Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dobule Take COP 24/7

New Equality Groups Step Off in Arkansas

This Saturday (12.15.12) the Arkansas Initiative for Marriage Equality will meet in Maumelle, 12 noon at Casa Mexicana Restaurant to look over the other same-sex marriage laws in other states and and choose what they think will fit for Arkansas. In a Facebook posting the group cites that,"in essence we will scrap the language we currently have written and reviewed by the lawyer. We will then vote on how we move forward with what we discuss at this meeting. We will also continue discussions about events, fundraisers and strategies for the future. In the meantime, they will meet to discuss an election of officers and prepare for the next meeting." COP 24/7 has gleaned that it has been suggested that wording such as "two persons regardless of sex" be used as an option for their ballot initiative. The group also has plans to partner with yet another developing entity entitled Arkansans Against Discrimination. This group plans to put forth a 2014 ballot initiative to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1993 by adding sexual orientation and gender identity. Added to the mix as reported by , comes Arkansans for Equality which filed its paperwork to register as a limited liability corporation with the Secretary of State’s office in November. This group seeks to get a ballot proposal prepared for 2016. “We’re hoping that we can work with both sides of the political spectrum and people from all across the state,” said Jennifer Steele, one of the organizers. Ms. Steele states that her group has 400 members and will began a tentative petition drive in February. Now with all this organizing going on, one would have thought that this forum would have been included in the media mix since we are the longest running web portal that has been covering the LGBTQ community and beyond. I'm glad that mainstream media got wind of the initial meetings and updates, but in an impromptu survey that has no science behind it, I've found few to none who are members, aware of or for that matter actually have a bonafide interest in the issue. This forum would be interested in exactly who are the "400" members that support AFE or the make up of any of these burgeoning groups. Certainly we applaud all those who wish to make a commitment to social change and the tremendous effort it takes to do so. However if we take a realistic look at the landscape, from our vantage point what's been needed that supports such movement is infrastructure to which this LGBTQ community is seriously lacking.

What infrastructure are you talking about COP 24/7?  Let's tick off a few shall we... how about a serious network of in-state funders who will give of their treasure aka "money" to make a notable impact. Ballot initiatives or whatever political move you are attempting are costly ventures that need constant infusions of cash for lawyers, staffing, pollsters, and if nothing else printing and coffee. How about  a supportive electorate that is willing to go the distance without picking up their marbles and going home when the tough gets going. This is on the many headstones of group of the past who had big ideas with lots of talking heads whom flamed out without explanation or outcomes. Anybody remember any of those groups? ( Arkansas Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Arkansas Equality Network) What about a defined agenda that will be significantly inclusive, diverse and embraced by those supporters whom believe that everyone should be at the decision table. These are only a few among many others that will have to be considered as these groups move forward in their missions. Of course, this is just the opining of one long blogger, but one that has seen this movie one time too many.  (pictured: Randy McCain at a press conference at the Arkansas State Capitol, during which the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund announced its lawsuit against the state's sodomy law; January 1998.)
Just for total recall, an online post from observed,"the 2012 election ended the often contentious campaign season and resulted in a number of positives for the LGBT community beginning with the re-election of President Barack Obama. He won re-election after becoming the first acting president to voice support for marriage equality, receiving some 77% of the LGBT vote.
Several openly LGBT candidates also were elected to national offices:

Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) became the first out gay U.S. Senator. Sean Maloney (D-NY), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Mark Takano (D-CA) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) will head to Congress.
Incumbent Congressmen David Cicilline (D-RI) and Jared Polis (D-CO) were re-elected.
Marriage equality passed in Maine, Maryland and Washington. A constitutional amendment banning marriage equality was defeated in Minnesota and a pro-marriage equality justice was re-elected to the Iowa Supreme Court. We'll keep you posted on the moving and shaking of these groups with updates, comments and opinion as they develop. Stay tuned....!!!


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