February 21, 2007 by savvyplanners.com ·
The Supreme Court, in a 7 to 0 decision, has ruled that New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination protects students perceived to be gay from bullying by other students in schools — and that if the school discovers the bullying, the school must take reasonable steps to stop it.
“Garden State Equality would like to thank the following people for helping to make today’s landmark decision happen. They deserve the credit as well as the enduring appreciation of us all:
– The plaintiff “L.W.,” the young man perceived to be gay who stood up for his dignity and that of every other student perceived to be LGBTI, whether LGBTI or not.
– Deputy Attorney General Jim Michael, who so eloquently represented the Division on Civil Rights in fighting for L.W.’s civil rights.
– Division on Civil Rights director Frank Vespa-Papaleo, one of the country’s most spectacular civil rights leaders. Frank has won every award our community has to offer and we love him dearly.
– Legendary civil rights lawyer Larry Lustberg, partner at the Gibbons law firm in , who represented eight community organizations that sought to stop the bullying. Larry, as you may know, was part of Lambda Legal’s team on the marriage equality lawsuit. There are no greater humanitarians in the legal profession in our entire nation than Larry Lustberg. Larry, you are an American treasure.
– The American Civil Liberties Union of , including Legal Director Ed Barocas, lawyer Jeanne LoCicero and Executive Director Deborah Jacobs. The ACLU of once again has made a profound difference in the lives of millions in our state. When you look up courage in the dictionary of civil rights, the ACLU of is listing number one.
– The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network chapters in . GLSEN, in and nationwide, was the first organization in America to make anti-gay bullying its signature issue. GLSEN laid the groundwork for today’s decision in so many ways. What a proud moment for an unbelievable organization.
– National Conference for Community and Justice of , Family Voices, Roxbury Parents for Exceptional Children, the Statewide Parents Advocacy Network of , NJLGC and GAAMC for your years of working with LGBTI youth. You all represent the very best of grassroots activism.
– And of course PFLAG, whose chapters have been relentless in standing up for justice and dignity for all our children. You, PFLAG, are the parents many of us wish we had.
We extend to all of you our deepest gratitude and love, as will successive generations of LGBTI youth. God bless you and the great State of New Jersey.”
February 19, 2007 by savvyplanners.com ·
EVER THE LEADER(s)!
Congratulations to Steven Goldstein and Daniel Gross!
Ferocious and unstoppable STEVEN GOLDSTEIN and “the love of his life” —DANIEL GROSS were the first gay couple to have a civil union license in New Jersey. It is only fitting that one of the laws’ staunchest advocates and soldiers have this honor.
The couple were able to get their license and avoid the 72 hour waiting period because they already had a civil union in Vermont, which entitled them to reaffirm the civil union and to have the license issued as soon as it was processed.
and Thank you so Very Much!
February 19, 2007 by savvyplanners.com ·
Barbara Gittings, Gay Pioneer, Dies at 75
Mother of the GLBT Civil Rights Movement
via Equality Forum
PHILADELPHIA—Barbara Gittings, a seminal gay activist, died on Sunday, February 18. She was 75 and resided in . Her death was announced by her partner of 46 years, Kay Tobin Lahusen.
Malcolm Lazin, Executive Director of Equality Forum, noted, “Barbara Gittings is the mother of the GLBT civil rights movement. She is our Rosa Parks. Barbara helped organize the first gay and lesbian civil rights demonstrations in the face of a tsunami of homophobia. Her courage helped launch the GLBT civil rights movement.”
Barbara Gittings began her career in activism in 1958 when she founded thechapter of the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB), the first lesbian organization. She edited DOB’s national magazine The Ladder from 1963 to 1966. Describing those years, Gittings said,
“There were scarcely 200 of us in the whole. It was like a club; we all knew each other.”
In 1965, Gittings marched in the first gay picket lines at theand other federal sites in to protest discrimination by the federal government. She joined other activists in the pioneering annual demonstrations for gay and lesbian civil rights held each July 4 from 1965 to 1969 at Independence Hall in . These seminal yearly protests laid the groundwork for the Stonewall rebellion in 1969 and the first gay pride parade in 1970. Gittings’ role in these early protests is featured prominently in Equality Forum’s documentary, Gay Pioneers.
In the 1970s, Gittings campaigned with other activists to remove homosexuality from the American Psychiatric Association’s list of mental disorders. She recruited “Dr. H. Anonymous,” a gay psychiatrist who appeared, masked, on a panel at the 1972 APA conference to tell his colleagues why he couldn’t be open in his own profession.
Gittings also crusaded to make gay literature available in libraries. Though not a librarian, Gittings found a home in the Gay Task Force of the American Library Association, the first gay caucus in a professional organization. She edited its Gay Bibliography and wrote a history of the group, Gays in Library Land. Her campaign to promote gay materials and eliminate discrimination in libraries was recognized in 2003 by an honorary lifetime membership conferred by the American Library Association.
For her lifetime of activist work, Gittings was selected as one of 31 leaders for GLBT History Month in October 2006.
UPDATE: Wreath Laying Ceremony Tuesday, February 20 – 12:00 noon
Northwest corner of 6th & Chestnut Streets across from Indepence Hall
at the Historical Marker commemorating the first annual gay rights demonstrations from 1965 to 1969 at Independence Hall.
February 18, 2007 by savvyplanners.com ·
But there’s a catch, sort of. Most, if not all, registrar’s offices will be closed for the President’s Day holiday on Monday.
UPDATE: Some NJ offices will open as of 12:01 am Monday morning. You should call your clerk’s office for info. The only one we have been able to confirm, so far, is Lambertville. For our couples in Lambertville, here are some tips from the Lambertville City Clerk. As we learn of more municipalities with open hours, we will be updating them here.
Take a few moments to get all the details in our NJ Civil Union Primer and even download a New Jersey Civil Union application (.pdf or .doc) right there!
The day is fast approaching when GLBTI couples can be legally recognized in NJ. Get all the information you need about applying for a Civil Union License in New Jersey!
Congratulations New Jersey Couples!!!
We’re here to help!
February 17, 2007 by savvyplanners.com ·
New Jersey will recognize gay marriages from other states
By GEOFF MULVIHILL, Associated Press Writer
via Marriage Equality NY (MENY)
MOUNT LAUREL — Gay couples who are married in Massachusetts, Canada or other places where same-sex marriage is allowed will have all the rights of married people in New Jersey as of Monday, the state Attorney General’s Office decided Friday.
“New Jersey should consider those couples to be in civil unions rather than marriages”
New Jersey should consider those couples to be in civil unions rather than marriages, Attorney General Stuart Rabner said in the opinion for the state Department of Health and Senior Services, which is responsible for registering civil unions. Civil unions, which will be available in New Jersey starting Monday, grant all the benefits of marriage — but not the title — to gay couples.
Gay rights activists had mixed reaction to the decision. They were happy to have the clarity and to learn that the civil unions will be granted automatically, but also voiced concern about possible discrimination.
”In the nick of time before next week, the attorney general has given peace of mind to a lot of families,” said David S. Buckel, the director of the Marriage Law Project for Lambda Legal.
However, Buckel, along with lawyers with the ACLU of New Jersey and Garden State Equality — the state’s main gay political group — said that not recognizing marriages from elsewhere is unfair and possibly discriminatory.
“New Jersey should not be in the business of stripping individuals and couples of rights they already lawfully obtained,” said Ed Barocas, the legal director of the ACLU in New Jersey. Steven Goldstein, the executive director of Garden State Equality, said he expected that litigation would be filed over the issue…
February 17, 2007 by savvyplanners.com ·
Diane Marini used to joke that she was always the bridesmaid and never the bride, because as a lesbian, she thought it was unlikely New Jersey would ever approve of same-sex marriage.
Still, she and her longtime partner, Marilyn Maneely, pushed for gay marriage. They were among seven couples who sued the state in 2002 for the right to marry. While their suit didn’t lead to a gay marriage law, it led to New Jersey becoming the third state to offer civil unions to same-sex couples.
The civil unions law takes effect Monday, and some same-sex couples are planning ceremonies. It will be a bittersweet day for Marini, because Maneely died of Lou Gehrig’s disease in 2005, more than a year before the case was decided.
I’m thrilled to have been part of the whole movement to show people who didn’t know what marriage meant, why it was important,” said Marini, who plans to attend one couple’s ceremony next weekend and probably several more in the next few months.
In October, the state Supreme Court ruled that New Jersey must extend all the rights of marriage to gay couples, but left it to state lawmakers to decide whether to provide those rights in the form of marriages, civil unions or something else. They opted for “civil unions,” in part due to opposition from legislators who objected on religious grounds to calling it “marriage.”
Marini, a construction contractor, and Maneely, a home-health nurse, were a couple for more than 14 years.
They met at a spiritual retreat in Ocean City. Marini, who had come out as a lesbian when she was a student at Parson’s School of Design in New York in the early 1970s, saw it as a vacation. Maneely, a mother of five who knew how to cook for a big group, was there mostly to run the kitchen…
Editor’s Note: All of us at savvyplanners.com extend our condolences, congratulations and gratitude. Thanks so much for your brave and noble contribution to 100 percent marriage equality in New Jersey. Thank you.
February 13, 2007 by savvyplanners.com ·
The ladies, whose ceremony took place this week, treated themselves to a fun-filled, SCUBA holiday, Key Largo visit finishing with a beach wedding on the island of Key West!
They even witnessed the final “Whaling Wall” to be painted in the U.S. by renowned American marine artist, Wyland.
February 12, 2007 by savvyplanners.com ·
via In Case You Didn’t Know
Are you one of the many couples seeking to have July 7th 2007 (07-07-07) as your wedding day?
We are finding the date to be extremely popular! PLEASE book the date immediately if that was the date you’ve been thinking of. Vendors are absolutely going to be taxed and extremely busy on this and the days leading up to the seventh. Make sure you can be able to have your wedding on that day.
Design notwithstanding, at left is a celebrity wedding invite (actually a “save the date” card).
To see The inside of Eva Longoria and Tony Parker’s “save the date” click here.
Thanks to In Case You Didn’t Know.
February 9, 2007 by savvyplanners.com ·
(Trenton, New Jersey) With just over a week before same-sex couples in New Jersey can begin applying for civil union licenses the state has begun distributing to local clerks the forms to be used and LGBT rights groups are not happy with the wording.
Garden State Equality and the American Civil Liberties Union in a letter to state authorities say same-sex couples are being asked more probing questions than are opposite-sex couples applying for marriage licenses.
“Currently, the proposed Application for Civil Union/Reaffirmation of Civil Union License form requires much more information of an applicant than does a marriage application form; yet the State has just as much interest in knowing whether a partner to a heterosexual marriage has previously been in, or still is in, a civil union or domestic partnership, and knowing if a person seeking a civil union has previously been married,” the letter says.
The two groups also complain that they were led to believe the civil union application would be on the same form as that used for marriage licenses. And they say the wording is confusing.
Specifically they point to unclear questions about previous relationships and the section on “reaffirmations” of civil unions from outside the state. The state already has decided that civil unions from Vermont and Connecticut will be recognized.
“The category “Domestic Status” on the application form is incomplete and unintentionally insensitive in omitting the category ‘currently in a domestic partnership,.’” the letter notes. “We anticipate that most, if not all, couples registered under New Jersey’s domestic partnership law will seek to enter a civil union in the State. Domestic-partnered couples should not be asked to checkoff “single/never married” because these couples, under the New Jersey domestic partnership law, already are not legally single, and don’t consider themselves single.”
A spokesperson for the attorney general’s office said Thursday that the office is looking at the letter and acknowledged “there are a few very minor things that need changing in the form.”
The civil-union law takes effect Feb. 19 – President’s Day. Some municipalities have said they plan to open that day to process civil-union applications.
After the forms are filled out there is a 72-hour waiting period before a ceremony can be conducted.
Last October the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled same-sex couples must have all the rights of marriage.
The Court gave the New Jersey State Legislature 180 days to act on the decision to grant same-sex couples the rights and benefits enjoyed by different-sex married couples but left it up to the legislators to decide whether to call it marriage or civil unions. (story)
The legislature opted for civil unions.
February 5, 2007 by savvyplanners.com ·
Clerk protests gay marriage ban
Activists hail symbolic move in Yolo; critics decry ‘stunt’
By Jim Sanders – Bee Capitol Bureau
Yolo County Clerk-Recorder Freddie Oakley plans to present “certificates of inequality” to same-sex pairs on Valentine’s Day. She says she designed the certificates to ease her soul over having to deny marriage licenses to gays and lesbians. Sacramento Bee/Brian Baer
In a slap at California’s ban on gay marriage, the elected official who oversees civil marriages in Yolo County will distribute “certificates of inequality” to same-sex couples on Valentine’s Day.
Freddie Oakley, Yolo’s clerk-recorder, said she designed the certificates herself as a way to ease her soul over having to deny marriage licenses to gays and lesbians.
“We don’t discriminate against people on the basis of age, or health, or disability, or race, or ethnicity, or religion, but we do on the basis of gender in this matter,” she said. “I feel it’s inappropriate.”
Oakley’s “certificate of inequality” claims that California wrongly deprives gays and lesbians of the right to marry.
“I issue this Certificate of Inequality to you because your choice of marriage partner displeases some people whose displeasure is, apparently, more important than principles of equality,” it reads.
Gay marriage has prompted long, heated political fights nationwide.
The constitutionality of California’s current law banning gay marriage is pending before the state Supreme Court.
Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, recently reintroduced legislation to legalize gay marriage after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the idea in 2005.
Critics blasted Oakley for planning to distribute from a public building — her Woodland office — a document that criticizes state law.
“The people pay government officials to implement the law and to faithfully execute the law … not to ridicule the law and perform stunts that advocate the overthrow of marriage,” said Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families, which lobbies on social issues.
Thomasson accused the Yolo clerk of violating her oath of office to “well and faithfully discharge the duties” of a county clerk.
Oakley will distribute the certificate on Feb. 14 in conjunction with an annual event, “Freedom to Marry Day,” in which same-sex couples appear at county clerks’ offices nationwide seeking to marry.
Oakley said there is no “governmental virtue” to…