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DOMA Action Alert: Time to Make Boehner Sweat

by David Badash on March 9, 2011

in Discrimination,Gay Agenda,Legal Issues,News,Politics

Post image for DOMA Action Alert: Time to Make Boehner Sweat

Editor’s note: This guest post by Scott Wooledge was originally published at Daily Kos and is published here with his permission. Scott Wooledge writes at the Daily Kos under the handle Clarknt67.

Have you read Scott’s previous post here, Remembering “The Homosexuals”?

This is a developing story. Stay tuned for updates throughout the day, posted at the bottom.

A grassroots effort to put Speaker Boehner squarely in the heat of a hot national spotlight for his decision to move forward with the defense of the unconstitutional law, Defense of Marriage Act.

GetEqual, Credo Action, Equality Ohio, Impact Cincinnati, and Human Rights Campaign, have all joined forces today to put the heat on Speaker Boehner’s despicable unilateral decision to defend bigotry.

At 2:00 pm ET, five GetEQUAL Ohio activists will enter Speaker Boehner’s West Chester office to deliver 33,233 CREDO Action and GetEQUAL petition signatures. asking that he not spend tax-payer dollars defending DOMA. After delivering the petition signatures they will ask to speak to their representative. Simultaneously, there will be a solidarity protest/rally outside the office, where GetEQUAL Ohio activists will be joined by Equality Ohio and Impact Cincinnati.

What can you do to support this action and demand Speaker Boehner protect the rights of ALL Americans by focusing on job creation and not discrimination?

Join the virtual protest. Speak out and tell him, he’s taking America off-track with this decision.

Call his West Chester office: (513) 779-5400

If the line is busy, call his Washington DC Office: (202) 225-6205

Speaker Boehner is  scheduled to have a Press Conference Today at 4:30. The larger and louder this protest is, the more likely he is to be confronted by the press with similar questions. This is the time to roar on this issue.

Just four hours ago, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi tweeted:

Lend your voice to hers, and these activists. Ask Boehner, why are you wasting your time and taxpayer money on divisive social issues?

Of course, you’re welcomed and encouraged to improvise. But if you need a little help, these sample questions have been provided by Michael Cole-Schwartz, Director of Media Relations for Human Rights Campaign.

7 Questions:

  1. There are as many as nine lawsuits in federal court challenging the constitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA.  Will House Republicans intervene in all of these lawsuits?
  2. Who will represent House Republicans in court? Will the House hire outside private counsel to defend the cases? If pro-bono legal counsel will be asked to represent the House, who will that be? Will a conflict and ethics check be conducted? Will the BLAG be consulted on strategic decisions related to the litigation?
  3. How much taxpayer money will this all cost?
  4. What will the House argue in defending DOMA?  Will they go back to Congress’s 1996 arguments for passing the law – that it is necessary because marriage equality is “a radical, untested and inherently flawed social experiment” and contrary to the “moral conviction that heterosexuality better comports with traditional (especially Judeo-Christian) morality”?
  5. The Justice Department stopped defending DOMA because they concluded that laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation should receive a higher level of scrutiny by courts.  Will the House Republican leaders disagree?  If so, will they argue that gays and lesbians have not suffered a long history of discrimination?  That sexual orientation is somehow relevant to an individual’s ability to contribute to society, when they have four openly-gay colleagues?  That gays and lesbians can change their sexual orientation, a position at odds with every major psychological organization?  That gays and lesbians are politically powerful, ironically in defending a law passed by Congress specifically to disadvantage them?
  6. Do they think they’ll win, especially given that in two DOMA-related cases in Massachusetts, a federal judge appointed by President Nixon has already found Section 3 of DOMA to be unconstitutional even under the lowest level of scrutiny that gives great deference to the legislature?
  7. Apart from these cases, will Republican House leadership do anything to address the inequalities that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people face?

Social Media Outlets

Updates To Come

Check back with in the hour for updates on how the signature delivery went.

Update: Well, I called and spoke to a staffer. I actually played really dumb. I said “Now, I hear he’s going to be addressing this issue at a press conference today?” And she told me he was not. I reconfirmed and said, “Really? I heard otherwise.” And she said “not today.” Which could mean, the activists are misinformed, the staffer is misinformed, or the game plan for today may have suddenly changed? Hmmmm… Well, public schedules do change in DC, quickly and without notice.

Anyway, I went on in my best earnest voice to express my deep and great concern that nine Constitutional challenges were a lot of work, how much was this all going this cost? She didn’t know. Would he be reporting back to the taxpayers an accounting of these monies? She said she’s share my concerns with the Congressman.

Breaking News On Sit-In Action by GetEqual

This just in from GetEqual. Will post pictures or more news when I find it.

GetEQUAL Ohio Activists Refusing to Leave
Speaker Boehner’s West Chester Office

Speaker Boehner:
Focus on Job Creation, Not the Destruction of American families!

West Chester — Minutes ago, activists from GetEQUAL Ohio — a direct action LGBT civil rights group associated with the national organization GetEQUAL — entered Speaker Boehner’s West Chester office to demand the Speaker not use tax-payer money to defend Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  At this moment, five protesters are holding a sit-in, demanding to speak to their representative.

GetEQUAL State Organizer Tom Morgan issued this statement, “Later today the Speaker will be meeting with his bipartisan legal advisory group to consider whether to defend DOMA.  We strongly encourage the Speaker to heed the advice of Rep. Pelosi and the millions of Americans who are demanding the Speaker focus on job creation and not discrimination.”

Shortly after President Obama announced his decision to stop defending the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act, Speaker Boehner responded, “It is regrettable that the Obama administration has opened this divisive issue at a time when Americans want their leaders to focus on jobs and the challenges facing our economy.”

GetEQUAL Ohio Western Region Organizer, Sean Watkins, responded to Speaker Boehner: “You continue to speak about fiscal responsibility. You have dismal unemployment rates. You’re unable to balance the budget. Yet, you’ve decided now is the appropriate time to divert your focus and spend taxpayers’ money and government resources to defend a law that enforces discrimination — a law that the Attorney General and the President have declared unconstitutional. This isn’t leadership, this is one more example of government over-reach and waste.”

The protest began when a group of people entered Speaker Boehner’s office to deliver 33,233 GetEQUAL and CREDO Action petition signatures urging the Speaker to focus on job creation, not discrimination and to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act.  After being denied their right to speak to their Representative, five of the activists began their sit-in.

In addition to Sean Watkins, other activists participating in the sit-in include:

Willmington College student and GetEQUAL Ohio activist Liz Mills explains why she decided to participate in today’s action: “Harvey Milk said it perfectly, ‘Hope will never be silent!’  I have plenty of hope that DOMA will be repealed and I will not be silent!  Today I’ve chosen to sit-in for those in the LGBTQI community who can’t — to let my hope radiate and spark in the hearts of others a sense of urgency to stand up for their rights.”

Mills’ girlfriend, Morgan Bonney, is also participating in today’s sit-in and offers her reason for taking action: “I’m ready to wake up this nation and tell them that ‘Silence = Consent.’ I will never be silent!  Second-class is NOT equal and I will continue to fight for my equality by standing up to the type of religious-based bigotry Speaker Boehner stands behind in his decision to tear apart American families.”

Nineteen-year-old Jesse Bonney, a constituent of Speaker Boehner, issued this statement: “The equality of people is a basic right!  While I recognize we as a growing country have a long way to go, I believe this sit-in and the use of non-violent civil disobedience brings us one step closer to equality, one step closer to a truly united country.”

Thirty-year-old Wilmington College student Karay Martin expressed her growing frustration with the Speaker: “We, as a people, are protected under the Constitution equally.  Everyone has the right to live a life that does not suffer from discrimination — it is innate to our understanding of who we are as a country.”

An outdoor protest is also taking place, as well — including members of Equality Ohio, Impact Cincinnati, and GetEQUAL Ohio — to voice objections to the Speaker’s continued refusal to extend equality to ALL Americans.

Where:  Speaker Boehner’s West Chester office, 7969 Cincinnati-Dayton Road, Suite B

When:   Wednesday, March 9, at 2:00pm

GetEqual’s Twitter feed:

A clarification:

The activists have been locked out of the office and are waiting to deliver the petition to Boehner’s staff. Right now they are outside of the doorreading the 33,233 names of those that have signed on to stand up and fight back against discrimination. More information to follow.Where we are heading now is to make sure that we prove the point to Speaker Boehner that he agreed to protect America’s house and yet he is still shutting out LGBT American’s from basic equal rights protections.

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{ 1 comment }

AndrewW March 9, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Just another childish publicity stunt to raise money. GetEqual sent emails today looking for 400 people to donate $15/month so they can engage in more unproductive stunts.

I think the LGBT community understand these self-serving publicity stunts ($100,000 a year salaries) do not change any minds or votes, they just make us look stupid. Religiously-infected Boehner isn't going to change because a few misfits won't leave his office. It's childish.

If you want to make a difference, try conversation instead of confrontation. It's more difficult than parading around with clever signs or hndcuffing yourself to a fence, but IT WORKS.

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