Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Lessons from Campaign Boot Camp

Call to Service

One of the most important things I took away from the OUTWest Boot Camp this last weekend is my call to service. I have been a very active, activist thus far however now I know that it is my duty to fight for marriage equality for ALL with every fiber of my being. No matter what. No matter if it's hard. No matter if I'm tired. No matter if I'm rejected. I must continue to fight for myself, for my spouse, for my community and for my country.

Who Am I?

I am a Software Engineer by trade. But from now on when people ask me what I do I am going to answer I am an Activist! And, I going to tell them, I am fighting to restore marriage equality in California and to gain marriage equality statewide and I won't stop until we get it!

Why Am I Fighting

I am fighting for marriage equality because I deserve equal rights. I am fighting for marriage equality because separate is NOT equal. I am fighting for marriage equality because you don't write "Just Domestic Partnered" on the back of your car. I am fighting for marriage equality because I am a lesbian and I was able to marry the person I love and EVERYONE deserves that!


You can't be afraid. You can't be afraid to make the asks. You can't be afraid to put your ideas out there. You can't be afraid to raise your hand. You can't be afraid to fail!

Five Lessons Learned

  1. When sending an email make only one ask
  2. If you are asking for money make it transparent where the money is going
  3. Contact other leaders in your community they could make unlikely allies
  4. Know the universe of voters you need contact
  5. Delegate, you can't do everything yourself

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Marriage Equality: You Don't Have Be Gay to Be OUT!


The only way we can gain Marriage Equality for ALL is to start having one-on-one conversations about it.

Come Out of the Closet

You don't have to be gay to be out: starting telling your friends, neighbors, co-workers and anyone who will listen that you support Same-Sex marriage.

Making it Personal

When talking about Marriage Equality you need to share a piece of yourself.

The Story of self is the reason behind why you support Same-Sex marriage. Telling your Story of Self is the means we use to connect with people. It's these connections that will enable us to change minds and open hearts about Same-Sex marriage.

My Story of Self

When I was younger some of my girlfriends would talk about how they couldn't wait until Prince Charming came knocking on their door and ask them to marry them. I just sat back and listened.

As I got older someone would announce they were engaged and were getting married. I never really cared about the wedding details BUT I was always interested in hearing about the proposal. A friend of mine told me that her boyfriend took her to a Dodger game and handed her a box of crackerjacks. When she opened the box there was a diamond engagement ring inside. I thought that was the coolest thing ever.

When I came out as a lesbian I realized I wanted to be the Prince Charming, that I wanted to be the one who proposes.

So when I realized Shannon was the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with I started saving my money to buy her an engagement ring.

After months and months of saving I finally bought the it was time for the proposal!

It was around Easter so on Easter morning I woke up early and put the ring in Shannon's Easter basket.

When we woke up I immediately said to her, "hurry up let's go see what the Easter bunny brought us!"

She humored me. She picked up the box I placed in her basket and she said, "what's in here?"

As she opened the box and saw the ring, I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me.

She said yes!

The reason why I am fighting so hard for Marriage Equality is because everyone should be able to propose to the person they love.

Your Turn

Think about how Marriage Equality personally affects you. It is because you want be able to see your child get married? It is because you want to marry the person you love? It is because your best friend has been in a long, committed relationship and deserves the right to marry.

Whatever your reason is...starting talking about!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Differences Between Domestic Partnership & Marriage


For all intents and purposes there is no legal difference between a California Domestic Partnership and a California Marriage.*

However, there many social and psychological differences between the two.

Here are just a few:


You DON'T propose Domestic Partnership.

You DO propose Marriage.


Easter morning I woke up early and quietly crept to Shannon's easter basket. I placed a box that contained a engagement ring in it.

When Shannon woke up I said hurry up let's go checkout what the Easter bunny brought us.

Shannon humored me by running down the hall to our baskets. (She thought I was excited because I'm Jewish and I love candy)

Shannon grabbed the box and said, "what's in here?"

I got down one knee and asked her to marry me.

Wedding Showers and Bachelor Parties

You DON'T have a wedding shower or a Bachelor Party when you are getting Domestic Partnered.

You DO have a wedding shower and/or a Bachelor Party when you are getting Married.

bachelor Party

Our friends took us out for a bachelor/ette party.

We started out at a Karaoke bar and eventually ended up at House of Pies.

The Ceremony

You DON'T have a ceremony for a Domestic Partnership.

You DO have a ceremony for a Marriage


Shannon and I got married on June 30, 2008 in a courthouse in Contra Costa County.

I was so nervous that I said I do too early so I had to say I do twice.

When we turned to see our family we saw both of our moms crying tears of joy.


You DON'T feed your spouse cake after you have been Domestic Partnered.

You DO feed your spouse cake after you have been Married.


We fed each other spoonfuls of tiramisu cake.

You DON'T have "Just Domestic Partnered" written on your car.

You DO have "Just Married" written on your car.


As we drove back to LA many people honked at us. And some even gave us the thumbs up as they drove by.

With every honk and every thumbs up I felt so proud to have been "Just Married!"

Federal Differences

Along with the differences I mentioned above there are thousands of differences at the federal level. Please click here to read more about the differences between Domestic Partnerships and Marriages federally.

*Hetero-sexual couples may not enter into a Domestic Partnership unless one or both of the parties is at least 62 years old.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Repealing Prop 8: Tough Conversations

Fired Up!

I have done the training, practiced the scenarios and I have had many conversations about Prop 8.

I left Camp Courage in East LA this weekend ready to go forth and continue the fight for marriage equality!

Out of the Blue

Today, I was sitting in a meeting with a client (who also happens to be a family member) and right in the middle of talking about the shopping cart functionality a discussion starts about Prop 8.


I realized that up until today I have really only had conversations with people who are supportive of same-sex marriages. I mean during my phone banking days I had some callers who told me they were voting yes on Prop 8 but I never really had a conversation with them.

I guess I have been lucky (or not).


So when the client said he voted yes on Prop 8 (after my initial shock) I thought about all my training. Stay calm, find out why, use persuasion and all that jazz.

I asked him, "How does my marriage to Shannon affect you?"

"Well it doesn't," he replied.

I preceded to ask why he voted yes. After he told me his reasons I used my "active listening" skills and said, "so it's the word marriage that you have a problem with?"

After some more questioning and me pointing out that before 1967 he wouldn't have been able to marry his wife (he is in an interracial marriage). He told me that, "marriage is between a man and woman." I replied, "so because Shannon and I have the same body parts we don't deserve to be married?"

We had some more back and forth then the conversation ended and I thanked him for discussing his views with me and for listening to what I had to say. He thanked me as well.

We hugged and then continued on with our work.

Baby Steps

I may not have changed his mind today but I KNOW I opened his heart.

What I learned today is the only way we are going to repeal prop 8 and gain marriage equality FOR ALL is having these kinds of tough conversations.

It isn't easy but it is necessary!