead marriage bills."

And then… it passed. 13-11.

If Vermont was the entire rebel alliance coming together to fight the overwhelming force of the Governor's Death Star veto, then New Hampshire is the crew of Firefly trying to make it through safely with a jury-rigged engine and a bunch of enemy ships on its tail. The bill was voted down in the House (by one vote) until a second vote was held, then made it. It was voted down in Senate Committee, but still went to a floor vote. It looked doomed in the Senate. Then passed (by one vote).

It just keeps on flying. Barely.

It will go back to the House for approval on some minor amendments (which should go smoothly, but let's not take it for granted) tomorrow, May 6, at 1pm.

Then to the governor, on record as being against equal marriage.

But he's a democrat1 – will he veto? If he does, there is no way the NH legislature will be able to muster two-thirds to override it.

The National Organization for (Straights Only) Marriage, aka NOM (of the now infamous Gathering Storm ads)2 robo-called a tremendous list of anti-marriage people, using a system that would connect them automatically to their legislators. They have now retasked the robo-calls, and are focusing all their energy on the governor. They are pouring money into this - the Gathering Storm ad is playing throughout the state, and not everyone is youtube-savvy enough to realize what a pile of hooey it is.

Polls are showing that 55% of New Hampshire voters support equal marriage, while only 39% are against.

It's going to be tight. But last week, it wasn't going to be at all.

I look at Maine, with its over 25 years to pass a housing protections bill. I look at Prop 8 in California, at the amendments in Florida and Arizona that passed last November, at Arkansas, which banned gay adoption at the same time, and I think this is really happening.

This. Is. Really. Happening.

What You Can Do:

New Hampshire Freedom to Marry is taking point on this one. They're asking people to:

Call Governor Lynch and ask him to support marriage equality, bill HB 436: (603) 271-2121

If you live in or near New Hampshire, or know someone who does:

Phone banking: New Hampshire Freedom to Marry doesn't seem to be doing remote phone banking, but if you're within driving distance of Concord, they're doing phone banking from there this evening, from 5pm to 9pm. Info.

Canvassing: They're going door to door. They need canvassers, and they need places for canvassers to crash – particularly in Portsmouth, Keene, Concord, Hanover, Manchester, or Nashua (guest rooms, couches in the basement, anything will work). If you can help in any way contact heather@nhftm.org


I do not understand why the bill isn't going through committee, but it's not4 – the Maine House is voting on the bill today. Discussion begins at 10am. I will update this post with the outcome.

Video here.

Audio here.

Hold on to your hats, folks.

UPDATE: IT PASSED!!! 89-58! Now on to the Governor!

Rep. Sara Stevens testifying on the Maine House floor (rush transcript): "The only argument I can come up with to oppose this bill is economics. … If this bill passes and we make history today, I have no idea how I'm going to afford … the shear number of wedding gifts I'm going to have to buy. (laughter) So I have decided today to let everyone know that my wedding gift to everyone is my vote today. Fourty years from now, or a 100 years from now, I want my grandchildren (tearing up), my great grand chidlren to know that i stood on the right side of history. and when history classes debate this, and they think about what happened way back when in maine, that they also think 'i hope i stand up on the right side of history'. … I look at this cold spring day, and I say on behalf of my very supportive community … today is a very good day to make history."

(h/t to queerty for quote)

UPDATE 2: Apparently it has to go back to the Senate for a concurrence vote. That will also happen tomorrow, around the same time as New Hampshire's. Talk about neck-and-neck.

1. I apologize - I had him as a Republican in my New Hampshire post (it's now corrected). For some reason the quality of my New Hamsphire info has been more variable than the rest.

2. You know they just got a new board member, right? Guess who. Orson Scott Card3.

3. Really.

4. I'm looking at the hard-to-parse site for the Maine Legislature, and maybe they submitted a preliminary twin bill that was already voted through committee? Anybody know what's up with this? [Update: jpmassar suggests that it's because the original hearing was through a joint committee, which makes sense to me.]


Marriage in Maine

While Maine is part of the New England states, achieving rights and protections for gays and lesbians has not been easy in the past. Bill, a dailykos diarist from Maine, notes:

After all, look at what it took to get a basic bill passed here that prevents discrimination in housing, credit and employment:

1977--The House and Senate kill the bill
1979--The House kills the bill
1981--The House kills the bill
1983--The House kills the bill
1985--The House kills the bill
1987--The House kills the bill
1989--The Senate kills the bill
1991--The House kills the bill
1993--The House and Senate pass the bill. Governor McKernan vetoes it
1997--The House and Senate pass the bill. Governor King signs it
1998--A citizens referendum kills the bill.
2005--The House and Senate pass the bill. Governor Baldacci signs it
2005--A citizens referendum to kill the bill fails
Over a quarter-century.

But the tides are shifting. On election day last year, Equality Maine attempted to identify potential marriage supporters. They stood outside voting booths and asked a simple question – "Do you believe in equality for gay and lesbian people?" Their goal was 10,000 signatures.

They reached that number by noon.

By the end of the day, they had 33,000.

A proposed bill to amend the Maine constitution to prohibit equal marriage didn't even make it to the bill stage – it couldn't find a sponsor. Meanwhile, the marriage bill ended up with 60.

It was submitted first to the Maine Senate, where it was referred to the Judiciary Committee. A hearing was held on April 22nd. Due to expected high turnout, rather than holding it in a government building, everything was shifted to a local stadium. Which, when the day came, was filled with over 3,000 people. The testimonies went on for the entire day. The Maine Phoenix has a play-by-play. Some highlights:

Most of the antis repeated the same arguments that everyone's heard before, although there were also some contributions of the more fascinating variety. This is John Yellowbear:

Summary for those who can't play video at work: He has been, "personally affected by gay agenda." He was married to, "what I thought was a wonderful woman," and "thought I had a good thing going." Only she decided after 10 years of marriage that she was gay, and he divorced her when he caught her cheating with another woman. Therefore, he urged the committee to vote against equal marriage, "before another marriage ends up in divorce because someone decides they had to be gay."

Another woman thought that reading the poem "The Manly Man" (author unknown) would help to sway those who wanted legalize gay marriage. I can't find a video clip of her, but the full poem is here (watch out, site plays music). Some lines: "The world delights in the manly man, and the weak and evil flee/When the manly man goes forth to hold his own on land or sea."

Marriage supporters spoke, and many of them were incredible. I want to post them all but geez, this post is already half composed of video, so I picked my two favorites.

Here is Philip Spooner, a veteran of WWII, and lifetime Republican:

Summary: "I am here today because of a conversation I had last June when I was voting. A woman at my polling place asked me, 'Do you believe in equality for gay and lesbian people?' I was pretty surprised to be asked a question like that. It made no sense to me. Finally I asked her, 'What do you think I fought for at Omaha beach?'"

Bob Talbot, from Bangor:

Summary (the Maine Phoenix described it best): "Robert Talbot, of the Maine NAACP, comes to the microphone to speak in support of LD 1020 [the marriage bill]. His testimony is relatively straightforward; he talks about the difficulties he faced as a black man wanting to marry a white woman during the 1960s. But toward the end of his speech, the tenor of his voice changes, his inflection goes up, he can't subdue his passion (and rage): "It's was wrong 40 years ago and IT'S WRONG NOW!" The crowd stands and cheers."

One of the marriage opponents stood up and argued, similar to those who passed the anti-adoption laws in New Hampshire in the 80s, that marriage laws would allow gays to have sex with their children without legal repercussions.

I only had an audio feed, so to me it sounded like someone accidentally using a really old play out of the anti-marriage playbook. Later, I heard about what had happened while he spoke: As soon as the content of his testimony became clear, marriage supporters stood, and turned their backs on him. Then many of those who opposed the bill also stood and turned.

He ranted on, with a stadium of people behind him, denying their support.

The committee voted on April 28th, 11-2-1, to pass the bill (the "1" was someone who wanted the bill to go directly out to a referendum, i.e., bypass the legislature and be voted on by the people).

The Maine Freedom to Marry Coalition has created two commercials which it is running across the state. Here is one:

Here is the other.

Two days later, on April 30th, the bill passed the Senate 21-14. This week it will go to the Judiciary Committee in the House. If it passes, it will go to a House vote, and if it passes there, to the governor's desk.

I haven't heard a lot about how the House is likely to vote – what I have heard is hopeful but unsubstantiated. Governor Baldacci is on record as being against equal marriage, but has recently been quoted as saying he will keep an open mind. He is also a Democrat, and given recent events may find it hard to veto.

A recent poll found that 47.3 percent of Mainers support equal marriage, while 49.3 percent oppose it1. But the margin of error on the poll was 4.9 – making the two groups essentially equal.

What you can do:

Do you know anyone in Maine? If so, ask them to find their Representative, call them, and ask them to support the marriage bill: 1-800-423-2900.

They can also email.

More updates to follow.

1. When given the option to either support marriage or civil unions, the numbers rose to 71% in favor.

This is seventh in a series. Here are California, Iowa (followup, conclusion), Vermont (followup, conclusion), Hawaii, New Hampshire (followup), and New York.

Note: Obviously these posts are based on all the articles and media-gorging I've been doing on the topic. All the info is drawn from other sources, which sometimes I'll link, and sometimes I can't find again.


So, as some of y'all may recall, Think Galactic had its first con in 2007, in downtown Chicago.

It rocked.

And the sequel is coming out this summer.

Think Galacticon 2009 is being held in Chicago, Friday, June 26 through Sunday, June 28, and you should definitely attend!  If you register before May 1, we are even offering special discount rates!

Q: How is this convention different from all other conventions?
A: We're inspired largely by Wiscon, the world's leading feminist science fiction convention, and we are looking to create a space in which leftists (and people who like hanging out with leftists) can discuss politics and speculative fiction in an intelligent, engaging, and fun fashion. There will be multiple tracks of programming that seek to expand the boundaries of typical discussions. We want to explore issues of oppressive hierarchies, confronting topics of race, gender, sexuality, class and more. In other words, if you like fun, thinky conversation in your science fiction and fantasy, you should come. 

Q: Ooh, shiny, how do I register?!
A: Register here. There are instructions for registering via snail mail if you prefer not to pay online.
Important registration facts:
-Register before May 1 for our exciting discount rates! Pay only $35 for a regular membership instead of $45. We also have an additional discount if you're new to Think Galacticon!
-Can't make it this time? Consider a supporting membership, for which you will receive something awesome! In the mail! And who doesn't want awesome mail?

Q: What kind of events happen at Think Galacticon?
A: See Think Galacticon 2007's programming page for some ideas.

Q: Can I still be involved with programming for this year?
A: Yes indeed! Comment on our livejournal post. It's also not too late to vote in our special events poll and tell us what you'd like to do outside of panels-- dance party? film fest? make art? something else?

Got other pressing questions? Comment here and I'll try to answer, or you can e-mail info@thinkgalactic.org.

(Almost all of this post is shamelessly stolen from a fellow concom member's LJ, 'cause I like her style.)