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Posted On: 2012-09-06 16:46:53

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Writing as a Spiritual Practice

Posted On: 2012-08-09 05:11:28

 

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August 8, 2012

Dear Davina,

 

What are you doing Monday morning at 7:00 AM?
 
I'm facilitating a Writing as a Spiritual Practice: 10 Days of Awakening Teleclass that's going to be like the love child of Julia Cameron, Rhonda Byrne, Ernest Holmes, and Louise Hay. I hope you will join me for 10 days of sacred awakening starting August 13 and ending August 22nd.
 
We know that the word is creative. We know that the words we use determine our reality. With this knowledge, we will intentionally use our words and writing as a spiritual vehicle to align with Divine Flow. By engaging in the daily practice of spiritual writing you will be a vibrational match to love, joy, and prosperity!

 

So if your morning monologue is more like grumplestilskin or Oscar the grouch, or you find your inner chatter full of self-flagellation, join me for ten days of sacred self-care. Even if you already awaken to bluebirds brewing your tea and plucking wild flowers to place in vases throughout your home, you can still take your vibration to an even higher level.

 

Class starts Monday, August 13 and ends August 22.
We will meet daily from 7:00 AM to 7:30 AM PST. All classes will be recorded.

 

Early Bird Special - $49

 

https://www.paypal.com/cgibin/webscr?first_name=Davina&last_name=K&undefined_quantity=1&business=drkotulski@aol.com&image_url=&return=&cancel_return=&item_name=Writing As A Spiritual Practice &amount=49&shipping=0&currency_code=USD&item_number=&cmd=_xclick

 

After August 13th - $97

https://www.paypal.com/cgibin/webscr?first_name=Davina&last_name=K&undefined_quantity=1&business=drkotulski@aol.com&image_url=&return=&cancel_return=&item_name=Writing as a Spiritual Practice&amount=97&shipping=0&currency_code=USD&item_number=&cmd=_xclick
 

Davina Author Photo

Give your mind a loving spa treatment replete with gentle mental massage and join me for Writing As A Spiritual Practice, August 13-22nd!

Write On!

Davina

 

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Dr. Davina Kotulski | 4096 Piedmont Ave #812 | Oakland | CA | 94611

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LGBT PRIDE AT THE PENTAGON!

Posted On: 2012-06-25 22:53:38

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LGBT PRIDE AT THE PENTAGON!


June 25, 2012

Greetings!

 

Last week I spoke at the first ever institutionally organized and federally-funded, backed, and supported LGBT Pride event at the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, California, a part of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

This was huge!

 

I spoke about the history of LGBT federal employees and the importance of coming out in the workplace. The national affirmative action theme for LGBT Diversity Awareness was "The Power of Out at Work!"

 

I worked for the federal government for 13 years for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, as I said before, this was huge!!!

This month alone, the federal government has made great strides in recognizing and respecting LGBT rights and diversity.

 

When I arrived at the prison, I was greeted by a straight man who lead the overall affirmative action program at that facility and also by the co-leader of the LGBT group. After clearing security, I was taken to a room that was decorated with rainbow colored ballons, signs with LGBT pride symbols, and explanations of the symbols origins.

 

I was told that the inmates were allowed to participate in this project and painted the rainbow flags, pink triangles, etc. and made the signs explaining the history. I knew this was an important step forward to because it meant that the LGBT inmates had a chance to feel proud and included, truly radical in a prison environment, since most prison environments are known for their homophobia.

 

The notion of "The Power of Out At Work" is a complicated one for LGBT federal employees because during the years 1953-1985, "homosexuality" was considered incompatible with government employment and LGBT employees were fired from their positions and "open homosexuals" were denied employment.

Here's a bit of what I shared that day:

We have made such great strides in our country and continue to do so, but let me contextualize for you what once was the plight of the LGBT federal employee.

In 1951, the U.S. Senate Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Department issued a report on "The Employment of Homosexuals and Other Sex Perverts in Government." In this report, 91 people were identified as gay and fired.

In 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed Executive Order 10450, which required that all federal employees determined to be guilty of "sexual perversion" be fired. FYI Sexual perversion meant an LGBT federal employee. Hundreds of people were fired, quit, or committed suicide.

During the McCarthy Era and the Red Scare, the hunt for Communists in the United States, there was also the Lavender Scare, which was the hunt for LGBT federal employees. It lasted from 1953 to 1995. Before it was over, more than 10,000 Federal employees lost their jobs!

Check out this new documentary entitled Lavender Scare. Click here to watch a youtube clip!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Even when LGBT people did heroic deeds in service to our country, they were denied recognition.

A Gay Marine Saved a President from an Assassin

On September 22, 1975 when Sara Jane Moore, who was once an inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin where I spoke, took aim president Ford in San Francisco, she was quickly disarmed by a man named Billy Sipple. (See Geri Spieler's book Taking Aim At the President).

Sipple was a decorated Marine and Vietnam Veteran. He was also a gay man. Sipple was not out at work and not out to his family and he asked the press to keep his sexual orientation off record. However, obviously President Ford had access to that information and this was likely the reason that Sipple was not given the recognition that he deserved.

According to Harold Evans, author of The Imperial Presidency: 1972-1980, Harvey Milk publically took issue with this and a few weeks later, Sipple received a brief note of thanks.

Before 1995, an openly gay person could be denied federal employment.

I was hired by the federal Bureau of Prisons in June 1996. I stated to the Office of Personnel Managment (OPM) investigators that I was openly gay.

It was documented in my background check and verified when they interviewed my landlord and my former boss. It's amazing that only one year before I could have been denied federal employment simply because I am not straight.

Today, an openly gay man now heads OPM!

Thankfully our country is finally coming to respect diversity.

In addition to the invitation to speak about LGBT rights at the federal agency I worked at for 13 years, the week prior LGBT servicemembers were acknowledged for their contributions by Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta who thanked gay and lesbian service members and LGBT civilians for their dedicated service to the nation. Panetta said "You can be proud of serving your country and proud of who you are in your uniform."

On Friday, June 15th, President Obama spoke at a reception marking LGBT pride month where he invited LGBT people, including LGB servicemembers and their spouses and partners, to the White House! A historic event after last year's repeal of DADT.

President Obama subtley reminded us to vote for him this November when he said "we still have a lot to do, but we will get there! As long as I am in the White House, you have an advocatefor an America where no matter what you look like, where you come from, or who you love, you can dream Big Dreams."

Why being out at work is important!

Employees that are out and trust their employers are happier, stay with the company longer. LGBT people are highly motivated, well-educated, and dedicated employees.

I, of course, had facts and figures to back this up, quoting from a Center for Work Life Policy study that reported that:

* LGBT employees are "a highly desirable labor pool. Ambitious (71%) and committed (88% are willing to go the extra mile for employers). Forty-eight percent of LGBT respondents have graduate degrees versus 40% of their straight counterparts).

 

* LGBT employees who are not out reported significantly greater feelings of being stalled in their careers and greater dissatisfaction with their rates of promotion and advancement.

 

* LGBT employees who are not out are 40 percent less likely to trust their employer than those who are out.

 

* Employees who remain closeted and isolated are 73 percent more likely to leave their companies within the next three years.

 

I passed out a flyer of the Pride event at the Pentagon to show them just how serious the U.S. Government was now taking LGBT diversity. I swear my own mouth was open when I passed it around. I'm still utterly in awe of the fact that we are finally here!!!

 

I reminded them to think twice before telling gay jokes and I ended the talk with a quote from U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton in her recorded message honoring LGBT pride month:

"We will not rest until full and equal rights are a reality for everyone. History proves that the march toward equality and justice will overcome barriers of intolerance and discrimination. But it requires a concerted effort from all of us. No matter how long the road ahead, I'm confident that we will travel it successfully together. Wherever you are celebrating this month, I wish you a happy Pride."

I too wish all of the employees at the Pentagon a Happy Pride tomorrow!! And may we all feel proud for our accomplishments as a country and continue to celebrate and live our lives out loud!!

We've come a long way baby!!!!

Davina Author Photo

Happy PRIDE!

Davina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?

Posted On: 2012-05-24 18:13:53

 

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Believe!


May 24, 2012


Davina Author Photo

 

What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?

Quick, write down what came into your mind?

Maybe there is more than one thing.

Maybe there's a whole string of things you would do if you knew you couldn't fail.

What if it didn't matter if you failed or not? We have so much pressure on ourselves that we shouldn't even bother trying something unless we are going to be perfect at it. After all, who wants to look stupid? Yet, it is always in the journey that we grow, the destination is only a part of the equation.

I like watching GLEE. Yes, I get that those kids are trained actors and singers. They are also role models, real life role models of young people who pursued their dreams of dancing, singing and acting and are DOING IT!

REAL LIFE KIDS who FOLLOWED THEIR HEARTS into the arts and they play kids who are doing the same-following their BIG DREAMS!

Imagine what your life would look like if you were following your BIG DREAM! Maybe you are already following your BIG DREAM, living your BIG DREAM.

I started following my big dreams and they got even BIGGER!

 

So what if you claimed an even BIGGER DREAM for your life and stood it in and were willing to take those small steps and the BIG LEAPS towards your destiny?

What if 5 years from now you looked back from the mountain top of those BIG DREAMS with a feeling of satisfaction and new desires moving through your heart and soul? How would that feel?

 

My big dream 12 years ago was to write a book. Since then I've published two non-fiction books, a short story, a memoir, a poem, and published several articles in LGBT and psychology magazines and journals. I'm proud of myself. Writing and publishing a book seemed so far away once.

Now, I'm ready to be a New York Times Best Selling Author of both fiction and non-fiction books. I've written two awesome novels that I'm ready to share with the world and I want to write and publish non-fiction books that support my readers in loving themselves even more, believing in themselves even more, and having the tools to get through tough times and courageously live the authentic lives they came here to live. So, I am claiming and standing in my BIG DREAM!

My work as a psychologist in a women's prison for 13 years, my leadership within the marriage equality movement and my coaching people to design the lives they've dreamed of has all boiled down to one clear message: we must claim our power, be our true selves, and love ourselves unconditionally.

I want to support you in stepping into living your BIGGER dream, taking that leap of faith, and living your authentic life.

I have two FREE events coming up that I've designed to help you do just that. I want you to join me for one or both of these tele-seminars if they speak to you.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"How to Come Out of the Closet and Into Your Power!"

FREE Tele-Seminar

May 28, 2012

7:00-8:00 PM PST

 

Click here to register!

 

This is for LGBTIQ people and straight allies who find themselves still hiding and holding back. Stop being apologetic for you are and start flaunting your truth! Start being the real you in all conversations and in all ways!!!

You are here to live out loud and love out loud. You will never be able to lead with your heart and live from your heart if you can't live your truth out loud and if you can't boldly trust who you are or who you love. Goodbye internalized homophobia, hello radical self-acceptance!!!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"3 Secrets to Finding Your Voice and Sharing Your Message!"

FREE Tele-Seminar

May 30, 2012

4:00-5:00 PM PST

Click here to register now!

You have a message to share! You have a gift to give!

Find your voice and find out what you are wanting to give voice to and why your voice matters!

Come join in this prelude to also finding out if you have a book in you. I bet you do!

 

Remember as R. Kelly sang, "If I can see it, then I can do it. If I just believe it, there's nothing to it. I believe I can fly!"

It's time to BELIEVE!

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If you are unable to attend, sign up anyway, and you'll receive a FREE recording of the tele-seminars.

You can check out the tele-classes and workshops I'm offering this summer.

Click Here for The 3 Month Come Out Courage Coaching Program!

Click Here for The Manifest Your Manuscript Summer Program!

Come feed your soul with the Seduce Your Muse Writing Workshop and Retreat in Venice Italy September 1-8th.

Click Here to Register Now!

Live, love, dream big and BELIEVE!

Davina

"How to Come Out of the Closet and Into Your Power!" Audio Program

You'll Learn:

  • The Most Important Secret to Coming Out!
  • How to Talk to People with CONFIDENCE About Who You Are So They'll Want to Accept You!
  • How to Feel Great About Yourself for Who You Are Regardless of Other People's Responses

Click here to order now!

Order a copy now for only $97 (Regularly $297).

 

Come Out!

 

 

"Davina is inspiring, amazing, motivating. I appreciate this opportunity that Davina has given for me to become a better person, a more fearless person. Thank you!" -Steven M, Bakersfield, CA

Seduce Your Muse!

Writing Retreat and Workshop in Italy.

September 1-8th

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Treat yourself to creativity and fun!

Venice Grand Canal
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and I'm a tough audience!" -Jacqueline B. Canada

 
   
 
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Dr. Davina Kotulski | 4096 Piedmont Ave #812 | Oakland | CA | 94611

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“Three Steps to Come Out of the Closet and Into Your Power!”

Posted On: 2012-04-07 19:10:33

A Workshop for LGBTQ people and their friends and family members with Dr. Davina Kotulski

 “Three Steps to Come Out of the Closet and Into Your Power!”

You’ll Learn:

 ● The Most Important Secret to Coming Out!

 ● How to Talk to People with CONFIDENCE
About Who You Are So They’ll Want to Accept You!

 ● How to Feel Great About Yourself for Who You Are
 Regardless of Other People’s Responses

 FREE Admission for all pre-registered guests!

Pre-registration required due to limited seating.
To register go to http://​www.davinakotulski.com/​workshops
We’ll send you location information and a full scholarship to attend this workshop for FREE!
To register by phone call 510-594-4322.

Dr. Davina Kotulski,
Clinical Psychologist, Life Coach,
Marriage Equality leader, and Author of
Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage and
Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why it Will Prevail


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Did you hear about me and Oprah Winfrey fire walking?

Posted On: 2012-03-13 19:09:44

Greetings!

Davina Author Photo

Did you hear about me and Oprah?

 

Usually, I'm the one following in Oprah's footsteps. I've kept a gratitude journal, read Eckhart Tolle's- "A New Earth," etc.

 

Now, Oprah is finally following in my footsteps, by literally walking on hot coals.

 

I walked on fire my first time back in 1999 at Tony Robbins' "Unleash the Power Within" Seminar. Hey, it only took Oprah 13 years to catch up with me on this one.

 

I'm proud of her and I got to re-live my fire-walk experience on Oprah's "Next Chapter" TV show that she filmed with the man who introduced me to the power of coaching and transformed my life--Tony Robbins.

Oprah was just "going to watch" and do a story on Tony's UPW Seminar. She ended up surprising herself, and Tony, with her courage when she walked on hot coals last month outside the Los Angeles Convention Center.

 

Today, I can boast that I'm a four-time fire-walker, including walking a 40 foot fire-walk in Hawaii at Tony's "Life Mastery Workshop" in 2000.

 

There is nothing like fire-walking!!! Our brains are designed to fear fire and our bodies learn early on not to touch to it. That's why walking on fire is so powerful!

The fire-walk is a show of courage over circumstance, to not let fear stop you from moving forward in your life.

 

How often do you get stopped from taking action in your life because you are afraid?

We are afraid of failing, looking stupid, making a mistake. Our fear can keep us stuck, our fear can keep us from going after our dreams or from making positive changes in our life.

Not everyone needs to literally walk on hot coals to know that they can overcome their fears, but it sure feels awesome to do it! And if you don't believe me, ask Oprah!

 

For some people, finding the courage to speak their truth is their fire-walk. I have several amazing clients who realized that the reason they never felt like they "fit in" was because they had been born into a body that did not reflect the energetic essence of who they really were. Because society places rigid expectations on people based on whether or not they are male-bodied or female-bodied, for these brave souls, their fire-walk was declaring to themselves, loved ones, and co-workers what their true essence was and dressing and expressing themselves in a way that was true to their authentic selves.

For others, their proverbial fire-walk, might be coming out about some other personal truth. For example, I was recently at a writing workshop where a woman "came out" as "psychic" and talked about how this gift had frightened her at times and that she feared that she would be judged or rejected for sharing her truth.

 

For some, a fire-walk might be leaving a professional career to pursue an artistic endeavor, ending a relationship, following a spiritual calling or traveling internationally.

 

Every one of us has some growth edge, some place where we are hiding or holding back and afraid to step forward into our authentic selves or a greater expression of who we are.

 

 

What is your fire-walk and will you take that first step?

 

If you are feeling called to make a change in your life, please contact me. I am here to help you take that first step and support you in your personal transformation!

 

 

Much love,

Davina

 

How To Come Out of the Closet and Into Your Power!!!


Come Out!

After two years in the making, I finally finished creating
my newest program called "How to Come Out of the Closet and Into Your Power!"

 

Buy Now

 

This 6 CD set program and workbook is the first of its kind!!!

 

The program combines my more than fifteen years of experience as a clinical psychologist and leader in the LGBT community to empower LGBT people and their families to claim their truth and authentically express who they are in the world.

 


There are no other coming out programs l
ike this!

 

The program consists of eight hours of recorded material; including coming out coaching and exercises, guided imagery, and empowering interviews.

 

You'll learn the 5 Secrets to Coming Out with Confidence:

● How to Talk to People with CONFIDENCE About Who You Are So They'll Want to Accept You!

● What to Say When Someone Tells You "It's Just a Phase" or "You Can Change."

How to Feel Great About Yourself Regardless of Other People's Responses.

● How to BREAK THROUGH the Closet Door!

● The Most Important Secret to Coming Out!

 

PLUS four inspiring interviews:

 

"Saying Yes to Your Truth" with Rev. Deborah Johnson, Author of Sacred Yes and Your Deepest Intent

 

"How to Survive Being Outed!" with Dr. Isaac Namdar, Author of In This Day And Age: A Community at the Crossroads of Religion and Homosexuality

 

"How to Breakdown the Closet Door!" with former California Senator Roy Ashburn

 

"Don't Get Bitter, Make It Better!" with Pastor Marcos Apolonio, Kinship International

 

 

For more information, go to:

www.comeoutintoyourpower.com

 

 

Seduce Your Muse:

Writing Workshop and Retreat in Venice, Italy--

May 27-June 3, 2012.

 

 
REGISTRATION DEADLINE MARCH 25TH
 

 

 
Enjoy seven days of writing and creativity surrounded by beauty that inspires you and enjoy seven nights accomodation in a beautiful, Venetian Palazzo only minutes from the Rialto Bridge and San Marks Square!

 

 

There will be time for artist walks and artist dates with yourself, morning meditation and moonlight muse walks. You'll also have time to explore the museums, galleries, and sights of Venice, Italy.

 

Come write your book in a peaceful, mystical, magical setting that will call forth your muse.

Write and participate in fun, creative exercises that will call forth your muses, giudes, and angels to help you manifest your manuscript and share your message with the world.

 

 

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR SEDUCE YOUR MUSE!

 

Treat yourself to creativity and fun!

Venice Grand Canal
"This workshop went beyond my expectations

and I'm a tough audience!" -Jacqueline B. Canada

 

 

REGISTER NOW FOR SEDUCE YOUR MUSE!

 

 

REGISTRATION DEADLINE MARCH 25, 2012

 

 

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margomoon@gmail.com says:

Synchronicity! I've been thinking very much along these lines for the past few days, only the metaphor, instead of fire walking, has been Parkour. Same connections and go-for-bust associations, though. Nice post! You've probably won a new convert to fire walking.

Posted on: 2012-06-10

Seduce Your Muse February 1, 2012 Newsletter

Posted On: 2012-02-01 19:09:56

Take the Leap!


February 1, 2012

Greetings!

Davina Author Photo

 

2012 is a Leap Year! It is also the year of the Dragon which means it is a great year to be bold! 

 

And what could be more bold than joyfully going after your dreams and listening to your heart's desire?

 

Perhaps like me, you inherited the belief that to be successful meant working long hours and really pushing yourself towards success. Work first, play later, if at all. Following your heart, being playful and really enjoying your life was for losers or dreamers, or at the very least something you could look forward to after retirement--early retirement if you played your cards right! That model does not have to be true.

 

I had the good fortune, the last year of the Dragon (2000), to attend Tony Robbins Life Mastery. I say good fortune, because I used my retirement funds to pay the $10,000 to attend. It seemed utterly insane at the time to almost everyone in my life, including me, so it took a huge leap of faith to make that investment at 30 years old. It was one of the best investments of my life. The things I learned by taking that leap paid me back ten fold, both literally--cash in pocket--and figuratively by showing me what is possible when I stopped playing small in my life, said "yes" to my dreams, and took action towards my highest vision.

 

Some actions can be simple like reading positive affirmations out loud every day, while others are bigger like signing up to run a marathon or taking Spanish Immersion in another country.

 

Many people have told me that they would like to write a book. They have a positive message or a life-changing story that they want to share with the world, however, they don't know how to get started. They think writing a book has to be hard work. Again, that limiting belief shows up that the good stuff has to be hard.

  

I've found that I am more productive and creative when I am enjoying myself and letting the creativity flow through me. I've written four books that way. I remember hearing Tony Robbins talk about how he wrote his first book in 4 months. I was so inspired by this, that I set out to do the same. I actually wrote and published my first book "Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage" within 9 months of saying "yes" to the editor of Alyson Books. 

 

People would ask me, "How many years did it take you to write your books?" I almost felt apologetic when I told them it only took me 4.5 months to write my first book and 3 months to write my second book. The publication process took the most time. It was beyond their conception of what was possible. They truly believed that writing had to include suffering or grueling bouts of writer's block. Again, when I am enjoying myself, the creativity is unstoppable. It is like tapping in to a well that just continues to flow, all I have to do is make the time and space to receive it.

 

I wanted to share this truth with other writers and healers to support them in tapping into this joyful creative flow--and that's why I created the Seduce Your Muse Workshop in Italy.

 

I wanted other writers, coaches, and healers to have the opportunity to enjoy the process of writing and to see the grace and ease that flows forward from the creative well, when you are in alignment with your self and your soul. Your muse needs play, beauty, relaxation,  and inspiration and then your cup runneth over. It is the "hardwork" of toiling that saps your creative juices. This is true whether or not you are writing a book, starting a new business, or creating a new program or product. Playfulness + vision + intent + action=inspired successful creation.

 

Here's what  a few Seduce Your Muse participants said:

 

"Seduce Your Muse unleashed my creativity and refreshed my writing. Davina creates a safe space where you can explore the new realms that writing can take you into. She is a competent coach who encourages us to become whom we want to be and helps us to let go of what no longer serves us. I will recommend Seduce Your Muse to others and yes, I would love to do this again."-- Jacqueline B. Canada

 

"Top notch retreat. High value for price! I would recommend Seduce Your Muse to others. You relax more and can be even more of your true self. Intimate and safe. Vacation-feel away from it all in a really unique and distinctive location. Very inspiring, stimulating and helped me get unstuck and writing again."-- Yessica, Amsterdam

 

"I loved the variety of different types of writing and of the creativity and coaching exercises that brought out different dimensions of my self. It was very powerful! I loved the combination of being in a beautiful, magical, fascinating place - and awakening creativity and being creative is incredibly juicy and satisfying. Yummmm! Davina has a wonderful capacity to coach, to support and draw out essence and life force! I loved her playfulness and sense of drama - and our full moon walk night with masks."--Laurie, California

 

"I would definitely do this again! I will be recommending this to other "kindred spirits" who would be able to receive and learn from Davina's gifts. Davina is both inspirational and great fun. She clearly knows and loves this city. Seduce Your Muse was very well organized and Davina kept the pace moving in time. I loved Davina's coaching for inspiration! Seduce Your Muse jump starts your writing: Venice awakens your soul." --Sharon, Ottawa

 

I've included more information about Seduce Your Muse and an article from one of last year's participants called "Should You Seduce Your Muse?" to help you figure out of this adventure is for you.

 

It is the year of the Dragon, I know you have something to unleash. I invite you to take a leap and join me in Italy. Come Seduce Your Muse in a  one-of-a-kind experience that you will always treasure.  

 

Ciao, 

 

Davina 

Seduce Your Muse

Writing Retreat and Workshop in Italy.   

  

Join me May 27-June 3, 2012 in Venice Italy for the Seduce Your Muse Writing Workshop and Retreat.

   

Seven days to write surrounded by beauty that inspires you and seven nights accomodation in a beautiful, Venetian Palazzo only minutes from the Rialto and San Marks Square! You'll have abundant time to write in a gorgeous setting with 7 days of focused creative exercises that will seduce your muse and empower you to create the book you've always dreamt of writing!
  
There will be time for artist walks and artist dates with yourself. Morning meditation and yoga! Moonlight sojourns and calling forth your muses, guides, and angels to support you in sharing your message with the world.

 

Click here to register for Seduce Your Muse!

 

Treat yourself to creativity and fun!

 Venice Grand Canal
"This workshop went beyond my expectations

and I'm a tough audience!" -Jacqueline B. Canada

 

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL:
Pay before February 15th at the special rate of ONLY 2,497.

 

Limited to 14 people.

 

Register now for Seduce Your Muse!

 

$2,997 after February 15th.

 

Payment plans available.

venice in the springShould You Seduce Your Muse?
Article by Sharon Irven

 

 

 

"Travel is like love: it cracks you open, and so pushes you over all the walls and low horizons that habits and defensiveness set up." Pico Iyer

 

The stunning pictures of Venice on Davina's website seduced me, instantly. I had always thought of Venice as a tourist trap (it had not ranked high on my bucket list) but it did look gorgeous in those pictures. Besides, I had heard that Venice was sinking so it felt like I should experience it before it goes. And the price was right. The timing fit too - I had plenty of time to get my passport renewed.

I forwarded the url to three fellow scribes and there was a lot of interest. OMG, cue the rockets; we are going to Venice! We did not realize then how useful this sojourn would be to support our writing aspirations.
 

 

 Click here to read more

 

 
   

 

Buy Now
 

 

"LOVED IT ALL - LIFE CHANGING!!"
 -Sharon from
 Ottawa, Canada

 




Early Bird Registration 
Seduce Your Muse Writing Workshop and Retreat in Venice, Italy

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Should you Seduce your Muse in Venice? by Sharon Irven

Posted On: 2012-01-25 06:49:28

Should you Seduce your Muse in Venice?

by Sharon Irven


“Travel is like love: it cracks you open, and so pushes you over all the walls and low horizons that habits and defensiveness set up.” Pico Iyer


The answer to whether you should seduce your muse in Venice (or any other far away location) depends on why you would want to leave home and your cozy writing space in the first place. Are you feeling stuck in your work, forgotten why you launched such an ambitious writing project, in need of some new stimulation or just plain wanting to get away? For me, having the distinction of living in the second coldest capital city in the world, I felt that I had endured too many days of jaw dropping cold weather last January when I heard about Davina’s workshop.

 

Christmas was over and coincidentally, so was my marriage. I had spent the previous month talking to lawyers and other creatures from the dark side, so I desperately needed a change. Most of my friends had already escaped for warmer climes: Florida, Texas, even Goa, where can I go? It was too late to get reservations for a cheap trip to Cuba (half of Canada must already be there); a Caribbean escape felt way too decadent. Besides, I’m not much of a beach bunny, preferring to learn something new on holidays, and I don’t mean new places to shop. Now that I have more time on my hands, I wanted to get back to my writing.


I rounded up the usual suspects on-line, consulting trusted web sites and blogs for escape ideas. I knew about a writer’s retreat in Chile that is popular with Canadians (our winter is their summer, so handy) but the facilitator was a poet. Although I love poets and poetry, I don’t see myself writing it. In another blog, I found an intriguing reference to a ‘seduce your muse’ writers’ workshop. Following the links, the stunning pictures of Venice on Davina’s website seduced me, instantly. I had always thought of Venice as a tourist trap (it had not ranked high on my bucket list) but it did look gorgeous in those pictures. Besides, I had heard that Venice was sinking so it felt like I should experience it before it goes. And the price was right. The timing fit too – being in March allowed enough time to get my passport renewed.


I forwarded the url to three fellow scribes and there was a lot of interest; only Jacqueline could see her way clear to attend with me. OMG, cue the rockets; we are going to Venice! We did not realize then how useful this sojourn would be to support our writing aspirations.


Before we immersed ourselves into attracting our muses, we spent a day wandering about Venice acquainting ourselves with all its considerable charms.


We happily got lost amidst the narrow streets (some ending abruptly at canals with unprotected entrances: heads up!), we browsed in shops selling everything imaginable (shoes, gloves and handbags especially caught my eye) and noticed, on every street corner, a gelato shop. They are as popular as Tim Horton’s are back home in Ottawa.


The next day we checked into the comfortable apartment where our workshop was taking place. Did I mention spacious? It had a fully equipped kitchen, handy for making breakfasts (one of the participants created three lovely gourmet meals for us here), a living and dining room where most workshop sessions took place, two sparkling ceramic bathrooms and sleeping quarters for up to 5 people. A tiny balcony off the kitchen opened onto a canal: one day we watched a ‘near miss’ between two gondoliers heading in opposite directions around a tight corner. Thank goodness for skillful maneuvering! Compared to the cramped hotel rooms that one usually encounters in Europe, it felt like we were staying in the Taj Mahal. Jacqueline joked that one almost had time to eat lunch moving from the bedrooms to the living room.


As a way to launch the workshop, Davina guided us through the city on a full moon walk. Clearly she knows and loves this city: we loved seeing the full moon hovering over the centuries old buildings and shining on the canals. What a wonderful introduction to this magical kingdom. It was also an opportunity to invoke the spirits of other creative geniuses associated with Venice: Ezra Pound is buried at nearby San Michele Island; Browning wrote ‘O to be in England’ while living at the palatial Ca Rezzonico that overlooks the Grand Canal; Antonio Vivaldi was born and composed his fabulous music here, just to name a few. We invited our artistic muses to visit us here in this mystical city of shimmering canals and car-free streets.


So what did we do to nurture our writing muses during the seven days of the workshop? We shared our dreams as writers, responded to creative prompts, either from Davina’s imagination or from the majestic surroundings, we practiced writing different forms (I’m still not a poet) and, under Davina’s gentle prodding, set new writing intentions for ourselves. After we got home, Jacqueline successfully applied for (and secured) a spot in the coveted Banff Creative Writing Studio. She attributes her Venice experience for giving her the resolve to do so. I decided to break out a partially completed novel that was in hiding amongst the dust bunnies.


Davina had designed a workshop schedule that allowed for an agreeable mix of personal and group time. In between writing sessions, we toured the city, either as a group or alone, exploring all the traditional sights, like San Marco Basilica, the splendid museums and galleries, jewelers’ and artists studios. We went for two relaxing gondola rides, a bit like canoeing, only someone else is doing all the work (sometimes they sing too). We dined al fresco in the sunny campo; one evening we attended a classical music concert by candlelight at a lovely renaissance church filled with art. We had an amazing holiday.


There were tears when we said our good-byes at the vaporetto stop, en route to the train station. We were sad to see our group go our separate ways to Canada, California and Amsterdam. Hope we meet again, preferably near a canal and under Davina’s inspiring leadership.

 

To attend Seduce Your Muse or to learn more go to http://www.seduceyourmuse.com

 

 

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Begging for Equality!

Posted On: 2012-01-24 04:45:29

Glenn Schmoll met his husband, Lowell Houser, in 1961 at a friend’s home in Los Angeles to watch a televised panel on homosexuality, something that was radical on two accounts, one homosexuality was illegal and having a television was a rarity. The couple were together for 45 years and were officially married on July 25, 2008 in Ft. Bragg, California before Propisition 8 passed. Like many of our LGBT seniors, Glenn has been denied benefits that would be granted to an opposite-sex spouse. The financial hardships on him have been immeasurable.

How many LGBT widows and widowers will face homelessness because they are denied the federal benefits associated with marriage? Every day the DOMA law goes unchallenged LGBT seniors and LGBT widows and widowers face injustices and unnecessary cruelties. We must repeal DOMA. We must not allow laws to exist that keep American citizens from having full access to equality. DOMA continues to deny same-sex couples 1,138 federal rights.

This election year we must seriously consider where we will put our resources and who we will vote for. Will we support a candidate that has already repealed an unfair ban against LGBT people serving in the military or a candidate, like Newt Gingrich, who has had multiple opportunities to exercise his freedom to marry, yet does not feel that his own sister should have that right? Nor would he feel that Glenn Schmoll and Lowell Houser deserved that right even though if they had had full marriage rights Glenn would not been in the unfortunate position of petitioning the Masons, where Lowell was a Brother, for financial assistance typically afforded other spouses of brothers.

In my over ten years as a marriage equality advocate, it breaks my heart to continue to receive stories from LGBT people who have to beg unions, politicians, judges, and other organizations to recognize them as the spouses they are or have been. LGBT people should not have to beg for equality.

Please contact me if you would like to help Glenn Schmoll.  

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Occupy an Open Heart in the Ozarks

Posted On: 2011-11-02 00:23:07

Last week I received a facebook message from a woman who lives in Arkansas. Her story touched me deeply and showed me how important it is for us to continue to work towards equality, not only on the coasts, but in the heartland and the South too.

 

She wrote “My wife and I, along with a few other couples wanted to get some advice. My wife and I went to Iowa and got married in September of 2010. I have 3 children from a previous marriage to a man. My divorce decree states that I cannot have anyone stay the night in the home who I am romantically involved with unless we are married. Because we live in Arkansas and Arkansas does not recognize our marriage, my wife cannot stay the night in our home when the kids are home. For a long time we rented 2 places, but because of financial reasons (we have been in the middle of a custody case over the kids for a year and a half. We have spent $20,000 so far) can no longer do that. She now spends the night with my parents or grandparents on the nights when the kids are home. At this point, we are in the middle of the appeal process for custody of my kids and I am a little scared about making it too public.”

 

Imagine what it would be like to be legally married and yet have to ask your spouse to leave the home because your marriage isn’t recognized in the state you live in, thus making it a crime. It made me think of the 2003 Lawrence V. Texas Decision and how these custody cases are just another way to criminalize same-sex relationships.

 

And if her situation wasn’t heart-wrenching enough, she shared some experiences of others couples she knew that were also hoping I had some advice for them. She said, “I know that one of the other couples were living together and she was taken to court by her ex husband over it (in this case an unmarried female partner staying in the house when the kids were visiting) and the judge ordered her girlfriend out of the home. They now rent the house across the street from the one they are buying, so when the kids are home at night, she goes across the street to sleep. Another one of the couples lost the kids to the ex husband because of their relationship and the fact they were living together. The ex husband moved the kids to Texas. They are now in the middle of a custody case trying to get the kids back. They are engaged, but not married yet.”

 

I racked my brain for advice for these couples. I asked her if they could approach one of the big LGBT legal groups, but she said that they didn’t have anything substantial they could do to help.

 

This is a seemingly impossible situation, yet I know that even the strongest wall can be dismantled one brick at a time. I know to “win this case” a change of heart and consciousness is needed. That means first letting people know this situation exists, that there are real people out there who are suffering because of antiquated notions of family and the allowance of discrimination to exist. So I ask you to begin sharing these women’s stories with the people you know. To change a situation we must first shine light on it.

 

Secondly, if you are someone who prays or believes in the power of thought, please send positive thoughts and prayers for these couples, please send positive thoughts and prayers for the judges to open their hearts, and  please send positive thoughts and prayers that the people of Arkansas will recognize these couples’ marriages as fulfilling the custody requirements.

 

Another thing you can do is to raise your voice to repeal the Denial of Marriage Act (DOMA 1996) which keeps same-sex couples’ marriages from being legally recognized in states that have banned same-sex marriage. It is one thing not to allow same-sex couples the right to marry in their state, (which of course I believe is government-sanctioned discrimination), but quite another to deny legally married couples the rights of marriage in their home state.

 

There are many things you can do to begin working to dismantle DOMA. I have a whole list of things in my book Love Warriors, including a sample letter you can send to all of your senators and congressional leaders.

 

We must also speak out for the injustices against others on their behalf. I feel very grateful that I can speak out for others. When I asked her if she’d be willing to talk to the media about her situation, this woman wrote, “I do not want to risk anything while I am trying to get my kids back.” She agreed that once the custody battle was over she would be more comfortable being an open advocate. I understand her fear.

 

So, I invite us all to speak out on behalf of those who are silenced because of the threat of losing their children. Please let people know about this injustice, please send your positive thoughts and prayers out for these families, and please get involved and help repeal DOMA through letter writing, or the many other ways I outline in Love Warriors, and through your own creative efforts to occupy equality and an open heart and create a world that works for everyone.

 

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bcaplan@gmail.com says:

IANAL, but she needs to find a serous divorce attorney in each state. What advice did she have to enter into such an agreement in the first place? How controlling! It may not be enforceable if the clause is not valid, and, if that is the case then, depending on how the rest of the agreement is written, maybe the custody agreement as stated is not valid either ("separability") This probably is going to require advice in both states, but my guess is that IOWA will apply, since that is where the valid marriage took place. I doubt that the agreement says what state, it only says that there must be a valid marriage, and there is. Good luck! Again, IANAL, but these are issues I would be asking for help on ASAP if it were me.

Posted on: 2011-11-01

Moving Toward Equality for LGBT Servicemembers

Posted On: 2011-10-28 19:40:32

There are 93 spousal benefits that LGBT veterans are denied and 275 provisions related to marriage benefits for federal civilian and military service benefits that LGBT servicemembers are denied, and those are just the ones tallied by the GAO in 2005 of the 1,138 federal rights that come with marriage. This number does not include the random benefits that married servicemembers get (e.g. phone cards or time to call a spouse while deployed).

 

So, it is nothing short of awesome that this week the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network filed a lawsuit in federal court to secure spousal benefits for legally married gay and lesbian troops. According to the Gay Politics Report, “the suit takes aim at the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevents the Pentagon and other federal agencies from offering the same benefits that are available to married heterosexual service members to families of openly gay troops.”

 

If you are curious about these rights, you can read more about them in my book Love Warriors or Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage. They include things like the right to be buried with your spouse in a veterans’ cemetery, the right to shop at the commissary, health benefits, student and housing loans, and pension benefits.

 

Aubrey Sarvis, Executive Director of SLDN, who has worked tirelessly for many years advocating the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, says that these men and women are “rendering the same military service, making the same sacrifices and taking the same risks to keep our nation secure at home and abroad.” So it is “plain and simple. It’s about justice for gay and lesbian service members and their families.”

 

Let’s recognize Veterans’ Day this year by speaking out for full and equal employment benefits for our LGBT servicemembers. 

 

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Straight Southern Methodist Minister Defrocked For Marrying Same-Sex Couples

Posted On: 2011-10-16 21:23:28

http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=t5yltnfab&et=1107789875735&s=0&e=0019GWWDfo1Psm9DG5k26hakwpLHCcpLoDu-kAcCn9sv8SEnQ1Z_nyGLlii7G_gAJNV5hE0yiKmHIFyTeU6XEfmIeO_25IpNBGFW-0iReuMsEg= 
In this issue...
Love Warrior of the Month
Free Coming Out Tele-seminar
Writing Workshop in Italy!
 
Contact Info
Mailing Address:
4096 Piedmont Ave #812

Oakland, CA 94611


(510) 594-4322
-------------------------------------
Websites:

 

 

 

October 17, 2011

I hope you had a wonderful  Coming Out Day!

 

In fact, I hope you are out to everyone and celebrating the truth of who you are each and every day.  I know I am grateful to be totally out in all areas of my life and that I don't have to hide who I am. 

 

Why hide or make up lies?

 

Living the truth of who we are as LGBTIQ people or straight allies is powerful and fully expressing yourself is liberating!

  

I want to support everyone in living a courageously, authentic life which is why I am offering a FREE tele-seminar this week called: 

"3 Steps to Come Out of the Closet and Into Your Power!" on October 20, at 6:00 PM PST.  

 

I am also excited to share with you one of my personal heros, my Love Warrior of the Month,  Jimmy Creech.

You can read more about Jimmy, a Methodist Minister from the South, who was defrocked for marrying same-sex couples. Jimmy is a shining example of the power of living your truth and speaking from your heart!

 

Keep the equality coming!

Davina

Love Warrior of the Month:

Rev. Jimmy Creech 

 

Straight Southern Methodist Minister Defrocked For Marrying Same-Sex Couples

  

Jimmy Creech is about the nicest guy you could expect to meet. He's like John Boy all grown-up. He's sweet, gentle, and has an easy on the ears Southern drawl. I met him in 2004 when I was on book tour in Raleigh, North Carolina for Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage.

 Jimmy Creech

I'd been introduced to Rev. Jimmy Creech by Mel White, Soulforce Founder. Mel was so proud to tell me about this Straight Methodist Minister who'd been defrocked for marrying same-sex couples. "You must interview him," Mel insisted. After our interview, I was equally smitten by his courageous actions before same-sex marriage was legal anywhere.

 

Rev. Jimmy Creech began performing blessings of same-sex unions in 1990. He believed he was answering to a higher calling by supporting and affirming the love of same-sex couples. Although this was at odds with the politics of the United States Methodist Church, he continued to bless same-sex couples' unions even after he was told by Methodist church officials to stop. Soon he was told he was "no longer welcome to serve churches in North Carolina." However, in 1996, he was invited to serve as the senior pastor at the First United Methodist Church in Omaha, Nebraska.

 

In 1997, Rev. Creech blessed the union of a lesbian couple who attended that church. When church administrators heard of the news they brought charges against him. Luckily Rev. Creech was acquitted because, at the time, there was no clear law prohibiting ministers from celebrating same-sex holy unions. Rev. Creech was willing to sacrifice his career in order to stand as a straight ally and religious voice to end discrimination. But when he blessed the union of two men in April 1999, the Methodist Church had an official policy that prohibited gay unions and Rev. Creech was defrocked.

 

He responded by saying that "it's just clear evidence of the heterosexism and prejudice within the church, that even the highest court of the church would decide that one little sentence out of a whole document of material would be law when everything else is guidance. The church wants to use its power and all of its resources to persecute gay people and to deny them full equality."

 

Since then, he has made equality for LGBT people his life's work. He has received the Flagbearer Award from PFLAG National; the Human Rights Campaign Equality Award; the Saint Alive Award presented by Metropolitan Community Church, San Francisco; the North Carolina Pride, Inc. Award; and the Lee and Mae Ball Award, presented by The Methodist Federation for Social Action. He was selected as one of OUT magazine's "Out 100" in 1998 and 1999.

 

Jimmy was a featured guest at the Washington, DC Marriage Equality Rally I organized on October 11, 2004 and has been speaking around the country this year about equality for LGBT people in conjunction with the release of his new memoir about his moral journey of rejecting the church's teaching on homosexuality, his revelation that same-sex love was of equal value in the eyes of God to the love of a man and a woman, his decision to bless those unions, and the ensuing censure from his job and spiritual home. The book is called Adam's Gift.

 

Adam's Gift honors the relationship of mentor and student and how the student is sometimes the one who teaches and expands the mind of the mentor. You're going to love this book and Jimmy's Southern cadence. 

 

Click here to get your copy of  Adam's Gift

or for information on Jimmy's book tour and upcoming speaking engagements.

 

Jimmy is the epitome of a Love Warrior which is why you can also read about his thoughts on marriage equality in Chapter 16 of Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why It Will Prevail 

  

I highly recommend it.  

"3 Steps to Come Out of the Closet and Into Your Power!"

FREE Tele-seminar 

October 20, at 6:00 PM PST. 

 

This tele-seminar is based on my over 15 years experience as a coach, psychologist, and LGBT rights activist to support LGBTIQ people and their family members in the coming out process.

 

On this tele-seminar you'll learn how to:

  • Feel Confident Speaking Your Truth!
  • Influence People's Responses To Your Coming Out.
  • Avoid Painful Mistakes Many People Make When Talking About Being LGBTIQ.

 

Seduce Your Muse

Writing Retreat and Workshop in Italy   

 Venice Grand Canal
Join me May 26-June 3, 2012 in Venice Italy for the Seduce Your Muse Writing Workshop and Retreat.
 
 
   


 

Save $126.00



October Coaching Special
 
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For a limited time only.

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Offer Expires: October 31, 2011 

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October 11th is National “Coming Out” Day

Posted On: 2011-09-30 20:24:47

October 11th is National “Coming Out” Day

 

The day where we all get to declare who we are and who we love. Sometimes coming out is more than just revealing our sexual orientation. Sometimes we need to come out about other aspects of who we are that others may not agree with. But as Rev. Deborah Johnson, Author of Sacred Yes and Your Deepest Intent, told me in a recent interview I did with her, she learned early on from a PFLAG mom that if we share our truth and people turn away from us, then they never really loved us in the first place.

 

My friend, Pastor Marcos Apolonio, experienced a devastating loss in his own life when he came out to his church community. In fact, he thought he had lost it all. At the time he was a married man with children living in Brazil and leading a congregation of 3,000 7th Day Adventists. He had been living a closeted life and finally the closet door could no longer hold his authentic self in. Marcos has had a powerful "hero's journey" in the words of Joseph Campbell.

 

After coming out, Marcos chose to leave Brazil and immigrated to the U.S. where he applied for asylum twice before being granted it. He has built his new life out in the open with his same-sex partner, Obed. Marcos has since graduated with a Master’s degree in Social Work and leads Kinship, an international ministry of former and practicing 7th Day Adventists who are LGBTIQ and straight allies. He will be featured in an upcoming movie called 7th Day Gay Adventist.

 

In recognition of National Coming Out Day, and to acknowledge all of us who struggle to live our truth out loud and be our authentic selves, I'm doing two FREE tele-seminars Coming Out.

 

Please join me on Thursday October 6, 2011 at 7:00 PM PST/ 9:00 PM CST/ 10:00 PM EST for an interview with 7th Day Adventist Kinship Pastor Marcos Apolonio as he shares his story, strength, and hope with others in this unique interview.

 

REGISTER NOW: http://www.davinakotulski.com/workshopinfo.php?w=27

 

I am also offering a FREE Coming Out tele-seminar called “3 Steps to Come Out of the Closet and Into Your Power!" This tele-seminar is based on my experience as a coach, psychologist, and LGBT rights activist to support LGBTIQ people and their family members in the coming out process.

 

Join me for: "Three Steps to Come Out of the Closet and Into Your Power!" Tele-Seminar-- October 20, at 6:00 PM PST   

 You'll Learn How To:

  • Feel Confident Speaking Your Truth!
  • Influence People's Responses To Your Coming Out.
  • Avoid Painful Mistakes Many People Make When Talking About Being LGBTIQ.

REGISTER NOW: http://www.davinakotulski.com/workshopinfo.php?w=9

 

In the words of Martina Navratilova--"Just by being out you're doing your part. You're doing your part for the environment if you recycle; you're doing your part for the gay movement if you're out." 
 

 

 

 

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What did you do this summer?

Posted On: 2011-09-16 20:38:48

What did you do this summer? Davina Author Photo

 

You probably know what I did this summer.

 

I filed for divorce.

 

The news of my divorce appeared in the Huffington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Bay Area Reporter, the CBS news, and on many local radio stations. It also appeared all over my soon-to-be ex-wife's Facebook page. She has 2000 plus friends, so you can imagine word travels fast. It was the same time former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's marriage to Maria Shriver was imploding, a great reminder that marriage equality includes divorce equality.

 

Needless to say, it was surreal. It is one thing to have your joy and advocacy for marriage equality out there in the public eye, quite another when it's your personal pain being publicly paraded. I did not answer media queries during that period as I felt the need to process the ending of my marriage privately.

 

Ending my marriage has not been an easy process. The other day someone told me that they were one of the 18,000 couples who were married in California before Prop 8 passed. I responded that I was one of the 18,000 couples who were married in California and one of an unknown number of those 18,000 couples now going through divorce.

 

For over a decade, I've devoted my life to marriage equality. Now like over 50% of married heterosexuals I am going through the Big D. I'm trying to understand what it means to be a marriage equality advocate going through a divorce.

 

The reality is that many marriage equality advocates marriages and partnerships have ended in divorce/dissolution like straight allies Mayor Gavin Newsom and Mabel Tang and pioneers and named plaintiffs in the marriage equality movement Genora Dancel and Ninia Baehr (Hawaii Court Case1993), Julie and Hilary Goodridge (Massachusetts Court Case 2004), the Woos (California Marriage Court Case). Many of the activists I've worked alongside for over a decade have divorced and are on their second marriages. Isn't that cool? If we repeal the Prop 8 ban, LGBT people can have their second and third gay marriages too, just like straight people.    

 

But seriously, getting divorced sucks! It is truly one of the hardest rites of passage that I hope you don't have to go through unless it is for your soul's evolution. As a coach and therapist who also does couples' therapy and couple's coaching, I recommend that you give that a try before you make a big decision like ending a marriage. I continue to recommend John Gottman's books Why Marriages Succeed or Fail, 7 Principles of a Healthy Marriage, etc. and his workshops. Divorce is like a death, so if you can bring your relationship or marriage back to life, then go to the mat for it.

 

Sometimes, however, we change in directions that are different from our spouse/partner or we are in relationships that are abusive or co-dependent. If you are unable to break these unhealthy cycles or if you find that you and your spouse are just on different paths and incompatible, then I encourage you to try to disentangle yourselves in as healthy of a way as possible. Couples therapy is also useful for helping you to talk through the challenges and get support in letting one another go peacefully. Talking to a trusted spiritual mentor such as a pastor, rabbi, minister, imam, etc, is also a good idea.

 

If you have an unwilling partner, or for safety reasons you cannot meet with a neutral third party, I strongly recommend getting into your own therapy, finding a divorce group, a coach or a clergy member or spiritual practitioner who can support you during this transition. Having support can help you deal with your feelings of grief and loss and minimize your reactivity to the hard process of disentangling.

 

One other resource that I have found helpful in looking more deeply at the demise of my marriage and processing my feelings is the book Spiritual Divorce.  I have included an article about it and I hope you will read this and share this with others who are going through a divorce.  As this book will help you look at your part in your relationship dysfunction,  it could also be a good book for those who are considering divorce, but who want to see if they can salvage their marriage.  

 

Yours with equality and quality love for all!


Davina Kotulski

 

 Spiritual DivSpiritual Divorceorce

  

Two trusted friends recommended the book Spiritual Divorce by Debbie Ford to me. This is a really great book for anyone who is going through the ending of a relationship, who wants to understand themselves better and who is open to a spiritual approach to understanding their divorce.

 

Debbie Ford says "when we use our divorces to heal our wounds, to learn, grow, and develop ourselves into more loving, conscious human beings," rather than staying stuck in our pain, then we will have "a spiritual experience and liberation of our souls." Ford, who ascribes to the metaphysical "they are no mistakes" principle, affirms that "our lives are divinely designed," therefore accepting whatever is taking place in our lives gives us power to move forward.

 

Ford identifies 7 "laws" of what she calls a "spiritual divorce."

 

1. Law of Acceptance: "everything is as it should be."

 

2. Law of Surrender: "When we stop resisting and surrender to the situation exactly as it is, begin to change."

 

3. The Law of Divine Guidance: "God will do for you what you cannot do for yourself."

 

4. The Law of Responsibility: "With divine guidance, we can look at exactly how we participated in and co-created our divorce drama."

 

5. The Law of Choice: "Having taken responsibility, we can choose new interpretations that empower us."

 

6. The Law of Forgiveness: "After we have cut the karmic cord, we will be able to ask God to forgive."

 

7. The Law of Creation: "Experiencing the freedom of forgiveness opens up the gates to new realities."

 

The book has some really thoughtful exercises to look at each person's part in the breakdown of their marriage and to bring out their "highest self" even in the midst of "divorce drama." I highly recommend it.  

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“Everyone knows Uncle!”

Posted On: 2011-09-05 23:22:53

“Everyone knows Uncle!”

 

What would you do?

 

What would you do if you’re entire hometown found out you’d been keeping a secret?

 

January 9, 2010 was a surreal day for Isaac Namdar, a Jewish surgeon living and working in New York City. That afternoon he received an e-mail from his nephew telling him not to come to synagogue that weekend and to stay away from the Sephardic Jewish Community he’d grown up in.

 

“Everyone knows uncle,” his nephew wrote.

 

Isaac panicked. Someone had discovered his on-line wedding album with pictures of him and his husband, Andrew. Okay so a handful of people had found out that he was gay. He would manage somehow.

 

But he was stunned to find out that over 5000 people viewed his online wedding photos and someone had hacked into his Facebook page and other assumed “private” digital files. The dam had broken. He was being swept up into a current of homophobia that included  being excommunicated by his rabbi the following weekend.

 

Isaac had never brought his husband, Andrew, home to the insular spiritual and cultural community he had grown up in. Different than his peers, Isaac chose an occupation that would take him away from the community. As a physician, he was able to relocate to the big city where he struggled for years with his sexual orientation. When he met and fell in-love with Andrew he stopped struggling. The two legally married in Connecticut in 2009. Isaac expected that he would continue to keep his community and his marriage separate, but on that fateful day the two collided.

 

Isaac and Andrew glimpsed an opportunity for education and seized it. They opened their wedding website up for dialogue. What ensued was two weeks of unbridled posts about homosexuality, Judaism, and God. It was an online town hall where people could hide under various profile names and share their true feelings and engage in a dialogue.

 

Some of the posts were thoughtful and supportive.

 

“Congratulations to you both and BRAVO for following your path. Kudos for choosing to embrace the way G-d created you. May you have a blessed and happy future as a family.”

 

“Mazel tov to Andrew and Isaac. What a gorgeous couple! I genuinely hope that you two don’t mind that your site has become a platform for a serious discussion about the value system in our community, of which I have grown to become a staunch critic.”

 

Some were predictable for a conservative religious community.

 

“We are an orthodox Jewish community which does not allow 2 men 2 get married. I’m sorry if that offends anyone. It isn’t close (sic) mindedness, it is who we are. It would be the same if someone married a non-Jew.”

 

“Homosexuality is not in line with Judaism, but neither is shaming a fellow man.”

 

Others were just plain stupid.

 

“Suck cock Jewish Father and everyone else who aggrees with the Gay ways.”

 

“Is he so gay that he couldn’t get it up for a woman even if he tried to?”

 

(Um, isn’t that sort of the meaning of gay for gay men?)

 

After a couple of weeks Isaac chose to shut it down and to turn these posts and his experience into a book. You can order his book In This Day and Age?!: A Community at the Crossroadso f Religion and Homosexuality through your local bookseller or online.

 

Presently Isaac is speaking out at temples and spiritual conferences about his

eexperience. Issac hopes that his story will foster more understanding and respect between religious leaders and their LGBT congregants.

 

In February 2011 I did a tele-seminar interview with Isaac. The interview will be included in my upcoming CD Package-How to Come Out of the Closet And Into Your Power or you can download the interview How to Survive Being Outed and What to Say When Someone Tells You That You Can Change!” at http://www.davinakotulski.com/workshopinfo.php?w=20

 

Isaac said that if he had been younger or a more insular member of his community and not had the kind of outside support he had as a successful surgeon, this experience might have caused him to commit suicide.

 

I want to honor Isaac for his courage to take a terrifying situation and creating an opportunity for others to grow. Isaac you are a Love Warrior!

 

Remember a hero isn’t someone who does not have fear. A hero is something who does something courageous despite the fear she or he feels.

 

Take a moment to reflect on when you’ve been a hero. What did you do even though you were afraid? Acknowledge yourself. Being an LGBTIQ person or a straight ally often means being true to yourself and doing things even in the face of fear.

 

 

 

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Seventh-Day Gay Adventists

Posted On: 2011-07-26 02:54:22

 
 
On a side note, the conference was held at the Kellogg Conference Center at CalPoly. Kellogg of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. Kellogg was a Seventh-Day Adventist himself. Observant 7th Day Adventists do not smoke, drink or eat meat and like Orthodox Jews they observe the Sabbath from sundown on Friday night until Saturday evening. This is the cool thing about having a book tour that focuses around outreach to spiritual communities, I get to learn a lot about different religious and spiritual traditions. I enjoy doing outreach so that others can do “inreach” in their communities.
 
 
 
 
 
The morning’s conference featured Fritz Guy author of “Christianity and Homosexuality: Some Seventh-Day Adventist Perspectives.” http://www.sdagayperspectives.com Professor Guy, a straight ally, elder in the church, and observant Sabbath observer, spoke eloquently to the international audience of fifty practicing and former Seventh-Day Adventists about love. That God loves everyone and there’s nothing that can take that love from us and nothing we can do to make God love us any more or any less. He emphasized that the true teachings of Jesus were about love.
 
Professor Guy praised the audience of LGBTIQ people for their continuing to show up with their families and communities in a place of love even when they are treated unjustly and when their church communities don’t practice the teaching of their own faith. While more scholarly than charismatic, Guy’s words echoed the words of Dr. King in Strength to Love. We must continue to love. Our liberation comes from loving the “unlovable,” loving those who have hurt us. Loving those we call the opposition. There is truly power in that.
 
 
Following Professor Guy’s presentation a short film entitled “The Last African Taboo” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVp8V1npqyk
was shown. The film shows first hand accounts about the radicalization of Ugandan Christians against homosexuality by the influx of American Evangelicals, especially leaders like Lou Engel of Focus On the Family who also created his own organization The Call which is radically anti-gay. My friend and colleague, Karen Ocamb, has written about him in previous Bilerico Posts http://www.bilerico.com/2008/11/listening_to_the_call.php
 
 
 
 
 
Another speaker at the conference was straight ally and filmmaker Daneen Akers. Daneen and her husband, Stephen Eyer, former Seventh-Day Adventists themselves, are working on a new film “Seventh-Gay Adventists.” http://www.sgamovie.com The movie covers the complications LGBT people face within the Seventh-Day Adventist church and the challenges their families face coming to terms with love and loyalty to their family members versus church doctrine.
 
Religion continues to be the biggest weapon aimed at LGBTIQ and same-sex loving people and why I will continue to do outreach into spiritual communities because this is where the final “battle” will be one. But it won’t be won by making people wrong or calling people bigots. It will be won with love, opening hearts and minds, one person and a time.
 
Congratulations New York!
 
 

 

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Comments:

peacefuldolphin_2000@yahoo.com says:

Thanks for speaking at KM. Enjoyed your message. Thanks also for mentioning SDA Kinship. So many of those folks out there that have no idea we exist. Cheers.

Posted on: 2011-08-02

tobejordan@aol.com says:

Davina, Thank you for your presentation at Kinship in Pomona! Jordan

Posted on: 2011-07-31

BREATHE AND GET GROUNDED

Posted On: 2011-06-30 08:19:16

BREATHE AND GET GROUNDED

 

I’m sitting at Café Gratitude, it’s a new age vegetarian restaurant in Berkeley. I’m drinking water from a bottle that says “breathe” and I’m reminding myself to do that and to drink more water. All the food at Café Gratitude is ordered via positive affirmation. I’ve ordered the “I’m grounded” and “I’m vibrant” which translates to a side of garlic roasted potatoes and sautéed greens with pumpkin seeds.

 

Being grounded and vibrant right now is really important to me. Usually, I order the “I am transformed” and drink from the “transcendental” water bottle. But so much has happened in my life in the last two months that now I just need to “breathe” and get “grounded.” You may have no idea what I’m talking about or you may have seen the CBS news, read about it in the Huffington Post, or saw some Facebook posts and so you know what’s coming next or maybe you don’t.

 

END OF THE WORLD MAY 21st

 

American Christian Radio Host, Harold Camping, predicted that the world would end May 21st, 2011. Camping, considered a zealot by many, hails from Oakland, California where I live. His message was heard world-wide. While the world did not come to an end May 21st, for many people, me included, our physical realities changed drastically on or around May 21st.

 

He predicted tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods. In some places these weather patterns and signs of Armageddon did show up and continue. For others, like myself, the hurricanes were more personal revelations of truth that blew through our hearts and homes leaving our lives personally changed and in need of picking up the pieces. Life as we know it will never be the same.

 

Perhaps you or someone you know around May 21st were one of the people who ended a marriage (Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger), shared about some shocking child abuse that had been hidden for years (boxer Tyson I believe), left a job, attempted suicide, had some life changing experience or spoke out the truth in some other way. Again it may not have been the end of the world, but for an inordinate number of people, the time around May 21st brought forth radical transformation. For me, it was the decision to leave my 15 year marriage to Molly.

 

Divorce is a hurricane in anyone’s life, but when you’ve been half of the public face of the same-sex marriage movement, a decision like this has monumental consequences or additional hurricanes on many other people’s lives. I feel like I’ve been ground zero. Even, my father is struggling for certainty and sharing his own feelings of loss and structure from my marriage ending and empathizing about how it must have felt for my brother and I when he left my mother when we were kids.

 

MARRIAGE IS AN INSTITUTION

 

Marriage is an institution and we build structures on it. We build structures on the human heart, we project expectations on to people, and when there are shifts, inevitably it feels like earthquakes and tsunamis have devastated our homes, hearts, and psyches.

 

I’m not sure I ever had the certainty of marriage lasting forever as a child. My parent’s marriage always seemed tenuous. I put myself in a class for kids of divorced parents two years before my parents announced their intention to separate. Still there were things I hadn’t expected that did rock the semblance of a foundation I had created for myself during those long years my parents took to separate. For example, the near-drowning experience I had while rafting with my parents, finding a dead body in the river when we went rafting a few months later with my dad and my now step-mother, and my "half" brother’s birth while my parents were still married. At twelve, these were the things that were harder to process emotionally. Thank God for soap operas they helped me normalize my family experience.

 

Still I had hoped that my marriage would last forever, that somehow I would be an exception or perhaps exceptional. We had amazing times together and then there were some really hard times where we just seemed to want different things from life and struggled with our differences and our different ways of approaching life.

 

A friend of mine once said that the way to have a long-term marriage was “don’t leave and don’t die.” I thought it was good advice. But then I realized that staying in a marriage even when you love the other person, but it’s keeping you from being your highest and best self in the world is a form of self-abuse and self-denial.

 

I understand that won’t make sense to a lot of people because we have a standard for marriage called “compromise.” I know I have also taught that. “You gotta compromise.” I’m sure I’ve said it more than once. Today, I would say compromise on the little things, like which movie to see this week or where you are going for dinner, but when it comes to your core nature and needs and being able to listen and follow your own guidance of what’s best for you, nope, never compromise. See Emerson’s Essays, especially Self-Reliance.

 

I know a lot of people tied a lot of stuff up with my marriage. My marriage was public property! It was seen as a test of LGBT people. My marriage was supposed to be a pillar that held the LGBT community together, that showed that LGBT people could have long-term, loving, committed relationships. Some people expected us to be “perfect.” No pressure!

 

LGBT people can have long-term, loving committed relationships. We did for 15 years! And LGBT people are just like heterosexual people. We change, grow, fall in and out of love, and end relationships too. We need marriage equality and we need the right to divorce. We need to be held to the same human standard. We are not perfect. No human being is. We don’t have to be. We can stop trying to be perfect now and just be ourselves. We are enough.

 

THE ILLUSION OF SECURITY

 

In the end for me, it wasn’t my parent’s divorce, the rafting incidents, or the birth of my brother that knocked the proverbial wind out of me. What took away the illusion of permanence and solidity for me was when my dad sold the family home some twenty years later. That is when I experienced a profound sense of loss. The house that he built in 1976, the one we were living in when my parent’s marriage ended. The one we moved out of after he told us that he wouldn’t be replacing us with his new family. It was a nice promise, but it wasn’t realistic to expect a single mom with two kids to handle a 4 bedroom house on 5 acres of land 14 miles from the nearest grocery store in rural Oregon, at least not my mom who grew up in the suburbs of Miami. We had to move, it made sense that we’d go to the city and he’d move his second family in.

 

I know selling the house was the best thing he could have done for himself and my step-mom. It was time. It just hurt when he came back from a trip from Mexico and put the house on the market and sold it before my brothers and I could come and say “goodbye.” That was when I felt all that childhood pain well up in my heart. A house gives you a sense of security, ask anyone who lost theirs recently in a foreclosure, a flood, Hurricane Katrina, or a divorce. And yet a house is just an illusion of security.

 

LOSS

 

My decision to leave my marriage has created great loss in my life: the loss of a companion of 15 years, the loss of my home and land, (I was lucky enough to be a homeowner), the loss of property, the loss of two of the three cats we shared, the loss of my identity as a married person, the loss of my in-laws and Molly’s family, the loss of hopes and dreams, the loss of my status in the marriage equality movement, my health insurance, and sadly the loss of some people who I thought were my friends. And then there are many others losses, little losses which I am still discovering.

 

I’m sharing all of this with you because I think it’s important for people to understand that when someone makes a radical decision to end their marriage and every thing that this entails, it’s important to recognize that this is a decision that requires incredible courage and authenticity. It’s an important time to extend love and compassion to everyone involved and not take sides.

 

I’m sad to say that I have personally failed to do this with friends and colleagues, not knowing how to respond, taking some moral high ground, settling for one side of the story at the expense of not having an integrated truth, or just realizing that with every two people there are two different sets of realities and both are true. I want to send out apologies to everyone who has felt my judgment around this. I hope that in the future I can come from a place of compassion and non-duality.

 

LOVE AND COMPASSION

 

I feel so grateful for the people who have offered up their hearts to me with unconditional love. I pray that I can learn from them and get that I cannot possibly know other people’s experiences even if I’ve walked in moccasins that seem “similar.” Each one of us on this planet is having our own unique earth walk with our own personal histories that no one else is fully privy to, so it is better to just speak our own truth and let other’s speak theirs without judging them.

 

This experience is teaching me that I don’t know what’s right for anyone else and judging them is a waste of time. What I can do is offer love and compassion. What I can do is listen. What I can do is pray for the best and highest good for that person and the people in their lives. What I can do is urge myself and others to be true to themselves. What I can do is remind myself and others to move toward happiness because we have come here to be happy, to be sources of love and light in the world. 

 

ECLIPSE

On an astrological note, there have been two eclipses this month June 1st and June 15th. There is a solar eclipse on July 1st. So, if you have noticed your own life or energies shifting you can blame it on the moon and stars. Planetary and other celestial bodies are highly activated right now. So full circle, “breathe” and get “grounded.”

 

 

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bartendert@ymail.com says:

MCC-SF had a slogan a couple years ago "shift happens" seems relevant now. You know you have our love and support no matter what.

Posted on: 2011-07-19

gspieler@gmail.com says:

Hi Davina: What a lovely, compassionate and painful note. You touched so many things in me that I'm sure are universal to anyone who is paying attention. None of use gets out of here without some pain and loss, love and delight. No matter how parallel our experiences, our pain in personal. You have expressed your feelings beautifully here. I can only offer my friendship in the same way you have offered yours.

Posted on: 2011-07-01

stephanie@stephaniedawn.com says:

Brava regazza! I hear you, I feel you, I see you! I love Emerson's 'Self Reliance' essay! It was one of my favorite! Breathing, loving you, Happy Independence Day!!!

Posted on: 2011-07-01

cathi_w@yahoo.com says:

If I felt the pressure of defining marriage for an entire disenfranchised community, in all honesty, I have no idea how I would have handled the weight of that. But what I do recall, Davina, is what you told me when you were here in Denver not so long ago, that you were more in love (at that time) than when the two of you had first got together. That stuck in my brain because I thought that was one of the sweetest things I had ever heard. Yes, both of you have done so very much for all of us. Not only do I appreciate that more than I can say, but also your courage to share your heart. My takeaway from this is that not only are we are all human, but to try to keep some semblance of balance between self, relationship and community. The social structure does not define for me what I might choose to define as marriage in my heart between myself and another, and expectations of others are not to be weighed too heavily against decisions of the heart. That is purely and only between the two involved. My love and deepest appreciation to you both.

Posted on: 2011-06-30

shilohsophia@gmail.com says:

Dear Davina - thinking that things are forever is something I think we all wish for at some level. I do think love goes on forever even if not in the linear sense. It is ridiculous to judge others when we all have made hard changes, and will continue to do so the rest of our lives. I honor your honesty with yourself most of all. Life is hot and messy and the heart is unpredictable terrain. Praise Be that we cannot "control" our heart, but that means there will be casualties. I recently lost my dream of "forever" myself and so I know the agony of it regardless of the darn good reasons. I hope and pray that you two will NEVER disregard the love you held, that the marriage itself can still be whole and intact for what it was while it was that, and that both of you can be gentle with one another. with love, shiloh

Posted on: 2011-06-30

Jane.A.Leyland@nasa.gov says:

Good to hear from you. Thank you for your confidence. We were greatly saddened to hear of your “news” and sincerely hope that you and Molly are able to move on and are successful in your pursuit of happiness. We realise that at best, this must be difficult for both of you. We think very highly of both you and Molly and consider you both as friends. We are greatly appreciative of all that you have done for the pursuit of equality, not just for our LGBTI community, but for humanity in general. Please keep in contact with us. Jane & Terry

Posted on: 2011-06-30

rwkotulski@hotmail.com says:

I think it takes tremendous courage to do what you did.

Posted on: 2011-06-30

davidwriter@msn.com says:

No one but you and Molly knows what happened between you in private, so no one has any right to judge. Peace and healing to both of you.

Posted on: 2011-06-30

14 Years Together, Married, and Still Filing “Single”

Posted On: 2011-04-28 22:01:44

14 Years Together, Married, and Still Filing “Single”

 

This year Molly and I filed our taxes again as “married” in California and “single” on our federal documents. We are grateful that we are legally married and can file “married” in the state of California, but it is totally egregious that we must check “single” on our federal tax returns when we are not. Our CPA was totally annoyed, luckily not at us, but with the IRS, because this year the IRS passed a new ruling that said that they will recognize the marriages of same-sex couples and domestic partnerships in community property states for the purposes of federal income. The IRS is trying to deny us our wedding cake and eat it too!

 

TRANSLATING THE INSANITY

 

The IRS wants to deny is full equality, but wants to tax us as if we have it already. So, in Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and California, states with community property laws, same-sex couples who are in registered domestic partnerships or who were legally married before Prop 8 passed, are required to join their income with their partner/and/or federally UNRECOGNIZED spouse for all other purposes, divide by 2 and report that as their federal income.

 

Partner A’s income + Partner’s B income / 2= amount to declare as your income.

 

So, let’s say Jonathon makes $75,000 this year and Randy makes $51,000. Jonathon will report that he made $63,000 and Randy will report that he made $63,000 potentially putting each of them in different tax brackets without any other of the benefits or recognition marriage. In other words, they can’t file joint tax returns as a married couple with the IRS.

 

GAYS BROKE TURBO TAX

 

Apparently this is so confusing that Turbo Tax wasn’t even able to find a solution or help same-sex couples complete the IRS’s calculation requirements costing same-sex couples in community property states additional time and money to comply with the IRS’s filing requirements. 

 

179 of the 1,138 federal marriage rights that same-sex couples are denied because of DOMA have to do with taxation. 275 of those 1,138 rights have to do with employment benefits in civilian and military employment. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is still in effect and DOMA is still kicking our butts during the tax season.

 

“In October 2009, the New York Times published an article entitled “The High Price of Being A Gay Couple.” According to authors, Tara Siegel Bernard and Ron Lieber, an average same-sex couple’s “lifetime cost of being gay was $467,562,” which they attributed to disparate realities between heterosexual and same-sex couples with regard to social security benefits, health insurance, tax preparation and taxation, ability to claim head of household, estate planning, and many more financial factors. Bernard and Lieber also found that in the best case scenario, “health coverage costs the gay couple $28,595 more” than their married heterosexual counterparts. Attorney and author, Frederick Hertz contrasts the experience of heterosexual married couples and same-sex couples suggesting that being a married heterosexual is like being able to always ride in the carpool lane while being in a same-sex relationship means you always have to “Stop. Wait. Pay a toll.”  Excerpt from Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why it Will Prevail.

 

Because we are denied marriage equality, LGBT people are denied paid and unpaid leave to care for our spouse/partner or our spouse’s or partner’s family member because our mother in-law and brother in-law is not considered “our family.” We are denied paid and unpaid leave to make burial arrangements for or attend funerals of our spouse or partner, or our spouse’s or partner’s family member because our mother in-law and brother in-law is not considered our family. We don’t have access to family health insurance, pensions, spousal social security, etc. etc.

 

DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR TAX DOLLARS ARE GOING?

 

This is unfair and unequal taxation and treatment. In my book Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why it Will Prevail I go into greater depth about taxation of same-sex couples and I talk about the research about how much money the federal government would actually save by granting LGBT people full access to marriage equality.

 

Now, we are wasting our money, tax payer money, to defend the outdated DOMA law. Our Speaker of the House has us taxpayers paying $550 an hour to lawyers to keep a bill in place that denies same-sex couples 1,138 federal marriage rights. President Clinton who signed DOMA into law deeply regrets having done so. Bob Barr who created the bill says let’s toss it out. The Obama Administration wants to get rid of it.

 

The time has come to stop the insanity! California Senator Diane Feinstein has introduced a new bill to repeal the unfair DOMA. Contact your Congressional Leaders and Senators and ask them to help repeal DOMA!

 

If you want to learn more, you can also check out my podcast with Arin Greenwood at

http://outofthestormnews.com/2011/04/25/fire-podcast-davina-kotulski-on-taxes-and-marriage-equality/

 

With liberty and justice for all!
 

Dr. Davina Kotulski
Psychologist, Motivational Life Coach, and Author of
Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage (2004) and Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why it Will Prevail (2010)
http://www.davinakotulski.com
http://lovewarriorsthebook.com

 

 

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Where did the time go?

Posted On: 2011-04-15 22:34:47

Dear Friends,

 

I cannot believe we are already halfway through April. Sorry to have kept you out of the loop for so long, I’ve been running to keep up with all the wonderful invitations and opportunities life has gifted me since Spring sprung. If you’re curious read on.

 

Last month I led the Seduce Your Muse: Writer’s Workshop and Retreat in Venice Italy, seven days of writing, creativity and fun! This was my first event of this kind. 7 Days in a glorious destination and it was more amazing than I could have ever imagined.

 

We stayed in a 5 star location. I rented two beautiful flats in Campo Sant’ Angelo on a small canal. We were only minutes from Saint Marks Square and the Rialto Bridge, close to the Accademia Bridge. It is one of my favorite spots. Poets, Writer’s and those claiming and reclaiming their voices joined me from the UK, Canada, and the U.S. In addition, to the daily creativity and writing exercises I led them in, I also took them on full moon walks, tours of Venice with special attention to secret gardens, quiet campos, and the Jewish Ghetto. We went on gondola rides and late night masked walks. We called in the muses, did art in the campos, and drank cappuccinos. We had wonderful food and drink at the ristorantes, attended a concerto, and one of the guests cooked three “over-the-top” meals with multiple courses!

 

It was life changing for my muses and myself. We had so much fun as we seduced our muses, wrote beautiful poetry and prose, and lifted and reclaimed our voices. Now this is what I call having a “good job!” I really love my new employment and my clients.  It was a gift! Did I mention that we had 8 days of glorious sunshine while there was a blizzard back in Canada and thunderstorms and hail in the Bay Area?

 

Anyway, you can bet that I’m going to do that again and I’d love to hear from you who know you’d like to be a part of this in the future.  I think Paris or Provence is next. I’ll keep you posted.

 

And as they say during the Passover Seder, di'anu- meaning “it would have been enough” like if that wasn’t good enough, since I’ve been back I’ve had so many wonderful speaking engagements around California and I’m connecting with amazing wonderful advocates and individuals. This month I spoke at the Presybeterian Community Church in Pittsburg, CA with Rev. Will McGarvey, a dedicated straight ally who got arrested with Molly and I on Valentine’s Day and at two events for Betty’s List in Oakland at the Bellvue Club and at Angelica’s Bistro in Redwood City.  Betty Sullivan’s the matchmaker for professional LGBT women. She hosts “Smart Women” networking events where LGBT women and their allies can come together for music, food, fun, and business networking. It’s a kick! www.bettyslist.com

 

Last night I spoke at Angelica’s Bistro and met some awesome women, including the woman who created Expedia.com’s website, Leigh Ann Weiland, a confident and inspiring attorney who does patent and copyright law and second parent adoption, Jill who runs a woman-owned Body Shop called “Lady Parts,” and nutritionist named Judea Eden who is involved with “Fabulousa Fest” –celebrating Women’s Music, Film and Healing (www.fabilousafest.com), and Prajna Paramita Choudhury, prounounced

(Pro-gah), a beautiful Indian-goddess-like femme lesbian (sorry single butch folks she has a sweetie) who does acupuncture in Oakland (www.perfect-wisdom-accupuncture-and-herbs.com) and is also an activist for LGBT people of color! 

 

The best part of the evening for me, besides the applause after I spoke of course, was when the musical entertainment for the evening, Amy Meyers, (www.amymeyersmusic.com) started playing piano and singing a Katy Perry song. Much to my own surprise, I jumped up on stage and started singing “Be Your Teenage Dream Tonight” with her, which then led to Elton John’s “Rocket Man” which Prajna joined us for this, and then a rendition of one of my all time fav’s “Chuck E.’s In Love,” by Rickie Lee Jones. I don’t know what possessed me, but I had so much fun.

 

Fun seems to be the theme lately. Are you having fun?

 

I had lots of fun this weekend too! I attended Money Breakthrough Coaching in Los Gatos with Jesse Koren of Rejuvenate Training. For those of you who are in business for yourself and want to make a positive difference in the world, Rejuvenate Training (www.rejuvenate.com) has some amazing workshops on how to improve your business and yourself. They are like the Tony Robbins for heart-based business owners and soloprenuers. I met some amazing people at their workshop this weekend too. Coaches, chiropractors, accupuncturists, teachers, trainers, etc. from all over the country were there peeling off the layers that hold us back, keep us from being in our confidence and knowing our value. It was a very empowering weekend.

 

While I was doing this, Molly dropped in on the MCC revival with our new friend from Uganda who has come to the U.S. to escape the violence of the Ugandan authorities. As I spoke about it my last e-mail LGBT people are coming to the U.S. because of the violent hate crimes committed by the Ugandan people and authorities against LGBT people.  Our new friend was a gospel singer in Uganda and now he’s singing here, safe at last, where he can now heal with the love and support of the wonderful Bay Area LGBT community.

 

Wild ride, huh? And it’s just begun.

 

 

 

 

Today is the annual marriage equality tax day protest. Can you believe --14 years together, married in Californa, and still filing "single"-- on our federal income taxes?

 

April 20th I will be in Los Angeles meeting Ellen’s Mom, Betty DeGeneres. Please put out positive energy that she and I can connect around marriage equality and I can get Love Warriors into Ellen’s hands and get myself on the Ellen show. I’m ready!

 

April 21st, I am the keynote speaker for an Out and Equal Event at Le Parc Hotel in West Hollywood. Out and Equal (www.outandequal.org) is a national organization dedicated to equality for LGBT people in the workplace.

 

April 29th I’ll be at the Gallery Bookstore in Mendocino and May 1st I’m speaking at the Mendocino Unitarian Church.

 

Please go to www.davinakotulski.com for more information on upcoming events, talks, and workshops.

 

I want to say thank you to all of you. Your support, love and encouragement means so much to me. I really appreciate it!

 

So, I invite you to treat yourself to some fun too. Buy a new CD and sing in the shower or dance in the car. Get yourself some flowers, relax with a cup of coffee in an outdoor café, go for a meandering walk, go out dancing, get a massage, have lunch or go to a movie with a good friend, just do something fun and wonderful for yourself. Life is meant to be savored! 

 

Enjoy it!
Davina

 

Dr. Davina Kotulski
Psychologist, Motivational Life Coach, and Author of
Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage (2004) and Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why it Will Prevail (2010)
http://www.davinakotulski.com
http://lovewarriorsthebook.com

 

 

 

  

 

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Refugee from Uganda

Posted On: 2011-03-16 00:44:40

“Gay Sex Pervert Can’t Boink Wife” in big black typeface covered more than a third of the tabloid newspaper Moses held up for everyone in the audience to see. These words were next to a large photo of him which took up the other third of the paper. Moses had run for his life to America seeking asylum after his community in Uganda found out he was gay. Being gay in Uganda is front page news!

 

Moses was orphaned at a young age. Both of his parents died of AIDS. The irony is that the same country that donated money to “help” people like Moses’ parents, people with HIV, also imported radical anti-gay evangelism that ultimately forced Moses to flee his own country to save his life.

 

For the past several years, influenced by American evangelicals who have taken their anti-gay fight overseas, the Ugandan government has been trying to pass a bill that would make homosexuality a crime punishable by death and would give life sentences to anyone who knows about an LGBT person and doesn’t report them to the government. While this horrific law has not passed, LGBT people in Uganda are public enemy #1 and have been violently attacked, some brutally murdered, because of the climate of virulent homophobia.    

 

Moses has a beautiful smile and an androgynous appearance. He is gentle and extremely intelligent. You could hardly imagine the horrors he has experienced by his calm demeanor. He’s clearly someone who has learned to roll with the punches. For Moses, the punches started when he was just a boy and caught engaging in sexual play with another boy his age at his school. Moses spoke about being repeatedly beaten by his father after this was discovered. He learned to hide, but never deny, the truth of who he was.

 

When he was “outed” again as a young professor, it became clear that he was going to lose his job. He was pressured into marrying a woman. This of course did not make him a heterosexual, nor stop his true sexual orientation from being expressed, and he was finally forced to leave the country to save his own life. He’s applied for asylum in the United States several times and there have been several errors in his case. To date, he has not been granted asylum.

 

I met Moses at a forum on LGBT Asylum presented at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley and sponsored by Rev. Roland Stringfellow of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies.

 

Neil Grungas, the Executive Director of the Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration (ORAM), painted a grim picture of the situation LGBT asylum seekers face. Unlike LGBT asylum seekers, most heterosexual asylum seekers are reunited with other family or community members. They have the support of their culture and religion to fall back on.

 

LGBT asylum seekers, however, are fleeing from homophobic family, community, and religious organizations. They are isolated beyond measure and completely dependent on the kindness of strangers.  Many LGBT asylum seekers, Grungas says “flee violence by community members or ‘honor killings’ by their own families.”

 

Grungas says that even upon relocation, LGBT asylum seekers are at-risk for suicide and substance abuse. Many have severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from childhood abuse, sexual abuse, and violent acts against them. In the U.S., they are unable to go many churches for support because of the churches’ anti-gay stance and the LGBT community is not set up to provide the kinds of psychological, vocational, and other support these refugees need.

 

The Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration (ORAM) is committed to providing training and support to LGBTI organizations and mainstream organizations to help educate them about the needs of LGBT refugees and to helping LGBTI refugees resettle.

They have an “Adopt An LGBTI Refugee” program where folks can make donations or literally house an LGBTI refugee. Their website is www.oraminternational.org

 

We met another man from Uganda at the forum, a young gospel singer. He had fled the country only a week earlier after his picture was published in the paper stating that he was involved in a sexual relationship with a priest. A friend of ours had sent out an e-mail the week previously asking us if we would be able to house a young man fleeing Uganda for his life or if we knew anyone else who could. We have a small two bedroom house and I work out of the one room, so I knew it wouldn’t work for us. It was surreal to meet this young man at this event and hear his story. Gratefully, another LGBT colleague and his husband took this young man in and are now doing a movie to raise more awareness about this dire reality in Uganda.

 

We asked Moses, Neil, and the young man how we can help. Moses and the young man said “Tell our stories. Please let people know about what’s happening in Uganda. We need more people to know about the LGBT persecution.” Neil Grungas encouraged us to let people know about ORAM. “We need volunteers, interns, donations, pro-bono therapists, all of these things could help.”

 

I invite you to share this blog with at least 5 other people so that they can know more about the realities facing LGBT Ugandans and other LGBT asylum seekers. The State Department and Social Services organizations need more education and information to understand the needs of LGBT people seeking asylum. You can help.

 

Please consider Adopting-A-Refugee. Go to www.oraminternational.org/adopt-a-refugee.html.

 

   

 

 

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DUI arrest: Senator’s One Year Coming Out Anniversary

Posted On: 2011-03-03 16:21:20

This week marks the one year anniversary of former Senator Roy Ashburn’s DUI arrest and preceding “coming out” as a gay man. As you may recall, Republican Senator Roy Ashburn from Bakersfield, California was arrested for drunk driving in Sacramento after leaving Faces, a gay bar near the California State Capitol. A few days later, Senator Ashburn publicly revealed that he was gay and had been living in the closet for decades.

 

Unlike Ted Haggard or Senator Larry Craig, Senator Ashburn was done with hiding and he was ready to free himself from the lies and the pain of the closet.  What followed was outrage from many in the LGBT community over Senator Ashburn’s anti-gay voting record, including the fact that twice he voted against the marriage equality bill. In fact, the year previous, Senator Ashburn had received the “Pink Brick Award” from the San Francisco LGBT Pride Association. 

 

In the past I might have felt that same outrage. I remember when Ted Haggard was outed in 2006, I was talking on the phone with Mel White, Founder of Soul Force.  I remember saying “Isn’t that great? What a hypocritical jerk.” I was surprised by Mel’s response. He said something to the effect of “We need to pray for Brother Ted. He’s hurting right now. We should reach out to him, forgive him, not punish him.” Needless to say at that point in my personal and spiritual development those were radical words. Since then, however, I’ve experiences people from the “other side” having changes of heart and mind and knowing that they need love and support as they release their old communities and take bold steps towards what I would call “the real light” —the light of acceptance, self-love, and authenticity.

 

This is why when Senator Roy Ashburn was arrested for drunk driving in Sacramento after leaving Faces, a gay bar near the California State Capitol, I felt called to reach out to him. I did not know him personally, did not come from his District, had not personally lobbied, so maybe without layers of feeling personally hurt and betrayed, it was easier for me to reach out and see him as I would see any LGBT person who had lived their life in the closet, torn between the pain of lying and hiding and being their true selves.  Like most LGBT people, I have known that pain. I came out as a teenager in a small town in Oregon and experienced rejection, hate speech and bullying. Coming out and being your true self is never easy, but I know that Senator Ashburn would agree with me now that the peace it brings is worth it and that until you are out and living your truth you can never fully love and accept yourself.

 

This Tuesday night, March 8th, I have the honor of interviewing Senator Roy Ashburn as part of my “How Come Out of the Closet and Into Your Power!” Tele-seminar Series. We will talk about how to “Break Down That Closet Door with Senator Roy Ashburn!” 

 

How Come Out of the Closet and Into Your Power! Tele-seminar Series. 
"Break Down That Closet Door with Senator Roy Ashburn!”  

March 8, 2011

6:00 PM PST/8:00 PM CST and 9:00 EST

REGISTER NOW--http://www.davinakotulski.com/workshopinfo.php?w=24

 

You won’t want to miss this exciting behind–the-scenes interview with Senator Roy Ashburn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Register by March 7 for a scholarship to attend for FREE.

After that the cost to attend is $97.

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Hearts, Flowers and Handcuffs: Sitting-Down For Equality on Valentine's Day

Posted On: 2011-03-03 15:14:08

 

 

Monday, Valentine’s Day, we went to San Francisco City Hall and asked for a marriage license. Well, more like we said “We want you to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples again.”

 

It was the 10th time since 2001 that we’ve done this. From 2001-2006 we went to San Francisco City Hall and asked for a marriage license. In 2004, Mayor Newsom surprised us by allowing us to marry, but the CA Supreme Court invalidated that marriage license later that year, so we were back in 2005 and were once again turned away.  In 2007, I didn’t go. We were not getting along well that year.

 

Thank God for amazing couples therapists and psychologist John Gottman’s amazing book Why Marriages Succeed or Fail (yes, if you are in a relationship you should own a copy).  Our reward for weathering the storm was that we fell even deeper in love and were able to legally marry the following year in 2008 on our 12th anniversary. 

 

As former PFLAG president Sam Thoron says “If you want to have a long happy marriage, don’t leave or die.” Well, I’m proud that we didn’t do either and we were back the next year ready to do it again with feeling and thrilled to say 'I DO' AND GET OUR MARRIAGE LICENSE and this time it stayed valid and is recognized in our state, but not by the feds.  Sadly, Prop 8 passed and the following Valentine’s Day, the marriage license counter was once again shut down for our families!

 

In fact, no same-sex couple in California has had a chance to have a Valentine’s Day wedding (that wasn’t later invalidated) and asking is not enough anymore.

 

We’ve been asking for over a decade and we are denied marriage licenses. For those of who are married, our marriages are not recognized by the federal government (denied 1,138 rights) and other same-sex couples married after Prop 8 passed cannot marry or have their legal marriages recognized in California.

 

We have waited far too patiently and now we are being asked to wait again while the California State court considers the issue of standing sometime in May, with a ruling to be issued sometime months later.

 

I am tired of waiting, tired of asking and being told that they are not going to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Check out these videos to see how wrong this denial is.

 

Valentine’s Day Rallies Across the Globe

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnutEh-EDcU

 

On Valentine’s Day we engaged in a Sit In for Equality.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZYuKWhgFyQ

 

This Valentine’s Day, eighteen of us sat down on the floor in the San Francisco County Recorder’s Office next to the marriage license counter. We faced each other in a circle and clasped hands and began singing “What the World Needs Now is Love Sweet Love!”

 

We were same-sex couples, three lesbian couples, two gay male couples, four ministers, some straight, some LGBT, and four single love warrior activists.

 

The police officers got on the bullhorn and asked for our attention. We were told if we didn’t disperse we would be arrested. We continued to sing. They asked us to leave a second time. We continued to sing.

 

It felt really good, so natural to be sitting on the floor of the marriage license counter and looking into the eyes of my fellow love warriors as we took a stand by sitting down for marriage equality. It was invigorating.

 

We were peaceful, we smiled at one another. We were calm, although a bit nervous, after all, there were 10 cops with plastic right gear handcuffs surrounding us.

 

It felt good just to sing the truth.

 

“What the world needs now is love sweet love, it’s the only thing that there’s just too little of. What the world needs now is love sweet love. No not just for some, but for everyone.” 

 

The truth is some people don’t love us and they don’t see our love as love, don’t see the value or the beauty of the love between two men or two women. But we were lucky that the people who work at San Francisco City Hall do. They’ve seen us year after year, rally after rally. They’ve married some of us in 2004 and 2008. They know how we’ve been harmed by marriage denial and the denial of marriage benefits. One police officer even had to wipe his eyes as did a few of the folks in the sit-in when the cops finally put the cuffs on us and marched us out of the marriage license office.

 

Some people asked, “Was it hard to do it?”

 

I said, “It wasn’t hard at all when the consequences were that I get to be handcuffed to the woman I love.”

 

But once a year is not enough to make much of a difference. Discrimination occurs at the marriage license counter 365 days of the year. What if on tax day, April 15th , LGBT people and allies did sit-ins at the marriage license counter offices around the country?

 

We are denied 1,138 federal rights, our marriages are not recognized in all 50 states, we are unable to marry in all 50states. We are forced to check “single” on our federal tax forms regardless if we are legally married or how many years we’ve been in a committed relationship.

 

What if on April 15th we all got together and walked into our county clerk’s offices and sat down for equality and refused to leave?

 

How many more years are we willing to wait to be full citizens under the law?

 

When will we stand up for what we believe in by shutting down business as usual until we are treated equally by those in the marriage business?

 

Are you ready to turn up the volume on the gay rights movement with peaceful civil disobedience?

 

Are you willing to be arrested for LGBT rights by sitting in for your equality in a non-violent action?

 

What are your thoughts?

 



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Obama Administration Will No Longer Defend DOMA!!!!

Posted On: 2011-02-23 19:13:16

FW: STATEMENT OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL ON LITIGATION INVOLVING THE DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT
Reply-To:
White House Media Affairs Office <
whitehouse-noreply@messages.whitehouse.gov>

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                              AG

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2011                                                             (202) 514-2007

WWW.JUSTICE.GOV                                                                             TDD (202) 514-1888

 

STATEMENT OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL ON LITIGATION INVOLVING THE DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT

 

WASHINGTON – The Attorney General made the following statement today about the Department’s course of action in two lawsuits, Pedersen v. OPM and Windsor v. United States, challenging Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage for federal purposes as only between a man and a woman:

 

In the two years since this Administration took office, the Department of Justice has defended Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act on several occasions in federal court.  Each of those cases evaluating Section 3 was considered in jurisdictions in which binding circuit court precedents hold that laws singling out people based on sexual orientation, as DOMA does, are constitutional if there is a rational basis for their enactment.  While the President opposes DOMA and believes it should be repealed, the Department has defended it in court because we were able to advance reasonable arguments under that rational basis standard. 

 

Section 3 of DOMA has now been challenged in the Second Circuit, however, which has no established or binding standard for how laws concerning sexual orientation should be treated.  In these cases, the Administration faces for the first time the question of whether laws regarding sexual orientation are subject to the more permissive standard of review or whether a more rigorous standard, under which laws targeting minority groups with a history of discrimination are viewed with suspicion by the courts, should apply.

 

After careful consideration, including a review of my recommendation, the President has concluded that given a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimination, classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny.  The President has also concluded that Section 3 of DOMA, as applied to legally married same-sex couples, fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitutional.  Given that conclusion, the President has instructed the Department not to defend the statute in such cases.  I fully concur with the President’s determination.

 

Consequently, the Department will not defend the constitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA as applied to same-sex married couples in the two cases filed in the Second Circuit.  We will, however, remain parties to the cases and continue to represent the interests of the United States throughout the litigation.  I have informed Members of Congress of this decision, so Members who wish to defend the statute may pursue that option.  The Department will also work closely with the courts to ensure that Congress has a full and fair opportunity to participate in pending litigation. 

 

Furthermore, pursuant to the Presidents instructions, and upon further notification to Congress, I will instruct Department attorneys to advise courts in other pending DOMA litigation of the President's and my conclusions that a heightened standard should apply, that Section 3 is unconstitutional under that standard and that the Department will cease defense of Section 3. 

 

The Department has a longstanding practice of defending the constitutionality of duly-enacted statutes if reasonable arguments can be made in their defense.  At the same time, the Department in the past has declined to defend statutes despite the availability of professionally responsible arguments, in part because – as here – the Department does not consider every such argument to be a “reasonable” one.  Moreover, the Department has declined to defend a statute in cases, like this one, where the President has concluded that the statute is unconstitutional. 

 

Much of the legal landscape has changed in the 15 years since Congress passed DOMA.  The Supreme Court has ruled that laws criminalizing homosexual conduct are unconstitutional.  Congress has repealed the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.  Several lower courts have ruled DOMA itself to be unconstitutional.  Section 3 of DOMA will continue to remain in effect unless Congress repeals it or there is a final judicial finding that strikes it down, and the President has informed me that the Executive Branch will continue to enforce the law.  But while both the wisdom and the legality of Section 3 of DOMA will continue to be the subject of both extensive litigation and public debate, this Administration will no longer assert its constitutionality in court.

 

###

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LIVE interactive tele-seminar with Dr. Davina Kotulski and Dr. Isaac Namdar

Posted On: 2011-02-08 00:30:32

Dear Friend,

I’m excited to announce an exclusive LIVE interactive tele-seminar with Dr. Davina Kotulski and Dr. Isaac Namdar!

 

We will be talking about how to survive being outed with dignity AND how to turn the experience into a breakthrough opportunity to make a positive powerful difference in your community!

Join us for this fun and unique opportunity to listen, share, interact and work personally with Davina and Isaac as they talk and answer your questions about coming out, speaking out about love and equality, making a positive powerful difference in your community, building new relationships, and becoming a passionate and committed leader!   

Date: February 8th
Time: 6:00pm PST (9:00pm EST)

 

 

 

 

 

REGISTER NOW

http://www.davinakotulski.com/workshopinfo.php?w=20

Please register early - space is limited.

P.S. Please share this special gift. If you know someone who is in the closet, just coming out, or has been out but wants to make a bigger difference in the world, pay it forward and send this exclusive invite from us to him or her :)

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High of 4 Degrees

Posted On: 2011-02-03 22:19:22

High of 4 degrees

  

When I looked at weather.com this morning to check the report on Denver it said “high of 4, Low -14.” I barely made it out of Texas Monday before a serious storm stopped all air traffic.  Luckily I’m told that it will thaw out by mid-morning. It’s 6:00 AM now.

 

Today I’m speaking at the University of Denver and at a PFLAG meeting. In addition to sharing my book, I’ve been asked to talk about my journey from being a bullied queer youth to a marriage equality leader. This journey is still something that amazes my inner teenager.

 

Love Warriors do all kinds of things for love!

 

Even as Senator Leno acknowledged the part that Molly and I played over the past decade to bring marriage equality and I’m reminded of a host of things we did and said “yes” to including: endless rallies, asking for marriage licenses almost ten years in a row, sitting in court rooms and in the state assembly, lobbying at the state capitol, rallying at the U.S. Capitol, the marriage equality caravan, the tax day protests, even cross-dressing and wearing a wedding dress to raise money for marriage equality, I still have to pinch myself and remind myself “Yep, I did that.” Love Warriors do all kinds of things for love! I tell you that’s what it was about for me. I fell in-love with Molly and I wanted to marry her.

 

There were things that were pure fun too. Like dressing up as Uncle Sam on Halloween, Bingo night and karaoke with the Sister’s of Perpetual Indulgence, meeting incredible people all over the country and world who care about love and justice.

 

Sometimes it’s hard to believe this is my life, that all of those things happened while we worked and lived our lives. It is so much and yet I know we are far from done. In fact, I know that all of those experiences were training to help me hone my public speaking and writing skills.

 

“The work” is far from over.

 

It took until 70% of Americans to support lifting the ban for DADT to be repealed and it was 70% for many years. We only have 44% of Americans supporting marriage equality. That means we need to open the hearts and minds of 34% of Americans before we are likely to see a repeal of DOMA. Some of those folks are LGBTQ.

 

So we need the 44% of us out there who do support marriage equality to help educate and enroll a minimum of 34% of Americans. Shaming them and calling them bigot won’t work. Most people don’t know what’s at stake. They don’t know the harm caused by marriage discrimination.

 

For others, it’s unlearning homophobia. People need support in addressing their fear of homosexuality and LGBTQ people, overt and submerged fears.

 

We need the 44% of Americans who support marriage equality to have heart to heart conversations with the other 66%.

 

No campaign or blockbuster movie, or cool music video or even charismatic leader is going to make the difference. We need the 44% of Americans who support marriage equality, that means you and me, to have heart to heart conversations and educational forums with the other 66%.

 

We can all get engaged to take the level of education to the next level and to eradicate homophobia. We can all become Love Warriors.

 

I invite you to get a copy of my book Love Warriors and send them to friends and family members. It makes a great Happy Valentine’s Day-Hey Mom and Dad I Still Can’t Get Married Gift.

 

Now through Valentine’s Day I’m offering this LOVE WARRIORS MESSENGER SPECIAL

 

 

Buy 4 books and get ONE BOOK FREE!!!!

 

PLUS

-         an MP3  download of my “3 Steps to Come Out of the Closet and Into Your Power!” Tele-seminar

-         LIVE access to my tele-seminar with former Senator Roy Ashburn who will talk about the cost of living in the closet and how his life has changed since being “outed”.

 

and together we can open hearts and minds!

 

BUY NOW

Go to http://www.lovewarriorsthebook.com click on donate and put in $100.

 

Here’s what people are saying about Love Warriors:

 

“I didn’t believe in marriage. I’ve been with my partner for over two decades and I didn’t think we needed marriage. Now I know all the things we’re missing because we can’t be married.” 73 y.o. Lesbian, Arkansas

 

“I consider myself a well-educated person. I had no idea how many rights my child was denied because he is transgender and gay. When I finished reading Love Warriors, I put the book down and joined PFLAG. I’m going to make sure everyone in my family reads this book.” Straight Mom, Connecticut

 

“I’m a marriage equality advocate and I didn’t know half the things that Davina wrote about in Love Warriors. I tell everyone no matter how much they think they know to a get a copy.” Gay Dad, California

 

 

BUY NOW

Go to http://www.lovewarriorsthebook.com click on donate and put in $100.

The good news is that it is actually 25 not 4 degrees.

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Love Warriors 2011 Tour January and February Events

Posted On: 2011-01-24 23:22:40

 Do you want be out, proud and powerful as an LGBT person or a straight ally?

Want to know what to say when someone tells you marriage is not a civil right or that it's against their religion?

Want to be able to make a positive difference in the marriage equality movement and bring more love and equality into the world?

Please join me on my 2011 Love Warriors Tour which kicks off January 26th at Oakland Center for Spiritual Living.  I promise to inspire, educate, and motivate you to bring your heart and soul to the next level needed to secure equal rights for LGBT people across our nation.

Check out the book readings, in person workshops, leadership and coming out tele-seminars, and marriage license counter actions. There is really something for everyone. I look forward to seeing you on the road!

With love and equality for all!

Davina

January 26

 

6:00-8:00 PM

Oakland Center for Spiritual Living

Oakland, CA

Event: Talk -Calling All Love Warriors: How Inclusive Communities of Faith Can Make A Difference in the Marriage Equality Movement Talk

 

January 27

7:00 -9:00 PM

Book Woman

Austin, TX

Event: Love Warriors Book Reading and Workshop

 

January 29

2:00 -4:00 PM

Trinity United Methodist Church

Austin, TX

Event: Workshop- Calling All Love Warriors: How Inclusive Communities of Faith Can Make A Difference in the Marriage Equality Movement

Go to www.davinakotulski.com/workshops to sign up.

 

January 30

10:00 AM-12:30 PM

Cathedral of Hope

Dallas, TX

Event: Meet the Author Love Warriors Book Signing

 

February 1

6:00 PM PST/9:00 EST

Your Phone

Join Davina on the phone for a FREE tele-seminar interview “How to Be Out, Proud and Powerful!” with California’s first openly gay man elected to the California State Senate—Senator Mark Leno, author of the country’s first marriage equality legislation.

Go to www.davinakotulski.com/workshops to sign up.

 

February 3

5:00-6:30 PM

University of Denver

1901 E. Asbury Ave.

Denver, CO

Event: “From Victim of Discrimination to Love Warrior: The Journey Toward Empowerment Talk

 

February 3

PFLAG Denver meeting

7:30-8:30 PM

Montview Presbyterian Church,

1980 Dahlia St. Denver, CO

Event: “How to Be a Love Warrior for Marriage Equality”

 

February 4

8:00- 10:00 PM

Babes Around Denver

Tracks Nightclub,

3500 Walnut St.

Denver, CO

Event: Meet the Author Love Warriors Book Signing

 

February 5

4:00 PM-5:00 PM

Old Firehouse Bookstore

Ft. Collins, CO

 

February 6

1:00-3:00 PM

First Unitarian Society of Denver

Denver, CO

Event: Calling All Love Warriors: How Inclusive Communities of Faith Can Make A Difference in the Marriage Equality Movement Workshop

Go to www.davinakotulski.com/workshops to sign up.

 

February 8

6:00 PM PST/9:00 EST

Your Phone

Join Davina on the phone for a FREE tele-seminar interview “How to Survive Being Outed!” with New York Surgeon Isaac Namdar.

Go to www.davinakotulski.com/workshops to sign up.

 

February 14, 2011

12:00 PM

San Francisco City Hall or your City Hall or County Recorder’s Office

Event: Render Our Love Visible Please join Davina and Molly, Marriage Equality USA and Get Equal as we ask for the right to equal marriage at the marriage license counter. 

 

February 15

7:30 PM
A Different Light Bookstore

San Francisco, CA

Event: Love Warriors Book Reading and Signing

 

February 19

3:00-5:00 PM

Second Wind

San Francisco, CA

Event: Calling All Love Warriors: How Inclusive Communities of Faith Can Make A Difference in the Marriage Equality Movement Workshop

Go to www.davinakotulski.com/workshops to sign up.

 

 

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Love Warriors 2011 Tour January and February Events

Posted On: 2011-01-24 23:22:15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you want be out, proud and powerful as an LGBT person or a straight ally?

Want to know what to say when someone tells you marriage is not a civil right or that it's against their religion?

Want to be able to make a positive difference in the marriage equality movement and bring more love and equality into the world?

Please join me on my 2011 Love Warriors Tour which kicks off January 26th at Oakland Center for Spiritual Living.  I promise to inspire, educate, and motivate you to bring your heart and soul to the next level needed to secure equal rights for LGBT people across our nation.

Check out the book readings, in person workshops, leadership and coming out tele-seminars, and marriage license counter actions. There is really something for everyone. I look forward to seeing you on the road!

With love and equality for all!

Davina

January 26

 

6:00-8:00 PM

Oakland Center for Spiritual Living

Oakland, CA

Event: Talk -Calling All Love Warriors: How Inclusive Communities of Faith Can Make A Difference in the Marriage Equality Movement Talk

 

January 27

7:00 -9:00 PM

Book Woman

Austin, TX

Event: Love Warriors Book Reading and Workshop

 

January 29

2:00 -4:00 PM

Trinity United Methodist Church

Austin, TX

Event: Workshop- Calling All Love Warriors: How Inclusive Communities of Faith Can Make A Difference in the Marriage Equality Movement

Go to www.davinakotulski.com/workshops to sign up.

 

January 30

10:00 AM-12:30 PM

Cathedral of Hope

Dallas, TX

Event: Meet the Author Love Warriors Book Signing

 

February 1

6:00 PM PST/9:00 EST

Your Phone

Join Davina on the phone for a FREE tele-seminar interview “How to Be Out, Proud and Powerful!” with California’s first openly gay man elected to the California State Senate—Senator Mark Leno, author of the country’s first marriage equality legislation.

Go to www.davinakotulski.com/workshops to sign up.

 

February 3

5:00-6:30 PM

University of Denver

1901 E. Asbury Ave.

Denver, CO

Event: “From Victim of Discrimination to Love Warrior: The Journey Toward Empowerment Talk

 

February 3

PFLAG Denver meeting

7:30-8:30 PM

Montview Presbyterian Church,

1980 Dahlia St. Denver, CO

Event: “How to Be a Love Warrior for Marriage Equality”

 

February 4

8:00- 10:00 PM

Babes Around Denver

Tracks Nightclub,

3500 Walnut St.

Denver, CO

Event: Meet the Author Love Warriors Book Signing

 

February 5

4:00 PM-5:00 PM

Old Firehouse Bookstore

Ft. Collins, CO

 

February 6

1:00-3:00 PM

First Unitarian Society of Denver

Denver, CO

Event: Calling All Love Warriors: How Inclusive Communities of Faith Can Make A Difference in the Marriage Equality Movement Workshop

Go to www.davinakotulski.com/workshops to sign up.

 

February 8

6:00 PM PST/9:00 EST

Your Phone

Join Davina on the phone for a FREE tele-seminar interview “How to Survive Being Outed!” with New York Surgeon Isaac Namdar.

Go to www.davinakotulski.com/workshops to sign up.

 

February 14, 2011

12:00 PM

San Francisco City Hall or your City Hall or County Recorder’s Office

Event: Render Our Love Visible Please join Davina and Molly, Marriage Equality USA and Get Equal as we ask for the right to equal marriage at the marriage license counter. 

 

February 15

7:30 PM
A Different Light Bookstore

San Francisco, CA

Event: Love Warriors Book Reading and Signing

 

February 19

3:00-5:00 PM

Second Wind

San Francisco, CA

Event: Calling All Love Warriors: How Inclusive Communities of Faith Can Make A Difference in the Marriage Equality Movement Workshop

Go to www.davinakotulski.com/workshops to sign up.

 

 

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Do you wanna know how to be out, LGBTQ and be a POWERFUL PUBLIC FIGURE?

Posted On: 2011-01-21 18:42:52

 

F*R*E*E* BEING OUT & POWERFUL SEMINAR WITH SENATOR MARK LENO

 

Do you wanna know how to be out, LGBTQ and be a POWERFUL PUBLIC FIGURE?

 

Join California’s first OUT GAY SENATOR-- MARK LENO as he shares his secrets for BEING OUT AND POWERFUL in a FREE tele-seminar with Psychologist and International Life Coach Dr. DAVINA KOTULSKI.

 

Date: February 1, 2011

 

Time: 6:00 PM PST, 8:00 PM CST, and 9:00 PM EST

 

Location: Your Phone!

 

How: Go to http://www.davinakotulski.com/workshopinfo.php?w=13  to register.

 

Registration Required to receive call in #.

 

You’ll learn:

 

How to be an OUT, PROUD, and POWERFUL LEADER!

 

How to MAKE A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE for LGBTQ People.

 

How to BE YOUR REAL SELF and BE IN THE PUBLIC EYE!  

 

COMING OUT TIPS so you can COME OUT and BE POWERFUL!

 

Please join us and share with anyone you know would benefit from this one of a kind LGBTQ Power Tele-Seminar.

 

You can also go to www.davinakotulski.com/workshops to learn more about upcoming workshops, tele-seminars, and events.

 

To learn more about Davina’s upcoming Love Warriors Book Tour and Love Warriors Workshops go to www.lovewarriorsthebook.com

 

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FCKH8-A good idea for a good cause?

Posted On: 2011-01-06 21:00:22

FCKH8-A good idea for a good cause?

 

Is having children yell “fuck you” to people who are against gay marriage on recorded video exploitative of children?

 

Is it helpful to our cause?

 

Should LGBT youth organizations accept money from organizations or individuals who publicly promote under age youth using profanity and hatred?

 

Is FCKH8 a hate group?

 

Is it hypocritical for a group to be against hate and use hateful speech and body language?

 

What value does FCKH8 really bring to the cause of LGBT equality?

 

Do non-profits really need their money?

 

Is this really a “good idea for a good cause” as “charity crusader” Luke Montgomery says?

 

These are all the questions that ran through my head when I received an e-mail about FCKH8 and watched the video.

 

http://fckh8.com/Bullies/

 

The National Organization of Marriage, which was recently deemed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, is now using this video to raise money for its cause, taking away our rights. And FCKH8 is raising money through T-shirt sales and giving it to The Trevor Project and Courage Campaign to name just a few organizations. I spoke with the media spokesperson for Trevor Project and asked about their affiliation with FCKH8. She said that they are not affiliated with FCKH8, but are accepting their donations.

 

What kinds of donations do you not accept? I asked. She said “They don’t accept donations that exploit children.” So my question again is “having children yell ‘fuck you’ to people who are against gay marriage on recorded video exploitative of children?”

 

Should Trevor Project come out with a public statement about FCKH8?

 

Do we change hearts and minds by flipping people off and saying “fuck you?”

 

Dan Savage’s It Gets Better and the Make it Better project which was inspired from it went viral and made a positive difference. FCKH8 seems to have gone viral too as there are a bunch of kids posting to youtube their own FCKU videos.

 

My thoughts-I think these videos are stupid. I think having children in them saying “fuck you” is irresponsible parenting and marketing. I think that this approach is not useful to our cause. It’s like the gay version of Fred Phelps on video. I think in the worst case it’s detrimental to our causes, but hey anyone can make a video and post it these days. I am a donor to the Trevor Project and I think the Trevor Project accepting donations from an organization that raises money with videos advertising a product with kids swearing is poor judgment. Where does the buck stop?

 

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doncharles@gmail.com says:

Your assessment of Luke Montgomery's videos are correct. Any sane person would agree with you. Yet most Gay websites seem to adore everything Montgomery does . . . the cruder the better. What does that tell you about the current level of sanity in the online Gay "community"?

Posted on: 2011-09-27

Playing Keep Away With Our Rights

Posted On: 2011-01-04 23:31:43

In yet another segment of what feels like the never-ending California same-sex marriage struggle, the 9th Circuit Court today declined to answer the question as to whether or not Prop 8 was unconstitutional. Instead they submitted a question to the California Supreme Court seeking clarity as to whether proponents of ballot initiatives have legal standing to defend ballot initiatives if the state refuses to defend those initiatives. In this case, “Protect Marriage” is “defending Prop 8” because former Gov. Schwarzenegger and former Attorney General Jerry Brown, now California Governor and presiding Attorney General Kamala Harris are not defending Prop 8 on behalf of the state because they believe it unconstitutional.

The California Supremes have no deadline on when they need to rule on this case. Bottom-line justice is being delayed.

What could happen next? We wait for several more months for the standing issue to be decided by the California Supremes, something that we thought the 9th Circuit would do. Then whether or not Prop 8 proponents have legal standing, the case will go back to the 9th Circuit to decide if Prop 8 is unconstitutional. Either way this is going to take months and then there is still the possibility that even if the 9th Circuit rules that Prop 8 is unconstitutional the case could continue to be appealed all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. It all feels like a horrible game of “keep away.”

“Let’s keep marriage rights away from the gays.”

California State Supreme Court 2008 “You want this? You want your rights? Come on. Here you go, just kidding!”

Rights passed on to Judge Walker. “You want this? You want your rights? Here, you can have them.”

Stay put in place, rights passed on to 9th Circuit. “Hmm, you want your rights? Here you…psych!” Rights passed back to California State Supreme Court.

This is why I continue to love Gavin Newsom. On Feb 12, 2004 he said “What do we need to do to let same-sex couples have their marriage rights. Change this form to applicant one and applicant two? Cool. Let’s do it.”

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Exciting Love Warriors events in California, Colorado and Texas!

Posted On: 2011-01-03 23:55:27

Stay tuned because these are only 9 of the 25 plus cities of my 2011 Love Warriors Book Tour!

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January 8 12:00 PM- 2:00 PM

Lavender Seniors Hayward, CA

Event: Love Warriors Book Reading

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January 26 6:00-8:00 PM

Oakland Center for Spiritual Living Oakland, CA

Event: Talk -Calling All Love Warriors: How Inclusive Communities of Faith Can Make A Difference in the Marriage Equality Movement Talk

----------------------------------------------

January 27 7:00 -9:00 PM

Book Woman Austin, TX

Event: Love Warriors Book Reading and Workshop

----------------------------------------------

January 29 2:00 -4:00 PM

Trinity United Methodist Church Austin, TX

Event: Workshop- Calling All Love Warriors: How Inclusive Communities of Faith Can Make A Difference in the Marriage Equality Movement

-----------------------------------------------

January 30 10:00 AM-12:30 PM

Cathedral of Hope Dallas, TX

Event: Meet the Author Love Warriors Book Signing

----------------------------------------------

February 3 5:00-7:00 PM

University of Denver 1901 E. Asbury Ave. Denver, CO

Event: “From Victim of Discrimination to Love Warrior: The Journey Toward Empowerment Talk

----------------------------------------------

February 4 PFLAG Denver meeting 6:30-7:30 PM

Montview Presbyterian Church, 1980 Dahlia St. Denver, CO

Event: “How to Be a Love Warrior for Marriage Equality”

----------------------------------------------

February 4 8:00- 10:00 PM

Babes Around Denver Tracks Nightclub, 3500 Walnut St. Denver, CO

Event: Meet the Author Love Warriors Book Signing

----------------------------------------------

February 5 4:00 PM-5:00 PM

Old Firehouse Bookstore Ft. Collins, CO

Event: Love Warriors Reading, Signing, and Q and A

----------------------------------------------

February 6 1:00-3:00 PM

First Unitarian Society of Denver Denver, CO

Event: Calling All Love Warriors: How Inclusive Communities of Faith Can Make A Difference in the Marriage Equality Movement Workshop

----------------------------------------------

February 19 3:00-5:00 PM

Second Wind San Francisco, CA

Event: Calling All Love Warriors: How Inclusive Communities of Faith Can Make A Difference in the Marriage Equality Movement Workshop

----------------------------------------------

March 5 PFLAG Conference 12-1:00 PM

Los Angeles, CA

Event: Davina will be speaking about Love Warriors and the Marriage Equality Movement.

----------------------------------------------

April 29 6:00-8:00 PM

Gallery Books Mendocino, CA

Event: Love Warriors Book Reading, Signing and Q&A.

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May 1 9:00 AM- 11:00 AM

Unitarian Universalist Church Mendocino, CA

Event: Calling All Love Warriors: How Inclusive Communities of Faith Can Make A Difference in the Marriage Equality Movement Workshop

----------------------------------------------

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Seattle Lesbian Exclusive Interview with Dr. Davina Kotulski, Author of Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why it Will Prevail

Posted On: 2010-12-21 15:47:04

She successfully served as the Executive Director of Marriage Equality USA and is the author of Why You Should Give A Damn About Marriage (Advocate Books, 2004) and now, Dr. Davina Kotulski has released the super-intense, easy to understand, straightforward marriage equality book to answer all of those “little” questions family and friends want to know about us and why we care about getting hitched. The book is titled Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why It Will Prevail. After reading Love Warriors and interviewing Dr. Davina Kotulski, we’re certain she is right.

Click Here to Read The Exclusive Seattle Lesbian Interview

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My Speech at UN Plaza on ending the criminalization of homosexuality world-wide!

Posted On: 2010-12-13 02:04:38

The Lakota have a saying “Mitakuye Oysain” –we are all related.

Buddhist Monk, Thich Nhat Hahn, takes about oneness, and Dr. Martin Luther King , Jr. talked about the interrelatedness of life. “I can never be what I ought to be, until you are what you ought to be.”

And that’s why we are here today. Because the harm done to one is harm done to all.

We stand here today at the UN Plaza formed after World War II as an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace.

In the summer of 1992, Alison Marks, a young LGBT identified intern stood on the floor of the UN and read the first introduction to the UN calling for the prevention of discrimination and protection of LGBT people.

Her focus was to address the arbitrary arrest, detention, threats of violence, persecution, and execution of LGBT people citing Article 3 and 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Ms. Marks was a young visionary because she also quoted Article 13 that “Everyone has a right to freedom of movement” drawing attention to the fact that same-sex couples around the world were denied the right to sponsor a same-sex partner for immigration solely based on their sexual oriention and the denial or equal relationship recognition. “The freedom of movement," a right still denied in the United States.

And I note that this is the first year HIV + people can come into the country.

18 years later from the date Ms. Marks read the introduction of LGBT rights on the floor of the UN we have marriage equality in ten countries, two nation’s federal districts, and five states, and over 18 countries recognize the right of an LGBT person to sponsor their same-sex partner for immigration, but I repeat we don’t have that in the US.

And we still have LGBT people in Africa and the Middle East, and parts of Asia who continue to be sent to prison because in their countries homosexuality is a crime punishable by lengthy prison sentences, including life in prison.

And if that weren’t bad enough, in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Nigeria, Yemen, Sudan and Mauritania LGBT people are being executed for who they love.

Under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations has an ethical and moral duty to protect the lives of LGBT citizens of the world and protect them from this tyranny and persecution.

We stand here today because we refuse to let our LGBT brothers and sisters, our fellow LGBT global citizens, be murdered at the hands of their governments for the crime of loving someone of the same-sex.

WE stand here in solidarity with them, knowing that this kind of anti-gay fanaticism can spring up anywhere if unchecked. WE certainly saw it Nazi Germany.

We stand here today to call for an end to laws around the world that criminalize homosexuality.

LGBT people are treated as criminals in Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Jamaica, Guyana, Belize, and dozens of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African countries. They can be thrown in prison for several years for engaging in same-sex behavior.

Just this past May, a same-sex couple having a private wedding ceremony in their home in Malawi were arrested and given a fourteen year prison sentence. Were it not for world-wide outrage these men may have already been beaten and killed in prison. As it was the stress of the arrest and incarceration destroyed their would-be marriage.

The country of Uganda, influenced by U.S. right-wing fundamentalist Christians, continues to try and pass laws to execute LGBT people and give life sentences to people who knowingly hide LGBT people.

We are going backwards and the Religious Right is not only reversing our rights here in California and in the United States. They are on a mission to repeal LGBT rights worldwide. They are radicalizing countries like Uganda with hate and intolerance.

The biggest U.S. export should not be hate!

We’ve got to speak out even louder and do more for LGBT rights globally. We’ve got to be unstoppable in our mission for equality as they are in their mission for intolerance! People’s lives are at stake.

Many of us recall what happened this summer to Nikolia Alekseev, an LGBT activist in Russia.

Were it not for our international intervention, Nikolia would likely be dead or hidden away in some prison.

In 2006, I debated Maggie Gallagher at Brown University. Gallagher as you may know heads up the National Organization of Marriage which has finally been declared what it truly is a mega-million dollar hate group.

The reason Gallagher and her anti-gay group have been able to raise so much money and take away our civil rights wielding lies and misinformation, the reason they are able to be so powerful, is because they are unstoppable in their commitment to hate and discrimination and we must be unstoppable in our commitment to love and equality.

They show up every day, they stay involved, they give money, they go to events.

Our community has got to be more committed. We cannot be content having our rights here at home. We must work for equality for same-sex couples to have the right to sponsor their partners for immigration.

WE must work to end the criminalization of homosexuality around the world and we must end the hate against LGBT people.

In my book Love Warriors, I talk about gay men in Iraq receiving death sentences for belonging to a group called Iraqi LGBT and reports that the Iraqi Militia forcibly removed gay men from their homes and that these men were later found shot through the head, their bodies dumped in isolation, and many found with their “anuses glued shut.”

This must end. There must be a global outcry for equal protection and equal rights for LGBT people and for the decriminalization of homosexuality.

We are trend setters here in San Francisco, are we not? People from across the globe look to and listen to us.

We must have a strong, united voice of solidarity to end the persecution of our LGBT brothers and sisters worldwide.

We must become international love warriors!

To our LGBT brothers and sisters in Uganda, Kenya, Iran, Jamaica and other countries where homosexuality is still a crime. Please know that our hearts go out to you and we will work diligently at home so that you can live and love out loud.

With love from San Francisco!

Davina Kotulski

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TRIAL AND TRIBULATION

Posted On: 2010-12-07 05:11:23

LIBERTY, JUSTICE, AND MARRIAGE EQUALITY FOR ALL

A rally of 100 marriage equality supporters gathered early this morning outside the appellate court holding signs that read “Love and Commitment = Marriage” and wearing heart stickers that read “Liberty, justice, and marriage equality.”

Despite a powerful storm that flooded the city streets the day before, today’s skies were blue with bright beams of sunshine. A Rabbi speaking in support of marriage equality mentioned the holiday Chanukah and how we are bringing in the light for marriage equality. He said that while we cannot light all the candles at once, we as a movement are in between candle 5 and candle 6, (there are 8 candles), indicating that we are almost done lighting the damn candles or that we are bound to have a miracle soon.

Supportive clergy and people of faith from a variety of religious affiliations, PFLAG parents, LGBT youth, children of LGBT parents, same-sex couples who were married in 2004 and/or 2008, and those who are anxiously waiting to wed to hold on to that special guy or gal were all gathered at the steps of the courthouse. They shared their stories about why marriage equality was essential to their well-being and recognition as equal American citizens under law.

At about 8:45 AM, Rev. Jesse Jackson phoned in live from Chicago to declare his support for marriage equality. While he spoke the powerful words I’ve included below, anti-gay protestors screamed “faggot” through a bullhorn that dwarfed our sound system and said that we gay people know “nothing about love, only anal sex.” They also had a free for all attacking Rev. Jackson’s character.

Despite these intrusions, the marriage equality crowd was moved by Jackson’s new commitment to full equal rights for same-sex couples and applauded when he said “If Dr. King and our civil rights movement has taught us anything, it’s the fundamental principle of that all people deserve Equal protection under the law. LGBT people deserve equal rights – including marriage equality – and equal protection under the law. Discrimination against one group of people is discrimination against all of us. The State – and the Courts - should not sanction discrimination.”

YOUR HONOR

At 9:30 AM the court room and two over-flow rooms filled with people-- lawyers, reporters, attentive law students, longtime love warriors and post Prop 8 marriage equality advocates, including a handful of teens from a local GSA.

I sat in an over-flow room with marble walls, tiled mosaics of Lady Justice, multi-colored stained glass sky lights, uncomfortable wooden pews, and two big TV screens. The overflow room overflowed with laughter as Robert Tyler with the Liberty Justice Council, (recently named a hate group, by the Southern Poverty Law Center), evaded Judge Hawkins questions.

“You’re repeating yourself now.” Judge Hawkins said.

Judge Hawkins is one of three judges who heard oral arguments today on the Prop 8 Case.

Briefly- Judge Hawkins, Phoenix, Arizona, appointed by President Bill Clinton. Judge Reinhardt, Los Angeles, California appointed by President Jimmy Carter. Judge Smith, Pocatello, Idaho appointed by George W. Bush.

I have to say I was enjoying Robert Tyler floundering to make his point about how he believed a county clerk had the right to implement her personal prejudice at her government job. I loved it when the Judge said to the effect “How long would an employee last at a job when they refused to do what their boss asked them to do?”

But then I got uncomfortable when the judges asked our attorney David Boies about the fact that if Prop 8 was lifted it would only affect county clerks in Alameda and Los Angeles Counties where the plaintiffs were from and suggested that a “class action law suit” might have been a better approach. One judge implied that in order to enforce the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples by all 58 county clerks it would mean returning to the California State Supreme Court and that’s when I may have hit myself in the head.

I’m just gonna trust that these lawyers knew what they were doing.

TOP TEN

For those poly sci majors and law students that were unable to attend, here are the top 10 cases mentioned today.

Plessy v. Ferguson, Brown v. Board, Loving v. Virginia, Crawford v. Washington, Romer v. Evans, Griswald v. Connecticut, Lawrence v. Texas, Turner v. Safley, (and they don’t know to pronounce it either), in re Marriage Cases, and the case that started it all for us same-sex couples Baker v. Nelson.

And your bonus, one I’ve never heard of, the Valley Forge Christian College Case.

Needless to say, the three hour hearing was action packed and difficult to follow for those of us who never went to law school. What is easy to report on is how amazing our litigators Ted Olson and Therese Stewart are. They both received wild applause from the observers in the overflow rooms for their succinct arguments for equal protection and constitutional guarantees for all.

Let us hope that justice is swift so our people can wed again in California or so that we can take this fight to the highest court in the land and eradicate these bans once and for all!

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info@marriageequality.org says:

Check out Urvi Nagrani's photos of today's events at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/United-Random-Visions-Inc/109764695714996?v=wall#!/album.php?aid=2084433&id=1047210015

Posted on: 2010-12-06

REV. JESSE JACKSON TO SPEAK OUT AGAINST PROP 8

Posted On: 2010-12-04 03:40:24

REV. JESSE JACKSON TO SPEAK OUT AGAINST PROP 8

Back in 1990, when I was 20 years old and a college senior, I was thrilled at the opportunity to shake the sweaty hand of Rev. Jesse Jackson after he spoke at Portland State University about equality and civil rights. As a butch lesbian, I’d had plenty of opportunities to feel the sting of discrimination in the workplace and hate speech directed at me on the streets, on campus and throughout the city.

So I was particularly disheartened when I heard that Rev. Jackson did not initially support marriage equality, as reported in 2004, following Gavin Newsom’s issuance of marriage licenses in San Francisco and the Massachusetts Supreme Court decision to allow same-sex couples the right to marry.

But as times change, minds change, and Marriage Equality USA Media Director Molly McKay has announced that Rev. Jackson has reached out to make supportive remarks for marriage equality to those gathered outside the court house and beyond as we wait for the 9th Circuit to review Judge Walker’s decision declaring Proposition 8 unconstitutional.

On Monday, December 6, 2010 from 7:30am - 9:30am, Marriage Equality USA is co-hosting a Pre-Prop 8 Hearing Community Gathering at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Courthouse at 7th St and Mission. Rev. Jackson is scheduled to broadcast his supportive remarks for marriage equality and the Repeal of Prop 8 from Chicago via his cell phone to the sound system set up outside the courthouse.

This is an exciting development as Rev. Jackson, who joins a growing number of esteemed national African American civil rights leaders including Congressman John Lewis, Rev. Al Sharpton, and Presidential Candidate Carol Mosley-Braun, speaking out in vocal support of marriage equality for same-sex couples.

Tune in to my tweets as we hear from this important Rainbow Coalition Leader and hear his stand for equality for all!

I will be at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Courthouse and blogging live at www.davinakotulski.com about the gathering and the proceedings.

A GATHERING OF ANOTHER KIND

According to a Reuters Africa article, last month the majority of United Nations delegates voted to 79 to 70 to “delete from a resolution condemning unjustified executions a specific reference to killings due to sexual orientation.” Thankfully the United States was not one of those delegates that voted for its deletion. However the U.S. delegates could have voted against the final resolution, but they abstained instead.

Activists across the globe are calling for protests to raise awareness of this anti-gay vote from the United Nations. There will be two protests in the United States. One in New York near the UN headquarters and the other at the San Francisco UN Plaza since the UN was chartered in San Francisco. Bay Area Activist Michael Petrelis feels that this is an important way LGBT people and our allies can honor International Human Rights Day and encourages LGBT people outside of California and New York to host their own international speak out.

WIN A LOVE WARRIORS BOOK

On a lighter note, don’t forget to go to my Love Warriors Facebook page for a chance to win your very own autographed copy of Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why It Will Prevail

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GAY IS GOOD AND COMING OUT IS POWERFUL!

Posted On: 2010-11-27 22:28:18

An Attitude of Gratitude

We still have such a long way to go before LGBTQ people are equal global citizens, but 'tis the season to count ones blessings and I want to recap how all love warriors can have an attitude of gratitude this holiday season as we continue to advocate for equality under the law and equal dignity and respect.

This year marriage equality became law in Washington, DC, Mexico City, MX, Portugal...

Click to continue reading

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Put the “Gay” Back in the Marriage Debate

This month I had the chance to the guest blogger on the Petralis Files. Michael Peteralis’s Blog is the VETERAN GAY AND AIDS HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATE.

Here’s what he had to say:

“The other day I exchanged emails with Davina Kotulski, Ph.D., longtime gay marriage advocate who's been involved with the Marriage Equality USA org and married to activist Molly McKay, about how we don't hear "gay is good" enough, if at all, from our professional advocacy groups and leaders. Davina told me she has a "Gay Is Good" sticker on her car, and I asked her to write up a guest column, addressing the need to clearly say the word gay in our marriage campaigns.

RISE UP LOVE WARRIORS

CLICK HERE TO READ RISE UP LOVE WARRIORS

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Out Politician Tells Her Story

Join me December 1st with Oakland’s youngest and first openly lesbian City Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan for a one-of-a-kind FREE coming out teleseminar where Rebecca a will share her secrets for being an “out and proud” public figure!

What better way to kick of Chanukah then with two dynamic Butch Jewish Lesbians sharing their Tips on Being Out and Powerful. And it’s FREE. If that’s not a miracle I don’t know what is. There are a limited number of call-in lines, so register now! HURRY!

Click Here to Register Now

Date: December 1, 2010

Time: 2:30PM Pacific Standard Time/ 5:30PM Eastern Standard Time

Location: Your Phone

Register now to get call-in details.

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Give the Gift of Equality

The Love Warriors Book makes a wonderful holiday gift for veteran marriage equality supporters and those still on the fence.

ORDER LOVE WARRIORS NOW

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But hey, don’t take my word for it—check out these NEW reviews on Barnes and Nobles!

Barnes and Noble’s Love Warriors Reviews- Five Stars

The Quintessential Book on Marriage Equality

“Dr. Davina Kotulski has written the quintessential book on marriage equality! Every reader of this outstanding book will be able to intelligently discuss the personal and political barriers and triumphs to this world-wide civil rights movement. Buy a copy of Love Warriors for yourself, your family, co-workers, and friends. Education is the gift that keeps on giving!” --Laurie York

Becoming a Warrior

"Marriage is not just a word. It's a word embedded in a whole cultural system that we are at once asked to participate in, yet be excluded from enjoying ourselves." Davina Kotulski's book, Love Warriors, delivers a passionate message to the eyes and ears of equality activists. Her writing is engaging and reminds readers that at the heart of fighting for marriage equality is the basic respect and dignity for all humans. Her powerful words elicit a pure emotional response of willful anger and determination. After reading this enlightening testament of love you will feel full of spirit and guidance towards taking action. Kotulski's book is a complete package beginning with crucial information containing a witty and flavorful touch. She directs…” --E Brennan

Read entire Barnes and Noble’s Love Warriors Reviews- Five Stars

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TUCK AND PATTI And if that wasn’t enough good news to share already, it thrills me to no end to have had the opportunity to give the inspiring musical husband and wife duo Tuck and Patti a copy of my new book.

Tuck and Patti wrote the song Love Warriors that inspired the title of my book and they played the 2004 National Marriage Equality Rally in Washington, DC for free. They are huge marriage equality supporters!

Here’s my happy photo, as one friend said, a love sandwich with me in the middle!

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Thank you friends, readers, and love warriors for all of your support!

Dr. Davina Kotulski

Psychologist, Motivational Life Coach, and Author of Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage (2004) and Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why it Will Prevail (2010)

DavinaKotulski.com

lovewarriorsthebook.com

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FREE- Come Out Into Your Power Tele-Seminar Interview with Rebecca Kaplan

Posted On: 2010-11-26 18:17:12

FREE- Come Out Into Your Power Tele-Seminar Interview with Rebecca Kaplan

Time: Wednesday, December 1st, 2:30pm - 3:30pm

Location: TELE-SEMINAR

Click Here to Register Now

Join Dr. Davina Kotulski for this exciting and FREE tele-seminar where Rebecca Kaplan will share her secrets for being an “out and proud” public figure!

Rebecca Kaplan serves as Oakland's sole at-large City Councilmember. In November of 2008, she was elected as the youngest and first openly lesbian Oakland City Councilmember. Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, holds a Master of Arts in Urban & Environmental Policy from Tufts University, and a Juris Doctorate from Stanford Law School.

Click Here to Register Now and receive the call-in information.

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LOVE WARRIORS BOOK LAUNCH, ON THE RADIO, AND GOOD REVIEWS

Posted On: 2010-11-16 00:05:44

LOVE WARRIORS OFFICAL BOOK LAUNCH A HUGE SUCCESS!

I’m so pleased to report that my official Oakland Laurel District Book Launch was a huge success. It was great to see my friends and fellow love warriors and am so grateful for those of you who traveled from Southern and Central California to join me for the launch. I’m also grateful for my friends at the Oakland Center for Spiritual Living who did a book blessing for Love Warriors. It was a very special event.

ON THE RADIO

Ali Berlin, a relationship coach, writer, and the radio host of Alive with Ali Berlin interviewed me November 10 about my new book: Love Warriors. Ali is a huge supporter of marriage equality which made the interview that much more enjoyable to do and now to listen to. Click on the link and listen in.

Ali Berlin Show

PRAISES FOR LOVE WARRIORS

The reviews are starting to come out for Love Warriors and they are positive.

Here’s is a snippet from David Alex Nahmod reviewer for the San Francisco Bay Area Reporter Published 11/11/10:

“Kotulski covers a lot of ground in her meticulously researched work. In spite of the heaviness of the subject matter, Love Warriors is an easy read. It's a scholarly book, yet the historian never lectures her readers. The book comes across more like a friendly conversation, and could theoretically be used in public education campaigns.”

Click here to read the BAR Review

Here’s another from Amos Lassen Eureka Springs, Arkansas October 6, 2010

“Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why It Will Prevail” tells us everything we need to know about winning marriage equality. It is the perfect guidebook, resource manual and explanation of the marriage issue and it is a must read for those who care about justice and equality. It is a powerful read that is an educative tool and the amount of research that the author has done is nothing short of amazing. It has my highest recommendation.”

Click here to read the Eureka Pride Review

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF LOVE WARRIORS?

I want to know what you think of the book, so please post your own reviews on www.Amazon.com and www.bn.com.

GIVE THE GIFT OF EQUALITY

Looking for what to get folks for the holidays? Send them a copy of Love Warriors. You can purchase the book online at The Official “Love Warriors” Book Website Amazon.com, BarnesandNobles.com or from your local book seller. It makes a great stocking stuffer! Guess what my family is getting for Hanukkah and Christmas?

LOVE WARRIORS AND LOVE WARRIORS

I’m so excited to be home for Thanksgiving this year. No, it’s not what you think. It’s not that I don’t want to spend time with my parents or in-laws. It’s because my idols, the original love warriors, Tuck and Patti will be playing at San Francisco Yoshi’s over the holidays. Tuck and Patti are the dynamic, husband and wife, musical duo who coined the term Love Warriors. If you have not heard their song, I strongly recommend that you check it out. http://www.tuckandpatti.com.

LOVE WARRIORS BOOK TOUR 2011

Now that the book has been launched and blessed, I’m planning my 20+ city book tour for 2011. If you think you would be interested in having a Love Warriors event in your area please contact me and let me know. I’m looking for supportive congregations and temples, universities, LGBT centers, book stores, or anywhere else we could create a greater listening for marriage equality. If you’d like to support the cause you can also go to DavinaKotulski.com and click on donate. Your donation will not be tax-deductible, but it will help make a difference for marriage equality.

Wishing you abundance, peace, and equality under the law!

Davina

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sidneytrifkin@gmail.com says:

This is really fantastic news! Congratulations and keep it up!!

Posted on: 2010-11-16

MARRIAGE EQUALITY IN THE OZARKS

Posted On: 2010-11-02 16:51:09

MARRIAGE EQUALITY IN THE OZARKS

Molly and I just got back from our Southern Fried vacation in Northwest Arkansas. We started in Bentonville home of Wal-Mart, and drove down to Fayetteville home of the U of A Razorbacks and the Northwest Arkansas Center for Equality. I’m told it is the only LGBT center in Arkansas and an all-volunteer one at that.

I conducted a “5 Secrets of Being A Love Warrior Workshop” and signed copies of my new book Love Warriors the Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why It Will Prevail while Molly signed up some new Marriage Equality USA members and gave a presentation on “How to Make A Lasting Impression With the Media.”

About 25 people attended and shared stories of being denied benefits that spouses automatically get with marriage. One woman had her child taken away from her because she was a lesbian. Arkansas has an anti-gay marriage amendment and an anti-gay adoption amendment as well. Another woman spoke of her lesbian daughter who was bullied so badly she dropped out of school. Mind you, this is the state where the school board member last week said that he hoped “all those fags and queers commit suicide.”

TOE IN THE DOOR

Everyone at the Fayetteville event wanted marriage rights but there was a feeling that there is little they could do. I spoke with them about passing non-binding resolutions at their local human rights commissions and city councils. Non-binding resolutions, which I talk about and include a sample of in my new book Love Warriors, are one way to get people in dialogue about marriage equality, to see us and hear our stories, and to get politicians to take pro-active steps towards supporting us.

Yes, these votes are symbolic, but they put people on record, so we know who pays us lip service and who really will go to bat for us, and it creates that “toe-in-the-door” strategy that sociologists talk about. Once you ask for something from someone and they say “yes” and move towards it, it will be easier to ask them for something else the next time around. Also, it’s going to give politicians and human rights board members a chance to really make a difference.

NON-BINDING

Non-binding resolutions were something we began doing all over California in 2003-2005, a couple of years after we began going to counter-clerks and asking for marriage licenses. It was really interesting to see how it played out, especially when some human rights commissioners failed to see LGBT people as human and in need of having equal rights. In those cases, Molly encourages you to attend your city council meeting and sign up to speak during the public education portion about why LGBT people need equal protection under the law. Feel free to take a copy of the book and read from it if you are shy on talking points.

Ultimately to win, we must win in the court of public opinion and at the U.S. Supreme Court level and the only way to do that is if we do our part to speed up public acceptance. As we have clearly see, even when the courts or legislature affirm our constitutional rights to marriage, if the court of public opinion is not on our side, our constitutional rights will go up for a popularity contest.

After our Fayetteville marriage equality teach and preach, we drove to Eureka Springs, the San Francisco of the South, complete with Victorian Houses, a mini-Golden Gate Bridge, and tons of Gay People.

DIVERSITY LET IT BE

Three times a year Eureka Springs is home to Diversity Days. LGBT, and Q of all kinds, come to Eureka Springs form Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Alabama and even Texas to enjoy Pride in the Ozarks. Let Diversity be.

Festivities begin with a Meet and Greet at the Pizza Bar on Main St. Hosted by “would be married” couple, Lorrie and Sunday, also known as the Pizza Sluts. Lorrie and Sunday also hosted a book signing for me and fed the traveling hungry love warriors (yes, I fell off, my “no flour” diet).

The first Saturday of Diversity Days is PDA (Public Display of Affection) Day at Basin Springs Park. We wore feather boas and Viking hats, compliments of Sparky from Little Rock who hosts the annual kiss in. There was one protestor, a biblical biker, whom everyone knew on a first name basis. I guess he goes every year. In the background, what could only be described as an Ozark Jug band by this Yankee, fiddled, picked, strummed, showed off their foot-long beards and in between songs talked about appreciating diversity and letting everyone be them selves. A PFLAG Mom held up a sign that said, “Straight, sane, not narrow or mean.” She was giving out hugs.

That afternoon, I read as part of a literary event of local Arkansas talent. Amos Lassen read from a book chronicling Eureka Springs’ gay history. Paul Harris read from his book about being trapped in the superdome during Hurricane Katrina, and Bryan Borland, a young gay poet from Little Rock, read his gay coming of age poems. He held the audience spell-bound.

I read from Love Warriors about Bill and Robert, a San Francisco couple who were on vacation when Robert fell ill and ended up in the emergency room. I shared the ugly truth that their “domestic partnership” and power of attorney back home were not enough to allow Bill the dignity to be at Robert’s bedside and hold his hand when he died. I spoke about the 1,138 federal rights we are denied because of whom we love and the heartaches that lie ahead of us if we don’t change the laws. I know Debbie Downer. But this isn’t going to go away on its own.

WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW

The next day Molly and I spoke at the UU Church in Eureka Springs. I spoke about how to talk with people who seem to be completely shut down to equality for LGBT people. We discussed strategies to open hearts and minds. Molly led a beautiful rendition of “What the World Needs Now” with the congregation who spontaneously harmonized. It was a beautiful church with sunshine spilling in from the big windows that looked out onto the dogwoods. It was a glorious morning.

LOVE IS LOVE

We topped off our Southern Fried Marriage Equality Vacation with an evening of Big Bad Gina, an all-girl-loving-girl band from Fayetteville who sang a beautiful song about Love Makes a Family and did an unforgettable cover of Sweet Transvestite From Transylvania. It was good, clean fun!!! Well at least until they played their last song--“I’ll hold you up,” then things got a little unpredictable.

IT IS NOT INEVITABLE

During the trip a lot of people said “Well, it (marriage equality) will happen some day.” Or “It’s inevitable.” I assure you marriage equality across the country will only happen in our life time if we stand up and speak out for it. It will never be handed to us. Even in California, where the legislature passed a marriage equality bill in 2005 and 2007 and the courts ruled in 2008 that marriage was our constitutional right, on November 4, 2008 a 4% majority were able to take that right away from us. Exactly, two years later, same-sex couples still cannot legally marry in California and Prop 8 is still in effect. It is not inevitable.

We must speak out for marriage equality whether we are in San Francisco or Little Rock! We must stand up for marriage and stay committed to marriage, even when they offer us cheap substitutes like domestic partnerships. We must become Love Warriors!

Get a copy of my new book Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why It Will Prevail and starting changing hearts and minds today!

Go to www.lovewarriorsthebook.com

Special thanks to my wife, Molly McKay, Mildred Meyer, Mark "Sparky" Wetzell, Amos Lassen, Bryan Borland, Jean Elderwind, Elizabeth LittlePage, Kathy Benton, Jane Tucker, and Bryan, Jem, and everyone else who made the trip a success.

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Matthew Shepard, National Coming Out Day, and Marriage Equality Looking Back

Posted On: 2010-10-11 21:05:28

Matthew Shepard, National Coming Out Day, and Marriage Equality Looking Back

On the anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s death in 2004, me and 43 other marriage equality activists, stood at the Fireside Lounge, the bar where Matthew Shepard was last seen alive.

We were crossing the country on a bus tour that I co-led called the Marriage Equality Express. Many of us had been married in San Francisco earlier that year and had our marriage licenses invalidated by the courts. We were stopping in towns all across America reaching out to our fellow citizens about why we needed and wanted the right to marry and the access to those 1,138 federal and state rights.

Some of us were in bi-national relationships and needed immigration rights like Martha McDevitt-Pugh who is exiled to the Netherlands, legally married there, able to bring her dog back to the USA, but not her wife. Some were LGBT veterans who were denied the right to serve openly and give their unrecognized spouses veteran’s benefits. Others needed health insurance, social security, all of us needed equal respect and equal rights. There were also PFLAG parents and UU ministers with us.

We were headed for DC for the first ever Marriage Equality Rally at the U.S. Capitol which was held six years ago today on National Coming Out Day. You may have never heard about it because it was not supported by the major LGBT orgs fearing we would get Bush elected if we spoke out for our rights. Click the link below to read more about the DC rally.

October 12, 2004 "Marriage equality caravan joins spirited rally in D.C.Tired but happy, couples renew vows" Marriage Equality Caravan and Marriage Equality DC Rally

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/archive/2004/10/12/MNGO497KFT1.DTL

Anyway, one of the places we stopped was Laramie, Wyoming. We visited the University Matthew attended and we shared our hearts with the students. Some initially hostile, began crying as we told them why we needed equality.

Dave O'Malley, the sheriff who investigated Matthew’s murder joined us on the bus and told us about how he had been against gay people until he saw what happened to Matthew and began talking to other LGBT people in the Laramie Community. He began weeping that he was sorry he had hurt us with his prejudice and that he wanted us to know that he loved us and he was working to change the laws. It was so powerful it brings tears to my eyes now.

Some of us, including me, shared our own experiences of being victims of hate crimes. It was painful, but important. Then we drove to the Fireside Lounge where Matthew was last seen alive.

When we arrived it was a beautiful sunny day. We stood in a circle to honor Matthew. We prayed that hate crimes against LGBT people would end and as we stood there, the sky turned dark and hail poured from the sky. When we were done praying and singing, the sky lightened again. We felt Matthew was shedding tears with us. It was surreal.

You can read more about it from the perspective of the SF Chronicle reporter who covered the caravan at

http://articles.sfgate.com/2004-10-07/bay-area/17450816_1_gay-marriage-gay-student-dave-o-malley

Here we are in 2010. We’ve finally passed the hate crimes bill, but we lag behind in so many other things. I’m grateful that marriage equality exists in a few pockets of the country, but it’s not enough. We need more people to stand up for equality. We need to put an end to bullying and violence against LGBT people. We need more people to come out and straight allies to come out. And we need to acknowledge our own incredible courage for living our lives out loud. Thank you for your courage.

To learn more about the Marriage Equality Express 2004 go to:

October 8, 2004 "Tension Grips Caravan" Marriage Equality Caravan Marriage Equality Riders talk about experiencing hate crimes

http://articles.sfgate.com/2004-10-08/bay-area/17446520_1_laramie-bar-matthew-shepard-gay-student

October 12, 2004 "Marriage equality caravan joins spirited rally in D.C.Tired but happy, couples renew vows" Marriage Equality Caravan and Marriage Equality DC Rally

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/archive/2004/10/12/MNGO497KFT1.DTL

Or "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriage_Equality_Express"

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Looking at Gay Marriage Review of Love Warriors by Amos Lassen 10/6/10

Posted On: 2010-10-07 14:39:26

Looking at Gay Marriage Review by Amos Lassen 10/6/10

Gay marriage is all over the news now and frankly, I never thought I would see this happen. I was not sure how I feel about the issue and Dr. Davina Kotulski, an internationally recognized gay marriage advocate and psychologist, in her new book, “Love Warriors”. carefully looks at gay marriage and gives me a lot to think about.

Is marriage a civil right and are we, the members of the GLBT community, entitled to that right like all other Americans? Kotulski gives us some new interviews from the leaders in the marriage equality issue and we, indeed, get the case as to why GLBT people are entitled to the same marriage rights as everyone else. She also shares what she has learned during the fight as well as provides us with strategies that we can use in order to win those rights.

One of the biggest problems that I have, and I know I am not alone, is how do I answer someone who says to me that marriage equality does not belong in the realm of civil rights or even that it is forbidden by religion. Kotulski gives us how to respond. She deals head-on with the issues and if we follow what is written here, there should be no questions that go unanswered.

Kotulski has divided the book into eight sections: “Law and History”, “Money”, “Health and Family”, “International Marriage Equality”, “Strategy”, “Community Voices and Allies”, “Intersections of Marriage Discrimination: and “Repealing DOMA and Prop 8” and we see that she leaves no stone unturned. In chapter eight she includes questions for book club discussions (but they could be for any discussion, a list of available resources and two samples of gender neutral marriage ceremonies as well as a “non-binding resolution for marriage equality”. There is also an appendix on “No to Prop 8 Commercials”. I doubt that there is a more complete book on the subject available. This book also speaks directly to the man/woman on the street and it is totally readable and written in a style that will appeal to all.

It is never too early to begin the lobby for marriage equality and there are many, many hints here on how to do just that. People have nothing to fear about same sex marriage and it is up to us to convince them that this is true. To insure equal rights for all people, we, the members of the GLBT community, must develop and exercise clout. To expand human rights to uphold the values that this nation was created upon and now we really have the chance to do so.

I will state it once again, “Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why It Will Prevail” tells us everything we need to know about winning marriage equality. It is the perfect guidebook, resource manual and explanation of the marriage issue and it is a must read for those who care about justice and equality. It is a powerful read that is an educative tool and the amount of research that the author has done is nothing short of amazing. It has my highest recommendation.

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My hard-hitting Marriage Equality Manifesto--Love Warriors has arrived!

Posted On: 2010-09-27 20:49:09

After Prop 8 passed I couldn't help feeling that it was somehow my fault, like couldn't I have done more. I raised money, I went door to door in my neighborhood, I went to farmer's markets and cultural fairs and held signs and handed out stickers. But it just wasn't enough.

It wasn't enough because I watched helpless as the ads created by the official Prop 8 campaign failed to use psychology in our favor and worse yet, did not seem conscious of the internalized homophobia broadcasting across the television screen.

As a psychologist there are some things that seem basic to me - things like cognitive dissonance, appealing to people's emotions over their intellect, and deconstructing language to see what message is really getting sent.

After rallying in the streets and in Sacramento post November 4th, I knew it was time to get busy and that I had a message to send.

My first book Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage came out in 2004, days before Gavin Newsom ignited an international firestorm for marriage equality.

Before Newsom's courageous act, I spent a lot of time arguing with my fellow LGBTQ brethren about why we needed equal marriage rights. Believe me it was not a lot of fun. We are a bitch to argue with. Queer people have so many damn opinions about marriage and the freakin' patriarchy, and sexual liberation. And it's not like I didn't have opinions about the patriarchy and gay lib too, but after realizing what we were being denied by being denied marriage rights I was enlightened.

I was enlightened by horror stories of queer couples being denied the right to visit one another in the hospital or to make burial decisions when a love one passed, unrecognized parents being kicked out of their children's lives, the poorer partner losing everything when a relationship soured, queer police officers being denied the right to their partner's pension, etc. I got enlightened and wrote a book about it so I didn't have to argue the same five points over and over again, but had something more powerful and potent to help you all get pissed off enough and what we were being denied that you would want your marriage license and your wedding cake too!

But in 2008, we were facing a different animal and unprepared. So after I licked my Prop 8 wounds, I got busy writing. And after a long wait, made even longer by the financial difficulties the gay press is facing, (I will not name names), my next book/manifesto Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why It Will Prevail is here and serving up some hot new talking points, lessons in psychology, kick ass quotes from fearless civil rights leaders like Senator Mark Leno (D-CA), Dolores Huerta Co-Founder United Farm Workers, Congressman John Lewis (D-GA), Rev. Jimmy Creech, Rev. Troy Perry, Ed Fallon (Former Iowa State Rep) and much, much more.

I'd love to tell you more, but I can't turn this blog into shameless self-promotion. So see for yourself.

Go to
The Official “Love Warriors” Book Website

or ask your local independent bookstore to carry a copy.

Sign my guestbook for a chance to win a FREE copy of Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why It Will Prevail

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SPECIAL "HOW TO COME OUT OF THE CLOSET AND INTO YOUR POWER IN FOUR WEEKS!" TELE-SEMINAR SERIES

Posted On: 2010-09-17 19:17:35

"HOW TO COME OUT OF THE CLOSET AND INTO YOUR POWER IN FOUR WEEKS!"

Four Week Tele-Seminar Series

You’ll Learn:

  • The Most Important Secret to Coming Out!
  • How to Talk to People with CONFIDENCE About Who You Are So They’ll Want to Accept You!
  • How to Feel Great About Yourself for Who You Are Regardless of Other People’s Responses
  • How to BREAKTHROUGH the Closet Door!
  • What to Say When Someone Tells You--“It’s Just a Phase” or “You Can Change.”
  • SPECIAL OFFER

    $97 IF YOU REGISTER BY SEPT. 18

    REGULARLY $297

    FOUR WEEK TELE-SEMINAR SERIES STARTS: SEPTEMBER 23, 2010 AT 7:00 PM PACFIC STANDARD TIME/10:00 PM EASTERN STANDARD TIME

    Click here to register for the Four Week Tele-seminar Series

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WE MUST MARCH BECAUSE WE CAN

Posted On: 2010-09-16 20:23:09

WE MUST MARCH BECAUSE WE CAN

On September 15th I received an e-mail that my fellow marriage equality colleague, Nikolai Alekseev founder of Marriage Equality Russia was arrested yesterday by the new KGB.

Nikolai is GUILTY of the following: trying to register a non-profit organization named MARRIAGE EQUALITY RUSSIA because gay marriage is a crime and he is trying to create an organization that supports criminal behavior-gay marriage. Nikolai was also trying to organize a protest for gay people, which is also a crime in Moscow where he lives. Nikolai was taken from an airplane that was heading to Geneva and has not been formally charged with anything. As of yet little information is leaking out.

Marriage Equality USA and other activist organizations are contacting the Russian Embassies and Consulates and demanding that action be taken to protect Nikolai and that all human rights violations against LGBT people in Russia be stopped immediately.

I am marching on September 26th with Marriage Equality USA for equal marriage rights and in solidarity with the brave individuals of Marriage Equality RUSSIA who are standing up for equality and putting their lives on the line in countries where being gay is still a crime.

We must march because we can. Our LGBTQ predecessors in the United States, people like Harvey Milk, Del and Phyl Lyon-Martin, Harry Hay, Bayard Rustin, and many more devoted their lives to create a “gay-friendly” America. NCLR, Lambda Legal, and the ACLU among other groups worked hard to overturn laws that made us criminals in our own bedrooms.

I invite you to exercise your FREEDOM to be QUEER and PROUD and to join Marriage Equality USA on September 26th in San Francisco, Brooklyn, Albany, (or anywhere else you can find a bridge) and march for global marriage equality and in solidarity with our imprisoned colleague, Nikolia Alekseev, of Marriage Equality Russia.

To find out more about Marriage Equality USA’s wedding march go to www.marriageequality.org.

To read more about Marriage Equality Russia go to http://www.marriageequality.ru

If you feel inclined, please keep Nikolai in your thoughts, share his story with everyone you know, and contact all of your Russian friends and phone the Russian Embassies and Consulates and ask them to release Nikolai Alekseev.

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FREE Tele-Seminar “3 STEPS TO COME OUT OF THE CLOSET AND INTO YOUR POWER!”

Posted On: 2010-09-12 21:24:21

Harvey Milk once said that if everyone came out of the closet the gay rights movement would be over and we could all go home. Because coming out is so powerful! In fact, research continues to show that the people who know LGBTQ people are more likely to support our equality at the ballot box, in the board rooms when they make policies, in the halls of justice, and in the statehouses where they pass laws that affect our well-being.

The more LGBTQ people straight people know the harder it is for them to vote against us. Think of San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders who changed his mind and voted in support of marriage equality or Simon Salinas who was approached by a LGBT headed family and was asked to support the marriage equality in the California Assembly. Marie Osmond is a new Mormon straight ally speaking out for equal rights for LGBTQ people because her daughter came out as a lesbian.

Our coming out and our straight allies coming out for our equality is powerful! While we are waiting on politicians or judges to make important decisions that will impact our lives we can do our part by coming out every chance we get. That’s why I’m offering a FREE Tele-Seminar “3 STEPS TO COME OUT OF THE CLOSET AND INTO YOUR POWER!” this Thursday September 16th at 7:00 PM PST/9:00 PM CST/10:00 PM EST. Registration is FREE when you register no later than September 14.

Go to www.davinakotulski.com/workshops and click on “3 STEPS TO COME OUT OF THE CLOSET AND INTO YOUR POWER!” Or
Click here to register

You’ll learn how you can be a more powerful advocate for marriage equality! By learning how to:

  • Feel Confident Speaking Your Truth!
  • Move Beyond the Fear and Judgment of Others.
  • Feel Great About Yourself Regardless of Other People’s Responses
  • Avoid Painful Mistakes When Talking About Being LGBTQ.
  • Please join me on September 16th and step into your power!

Click here to register

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Wars always have tragic consequences 9-2-10

Posted On: 2010-09-02 20:23:13

Wars always have tragic consequences. Over 4,400 American soldiers were killed during the 7 years of combat missions in Iraq. Thousands more were wounded. These men and women dedicated their lives to defend and serve our country which is self-sacrificing, even if I don’t agree 100% with their choices or the choices of our former President to go to war in the first place.

You can be sure that among those soldiers who were injured or died in battle were LGBT Americans. Americans, who because of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy, sacrificed their personal freedom of expression to be a part of our nation’s military.

Over 1,000 LGBT servicemembers expelled!

In the 20 months that Obama has been president over 1,000 LGBT servicemembers have been ousted from the ranks. Homosexuality continues to be seen as a conduct issue worthy of expulsion.

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is warfare on the self-esteem of LGBT soldiers. This is psychological warfare-forcing people to hide and lie who they are and who they love. This is a war on personal integrity and on the intergrity of our country. How can we boast of freedom and democracy, while denying LGBT American soldiers the right to say, as Lt. Daniel Choi did, “I am gay.” What kind of freedom is that?

LGBT soldiers have been read their Miranda rights. “You have the right to remain silent (about your sexual orientation) everything you say (about loving someone of the same-sex) can and will be used against you.”

When will LGBT people no longer be treated like criminals by our own country? When will we finally repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell? Over 70% of Americans support the repeal of DADT. What’s taking so long?

I invite you to contact our leaders and ask them to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

United States Government

White House Comments Line: (202) 456-1111

www.whitehouse.gov/CONTACT/

Switchboard: 202-456-1414

Congress Phone Number (202) 224-3121

www.house.gov

Department of Defense 703-545-6700

www.defense.gov

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No marriages licenses for same-sex couples this week.

Posted On: 2010-08-16 23:32:22

Today the 9th Circuit Court ordered to leave the stay on Prop 8 in place pending appeal. The good news, as my wife the attorney and optimist tells me, is that the Court has picked up the pace on hearing the appeal which is now scheduled for the week of December 6th. And, if the three judges find that proponents of Prop 8 do not have legal standing, the case ends right then and there and couples can have a December wedding.

If, however, they decide that these folks do have standing, the case will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court and then no one really knows when same-sex couples will be able to legally marry in California again.

In the meantime, if you can’t wait to marry, there are now five other states and the District of Columbia and ten other countries, as well as Mexico City, where you can say “I do”. Just make sure you read the residency and dissolution requirements.

What you can do!

Please join Marriage Equality USA for our annual Bridge Walks September 26, 2010. Golden Gate SF, Brooklyn Bridge NYC, and a bridge near you. Go to www.marriageequality.org for more info.

Remember never, never, never give up hope. These are mere speed bumps in our road to equality. We must savor every moment of this journey that brings us to the destination we are seeking. Also remember that we must embrace our equality NOW. We must know that we are equal in all ways psychological, mental, emotional, spiritual, and moral to our straight brothers and sisters. As we know this for ourselves we will more easily usher in the social and legal equality that is our birthright.

FYI-my book Love Warriors is expected out this October and is chock-full of ways to change hearts and minds across America and abroad, (so that we don’t have to keep losing at the ballot box).

Yours in equality!

Davina Kotulski www.fearlessqueerness.com

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A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A LOVE WARRIOR

Posted On: 2010-08-13 02:39:48

I got up at 4:00 AM today, dressed quickly in a black suit, and drove in darkness to San Francisco City Hall with my wife, Molly McKay. No breakfast, no coffee, just the excitement of Judge Walker’s impending ruling regarding the Prop 8 stay to chew on.

We were so cold when we got out of the car. It was the San Francisco summer cold that Mark Twain joked about, bone-chilling cold with fog and drizzle. We approached the reporters who had asked to come down for a live 5:00 AM interview. I might have suggested an 8:00 AM on 7:00 AM compromise, but I knew Molly was going with or without me.

When we arrived, fellow Marriage Equality USA advocates, Kristin and Teresa who hoped they’d be able to legally marry if Judge Walker lifted the stay, had risen even earlier and driven even farther, and were already there shivering as they spoke live to an early morning audience about why the wanted to be legally married.

Last May, Kristin was taken to the ER in Fresno after suffering repeated grand mal seizures in the sweltering heat at the Meet in the Middle Event. Hospital staff denied Teresa the right to be with Kristin, (even though she had medical power of attorney), and they refused to listen to her when she told them what meds not to give Kristin. And as you might expect they gave Kristin meds she was not supposed to have and her condition worsened. Kristin and Teresa never want to go through that again, so they were going to be the first in line to get their marriage license.

Did I mention it was cold? We shivered and waited for the sun to rise, then moved from the Civic Center Plaza to the steps of San Francisco City Hall. Same-sex couples began lining up to get their marriage licenses.

Then the opposition, all 5 of them, began showing up. At first Molly thought two of them were a same-sex couple who were there to get married. Is it surprising that two of the guys Luke and Victor are handsome, kinda beefy, and well-dressed? Hmm. Anyway, they brought their gigantic anti-gay billboard signs “Pervert Judge, Pervert Ruling.” “A moral wrong is not a civil right.” “Judge Mocks God.” The usual. And they took their places in front of SF City Hall steps.

9:00 AM came quickly and we waited for Judge Walker’s decision. More cameras, more photographers, more interviews, more same-sex couples showing up, more people gathering.

10:00 AM crowd grows.

11:00 AM crowd grows impatient.

What the heck? Where is this decision? Why is he torturing us and waiting until the last minute? The fog suddenly lifts and now we are way too hot in our extra layers of clothes. My face begins to burn almost instantly, the reporters press in closer and there is so much body heat. Molly jokes about taking bets of what time the judge might make his decision. 11:01, 11:08, 11:31, 11:55.

As the minutes tick by, the media presses even closer, surrounding Molly and I and the two same-sex couples, Teresa and Kristin, and Vanessa and Maria. We are pushed up against the City Hall wall, unable to turn without bumping someone’s camera lens.

No one is winning this poll. It’s now 12:00 PM. Where is this decision? Some people in the crowd, who we can’t see over the video equipment and cameras, are cheering. Turns out it’s just a tourist bus going by. People focus!

Then someone gets a Facebook message and another a Tweet. The Judge has lifted the stay, they say. “Source, source, source?” we yell. But no one has a reliable source. We call our sources. They’ve heard nothing.

The media are hungry. We are like cornered animals again the wall and the media are hungry predators seeking morsels of news, their lips smacking for word. A cheer goes out to my left. It’s not the tourist bus this time.

“Source, source, source?” we ask again. “Lambda Legal,” someone yells out.

We cheer. We applaud, but something doesn’t feel right. We give the reporters the happy faces they came for. Then we rush into City Hall with our friends who want marriage licenses.

There are 40 couples ready for this day, beaming and shaking in anticipation of making it legal. I race up and down the line snapping photos and congratulating them.

And that nagging feeling returns. I call Pamela Brown, Marriage Equality USA’s policy director. She still does not have a source. I look for someone from City Hall. They have a concerned look on their face. He did say to lift the stay, but something isn’t plain. Then Pamela tells me. “The stay will be kept in place until August 18th.” She tells me to “Listen up.”

I do. It’s true. There will be no weddings today.

The hallway is jam-packed with happy couples along the right side of the wall and throngs of reporters on the left, there is barely an aisle for people to walk down.

Word is starting to be blurted out. It’s going to get really chaotic. It needs to be a clean delivery, not a drawn out wave of pain.

“Can I have your attention? Everyone, please can I have your attention.” Molly and I share the news. “Don’t give up home. We will have full equality. Don’t give up hope.”

Easier said than done. The tears come quickly to everyone. I remember what it was like when the California State Supreme Court invalidated our marriage license in 2004, like getting the wind kicked out of you.

But it’s not time for me to cry or show weakness. I have to be strong. I have to comfort my friends whose hopes have been dashed on the rocks.

Progressive clergy are among us and they offer to do blessings near the Harvey Milk bust in the rotunda for all couples who want their relationships blessed.

And then it’s time to leave, empty handed couples without the marriage licenses they came for.

Mayor Gavin Newsom and County Assessor Recorder Phil Ting promising that they will be ready and waiting to marry people the second it’s legal.

But will these couples get a chance next week? Or, are nuptials for same-sex couples in California still many months or even years away?

We will never give up hope! You can take our fearless leader Harvey Milk, you can take away our marriage licenses, you can take away our constitutional right to marry, and you can delay justice and our wedding days, but we are love warriors, and we will continue to love and fight for equality and justice for all!

Davina Kotulski, Ph.D. Marriage Equality USA

Author of Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage and Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why It Will Prevail

www.whygaymarriage.com

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Prop 8 Ruled Unconstitional

Posted On: 2010-08-04 20:51:12

Today, Judge Walker ruled that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional. Walker confirmed that there is no rational reason to deny same-sex couples the fundamental right of marriage. This decision echoes the federal court ruling in Gill v. Office of Personal Management and Commonwealth v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, striking down the challenged portions of the federal DOMA. Together, these decisions herald the beginning of the end for unfounded, unfair legalized discrimination against LGBT Americans. They reaffirm the well-established constitutional principle of equality and the court’s role in protecting the minority against the tyranny and short-sighted prejudices of the majority.

Around the country, Marriage Equality USA chapter leaders and members will hold celebratory, peaceful rallies. Pamela Brown, Policy Director of Marriage Equality USA reported that Marriage Equality USA is hosting at least 50 such events, 35 in California alone and 15 across the country including Atlanta, Austin, Denver, Dallas, Phoenix, and New York City, and Washington, DC. Go to www.marriageequality.org to find the rally nearest you.

It is likely that Walker’s decision will likely be appealed and take years to make it to the U.S. Supreme Court, but I am hopeful that by then Americans will see that marriage equality is the only path to full equality for LGBT Americans and the righteous destiny of a proud country founded on the promise of liberty and justice for all!

Dr. Davina Kotulski Psychologist, Personal Coach and Consultant Author of Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage and Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why it Will Prevail.

http://www.davinakotulski.com http://www.fearlessqueerness.com

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Hate Is Hate, But Love Is The Answer!

Posted On: 2010-07-20 23:48:40

Hate Is Hate But Love Is The Answer!

Hate is hate no matter whose side it's coming from. In fact, I can not see the love from “our side” from this NOM video as their t-shirts ask. Here is a video that the anti-gay group NOM produced. Here’s how we fell into their trap.

http://www.marriagetour2010.com/2010/07/shocking-video-from-mother-harassed-by-gay-marriage-activists-at-albany-rally/?msource=EC100719NAT1&tr=y&auid=6654571

When we go to anti-gay NOM events and scream in their faces we harm all of us! I sure as heck don't like it when “they” scream in my face. Nor would I want “them” blocking our presentations. We need to respect their free speech rights and be peaceful examples of love.

I ask that you deeply consider what it means to be a love warrior. To me it means not only standing up for love, but standing with love in my heart as Dr. King, Ghandi, and Harvey would have us do.

As LGBT people and allies standing for love, we must stand with love! It is our job if we are at these events to ask “our side” to step to the side and be a source of love. These may even be actors, because I do believe our opponents could stage events like this, but if they are not and we are to be real love warriors we must try something else besides screaming in the faces of our opponents, because this is ugly! We must be the love we wish to see in the world.

I am not suggesting that LGBT people and allies not show up at these events.

I am asking that if you do show up, you do so more like the Angels that showed up at the Laramie Project when Phelps came to town--quiet, peaceful, grounded, and in this case, not blocking their speakers. There is no need to block them. Stand to the side, be love.

BE LOVE. Don't have a shirt that says "Can't you see my love?" and then stand there para-military style. NO, I can't see your love. Maybe if you were off the side, singing a gentle peaceful, love song, not looking like a para-military group I'd see your love.

You don't have to believe what I'm saying, but I'm going to keep sharing it because love feels really good and I invite you to try it out. We are more powerful when we are the love we want to see in the world---Ghandi. People will do shitty things, love them anyway--Mother Theresa (para-phrased).

I've stood face to face with screaming fanatics and some of their kids or friends they bring to those events that look like screaming fanatics. I've looked them in the eye with love in my heart, and sang “What the World Needs Now is Love Sweet Love.”

Heck, I've even said "It's okay, I still love you!" as they are screaming at me like rabid dogs. It breaks many of them down. Most of them cannot keep at you the same way. Some yes, but most no. But you have to have the love in your heart, the acceptance, the forgiveness, the opportunity to give them another choice, because most people are not that freaking crazy fanatical. Some will walk away with a different experience of us.

It sounds crazy, but it's exhilarating! Be love, there is nothing more powerful. A real love warrior leads from the heart! But sadly, I have had the experience of our own people, angry beyond measure, scream in my face too for being peaceful or asking them to choose to be peaceful, elegant, calm, respectful, unmovable, determined, confident, but not raging militants. That’s what Ghandi did and that’s what Dr. King did and that’s what changes the world. You are either your message of love or you are not and that’s what will hurt or help your family.

“Light of the world shine on me love is the answer.” England Dan and John Ford Coley

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Felicidades Argentina!!!! Happy Marriage Equality!

Posted On: 2010-07-15 15:06:09

HAPPY MARRIAGE EQUALITY ARGENTINA! Today, Argentina became the first Latin American country to grant same-sex couples the right to marry. This is a huge victory. Now on every continent, but Asia, same-sex couples know that their relationships are legal and valued in at least one country. And soon Nepal may allow same-sex couples to marry, which would mean marriage equality would have its footing on every continent.

Same-sex marriage is legal in the following countries: The Netherlands (April 2001), Belgium (January 2003), Canada (June 2005), Spain (June 2005), South Africa (November 2006), Norway (January 2009) Sweden (April 2009), Portugal (June 2010), Iceland (June 2010), and Argentina (July 2010).

It is also legal in: Massachusetts (May 2004), Connecticut (November 2008), Iowa (April 2009), Vermont (September 2009), and New Hampshire (January 2010). Same-sex marriage is also recognized and performed in the District of Columbia (March 2010), Mexico City does (March 2010), and when one partner is a member of the Coquille tribe when the marriage is performed on the Coquille Indian Reservation in Oregon (May 2009).

ONLY THREE WEEKS LEFT UNTIL THE FEARLESS QUEERNESS WORKSHOP Join me for the Fearless Queerness Workshop on August 7, 2010 San Francisco Bay Area for a unique one-day intensive empowerment workshops for LGBTQQ people!

Go to http://www.fearlessqueerness.com

Davina Kotulski, Ph.D. Psychologist, Life Coach, Author of Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage.

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Gay Dream Deceivers: Warning Blog with a Bad Attitude

Posted On: 2010-07-14 22:30:54

Has anyone else noticed a preponderance of LGBT people selling out the community? I thought closeted LGBT people like Haggard and Craig were bad for our community, but lately it has been “out” LGBT folks that seem to be doing a disservice to our community.

Richard Socarides wrote the anti-gay, political double-speak talking points in support of DOMA and DADT. He had the audacity to sell his community out by authoring a talking point about the President recognizing same-sex relationships which stated, “These decisions are best left to state and local governments and private institutions. But since the President does not believe that the federal government should recognize gay marriage, he does not believe it is appropriate for scarce federal resources to be devoted to providing spousal benefits to partners in gay and lesbian relationships.”

Couldn’t he have just stopped with “These decisions are best left up to state governments?” Did he really have to emphasize Clinton’s lack of support for marriage equality and go as far saying the president “does not believe it is appropriate for scarce federal resources to be devoted” to spousal benefits for LGBT Americans?

It would have been nice Socarides had invited the President to commission a study to look at the fiscal impact of providing spousal benefits to same-sex couples, as the Bush Administration did. Under Bush, the Congressional Budget Office determined that extending marriage to same-sex couples would save the government 1 Billion Dollars.

A more pro-active, gay-friendly talking point could have been. “President Clinton has signed the DOMA to preserve states’ rights to decide who should be able to legally marry.” No need to insert his negative personal opinion and then follow it up with this bogus talking point “I believe that all Americans — gay or straight — who are willing to work hard, pay their taxes, play by the rules, obey the law and be good citizens — should be treated fairly and have equal opportunities to prosper. No other president has taken more steps to bring gays and lesbians to the table. And despite my personal feelings about same-sex marriage, I don't think we as Americans should discriminate against anyone.”

Um, denying us equal marriage rights means that we are not being “treated fairly,” nor are we having “equal opportunities to prosper” and this is what discrimination looks like. It is even more offensive that this placating “You should be grateful for what you get queer!” message was written by a gay man.

No one can screw us like our own, which brings me to my next outrage.

The Kids Are All Right, but is this movie? Please tell me why when we are fighting a rabid comeback of the Anita Bryant Save Our Children from the homosexuals campaign would a lesbian filmmaker write a movie where a sperm donor of a lesbian couple can come in and start screwing the more femme woman in a long-term committed relationship? I’m not encouraging censorship, but how about some solid images of healthy same-sex couples and their families in the media first. Must we cater to the homophobic collective unconscious? You might note that on L-Word and Queer as Folk both femme lesbians who gave birth to the children had affairs with men.

I’m not saying this does not happen on occasion, but because the anti-gay movement fails to see same-sex parents as real and adequate parents and because they affirm that homosexuality is a choice, the next main-stream movie about LGBT people could have not played into anti-gay stereotypes.

How many of us hunger for images of regular LGBT people on the big screen or on TV? Yet, we continue to see endlessly lonely and single gay men and their fool-around-fag-hags, lesbian serial killers, married men on the down-low, and one-dimensional clown-like flamers. Some of you might argue with me that these are regular LGBT people, but I know we are more diverse than this and to be clear, you can be a flamboyant, feminine gay man and be multi-dimensional. However, the media seems to forget this. They will show us “truth or dare” style straight girl kisses a la Sandra Bullock or run Girls Gone Wild commercials for the straight dudes, but for media images of regular LGBT people we have to watch Ellen.

I’m not sure where this blog is going. I guess working so hard for equal marriage rights for over a decade and to have our relationships respected and seen as equal and then seeing Julianne Moore play a lesbian kissing her sperm donor just bums me way out.

Davina Kotulski, Ph.D., Psychologist, Personal Coach, and Author of Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage and Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why It Will Prevail. http://www.DavinaKotulski.com http://www.WhyGayMarriage.com

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Harvey Milk Day and Bakersfield

Posted On: 2010-05-21 20:22:24

Years ago my wife, Molly, and I were driving through Bakersfield and stopped at an IHOP, Denny's, or one of those places you go to when you're on the road. We met a really nice waitress and she came out to us. She wasn't gay or transgender. She was a democrat. She quietly whispered it to us. We were incredulous. She said that she was told by some neighbors of hers that they thought she was a good person until they found out about her little secret. She told us that it was hard to hold her head high as a "democrat" in Bakersfield, a right-wing conservative hot bed.

Years later in May 2008 my wife became a minister of the Universal Life Church which involves an online application and $25. She did this so that she could marry same-sex couples in Bakersfield after the Kern County Clerk refused to do so, even after it was legal. Molly literally married couples on the sidewalk in front of the Kern County Clerk's Office because they chose instead to be the Alabama of California. Sorry to any of you progressive folks from Alabama.

Now Bakersfield is refusing to honor a great American hero, Harvey Milk. (Kind of reminds me of when Arizona refused to recognize Martin Luther King Jr's birthday). Why refuse to celebrate and honor Americans who actually did brave and honorable things and made positive contributions to human civil rights?

Can you imagine what it would be like to be LGBTQ in Bakersfield? It's very challenging. Just ask Roy Ashburn, the California Senator who was hiding in the closet and advocating for Yes on Prop 8. (This is why I'm going to Bakersfield next month and doing a free coming out workshop there).

So tomorrow, is Harvey Milk's Birthday, and whether or not Bakersfield recognizes it, Milk was a great American, and his legacy will only grow by their choosing to deny him his rightful place in the history books.

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Open Letter to an Isla Vista LGBTIQ Activist

Posted On: 2010-05-05 21:33:32

This weekend I flew on a tiny prop plane to Santa Barbara to speak at UCSB's LGBTIQ Pride Event. It was the first ever pride celebration on campus. My speech was sandwiched between funny, but raunchy, comedians and a helluva sexy and fabulous drag queen, named Derek. The campus is in Isla Vista, and according to my host there are 20,000 students there.

I'd never been to this part of California before and was struck with how laid back it was. Most of the students wore bathing suits. The more clothed ones wore shorts and T-shirts. It was very laid back. In fact, I didn't think these kinds of colleges or places really existed in California. I was out of place in my black San Francisco Bay Area outfit and the oldest one in the crowd at 40.

But I was pleased the crowd was responsive and I was approached by several students afterwards. One who spoke of applying for a job at an "In and Out Burger" and being told that "This is a family restaurant." Another young lesbian couple wanted to know how to talk to their fellow queer college students who feel marriage is old-fashioned and aren't interested in repealing Prop 8. And a young physics major who wanted to know if talking to people one-on-one about who we are really made a difference. So, I decided to share the letter I wrote in response to her question as part of my blog this week.

Dear Isla Vista LGBTIQ Activist,

Yes, talking to people one-on-one does make a difference and being repeatedly out about your stand for full equality and dignity for LGBTIQ people does too. The heart and human connections are the most important. The more LGBTIQ people and allies talk about equality, write about equality, and show their support for equality, and respect for LGBTIQ people the more the climate changes.

Additionally, the more self-respect and respect for non-LGBTIQ people, that LGBTIQ people have, the better as well. This is about everyone respecting differences and celebrating and honoring differences.

To me the personal is still political.

Every opportunity is an opportunity to stand up for equality. If I have to call a credit card company, go to the dentist, whatever, I mention my wife or my support for LGBTIQ rights.

Example #1

Today, I spoke with a psychiatrist about a client of mine whose parents fight constantly. I've never met this psychiatrist before, but I said. "It really saddens me that people wasted so much money taking away the rights for gay people to marry and not using that money to help run free marital counseling and communication workshops for people who cannot afford couples therapy." She said, "I agree with you completely."

This was an opportunity to come out in support of LGBTIQ equality and to plant a new talking point. I know nothing about her, but I just gave her a talking point for the next person that tells her we shouldn't have the right to marry and wants to spend money on another campaign. I suppose I could have gone even farther and talked about the money the church spent on Yes on 8. But it was simple.

Example #2

I bought travel insurance this week and said "I'm gay and I want to make sure that if something happens to my wife's mother, my mother-in-law, I won't be denied the insurance benefit because of DOMA."

The guy said, "No worries, we recognize, domestic partnerships and civil unions."

I said, "Great, we are legally married in California." I'm unwilling to let people demote my marriage.

Harvey Milk said that if all of us came out of the closet at once the gay rights movement would be over and we could all go home. As I psychologist, I know that coming out isn’t always easy, but as someone who is out in all areas of my life, I know the power being out has on one’s self-esteem. Coming out is good for the psyche and the soul and it makes the world a better place.

Every LGBTQ person who comes out and keeps coming out is making a difference in someone else’s life and in transforming our culture and our laws. In fact, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Powell said that when he voted to uphold the sodomy laws in Bowers v. Hardwick (1986) he did not know any gay people. It was only afterwards that he discovered his law clerk was gay. Justice Powell says his biggest regret in life was his vote in Bowers making it a 5:4 decision to uphold the sodomy laws. Had he known his clerk was gay it would not have taken until 2003 to repeal the sodomy laws.

Simple acts of coming out create a culture where people are more aware of and more supportive of LGBTIQ people.

Thanks for your question and for your dedication to equality!

Dr. Davina Kotulski

Psychologist, Personal Coach and Consultant Author of Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage and Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why it Will Prevail.

http://www.davinakotulski.com

http://www.whygaymarriage.com

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FEARLESS QUEERNESS™ ONE-DAY INTENSIVE WORKSHOP

Posted On: 2010-04-21 21:39:24

FEARLESS QUEERNESS™ ONE-DAY INTENSIVE WORKSHOP

A one-of-a-kind breakthrough workshop for LGBTQ people and Allies on How to be Out, Proud, and Powerful that will change your life!

At “FEARLESS QUEERNESS” You’ll Learn:

  • How to fearlessly EMBRACE WHO YOU ARE!
  • How to BE AUTHENTIC AND FEARLESS about who you are.
  • The MOST IMPORTANT secret to being comfortable with yourself.
  • How to ERADICATE internalized homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia.
  • How to ELIMINATE NEGATIVE BELIEFS about being lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender.
  • How to identify the pain of the past and use it to STEP INTO YOUR POWER!
  • How to FEEL GREAT ABOUT BEING LGBTQ all the time.
  • WHAT TO SAY when someone says something disrespectful.
Location: San Francisco/Burlingame

Date(s): August 7, 2010

Time(s): 9:00 AM-5:30 PM

Go to Fearless Queerness Workshop for more information and to apply for the workshop.

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"We pay our bills, we pay our taxes. Yet we're denied marriage access!"

Posted On: 2010-04-13 16:28:56

“We pay our bills, we pay our taxes, yet we’re still denied marriage access!” Tax Day Protest April 15

The annual April 15th Tax Day Protest is the next best thing to the marriage license counter demonstrations on Freedom to Marry Day. This will be our 10th annual in Oakland, California.

Grab a picket sign and head down to your city’s main post office. Camera crews will be nearby filming folks dropping offer their tax returns at the last minute and it’s a great time to remind the world that we pay first-class taxes and get second-class citizenship.

Examples:

a) We pay into social security benefits that our families cannot enjoy.

b) Those who are entitled to domestic partnership or marriage health benefits at the state level, are paying extra taxes on them at the federal level, unlike heterosexual marrieds.

c) 179 of the 1,138 federal rights that come with marriage are tax-related benefits that same-sex couples are denied. It’s time to level the playing field.

We must have equal pay for equal work and equal access for equal taxes.

To learn more go to: http://www.marriageequality.org/index.php?page=no-taxation-w-o

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REALLY? Did Tina Fey really need to say “That’s boring and gay?”

Posted On: 2010-04-12 17:59:14

Some are upset over the twisted SNL skit Fey did with a 16 y.o teen singer, I fell asleep before it came on. But, Fey offended me in another way before I fell asleep. She was playing a character who said “This is so boring and Gay,” referring to a golf game. Really? Couldn’t she have stopped at “This is so boring?”

I’m really sick of comedians who say they support gay people, yet continue making many gay jokes. I’m sorry Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, and Tina Fey, I really admire your intelligence, your wit, and your advocacy, but what you giveth with one hand, you taketh away with a stupid gay joke.

Thank God, we’ve advanced past the mainstream comedians of the past like Mel Brooks and Eddie Murphy who openly used the word “faggot,” (see History of the World Part I) but continuing to say “that’s gay” and equating the word gay with something bad or stupid is not helping the cause. These insidious jokes hurt us, even if it’s just a little SNL skit.

Perhaps it would have been better to do a joke about how the Catholic church is blaming child molestation on gay priests in the hopes that no one will get upset with the fact that straight priests are molesting little girls. How about a skit about how the Catholic Church goes out of its way to create the belief that pedophilia and homosexuality are the same thing.

I urge comedians, especially my hero comedians; Fey, Colbert, and Stewart, to think twice before they go for the easy gay-joke-laugh.

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You can do it too!

Posted On: 2010-04-07 18:13:20

Ricky Martin did it. Anna Paquin did it, Chas Bono did it, even California Senator Ray Ashburn did it. I'm talking about coming out.

Coming out is a radical act, and yet it is simply speaking the truth of who you are and who you love. Coming out is also about loving yourself enough to see that being an LGBTIQ person is a beautiful contribution to the diversity of our human tapestry. You are worthy and must stop the hiding and lying that keeps us locked up in a nasty shame spiral.

Ricky said he did it for his kids, Anna did it to support LGBT rights, Chas did it because it was time to be the man he always wanted to be, Ashburn did it because he got caught drinking and driving after coming out of a gay bar, which makes it sound like being gay is still a crime. Even though his timing was less than stellar and he had a history of voting against LGBT rights, the point is that he finally had the courage to be honest, while other politicians who have been "caught" continue to live lives of deception and lies.

My hero, Harvey Milk, encouraged everyone to come out. He knew that one person's coming out made a difference for another person, even if that other person was on the other side of the country. I never thought my coming out would make much of a difference. Boy was I schooled.

When my wife, Molly McKay and I started coming out for marriage rights in 2001 and asking for marriage licenses at the San Francisco County Recorder's Office I had no idea that it would later turn into Gavin Newsom's allowing same-sex couples to marry. Nor could I have imagined that when Molly and I engaged in a public celebratory kiss following the repeal of the nation's sodomy laws in June 2003 that it would end up in Newsweek Magazine(next to a guy holding a sign that said something about burning in hell). What more, I never imagined that I would then get a call from my friend, Ed, a Native American Psychologist, who worked in New Mexico at the time, telling me he saw the photo when a client of his, a young Native American woman, brought it to him and through tears of joy said that she hoped she could marry her girlfriend one day and that seeing us gave her the courage to come out to her parents.

I had heard Harvey's words, but it wasn't until 2003 and 2004 that I really understood them to be the truth with a capital T. Our coming out is good for the world! And that's why I'm offering a FREE workshop on coming out called "How to Come Out of the Closet and Into Your Power!"

April 10, 2010 from 1-3 PM at the Rainbow Center in Concord, California.

At "How to Come Out of the Closet and Into Your Power!" You’ll Learn:

● The Most Important Secret to Coming Out!

● How to Talk to People with CONFIDENCE About Who You Are So They’ll Want to Accept You!

● How to Feel Great About Yourself for Who You Are Regardless of Other People’s Responses

● How to BREAKTHROUGH the Closet Door!

● What to Say When Someone Tells You--“It’s Just a Phase” or “You Can Change.”

Register now for details: Send an e-mail to info@lovewarriors.org with "FREE WORKSHOP" in the subject line.

www.davinakotulski.com/workshops

I look forward to seeing you there!

If you think you would be intersted in a 2 hour FREE tele-seminar on Coming Out, please e-mail info@lovewarriors.org and write "COMING OUT TELE-SEMINAR" in the subject line.

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Ask, Tell, Get arrested at the White House! 3-18-10

Posted On: 2010-03-18 22:25:43

Some people have all the fun. For years I’ve debated getting arrested for marriage equality. Would it heighten the awareness for the cause? What would have been the impact on my job with the Department of Justice? Would other people in the marriage equality movement look down on me or feel I was “f…ing things up?”

And then today Lt. Dan Choi shows up for a protest on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and gets arrested at the White House. Nice leadership Lieutenant! What a powerful image, a solider in military fatigues getting arrested with the White House as the back drop—the White House—America’s big symbol of freedom. The only thing that could have upped the patriotic power was if he’d been eating an apple pie and holding a flag in his hand. God love Lt. Dan Choi!

Forget GI Joe, I want my Lt. Dan Choi Action Figure!

They need to make a freaking action figure of the guy. He’s the epitome of American bravery and freedom. Choi is strong leader who courageously does the right thing rather than simply taking orders. I can’t wait to see the movie. Please someone make the movie! Instead of watching fairy tales like Avatar, Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter, and the soon-to-be released remake of Karate Kid, how about a movie about a REAL hero?

Dan Choi is a Love Warrior!

I know someday that Lt. Dan Choi is going to be remembered in the history books as a powerful soldier who fought with love to change the world for the better. Children will read about Rosa Parks, Dolores Huerta, and Lt. Dan Choi. And for those who don’t want to wait, you can read more about Choi in my new book Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why It Will Prevail available for pre-sales on Amazon.com.

With liberty and justice for all!

Dr. Davina Kotulski

Psychologist, Personal Coach and Consultant

Author of Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage and Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why it Will Prevail.

http://www.davinakotulski.com http://www:lovewarriorsthebook.com

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14 YEARS TOGETHER AND STILL FILING "SINGLE" AND PAYING EXTRA ON TAXES

Posted On: 2010-03-07 23:52:43

Every year the IRS insults me.

First, I have to check single on my tax form. People, I’ve been with the same wonderful woman for 14 years, I am not single! Second, even though we are now legally married, my tax person has to complete extra tax forms, we are married and can file jointly the state, but we have to file single for the feds and so Tax Lady Nancy has two run our numbers twice. Thirdly, because I am self-employed and receive health insurance through Molly, my health benefits are taxed as extra income by the IRS.

Makes you want to scream MARRIAGE EQUALITY NOW, doesn’t it?

But recently, Molly was at a panel where Patricia Cain, an Inez Mabie Distinguished Professor of Law of Santa Clara University’s School of Law announced a way around complaint #3. Here’s what she says:

Do you pay federal income taxes on employer-provided domestic partner health benefits? If so, you might want to discuss with a tax professional whether or not you are entitled to receive those benefits tax-free.

There is a common misunderstanding that domestic partner benefits are always taxable. But that is not true if the domestic partner is a “dependent” of the taxpayer/employee. A partner can qualify as a dependent for these purposes even if the partner is not a tax dependent for deduction purposes. That is because there are two different definitions of dependent in the Internal Revenue Code. To be a dependent for deduction purposes the partner must have income below $3650. But to qualify as a dependent for purposes of excluding the value of the health benefits, there is no gross income limitation.

To qualify under this alterative definition, the taxpayer and partner must share the same household for the entire year and the taxpayer must provide over 50% of the partner’s support. The IRS clarified this rule in Notice 2004-79, available on line at http://www.irs.gov/irb/2004-49_IRB/ar10.html.

But for some reason, many employers seem to be unaware of the rule. Instead, whenever an employee asks whether the employer can exclude the value of the benefits on the W-2, many employers require proof that the employee is claiming a dependency deduction for the partner. If you qualify for the exclusion because you and your partner share a household and you provide over 50% of the support, you should ask your employer for an amended W-2. If the employer asks for proof of a dependency deduction or evidence that your partner’s gross income is below $3650, show your employer Notice 2004-79. If you can’t get an amended W-2, you should nonetheless exclude the amount that was wrongly included on your W-2 and explain in an addendum to your tax return why you are excluding it.

Professor Cain noted that several employers were reluctant to take our tax requests seriously and has committed herself to getting the word out about this option.

As mentioned above, please consult your gay-friendly tax person, so they can become informed about this option and share it with their clients.

And remember, this is yet another reason why we need to lift DOMA and have access to marriage equality, unless you enjoy paying the government more to be treated as a second-class citizen.

With liberty and justice for all!

Dr. Davina Kotulski

Psychologist, Personal Coach and Consultant

Author of Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage and Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why it Will Prevail.

http://www.davinakotulski.com

http://www.whygaymarriage.com

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WEDDING BELLS ON CAPITOL HILL

Posted On: 2010-03-04 17:02:59

WEDDING BELLS ON CAPITOL HILL

Spring weddings are on tap for our nation’s capital. While our elected officials fight over health care reform, marriage is getting a make-over in DC. On Tuesday, after years of waiting, same-sex couples in our nation’s capitol will get to say I “do” and the words “with liberty and justice for all,” will actually ring true, like the sound of wedding bells.

AND WEDDING BELLS IN MEXICO'S CAPITOL CITY TOO!!

Today same-sex couples are saying "I do," in Espanol in Mexico City where matrimonio for same-sex couples is now legal. Fantastico!

THE OTHER 90%

90% of the United States are still anti-equality! However, Maryland has now announced that same-sex marriages, while not able to be performed in that state, will be recognized there. This is similar to New York’s policy. You can’t get legally married at the Boat House in New York, but you could zip over to Connecticut exchange vows and then supposedly have your marriage recognized in New York.

THE POINT

The point is that we are making progress, but we must continue to work for full equality in all of the states and when we are done in the U.S, there are a lot of other countries that need our help.

For example, Marriage Equality Russia is forming, but was denied the right to name their NGO “Marriage Equality Russia” because gay marriage is against Russian law. Nikolia Alexeyev is working to challenge this ruling.

In Italy, same-sex couples are waiting for a ruling from the courts on March 23rd to find out why they are being denied marriage licenses since the marriage laws, as they presently stand, are gender-neutral. If you parlo Italiano send an –email to blogger Delia Vaccarrello in support of marriage equality. This is the address http://liberitutti.blog.unita.it//

Everything we do here in the United States affects other countries too. The world is looking at our country of “freedom lovers” to see what we believe justice is. If we deny same-sex couples equality they take notice and follow suit, if we expand and give equality to LGBTQ people, their LGBTQ citizens can point to us an example as they pursue their liberty rights. We all have a stake in this. We can all make a global impact for equality.

LIBERATION 2010

And speaking of making a global impact, Rev. Mark Anthony Lord, of the Chicago Bodhi Spiritual Center has put together the first ever national LGBTQA spiritual conference, called Liberation 2010. Liberation 2010 will take place April 8-11th in Los Angeles. The conference unites new age, law of attraction focus to ending homophobia and is “dedicated to the revelation of wholeness” and our “inherent greatness” as LGBTQ people. The legendary self-help guru Byron Katie and musicians Jason and DeMarco will be there. Malidome Somė is one of the keynote speakers. It looks to be a life changing, inspirational event, a new kind of gay pride, if you will, claiming our divinity as LGBTQ people.

For more information check out http://www.liberation2010.com

Davina Kotulski, Author of Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage and Love Warriors: The rise of the marriage equality movement and why it will prevail!

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Go ask for a marriage license! It's Freedom to Marry Day!

Posted On: 2010-02-11 23:44:57

Freedom to Marry Day 2010

On 12, 2001 I went down to the San Francisco City Hall and asked for a marriage license with my then bride, Molly McKay. Not surprisingly, we were turned away. We continued to go ever year to San Francisco City Hall and to Country Clerk’s around Northern California asking for a marriage license. We wanted to render visible the discrimination that is enforced every day because same-sex couples are denied the right to marry.

Three years later we received our first marriage license from the City of San Francisco when Mayor Gavin Newsom decided it was wrong to deny loving same-sex couples the right to marry. We completed our rally on the City Hall steps then went inside and were happy couple number 17 to be legally married. And we were legally married for 6 months until the California State Supreme Court annulled our marriage with the 4,000 other couples who were married in what is now known as the Winter of Love.

You can revisit history by checking out the following documentaries Freedom to Marry the Journey to Justice and Pursuit of Equality. Both are available on MEUSA’s Amazon Store

Amazon Store Link

Even after our marriage license was invalidated, we returned every year asking for a marriage license. Tomorrow is the freedom to marry day. While I won’t be asking for another marriage license because Molly and I were legally married in September 2008 before Prop 8 passed, we will be there to support the couples who want to get married and our denied that right.

I invite you to join Marriage Equality USA in our annual marriage counter actions by going down to your County Clerk or City Hall marriage license counter and ask for a marriage license. Straight allies, you too can help engage in public education outreach to raise awareness of the harms and impact the inability to marry causes LGBTQ people and their families.

Marriage Equality for ALL!

Davina Kotulski

Author of Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage and the upcoming Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why it Will Prevail

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A BAD CASE OF PMS

Posted On: 2010-01-25 05:59:06

A BAD CASE OF PMS

I want to apologize for Friday’s last blog. To be honest, I had horrible PMS, protect-marriage syndrome. Protect Marriage Syndrome, or PMS, comes on when you have to sit for hours on end and listen to Yale and Cambridge educated experts testify that you are not insane, a child-molester, a degenerate, or an obsessive compulsive gender confused threat to civilization which I guess is supposed to make you feel good.

Only, then it is followed up with having to listen to another lawyer attempt to deconstruct that witness’s testimony to the most absurd, out of context, details, for hours and hours and hours with the purpose of denying your basic dignity, worth as a human being and your constitutional rights.

I had one hell of a case of bad PMS on Friday.

GAYS ON PARADE (STRIKE THAT) TRIAL!

In her testimony on January 15th, Helen Zia talked about being on trial at her work for being gay and how that depleted her, even caused her to burn her journal, which is like losing a limb to a writer.

All LGBT people are on trial under Prop 8. Even though marriage equality supporters have brought forward this constitutional challenge to denying our right to marry, like Zia, we are on trial. We are on trial as parents, as citizens, as worthy human beings. There is nothing right about this.

LGBT people are equal. We are as whole, perfect, and complete as our straight brothers and sisters. We too have hearts that beat and love. When we fall in love it is our hearts first that seek connection with our beloveds. It’s not about plumbing. Dr. Sylvia Rhue with the National Black Justice Coalition says, “When the hearts fit the parts fit.”

The attorney asked Helen Zia, “How do you feal about Lia?”

Zia replied, “ She’s my soul mate. I love her, she’s the person I want to spend the rest of my life, the most important person to me in the world.”

Most husbands and wives, be they straight or gay, know exactly what Zia is talking about. That’s why we choose to marry, because we want to do everything we can to protect, honor, and cherish our beloved.

Zia spoke of her and Lia, getting their domestic partnership licenses. “They issues dog licenses at the same counter,” she said and then discussed getting married in San Francisco in 2004 when it was legal for a little over a month. She spoke of the wedding reception she and Lia had planned with their families that would be attended by her mother, siblings, and some of her sibling’s children.

“My marriage was invalidated a week before our wedding reception.” The attorney asks her, “How did that make you feel?”

Anyone with a heart can guess how it made her feel.

Zia said she felt “devastated, sad, grieved, horrible, our marriage had made us so happy, brought us so much joy, and was suddenly invalidated.” But what struck an even deeper chord for Zia was that she and Lia felt that their relationship was invalidated “and as human beings we were invalidated.”

PARTNERS IN LIFE? DO YOU MEAN LIFE INSURANCE?

Zia, and many of the other 4,000 couples like my wife, Molly and I, who were married in 2004 and later judicially invalidated, struggled to get through that dark time until we were able to marry again in 2008.

“Getting married has presented numerous tangible and intangible benefits.” Zia said, “After marriage, my niece came up and said to Lia. “Auntie Lia, now you are really my auntie.”

Marriage has also made a difference to how they relate to people. “People wondered ‘who is this person who is hanging on to you extra close?’

‘This is my partner.’

‘Partner, partner in what business?’

We’d say, ‘we are partners in life.’ And get used to seeing this look on their face, ‘What does life mean?‘Do you mean life insurance?’”

Marriage also made a difference Lia’s parents and family. “It’s a matter of how our families relate to people,” Zia said. “We show up to every family event and they ask ‘who is that?’ ‘This is Helen’s friend.’ They never got partner, now with marriage, they are able to say ‘Helen is my daughter-in-law.’

For Helen’s mother too, marriage has given her a language to explain her relationship to Lia. “My mother would struggle to say this is Helen’s friend and now she would say ‘this is my daughter-in-law.’ That’s it. end of story. We are not partners in life or business. We are spouses. This is my wife.”

MARRIAGE IS THE JOINING OF TWO FAMILIES

“Marriage is not just about us.” Zia testified. “Our families related to each other differently. Marriage is the joining of two families. My family and Lia’s family relate to each other differently. My brother lived near my father-in-law for years. After we were married, Lia’s father stopped by my brother’s house and dropped things off. When he introduced his children he said ‘These are my daughters and this is my favorite daughter-in-law.’”

Zia spoke of how both she and her wife Lia, shared “the important events in life,” together, births and deaths of family members. “When Lia’s father died, that’s when family comes together.” She spoke of how having marriage secured her place in the family. She was a part of the memorial and listed in the obituary. “Marriage defines who family is, who is in the circle.”

While Zia spoke, the feeling tone in the overflow room was one of soft, gentleness. It was like being in a movie theatre where people are watching a romantic comedy. There were aahhs, warm laughter, and even a few tears as Zia recounted her relationship with Lia, what Lia means to her, and how having legal marriage has affected their life.

It was deeply touching. As the court house closed up that day, one woman spoke with me and said, “I never wanted to get married until I heard Helen Zia speak. I want to know what it’s like to feel what she described.”

In the words of John Lennon, “You may say I’m a dreamer, I’m not the only one. I hope someday you will join us and the world will live as one.”

Look for my new book Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why It Will Prevail, April 2010.

For updates of the Prop 8 trial for January 24 and 25th, go to: Courage Campaign’s Prop 8 Trial Tracker. I'm hitting the proverbial showers.

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BEING GAY IS BAD FOR MY HEALTH, BUT NOT FOR THE REASONS YOU THINK

Posted On: 2010-01-22 22:37:37

BEING GAY IS BAD FOR MY HEALTH, BUT NOT FOR THE REASONS YOU THINK

1-22-10

I have not been to the gym since the Prop 8 trial started two weeks ago. I can’t even think of going to the gym in the morning when I have to race to San Francisco, go through the security obstacle course at the Federal building which includes taking off my shoes, jacket, turning my lap top on, going through a metal detector, surrendering my camera, bending over and coughing, okay it’s not that bad, but close.

Then I take the elevator to the 19th floor, slam my coffee, compliments of Billy the Rockstar, turn on my computer, connect to the network, bring up Twitter, Facebook, AOL, my website, and word and stake out my territory.

At lunch, I stuff my face with carbs, since the salad bar line is way too long, and then extra carbs to numb out the pain of the tortuous cross-examination. Girlfriend, I’m putting on the pounds!

TODAY STINKS-LITERALLY!

Being in the court room today feels like sitting in a college statistics class. It’s just hella boring, maybe because it’s my 40th birthday today and I came to the courtroom instead of getting a massage and doing something even mildly more fun than this today, like getting a root canal for example.

Maybe it’s because there is something way too human transpiring in this room today. The overflow room is filled with people and for whatever reason there are terrible odors!! Who the hell keeps farting? What’s with the severe body odor and the hacking coughs?

We gay people need some self-care. If you are sick, get into bed and drink plenty of liquids. Bathe-it does a body good. Wash your clothes. Leave the room if you need to pass gas.

Oh shoot, now I’m sneezing.

This may be my last blog for the day, especially since Yeson8 counsel is now talking about a lesbian who was married to a man and must have enjoyed having sex with him. I don’t think I can take listening to argument the Yeson8 counsel is trying to make.

Just because gay people may have had str8 sex, that doesn’t mean they are str8. It means that we were straight-curious or hadn’t come out yet.

The case will continue Monday and Tuesday and Judge Walker indicated today that the closing arguments will likely be scheduled in February. Marriage Equality USA plans to hold a vigil on the last day of closing arguments. There will also be a rally day of decision which will likely be within 90 days of closing arguments.

In the meantime, send thoughts of equality to Hawaii, Indiana, and New Hampshire where opponents of equality are trying to move us backwards.

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ALL MAJOR PSYCHOLOGICAL AND PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATIONS STATE CONVERSION THERAPY IS INEFFECTIVE AND HARMS GAY PEOPLE

Posted On: 2010-01-22 18:24:07

ALL MAJOR PSYCHOLOGICAL AND PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATIONS STATE CONVERSION THERAPY IS INEFFECTIVE AND HARMS GAY PEOPLE

Prop 8 Trial ---1/22/10

I started the morning with gulping down my latte. While I was doing this and admiring the historic photos of San Francisco on the 19th floor in the federal building, I struck up a conversation with the other person in the hallway. It turned out that I was talking to Brian Woodward from the California Family Council. We talked about how we could find our commonalities and exchanged business cards.

I then tossed my cup in the trash and found that the trial was already in full swing with psychologist Dr. Gregory Herek from the University of Davis. As a psychologist myself, I’ve been following Dr. Herek’s work for decades and even had the opportunity back in 2005 to be on a panel for marriage equality with him.

Dr. Herek has an impressive record of publications on sexual orientation and hate crimes.

Dr. Herek discusses the American Psychiatric Association’s removal of homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) in 1973.

Dr. Evelyn Hooker, a psychologist who published "The Adjustment of the Male Overt Homosexual" about her research on psychological testing of gay men and heterosexual men, helped create a body of psychological research that led to homosexuality being removed from the DSM.

Hooker assessed both gay and straight men and then had experts review the tests and select who was gay, was one of the people . The experiment, which was repeated by other researchers demonstrated that most gay men demonstrated the same level of social adjustment as heterosexual men in the general population.

Dr. Herek spoke about how most gay, lesbian, bisexual people do not believe that their sexual orientation is a choice. He referenced a study completed in Sacramento, California with 2,200 participants. Subjects were asked if they felt being LGB was a choice.

-87% gay men said they believed it was not a choice

-70% lesbians said they believed it was not a choice

-59% bi men said they believed it was not a choice

-45% bi women said they believed it was not a choice

Herek was asked if he believed if reparative therapy was effective. Reparative therapy, sometimes called conversion therapy, is intended to change a gay person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual.

Herek said “When we use the word effective with therapeutic intervention it means it consistently works, produces the outcome that we expect without causing harm to the individual…No, it is not effective.”

Herek notes that a taskforce was created to evaluate the effectiveness of these therapies. According to Herek, “the taskforce provided a report on their effectiveness and safety of reparative therapy. In their review of the literature, they found that there were not many high quality studies that had been done to speak to the effectiveness of these studies.”

Studies were then conducted and the APA Taskforce concluded that reparative therapy does not reduce same-sex attraction, has a limited effectiveness, and does some harm to individuals, including depression and anxiety.

Herek reported that the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, American Counselors Association, American Teachers Associatoin, and the American Pediatric Society do not support reparative therapies, believe they are ineffective, and they believe that this harms youth.

Herek mentions a survey of married same-sex couples in Massachusetts released in May 2009 by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health entitled the Health and Marriage Equality in Massachusetts Survey.

According to an executive summary of the survey published by the Williams Institute (May 2009), the survey found that same-sex married couples reported that marriage had a positive impact on their lives. Seventy-two per cent (72 %) of the married individuals reported “feeling more committed” to their spouse and “70% felt more accepted by their communities.”

Individuals also reported other important benefits from marriage, including “feeling that they have to worry less about legal problems (48%),” being able to give their same-sex spouse health insurance (30%), coming out to co-workers (82%), and healthcare providers (82%), and for those raising children, feeling that their children are “happier and better off as a result of their marriage (93%).” Especially notable was the finding that 62% of individuals reported that being married increased their family’s acceptance of their partner.

1 IN 5 LGBT PEOPLE EXPERIENCE VIOLENCE IN THEIR LIFETIME

Herek discusses the stigma against LGBT people. He says that many heterosexuals experience “negative feelings towards lesbians and gay men, they even feel disgusted” by gay people. Herek mentions the violence against LGBT people and how the FBI and State of California track hate crimes against LGB people.

According to Herek, 1 in 5 LGBT people experienced some sort of violence in the course of their lifetimes. Others, he reports have had some experience of discrimination in employment.

Herek speaks about how if two men walked down the street holding hands that would attract violence and harassment.

FYI-January 30 is international same-sex hand holding day.

LGBT YOUTH ARE BULLIED IN SCHOOL AND HARMED BY THE NOTION THAT THEIR SEXUAL ORIENTATION CAN BE CHANGED THROUGH THERAPY

Herek also mentions harassment and bullying against youth in schools.

While not discussed by Herek, I present you with findings from GLSEN’s 2007 National School Climate Survey which I found shocking.

• 91% of LGBT middle school students said they experienced harassment at school because of their sexual orientation.

• 59% reported physical harassment

• 39% reported physical assault, compared to 20% of high school students

• 82% heard names like “faggot” and “dyke”

• 63% heard staff make homophobic remarks

• 50% of LGBT middle school students surveyed reported missing at least one day of school in the past month because they felt unsafe.

• LGBT students who missed school because of safety had lower GPAs than other LGBT students (2.4 to 2.9)

• 57% of students who experience harassment never report it because they fear the teachers won’t help or it will only make things worse.

• School safety influences academic success.

• LGBT youth who feel unsafe, miss school more frequently, and have lower GPAs than youth who are not threatened, this leads LGBTIQ students to drop out.

• Approx. 28% of gay and lesbian youth drop out of high school because of discomfort (due to verbal and physical abuse) in the school environment. Remafedi, Gary. (1987). "Male Homosexuality: The Adolescent's Perspective." Pediatrics, Issue 79. pp. 326-337.

• Bullying and violence is even higher for gender non-conforming kids.

On a side note, the movie Prayers for Bobby is a great resource on illustrating the harm done to LGBT youth when they are pressured to change something they cannot change.

KINSEY’S CONTINUUM

During the cross-examination, Herek is asked about sexual orientation and how it is defined. He mentions Kinsey’s continuum of sexual orientation, which I’ve provided for you below. Herek says that as a culture we’ve shortened Kinsey’s continuum to 3 categories.

1. Heterosexual

2. Homosexual (gay/lesbian)

3. Bisexual

However, Kinsey’s continuum is more exact and people's behaviors, attractions, and identity are not always consistent. For example, someone’s sexual experience/behavior might be a 0-exclusively heterosexual, but their attraction is to members of the same-sex. Additionally, someone might have the experience of a 3, below, but identity as heterosexual.

• 0- Exclusively heterosexual experience

• 1- Predominately het exp. only incidental homosexual exp.

• 2- Predominately het exp. but more than incidental homosexual exp.

• 3- Equally het & homosexual experiences

• 4- Predominately homosexual exp. but more than incidental het exp.

• 5- Predominately homosexual exp. only incidental het exp.

• 6- Exclusively homosexual experience

And with that, it’s time for a break!

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THE SKY IS FALLING, THE SKY IS FALLING

Posted On: 2010-01-19 22:53:34

THE SKY IS FALLING, THE SKY IS FALLING

Attorney for the Proponents of Prop 8, Cooper, is cross-examining Lee Badgett, Ph.D., a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and the Research Director of the Williams’ Institute at UCLA.

Cooper asserts that research suggests that many straight couples in the Netherlands are choosing to register as partners and not marry, and he is blaming this on gay marriage. How the heck he can scapegoat gay people for this I do not know. It seems quite obvious to me that straight people in the Netherlands are choosing to be registered partners because it’s an option. Just like same-sex couples in the Netherlands are choosing to marry, like my friends Martha (American) and Lin McDevitt-Pugh (Australian), who met while both were living in Amsterdam and fell in love.

I CAN BRING MY DOG BACK TO THE COUNTRY BUT NOT MY WIFE

Despite the fact that Martha and Lin are legally married in the Netherlands, the United States will not recognize their marriage under the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Martha, can bring her dog back to the United States, but her wife and her step-children are not recognized as legal family because of the DOMA law. I am hopeful that this case, or the case filed on behalf of married Massachusetts couples filed by GLAD, will lead the United States Supreme Court to find DOMA unconstitutional or Congress will find a way to undue this shameful law that they passed in the first place in 1996 during a panic over gay marriage.

Before I go any further in sharing Cooper’s challenge to the research that the Williams’ Institute at UCLA has conducted insinuating that their numbers are exaggerated, I ask, why should a huge number of people have to be harmed by marriage discrimination before we step up and treat people with respect and dignity? Witnessing the harm marriage discrimination has on even one family is wrong. As Americans should we not speak out and work for equality for all people? As Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. taught, shouldn’t we assert the inherent worth and equality all people?

Badgett estimates that their were approximately 18,000 legal same-sex marriages.

Cooper asserts that Massachusetts couples do not have the option of domestic partnerships or civil unions, only marriage. His point, “presumably some people would choose to register as domestic partnerships, just as they do in California and in the Netherlands. Shouldn’t your 60% marriage rate be adjusted to account for the same-sex couples who would have opted for a domestic partnership?”

Badgett- I don’t think so. People voted with their feet, 25% of California same-sex couples got married in five months, and you double that for the whole year instead of just that six months,

Cooper-So I take it your answer is no. Cooper-There are some disincentives for CA same-sex couples to marry that same-sex couples in MA don’t have, correct?

Badgett-No

Cooper-I was just advised by one of my colleagues that I was wrong about whether a document had been submitted.

Cooper-After 205, Domestic partnerships became less popular as an option among same-sex couples. Would you agree with that?

Badgett-No, I don’t think passing AB 205 had anything to do with it.

He notes the number of dissolutions of same-sex couple relationships by year.

2002-- 296

2003--733

2004 --2,513

He is trying to make the point that people ended their Domestic partnerships because they were given rights.

My observation is that people who ended their domestic partnerships were in relationships that had already ended where partners had been slow or lazy about filing their dissolution papers, like many straight people do with their divorce papers. When these individuals realized that if they didn’t file a dissolution their ex-partner would have access to their community property and it would require them to go to court, not simply file a notarized piece of paper, they got online found the dissolution forms and got their butts to a notary.

Cooper is also suggesting that people terminated their domestic partnerships because they didn’t want to share community property rights and notes that Massachusetts is not a community property state.

I would argue that heterosexuals who get all of their rights at once, including the 1,138 federal rights that come with marriage, are able to do pre-nups, whereas same-sex couples had no opportunity to consider how this new status would affect their tax status as it became law on January 1, 2005.

Badgett echoes my belief in her testimony by stating that “many tax attorneys advised same-sex couples to dissolve their domestic partnerships” until they understood the impact of this new law. Badgett notes that domestic partnership was a unique status created in California and an unknown quantity.

I would also note that people chose not to become domestic partners because now Senator Mark Leno was simultaneously working to pass a marriage equality bill in the legislature. Also, many people who didn’t want to wait to get married, and were not inspired by domestic partnership went north to Canada to tie the knot. Those same California couples might have chosen to get married in Massachusetts did not because of the 1913 law preventing couples from marrying in states that had mini-DOMA laws like California’s Knight Initiative.

It’s been an hour now into the cross-examination and Cooper continues to belabor the point that he believes the calculations Badgett has come to in the Williams’ Institute Reports, are exaggerated.

As we make these estimates, things keep changing, now Vermont, Iowa, Connecticut and New Hampshire allow same-sex couples the right to marry and so our financial estimates for Massachusetts may change based on the couples who get married in those other states.

Cooper asks Badgett-Would you change your opinion if it cost the money government rather than save it?

Court takes a small break.

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LEE BADGETT-THE COSTS OF MARRIAGE DISCRIMINATION 1-19-10 Blog #2

Posted On: 2010-01-19 19:48:10

THE COSTS OF MARRIAGE DISCRIMINATION 1-19-10 Blog #2

M.V. Lee Badgett, Ph.D., a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and the Research Director of the Williams’ Institute at UCLA. She was called to testify about the private harms caused by Prop. 8 and the impact of same-sex marriage on the marriages of different-sex couples.

Badgett has a BA in economics from the University of Chicago (1982) and a PhD in economics from UC Berkeley (1990). Her book, “Money, Myths, and Change: The Economic Lives of Lesbians and Gay Men” (University of Chicago Press) presents her ground-breaking work on sexual orientation discrimination and family policy. Her new book “When Gay People Get Married,” asks whether same-sex marriage will change marriage or change GLB people, drawing on the U.S. and European experiences with same-sex marriage.

Photo https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/about/staff/Pages/default.aspx

Professor Badgett’s Opinions Fall into 4 Categories

1. Prop 8 has inflicted economic harm on same-sex couples residing in California and their children

2. Permitting same-sex couples to marry will not adversely affect heterosexual couples or marriage

3. Same-sex couples are similar to different sex couples in most economic and demographic characteristics

4. Prop 8 imposed substantial economic losses on California and its counties and municipalities.

THE INABILITY TO MARRY INFLICTS ECONOMIC HARMS ON SAME-SEX COUPLES IN MANY WAY

-Marriage confers numerous economic benefits many of which are not provided by DPS

-Greater specialization of labor

-Reduced transactions costs

-Additional health and insurance benefits

-Greater economies of scale-marriage pulls two people together, when they move in together they can live together more cheaply as a couple, than as two individuals

-Stronger statement of commitment-the value of the statement of commitment underlie all of these economic benefits. Secondly it is a statement that is recognized and reinforced by people outside the marriage.

-Greater validation and societal acceptance of relationship

-More positive workplace outcomes from reduced discrimination-psych research, gay and lesbian people in workplace facing discrimination have different work experiences and economic gains from the workplace.

Same-sex couples who are not allowed to marry may feel in their workplace that they are treated differently from heterosexual couples who are allowed to marry, and that being unable to marry may affect their ability to get promotions, raises, etc.

-Some of these costs may not be quantifiable, but they are substantial and are imposed on virtually all California same-sex couples who would marry if they could.

Frank and Joe Capley-Alfano, the first same-sex couple recognized within the Free Masons, are registered domestic partners who were married in 2008. Frank is an elevator mechanic and gets his health insurance benefits from the National Elevator Industry Health Benefits Plan (NEIHBP) through the International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) Local 8.

Joe has a degenerative physical condition that requires medical treatment for he will lose the ability to walk. He and Frank petitioned the IUEC beginning in 2004 for medical benefits. Because of DOMA, IUEC does not have to provide a member’s domestic partner or same-sex spouse the health care benefits it provides to opposite-sex spouse.

After six years of petitioning Local 8, who could have simply chosen to begin recognizing state sanctioned same-sex marriages, civil unions, and domestic partnerships, Local 8 agreed to provide Joe and Frank and others same-sex couples married ONLY in California during the 5 month period before Proposition 8 passed access health benefits.

However, because of the fall back on the federal DOMA they are refusing to recognize marriages performed in other states and California registered domestic partners. A lesbian whose family is affected by this inequality spoke at the vigil on 1-11-10. One partner is having to work a second job to provide for her partner and infant child.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY IS THE GOLD STANDARD

In 2008, the number of same-sex marriages in California far exceeded the number of domestic partnerships: 18,000 marriages and 2,077 domestic partnerships.

SAME-SEX COUPLES ENTER INTO MARRIAGE AT HIGHER RATES THAN OTHER INSTITUTIONS

Below is the percentage of same-sex couples who entered into these institutions the first year they were legal.

37%=Marriages in the first year that they were allowed to marry 12%=Civil Unions 10%=Domestic Partnerships

In California only 5% of couples registered as domestic partners in the first year (2000).

11:00 AM

Bois asks Badgett about couples who chose not to enter into domestic partnerships and the financial impact on this because of this choice. Badgett says they are numerous financial drawbacks for same-sec couples not to enter into domestic partnerships, but many LGBT people may choose not to because it relegates a second class status and when evaluating “the value” of domestic partnership it is significantly less than marriage.

Badgett also discusses the benefits of same sex marriage to couples and their children. Counsel submits a document entitled “The Effects of Marriage Equality in Massachusetts,” that reports that

“Over 72% of respondents felt more committed to their partners, almost 70% felt more accepted by their communities, and 93% of those raising children in their homes agreed or somewhat agreed that their children were happier and better off as a result of their marriage.”

This shows again that marriage helps stabilize relationships and keeps people together. It’s reminiscent of how the right wing chastises gay people for not being able to stay in long-term relationships and yet wishes to deny gay people access to marriage which supports long-term commitments.

THE MONEY YOU COULD BE SAVING WITH MARRIAGE EQUALITY

According to Badgett, the state and local governments are losing out on $40 million dollars by denying same-sex couples the right to marry.

According to the Williams Institute’s reports, same-sex marriage would save state governments money on state means-tested public benefits programs. They found that because a single person’s benefits are based on their income alone and a married person’s income is based on the couple’s combined household income, fewer people would be eligible for state benefits, saving the state significant amounts of money.

I have a whole chapter on this in my new book “Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why It Will Prevail”-April 2010

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LEE BADGETT-THE COSTS OF MARRIAGE DISCRIMINATION 1-19-10 Blog #2

Posted On: 2010-01-19 19:48:07

THE COSTS OF MARRIAGE DISCRIMINATION 1-19-10 Blog #2

M.V. Lee Badgett, Ph.D., a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and the Research Director of the Williams’ Institute at UCLA. She was called to testify about the private harms caused by Prop. 8 and the impact of same-sex marriage on the marriages of different-sex couples.

Badgett has a BA in economics from the University of Chicago (1982) and a PhD in economics from UC Berkeley (1990). Her book, “Money, Myths, and Change: The Economic Lives of Lesbians and Gay Men” (University of Chicago Press) presents her ground-breaking work on sexual orientation discrimination and family policy. Her new book “When Gay People Get Married,” asks whether same-sex marriage will change marriage or change GLB people, drawing on the U.S. and European experiences with same-sex marriage.

Photo https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/about/staff/Pages/default.aspx

Professor Badgett’s Opinions Fall into 4 Categories

1. Prop 8 has inflicted economic harm on same-sex couples residing in California and their children

2. Permitting same-sex couples to marry will not adversely affect heterosexual couples or marriage

3. Same-sex couples are similar to different sex couples in most economic and demographic characteristics

4. Prop 8 imposed substantial economic losses on California and its counties and municipalities.

THE INABILITY TO MARRY INFLICTS ECONOMIC HARMS ON SAME-SEX COUPLES IN MANY WAY

-Marriage confers numerous economic benefits many of which are not provided by DPS

-Greater specialization of labor

-Reduced transactions costs

-Additional health and insurance benefits

-Greater economies of scale-marriage pulls two people together, when they move in together they can live together more cheaply as a couple, than as two individuals

-Stronger statement of commitment-the value of the statement of commitment underlie all of these economic benefits. Secondly it is a statement that is recognized and reinforced by people outside the marriage.

-Greater validation and societal acceptance of relationship

-More positive workplace outcomes from reduced discrimination-psych research, gay and lesbian people in workplace facing discrimination have different work experiences and economic gains from the workplace.

Same-sex couples who are not allowed to marry may feel in their workplace that they are treated differently from heterosexual couples who are allowed to marry, and that being unable to marry may affect their ability to get promotions, raises, etc.

-Some of these costs may not be quantifiable, but they are substantial and are imposed on virtually all California same-sex couples who would marry if they could.

Frank and Joe Capley-Alfano, the first same-sex couple recognized within the Free Masons, are registered domestic partners who were married in 2008. Frank is an elevator mechanic and gets his health insurance benefits from the National Elevator Industry Health Benefits Plan (NEIHBP) through the International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) Local 8.

Joe has a degenerative physical condition that requires medical treatment for he will lose the ability to walk. He and Frank petitioned the IUEC beginning in 2004 for medical benefits. Because of DOMA, IUEC does not have to provide a member’s domestic partner or same-sex spouse the health care benefits it provides to opposite-sex spouse.

After six years of petitioning Local 8, who could have simply chosen to begin recognizing state sanctioned same-sex marriages, civil unions, and domestic partnerships, Local 8 agreed to provide Joe and Frank and others same-sex couples married ONLY in California during the 5 month period before Proposition 8 passed access health benefits.

However, because of the fall back on the federal DOMA they are refusing to recognize marriages performed in other states and California registered domestic partners. A lesbian whose family is affected by this inequality spoke at the vigil on 1-11-10. One partner is having to work a second job to provide for her partner and infant child.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY IS THE GOLD STANDARD

In 2008, the number of same-sex marriages in California far exceeded the number of domestic partnerships: 18,000 marriages and 2,077 domestic partnerships.

SAME-SEX COUPLES ENTER INTO MARRIAGE AT HIGHER RATES THAN OTHER INSTITUTIONS

Below is the percentage of same-sex couples who entered into these institutions the first year they were legal.

37%=Marriages in the first year that they were allowed to marry 12%=Civil Unions 10%=Domestic Partnerships

In California only 5% of couples registered as domestic partners in the first year (2000).

11:00 AM

Bois asks Badgett about couples who chose not to enter into domestic partnerships and the financial impact on this because of this choice. Badgett says they are numerous financial drawbacks for same-sec couples not to enter into domestic partnerships, but many LGBT people may choose not to because it relegates a second class status and when evaluating “the value” of domestic partnership it is significantly less than marriage.

Badgett also discusses the benefits of same sex marriage to couples and their children. Counsel submits a document entitled “The Effects of Marriage Equality in Massachusetts,” that reports that

“Over 72% of respondents felt more committed to their partners, almost 70% felt more accepted by their communities, and 93% of those raising children in their homes agreed or somewhat agreed that their children were happier and better off as a result of their marriage.”

This shows again that marriage helps stabilize relationships and keeps people together. It’s reminiscent of how the right wing chastises gay people for not being able to stay in long-term relationships and yet wishes to deny gay people access to marriage which supports long-term commitments.

THE MONEY YOU COULD BE SAVING WITH MARRIAGE EQUALITY

According to Badgett, the state and local governments are losing out on $40 million dollars by denying same-sex couples the right to marry.

According to the Williams Institute’s reports, same-sex marriage would save state governments money on state means-tested public benefits programs. They found that because a single person’s benefits are based on their income alone and a married person’s income is based on the couple’s combined household income, fewer people would be eligible for state benefits, saving the state significant amounts of money.

I have a whole chapter on this in my new book “Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why It Will Prevail”-April 2010

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A Change of Heart for Marriage Equality

Posted On: 2010-01-19 18:01:15

A CHANGE OF HEART FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY

Day 6 Prop 8 Trial

Jan. 19, 2010

Driving rain and wind gusts of up to 51 mph reported in San Francisco. Day 6 of the Prop 8 trial begins. Today’s witnesses are Lee Badget, Williams Institute, UCLA, Jerry Sanders, current mayor of San Diego who has a lesbian daughter, and Ryan Kendall, a gay man who experienced conversion therapy.

The morning started with Judge Walker having a bit of a challenge with Mr. Cooper whose response to Walker’s question about when he would return a response in regard to discovery and he stated to City Attorney Dennis Herrera, “Attorney, Mr. Flynn needs counseling on proper objections in deposition. Do a little wood-shedding of some of your lawyers.”

Dennis Hererra then called Mayor Jerry Sanders to the stand.

Jerry Sanders is a Republican, mayor for 4 years of San Diego. He’s in his second term. Sanders was a 1973 police recruit, Sgt. in 1979, policing squads of officers, Lt, 1981, swat commander, director of Police Academy, 1986 promoted to Captain, Commander 1990, Asst. Chief, Chief of Police 1993, retired in 1999, United Way 1999-2002. He is on his second marriage and has two daughters, Jamie straight, Lisa lesbian.

Sanders said Lisa “called in her sophomore year of college said she wanted to talk to us in person. When she got home, she sat down and told us she was a lesbian and in a lesbian relationship.”

He said that when she told him he “felt an overwhelming love, but I realized how difficult it was for her (emotion in voice) to come out to her parents. We told her that we loved her more than we ever would and we would support her every step of the way. I thought it was tough on gay people in society, I was proud of her for letting us know.”

Sanders was a police officer in San Diego for 26 years and said “I’d seen what happened to people who were gay. It was the 1970s San Diego was very conservative. We had a Sergeant who came out and told us he was gay and he was literally driven out of the police department. I’ve seen violence against the gay community simple because people were gay, gay bashings, death in the early 90s, I heard the slurs and the comments that people make.”

GROUNDED IN PREJUDICE

I used to believe civil unions were a fair alternative. In September 2007, the city of San Diego, City Council passed a resolution supporting San Francisco in a lawsuit in favor of marriage equality for same-sex couples. I had to make a decision to veto or sign the resolution my decision was sign the resolution.”

Sanders stated that his previous belief that civil unions are fair is grounded in prejudice and when he realized that he was prejudiced he decided not to veto the resolution in support of marriage equality.

You can see the videotape of the press conference on why he is signing resolution in support of marriage equality at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rfea8iEGNw&NR=1

Here is a transcription.

“My plan was to veto the resolution. My opinion on this issue (gay marriage) has evolved. The arrival of the resolution, to sign or to veto, in my office late last night, forced me to reflect and search my soul for the right thing to do. I’ve decided to lead with my heart, which is probably obvious at the moment. (He says choked up with emotion.) To do what I think is right and to take a stand on equality and social justice. The right thing for me to do is to sign this resolution.

For three decades, I’ve worked to bring justice, enlightenment, and equality to all parts of our community. As I reflected on the choices I had before me last night, I could not bring myself to tell an entire group of people in our community they were less important, less worthy, or less deserving of the rights and responsibilities of marriage than anyone else simply because of their sexual orientation.

A decision to veto this resolution would have been inconsistent with the values I’ve embraced over the past thirty years. I do believe that times have changed and with changing time and new life experiences come different opinions. Two years ago I believed civil unions were a fair alternative. Those beliefs in my case have changed. The concept of a separate, but equal, institution is not something I can support.

I have close family members, friends and members of my personal staff who are gay. I want for them the same thing that we all want for our loved ones—to for each of them to find a mate whom they love deeply and who loves them back. Someone whom they can grow old together and share life’s experiences, and I want their relationships to be protected equally under the law. In the end, I couldn’t look them in the face and tell them that their relationship, their lives, were any less meaningful then the life I share with my wife.”

In his testimony Sanders shared that “gay people would walk by my house and tell me ‘we are a family just like you are,’ and they shared with my how marriage discrimination hurt them.”

“I supported the resolution because I think it is in the interest of government. I know how easy it is to discriminate against people when you see it in the leadership” Sanders said. “If government tolerates discrimination for any reason it’s an excuse for the public to act the same way, and this had led to violence against gays and lesbians in San Diego.”

Sanders went on to say that “when the government denies fundamental rights to people it empowers others to commit hate crimes.”

“In the early days, there were a lot of gay bashings.” Sanders reported in his testimony. “Young men would get drunk and go out and gay bash people. In 2006, an individual brought a baseball bat to gay pride and beat several people with a baseball bat, and almost beat one man to death.”

Sanders spoke about how when he “was a young cop in the 70s, I participated in the slurs and the comments in the locker room. There was a sergeant who was a good cop and he was driven out of the force. I felt fundamentally that was not right!”

When discussing his own prejudice, Sanders asked, “How can someone who has been committed to equality for all people be prejudiced against anyone? I was on the board of director for Christians and Jews, I was a board chair, I participated in diversity workshops, two rounds of diversity training with the city, yet the fact that I still believed that civil unions were equal, really shook me, because the decision I made was grounded in prejudice, I was discriminating against my own daughter and her relationship.”

Sanders spoke about his daughter-in-law, Megan who married his daughter, Lisa in Vermont in December 2009. “She’s been an excellent partner for my daughter, but Megan is like another piece of my family…they deserve to have the same rights.”

When asked what he thought of the Yes on 8 campaign materials, Sanders said, “I don’t know why children would need to be protected from my daughter, Lisa, who is the most loving compassionate person I know.”

CROSS-EXAMINATI0N 9:20 AM

Brian Raum began the cross-examination of Mayor Sanders.

Raum is asking Mayor Sanders questions to show that his belief that there is no discrimination against LGBT people because there are openly gay and lesbian members of city council, there are fewer hate crimes against gays since the 1970s when he first started working in the police department, and because the police department has worked to reach out to improve relationships with the gay and lesbian community.

Raum is showing Sanders a Yes Prop 8 commercial. “Marriage between a man and a woman is hardly a controversial idea….Marriage binds men and women for one reason the raising of children.”

The rest of the commercial talks about how the supporters of Prop 8 have called Yes on 8 supporters “intolerant, offensive, bigots,” and how they vandalized and stole Yes on 8 signs, damaged the property of Yes on 8 supporters and intimidated Yes on 8 supporters.

Raum is making the case that No on 8 people were violent against Yes on 8 supporters. I can’t speak for everyone, but I can say that I personally experienced intimidation on numerous occasions by Yes on 8 people in my own neighborhood.

POSTING 10:00 AM

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21 BOGUS REASONS WHY GENDER MATTERS

Posted On: 2010-01-16 05:31:10

21 BOGUS REASONS WHY GENDER MATTERS

During the Prop8 campaign Ron Prentiss reportedly distributed a booklet to churches that included an article entitled '21 Reasons Why Gender Matters' Examines Gender Disorientation Pathology And Social Policy, and made up his own psychological terminology “Gender Disorientation Pathology,” as any first year psychology graduate student with knowledge of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-TR) would know.

Dr. Lamb obviously had never heard of it either.

Dr. Lamb refuted the 21 reasons with peer-reviewed research and literature.

At least four of the reasons were just complete make believe.

15. “Healthy gender development prevents individuals from developing compulsive obsessive disorders leading to sexual addiction and other pathologies.” (The terminology is actually obsessive compulsive disorders ask any psych grad student).

16. “Gender disorientation pathology is a symptom of family dysfunction, personality disorder, father absence, health malfunction or sexual abuse.”

17. “Gender disorientation pathology will lead to increased levels of drug abuse and partner violence.”

21. “Gender disorientation pathology encourages the sexual and psychological exploitation of children.”

Go to: http://www.familyaction.org/Articles/issues/sexuality/gender-matters.htm

If you wish to read the pseudo-psychological 21 reasons.

YES ON 8 CAMPAIGN USED BOGUS MADE UP RESEARCH AND TERMINOLOGY

Apparently, in the booklet, Prentiss makes statements that “12% of children of lesbian became active lesbians themselves.”

Dr. Lamb says this is inaccurate according to extensive research on children of same-sex parents.

GAYS NOT MORE LIKELY TO ABUSE THAN HETEROSEXUALS

Prentiss states-The sad truth is that homosexual abuse of children is higher than heterosexuals. It is the right of the child to know and have a relationship with bio parent. GENDER ORIENTATION PATHOLOGY increases the risk that children will suffer sexual exploitation. It is our duty to protect them.”

Lamb refutes all of the above and states that gays are no more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexuals and reiterates that there is no such concept or disorder called GENDER ORIENTATION PATHOLOGY. He asserts that there is three decades of research refuting this myth and that children are most likely to get hurt by school bullies who don’t respect or accept their LGBT parents.

POST-LUNCH CROSS EXAMINATION OF LAMB-SORRY THIS IS A BIT OUT OF ORDER

Defendant Council Thompson begins focusing on research that step-fathers are more likely to abuse their step-children then biological fathers. He’s not arguing for covenant-no divorce marriage (yet), but he seems hell-bent to say that all step-fathers and anyone non-biologically related to the child is a menace to that child, to wipe out all non-biological parents from capable child-rearing.

First, it is true some step-fathers molest their children. I ran a sexual abuse survivors program for ten years when I worked as a psychologist for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. There were many women who had been sexually abused by their biological parents too. Does that mean that WE should take children away from their biological fathers because of the chance, that being men, they might abuse their children?

Second, this case is about marriage. Couples who never or can’t have biological children can marry and no one is rushing to pass constitutional amendments to take away their marriage rights. Also, have you noticed, same-sex couples are already, legally raising children, but I’m not naïve, I know that they are hoping to use this kind of bogus logic to take away same-sex couples rights to parent and adopt. They just did in Arkansas last year.

GRANDPARENTS CAN BE IMPORTANT TO A CHILD’S PSYCHOLOGICAL ADJUSTMENT, CORRECT?

Thompson- So the grandparents’ financial contributions to children make a difference in their lives, correct? Clearly we note that the psychological well-being of parents affects their ability to parent and the quality of relationship with their children.

Holy Research Twisting Batman!

Thompson is now taking the fact that some straight parents of LGBT people reject their children and so are not involved in their grandchildren’s lives and that this hurts these kids—the implication that kids would be better off with straight parents because their parents don’t reject them.

Okay my friend’s Ashle and Kinna have two wonderful daughters and the grandparents are extremely involved in their grandbabies’ lives. My friend, Maurie, a straight mom of a lesbian daughter and proud grandmother of two, is extremely active in her grandchildren’s lives and is more than happy to show you the beautiful picture of her grandchildren as ring bearer and flower girl at their mothers’ long-awaited legal marriage before Prop 8 passed.

Should they be denied their constitutional rights because some straight parents/grandparents are stifled in the current ability to accept their LGBT children? Should straight people who have difficulties with their parents and have been disowned for various reasons or chosen themselves to cut off communication lose their right to a marriage license? Again I think the answers are obvious here. And similar arguments were used to keep interracial couples from marrying.

GAYS SUFFER FROM MINORITY DISTRESS

While the psychological research shows that LGBT people experience minority distress due to homophobia and discrimination, Thompson decides to take the implication to an illogical conclusion.

He is also making the point that because LGBT people suffer minority distress, which leads to anxiety and depression, and because depression and anxiety effects parenting, LGBT parents do not make good parents. Wow!

I wonder what he says about People of Color who also experience minority distress due to racism and discrimination. I’m sure somewhere in there these folks may be advocating for fewer babies of color, remember they are very concerned with population growth, and believe that gay marriage will lead to the population dying out.

When I debated Maggie Gallagher at Brown University in 2006, she spoke with concern about the reduction of children being born in Western Europe. I could be wrong, but it sure seemed like she was suggesting that not enough white babies were being born, cause as far as I can tell, there’s no overall global shortage of babies being born.

IS IT ALMOST OVER YET

Thompson-“Dr. Lamb likes to talk about these rich, deep studies, but you don’t have any knowledge if these studies had control groups with biological, married parents which is the core of our case.”

Judge Walker interceded and says to Counsel Thompson. “We’re trying a case is there a way to shorten your questions.”

I agree. My brain and body are starting to check out. I tend to dissociate a bit when Thompson steps up for cross-examination. He is quite annoying and his disdain for educated people, reality, facts, and gay people make me feel like I’ve been watching FOX news for hours. I can only take this stuff in doses, that’s why I watch the Daily Show with John Stuart, at least there are funny jokes in between his reports of the assault on logic, truth, and human decency.

Did I mention that there was a huge group of Stanford Law Students here today?

REDIRET

Discussing Michael Rosenfeld study based on U.S. Census

Lamb-It is the only study we have, a rare study, which compares all the children in the country in the environments that they are reared, couple thousand children raised by lesbians, with couples thousand children raised by gay male couples, compared to children raised by heterosexual couples.

Matthew D. McGill Plaintiffs’ Attorney-In your experience is a sample based on U.S. census adequate to be reliable?

Lamb-Yes.

McGill-Why does it make sense to maintain a control group of heterosexual couples raising children?

Lamb-Seems most appropriate control group.

McGill-Why?

Lamb-Because you have unmarried couples in all of those groups. Children adopted into two parent family and children in bio family.

The point is to answer Thompson’s early assertion that none of the research used only heterosexual married couple with biological children. If they had, it would not have been an accurate group to compare with gay parents who are not legally married and some children their children are biologically, others are adopted, and some are from IVF and other forms of alternative insemination. The researchers chose to be in the real world, acknowledging the diversity and variation of families, rather than embracing only one family type.

And speaking of typing, my wife wants to know. Are you done yet.

Yes dear, for tonight.

GAY ON TRIAL

Tomorrow I’ll blog about Helen Zia, the only witness who openly discusses her sexual orientation.

SPECIAL THANKS TO MY BROTHER AND WEB-DESIGNER RICHARD KOTULSKI, WHO HAS PROVIDED ME WITH TREMENDOUS TECH SUPPORT THIS WEEK AND LAST.

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rick.kaplowitz@gmail.com says:

The "logic" of the grandparents portion of that questioning is so twisted that it made me wonder ... I'm a [more-or-less ] straight grandparent of three. If one or more of those kids turns out to be gay, would the prop8 folks argue that the gay kid(s) and I should be prohibited from seeing and loving each other ??? That makes about as much sense, of course, as the rest of their argument -- or, maybe its just Granparent Disorientation Pathology.

Posted on: 2010-01-18

bbradford@cooley.com says:

Davina you are inspirational.So are our Attorneys in the Prop 8 case, and I wrote to thank them today: Thank you for standing up for me, and my rights. This is an historic moment in our history, in our country and for me personally. The passage of Prop 8 changed my life completely, from a single Dad just taking care of my sons to a “Gay Activist’ according to the press. I live in the Bay Area and I am using vacation time from work to attend the trial, to watch history being made. I feel like this case will be remembered as a major step in the long and difficult path of civil rights, and it will mark a turning point in the struggle for LGBT equality. Thank you for helping us, and inspiring me. Kind regards, Billy Bradford Castro Valley, CA

Posted on: 2010-01-17

CROSS-EXAMINATION: LET THE BADGERING BEGIN

Posted On: 2010-01-15 20:14:57

CROSS-EXAMINATION: LET THE BADGERING BEGIN

Thompson steps up to the plate and starts his rapid fire questioning again.

You are a member of the ACLU, correct?

You are a member of… asks 10 more questions about his membership.

You give money to PBS, so you are a committed liberal, correct?

Then he attacks him by saying he has no clinical experience as a psychologist, he is only a researcher?

You are not a clinical psych, never done therapy before, correct?

You have not interviewed a child for over 20 years, correct?

(DUH-That’s what graduate students and research assistants are for!)

If you look at the Homer Simpson’s of the world, they are much more likely to be men than women, correct?

Breast feeding is better for children and men can’t breast feed is that correct?

Women earn less money than men, correct?

There are differences between the earning power of gay men and lesbians, correct?

Lesbians earn less than heterosexuals, correct?

Lee Badger, (actually her name is Badgett, but badgering is what you are doing and perhaps you were thinking of another small mammal), she says contrary to popular stereotype after controlling for race, age, male couples’ income is 4% higher than heterosexuals income, and female couples is 7% lower than married couples.

WOMEN SPEND MONEY DIFFERENTLY THAN MEN WITH REGARD TO CHILDREN

Women spend money differently than men with regard to children, correct?

Gender is associated with certain occupations correct?

Gender is assoc with educational opportunities, correct?

Men are more likely to perpetrate sexual abuse than women, correct? So step-fathers are more likely to sexually and physically abuse children than mothers correct?

Men who are married are less likely to drink heavily and gamble, correct?

Just to be clear, Dr. Lamb is qualifying all of his responses with intelligent arguments that I can't capture as quickly and Thompson's statements.

WHO ARE THE PEOPLE IN THE OVERFLOW ROOM?

“I didn’t know any of what Lamb discussed. Frankly, I don’t care about all those studies. I’m just a parent. I know what kind of job I do, I know a number of gay parents and I know what kind of parents they are. When they say gays are child molesters-- that hurts my heart.” Billy gay parent, father of two children.

Niko and Lorna, a multi-racial lesbian couple from San Francisco stood in line to enter the court room. The committed couple said they were there because they went to get a domestic partnership in San Francisco and found out that as a same-sex couple they had to pay $23 more than heterosexual couples applying for a domestic partnership certificate.

“Why should we have to pay more for a domestic partnership registration than straight couples?” The couple said that they were told by SF clerks that the $23 went to pay for an LGBT education fund. “Why can’t straight people pay the extra $23 for the LGBT educational fund?” I told them this was the first I ever heard of this.

Court on lunch break!

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CHILDREN RAISED BY GAY AND LESBIAN PARENTS ARE JUST AS WELL ADJUSTED AS CHILDREN RAISED BY HETEROSEXUAL PARENTS PROP 8 TRIAL: Day 5

Posted On: 2010-01-15 18:14:09

CHILDREN RAISED BY GAY AND LESBIAN PARENTS ARE JUST AS WELL ADJUSTED AS CHILDREN RAISED BY HETEROSEXUAL PARENTS

Michael Lamb, PhD discussed the impact of same-sex marriage on children. Lamb is the author of The Role of the Father in Child Development and co-author of Child Care and Its Impact on Young Children (2-5) published by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, USA (2004).

Lamb, is a Prof at University of Cambridge, England. For seventeen years, he was the head of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Since the 1970s, for nearly 40 years, Lamb has conducted research about children’s social and emotional development. He is achieved prestigious awards for his lifetime contributions to psychology.

He has two primary areas of study:

1. investigation of sex crimes involving children and interviewing children who are young victims.

2 factors that affect children’s adjustment, those aspects of children’s development that allow them to function effectively in their environment and to interact effectively with society, adjusted.

He stated that over the past 40 years there are over 100 peer reviewed professional articles on children being raised by G &L parents.

He has two opinions on same-sex marriage with regard to LGBT people raising children. He state:

1. Children raised by G&L are just as well-adjusted as children raised by heterosexual parents.

2. The emotional and social adjustment of children raised by G&L parents would promoted if their parents could get married.

Lamb says that the consensus over 40 years of research indicate that there are three broad factors that impact the healthy adjustment of a child.

1. The quality of relationship with parent or parent figures.

2. The quality of relationship between the two parents or significant adults.

3. The environment the child is raised in has adequate economic and social resources.

Lamb states that “a good parent is someone who is committed to, loves the child, is engaged with the child, focuses attention on that child, can read the child’s signals, has an understanding of what the child needs, provides the child with stimulation, and provides appropriate guidance for and limits on that child.”

WHAT MAKES AN EFFECTIVE PARENT IS THE SAME REGARDLESS IF THE PARENT IS A MOTHER OR A FATHER

Attorney’s introduced a quote from President Obama that stated “Statistics show that children who grow up without a father are 5xs more likely to live in poverty & commit crime, 9xs more likely to drop out of schools, 20xs more likely to end up in prison.”

Lamb says that “actually the factors that better explain this is not that there is no father it is that these children grow up in households with more conflict between parents, have fewer economic resources…”

According to Lamb, “our research on masculine and feminine parents has made clear that that initial prediction ( a child needs a mother and a father as parents) is incorrect. We’ve come to a new conclusion. What makes a good parent is the same for either a male or a female, a child does not specifically need a mother or a father.”

The attorney asks Lamb to read a policy statement from the American Psychological Association in support of marriage equality for same-sex couples and their families. He then reads the names of the following organizations who have also submitted policy statements affirming same-sex marriage.

American Psychological Association

American Academy of Child Psychology

American Pediatric

Psychiatric Association

Psychoanalytic Association

Child Welfare League of America

Social Workers

North American Council on Adoptable Children

MORE ON RON PRENTISS’S 21 REASONS GENDER MATTERS IN NEXT BLOG, STAY TUNED

THE COST OF MARRIAGE DISCRIMINATION

Yesterday, Edmund Egan, PhD. San Francisco’s Chief Economist, spoke about the cost of discrimination to the City & County of San Francisco. Egan discussed all the lost revenue in marriage licenses and weddings since Prop 8 passed and stopped happy couples from saying “I do.” Just a little tease, my new book Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why It Will Prevail explores in greater detail the cost of marriage discrimination across the nation. Children raised by G&L parents are NOT more likely to develop a gender identity disorder.

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INSPIRING VIDEO OF SUNRISE VIGIL FOR PROP 8 FEDERAL TRIAL

Posted On: 2010-01-14 20:17:15

INSPIRING VIDEO OF SUNRISE VIGIL FOR PROP 8 FEDERAL TRIAL

Since there will be no live coverage of today’s trial and I have to work and do laundry today, I’ve included several links to the Sunrise Vigil, for and against marriage equality and a list of the Witnesses (thanks Pam Brown). If you are interested google them and learn more so you have the who’s who.

And to be clear from my last blog, the Aggresive Acts By Gay Rights Supporters that was their frame not mine and I do know these folks lie. LGBTIQ people, including myself, have long been the victims of hate speech, violence, and crime. I don't put it past these folks to cry victim, when the reverse is true. They are the bullies. But we are all human.

I follow the teachings Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose birthday is tomorrow, who worked with African-American men and women and their allies, to always embrace non-violent means.

In fact, the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis Tennessee, where Dr. King was taken from us, has video of non-violent teachings where young people are at lunch counters being taunted by segregationists, cigarette ashes and milk-shakes dumped on their head, they are called horrible names, and yet, these activists are calm, graceful, and committed to their cause.

National Civil Rights Museum Memphis

Now, I'm not saying, we should let people beat us up. If someone comes at me, I'm calling 911 and making a police report. I am saying that it behooves us to channel our anger in organzing and educating, but not in yelling matches with oppostion or other foolish endeavors.

Back in the court room tomorrow.

Sunrise Vigil Video

MEET THE WITNESSES

Plaintiffs Witnesses (one's with ** are also on Defendant's list)

Kristin Perry (plaintiff)**

Sandra Stier (plaintiff)**

Paul Katami (plaintiff)**

Jeffrey Zarrillo (plaintiff)**

MV Lee Badgett, PhD (Williams’ Institute UCLA)**

Nancy Cott, PhD (history of marriage)**

George Chauncey, PhD (history of discrimination)**

Daniel Hamermesh, PhD (economic value of marriage)**

Gregory Herek, PhD (antigay stigma and other psychological issues)**

Michael Lamb, PhD (impact on children)**

Ilan Meyer, PhD (stigma and prejudice)**

Letitia Anne Pepla, PhD (benefits of marriage)**

Gary Segura, PhD (political vulnerability of gays)**

Edmund Egan, PhD (costs of discrimination to City & County)**

Jerry Sanders (San Diego Mayor)

Helen Zia (Asian American lesbian - impact of being denied marriage and importance of it)

William Rogers (gay man with two sons and importance of marriage)

Ryan Kendall (gay man subjected to conversion therapy)

Dennis Hollingsworth (Proponent of Prop 8 - genesis, strategy and execution of campaign)

Gail Knight (Proponent of Prop 8 - genesis, strategy and execution of campaign) I believe she is the widow of Senator Pete Knight of Prop 22

Martin Gutierrez (Proponent of Prop 8 - genesis, strategy and execution of campaign)

Mark Jansson (Proponent of Prop 8 - genesis, strategy and execution of campaign)

Ron Prentice (Yes on 8 Exec Council - genesis, strategy and execution of campaign)

Edward "Ned" Dolejsi (Yes on 8 Exec Committee member - genesis, strategy and execution of campaign)

Andrew Pugno (Protect Marriage Council - genesis, strategy and execution of campaign)

Frank Schubert (Protect Marriage Campaign Manager - genesis, strategy and execution of campaign)

Jeff Flint (Protect Marriage Campaign Manager - genesis, strategy and execution of campaign)

Does #1-20 (Unnamed persons - genesis, strategy and execution of campaign)

James Garlow (Senior Pastor of Skyline Wesleyan, Active in Yes on 8 campaign - genesis, strategy and execution of campaign)

Mike McPherson (Senior Pastor of Rock Church, Active in Yes on 8 campaign - genesis, strategy and execution of campaign)

Bill May (Catholics for a Common Good, Active in Yes on 8 campaign - genesis, strategy and execution of campaign)

Bill Criswell (Marketing Communications Services, Prop 8 Vendor - genesis, strategy and execution of campaign)

David Blankenhorn (Founder of Institute of American Values)** Loren Marks (Professor at Lousiana State, purports one man-one woman good for child )**

Paul Nathanson, PhD (McGill Religious Studies Professor)**

Katherine Young (McGill Professors, purports to know about religion and marriage)**

Daniel Robinson, PhD (Oxford Philosophy, purports to know about sexual orientation)**

Kenneth Miller, PhD (Assoc Prof at Claremont McKenna - purports to understand political power)**

Douglas Allen (Prof of Econ at Simon Fraser University, purports to know about same sex marriage)

Separate Defendants Witnesses

City & County of San Francisco Clerk California Secretary of State

OPPONENTS OF MARRIAGE EQUALITY VIDEO INTERVIEWS FROM SUNRISE VIGIL 1/11/10

“How do you know I’m heterosexual?” Luke Otterstad

Frankly, I thought he and his friend looked like cute gay guys. I know I wasn’t the only one.

< a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIm53IDHaqk"> Luke Otterstad Vladimir Musorvichi

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AGGRESSIVE VIOLENT ACTS BY SUPPORTERS OF LGBT RIGHTS

Posted On: 2010-01-13 21:27:58

AGGRESSIVE VIOLENT ACTS BY SUPPORTERS OF LGBT RIGHTS

 

Back from Break, 10:24 AM, Thompson begins introducing evidence that Yes8 people were attacked by No8 people, death threats, boycotts, defaced churches, and an elderly couple beaten up.

 

While this is all hearsay to me, I want to speak to two things.

 

First, I was one of those people who was verbally and almost physically, assaulted during the Prop 8 campaign in my hometown Oakland, California.

 

Following the Prop 8 state trial I began receiving death threats from a man who called my home and sent me e-mails calling me a “fucking dyke” while simultaneously identifying himself as a Christian.

 

I was concerned because Molly and I were community grand marshals for the SF Pride Parade and were going to ride in a convertible car down Market St during gay pride. I had images of JFK’s assassination running through my head as the phone calls continued. I filed a police report, eventually the calls stopped.

 

Second, again the Yeson8 reports of being victimized are hearsay, but mindful we should be as we advance our equality to maintain non-violence in all aspects of our communication with our opposition. We must not become the bullies.

 

As Ghandi said, the enemy of truth, is untruth, it’s not the person. I invite us to be in a place of compassion wherever possible with our opponents. Knowing that many of our current opponents will one day awaken to their misunderstandings (mistakes) and some may even become active allies in ushering in more equality.

 

The truth is, so many already have.

 

KING AND KING-IT’S A FAIRY TALE-IT’S NOT ABOUT SEX

 

Lawyers for Protectmarriage.com showed footage of the heterosexual couple from Massachusetts who were featured in Yeson8 ads talking about how school children would be forced to learn about gay sex because someone at their son’s school read the book, King and King, and it was not part of the curriculum. The couple say this is forced on kids and parents and they are helpless to change it.

 

Particularly appalling was when the women said, “Our children should not be exposed to sexuality in second grade. Now they are being forced to learn about gay marriage in math, social studies, and reading. Parents have no rights.”

 

Thompson badgered Chauncey asking him shouldn’t parents have a right to decide what their children learn if they oppose the teaching.

 

Chauncey fired back that if parents oppose interracial marriage they can send their child to a private school, but that public schools “are encouraged to teach broader social values,” and he emphasized that the book, King and King, “is a fairy tale, it’s not about gay sex,” as Thompson and the couple tried to frame.

 

IS MARRIAGE AN ADULT ISSUE? IF SO WHAT ARE CHILDREN DOING AT WEDDINGS

 

Chief Deputy Attorney for San Francisco, Terry Stewart asked Professor Chauncey if marriage was an adult issue and if he had ever heard of flower children before. There were a few chuckles in the court room, as Stewart corrected herself and said “flower girls and ring bearers.”

 

She challenges Thompson’s earlier point that even gay people didn’t want marriage, but mentioning that their were many blacks in the segregated South who were also initially uncomfortable with integration with whites for various reasons.

 

HOMOSEXUAL ACTS GO AGAINST THE NATURAL LAW

 

Stewart then asks Chauncey to read some documents by Prop 8 supporters to be submitted as evidence.

 

Chauncey reads-ALLOWING CHILDREN TO BE ADOPTED BY LIVING IN SUCH UNIONS WOULD BE DOING VIOLENCE TO THESE CHILDREN

 

Then Stewart introduces video of a deposition with the Executive Director of the Traditional Family Coalition, Dr. Bill Tam, who volunteered almost all of his time to help ProtectMarriage.com pass Prop 8.

 

Dr. Tam via pre-recorded video:

 

Dr. Tam-I communicated with Ron Prentiss, Andrew Pugno, Frank Schubert…I organized several rallies in support of Prop 8 attended by thousands of voters and raised several thousand dollars and support from Asian-Am community.”

 

Depo Attorney-How did you attract people?

 

Dr. Tam-Notices of rallies at churches.

 

Depo Attorney- Were these venuespublic?

 

Dr. Tam-Yeah. China Town Square. Names some Memorial Park.

 

Depo Atty- Who attended the rallies?

 

Dr. Tam mentions many clergy members and Ron Prentiss and Tony Perkins.

STATEMENT BY DR. TAM PROTECTMARRIAGE.COM SUMMARIZED BY PROF. CHAUNCEY

 

Chauncey summarizes Dr. Tam’s remarks. “This is anti-gay rhetoric, describes right to marry as the legalization of prostitution, put forth by SF city govt  which is under rule of homosexuals, forced on the people, the next step after gay marriage is legalizing sex with children.”

 

IF SAME-SEX MARRIAGE IS LEGAL, EVERY CHILD WOULD GROW UP

THINKING THEY COULD MARRY JOHN OR JANE.

 

Video shows Dr. Tam describing the Gay Agenda.

 

“It is legalizing sex with children-google it,” he says. When asked by the depo attorney is he believes this is true. He evokes his 1st amendment right that he doesn't have to say if believes this.

 

Tam goes on to express his concern that if gay marriage were legal it would lead not only to legalizing sex with children, but it “every child would grow up thinking they could marry John or Jane.”

 

Dr. Tam expressed concern that because of gay marriage, “my daughter wanted to experiment with girls and had trouble getting boys. So the girls tried girls, the children did an experiment.”

 

He also expressed concern about gays calling marriage a civil right. He said, “It’s a concern to Asian Americans that gays call it civil rights, civil rights is about skin color. I cannot change it. If homosexuals portray self as minority than sex preference can become a minority.”

 

And in fact, LGBT people are the minority, but as we continue to grow as a society, we will be a part of a majority of people who believe in equality for LGBTIQ people.

 

I’m sorry to say, but I will not be in the court room again until Friday at 8:30 AM. Follow michaelpetrelis.com for a summary later of the day and Paul Hogarth at www.couragecampaign.org who is doing live blogging.

 

I will however be posting some interviews hopefully at the end of the day.

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YOU ALL HAVE BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN AND IT EVEN GOT AWARDS--- GAY DISCRIMINATION IS OVER DAY 3 MORNING

Posted On: 2010-01-13 17:49:30

DAY 3 MORNING

YOU ALL HAVE BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN AND IT EVEN GOT AWARDS--- GAY DISCRIMINATION IS OVER

Thompson, the smug attorney for the Proponents of Prop 8, is taking the position that gays are not being discriminated against any more and so that cannot be the reason that Prop 8 passed.

He makes a point and then asks Professor Chauncey if that is correct.

He’s mentioning Will and Grace, the movie Philadelphia, and Brokeback mountain as evidence that LGBT people are not being discriminated again.

NANCY PELOSI IS A GAY RIGHTS CHAMPION, RIGHT?

Did I miss something? Nancy Pelosi is our fierce advocate?

Thompson says she is.

Thompson-“Homosexuals couldn’t get hearings in the 1950s, but today you have Barney Frank and he’s a powerful ally of gays and lesbians, correct?”

Thompson, “You have AIDS funding, isn’t that important to gays and lesbians, correct?”

Thompson, “Thousands of employers have non-discrimination policies, correct?”

PRESIDENTIAL POLICY ON GAYS AND LESBIANS

Thompson- “President Clinton appointed 116 gays to employment, correct?”

Thompson- “He issued presidential orders, barring discrimination in employment, correct?”

Again, I was a federal employee, all the advances Clinton made for LGBT people in the government were immediately revoked or ignored during Bush’s 8 years. It was shocking to see how quickly, we went backwards.

In 1999 and 2000, I held “lunch and learns” on gay issues during gay pride month. The first June Bush was in office, I was no longer welcome to hold such gatherings. And I believe it was Judy Shepard who had been invited to speak at DOJ-Pride in Washington, DC, an LGBT employment group made up of Department of Justice employees, was not allowed to speak in the DOJ board room. DOJ Pride, which had also held “lunch and learns” for gay issues in June, was told that they could no longer meet on DOJ property.

If my memory serves me, a Democratic Senator invited Judy Shepard and DOJ Pride to come use his conference room. That was June 2001, the first year Bush was in office. Believe me, it only got worse until Obama took office eight years later.

ALL MEN AND WOMEN ARE SINNERS, CORRECT?

Christian organizations against gay rights are in the minority, correct?

Thompson trying to show that significant shift in acceptance toward gay people as evidence by the fact that numerous churches support gay rights and read off a list of denominations that support gay people. He also submitted two videos for evidence to show that even the churches are supporting gay people.

One of the signing of the DC marriage equality resolution being signed in a church and then one was an interview of Rick Warren on Fox said that he believed that people show “respect” for “all people regardless of their lifestyle, but I don’t believe in redefining marriage as it’s been the past 5000 years.”

Stay posted for additional postings. Check my facebook and twitter accounts www.twitter.com/drkotulski for more freq updates.

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SidneyTRifkin@gmail.com says:

Interesting that Rick Warren should comment about changing marriage as it's been for the last 5000 years. There are still societies that do not adhere to the "one man, one woman" philosophy. Mormonism didn't until it became a precondition of Utah's acceptance into the Union that it be outlawed there. The current President of South Africa (is a polygamist. What Warren really means is that in the Judeo-Christian world (minus the early Mormons) one man, one woman has been the rule. But isn't our country based on principles of separation of church and state? Isn't freedom of, and from, religion one of the basic precepts of our system of government? Many of our founding fathers were familiar firsthand with the religious intolerance that pervaded the old world and deliberately set up protections for those who wished to follow their own conscience and live the lifestyle of their choosing. Thank you, Ted Olson, for reminding our country that Freedom is our original watchword and that the power of the government to interfere in people's lives, based entirely on religious principles, needs to be severely limited lest it become a tool of oppression of a religious majority against a minority of any kind.

Posted on: 2010-01-13

HOMOSEXUALITY-- THIS IS YOUR LIFE!

Posted On: 2010-01-13 08:28:32

Davina Kotulski covers Prop 8 trial testimony of Professor George Chauncey, Historian RUSHING TO LUNCH

At 12:30 PM we broke for lunch and raced to the Cafeteria on the 2nd floor of the fed building. I inhaled some sushi because I couldn’t wait for something to cook. I was famished. Can you believe they have a sushi bar at the fed building?

I had lunch with Terry Stewart’s wife and daughter, my wife, and plaintiff for the California Marriage Case John Lewis.

I asked John Lewis to tell me what he thought of the case. He said he was struck by the bravery of the plaintiff couples and said “over the past decade the success of the marriage equality movement can be attributed to LGBTI couples, their family and friends, who have spoken the truth of their lives in every possible setting, with co-workers, at rallies, too media, and even going door to door.”

Lewis said “This takes tremendous courage and belief in one’s dignity to be treated equally under the law and to stand up for your own life and offer that for the betterment of others now and in the future. The plaintiffs offered live testimony of their lives in a court case where they are subjecting themselves to hostile cross examination on the most important part of their lives.”

Well said John! IN THE COURTROOM

Thanks to the wonderful generosity of blogger Michael Petrelis

Michael Petrelis

who shared his media pass with me. I had the chance to sit in the court room for the afternoon testimony by Yale Professor George Chauncey. Stuart Milk, Harvey Milk’s gay nephew, was there. Hoping to do an interview with him tomorrow.

Chauncey is a historian who wrote Why Marriage: The history shaping the debate over gay equality (2004) He is an internationally sought after speaker whose received numerous awards. Go to: Wikipedia

Unfortunately, this is when my computer decided to die.

Chauncey began talking about the widespread discrimination gays and lesbians faced in the public and private arenas, focusing specifically on public accommodation, employment, censorship, stereotyping, and then just plain old discrimination.

HOMOSEXUALITY THIS IS YOUR LIFE

Chauncey’s testimony was like “homosexuality this is your life!” Remember when you could be arrested for association and sodomy? Remember when we called you a degenerate and made up laws to through you in jail for simply being in a bar.

Oh, this one’s great, remember when vagrancy laws were used to ensnare you in California and getting arrested meant the police would, according to Chauncey 1. Call your family to “verify your identity” and out you. 2. Call your landlord to confirm that you lived there and out you. 3. Call your employer to verify your employment and out you.

And remember after prohibition when everyone else could drink, laws were passed to keep you out of the bars. Laws that actually prohibited gays and lesbians being served drinks or the bar would lose its liquor license, so you had to hang out at the bars that were operated by organized crime syndicates. Boy, homosexuality you’ve come a long way baby, except, because of this people still affiliate you with and compare you to criminals.

IF YOU’RE GAY STAY AWAY

I was shocked to learn today that there were actually signs posted outside of bars that said “If you’re gay, stay away” and “it’s against the law to serve homosexuals.” Hmm, what does that remind me of? And if these offensive signs weren’t enough. Cops regularly raided bars looking for homosexuals or people that they thought looked like ‘em.

According to Chauncey, and you older gays probably remember this (I was in the womb during stonewall, literally), plain-clothed policemen would go into bars and look for “stereotypical cross-gender behavior…women with short hair, masculine clothing, swaggering around the bar in ways that women shouldn’t walk..men with colorful clothes, long hair, and greeting each other in a feminine way.”

Chauncey even said that one person he interviewed said that one way to tell was if “two men talking about the opera, something no real man would do.”

Chauncey went on to talk about the legacy of police raiding bars and arresting gay people and referenced the Black Cat Bar raid in San Francisco which lost it’s license in 1949. There was a court ruling that you couldn’t discriminate. But Chauncey said the police continued to crack down on bars with gays.

As we know they continued in 1969 with the Stonewall Inn in NY and even last year in Texas. This legacy, while less frequent Chauncey says, still continues.

Wikipedia link : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Cat_Bar You’re welcome!

A DESPISED CLASS OF PEOPLE, OUTLAWS IN THE EYES OF THE LAW

2:07 PM

Terry Stewart asked Chauncey-How did this effect gay people?

GC- They were a despised class of people, outlaws in the eyes of the law. They needed to take great care and keep secret that they were gay. It more broadly assoc gay life with criminality. Seedy, underbelly of society, associated with organized crime.

GC-WWI military decided to exclude homosexuals and to begin screening procedures to keep gay people out. Not surprisingly, they didn’t ferret people out. Most gays, like their peers, wanted to serve their country and were accustomed to passing as straight. Small town gays were very concerned about keeping that hidden.

PROFOUND CONSEQUENCES—GAYS AND THE MILITARY

Chauncey stated that the military had various procedures in place to keep homosexuals out and that when discovered they were discharged. Sound familiar?

The consequences for those who were discovered to be gay either before or during military service were profound.

Chauncey, “It was humiliating. They were denied benefits under the GI bill even soldiers who served in combat and were kicked out because they were discovered to be gay. They were prohibited from benefits for housing, education, employment, etc. People wanted to see your discharge papers and find out what you were fired for before they hired you which did not help them.”

Chauncey “The War was an important moment of bringing people together.” He mentioned WWII. “Think of the classic WWII movie-The Jew from Brooklyn, the Irish guy from Jersey, the Italian from San Francisco.” Gay men were not able to be a part of this and then were seen as suspect because they were not a part of protecting the country.

The following fact is submitted for evidence--“Over the first 10 years of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell it cost the Defense Dept 95 million dollars.”

HOMOSEXUALS, SEX PERVERTS, AND COMMUNISTS Chauncey went on to talk about what happened after WWII. Things got worse for gays.

He says that in 1950, Joseph Macarthur wanted the names of communists and sex perverts. This led to the formation of top congressional committees on the employment of homosexuals and other sex perverts in Government.

A document entitled something like On the Employment of Homosexuals, Sex Perverts and Communists is submitted to evidence.

Chauncey said that approximately “1,700 people had been prohibited from getting federal jobs” and noted that the State Department “dismissed more suspected homosexuals than communists.”

He said that President Eisenhower also created a policy that homosexuals could not work for the government, be in the military, or work for private companies who had contracts with the government, and that they had to fire their gay employees.

In 1975, Carter rescinded that policy, so that most government agencies no longer were required to fire gays and were able to hire them. But it was not until the 1990s that President Clinton ended that policy in intelligence agencies and prohibited discrimination federal employment for gay employees.

I was hired by the Department of Justice as a psychologist in June 1996 and during my background investigation I came out. The investigator documented that I had revealed I was a homosexual and proceeded to ask me if people knew of my homosexuality. I affirmed that I open about my sexual orientation and found out later that they contacted my employer, my landlord, and many of my friends to confirm that I was a “known homosexual” and therefore could not be blackmailed.

WAITER, HAIDRESSER, CLERICAL WORKER

Chauncey talked about employment discrimination that still exists in at least 20 states.

Terry Stewart asked if discrimination in employment effected “access to jobs in the private sector”

Chauncey-Gay people faced discrimination from a range of employers varied from occupation to occupation, company to company, most people had to hide their homosexuality for fear of losing their job.”

Stewart-Did it limit their job choices or channel them into specific occupations?

Chauncey-A good # of gay people pursued the profession they wanted, hid their identities, but there were also a good number of people who did not want to risk that and were funneled into low status job where their being gay wouldn’t matter.

He mentions waiter, hairdresser, clerical worker.

WE HAD A GAY OLD TIME THIS WEEKEND

Stewart-What were the effects on gay people generally?

Chauncey-gay life was pushed under ground. They had to hide it. Increased the stakes for people. It meant that they were secretive, special codes, gay liberation in the 1970, in 1940s and 1960s, they used the word “gay” as a code word.

CENSORSHIP

Stewart-Can you explain gay people have been subject to censorship?

Chauncey-In the movies, Legion of Decency, led by Catholics to edit films with gay content. Pressured Hollywood.

1934 or 1944 enforced this code. Hayes code.

You had to pay a fine. Prohibited interracial relationships, lesbian and gay characters, discussion of homosexuality.

A generation of Hollywood films could not include gay characters or explore gay lives.

Hollywood screen writers had to submit scripts. Very strictly managed.

TV networks were even more constrained than Hollywood.

1980s as recently as 1989, a pop TV series called 30 something had a scene with two men in bed with sheets, it was so shocking that various religious organizations threatened boycotts and it was not shown at all, putting a chilling effect on the inclusion of gay characters.

Gay people didn’t know there were other gay people like themselves. Older gays didn’t see themselves represented and were reminded that they were a despised group.

Kept people hiding themselves and it kept straight people from knowing gay people and allowed stereotypes to emerge.

MORE TOMORROW, SLEEP NOW

I’m signing off since it’s midnight. I’ll be blogging again tomorrow Day 3.

You can also check out Michael Petrelis’s blog at http://mpetrelis.blogspot.com/2010/01/pugno-sweats-schubert-close-up-day-2.html

And Rick Jacobs’s blog at www.CourageCampaign.org

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OLD MARRIAGE LAWS- SILLY RABBIT MARRIAGE IS FOR WHITE PEOPLE-

Posted On: 2010-01-13 02:44:45

Second Blog Entry about Nancy Cott's history of marriage discrimation from Prop 8 Trial

OLD MARRIAGE LAWS SILLY RABBIT MARRIAGE IS FOR WHITE PEOPLE

In the continuation of Professor Nancy Cott’s testimony she spoke of how marriage laws discriminated against unpopular minorities, which if you look back at American history that means everyone but straight white males.

Slaves were denied the right to marry. After emancipation, blacks were denied the right to marry whites. Chinese immigrant men were denied the right to marry white women and as the influx of Asians from other countries occurred, new categories of marriage denial based on race and ethnicity were created.

WHITE AMERICAN WOMAN SEEKING ASIAN MAN-THERE GOES YOUR CITIZENSHIP

Marriage, back then, like now, was the way benefits were bestowed upon people. So, if you wanted benefits you had to obey the laws. For example, in 1907, the federal government passed a law taking away the American citizenship of white women who chose to marry Asian men as a deterrent to interracial marriage.

Professor Cott made the point that a German immigrant could marry an American woman and he could get American citizenship, but the Chinese were regarded as “aliens ineligible for citizenship.” She said “An American woman would not only lose her citizenship but could only regain it if he died or divorced and if she applied for naturalization.”

This outrageous ban was not lifted until WW II when American and China became allies.

As we know today, the federal government still handles immigration in marriage, it is one of those 1,138 federal rights denied same-sex couples. Immigrant heterosexual spouses are eligible for citizenship, but gay spouses/partners are not.

PARALLELS FROM RACIAL DISCRIMINATION IN MARRIAGE AND GENDER IN MARRIAGE WITH REGARD TO SAME-SEX COUPLES

Cott says “the most direct parallel is that the race laws restricted individuals from having choices over who they married in a way that designated some groups as less worthy and some marriages as less worthy, and it is part of the same effort” to deny same-sex couples. “Couples who made these choices would have less honor, status and fewer benefits than others.”

THE SUPREME COURT RULES THAT MARRIAGE IS A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT

In 1913, Cott said that the US Supreme Court ruled that marriage is a fundamental right. Yet, this important ruling was followed by numerous states passing extremely restrictive anti-miscegenation laws preventing the marriage of whites and people of color. The Virginia one being the most notable where interracial couples were considered criminals.

Cott says that “the question of the constitutionality of these laws could have come before the United States Supreme Court before 1967…but because it was such a hot button issue the Court approached this very cautiously.”

Specifically Professor Cott made reference to a case in 1955 that they could have taken, but instead they waited until 1967 to challenge the Virginia law that was passed in 1924.

You can read Professor Cott’s cross-examination in an earlier Blog. I’m sorry this is a bit out of order, but things are moving fast. Also I apologize for any typos.

My next blog which I expect to post later tonight will be about Professor George Chauncey’s testimony about the history of homosexuality and discrimination.

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The Spirit of Harvey Milk and the Federal Prop 8 Case

Posted On: 2010-01-12 18:55:39

THE SPIRIT OF HARVEY MILK AT THE PROP 8 TRIAL

It’s hard not to think about the legacy of Harvey Milk when the Prop 8 court case is only a block away from where Harvey made history, changed the world, and was tragically murdered by Dan White.

And Harvey’s spirit seemed to fill the federal court house as well. Lance Black, who wrote the screen play for the Harvey Milk movie spoke at the Sunrise Vigil for marriage equality. Bruce Cohen, producer of the MILK movie, and long-time, LGBT activist and friend of Harvey Milk, Cleve Jones, were present in the court room listening the testimony.

Harvey would be proud to see how far we’ve come and I can’t help thinking that he’s been our guardian angel throughout. The marriage license counter requests and the granting of marriage licenses all took place at San Francisco City Hall and all of the marriage cases have happened within a one-block radius of where Harvey Milk stood on the day he took his last breath. Thank you, Harvey, for giving us hope in life and in the legacy you’ve left.

THE MEDIA ROOM

There was no one protesting outside for, or against, marriage equality when I arrived at the federal building this morning.

In the media room right now there are only about 25 people. Yesterday, almost of all of the seats were filled.

Rick Jacobs, Courage Campaign, is vigorously typing away this morning as are the handful of live bloggers and journalist who, like myself find the media room, a little less stressful.

From the media room we are looking at a screen with three images: the witness stand, the judge, and the counsel. There is also a separate screen where documents, commercials and Proposition 8 Proponents’ positions statements are posted on occasion.

PROCRE8

Proponents of Proposition 8 hold the four following positions:

1. The limit of marriage to a man and a woman is something that has been universal. It has been across history, across customs, and across society.

2. The purpose of the institution of marriage and the cultural purpose of marriage is procreation.

3. Across history and culture, marriage is a fundamental pro-child institution between a man and a woman. Marriage aims to meet the child’s need to be emotionally, morally, practically, and legally affiliated with the woman and the man whose sexual union brought the child into the world.

4. Racial restrictions were never a definition feature of the institution of marriage. <

THERE HAVE BEEN MANY FORMS OF MARRIAGE IN OUR SOCIETY

Harvard Professor Cott testimony for marriage equality

-Civil law has been supreme in redefining and regulating marriage.

-Religion has been in the background of many, most Americans understanding of marriage, rather sacramental or otherwise, ceremonial or otherwise. But these are apart from the validity of marriages.

-Any cleric performing marriage only does so because the state has given them the authority to do that.

-In the original constitution there was a statement that said that no religious disagreements with a particular marriage could invalidate that marriage.

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE AND THE DIVORCE RATE

Boutrous asks Cott if there is any empirical evidence that same sex marriage will increase the divorce rate

Cott-In my home state, Mass, where same-sex couples have been able to legally marry for 5 years, the divorce rate is down not up.

THE TENSION AND THE BINDER ARE THICK

At 9:36 AM the cross-examination of Professor Cott begins.

Attorney for Prop 8, Thompson, passes out a binder that is about 500 pages thick. Then he begins what I would call in my lay opinion, badgering the witness. I’m sure my wife, the attorney, would correct me.

It starts like this.

Thompson-“So, you are not an expert of the history of marriage outside of the US.”

Cott-“Not according to my own high standards no.”

Thompson asks her to read something from the jumbo binder.

Cott-“I need my reading glasses for this.”

Thompson fires question after question to discredit the witness.

-Are you familiar with marriage in the most populated places in the world China and India?

-You are not an expert on marriage in ancient Greece, correct?

-You see yourself as someone between a neutral party and advocate, correct?

Cott- “I see myself as someone who comes to the position in support of marriage for same-sex couples because of my historical research.”

You’ve filed briefs in support of gay marriage in New York, Iowa, and New Jersey, correct?

Cott-historians briefs, yes. I volunteered my time bc I believe it’s important for historians to participate in public policy decisions.

9:50 AM Thompson begins making the case that because Cott supported an organization called Alternatives to Marriage, started by a heterosexual couple to validate cohabitation as a valid choice, that this implies she is also a proponent of poly-amorous relationships.

Cott –“I don’t support poly-amorous marriages.”

The tension is thick. Cott is clearly annoyed by Thompson who is firing off question after question with smug intent to make her look stupid.

Thompson- “New York has never had a ban on interracial marriage, correct?”

Cott, annoyed, “Frankly I don’t know this colony by colony.”

Thompson-“So you have no idea that the majority of the states during the founding of the country had no laws against interracial marriage, correct?”

Cott-“That is an irrelevant question.”

Thompson asks her a question about another country.

Judge Walker interrupts reminding Thompson that he’s established that she’s not an expert on marriage outside of the US.

10:15 AM Cott requests a break. Honestly, listening to this attorney asks question is getting on my nerves too. Happy for a break.

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Comments:

Prosserga@gmail.com says:

Thanks for the inside the courtroom view!

Posted on: 2010-01-12

gspieler@gmail.com says:

Davina: Thank you so much for blogging on this trial. The mainstream press is not giving us as clear a picture as you have here. It isn't that the newspapers are not covering it or telling the story. The papers don't have the space, and the knowledge, you and Molly have. Must be exhausting, but please know that I and many of my friends, are reading you daily. Best, Geri

Posted on: 2010-01-12

RussellMurawski@wildblue.net says:

"What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not." James Madison (It was the only thing that came to us) Robert n Russell

Posted on: 2010-01-12

Prop 8 Trial-Summary of Day 1

Posted On: 2010-01-12 04:40:56

I woke up this morning at 4:30AM to support my bride, Molly McKay, in her dream of a 6:30 AM Vigil for Marriage Equality outside the federal building. I have to say while I was cranky and a bit resistant, when I saw that there were already dozens of people before 6:00 AM I was delighted. And when we were surrounded by at least 200 advocates of equality only 30 minutes later I was inspired.

A vigil, I was reminded, is a gathering together to watch, to be awake, to be aware and today’s rally was different. It was refreshingly soft. Hope was palpable and it was a collaborative coming together of our diverse LGBT community with our devoted straight allies. There were only 3 anti-gay protestors. That helped too.

I was stationed for eight hours in the media overflow room, the only place to watch the court proceedings if you didn’t have a media pass to the court room.

The trial started with the announcement that there was a stay on youtube videostreaming the trial until Wednesday at 4:00 PM, which is why I can’t feel the fingers on my right hand. I wanted to keep my peeps who had to work aware of what was happening.

“Even convicted murders and child abusers in California enjoy the freedom to marry.”

Ted Olson, a conservative Republican who sincerely gets that marriage equality is a civil rights issue, made his opening remarks about why he believes Prop 8 is unconstitutional.

“This case is about marriage and equality. Plaintiffs are being denied the right to marry under the law.”

“The right to marriage is one of the most vital personal rights”.

“Marriage is a basic civil right.”

“Marriage is the most important relationship in life and of fundamental importance of all individuals.”

See 90 Minutes into the Prop 8 Proceedings Blog to read more of his arguments for marriage equality for same-sex couples at www.davinakotulski.com/blog.php.

Olson said that opponents of Proposition 8 will argue these three points:

1. Marriage is vitally important in American Society.

2. Denying same-sex Prop 8 causes grievous harm against gay and lesbian individuals and adds another chapter of discrimination and suffering.

3. Prop 8 perpetrates immeasurable harm for no good reason.

Tell ‘em You Believe in Biblical Marriage

Attorney Charles Cooper took the floor and began making opening arguments for supporters of Prop 8. That’s when the giggling started. Cooper especially tickled the funny bones in the overflow room when he stated that same-sex marriage would lead to group marriage because bisexuals would be allowed to simultaneously marry one man and one woman of their choosing.

Not sure how this at all logical and it’s definitely not what we’ve seen in the Netherlands which has had same-sex marriage for close to a decade. Or in Massachusetts, where same-sex couples, not triads, have been tying the knot for close to 6 years. It’s certainly not the case in South Africa, Spain, Belgium, Canada or Norway where same-sex couples have equal access to civil marriage.

But why tell the truth when you can make stuff up that scares the hell out of less informed people who believe what they are told in church. More about that later.

He also stated that same-sex marriage harms heterosexual marriage and increases the divorce rate. Umm, google Massachusetts and divorce rate and you’ll find that the first state to allow same-sex couples to marry has the LOWEST divorce rate in the country. But again, why use facts when scare tactics are so much more effective and motivating your base.

Cooper asked “Will this institution remain a pro-child institution or will it be a private relationship that provides couples with personal fulfillment, companionship, and expressions of love?”

Why not all of the above? Marriage should be about personal fulfillment, companionship, and expressions of love. What a wonderful environment for adults who choose to bring children into these loving families.

No on 8 first witness

David Boies calls Jeff Zarrillo to the witness stand.

“Marriage is the reason we are here today.” He says.

Boies asks him, “Do you believe one’s capacity to love and be committed to another individual will grow and expand because of marriage.”

“I would be able to partake in family gatherings, friends’ and work functions as a married individual and have the pride of being able to be married. When someone is married, whether it’s an introduction to a stranger, or someone noticing my ring, it says these individuals are serious, they are committed to another, they have taken that step to be in a relationship that one hopes last the rest of their lives.

The witness is asked if he and his partner have considered having children?

“Paul and I believe it is important to be married first. It will afford us protections for our child.”

Why have you not registered as domestic partners? Boies asks.

“Domestic partnership would relegate me to second-class citizenship. It does not give us due respect.”

Jeff says “Discrimination, whether directly or indirectly is pervasive, especially after Prop 8. Prop 8 has emboldened other states to take these kinds of actions. You can’t turn on the TV, read a blog, or open a newspaper without seeing something about this issue. There are daily reminders of what I can’t have.”

Then they showed us several Yes on 8 videos, but not without protest.

It was not disclosed on the exhibit list Prop 8 supporters argued.

Boies interjects. "Exhibit 99, the one we played was disclosed."

But exhbit 401, the one they wanted to show next, they did not have prior notification for.

“401 is from the campaign featuring Ron Prentiss. We want to play it." Boies urges, stating that it’s not a secret it was used in the campaign.

Defenders of Prop 8 say they are "surprised" by Boies wanting to show this and ask that it not be played bc it causes prejudice.

But Judge Walker says show it.

Turns out Exhbit 401 was a 5-10 minute long video shown in churches aimed at Christians to get them to vote to take away the marriage rights of same-sex couples. It said things like “Christians are walking in fear. If someone says they believe in gay marriage say you believe in Biblical marriage. Stand up like Jesus Christ. Go to the polls and vote yes on Prop 8.”

Next they want to show Exhibit 350-The Gathering Storm Video, but there appears to be a question of it's relevance. The Yes on 8ers don't want it shown because it was produced after the Prop 8 campaign.

Here's the link if you haven't seen it yet. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wp76ly2_NoI

They also showed these ads as evidence of discrimination showing that the "protect our children" message of prop 8 unfairly stigmatizes and hurts gay people.

Gay marriage has everything to do with schools http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7352ZVMKBQM

It’s already happened!

Paul Katami is called to the stand.

During the cross examination the defense attorney for Prop 8 talks about the progressive school in San Francisco where PARENTS, not teachers, organized a field trip to take THEIR children and any child with parental permission to see their school teacher get married at San Francisco City Hall. It was a parent-approved, parent organized outing. Not the school, not the teacher.

The Yes on 8 side used this parent-approved outing to say “See, it’s already happened in California, first graders are being taught about gay marriage in school.”

Yes, because their parents wanted them to learn about it and it was a private, not a public school. I know, because one of my friends was one of the parents that organized the event. She feels sick that they twisted this to strike fear into the hearts of other parents who didn’t have all the facts.

It’s Already happened Yes on 8 Ad http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PgjcgqFYP4&feature=related

I’m a 45 y.o. woman and I don’t have a word to describe my relationship.

Kristen Perry is called to the stand. Go to blog entitled “I’m a 45 y.o. woman and I don’t have a word to describe my relationship” for a transcription summary of Perry’s testimony. http://www.davinakotulski.com/blog.php

I’m a plaintiff in this case because I want to marry the woman that I love and right now we can’t get married.

Sandy Stier, 47 y.o. plaintiff and fiancé of Kristin Perry, grew up on a farm in south Iowa.

“Our family is a blended family. We each bring two biological children to our family.I’m a plaintiff in this case because I want to marry the woman that I love and right now we can’t get married.”

“Marriage is about making a public commitment to the world, to your wife, to our friends and our family. To me, it’s the way we tell them and each other that this is a lifetime commitment. It’s so different from domestic partnership.”

Last witness for the day is called to the stand, Professor Nancy Cott, Historian Harvard University. Published 8 books including --Public Vows.

Cott begins to lay the foundation for how important marriage is to all people in society and emphasizes that marriage is an important social rite of passage, a fundamental civil right, and that in opposition to what the Yes on 8ers are saying, there is no one definition of marriage throughout history or across cultures.

I will end this blog with a quote from Professor Cott.

“In our folk tales, songs, at least since the rise of the novel, marriage has been the happy ending to the romance, the principle happy ending. That kind of culture polish on marriage on the past century has been forwarded by visual imagery, the rice, the white dress, the happy couple parading down the aisle as a destination to be gained by a couple who loved one another.”

See you tomorrow on facebook and twitter. You can also find blog posts and photos at:

Davina Kotulski.com

Bilerico.com

Unitethefight.org

Marriageequality.org

Liberty, justice, and marriage equality for all!

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I’m a 45 y.o. woman and I don’t have a word to describe my relationship.

Posted On: 2010-01-11 23:12:41

Boies calls Kristen Perry to the stand. Describe your sexual orientation.

Perry-"I am a lesbian." Boies-"What does that mean?"

"I've only ever fallen in love with women. The happiest I've ever felt is with Sandy because I'm in love with her."

Boies-"Do you think you'll change."

Perry-"I'm 45 years old. I don't think so. I never let myself want (marriage) until now because everyone tells you you're never going to have it."

We went to City Hall and brought all of the boys and my mom and we got married at City Hall. The feelings I had were new to me. I have not let myself want to feel them, floating above the ceremony oh that’s me getting married. I couldn’t believe it. After, we had another ceremony with other people. We planned an afternoon with our friends and family in Berkeley… 100 guests in August 2004.

A few weeks after our August ceremony the California State Supreme Court ruled that our marriages were invalidated.

When you’re gay you think you don’t deserve things. So, I kind of expected it. The City of SF sent us a letter telling us that our marriage was not valid. That’s when we knew we were not married in SF anymore.

Boies-“What did that evoke?”

Perry-“I’m not good enough to be married.”

Boies-“What did you feel when the California Court ruled in 2008?”

Perry-“I was elated. But we couldn’t bring ourselves to do it again right then. We hadn’t really recovered from what happened in 2004. We decided not to go forward at that time.”

They discuss Yes on Prop 8 Ad

Perry- “The ad was to create a set of fear in me and that if I want to fix a bad thing I should vote Yes on 8.”

I'm a 45 y.o. woman and I don't have the word to describe my relationship. It appears to be really important to people and I'd like to use the word too. It symbolizes the most important adult decision you make in your life. You choose that relationship.

They get to support our family in a way that makes sense to them. Because right now we are outside the tradition.

Boies “I’m sure you heard the argument that -Allowing you to get married will damage the institution of marriage.”

“There is something so humiliating about everyone knowing that you want to make that decision (to marry) and knowing that you can’t. I still have to find a way to feel okay and not let every discriminatory behavior toward me personally.”

Nicely done Kristen!!!

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cali_activist@yahoo.com says:

What an amazing strong woman!! :)

Posted on: 2010-01-11

The giggling has begun!

Posted On: 2010-01-11 19:21:03

As soon as the Yes on 8 attorney took the floor and began speaking out against marriage equality for same-sex couples, the giggles in the media overflow room started.

“Marriage is for a child whose mom and dad had a sexual union. Marriage is to take men and women’s procreation and to “channel it into an enduring union.”

Walker asked. How does same-sex marriage diminish procreation for heterosexual couples?

“Well, will this institution remain a pro-child institution or will it be a private relationship that provides couples with personal fulfillment, companionship, and expressions of love?”

I prefer the later. Marriage should be about personal fulfillment, companionship, and expressions of love what a wonderful environment for adults who them choose to bring children into this world into these kinds of self-actualized, loving families.

They lie. They say gay marriage will lower the marriage rate and increase the divorce rate. I remind that Massachusetts which has had same-sex marriage for 6 years reportedly has the lowest divorce rate.

Time for Obama to come out in support of marriage equality.

Prop 8 supporters used a quote of President Obama’s support of civil unions and statement against gay marriage to justify Prop 8.

Judge Walker commented that President Obama also said that if his parents wouldn’t be able to marry under anti-miscegenation laws.

Equality California is calling on people to contact Obama and ask him to come out against Prop 8.

Go to http://eqca.org and sign the petition.

“Marriage is the sexual embodiment of the man and the woman who form the union. The sexual embodiment forms the institution. Only naturally procreated contact will bring forward life. It’s best when the child is brought into the world that the parents are together.”

Earlier in the proceedings, Ted Olson stated that “The quality of a parent is not measured by gender it is measured by the content of the heart.”

Gay marriage leads to group marriage?

Yes, the Yes on 8 attorney proposed that if same-sex marriage was legal, bisexuals will want to “have the right to express their love and achieve personal fulfillment by the state.”

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info@unitethefight.org says:

Giggling indeed. These statements are ridiculous and ignores thousands of years of history. Just as Prop 8 proponents claim history is on their side, it's on ours as well. We have existed for thousands of years, and guess what? The world is NOT facing a population emergency. In fact, we're overpopulating. And we have been in relationships for all those thousands of years. And guess what? Marriage still exists! Don't get me started!

Posted on: 2010-01-11

90 Minutes into the Prop 8 Proceedings

Posted On: 2010-01-11 18:55:48

The Prop 8 trial started with introductions from all the attorneys and discussion of the stay of live feed of the trial to other federal court houses and streaming for youtube. A stay has been issued until Wednesday at 4:00 PM. The only place to watch the proceedings is an overflow room in the Federal Building in San Francisco.

Judge Walker reported that he received 138,542 requests for TV coverage of the trial and only 32 requests opposing televised coverage.

Ted Olson, the attorney challenging Prop 8, spoke for the first hour.

He stated “This case is about marriage and equality. Plaintiffs are being denied the right to marry and under the law.”

“The right to marriage is one the most vital personal rights”.

“A basic civil right.”

“A constitution right to privacy, association, intimacy and choice…a spiritual and public commitment.”

“Marriage is the most important relationship

in life and of fundamental importance of all individuals.” “Marriage is central to psychological, emotional, and physical health. Marriage is the building block of family, neighborhood, and community in our society.”

“Gays and lesbians have been classified as degenerates, targeted by police... fired from govt jobs, arrested for private sexual conduct, and stripped of their rights by popular vote.”

"Domestic partners say that gay people are different, separate and unworthy."

“The roots of discrimination run deep... Prop 8 singles out gays alone…even convicted murders and child abusers in California enjoy the freedom to marry.

Olson said that opponents of Proposition 8 will argue these three points:

1. Marriage is vitally important in American Society. 2. Denying same-sex Prop 8 causes grievous harm against gay and lesbian individuals and adds another chapter of discrimination and suffering, 3. Prop 8 perpetrates immeasurable harm for no good reason

Opponents “want that state to be separate and denied to same-sex couples and it’s a judgment being made and this is separate and unequal.”

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All Rise For Equality

Posted On: 2010-01-11 17:10:27

My hands are still numb from standing in the cold this morning outside the federal building in San Francisco. Marriage Equality USA sponsored a vigil for marriage equality, hope, and justice. There were over 200 participants holding candles to light the early morning rally attended by numerous clergy from many different denominations, including a former Catholic nun and non-PFLAG Mom, Helen Laird. Helen stood with her son and Tim and spoke of why she believed that all of her children had the right to marry. She said her son Tim was legally married prior to Prop 8, but that the family is waiting to celebrate until marriage equality is again the law of the land in California.

Ksuzanne and her wife, both African-American activists for marriage equality spoke of the importance of being representatives for the Black Gay community and spoke of how being able to legally marry granted them the right to hospital visitation, a right KSuzanne unfortunately had to exercise post-Prop 8 when her wife was hospitalized for a life-threatening condition.

Frank and Joe Alfano-Capley spoke of finally being recognized as a legally married couple by the Elevators Union so that Joe can finally get health insurance. While the crowd cheered this wonderful breakthrough, Frank and Joe said it saddened them that the union will not recognize domestic partners and thus another couple with a small child who were unable to marry during the small window when it was legal are still being denied health and other employment related benefits only provided married couples.

Overall the mood of the vigil was positive. Molly McKay, my wonderful wife, spoke of how last year’s garbage has turned to rich compost, an unusual, but accurate metaphor of the outpouring of support for marriage and renewed hope that comes with this new challenge to marriage discrimination. Rev. Roland Stringfellow offer a beautiful evocation for equality and love. There were inspiring performances by Veronica Klaus who sang “I can see clearly now the rain is gone,” and “Here comes the sun.” Melanie Demore, performed “Somewhere over the rainbow” and the civil rights song “Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me around.”

So, now I wait patiently for the trial to start any minute now. Word is that the cameras will not be allowed into the courtroom until after Wednesday. No youtube today.

Stay tuned!

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Some day this is going to make a really awesome Hollywood movie!

Posted On: 2010-01-11 02:33:34

This weekend has been insane. No, I’m serious, I haven’t felt this overwhelmed since 2004. In fact, I almost wished someone a Happy 2004 today in an e-mail. I guess because preparing for this trial is reminiscent of so many other marriage equality moments, but especially that watershed one in February 2004.

Asking for a marriage license, followed by a huge rally in Sacramento, followed by a bus trip across Northern California. And then, year after year of getting up early to get in line to watch case after case, as the attorneys argued for our equality and debated the merits of allowing us to take part in one of the most notable adult rites of passage.

Anyway, it is déjà vu all over again, except this time we’re going to Nationals if you will, as our cause advances to the federal courts.

Some day this is going to make a really awesome Hollywood movie!

It will start somewhere with a trickle of couples asking for marriage licenses and being turned away, followed by a heroic young politician who puts his political aspirations aside to do the right thing and change the course of history. He is then supported by a team of incredible public servants, city attorneys and LGBT attorneys who decide to take the cause of marriage equality to the courts. They lose the first round and all the marriage licenses are invalidated. But they don’t give up, the activists and the attorneys will not rest and they move forward with a new case.

After four long years same-sex couples are finally granted the legal right to marry. Summer is ushered in with 18,000 long overdue “I dos.” But the wedding music is silenced on November 4, 2008 with the passage of Prop 8.

Our heroes are devastated. There is dissension, depression, and even some property destruction. Our heroes lick their wounds, grieve their losses, and hope for some sort of redemption in the form of a California State Supreme Court ruling saying that Prop 8 was a revision, not an amendment, to the Constitution. But there is no redemption. Prop 8 is upheld.

Then, from out of left, or in this case, right field, an unlikely ally shows up on the scene. Ted Olson, a conservative, Republican attorney, who has teamed up with David Bois, the attorney who went toe to toe with in Bush V. Gore. Who would have thunk it? Opposing counsel playing on the same team? A Conservative, Republican Attorney signing up to defend the gay underdog? No way, I’ve gotta see how this turns out.

And tomorrow the saga continues. Someday this will be an amazing Hollywood movie, filled with tears of joy and tears of defeat. But, I hope it will have a sweet Hollywood ending where boy gets to marry boy, and girl gets to marry girl. Hold on to your seat and make sure you have plenty of popcorn we’re in a for a long one.

Blogging tomorrow from the federal court house.

Yours truly,

Davina Kotulski, Ph.D. Author of Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage (2004) and the soon to be released- Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why It Will Prevail (2010)

http://www.davinakotulski.com

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No H8--We must be the love and equality we want to see.

Posted On: 2010-01-09 23:50:32

No H8 has been the message of the pro-marriage equality side in response to the passage of Proposition 8, a California voter initiative that took away same-sex couples right to marry. Makes sense right? Those people who are denying us equal rights, literally ripping the veil off of us as we’re exercising our right to marry are haters, plain and simple, big bad bigots. I mean Maggie Gallagher of NOM, who I debated at Brown University in 2006, is like the Grinch who stole marriage and Brian Brown of NOM reminds me of an evil frat boy like the ones who tried to run me over with their pick-up trucks in high school. And because they are haters succeeding at taking away our rights in many states it’s easy for me to be pissed off at them at H8 them, right? But wait, that contradicts the message of no H8.

During the California State Supreme Court Case challenge to Prop 8 in March 2009, I stood on the steps of the State Supreme Court House and was yelled at by Yes on 8 people holding anti-gay signs. One woman was literally screaming in my face and pointing her finger at me. You can see the back of my head here in the photo on this page:

Prop. 8 debates flare at Civic Center viewing

Her adult daughter was with her. You can see they are holding a sign of a gay couple kissing with a red circle and a slash through it.

Usually, my hands would have trembled with rage in the face of people calling me names and screaming anti-gay epithets, but something powerful took hold of my heart and I was filled with compassion. Yep, compassion. The kind of compassion that Ghandi writes about. I truly felt love for my “enemies” I felt myself sending them love. And I began to mouth the words “It’s okay. I love you.” The young woman had to close her eyes. She could not meet my eyes that were committed to respecting her dignity and worth and refused to respond to her with anything less than love. I could feel her pain, or as we psychologists say, her cognitive dissonance.

I had a shocking personal breakthrough feeling energized with the spirit of love, smiling and singing “What the world needs now is love sweet love, it’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.” We sang that line over and over and over again for at least 30 minutes. It was a healing shield from what was being hurled at us and kept my heart connected to why I was there, because of love. Because I know my ability to love is equal to a heterosexual person’s ability to love and that my love for another women should be honored and cherished and respected the way the love between a man and a woman is.

I grasped the other marriage equality supporters and we held on to each other’s shoulders and stood strong being the truth of who we are-lights of love, equality, justice and joy! You can’t take that away from us, only we can put out that light. We will continue to emerge as love warriors dedicated to love and equality for all. And because we are a movement of love and equality, seeking liberty, justice, dignity, and respect for all, we must embody those qualities in all of our interactions with those who fear marriage equality and cannot yet see that the world becomes a better place when the bonds of unjust tradition are broken, society’s emotional IQ, our emotional quotient, rises when all are equal and discrimination is eradicated, and freedom from tyranny means a stronger, happier and healthier society for all.

It’s kind of like the anti-gay side is like the Taliban, fearing change, fearing loss of power, and we are like the women seeking the right to equal treatment and opportunity. They fear the collapse of their power and being on equal footing with a minority they’ve been able to silence into submission.

But, as we move forward, claiming our equality, we must not become the bullies. We must not stoop to name calling or property damage or violence. We must hold ourselves in grace and dignity, with compassion for their choices knowing that many of them will one day awaken to their mistakes. Some will even apologize and may even become our allies as so many already have.

Davina Kotulski, Ph.D. Author of Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage (2004) and the soon to be released- Love Warriors: The Rise of the Marriage Equality Movement and Why It Will Prevail (2010)

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healingheartart@pacific.net says:

I appriciate these words.. I know I am not to the love point yet.. I try to speak it, am there philosphically.. and even try to act on it.. I generally dont yell at those who oppose marriage equality. I often walk over the groups and tell them that I am greatful to live in place that gives us both the right to be there. I respect those who get to the point who truly get to the point of exchanging love. one of my mottos is... 'may I give them the grace that I hope others will give me when I need it'. thanks Davina

Posted on: 2010-01-09

Wait, stop the trial! 1-8-10 By Davina Kotulski, Ph.D. Author of Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage

Posted On: 2010-01-08 07:00:00

While Perry v Schwarzenegger, is scheduled to begin on Monday January 11, 2010 at 8:30am in Courtroom 6 on the 17th floor of the Phillip Burton Federal Building at 450 Golden Gate Ave. in San Francisco, anti-marriage equality forces are seeking to postpone the trial hoping to overturn Judge Walker's decision to televise the trial.

Anti-equality forces, such as Maggie Gallagher of NOM, are outraged by Walker's decision and are calling the trial "a show trial in kangaroo court." Gallagher, once again tries to cry victim, saying that Walker's "extraordinary bias has already been flagrantly on display."

I say let the people learn about our systems of checks and balances and how our court systems and political process work. I think this is a brilliant opportunity for people to learn about our constitution and how anti-gay opponents use church doctrine and the power of church networks to turn our country into a theocracy, rather than the democracy our Founding Fathers intended it to be.

We are hopeful that the trial will go on as planned and Marriage Equality USA is hosting a Sunrise Equality Vigil at 6:30AM on January 11th. There will be music and spoken inspiration from advocates of equality. For more information go to Marriage Equality USA

I am planning to attend most of the court proceedings and will blog about my experience daily at http://www.davinakotulski.com/blog.php

Borrowing from Brian Brown of NOM with a few modifications in all CAPS.

Dear friend and comrade, I pray for you and for all those who stand for marriage EQUALITY! God Bless you!

Faithfully,

Davina Kotulski-Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage

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rlussier@lenscraft.com says:

Brian & Maggie are clearly working for Satan. Who else but the Great Deceiver would try to teach people that Jesus' message was anti-love? I have prayed long for the Lord to show them the light, but I fear their souls are already lost to the eternal flames.

Posted on: 2010-01-09

sidneytrifkin@gmail.com says:

I'm so excited that you'll be blogging about the the trial every day. I'm looking forward to every post!

Posted on: 2010-01-08

Let Justice Be Visible by Davina Kotulski,Ph.D. Author of Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage 1-7-10

Posted On: 2010-01-07 07:00:00

The federal trial challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8 that denies same-sex couples the right to marry does not begin until Monday, but the two sides are already involved in heated debate and it’s not even over same-sex marriage. Yesterday, Judge Vaughn Walker was ruling on whether or not the trial should be televised.

The anti-gay Yes on 8 people are adamant that they do not want cameras in the court room because they don’t want people to know who their witnesses are and what they have done claiming fear of reprisal. I would suggest that they fear people actually knowing how dirty they played to win the election.

The marriage equality side however, does want cameras in the court room, because they believe that everyone should have the opportunity to witness the debate and that the justice process should not be sequestered away behind closed doors, but in the light, transparent for all to see.

This debate is no less fiery than the question of allowing same-sex couples to marry and generated 82,103 requests within 24 hours from the marriage equality side to Judge Vaughn Walker to let justice be visible.

Judge Walker agreed to allow cameras in the court room, and if not appealed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, the marriage equality trial will be recorded and televised on youtube either at the end of each day once the court is no longer in session or at a later time.

The Courage Campaign is still seeking 100,000 signatures of support before the deadline Friday January 8th at noon.

If you’d like to add your name go to: http://www.couragecampaign.org/TeleviseTheTrial

The actual trial, Perry v Schwarzenegger, is scheduled to begin on Monday January 11, 2010 at 8:30am in Courtroom 6 on the 17th floor of the Phillip Burton Federal Building at 450 Golden Gate Ave. in SF. There will be very limited seating available in the courtroom.

Marriage Equality USA is hosting a Sunrise Equality Vigil at 6:30AM on January 11th. There will be music and spoken inspiration from advocates of equality. For more information go to (http://www.marriageequality.org).

To ensure that the community has easy access to the important highlights and pivotal witness testimony in this historic case that directly and profoundly impacts all LGBT Americans, I have decided to attend most of the court proceedings and will be blogging about my experience daily. I will be attending most of the court proceedings and will be blogging about my experience. Please check my website http://www.davinakotulski.com/blog.php

for more information. You can also contact Molly McKay, Media Director, Marriage Equality USA at media@marriageequality.org.

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The NY Senate has postponed the vote for marriage equality.

Posted On: 2009-11-10 07:00:00

The NY Senate has postponed the vote for marriage equality. We still need the support of several Democratic Senators. I urge you to contact your friends and family in NY and ask them to contact these Senators to support marriage equality.

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Marriage Equality Denied in Maine 11/3/09

Posted On: 2009-11-04 07:00:00

Big time bummer!

31 states have now passed laws to deny same-sex couples the legal right to marry.

It saddens me that approxomately 53% Americans continue to deny same-sex couples equality, but, it deeply troubles me that this country allows a majority to vote on the constitutional rights of a minority.

Civil rights should never be a popularity contest and if they had been, interracial marriage would not have been legal until 1997 when a majority of Americans finally approved of them. Love is good for the world and loving couples who want to be able to care for one another need to have equal access to family rights. Same-sex love is beautiful, romantic and sexy. It should be honored and cherished like any other boy meets girl love story. I know someday this inequality, this wrong will be righted.

I invite you to share your support for marriage equality with at least 5 people tomorrow. Post it on your facebook, talk to the person in line while you get your coffee, wear a sticker, or send out an e-mail. Let the voice of equality be heard.

Thanks for all your positive e-mails to yesterday's post and thank you so much for your support! Your words truly touch and sustain me.

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Marriage equality is a global human rights issue!

Posted On: 2009-09-07 07:00:00

Exciting things are happening on Planet Earth for Marriage Equality.

Marriage equality advocates across the globe are speaking out against “separate and unequal” treatment for same-sex couples. Equal Love Australia held a rally last month for full marriage equality. Same-sex couples can access civil unions, but Equal Love Australia knows that civil unions=second-class citizenship. Check out their websites for some fantastic marriage equality commercials. www.equallove.info

Marriage Equality Ireland is also advocating for the extension of full marriage rights, and not limited partnerships. Borrowing from MTV’s “Permission” Video they created a “Sinead’s Hand” video in support of marriage equality. It’s a great video! http://www.marriagequality.ie/action/sineadshand/

In Italy, same-sex couples filed a lawsuit in Venice noting that the laws were gender neutral. While many Italian cities have domestic partner type registries, the country itself offers no recognition to same-sex couples.

Stay tuned, a handful of other countries are about to upgrade to marriage.

Coming Up:

Please join us on October 11 for Marriage Equality Bridge Marches in San Diego and San Francisco or the Equality Across American march in Washington, DC.

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Letter to the Editor to East Bay Express About the Father of Prop 8

Posted On: 2009-08-17 07:00:00

I was deeply disturbed to read about Bishop Sal’s (Salvatore Cordilieone) integral role in the Yes on 8 Campaign. How can a man of the church work to raise $40 million dollars to away rights from people? How many migrant workers could have been fed with that $40 million dollars? How many job skills programs, ESL programs, health and wellness programs could have been funded with the money that was used to strip gay families of legal protections and dignity?

A man who works to take away people’s rights, rather than uplift them and alleviate suffering is not a man to be trusted, nor revered. There’s nothing holy about his union with the Yes on 8 Campaign.

The fact that he invited Maggie Gallagher who advocates the benefits of marriage, but wishes to deny those benefits to same-sex couples is egregious. I debated Maggie Gallagher at Brown University in Rhode Island in September 2006 and her arguments were disingenuous. The educated students saw through her insincerity when I invited her to explore our common ground in support of helping people save their marriages. In addition to a marriage equality advocate, I am also a psychologist and have taught marriage and family therapy to graduate level counseling students for over a decade. Not surprising, she declined. Because her real interest was taking away rights from gay people, not supporting people, gay or straight, to have strong healthy relationships. How many free couples’ communication workshops could have been offered with that $40 million dollars? How many conflict resolution classes to reduce family violence could have been offered? Maggie Gallagher was more concerned with the reduction of white babies being born in Scandinavian countries, showing her other real agenda, white supremacy.

But in the face of her disingenuousness and her inability to convince the Brown Students that they should be anti-gay marriage, she didn’t give up. And these folks don’t. They go back to their liar and mastermind another diabolical scheme to take away gay people’s and women’s rights. They cannot be underestimated. They are not just those kooky, religious people. They are formidable opponents with sinister agendas. I mean Bishop Sal was trying to deny communion to Catholic women who use birth control or have their man use a condom. Women, guess what Bishop Sal will be working on next? Shaming you and taking away your rights!

What kind of religious leader do you want to follow, one who helps, heals and uplifts people or one who is committed to tearing down the human soul? Gallagher, Bishop Sal, and others like them have made it their life’s work to take away LGBT people’s rights.

Bishop Sal, I pray that you will stop misusing your power. I pray that you will have a change of heart and use your position and influence to help people like Jesus did. I also invite my Catholic friends and colleagues to examine carefully your investment in the Catholic Church. See where you tidings are going? Wouldn’t you feel better knowing your church is using your money to feed, clothe, shelter, and educate people in need rather than being used to take away your gay friend’s, family member’s and colleagues’ equality?

Davina Kotulski, Ph.D.

Psychologist, Author of Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage

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Juneteenth and Obama’s Historic Step for LGBT rights (6-18-09)

Posted On: 2009-06-18 07:00:00

Juneteenth and Obama’s Historic Step for LGBT rights

Yesterday, I was angry. I was disappointed. The man I voted for, our beloved President Obama, signed a memo “granting” rights to same-sex and opposite sex domestic partners of federal employees. These rights he “granted” already existed under the Clinton Administration, but become obscured under Bush (pun intended). In fact, when I worked for the federal government I had a copy of the Family Friendly Medical Leave Act signed by Clinton in 1993, in case I ever had a supervisor try to deny me access to family leave to care for my same-sex partner. It only came up once, thank God, when Molly had foot surgery and I needed to take time off to care for her. I have to confess that even with that paperwork in my desk drawer, I didn’t know if I would be challenged as many of my co-workers in lesser “enlightened” departments, as John Berry, President of the Office of Personal Management for the federal government, were. Several of my co-workers were deemed “AWOL” when they took time off to care for a sick domestic partner.

So what the heck does yesterday’s memo signed by President Obama regarding federal employee’s domestic partnerships signed have to do with Juneteenth AKA Emancipation Day?

Some of you may not even know of about the celebration of Juneteenth which commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery to African American slaves in Texas in June 1865. You see one way people are oppressed is by denying them knowledge of their rights. African Americans living in Texas in 1865 did not know that slavery was abolished through the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. They were still living as slaves because they didn’t get the “memo,” if you will. Certainly, their evil slave masters were not about to tell them of their liberation and continued to dupe and use the people as their property as they had always done. It wasn’t until almost 18 months later when Gordon Granger, a Union General, arrived in Galvenston, Texas with 2000 federal troops and read “General Order No. 3”:

“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.” (Source Wikipedia)

Yesterday, President Obama delivered a memo declaring to LGBT federal employees and their supervisors that they have certain rights already and they can start claiming those rights and that supervisors who try to use homophobia or DOMA to deny those rights will no longer be defended by the government and that denial of those rights will be registered by Equal Employment Opportunity Council as discrimination and prosecuted.

I am in no way saying that learning of one’s freedom from slavery is equivalent to knowing that you have a right to take family medical leave, but I am saying the synchronicity here and and the spiritual message and psychological impact of this declaration are a profound first step. In reality, after the African Americans in Texas celebrated their freedom they still had to face the realites of poverty, violent racism, and a new indentured servitude to white landowners for another hundred years, but the tide had turned, which today I can more clearly see is the case for LGBT people under President Obama’s leadership.

So today, I have let go of my anger. I remember and celebrate Juneteenth and the African Americans in Texas learning of their new rights and how that breaking of the physical and psychological chains of bondage are necessary for all of us. In celebrating Juneteenth I see the hands of the generations of peoples before me, who were lifted up, and through this, lifted up the consciousness of all people making it possible for real love to exist between the races and to bring into being our beautiful President, born from the love of a black man and a white woman, who yesterday with his loving hand ensured that LGBT federal employess get that long overdue memo.

So if you’d like to call President Obama and thank him here’s his #202-456-1111. Sending him some positive energy is good too.

With a new perspective,

Dr. Davina Kotulski

Author of Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage

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Air Sandwhich Anyone? June 17, 2009

Posted On: 2009-06-17 07:00:00

Today’s historic step for LGBT rights was a step in place. There are forward step’s--we saw some of those in the Clinton Administration, backward steps—we saw some of those in the Clinton Administration and a ton of them in the Bush Administration, and now we are seeing “step in place” or “mark time” as they called it during drill practice for the Disturbance Control Team at FCI-Dublin where I used to work.

Stepping in place is not advancing. Obama did not advance LGBT rights today. He signed a memo reminding agencies that under the Clinton Administration certain rights were available to same-sex partners of federal workers like the right to name a beneficiary for your thrift savings plan and to take leave to care for someone who is like family to you. These rights already existed. True, sometimes supervisors used DOMA and homophobia to deny LGBT federal employees the right to exercise their family medical leave, but these were rights we already have. This was more of a warning to those supervisors that if they deny us our family medical leave the DOJ is not going to protect them when the discrimination lawsuits start streaming in.

Obama did not give federal employee’s same-sex partners access to health insurance or pensions. So, essentially we got an air sandwich with the promise of lunch meat and condiments down the road.

Frankly, this feels like more campaign promises in an effort to regain the trust of major LGBT donors of the Democratic party who just pulled their support when they heard that the DOJ is defending DOMA and comparing same-sex marriages to incestuous marriages and marriages between adults and children. I am deeply offended that my own country, under Democratic leadership would submit legal briefs in support of DOMA, let alone that they would compare my marriage to pedophilia. Derision and discrimination against LGBT Americans must stop. Our leaders must stand up against the injustices committed against us or they are complicit in denying our humanity.

Please contact your Senators and Legislators and ask them to support full equality for LGBT Americans by supporting the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the repeal of the Denial of Marriage Act, the passage of the Uniting American Families Act and the passage of the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act.

Thank you,

Davina Kotulski, Ph.D. Author of Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage

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6-2-09 A Moment to Reflect

Posted On: 2009-06-02 07:00:00

Thirteen years ago Molly and I went on our first date—the San Jose Gay Rodeo. We drove from the Bay Area to San Jose and had the first date interview. What are your values? Your political party? What things are important to you, nature, family, music, making a difference, helping others, etc. We found that we had much in common and had a great time dancing. In fact, as we left the rodeo dance and wandered into another ballroom in the hotel that was hosting a clean and sober dance and decided to dance a few dances. Despite being the only gay couple in the room, we were warmly accepted. Love is like that, and though we were barely aware of the presence of love, it moved through us and was visible to others.

Truth be told, after that first date, we decided to be just friends and danced together at the country western club. I was in an on-again-off-again relationship that was “on again” after she saw me happy with Molly and Molly still had some wild oats to sow. But as the summer came to a close and I had enough of being yo-yo-ed and Molly was yearning for something deeper, we gave it another shot. It was magic. Love is like that. Black and white turned Technicolor, my heart expanded. The world was our playground, we sat by the river under the stars and over looking the ocean, sang along to our “falling in love” soundtrack, danced in the streets, and dreamed of our future together. We were so in love and people responded. It was infectious. Love is like that too. As we exuded joy, it was a palpable energy that flowed from us and encircled the people around us. I know that sounds crazy, but it was really there. It was a gift.

For over a decade we have worked to equalize the legal recognition of same-sex couples. We have both spoken extensively throughout the country and occasionally in other countries. We have been featured in several documentaries voicing our call to equality across the planet (Venezuela, Italy, France, New Zealand, India, Portugal, Spain, Taiwan and that is just the places I know of). My book has sold over 9,000 copies and I have had the great fortune to hear from people about how the book brought understanding where none existed to heal broken relationships. My eyes water as I write this just being with how powerful that call to love and equality has been.

Thirteen years later, after a spiritual ceremony in 1998, a 6 month marriage uprising in 2004, and a shotgun legal wedding in 2008 where all our wedding gifts were donations to defeat Proposition 8, Molly and I are finally legally married. The California Supreme Court ruled one week ago that our marriage is valid and recognized in the state of California. While this has not be an easy happily-ever-after, it beats Romeo and Juliet’s story.

We are legally married and my heart reminds me that what set this powerful call to equality in motion was the joy of being with my beloved and dancing through life together, stopping to smell the roses, to sit by the river, to sing, to wander, to mingle, to co-exist with others in our personal bliss. My heart reminds me that love ignites the brightest fire; that love is the greatest gift we can give to ourselves and others. And it is love that has the vibration, the energy, the chemistry to transform the world. So I borrow and improvise from the great leader Ghandi and invite us all to remember to be the Love you want to see in the world and know that the rest will follow.

Blessings,

Davina

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Awaiting California Supreme Court Decision to Repeal Prop 8

Posted On: 2009-05-21 07:00:00

May 21, 2009

It is expected that Tuesday May 26th the California State Supreme Court will rule on the whether or not a group of voters can strip constitutional rights for a minority. I ask you for your thoughts and prayers as we await the courts decision.

If the judges vote to repeal Prop 8 we will celebrate justice with a march from San Francisco City Hall to the Martin Luther King Memorial at the Yerba Buena Center where we will hold a rally mindful that our work will not be done until marriage equality is the law of the land and all of our LGBT brothers and sisters are free to express themselves free from violence and hatred.

If the judges uphold Prop 8 we will shake our heads, then hold them up high, strengthening our resolve and commitment to equal justice under law. We will mark the day with with a rally at San Francisco City Hall and a march to the Martin Luther King Memorial at the Yerba Buena Center where we will hold another rally ever mindful of those who came before us and the youth and children of the future who we are committed to making a better future for. We will prepare ourselves to undo Prop 8 and declare November 2, 2010 the date when justice will be ours.

Below is a list of the events that are happening with regard to the decision in the Bay Area. Visit www.marriageequality.org or dayofdecision.com for information about events throughout the country.

ON THE NIGHT PRIOR TO THE RULING:

- 7:00pm to 8:30pm: Interfaith Prayer service at Grace Cathedral (1100 California St. All peaceful loving people are invited to come together for this service, no matter what their position on the court case may be.

THE DAY OF THE RULING:

- 8:30am to 9:15am: Service/Blessing at St. Francis Lutheran Church (152 Church St, across from Safeway).

- 9:15am to 10am: March from Saint Francis to Civic Center Plaza.

- 10:00am to 10:30: California Supreme Court steps (400 McAllister St [map])

Everyone is invited to stand with us on the steps to receive the ruling. If you are a couple that married, or wanted to marry and will speak to media, please email your name, contact information, phone number and story to media@marriageequality.org Please bring your families and allies with you.

- 10:30am: Circle of Care at Civic Center Plaza. If the marriage ban is upheld, a group of Bay Area clergy and congregants will engage in nonviolent civil disobedience immediately after receiving the ruling go to www.onestruggleonefight.org for details.

THE EVENING OF THE RULING - COMMUNITY GATHERING

Emceed by Stuart Gaffney, John Lewis, Lawrence Ellis, Molly McKay and Davina Kotulski

- 5:00pm to 6:00: Pre-March Rally at SF City Hall (speakers include Terry Stewart, Kate Kendall and others)

- 6:00pm to 7:00: March to MLK Memorial at Yerba Buena Gardens (4th and Mission, next to Metreon [map]). Follow http://twitter.com/stop8dotorg for live updates from the march.

- 7:00pm to 8:30: Post-March Gathering at Yerba Buena Gardens, (speakers including Rev. Amos Brown , music, and next steps)

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colesgonzales@yahoo.co.uk says:

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Posted on: 2010-04-12

Please sign the Petition Requesting Apology for Abuses at US Indian Schools 5-6-09.

Posted On: 2009-05-06 07:00:00

Dear Friends,

I want to invite you to sign the Petition Requesting Apology for Abuses at US Indian Schools. You may not know, but I worked for many years with incarcerated Native American women and saw first hand the impact of the boarding schools on their lives. Some of my clients had been in boarding schools and were beaten for speaking their language and practicing Native American spiritual practices. One woman had a scar from where she was beaten by a nun, another had flashbacks of being locked in a basement. Other clients had parents who were in boarding schools and their parents grew up rejecting their culture because of the severe abuse they experienced. One of the longest running groups I did in the prison was a Native American women’s talking/healing circle. The group focused on culture pride and healing from intergenerational transmission of trauma and PTSD. It was a great honor to be a part of this group and very painful to hear the stories my clients shared with me about the legacy of the boarding schools.

Apologies are a critical part of healing. The U.S. Government has never apologized to the Native Americans for these abuses. Canada has. The U.S. Government is US. I urge you to sign the petition asking Obama to apologize and let the healing begin. I also urge you to help support the Wellbriety Journey for Forgiveness that beings May 16th at the Chemawa Boarding School in Oregon. You can support the healing journey by going to events close to you or by making a donation. I’m hoping to travel to Warm Springs Reservation on May 17th. This was the reservation near my home and when I was a counselor assistant for a drug and alcohol treatment center back in 1989 we had many teens from the reservation. I encourage you to join me in supporting this effort with your thoughts, prayers, signature, resources and time.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Apology-For-Indian-School-Abuses

Thank you! Davina

Wellbriety Journey for Forgiveness – Urgent Funding Appeal Healing the Legacy of the Boarding Schools 1879-2009

On May 16th 2009, White Bison will begin a 40-day, 6800 mile cross-country journey to present and former Indian School sites. The Wellbriety Journey for Forgiveness, a 40-day, 6,800-mile cross-country journey to 23 present and former Indian school sites. It's goal is to promote awareness, dialogue and forgiveness among Native peoples for the historical trauma of the Indian Boarding School Era which began in 1879. Please support the 2009 Wellbriety Journey for Forgiveness and Native American healing now. It will be led by the Sacred Hoop of 100 Eagle Feathers and it will carry the message that historical trauma can be healed - and prevented from being passed on to yet another generation - through a willingness to “forgive the unforgivable.” Daylong workshops are planned at the school sites to share educational information about the schools, encourage open discussion in a facilitated talking circle format and to conduct healing ceremonies involving local tribal elders and mental health professionals to release the unresolved grief that school survivors and/or their descendants may still be carrying from trauma experienced at one of the schools.

An increasing body of evidence shows that intergenerational trauma is connected to suicides, substance abuse, domestic violence, child sexual abuse, family break-ups and diabetes which continue to plague Native American communities today. The Wellbriety Journey for Forgiveness will help begin the healing process in Native communities around the country.

Despite vigorous fund raising efforts, we find ourselves well below the mark that we had hoped to achieve in terms of donations required to complete this journey. Many Native Americans have sent letters and comments sharing first-hand experience in terms of historical trauma and how critically important this journey is to them. Perhaps you have experienced the devastating effects of unresolved grief yourself, or have seen one of your loved ones affected by trauma.

Please take a moment to imagine how your support of at least one mile will assist White Bison in promoting healing and forgiveness among Native Americans across the country. Will you please help by donating $18.79 for one mile? If funding a mile isn’t within your means, even a small donation of $5.00 will help tremendously.

It is not too late to help, if only you act now. Your support of this historic Native American healing journey is greatly appreciated! Please make at least a small contribution and let the healing begin!! Your tax deductible donation can be easily made one of several ways:

 Check or money order payable to: White Bison, Inc. 6145 Lehman Drive, Suite 200 Colorado Springs, CO 80918.

 Call our toll-free number, 877-871-1495 and we will be happy to take your donation over the phone via Mastercard, Visa or American Express.

 Visit our secure website at www.whitebison.org for donation via PayPal

Thank you very much for your consideration of this request.

http://whitebison.org/wellbriety-journey/index.htm

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Amazon Rankings Have Returned! 4-14-09

Posted On: 2009-04-14 07:00:00

Dear friends,

Thank you for your e-mails to me and Amazon and letting people know about what is now being called a "glitch" at Amazon. I believe the national outrcry about removing the rankings from books with "gay" content has sent a wake up call to Amazon that they need to pay more attention to the books they are labeling "adult themed." I must tell you it was quite a shock to see my ranking removed because it was considered "adult themed" and Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer was not considered "adult themed." Anyhow, my ranking for Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage is back and Amazon has apologized and promised to "implement new measures" to keep this from happening again. Please see AP article below.

Thank you again for standing up for LGBT people.

Davina

They're baaaack! Amazon restores sales rankings

Associated Press

By HILLEL ITALIE, AP National Writer Hillel Italie, Ap National Writer – 1 hr 24 mins ago 4-14-09

NEW YORK – The missing sales numbers are coming back on Amazon.com. Two days after Amazon said a "glitch" had caused the sales rank to be dropped from thousands of books, the numbers returned Tuesday for Annie Proulx's "Brokeback Mountain," James Baldwin's "Giovanni's Room" and other notable titles.

Some authors whose rankings were dropped have posted messages from Amazon that said their books had been categorized as "Adult" and were being removed from some best-seller lists and search functions. Amazon's actions led to a furious stream of responses on Twitter and elsewhere online.

Amazon has yet to comment on the author messages, but on Monday called the deletions an "embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloging error" and promised "to implement new measures" to prevent them in the future.

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Amazon "Gay Glitch" or "Anti-Gay" April 12, 2009

Posted On: 2009-04-12 07:00:00

Dear Friends,

My heart is beating so fast as I share this extremely upsetting news with you. Amazon just stripped the sales ranking indicators for all books with anything that has to do with gay content and they are calling it "adult" material. On 1/3/09, the last time I checked my Amazon book ranking it was91,602. I was horrified when I received an e-mail today telling me about Amazon's new policy and went to the site myself and found my rank missing. I searched other books like Eckhart Tolle's The New Earth and a new favorite The Michaelangelo Method which ranks at #366,419 in Books still have their ranking. Evan Wolfson's Why Marriage Matters has lost his ranking, but Focus on the Family's Glen Stanton's anti-gay Why Marriage Matters book has a rank.

Friends, I am sorry, but my hands are shaking and I am burning in my stomach acids at this RAW INJUSTICE. I'm asking you to boycott Amazon.com until they rectify this egregious act. And please share this with everyone. We cannot allow gay people to be treated this way.

Please read and sign the petition: In protest at Amazon's new "adult" policy

You can view this petition at: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/tell-a-friend/3861493

If you wish to contact Investor Relations at Amazon ir@amazon.com

Thank you,

Davina

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Fairness: Iowa Style!

Posted On: 2009-03-31 07:00:00

The Inuit have 20 different words for snow, discerning the nuances of thickness and moisture. Iowans have only one word for fairness, but it seems there are levels of fairness that I, for one, never considered. Iowans seem to emulate a richer, deeper meaning for the word fairness. I think of fairness as cutting the sandwich or candy bar down the middle and you get your half and I get mine. Iowans, however, seem to view fairness as a moral issue, something sacred that must be protected. To be honest, the word fairness, never resonated with me that way, the concepts of justice, equality, and freedom, those words spoke to me, but the word fairness always seemed a little beige.

Iowa just before spring is rich in earth tones, a plethora of browns and crèmes, light greens, muted clay colors, chocolate rivers stirred up by flooding and filled with silt. Crop fields resting, the ground still thawing out, not yet ready for planting, a shocking contrast to the bursting colors of California this time of year. I found it grounding. Yes, the earth tones were a part of that, but it was also the salt of the earth characteristics of my hosts, Lynn Fallon and Ed Fallon, (a former Iowa State Representative and Gubernatorial candidate), who welcomed me into their home, introduced me to their chickens, their fellow Iowans, and the culture of Des Moines.

Ed and Lynn have an organization called I’m for Iowa , a partnership committed to civil rights and justice, progressive reform, and environmental protection. (www.IMforIOWA.com) Ed and Lynn, coupled with Phyllis and Marla Stevens of Marriage Equality USA-Central Iowa Chapter , invited and hosted my visit to Des Moines. My mission—to talk about the shortcomings of the “official” Prop 8 campaign and the messaging and strategies that were not utilized in California that can help Iowa prepare for and prevent a constitutional amendment. I was thrilled that my hosts were taking a pro-active stance by inviting me and several other leaders in the marriage equality movement to Iowa to share our collective wisdom and so we could support the great work already happening in Iowa.

My first stop was meeting with One Iowa , the statewide LGBT group, and Iowa Marriage Equality Community Educator from Lambda Legal, Matt Fender. The One Iowa staff (Carolyn Jenison, Brad Clark, Justin Uebelhor, Ryan Crane and others) are working to educate fellow Iowans about the need for equal marriage rights. They have created a moving project called Our Story, a video of same-sex couples, their families, and straight allies, including religious leaders, talking about why marriage equality is important to creating a fair Iowa. The second night I was in town, they had an event in downtown Des Moines at the Ritual Café, where same-sex couples and parents of LGBT kids shared their personal stories and family values of love, acceptance, and equality with their elected officials. The evening was very inspiring and emotional! Hard to hold back tears when straight parents talk about how much they love their gay kids for who they are. You just can’t get enough of that!!!

After my meeting with One Iowa, I had the privilege of meeting with Marriage Equality USA Central Iowa’s Chapter Leader Phyllis Stevens and Sandy Volpalka, Executive Director of the Iowa LGBT Aging Network . We discussed the importance of including grassroots activists and volunteers in public education efforts and official campaigns and enjoyed a delicious pizza. I must add that the food in Des Moines was incredible. While Ed said that downtown Des Moines used to be called Dead Moines after 5:00 PM, it isn’t like that anymore. I found the restaurants and bars hopping and cuisine that rivaled some of the best California cuisine I’ve ever had. And for those of you who are coffee snobs like me, they have espresso and real cafes!

My first evening ended with a public talk and book signing at the Des Moines Library where I was asked a question I have never been asked before about marriage equality. It went something along the lines of “If straight men’s adult magazines are filled with images of two women does that mean it would be a winning strategy?” Okay, that is not exactly how it was asked, but something to that effect. As they say A for effort, but um, it may sell magazines, but not likely marriage equality.

After the library talk, we ambled down to the local billiard bar and shot pool and asked everyone who came over to say “hi”(and it was a lot of people because Ed Fallon knows everyone), what they thought about marriage equality. And that’s where I saw it, in those deep thoughtful eyes of each Iowan as they leaned on the counter and pondered what was being asked of them. “It’s only fair.” “Everyone should be treated equally.” “It’s not my business.” I was so grateful to my hosts, Ed, Lynn, and Phyllis, for their boldness and bravery to start a conversation and find common ground. I was not under any illusion that the people we asked were going to march in the streets with us, but we don’t need that, we just need the right to pursue our happiness and not be thwarted from our liberties. I slept well that night with visions of equality dancing in my head.

The next day I spoke with a diverse group of Iowans working collaboratively for marriage equality. Folks from Planned Parenthood , clergy, professors, a diversity trainer, activists, and Betti Torrier, the Project Coordinator for Faithful Voices , a project of Interfaith Alliance of Iowa and Action Fund . The Interfaith Alliance is committed to “protecting faith and freedom” and has co-created some fantastic resources bringing together “people of faith and goodwill creating marriage equality in Iowa.” Their message “Marriage Equality is a moral issue!” Check out www.faithfulvoices.org.

I spent the afternoon traveling to Drake University where I met with the Outlaws (Drake’s LGBT law student group) and ACLU student leader Laura Maring and then was off to Iowa State University where I met with 20 students and a few reporters and professors. We went around the room and everyone had a reason to support marriage equality. Straight allies wanted their friends and family members to have equal rights and LGBT students wanted to the same rights to marry and have a family. There was no opposition at any of these events.

The evening finale was a trip to a downtown Des Moines bar where I was the guest speaker at the Drinking Liberally meeting. Drinking Liberally is an informal, inclusive progressive social group where people drink and talk progressive politics with chapters across the country. This event was hosted by Amanda Mittlestadt, Will Riordan, Kelli Griffis, and Brandon Griffis. I had the bar count off in twos, gay and straight, (forgive me LBTIs), and asked them a series of questions like whether or not they had the right to file joint federal income taxes. If they said “yes” they could take a drink and if they didn’t, well, the reality of inequality is sobering.

You’ll be pleased to know that I did not go through all 1,138 federal rights before I mixed up the questions and asked about whether or not they would be denied the “marriage discount” on their car insurance. I didn’t want half a room full of drunken people and drinking liberally is also about drinking responsibly, but they got the drift that LGBTI people are denied several rights that heterosexuals have access too. And for those of you wondering, I was the designated question-asker and continue to be a proud tea totaler.

My quick trip had come to an end. I woke up the next morning, did a 20 minute radio interview with Michael Devine in Fort Dodge. Then I boarded the plane home. It was a whirlwind trip and I left just before the next snowstorm. On the plane, I felt grateful for the contributions I was able to make and the people I had a chance to meet who are working on making marriage equality a reality in Iowa.

Back home in the California sunshine, with the flowers blooming and the butterflies and hummingbirds flitting around like daytime fireworks, it’s hard to imagine what it would be like to survive such a long winter where crop fields are still frozen and trees still bare.

“We appreciate summer even more when it comes,” I can’t remember if it was Lynn or Ed who said it, but I imagine that’s how marriage equality is for all of us. We will appreciate it even more when it comes.

Iowa, you’re next!!!

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US Customs Says Molly and I are not a family! Again!

Posted On: 2009-03-16 07:00:00

Please take a moment to send US Customs a message telling them it is wrong to treat same-sex married couples differently that different-sex married couples by forcing same-sex couples to fill out two separate forms when only one form is required per household/family.

http://help.cbp.gov/cgi-bin/customs.cfg/php/enduser/site_fdbck.php?p_sid=nfwIUXsj&p_accessibility=&p_redirect=

Thank you!

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What the World Needs Now is Love

Posted On: 2009-03-06 07:00:00

Yesterday I stood on the steps of the Calfornia State Supreme Court with supporters of equality and those who are against us and feel that gay people are "the anti-species," that Dan White, who killed Harvey Milk, was a "hero because he killed a queer" and who called us "perverts" and said other things that were frightening and too disgusting to repeat. It was a powerful experience.

What I learned:

Love is more powerful than fear or hate. Singing is more powerful than chanting. Peace is more powerful than anger. We were in control when we were smiling, singing, and sending love to those who fear and hate us.

I want to tell you that I felt unbelievable love for the woman who was screaming in my face yesterday. I felt overwhelming compassion for her daughter whose shame I could feel as she averted my gaze. Not a condescending love, but real love. My body lacked hatred. It lacked a desire for retribution. I only wanted to sing my truth which yesterday was "What the world needs know is love sweet love it's the only thing that there's just too little of." I sang it for 45 minutes.

I locked arms with my friend Pam, who also happens to be a lesbian, a transgender man whom I just met, a younger gay man named Chris, and several young women whose names I don't even know and we just held on to each other, held each other up, sang and smiled, and stood strong in our beauty and truth. It was a spiritual experience.

I don't know what the courts will do. They may rule on the side of justice or they may kick it back to us for a rematch at the ballot box. What I do know, is that this is a movement about love and justice and that to "win," really "win," we must be and stay peaceful. We must be and stay in a place of love. We must be and stay strongly rooted in our truth and beauty and we will be unstoppable.

I want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers. I want to thank everyone who has contributed of their heart, mind, and other resources. Thank you for your blessings! I feel so grateful for your support.

With love,

Davina

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Marriage Equality Advocates Take On Ant-Marriage Prop 8

Posted On: 2009-03-02 07:00:00

Marriage Equality Advocates Take On Anti-Marriage Prop 8 by Davina Kotulski, Ph.D. Go to

http://nsrc.sfsu.edu/article/marriage_equality_advocates_take_anti_marriage_prop_8

Published under:gay marriage marriage equality Proposition 8 same-sex marriage Sex and Policy Sexual Identities/LGBTQII Read

Popular Prejudice or Fundamental Freedom

On March 4, marriage equality supporters—opponents of Proposition 8—will “march forth” in a candlelight vigil from San Francisco’s Castro District to the steps of the California State Supreme Court for what they are dubbing the “Eve of Justice.” On Thursday the California State Supreme Court will hear arguments for and against the repeal of Proposition 8.

Marriage Barriers

On May 15, 2008, the California State Supreme Court ruled, in a 4:3 decision, that it was unconstitutional to deny same-sex couples the right to marry. They further stated that “strict scrutiny” applied because “the differential treatment at issue impinges upon a same-sex couple’s fundamental interest in having their family relationship accorded the same respect and dignity enjoyed by an opposite-sex couple.” (S147999 California State Supreme Court, Marriage Cases, IN RE). One month later same-sex couples began marrying.

But the tides turned on November 4, 2008. Fifty-two percent of California voters voted to change the constitution to limit marriage by defining it as a union between a man and a woman. Within days, same-sex couples were again denied licenses at the marriage license counter.

Opponents of Proposition 8 immediately filed lawsuits charging that Proposition 8 was a revision, not a simple amendment of the California Constitution, and that it violated the separation of powers doctrine and must be repealed. The lawsuits also sought to clarify the legal status of the eighteen thousand couples who were legally married between June 16 and November 4. (Strauss et al v. Horton, Tyler et al v. State of California et al, and City and County of San Francisco et al v. Horton et al.)

Proposition 8: A constitutional revision or a constitutional amendment?

A revision is defined as a “substantial alteration of the entire constitution, rather than a less extensive change in one or more of its provisions” (Amador Valley Joint Union High School District v. State Board of Equalization, 22 Cal.3d 208). In order for a revision to the constitution to be upheld, it must first be approved by two-thirds of the members of the California Assembly and two-thirds of the members of the California Senate and then it can be placed on the ballot. If Proposition 8 is found to be a “substantial alteration of the entire constitution” than it will be repealed unless two-thirds of both houses of the California legislature vote to retain it and then return it to the people for a second vote.

Proposition 8: Does it violate the Separation of Powers?

Opponents argue that Proposition 8 not only stripped away the constitutional rights of a minority by majority vote, but it rendered the judicial system impotent to protect and defend the rights of a minority group.

The Right of the Voter versus the Right of the Individual

Attorney Jerry Brown also filed a brief to overturn Proposition 8 stating that a ballot initiative cannot trump California’s Declaration of Rights without a compelling justification. In an interview with the San Jose Mercury, Brown said Proposition 8 should be invalidated because it is “inconsistent with the guarantees of individual liberty safeguarded” by the California Constitution. In other words, while voters have a right to vote to amend the constitution, they don’t have the right to use the ballot box to take away other people’s “inalienable rights” as already affirmed by the California State Supreme Court and the California Constitution’s Declaration of Rights.

Amici Briefs

There were forty-four friends of the court briefs submitted to repeal Prop 8 and seventeen to uphold it. A list can be found at

http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/courts/supreme/highprofile/prop8.htm.

Ambiguously Gay Marriage

Proponents of Proposition 8, lead by Kenneth W. Starr, have filed briefs to nullify the eighteen thousand same-sex marriages. And while it may look like this case only affects the LGBT community, if the California State Supreme Court upholds Proposition 8, it sends a message to the nation that everyone’s civil rights could be up for a majority vote and that would be a chilling precedent indeed. While justice may be delayed, let it not be denied!

Dr. Davina Kotulski is the former director of Marriage Equality USA, a nationally recognized leader, speaker and writer within the marriage equality and LGBT movements and author of Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage (Advocate Books, 2004). She currently works as a private practice therapist, consultant and coach. Visit her website at www.davinakotulski.com.

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THOUSANDS OF GAY AMERICANS FORCED TO LEAVE THE U.S.

Posted On: 2009-02-18 07:00:00

Thousands of LGBT Americans face the terrible choice of separating from the person we love or leaving our country because same-sex couples face inequities in immigration laws. The Uniting American Families Act, a bill being introduced in the House of Representatives would allow LGBT people to sponsor their spouse/partner for immigration. Your help is needed!

1. Find out who your representative is at http://www.congressmerge.com/onlinedb/index.htm

2. Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to your U.S. Representative.

3. Tell them:

I am calling to ask Representative ________________ to be an original cosponsor of the Uniting American Families Act of 2009. To cosponsor, he/she must contact Rep. Jerrold Nadler who is the lead sponsor.

The U.S. government discriminates by treating same-sex couples differently than heterosexual couples and not allowing them to sponsor a same-sex spouse for immigration. Americans should not have to choose between the person they love or their country. Too many LGBT Americans have been exiled for love. This must stop!

Please ask Rep. _________________ to cosponsor the Uniting American Families Act of 2009 by reaching out to Rep. Nadler before February 12.

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Freedom To Marry Week - 4 things YOU can do to help

Posted On: 2009-02-11 07:00:00

Ask for a Marriage License - Feb 12 thru 14 Come support couples seeking licenses and share your story about why you support marriage equality. Since 2001, Marriage Equality USA® has engaged in annual marriage counter actions to render visible the discrimination that is enforced every day. Click here for the nationwide list of action events - or check out the chapter pages for more information in your local area.

Attend the CA State Capitol Rally - Feb 16th Love and Marriage is a statewide community rally on Presidents Day Monday, February 16th from noon to 3pm where people from all over the state will join us on the steps of the Capitol to show our solidarity for the rights of 18,000 same-sex couples who were married and look forward to the day when those rights are available again, this time for everyone. Attendees are encouraged to come wearing white, leave seeing red. Celebrities, speakers, entertainment and thousands of like-minded people will attend. Co-sponsored by Equality Action Now, California Outreach, Marriage Equality USA, Equality California and many others.

http://www.equalityactionnow.org/events.php#loveAndMarriage

Join the Equality California Lobby Day (Feb 17th)

On Tuesday, February 17, register and join activists from across the state for a legislative lobby day at the California State Capitol. The lobby day will bring together diverse community organizations and leaders from across the state for a day of coordinated advocacy and activism to support Senator Lenos SR 7 and Assemblyman Ammianos HR 5 that would put the Legislature on the record opposing Prop 8 as an invalid revision of the CA Constitution.

Register at http://www.eqca.org/site/pp.asp?c=kuLRJ9MRKrH&b=4948341

Visit the Courage Campaign's Website and tell the Supreme Court to invalidate Prop 8, reject Ken Starr's case, and let loving, committed couples marry. DEADLINE: Valentine's Day

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Top 10 Changes for LGBT Rights or What Obama and America can give LGBT Americans that will make us very happy in 2009!

Posted On: 2008-12-17 07:00:00

Gay Agenda

1. PASS ENDA

Pass a trans-inclusive Employment Non Discrimination Act protecting the rights of LGBT Americans in the workplace. No one should be fired from their job because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or gender non-conforming in their appearance or choice of clothing. It’s not fair that I could get fired, or never even hired, because I wear suits sometimes.

2. REPEAL DOMA

Repeal the “Defense of Marriage Act” which actually denies marriage to LGBT Americans seeking to marry someone of the same sex and the 1,138 federal rights that heterosexual married people have access to including: health insurance benefits, social security, filing joint federal income taxes, and having their marriage recognized outside of the state they were married in. Why should the health care benefits I receive through Molly’s work be taxed as income when her brother is not taxed extra to provide his wife health care benefits? Why is it fair to deny Marvin who was with Bill for 51 years access to Bill’s social security benefits when my mother who was with my father for 15 years will still have access to my father’s social security when he dies because she never remarried? I love my parents, but Bill and Marvin were together for many more years than my parents and Bill deserves to be treated fairly!

3. REPEAL DODT

Repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Seriously, most other civilized militaries, yes I know that might be a contradiction in terms for some of you, allow LGBT people to serve openly. And in fact, most Americans think this policy is antiquated, not to mention a waste of our hard earned money! According to Wikipedia, a Government Accountability Office Report released in February 2005 it cost the U.S. Government “$95.4 million in recruiting costs and $95.1 million for training replacements for the 9,488 troops discharged from 994 through 2003” under DODT. We could use that money right NOW people!

4. PASS UAFA

Pass the Uniting American Families Act, (HR 2221, S 1328) a bill that would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to allow LGBT Americans the chance to sponser their partners for immigration and citizenship as heterosexual couples can through their marriage. Immigration is one of those 1,138 federal rights that same-sex couples are denied that I talk about in my book Why You Should Give A Damn About Gay Marriage. By passing the UAFA my friend Martha could move back to the U.S. from the Netherlands with her dog and her wife, Lin. Presently, she can only bring her dog back. Check out www.loveexiles.com to learn more about couples who are living in exile for love. Please note the UAFA was once the PPIA and has been around since 2000! Feinstein, Obama and Clinton are NOT sponsors. Anyone up for another letter writing campaign?

5. PASS DPBO

Pass the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act. This one was near and dear to my heart while I was working for the federal government for the past 12 years. Under the DPBO LGBT federal employees would be able to give their unrecognized same-sex spouses/partners health insurance, life insurance, government pensions, and other employment related benefits that married heterosexual federal employees enjoy by being married and heterosexual. It’s time to eliminate this second-class status in the workplace. Pass the DPBO. To learn more, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestic_Partnership_Benefits_and_Obligations_Act

6. PASS THE HATE CRIMES BILL

Pass the Matthew Shepard Act (H.R. 1592) which would provide Federal assistance to States, local jurisdictions, and Indian tribes to prosecute hate crimes. Just a few weeks ago two brothers were attacked in New York because some guys thought they were “fags,” one of the brother’s was killed. “Fag-bashers” need to spend a little more time in prison thinking about why it’s okay to them to attack gay people.

7. REPEAL ALL mini-DOMAs and Constitutional Amendments

We must repeal these unconstitutional mini-Defense of Marriage Acts and these unconstitutional constitutional amendments. A majority should never have the right to vote down a minority group’s rights. Let us stay not keep repeating mistakes like segregation and second-class treatment of American citizens, let us end this hierarchy of hate and discrimination and grant LGBT Americans the same rights as heterosexual Americans.

8. Repeal laws denying LGBT people the right to adopt and foster children.

Gay parents are just as good for children as straight parents. Research repeatedly shows that kids that come from same-sex parents are just as healthy and well-adjusted as American kids from straight parents. It’s time to repeal these mean-spirited laws that hurt children and deny same-sex couples the right to care, nurture, and protect their children and family from unnecessary state intrusion.

9. Marriage Equality for couples without regard to sexual orientation or gender.

In all 50 states and with all the rights, responsibilities, and protections on a state and federal level. Marriage, anything less is less than equal.

10. Peace and Happiness for all.

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THERESE STEWART WROTE THIS FANTASTIC OP-ED THAT I AM POSTING BECAUSE I THINK IT IS SO POWERFUL!!

Posted On: 2008-10-13 07:00:00

Do Californians really want to give the Mormon Church the power to decide the content of our State Constitution?

Simply put, that is what is happening in the battle over Proposition 8. The primary backers of Proposition 8 are not people who live in California trying to weigh in on a matter that concerns them. The primary backer of Proposition 8 is not even a California-based church or religious organization. Rather, the driving force behind Proposition 8 – the force that will be singlehandedly responsible for its passage if it is adopted – is the top leadership of the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, otherwise known as the Mormon Church.

Consider these statistics. The Mormon Church has raised two thirds or more of the $28 million Proposition 8 supporters have raised and are using it to fill the airwaves with pro-Proposition 8 commercials. The Church leadership not only extolled its members – via telecasts made from its Utah headquarters to local Mormon churches all over the West -- to donate money to support Proposition 8, it also called on its local churches to provide thousands of volunteers to staff phone banks, do shopping center outreach and get out the vote in California in favor of Proposition 8. It even enlisted Church members in Utah, Idaho and other states to do phone banking from their homes to voters in California in to support this anti-gay ballot measure. This was no grass roots effort; it came from the Church leadership in Utah, which issued a letter directing its members to “do all you can” to support Proposition 8. Some church leaders made highly charged appeals from the pulpit, telling church members their souls would be in jeopardy if they did not give.

The Mormon Church’s involvement in California politics is not altogether new, but the degree of involvement of any church in a constitutional amendment in this State is unprecedented. The Mormon Church was a major force behind Proposition 22 in 2000 – the ballot measure that the California Supreme Court held, in May of this year, violates of our State Constitution. Unhappy with our high Court’s ruling, the Church has mobilized behind the effort to amend our state Constitution to write back in the discrimination that the Court struck down. It is fair to say that the Mormon Church has pulled out the stops this time and will not be content until its view of who should be protected by our State Constitution prevails.

It’s easy to think that this instance of a powerful out-of-state Church intervening in our state Constitutional affairs matters only to the gay community and won’t affect anyone else in our State. If you are inclined to think that is the case, think again. The Mormon Church is both wealthy and powerful, and it is not the only church with those characteristics. If the Mormon Church can buy this amendment to California’s Constitution, they and other powerful churches can buy other laws and constitutional amendments that also fit their religious beliefs – beliefs that long excluded African Americans, Asian Americans and women from positions of power – beliefs that abhor birth control, stem cell research and reproductive choice.

Even those unsure about how marriage of same-sex couples may fit into their own belief system should be reluctant to say yes to Proposition 8. For doing so will send the message to the larger churches in this country that they can buy constitutional amendments whenever it suits them. Ask yourself this: do you want someone else’s church to control the laws that govern you as a citizen? If not, say no to Proposition 8.

Written by Therese Stewart San Francisco City Attorney

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Ten Years Ago

Posted On: 2008-08-09 07:00:00

Ten years ago, Molly and I were so excited as we planned our (first) wedding ceremony. The Hawai’i Supreme Court had just ruled that same-sex couples had a right to marry and we hoped we would be able to make our marriage legal. But sadly the voters of Hawaii voted to change the constitution taking away the right of same-sex couples to marry. Our sadness motivated action and with Californians for Same-Sex Marriage (CASSM) we tried to get a ballot initiative passed in support of equal marriage rights. We were not able to collect enough signatures, but our opposition was and there was an anti-gay marriage initiative on the ballot in the California primary election in March 2000 and we lost again.

But that didn’t stop us. As CASSM dissolved we hooked up with a handful of activists and created Marriage Equality California (MECA). We worked tirelessly recruiting volunteers, starting chapters, and asking people to sign the marriage declaration pledging their support for equal marriage rights. In 2001 we started going to City Halls on Valentines Day or Freedom to Marry Day and asking for marriage licenses.

Then on February 12, 2004, we went down to ask for our marriage license and we learned that Gavin Newsom was allowing same-sex couples to wed and we were legally married by Mark Leno in San Francisco City Hall. It was an amazing day, but our legal marriage lasted only six months taken away by the California Supreme Court. It was like getting kicked in the stomach.

So we organized a bus of 44 people and headed to DC, stopping in several states along the way explaining the 1138 federal rights and hundreds of state rights denied to us because treating us as equal human beings was/and is beyond many Americans’ imaginations. It was a powerful and painful trip opening our hearts and wounds to help open the hearts and minds of our fellow Americans. In D.C. we hosted the first and only National Marriage Equality Rally on the U.S. Capitol Lawn on October 11th, 2004, National Coming Out Day. Our rally was under-attended and unpublicized by the major national LGBT organizations who feared our speaking out for equality would cost the Democrats the election disregarding the words of Martin Luther King Jr. that “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, popular, or political; but because it is right.”

We had more porta-potties than people and we learned what it felt like to be betrayed by our own community. We lost some of our innocence and some of our joy, but we pushed on with the help of the amazing people that joined the ranks of Love Warriors. Together we created the Get Engaged Campaign and we traveled in teams around California from the coasts, the central valley, the state lines of Oregon and Nevada, and we reached out to find our friends and allies in small communities across the state, creating new chapters. With our new regional power we were able to support Mark Leno to get the state legislature to pass the Civil Marriage and Religious Freedom Act, twice and Gov. S vetoed it twice. Equality eluded us.

We began to struggle because when you are the poster couple fighting for marriage equality it takes away time from your having a marriage, which a friend described as “deeply ironic.” In 2007, I stepped down from my volunteer role as Executive Director of Marriage Equality USA. I needed time to reconnect with my friends and family and Molly and I put more boundaries around our relationship, stepping out of the limelight to save more for ourselves.

In March 2008, the California Supreme Court was ready to hear our case-4 years later-justice is slow. A lot of people died in those 4 years, a lot of people gave up, the stress was too much and relationships broke apart. We gripped each others hands tightly as we listened to the attorneys argue the merits of marriage equality relieved that we had pulled through the storm and were able to witness this together. Then May 15th, the court finally gave us justice, but delayed it until Jun 15th. I would be out of the country, so would have to wait until my return and scheduled our legal marriage on September 1st, our twelfth anniversary of being together and close to September 5th, our tenth wedding anniversary. But, there is still one more hurdle, a constitutional amendment that seeks to take away our marriage rights. Vote No on 8 then we can really celebrate.

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And now Marriage Equality Italia 6-20-08

Posted On: 2008-06-20 07:00:00

It was strange timing, but I just happen to be in Italy during the time that we Californians are finally able to go to the marriage license counter and get a marriage license regardless of our sexual orientation. Finally, the long-awaited marriage equality I have spent a decade of my life working for, and here I am missing all my friend’s weddings and the chance to celebrate our victory and then…

Despite being halfway around the world in the beautiful port city Venice, Italy, I have been able to attend everyone’s weddings via the internet. I’m not kidding almost everyone’s weddings.

There were my neighbors Diane and Ruth’s nuptials as they were married by Mayor Ron Dellums; the breathtaking “It’s-all-I-ever-wanted” romantic vows of Ryan and Moe, Marriage Equality USA leaders for Alameda County; Ann and Christine’s long overdue “I dos” shared with the entire Allen-Brown Family in Sacramento; John and Stuart’s “I do, I do, I do!” which may also relate to the fact that it was their third wedding, but this time attended by their proud parents; Dave and Jeff’s regal wedding in Fairfield at the Solano County Clerk’s Office; and I could go on and on, but the internet allowed me to witness all their marriages and it’s the opportunity you get when you work hard for marriage equality, your wedding is filmed by the national media. Which brings me to my second point, I was able to see Robin and Diane and Del and Phyl’s weddings televised on the Italian News, and Molly’s marrying couples in Bakersfield was in the USA today I found at the newsstand and on-line. I don’t feel like I missed a thing, except Kleenex, because I was blubbering at everyone’s weddings, and of course the chance to do the Macarena.

To add icing to the proverbial wedding cake, I received numerous pats on the back for my contributions making marriage equality a reality for same-sex couples. I really, really appreciated everyone’s kind words. Your thoughtfulness also helped me bridge the gap from my watery post here on the Adriatic and Mediterranean Seas to the Golden State.

If that weren’t enough- Molly and I were featured in a Polish Paper, Gazeta Wyborcza. Click here http://wyborcza.pl/1,75480,5318174,I_oglaszam_was_zona_i_zona.html

And BOND Magazine published two of my articles entitled Gay Marriage: A Worldview and Why You Should Give A Damn.

Click to the link http://www.bondmag.net/gayworld.htm

If you can read Polish you are in luck, if not, just click and look at the pictures. It’s nice to feel like you’re making a difference for gay rights in Eastern Europe. Maybe next time we go back we’ll actually be able to find the gay/lesbian bar?

And today I met with Franca Bimbi, The Deputy Mayor of Venice and Professor of Sociology with the LGBT and Gender Policies Dept. of the Municipality of Venice, Fabio Bozzato from the Venetian Gay Community, and Luca Trappolin also at the University of Padua to discuss marriage equality. If that’s not LA DOLCE VITA, I don’t know what is! I brought them Marriage Equality Italia T-shirts compliments of Marriage Equality USA, a copy of my book and my two favorite marriage equality documentaries: Freedom to Marry and Pursuit of Equality. I love being on the frontier as much as I love the celebration of securing our rights. And now dream Marriage Equality Italia! Everything is possible!

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christine@trallenya.net says:

Our marriage is thanks to you and Molly, Davina! Yes, it is all of us working together - but you are our heroes, our mentors, our teachers and leaders in every way. And, most of all, our dear, dear friends. Heartfelt gratitude to you - Miz Pioneer, Trailblazing Queer Queen. Wow, now I feel like you should be wearing a Daniel Boone coonskin hat or something. Yeah, you'd look hot in THAT! Blow kisses to Italia for me... Can't wait to visti when you get home. ~Christine BTW, there are 600 fires buring in in Ca as I write this - breathe deeply in Venice - you may have to wear a gas mask when you get home at this rate!

Posted on: 2008-06-22

mandy.j.benson@gmail.com says:

Davina, you rock in EVERY country! Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your hard work. PS. Please eat some truffles for me. I miss them so much.

Posted on: 2008-06-21

We Won!!!!! California Supreme Court Grants Equal Marriage Rights to Same-Sex Couples!

Posted On: 2008-05-17 07:00:00

Finally some R-E-S-P-E-C-T!!!!

Many thanks to the Justices who did their job yesterday and brought justice to an unjust situation. Starting June 16th, 2008 same-sex couples can legally marry in California. It has been a long road to get this far and I'm celebrating, but it is not over until we win in the "court of public opinion" as my soon-to-be-lawfully-wedded-wife, Molly says. In the next five and half months we must ensure that the majority of Californians agree with the California Supreme Court and vote to keep our new marriage rights, rather than take them away with a constitional amendment.

Your help is needed! Now, more than ever, is the time to come out of the closet in support of equal marriage rights, now is the time to donate your time and money to the cause. Get involved with organizations that are working for equality. Now is the time to really Give A A Damn About Gay Marriage!!!

I want to thank everyone that has contributed to this historic victory, especially every same-sex couples that has every gone to a marriage license counter and asked for a marriage license, the straight allies that stood by us at City Hall, the Clergy who supported us.

Thanks to the Henning Brothers and the handful of us who started Californians for Same Sex Marriage and then Marriage Equality California and who met for years in a backroom of a cafe every month in Oakland envisioning marriage equality-Sean conklin, Brian Davis, Kara Korbell-Chinula, Justin Garrett, Geoff and Peter Scowcroft, Jim DelaHunt and Duckie, Don, and Molly, and our counterparts in L.A. L.J. Carusone, Michael Thurber, and Albert. A small group of people can change the world. Thank you for your vision, leadership, and desire bring into being what so many thought impossible. I love you and respect you for letting this be part of my life's destiny and for walking this long road as love warriors together.

I also want to thank Mark Leno for his amazing leadership and selflessness. It would take days to list Mark's contribtutions and qualities. Mark Leno's courage and vision to bring forth the marriage bill are unparalleled.

Thanks also to Gavin Newsom who didn't wait for it to be popular to do the right thing. I'm still in awe. Your courage and bold leadership inspire me beyond words. Thank you, Mayor! May yesterday's decision vindicate you and hold you up as the great man that you are. A true civil right hero!!

Thank you to the Marriage Equality USA board, steering committee, the web team, ALL the chapter leaders, the community outreach leaders, all the supportive spouses to be, the members, and the former MECA leaders and members, especially: Dave and Jeff Janis-Kitzmiller, Sam Thoron, Jamilla Tharp, Jennifer and Teresa Sookne-Mizell, Christine Allen and Ann Brown, Pam Brown and Shauna, Ryan James, Moe Perez, John Lewis, Stuart Gaffney, Kinna and Ashle Crocker, Shelly Bailes and Ellen Pontac, Whitney Weddell, Chris Gamora, Vicki Kowlakowski, Jo Hoenninger, Jim Maloney, Kathy Kelly, Joy O'Donnell, Kare Carrington, Andy Wong, Martha and Lin McDevitt-Pugh, Bill and Marvin, and The MENY Board.

Thanks to the filmmakers of Freedom to Marry Carmen Goodyear and Laurie York and the filmmakers of Pursuit of Equality, Geoff Callan, Mike Shaw, and Johnny. Your beautiful films touched the hearts of so many people throughout this country and so many other countries. Thank you for these beautiful gifts to the world. May your works of love and art continue to bless you and others.

Thanks to Belinda Ryan and Wendy Daw and everyone at Out for Immigration who are still working to pass the Uniting American Families Act so that bi-national couples can stay in the U.S.

Thanks for Marta Donayre and Leslie Bullbeck for the hard work that they did for equality for all!

Thanks to Bev Senkowski and Jaqueline Frank for risking their military careers for coming out as gay servicemembers and everything else they did in support of marriage equality.

Thanks to all the marriage equality riders on the Marriage Equality Express Caravan in 2004: Dolores, Laura, Joe, Frank, Kelly, Kara, Kare, Hanush, Shelly, Ellen, Alison, Heidi, Brian, Ted, Anthony, Nadine, Meagan, Mandy, Martha, Robin, Jan, Rev. John, Rev. Helen, Roberta, Terri, Jeannie and Jennifer, Eve, Jim, Ron, Dan, Andy, Leslie, Stuart, and John. Thanks especially to Belinda, Wendy, Bev, Jacqueline, and Molly and reporters Mike Kepka, Rona Marech, Karen Ocamb, and Roland Torres, and bus driver Ron. Special Thanks to Margaret Cho, Tuck and Patti, and Green and Root who performed for free to support marriage equality and to speakers Robin Tyler, Beth Robinson, Jimmy Creech, Sylvia Rhue, Eleanor Horton, Genora Dancel, Mark Leno, and the Gattos.

Thanks to Lindsey Ramsden, Mary Kate, Rev. Mark Wilson, Rev. Matt and his family. Rabbis Berlin and Chester, and Rabbi Denise Egger. Thank you Rev. Troy Perry!!!

Thanks to the 4000+ couples that came to SF City Hall to get their marriage licenses and to all the children, parents, siblings, family members and friends of same-sex couples who stand by us and love us. Especially Marina Gatto who fought tirelessly alongside her moms Ramon and Arzu.

Thanks to Sharon Smith, Kate Kendall, and Carole Migden who were able to transform a horrible tragedy into a civil rights victory and make sure that none of us in California ever had to experience the utter disrespect that Sharon faced when Diane was killed.

Thank you Shannon Minter for confidently standing up for LGBT rights everyday and to Evan Wolfson who has been a stand for marriage equality since the beginning.

Thanks to everyone with the Equality for All Campaign, Andy Wong, and API Equality.

Thanks to my editor for Why You Should Give A Damn for Gay Marriage- Terri Fabris.

Thanks to Shefali Kumar-Tsabary who first married Molly and I and her husband Oz Tsabary who filmed our ceremony and thanks to our friends, family members and co-workers who have supported us during the past 12 years!

Thanks to everyone else whose name I haven't mentioned but who contributed to this movement. Thank you!

Please join us for the Marriage Equality USA Bridgewalk September 14th at the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge.

Gayly forward!!!

Davina

Please sign my guestbook at http://www.davinakotulski.com/ and visit www.whygaymarriage.com

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kristen.l.rouse@gmail.com says:

Hey.. congrats on a HUGE payoff for all of y'all's hard work. What a lovely moment in history. Best, Kristen

Posted on: 2008-05-19

Geoff Callan says:

Unbelievable! Like I mentioned to Davina... I suggest Davina and Molly should take a well deserved vacation on February 12, 2009 (freedom to Marry day) next year! :) Geoff Callan Producer/ Director www.pursuitofequality.com

Posted on: 2008-05-19

Dana Elmendorf says:

Davina: I have sent my congratulations to chapters of MEUSA but did want to take a minute to send you and Molly my personal congratulations from Pennsylvania. Tremors from the quake in California are felt here certainly in activism circles but also personally. I do understand this isn't over yet, but do know that when I woke up the next day, after the historic decision there and the rational the courts gave....the world looked different to me. You know, those small moments when one realizes things truly are different in some way. You all have gained a strong step forward for marriage equality but your work has also sent a much broader message of the rights of all people to live under equal treatment under the law. So, thankyou and congratulations......no doubt Molly is already picking out her dress!

Posted on: 2008-05-19

Creating the Right Kind of Global Warming: a Marriage Equality Sermon for the UU Church March 2, 2008 Mendocino, California

Posted On: 2008-02-23 07:00:00

On October 16, 2000, Robert and Bill, a San Francisco couple who were registered domestic partners in California, traveled to DC for vacation. Robert got sick and ended up in the Maryland Trauma Center where Bill was denied access to his hospital room because he was told that registered domestic partners were not recognized in Maryland. Bill told the hospital staff that he had the power of attorney to make medical decisions for Robert. The hospital asked for written- proof. The paperwork was where most people keep their important documents in a filing cabinet at their home in San Francisco.

Bill called Robert’s mother and asked her to come to Maryland. He sat in the waiting room while husbands and wives were not asked to produce marriage licenses or powers of attorney and were allowed to be with their spouses. By the time Robert’s mother arrived and insisted that Bill be able to come back to Robert’s room, Robert had already died, ALONE—his wishes never heard. Bill Flannigan sued the hospital and lost. The hospital staff was just following the rules.

This is still happening today because same-sex couples are denied the right to marry!

Last year, a lesbian couple and their three children had just boarded an RFamily Cruise in Florida. One of the women became sick and was taken to a Miami hospital. Her partner and children were denied access to her hospital bed, and not able to see her until after she died. While traveling to Georgia on business, Patrick Atkins suffered from an aneurysm and a stroke. Despite the fact that Patrick and his partner, Brett Conrad, had been together for 25 years, Brad was unable to make medical decisions for Patrick because they didn’t have an advanced health care directive or medical power of attorney (rights automatically granted to heterosexual spouses). And worse still, was the fact that Patrick’s mother enforced her legal right to deny Brad hospital visitation and later visitation to the nursing home that Patrick was moved to.

Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. said “All life is interrelated. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny...strangely enough I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the way the world is made. I didn’t make it that way, but this is the way, the interrelated structure of reality.”

Dr. King understood that treating one group of people less than another, was harmful not only to the oppressed group, but to the group who mistakenly held the belief that they were superior because they were granted a greater standing in society. Dr. King pointed out, as Eckhart Tolle might point out today, or Buddha might have pointed out many years back, that the ego’s belief in superiority is our greatest downfall.

You may be asking yourself what does this have to do with marriage equality? Or, perhaps you already see the interrelatedness and so the direct harm to you, by belonging to the group that is perceived as morally and socially superior-or conversely if you belong to a group that is perceived as morally and socially inferior you know the pain it causes you. And you may already hear the call to step up and correct that error for your sake and the sake of your community, not just the gay community, but the human community, that is suffering from this collective delusion of superiority and inferiority.

This is a tall order, such a tall order in fact, that we are still working on understanding the effects of this web, this network of mutuality and shared destiny on one another, on our towns and cities, our forests, and even our drinking water, and we are still working to correct this delusion with regard to race and gender in 2008.

The UU community understands these connections and has played an integral role in awakening others to these connections not only by standing on the side of love, but because all Unitarian Universalist congregations are founded on principles which affirm and promote:

—The inherent worth and dignity of every person;

—Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;

—The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;

—Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

So, today we turn our attention to ending the segregation of marriage and integrating the marriage license counters. For we understand today that allowing this inequality to exist hurts all of us and that ending marriage discrimination will have positive benefits that will ripple out passed the individual couples, whose lives will become legally as well as spiritually joined. It will create a new understanding of our shared humanity and tear down false barriers. The way Gavin Newsom did on February 12, 2004 when he wielded a mighty hammer, in the name of love and justice for all, at the wall that separated gay people from their straight brothers and sisters—that separated us from our shared humanity.

While it is a tall order, it is easy to stand on the side of love. It is easy to simply close your eyes and begin visualizing a world where same-sex couples are received with the same joy at the marriage license counter as different-sex couples. It’s easy to celebrate and honor same-sex relationships as you would different-sex relationships. It is easy to begin using marriage equality inclusive language such as the term spouse when referring to someone’s same-sex partner, rather than immediately using the word partner. Think of the power difference. It’s much easier for a straight person to tell someone it’s okay to call my spouse my partner, then it is for a gay person to ask please call my partner- my spouse.

There are 1,138 federal rights, responsibilities, and legal protections that lesbian and gay people need, but are presently denied, and help educate others. If you look at these two jars of candy hearts you can see that one is full and one is empty. Each heart represents one right that gay couples are denied—health care, social security, the right to file joint taxes, the right to citizenship for a non-US born same-sex partner granted heterosexual partners through marriage. Look into my hearts and you can see the inequality made visible.

Educate yourself about these 1,138 federal rights denied same-sex couples everywhere in the US. Educate yourself about the hundreds of state rights, basic rights that same-sex couples are denied in most states-the right to visit a same-sex partner in the hospital, make medical decisions, burial decisions.

Put a bumper sticker on your car or in your office or wear a T-shirt in support of marriage equality. Talk openly about your support of equal marriage rights and come out against initiatives and amendments that seek to take away or limit rights or create separate, and inherently unequal, substitutes. These things are easy, they cost you very little, but they contribute to a growing consciousness, a growing environment of love and support for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender people.

These simple things can change the climate, creating the right kind of global warming—one of love and affinity: a community where the love of two women, or the love of two men, is cherished and valued; a world where gay kids can go to the prom with their boyfriend or girlfriend, share in the excitement of courtship and the beautiful ritual of marriage; a world where we can all rejoice because we have become integrated—gay and straight together.

Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. said “All life is interrelated. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny...strangely enough I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the way the world is made. I didn’t make it that way, but this is the way, the interrelated structure of reality.”

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The Future of Gay Marriage-Divorce: Supporting Gay Marriage By Avoiding Gay Divorce

Posted On: 2007-10-17 07:00:00

It sounds cynical, but it’s true. In the U.S. fifty percent of heterosexual marriages end in divorce. Why should gay people be any different? Sure, we have struggled against all odds to love out loud, but that’s the us-against-the-world stance. While we have mastered standing up to hostile forces, we have not yet mastered the hostile forces that erupt in a marriage between two people who have to not only negotiate homophobia and unequal status, but who is going to take out the trash, how to manage the finances, what to do for the holidays, how much time to spend together and apart, and these days whether or not to have children or how to raise those kids that we’ve worked so hard to bring into our lives.

Longitudinal studies of what keeps gay couples together are still in their infancy, as is our experiences of being “married” whether through actual legal recognition (real marriage, civil unions/partnerships, domestic partnerships) or rituals of our own creation. LGBT people are just beginning to access the same experiences that our heterosexual brethren have struggled with for ages. Our community is going through a cultural growing up and while we have much to teach our heterosexual counterparts about egalitarianism and the importance of being emotionally balanced individuals who have access to their masculine and feminine sides, they have something to teach us. We can learn from those with failed marriages what mistakes not to make. From those who have worked hard to celebrate three, four, five, and six decades of marriage-how to keep the home-fires burning strong.

Of particular interest is the work of researcher, John Gottman, who did longitudinal studies of couples and discerned two categories of couples-marriage masters and marriage disasters. Gottman, who can identify, within five minutes with 95% accuracy, whether a couple will stay together or divorce, chose to share his observations about what makes marriages succeed or fail in several books and seminars that are offered to couples throughout the U.S. and Canada While I found the Gottman books personally useful, and his workshops LGBT inclusive, there are many other resources couples can avail themselves of.

We have worked hard to receive legal recognition and simple respect for our ourselves and our relationships, to legitimize our once invisible family ties, we now need to roll up sleeves and show ourselves and our partners that same respect and commitment by investing in our marriages. We need to take time to learn new skills for connection and communication, find ways to work out conflicts and minimize the negative effects of inevitable differences in opinions and values. Even though we are the same-sex, we are not the same people, and we need to learn to cherish and respect our differences and find ways to let those differences help us grow together, rather than apart. After all, while there are gay marriages, there is no such thing as a gay divorce.

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Why You Should Give A Damn About YOUR Marriage Gay or otherwise!

Posted On: 2007-09-06 07:00:00

A funny thing happened to the new Marriage Equality USA brochures on the way to the printer. Somehow, a letter E was omitted from the final printing creating a new mission for Marriage Equality USA that of "Marriage Quality." Some might have thought it a huge costly blooper, but I was totally amused and if I dare say- pleased. While fighting for marriage equality for almost a decade I have also sporadically taught courses on marital and couples therapy, but the main thrust of my energy has, until recently, been on securing equality, rather than quality. Lately, however, my goals have shifted.

After I stepped down from Executive Director of Marriage Equality USA I had time to focus on my own marriage and its quality, something that was long overdue. It's important when you are advocating for marriage equality (regardless of your sexual orientation)that you not forget to nurture your own marriage and to rank marriage quality as high or higher than, marriage equality. Marriage activism should not take the place of having a marriage. After all, we don't want to take for granted, neglect, or miss out on the joys of our own marriage and partnership which would make finally securing equal rights too costly in the end.

Seeking balance between equality and quality lead me to John Gottman's Why Marriages Succeed or Fail and The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. I'd like to share some of the tips that I found extremely useful and I hope you will too!

Five Positives to One Negative It's important that couples have five positive interactions to each negative one. So, make sure that you are as committed to making your partner feel good as you are to educating people about why we need equality. Do little things every day that let your partner know why you want to marry them when it's finally legal. As you send out e-mails about breaking marriage equality news, drop your sweetie a love line. Stay connected.

Avoid the Four Horsemen Gottman says that we must watch out for four things that can devastate our marriages:

1.Criticism -defined as an attack on your partner's character or personality, different from a complaint that involves a concern about a behavior. Criticism. "You are lazy!" Complaint "It upsets me that don't do more to help out with housework."

2. Contempt -Sarcasm, name calling, eye rolling, mockery things that show at best a lack of respect for your partner and at worst disgust.

3. Defensiveness-Getting angry at your partner for bringing up concerns. According to Gottman defensiveness helps nothing, it simply escalates problems.

4. Stonewalling -ignoring or tuning the other person out. Not listening to their concerns.

Finding Your Style Are you a validator, a volatile, or a conflict avoider? Are you and your partner matched? If you are matched, where are your blindspots as a couple? Finding out your communication styles can have a huge impact on your relationship. Invest in quality!

For more information go to http://www.gottman.com

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sgelender@comcast.net says:

Davina, this is so right-on. As activists, we can forget sometimes how important it is not only to live what we 'preach' but also to be as committed (no, more committed) to our partners than to our causes.

Posted on: 2007-09-19

healingheartart@pacific.net says:

Davina, Your work and energy inspire me. Your comments about balancing love and activism is wise and needed. I look forward to your next book.. fiction or non-fiction your words are worth my time... thinking of you and supporting you all the way!!! JODY Willits California

Posted on: 2007-09-15

ttfarm@mcn.org says:

Davina, this is such an important statement you've made here. As we journey toward justice and EQUALITY we must find a way to maintain the QUALITY of our relationship. Without love, nurturance, kindness, attentive listening and time together, it's easy for a relationship to fall apart. The "Four Horsemen" are such important points. Thank you for adding this core and key info to your site and blog! - Laurie York, Co-Director, "Freedom To Marry - The Journey To Justice"

Posted on: 2007-09-10