Countdown to Election Day with Rep. Angie Antonelli: T Minus 1 – Naming Names

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Congresswoman Angie Antonelli, the main character of my new book, Love Is Enough, asked to post a series of daily posts on this blog leading up to Election Day in the US on Tuesday, November 4.   And, really, how could I refuse her?

Cindy_Book2Cover

This is my final post on Cindy’s blog, so I first want to thank her for letting me be here these last few days. It’s been a pleasure.

And if you check back tomorrow, Cindy will have something really special to announce. So watch this space!

I promised that today I’d name names and tell you about some of the people who’ll be on the ballot tomorrow—both incumbents and new candidates. These are the people who will continue the progress we have made and will push back against any attempts to stop justice in its tracks.

So here they are:

First and Foremost—The US Senate

The tightest races where your vote is most needed include:

  • Georgia: Michelle Nunn – while not perfect on LGBT rights is much better than her opponent
  • Louisiana: Incumbent Mary Landrieu – an important person to keep in the Senate; she’s a voice of reason among her Southern colleagues
  • Michigan: Gary Peters is vying for the seat held by the retiring Carl Levin. Peters is a pro-choice, pro-LGBT progressive running against an arch conservative
  • New Hampshire: Jeanne Shaheen, the incumbent, deserves a second term
  • North Carolina: Kay Hagan, another voice of reason from the South

In the House

  • Arizona: Krystan Sinema – the only openly bisexual member of Congress and a progressive voice. Let’s re-elect her.
  • Florida: Gwen Graham – pro-choice, pro-marriage equality facing a Tea Party incumbent who voted to defund Planned Parenthood

Governor Races

Four important races, three of which will defeat key opponents of equality and justice. In Florida, former governor Charlie Crist can oust the incumbent, Rick Scott, a Tea Party member. Similarly, in Maine, openly gay candidate Michael Michaud not only has the chance to become the first openly elected gay governor; he would defeat another Tea Party member, Paul Le Page. Finally, two exciting women are running in Wisconsin and Texas. Mary Burke, a progressive, would oust Governor Scott Walker who has Presidential aspirations and is a darling of the Koch Brothers. And the woman who singlehandedly opposed anti-abortion forces in Texas, Wendy Davis, is running for governor and deserves our support.

 – – – –

Finally, in my own state of Massachusetts, Maura Healey, could become the first openly lesbian attorney general in the state. Maura has been a longstanding opponent of the heinous former Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and led the state’s legal argument against the law.

So get out and vote tomorrow. As I’ve been telling you for days, so much depends on it!

To learn about more candidates, go to:

http://www.teamlpac.com/2014-endorsements/

http://feministmajoritypac.org/2014-candidates-2/

http://www.emilyslist.org/candidates/gallery/federal

http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/2014-endorsements

To learn more about Angie Antonelli and the ups and downs of her love life, read Love Is Enough, available here and here.

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Countdown to Election Day with Rep. Angie Antonelli: T Minus 2 – The Back Door Plan

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Congresswoman Angie Antonelli, the main character of my new book, Love Is Enough, asked to post a series of daily posts on this blog leading up to Election Day in the US on Tuesday, November 4.   And, really, how could I refuse her?

Cindy_Book2Cover

Hi, it’s me, Angie, again. Only two more days until Election Day and today we’re going to talk about a particularly devious tactic that the opponents of LGBT equality and women’s rights have been using to bend the arc of history that Martin Luther King spoke about away from its inevitable route toward justice. While they refer to this tactic as “religious liberty” or “religious freedom,” it is, in actuality, a back door plan to greatly weaken the hard fought for rights and freedoms we now enjoy.

Here are some examples of what they are doing.

While every advocate will tell you that the right of same-sex couples to marry does not mean that clergy are now required to officiate their wedding ceremonies, our opponents not only insist that marriage equality infringes on the religious freedom of clergy, but they also insist that anyone with a “sincerely held religious belief”—including florists, caterers, the owners of events spaces, or bakers—should be free to deny service to same-sex couples. If they are successful, can their next campaign to keep us out of restaurants and hotels be very far behind?

In addition, our opponents assert that pharmacists with those same religious beliefs should be able to refuse to sell the morning after pill to women.

And a student pursuing her graduate degree in counseling should be free to refuse to see a gay client.

Getting the picture?

Unfortunately, just like I mentioned yesterday when I wrote about voting rights, all of this has been further complicated by a Supreme Court decision. This one held that the crafts chain, Hobby Lobby, had a right to refuse to follow the requirement of the Affordable Care Act that an employer-sponsored health insurance policy cover contraception.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m all in favor of sincerely held religious beliefs. I was raised Catholic and I still attend mass. And while the hierarchy of the Church and I don’t always agree (though I’m hopeful about the new Pope), I do gain strength and peace from my faith. I talk about this a lot with my best friend, Robin Greene, who is Jewish. We both feel proud of the long history of social justice associated with each of our faiths, even though at times there are things make us cringe.

So I come to this issue, not from a place of hostility toward people of faith or religion as a whole, but from the belief that religion should always be on the side of justice and should never sow the seeds of division among people.

I am also a firm believer in separation of church and state following the precepts set forth by our country’s founders. It was Thomas Jefferson himself who first spoke of a wall separating church and state, stating that “the interests of society require the observation of those moral precepts only in which all religions agree (for all forbid us to steal, murder, plunder, or bear false witness), and that we should not intermeddle with the particular dogmas in which all religions differ, and which are totally unconnected with morality.”

In the wake of the Hobby Lobby decision, Congress has become a battleground on this issue and so we must ensure that our representatives in office follow the principles of Jefferson and his colleagues and not those of the religious right wing.

Our opponents know they have lost the fight on marriage equality and on women’s rights. So in a desperate attempt to whittle away at our freedoms, they have created this new argument about religious freedom. One important way to make sure they do not prevail is to exercise our right to vote on Tuesday, November 4th.

To learn more about Angie Antonelli and the ups and downs of her love life, read Love Is Enough, available here and here.

Countdown to Election Day with Rep. Angie Antonelli: T Minus 3 – The Right To Vote Is At Stake

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Congresswoman Angie Antonelli, the main character of my new book, Love Is Enough, asked to post a series of daily posts on this blog leading up to Election Day in the US on Tuesday, November 4.   And, really, how could I refuse her?

Cindy_Book2Cover

Hi, it’s Angie here to talk to you again about the importance of the upcoming election in the US this Tuesday, November 4, and urge you to get out and vote.

Let’s discuss voting.  This country has a shameful legacy when it comes to the right to vote, beginning with the earliest days of our history.  Did you know that for the first 60 years of our republic only white male landowners had the right to vote?  And then in the mid-1800s, once all white males gained the right, states adopted literacy tests designed to deter European immigrants from voting.  After Black males were granted the vote, Southern states enacted poll taxes in addition to literacy tests in order to keep them away from the polls.  Women couldn’t vote until 1920 and Native Americans until 1924.  Finally, in 1965, the Voting Rights Act put an end to race-based voting restrictions, an achievement that I thought, until recently, closed the door on our disgraceful past.

But I’m afraid I spoke too soon, because now, as the country’s citizens of color, new immigrants, and younger voters favor more progressive stands on the issues of the day, conservatives have once again raised barriers, this time by imposing onerous identification requirements aimed, they say, at eliminating so-called voter fraud.  But this is a solution in search of a problem, since there’s very scant evidence of voter fraud.  What we have real evidence of is impossibly long lines at the polls in neighborhoods where a majority of African Americans live.  What we have are ID rules that will confound our transgender brothers and sisters, including people like my friend Hadley Chambers, from exercising their right to vote.  And what we have is a US Supreme Court decision that took the enforcement teeth out of the Voting Rights Act, paving the way for more of these restrictions that Attorney General Eric Holder says, “cause a greater burden on African Americans, Latinos, and younger voters.”

So what can you do?  First educate yourself by reading about the issue on the websites of civil rights and LGBT equality organizations, like the NAACP and the National Center for Transgender Equality.  And help your family members and friends who may be encountering ID restrictions.  But most important, get out and vote on Tuesday for the people who will restore everyone’s right to unobstructed access the polls.

To learn more about Angie Antonelli and the ups and downs of her love life, read Love Is Enough, available here and here.

 

 

Marie Castle

About the Author

CD CAIN

Writer, LGBT Advocate, Wanna-be Blogger and Full-time Mom

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