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Let’s figure out how to go about restoring Democracy. This is an idea that is catching on across the country.  And, although Tea Party folks and Occupy people were the first I heard talking about this issue the discussion is now spreading into more moderate political discussions.

The Citizen’s United ruling is approaching its third anniversary. Grassroots organizing to overturn it has been slow, but definitely building. That decision expanded the First Amendment rights of corporations, again! Some opposed to the Citizen’s United decision are using the term “corporate personhood” to describe their feelings of disagreement with the Supreme Court. Others see it plainly as judicial activism.

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Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 04:45 AM PST

Solutions to Gun Violence that Work

by Jacovisio

The first thing gun advocates do when real solutions are proposed is to talk change the terminology of the discussion into something that will scare people. Using the terminology “Gun Control” is out of date and disingenuous to what The Fire Arm Safety Act is about.

Look at the crime statistics in Maryland for yourself.

We can require a license to purchase a handgun with appropriate age restrictions, mandatory safety training and fingerprinting, in addition to the current background check done by the Maryland State Police without taking any law abiding citizen’s gun.  Research indicates that a license-to-purchase requirement is associated with significantly lower levels of intrastate gun trafficking. A license to purchase would not be required for hunting rifles and shotguns. Why would hunters fight this proposal? This proposal is meant to reduce the number of people who should not possess a gun from pursuing that acquisition in the first place.

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Ugandan Embassy - Washington D.C. Saturday December 1, 2012

Several more than a dozen activists held vigil on the sidewalk in front of the Ugandan Embassy on Saturday to protest the "Kill the Gays" bill in the Uganda Parliament. A vote is expected before the end of session in mid December. The speaker of that body promises passage as a "Christmas gift" to the Ugandan people.

Light  Brigade Maryland, Peace House, Amnesty International and Get Equal do not see this bill as a gift. Individuals from all these group stood for more than an hour displaying the message "Reject Ugandan Homophobia" to engage other Washingtonians in the conversation.

Legislators in the United States connected to the "C Street House", according to Metro Weekly & Rachael Maddow of MSNBC, are linked to the encouragement of getting this bill passed.

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Light Brigade Maryland (LBM) enjoyed fun and exciting energy leading up to the November 2012 election.  Using light panels to spell out positive messages relating to saving the Civil Marriage Protection Act, which was signed into law in early March by Governor Martin O’Malley, LBM attempted to inform the voting public that this law was on the ballot as referendum Question 6.

Starting in late August with their first “bridge party” on the Dulaney Valley road bridge over the Baltimore Beltway (I-695) was attended by seventeen very excited participants. The image that was generated from that event was very instrumental in drawing attention to their project.

Several of their “bridge parties” resulted in photographs that went viral. Two that come to mind was one taken on the Howard Street Bridge over the Jones Falls expressway (I-83) near the Maryland Institute of Art in the Bolton Hill neighborhood in Baltimore.
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Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 08:57 AM PST

Renaming the LGBTQIAA Community

by Jacovisio

Hey where’s the P?

[O.K., LGBTQIAAP is the "alphabet soup" acronym for: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, transgender/transsexual, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual and p is for Poly]

Yes of course we are a diverse community and there seems to always be someone left out. How do we correct this situation? I do not yet have an answer. I am trying to ignite a community-based conversation. Our best thinkers should engage this idea in a real and meaningful way.

Many, it seems, have already started using the term “Sexual & Gender Minority” to describe our alphabet soup of collective sub-communities. Yes we might be a minority if we agree that there will always be more “straights” and that we will never outnumber them. This is, however, a stereotypical attempt to simplify who human beings really are. And yes sex is the common denominator except when we are talking about those who are a part of our community based on their gender identity/expression.  So my first thought is that this term represents a narrowed-vision renaming, and is another attempt by those with privilege (inside our community) are once again trying to speak up for the ALL of us within our community. Has anyone thought about this? I suspect we just borrowed this term from a government agency whose goal was to neatly categorize some statistics.

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I was a four year old boy when I was picked up from a minor fall. My boo-boo was brushed off and it was the first time I heard, “You’ll be OK. You’ll heal long before you grow up and get married.”

So when I reached puberty that promise fizzled. It suddenly seemed to only exist for my three sisters. I came to the realization that I was gay and gay people were not even thinking about getting married in 1968, the year I turned twelve. Truth be told, I’m pretty sure I had not yet learned a word for being attracted to another boy.

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Baltimore Saturday November 3, 2012

The Hierarchy in the Catholic Church would have everyone believe that all Catholics support the edict from Rome that Catholics should be against same-sex marriage.

Bishop William Lori was moved to Baltimore recently because he worked very hard to twist an effort in Connecticut into an issue of religious freedom.

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Westminster Maryland

Sometimes the action is the controversy and sometimes it’s the picture.

As the Light Brigade Maryland (LBM) group stood on the sidewalk on the bridge over local Rte 27 (AKA Railroad Ave.) someone noticed that there was more traffic passing behind the group on the bridge than on the road below. The decision was made to move back up the sidewalk in front of the nearby shopping center and face the busier road.

There were two different photographers with LBM that chilly October Saturday night. Someone in the group suggested they pose with the nearby chicken restaurant in the background. As titillation and excitement passed through the Brigade that night, another suggested a bolder photographic statement,  “Let’s just pose directly in front of the store.”

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While churches continue to reject the relationships of gay male couples and lesbian couples the momentum among young people is to reject churches because of the oppressive social stances that conservative churches promote as THE ONLY position of Christians. As a Christian and an individual who seeks social justice in the world I am literally appalled by the source of vitriol and suppression of certain peoples’ civil rights that comes from some Christian churches. The work Conservative Christians (including conservative Catholics) are doing to suppress Marriage Equality is a suppression of MY Freedom of Religion.

We (as Christians and Americans) have been having this discussion over and over again. We had this discussion when Abraham Lincoln emancipated and abolished slavery. We had this discussion when we worked our way through Suffrage. We had it again when we discussed the 1964 Voting Rights Act. And now we are having it again with the discussion of Marriage Equality. Biblical passages were used to maintain all of these traditions. We as a culture have come to breathe our own American freedom and reject the idea that I will vote a certain way “because my church tells me to.” The church was created in the times of feudal governments and American Freedom rejects monarchy as a legitimate form of government.

As Equally Blessed (a coalition of Catholic Organizations that are committed to full equality for LGBT people in the church and civil society) points out, The Knights of Columbus is spending millions of dollars to stop marriage equality.  This effort by the “strong arm of the bishops” will only drive young people further from the Catholic Church. Its spill-over will broaden the culture-wide view that Christians are anti-civil-rights.

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Morgan State University – Baltimore Maryland, Tuesday, October 9th

Maryland Delegate Keiffer Mitchell, Jr. and (NOM Founder) Maggie Gallagher debated Question 6 (The Civil Marriage Protection Act) on Tuesday night at Morgan State University. The debate was organized by the Baltimore City League of Woman Voters and moderated by Marc Steiner.

Roughly 70 people were in attendance in a theater that appeared it could hold several hundred.

Each speaker had ten minutes to make an introductory speech. Audience members had an opportunity to write their questions on index cards which were then selectively presented to the panelists.

Both speakers talked of their personal involvement with the Question 6 issue.

Delegate Mitchell spoke of his personal involvement with the legislative debate in Annapolis when the bill was passed in February 2012 and his impressive family history which included his grandmother Juanita Jackson Mitchell, Parren Mitchell III, Clarence Mitchell, Jr. whom all had involvement in the African American civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s.  Delegate Mitchell made it clear that he thinks marriage equality is first and foremost an issue of “fairness and equality”, then he went on to say he thought marriage equality is also a civil rights issue.  “Not in the same sense as THE Civil Rights Movement is, but we in the African American community cannot say ‘I got mine, now you can’t have any.’” He continued with, “As a father I want my children to grow up and get married whether they turn out to be gay or straight.”

Maggie Gallagher argued from the oppositional point of view.

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Mon Oct 01, 2012 at 06:23 AM PDT

Marriage Equality in Maryland

by Jacovisio

Marriage Equality is headed for a vote on Nov 6th. Many Maryland organizations have joined Marylanders for Marriage Equality to work as a coalition effort. The opposition has also formed an alliance and is working hard to keep their string of 31 votes alive. It will be heartwarming to see the first state in the country pass a referendum vote in favor of marriage equality. When they do, jpmassar (here on Daily Kos) predicts, “Heads at NOM will explode.” The last true talking point still worthy of discussion will die. “No state has ever voted for Marriage Equality,” will fade into obscurity.

Of course we in Maryland hope that we will be that first state. Maine is also likely to pass their referendum vote, but their polls close two hour later than here in Maryland. Washington State has the best poll numbers of all three. The future of Anti-marriage Equality is doomed.

Last week a moderate Maryland Republican elected official told me he thinks Question 6 will pass this year. A week earlier a writer for a Republican publication told me “it wouldn’t be much longer,” after she suggested that the LGBT community might get to marriage equity faster if we first accepted civil unions and waited for marriage to happen later. My response to her was, “I have been asking for equality since 1978 when I came out, and I’m tired of waiting to be equal to my heterosexual sisters who were born with their civil rights.
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Light Brigade Maryland travels to Western Maryland to promote a
With seven events under their belt Light Brigade Maryland has made their presence know across Maryland. From Northern Harford County to southern Howard County They had stayed within the Baltimore metropolitan area until Saturday when a group traveled to Cumberland in Western Maryland to meet a group for another "bridge party."
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