January 10, 2010
And Love Took Over

Thank you to everyone who participated in Love Takes Over. The event was a huge success because of YOU!

Here are some of the letters we received for you to read (http://lovetakesover.tumblr.com)

To everyone who participated: THANK YOU!

PLEASE NOTE: Opinions expressed in each article are those of each individual author and do NOT necessarily reflect the views of the Love Takes Over campaign organizers. 

Read about Love Takes Over: A nationwide takeover of America’s local newspapers

Op-Eds from Wisconsin, South Carolina, New Jersey, Texas, and California

Op-Ed from Hawaii

Op-Ed from Actress Jillian Armenante

In 44 states, we have created a two-tiered citizenship system – the Americans who get all of the rights and benefits guaranteed in the Constitution, and the second class citizens. Though they are consenting adult law-abiding citizens, they may not choose whom they marry, are denied the rights and responsibilities of marriage, pay more taxes and penalties, have no right to see their spouses in the hospital or make end-of-life decisions for them, and are also often fired from their jobs – not for performance – but because of their employers’ personal feelings.

Gay and lesbian Americans are Americans, but aren’t treated as such by the country they love and sacrifice for. LGBT – lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered – youth, in their hopelessness brought on by callous disregard and harassment by others around them, grow up in a dark place where they feel unloved. Maybe that’s why 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBT and why LGBT youth are four times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual counterparts.

Everyone’s personal faith and beliefs must be respected. That’s what makes America great. However, please show compassion for people who are different, and remember that what also makes America great is her promise to her citizens to try to make liberty a reality for all. This year, regardless of your personal beliefs, support extending the full benefits of being American to all our neighbors, and show love for all.

Phillip Reese

Champaign, IL 61820


It makes me feel like I do not live in a democracy. The openness and tolerance I read about in my elementary school history books seems like a sham. Even those who subscribe to religious institutions that encourage followers to show compassion and respect to those who may be different are hypocrites. The subject of which I am referring to is that of same-sex marriage. This letter is part of a nationwide effort called “Love Takes Over” (http://lovetakesover.tumblr.com) that has proponents of same-sex marriage write to their local newspapers from January 3rd through the 9th en masse as part of a concentrated take-over of the press. 

While many of us will describe our personal experiences as gays or lesbians or make a case through hard facts, I am simply going to point out how absurd it is for our country to, yet again, lag behind other countries. Most Americans fail to realize that most countries consider same-sex marriage completely normal and simply just a part of living in a diverse world in the 21st century. 

•  Sweden: Has an appropriately titled “gender-neutral” marriage law, which replaced the government’s support for registered partnerships. Doing this actually streamlines the process by blanketing the different unions.  

•  Belgium: Became the second country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage all the way back in 2003. 

•  The Netherlands: Has the distinction of being the first country to legalize same-sex marriage in 2001. 

•  Canada: Strong backing for the Civil Marriage Act, which calls for “the lawful union of two persons.” It has been in place since 2005 and uses language that clearly makes it a government issue rather than a religious one. 

•  South Africa: Since 2005 gay marriage has been recognized by including in the definition the word “spouse.”

•  Norway: Updated their civil union allowance that had been in place since 1993 by passing a marriage law in 2008 that also contains provisions for the right of parenthood for same-sex couples.

•  Portugal:  Just this month Portugal has legalized same-sex marriage. The country also has a constitution that prohibits any type of discrimination against one’s sexual orientation. 

•  Spain: Same-sex marriage was easily put into law by 2005 with overwhelming public support. 

Those are just the marriages; there are yet still many other countries that allow civil unions. Remember, “marriage” is just a word. Those who would like to get married in a church can do so, but the union must be made official through the government, which thereby makes it independent of the church. And since we separate church and state, same-sex couples are independent of religious institutions. Just because the word “marriage” is used doesn’t mean that the church is involved. So let’s please preserve our democracy and act with decency towards our fellow human beings. 

Most Sincerely,

N. E. Hall

New York, NY


Washington State voters demonstrated last November that most of us are OK with gay and lesbian couples having the rights and responsibilities of marriage as long as we call those rights and responsibilities something else.

I applaud our state for taking that important step forward — however, it is just a step. In this country we have lumped the legal and religious aspects of marriage together under one term, but in actuality there are two parts. The line between the two is further blurred because we allow religious leaders to act as officers of the state and authorize the legal contract part of marriage. We could resolve the issue of terminology by calling the legal element something else, like domestic partnerships, for everyone.

A more practical option is for us to simply understand there are two pieces. Marriage equality is not about religion — gay and lesbian couples can already have a religious ceremony in many churches — marriage equality is about legal rights and responsibilities. These rights and responsibilities are an important legal bond that protects families and allows family members to care for each other. If people understand that then we can move forward to real inclusion and equality.

Marcie Mathis

Bremerton, Washington


Some folks say legalizing gay marriage would undermine so-called “traditional” marriage, which seems to be doing a fine job of undermining itself.  The CDC and other sources report that the US divorce rate is slightly over 50%.  Think about that:  More than half the man-woman marriages, these bastions of sanctity, wind up being dissolved.  A Barna Research survey found the following:

·11% of the US adult population is currently divorced.

·25% of adults have had at least one divorce during their lifetime.

·Divorce rates among conservative Christians were significantly higher than for other faith groups, and much higher than Atheists and Agnostics experience.

What does this say about the integrity of the consenting parties?  What does it say about the venerable institution of wedlock?  And what about the religious entities that promote traditional marriage and are supposed to support it?  So please tell me, how would legislating marriage equality adversely affect this already compromised construct of society?

I contend that the reason I have not received any viable answers to my repeated question is that there are none.  Further, I contend that same-sex marriage would not hurt traditional marriage.  It would, in fact, help it.  How?

For one, it would return the notions of love and commitment to the institution of marriage.  Take my life partner and me for example:  We’ve been in a committed, monogamous relationship for ten and a half years.  We fell in love in 1999 and in 2010, we’re still in love.  Our love manifests in every way you can imagine.  We own a home, a timeshare, and two cars.  When one of us is sick, the other one assumes the role of caregiver.  We vacation together, we work in our yard together, we tell each other about our workdays, and we share our deepest thoughts, feelings, and dreams.  My partner works for the federal government and I work from home as a freelance writer.  I wake up every morning when my partner does, make his breakfast, pack his lunch, and kiss him goodbye.  Then I sit down at my desk and start my workday.  Around 5:30 p.m., he comes home, I cook dinner, we eat, he washes the dishes, we watch a little TV, and then we rest up for a repeat of the above.  Sounds pretty typical, eh? 

Except for one major thing:  Unlike thousands of legal spouses of government and other employees, I do not share his benefits.  I am not on his health-insurance plan.  I’m not legally entitled to any of his employee benefits.  If he died tomorrow, do you know what would happen to all the money he’s paid into Social Security and the government pension plan?  Would I receive a cent of that as his surviving partner?  No.  The government would keep it.  Does that sound fair to you?  Just because my partner and I share a gender (in addition to all other aspects of life and living), I am not entitled to a single benefit of his 22 years of work for our nation’s government now or later. 

We’ve been married in our hearts for more than a decade.  It’s time we have the right to make it legal.

Van English

El Paso, Texas


Thinking outside the box is a cliché or catchphrase used to refer to looking at a problem from a new perspective without preconceptions.  I would say the subject of same-sex marriage would qualify one to think outside of the box.  Thinking outside the box and thinking inside the box are closely related to the way people who view the bible in a literal translation to those who tend to base their understanding of scripture according to the culture, the historical circumstances, who were the people to whom this message was directed and what were the social norms of that society at the time it was written. 

Thinking inside the box it means accepting the status quo.  In other words, this group is viewing the world while wearing blinders.  Those who interpret the bible literally refuse to look at life or people in all their diversities.  These diversities are gifts from God and add to the richness and beauty of creation.  Thinking outside the box requires openness to new ways of seeing the world and a willingness to explore.Thinking outside the box requires different attributes that include: a willingness and openness to think differently and explore the options, striving to create value in new ways, listening to others, and more importantly supporting and respecting others in their differences.

The issue of same-sex marriage will never be solved by the various religious factions.  The respect for one another does not seem to be there.  I personally do not think this is an area that can or should be decided upon by the church.  I believe that it is a legal issue since two people cannot marry unless they meet all the legal requirements; the main one being to obtain a marriage license.  The requirements for acquiring a marriage license are slightly different from state to state.

The benefits of a legal marriage do not apply to those who chose not to marry or those who cannot legally marry due to an antiquated law that defines marriage as only being between a man and a woman.  According to Merriam and Webster’s on line dictionary, a marriage is defined as follows: “(1) the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2) the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage.”

Is it fair that those of us who have been in a same-sex relationship for a number of years be denied the benefits our heterosexual legally married peers receive? 

If we are to love our God with all our heart, soul and mind and love our neighbors as ourselves, how can we do this if we are a part of the hatred and discrimination and violence that is perpetrated against one another just because of our differences?  Praise God for thinking outside the box! 

Rev. Kati L. Houts

El Paso, Texas

January 10, 2010
And Love Took Over

January 8, 2010
Op-Ed From Actress Jillian Armenante

Read about Love Takes Over

Dear Editor,

My name is Jillian Armenante and I am an actress in Hollywood, California. You may remember me in such films as Girl, Interrupted, North Country and A Mighty Heart or as Donna on the hit television show Judging Amy.  I grew up the last of five children in an Italian/Irish Catholic family. My dad had a textile mill in Paterson, New Jersey and was a veteran of WWII and my mom stayed at home with the kids .

As a child growing up in Northern New Jersey, it was difficult for me to come to terms with being gay. The derogatory names being flung around my high school were enough to terrify me into not being open and truthful about my sexuality. I spiraled into dangerous and self-destructive behavior, not knowing if I would be accepted by my friends or family. After a tumultuous youth, I ran away to Seattle and found a community that seemed much more understanding about my sexuality. 

When I did finally ”come out” to my family, they had a lot of questions, but were very supportive. I was lucky. Others in my position have been much less fortunate. I have known gay people who were excommunicated from their family, forced into electric shock therapy, attempted suicide…the list goes on. 

While working in the theatre in Seattle I met the love of my life, Alice. That was fifteen years ago. It is difficult to describe that moment when you first see the person you will love perpetually. It is not about gender, it is simply about love. 

We have two beautiful girls, ages five (I gave birth to) and one (Alice gave birth to). We raise our family with compassion and values. We have a loving, happy life together. We own a house and pay our taxes, albeit more than we would pay were we a heterosexual married couple. We are one of the few couples who were legally wed in the State of California before Proposition 8, banning such marriages, was passed. In California, I am a married mother of two children. To the federal government I am a single woman with one child. My rights as a parent are protected in my state, if I don’t ever leave my state. This is not freedom.  

A few years ago, I was told by the U.S. Passport Agency that I was not allowed to leave the U.S. with the daughter I gave birth to, without supplying a marriage license. This is not freedom. 

Having grown up Catholic, I understand that marriage is considered a sacrament.      But, marriage is also a legal union in this country. This country was founded on the principles of religious freedom. Separation of church and state is a political and legal doctrine that government and religious institutions are to be kept separate and independent from each other. The Church of Later Day Saints funded the campaign for Proposition 8 in California to the tune of 72 million dollars. They still have their tax-exempt status. I am still paying my taxes. This is not equal protection under the law. Some protections granted to married straight couples but denied to same-sex couples include - hospital visitation, Social Security benefits, immigration rights, health insurance, estate taxes, family leave, nursing homes, home protection and pensions. But, I digress.

I took a vow in front of God, my family and community, to love Alice- in sickness and in health, till death do us part. I wish my Uncle Sam would have been there to hear our vows. 

I am writing this as part of a nationwide effort called Love Takes Over. All over the country, people straight and gay are writing letters to their local papers, in this grass roots movement, to support gay marriage. I am asking you, on behalf of civil rights, to let same-sex couples everywhere, have the right to marry. 

We want the same things you want- safety and happiness for our children, dignity and respect for our family. The spiritual and civic well-being of our country will only be improved by the addition of a community of married same-sex couples. We are already here beside you, worrying over the same things, struggling toward the same goals. We are your neighbors, we are your sisters and brothers, we are your children. We ask only that we no longer be considered second class citizens. We want to marry for the same reasons you do. Please look into you hearts and let love take over.

- Jillian Armenante

(Los Angeles, California, former Seattle, WA and Paterson, NJ resident)

Note: Stay tuned. We’ll be posting up even more Op-Eds from the project over the next few days. Check out our blog (http://lovetakesover.tumblr.com) to read more Op-Eds.

January 7, 2010
Aloha!

Read about Love Takes Over: Takeover of America’s local newspapers

Read more Op-Eds

Standing up for love in Hawaii.

This past Holiday Season we heard messages of “Love” and “Good will towards all”, but will those messages get lost?

As we head into 2010 the first major test will be the opening day of the Legislature. Will the legislators remember those messages or will they all be lost in political maneuvering?

Here is to 2010 being better than 2009 and that those in power finally believe in social justice and those that already believe in social justice get some real power! Remember all you need is LOVE to support equality and justice for all.

- Michael Golojuch Jr.

Stay tuned. We’ll be posting up a few more Op-Eds over the next few days. Remember to send a copy of yours to ltonewspapers@gmail.com

January 5, 2010
Op-Eds

Read about Love Takes Over: Takeover of America’s local newspapers.

Here are a few of the Op-Eds we’ve already received. No particular order. They come in from Wisconsin, South Carolina, New Jersey, Texas, and California.

More will be posted up in the coming days.

Haven’t written yours yet? Remember: Love Takes Over is going on until January 9th.

Note: Opinions expressed in each article are those of each individual author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Love Takes Over campaign organizers. 


Baraboo, Wisconsin 

Dear Editor

I’m writing to you this week as part of a nationwide movement called Love Takes Over. The purpose is to spread personal stories in the quest for equal rights for gays and lesbians. This is a story about a friend of mine. 

I lived in Baraboo during my high school and early college years, well over thirty years ago. It seems like yesterday. During my years there, I became good friends with a fellow student. At that time, it was unusual to think of boys and girls just being friends. 

My friend became more troubled and dropped out of high school. We drifted apart and when we reconnected, I discovered that he had moved to San Francisco. 

Our friendship picked up exactly where it left off. That was when I learned how difficult those teenage years had been for him living in a small town in the early 70s. As a young gay teen, he lived in fear of discrimination, was very lonely and even contemplated suicide. Only moving to a more accepting community saved him. 

I’m writing to you today to speak to every resident in Baraboo. Today we hear about equal rights for gays and lesbians in the news. We’ve seen Iowa legalize same-sex marriage, and we’ve seen Wisconsin create domestic partnerships.

I want you to know that gay people are just like the rest of us and just as diverse as the rest of us. Over the years, I’ve been blessed with many friends who just happen to be gay. I know so many couples that have been together for years. They want only one thing. Equal rights under the law. There are 1138 Federal rights afforded to married couples. Currently, none of these are available to gays and lesbians since the Federal government does not recognize same sex marriages, even in states where it is legal. 

Parents, teach your children not to bully kids who are different. Gay kids experience teasing almost every day. Love your children if they are gay. People are born with their sexual orientation or their gender identity. I’m a biologist and a lot of evidence supports this. This information is readily available on reliable websites. Both the American Psychological Association and the American Medical Association support ending discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people. Discrimination is damaging to one’s mental health and quality of life. It is only our ignorance that allows discrimination to continue to exist. 

Please open your hearts and minds. We are all human. Please support laws that end discrimination. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 

Sincerely
Jude Noble Stevens
Class of 1972 

South Carolina 

We watched as marriage equality was defeated in California and some of us wept while others cheered. We listened as marriage equality was voted down in Maine and some of us wept while others cheered. We got the news that marriage equality was the law of the land in Iowa and some of us cheered while others wept.Such a visceral reaction on both sides.But why?It’s only love. It’s only two people wanting to make a commitment to be together and live together, and be accepted as equal by our state, our country, our friends and family. So, what exactly is wrong with same-sex marriage? I’ve heard all the arguments:

  • God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. But if you understand that being gay is not a choice—and it isn’t, because who would choose to live a life where they can be fired, evicted, beaten or murdered just for being themselves—well, then God did make Adam and Steve. For all the differences in each religious belief, it can all be boiled down to one point: God is love. God isn’t hate and discrimination. god is love.
  • Marriage has traditionally been one man-one woman for over five thousand years and it’s never changed. Not true. Used to be marriages were performed to unite two families into one more powerful family. Used to be that the woman became the property of the man after marriage and she had no voice in familial maters. Used to be that divorce was not an option. Used to be marriage was to create a family, and keep the family line going. Used to be that it was wrong to marry outside your faith, or your socio-economic class. Now, marriage is based on love; the couple are equal in the marriage; you have the choice to marry the person you love; you have the choice to have a family or not.  
  • Marriage is a religious institution. Well, no it isn’t. While marriages are often performed in churches, a marriage isn’t legal until the state says it’s legal, which makes marriage a civil institution and a civil right, guaranteed to all under the Constitution of this country.
  • Same-sex marriage will destroy the sanctity of marriage. This is simply not true. You just have to look at Massachusetts to see that. Marriage equality has been on the books for several years now, and so-called rational marriage hasn’t been destroyed. Marriages are destroyed by the people in the marriage who choose to opt out of the commitment they entered. Mark Sanford. John Ensign. Britney Spears. John Edwards. Jennifer Lopez. Newt Gingrich. All straight. All have destroyed, or made a mockery of, marriage.

The LGBT community doesn’t want to step on your marriage because we can’t. We don’t want to destroy your marriage because we can’t. We simply want the same rights and privileges other people enjoy. Years ago, my partner was hospitalized. Luckily, we lived in Miami at the time, so i was allowed to spend the night in the room before and after his surgery; I was allowed to be in the room when the doctor consulted him; I was treated as his family.That’s all we want; to be treated as a family; to be accepted as a family.It’s only love.  Robert Slatten

 

New Jersey

As we begin both a new year and a new decade, it’s not uncommon to reflect upon one’s past — and the people and communities that have shaped our collective experiences. I was raised on Godwin Avenue in Wyckoff, NJ. Our cousins lived in Midland Park. Our house of worship was first in Waldwick, and then relocated to Mahwah. 
I attended Lincoln School and then Eisenhower, where I was one of only three honored graduates. Continuing on to Ramapo in Franklin Lakes, I finished high school in the Top Ten of my class of 400+ students, where I was quite active extracurricularly, particularly as president of the theatre club, Gold Masque.
I held down a part-time job in Ridgewood, and volunteered in a local nursing home with my brother. My college years were spent at Rutgers University, where I graduated valedictorian in the School of Journalism and Communication in 1987. I now enjoy an eclectic career in the arts as a writer and performer in New York City.
Despite my dossier, I’m discriminated against by the state and federal governments because, in addition to my myriad of achievements, I’m gay, and unable to marry. This week, there is a national campaign underway to bring local stories of LGBTQ people to the attention of their communities (http://lovetakesover.tumblr.com). This is my effort to do so with dignity — to demonstrate to northwest Bergen County that your neighbors and/or their children may be homosexual and deserve your support for equality under the law.
Despite my first class accomplishments, I’m a second-class citizen who’s denied the civil right of civil marriage. Please elect local and state politicians who recognize that LGBTQ Americans — like their counterparts in Canada, Norway, Sweden, Holland, Belgium, Spain and South Africa — deserve to marry. 
Happy New Year,
Sidney B. GrantFormer ResidentWyckoff, N.J.

Many argue for gay rights and marriage equality using the abstract concepts of justice and equality. There is, however, a very real argument: each of us will face the judgment of history.

Marriage equality is inevitable. In our history is a clear pattern of granting equal rights to others. African Americans, women, etc, have all been granted legal equalities. The same oppositions used today, scripture, tradition, and fear of the change, have been used to deny equality in the past. But Americans are the theologians who reinterpret scripture according to justice, the pioneers who bravely explore new worlds, and the rebels who throw off tradition in the name of equality and inalienable rights. Though equality can be delayed, it is inevitable, and will lead to the judgment to come. Today King, Sojourner Truth, and the Freedom Riders are honored by us. Those they opposed, the segregationists, the KKK, etc., are now shameful reminders of what we should not become. The opposition today appeals to the past because they need to blind you to this future. But when equality prevails, you will be judged. Will you proudly talk of how you fought for equality, or shamefully try to justify its abandonment?


Zachary Maichuk


Marriage equality is a human rights issue. Gays and lesbians were tortured and executed throughout history. Being gay was punishable by death in France, England and Germany until the 18th and 19th Century. Hitler executed gay and lesbian members of the Nazi Party. 100,000 gay German citizens were arrested; 15,000 were sent to concentration camps and had a 60% death rate. Hundreds of gays were court ordered to be castrated and many were used for target practice. Even after the war, gays were re-arrested. Tragic murders of gays continue in the present day U.S., and Uganda recently proposed legislation to execute gays.

Human rights are at stake. How will hateful groups allow gays and lesbians to even exist if our government can’t set an example that being LBGT is a natural state of existence found in thousands of animal species? It’s our legislators’ duty to help end the violence by extending real civil liberties by granting devoted same-sex couples a legal marriage. Polls show New Jerseyans overwhelmingly support marriage equality. The New Jersey State Legislature must protect human rights and civil rights. Their constituents support them on this issue - you have our vote! Now pass it!

- Jen Ba

Texas

Looking back, 2009 was an unforgettable year for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender citizens of El Paso. An incident at a landmark El Paso restaurant left some wondering about the legality of being intimate with your partner in public. Then City Council passed a resolution awarding the domestic partners of both LGBT and heterosexual city employees the same benefits as those offered to married employees. Both events threw our humble city into the national spotlight.

And just as those who believe in equality set in motion the equal treatment of LGBT by their city, the opposition with their perverse minds set on men frolicking in a bathhouse after recruiting an impressionable youth, sprung into action. Their revolting invective included tactics straight out of the AFA’s They’re Coming to Your Town DVD that highlights how homosexuals are taking over Christian American towns the way mold takes over bread. They simply instilled fear, guilt and shame to the City Council and those who support equality. But thankfully, it didn’t work.

The opposition is so fixated on the idea that LGBT are godless, anti-church and Christophobic people they simply cannot accept that one can be gay and spiritual. But ask anyone who knows of one gay or lesbian and they’ll tell you that nothing can be further from the truth. After all, are we not all made in the image of God? Or does that only apply to those who dress in fancy suits, have 3.2 children and have two cars in each garage? Now the argument has spilled over to marriage. It’s not enough that the opposition wants LGBT people to stay in the closet forever, but reverse marriage laws that have already taken place. In California, for example, those who were married before Prop 8 are still considered married and those who did not, aren’t. A very obvious class of people exists here. Those whose marriages are equal to heterosexuals and those who did not make the deadline who won’t be treated equally by the state.

So what’s the problem with two men or two women getting married? “If society same sex marriage, then why not marry an animal or your car,” they argue. Well first you’d have to get your car or dog’s consent. Besides, there are things in our culture like guns that are perfectly legal yet kill thousands every year. Conservatives, however, see little wrong with that.

- David Torres


California

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” reads the Declaration of Independence. And our Constitution’s 14th Amendment requires states to provide equal protection under the law to all people. But these two documents don’t seem to  apply to gay people. They can’t proudly serve their country in our armed forces, they are discriminated against at their jobs, they are bullied and harassed at school, they can’t even walk down the street without fear of violence. And they can’t enjoy the social, emotional and financial benefits of marriage. Why not? Some say it’s because marriage is a sacred institution that needs to be protected. Interestingly, dozens of couples get married every day by a county clerk at SF City Hall and the ONLY requirement is that they both be single and over 18. The cost is $93. In Las Vegas this year approximately 150,000 couples will get married. Some in drive-thru chapels, some by Elvis impersonators. Some will have just met, some will be hung over, and some still drunk. All that any of them need to marry is a valid ID and $55. But no gay couples will be allowed to marry at City Hall or Las Vegas, because it’s illegal and clearly signals the end of civilization as we know it. And while all these straight folks are getting married, the divorce rate in California stands at about 40%. That would seem to be the real threat to marriage, the true hardship for our kids. Yet divorce is still legal (even though it’s a sin) and you can get a cheap one right now in Las Vegas with no waiting. Unless you’re gay. Heck, you probably know someone who is gay. They are your friends, your neighbors, your family members, your coworkers. It’s time to treat them the way you want to be treated, and equally in the eyes of the law. Let’s repeal Prop 8 in 2010 and allow all loving couples to marry. And divorced too. In Vegas, by Elvis. Let Freedom Ring,Billy BradfordCastro Valley, CA 


I am a straight man very concerned about the civil rights of
same-gender persons to marry. I feel especially strong about this
because of the experience I had with my wife, Fabiola, who almost
twenty years ago died after a twelve-year battle with Alzheimer’s
Disease.

I would have been totally devastated by that experience, but, because
we were married in the eyes of the law we received enormous support
from my employer, coworkers, doctors, nurses, hospital aides,
hospitals, nursing homes, family, insurance companies, and other
organizations.

If we had not been married, we would not have received that support
and my wife would not have gotten the wonderful care she received, and
I would have gone broke and lost both our home and my mind.

Of course, nobody ever said that I could not marry Fabiola because
that was accepted and legal.  However,  the same right we had should
also be there for those in same-sex relationships who want to be
married, because they are human beings—and taxpayers—too, and their
relationships are no less profound than ours.

Legalizing same-sex marriage could in no way change for me the value
of the love I have shared with my wife and children, and I cannot see
how anyone else could be hurt by it. On the other hand, because I know
how damaging the denial of this right has been, the deliberate denial
of it offends my sense of moral dignity.

Al Naso
Bakersfield, CA



My younger sister is a second class citizen.  For this she is called names, has been physicallyattacked, and she has fewer rights than the rest of us.  One night when she was 20, she and I sat and talked and cried about how unfair it is for her to be expected to fundamentally change or completely hide who she is if she wants to be treated as a full citizen in her own country.  But, the fact is, there is nothing wrong with her.  She is as perfect as God made her. She is a Lesbian living in a society that says it is okay to call her names and physically attack her.  Our laws say she is less worthy of respect than other citizens…that seems to make people think it is okay to harm her.  Let’s start with a simple change that will create no new bureaucracies and will generate income for our Local, State and Federal Governments.  Give her marriage equality.  That one little change will give her 1,138 federal benefits and responsibilities from which she is currently barred.  That one little change will go a long way toward helping people to understand that even though my sister is different, she is equally protected under the law and therefore worthy of the respect they would show any other citizen. 

 

Helen Acosta

Bakersfield, CA 


Dear editor, The week of Jan. 3-9 is National Love Takes Over Week. The week was founded to encourage people across the country to write to their local paper to remind  that there are still those among us who do not have equal civil rights.I debated about doing this, hoping someone else would step up and do it. It is difficult living here in this paradise to complain about much. My marriage is safe as my partner and I are one of the 18,000 same-sex couples whose nuptials were kept intact in the wake of Proposition 8. I live in a great community and my kids go to a wonderful school where our marriage is recognized and our family accepted just like any other.But I decided to write because it is not just about me and what I have been blessed with. There are many other families and couples out there who continue to be affected by the stripping away of their civil rights with the passage of Proposition 8 and similar ballot measures in other states.

It is my hope that you will continue to keep them in your conscience and your thoughts as we move on with budget crisis and health care debate. There are families that cannot be together due to immigration laws that do not recognize same-sex couples. There are families that have had to leave California and other states where their marriage is legal to care for aging family members or because of a job and, of course, there are couples who simply didn’t “commit in time” and marry before our rights were stripped away at the ballot box.
So, I write. I write to ask you to continue to consider equality for same-sex couples in 2010 and beg that you will separate your personal or religious beliefs from civil equality. I ask you to realize that we can all live in harmony and equality, worshipping from our own viewpoints and allowing our neighbors to do the same while enjoying equal civil rights in housing, employment, military service and, yes, marriage.

From our family to yours, Happy New Year! Here’s to hope for peace and equality in 2010 — for Californians and all Americans.
Renee Fannin/Yountville

January 3, 2010
Today

We begin.

Get those Opinion Pieces in.

January 2, 2010
Tomorrow

We’re almost there. Tomorrow is the official launch of Love Takes Over. 

Thank you to everyone who has helped spread the word. Your support and dedication makes this event possible. Thank you!

Remember that Love Takes Over is going on all week. So, you have until the 9th to get that Opinion Piece published.

Just a few quick things:

1. Tweet about the project

If you’re on twitter, please consider tweeting about your participation: Info: http://tinyurl.com/yaybozr

Also, please keep getting the word out via facebook and word of mouth. 

2. What to write.

We offer a few suggestions on what to write about on our facebook event page - but in the end, this is your Opinion Piece. Write from your heart. Your heart is beautiful and eloquent on its own. Go ahead and give it a voice.

3. Time frame

If you haven’t sent yours in already - try sending your Opinion Piece in a day or two before you want it published. The earlier it gets sent in, the better. Also, you may want to try calling someone from your local newspaper ahead of time to inform them about the nationwide project or include a short note about it in your email.

4. Remember to send us a copy

We want to publish select articles on our blog so people can read them.

Email: ltonewspapers@gmail.com

Let’s do this.

- Jen


December 26, 2009
Almost There

Read about the nationwide takeover of America’s local newspapers.

Eight days away.

Start writing those Opinions Pieces.

Read the Seattle Gay News article on Love Takes Over.

December 18, 2009
Support the You-Are-Loved Chalk Message Project

Read about Love Takes Over

We’re closing in on the first week of January. Love Takes Over is set for January 3rd - January 9th. Thank you to everyone who has helped spread the word.

Things to do:

Start writing your Opinion Piece.
Find the contact information for your local newspaper.
Keep spreading the word to friends and loved ones to participate.
Take a moment out to remember that you’re wonderful.

While you’re reading - there’s another LGBTQ-focused initiative that we work on: The You-Are-Loved Chalk Message Project. The You-Are-Loved Chalk Message Project is an annual, nationwide suicide-prevention awareness campaign for LGBTQ youth.

A suicide is attempted in the United States every minute of the day. Today, over 1,500 Americans will attempt suicide.

Studies estimate that LGBTQ youth are four to nine times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. 

Please take a stand for love and suicide-prevention awareness:

You-Are-Loved Chalk Message Project: http://tinyurl.com/ybpvf4t

- Jen Dugan

December 1, 2009
Miller & Washington

Progress for Love Takes Over is phenomenal. We have people from all across the nation taking part.

Keep the energy going! Tell your friends and loved ones about the event. 

Jen has been invited as a guest speaker on “Miller and Washington.” She will be talking with co-hosts Chris Miller and Derek Washington about Love Takes Over.

We would like to extend our gratitude to both Mr. Miller and Mr. Washington.

To tune in and listen: Follow the link included in this write-up:

Love Takes Over is scheduled to go on air at 8:58 p.m. PST.

Click here for details