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S.A.M.E. Hosts Victory Celebration for Marriage Equality Protesters (tags)

The San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (S.A.M.E.) held a victory celebration September 21 at the Bamboo Lounge in Hillcrest after San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith dropped all charges against the Equality Nine, protesters who were arrested at the San Diego County Clerk's office August 19, 2010 for showing up to request marriage licenses or support others doing so, including same-sex couples who had appointments. The event featured five of the Equality Nine and also Queer-rights pioneers Leo Laurence and Pat Brown, who led militant Queer-liberation demonstrations in San Francisco months before the Stonewall riots.

“EQUALITY NINE VICTORY CELEBRATION” AT BAMBOO LOUNGE IN HILLCREST SEPTEMBER 21 (tags)

San Diego's Queer community is celebrating the end of the Equality Nine case Friday, September 21, 7 to 9 p.m. at the Bamboo Lounge, 1475 University Avenue in Hillcrest. After having criminal charges hanging over their heads for more than two years, the six remaining members of the Equality Nine are finally free thanks to the city dismissing the case in late August.

San Diego City Attorney Drops Charges Against Marriage Activists (tags)

Six members of the Equality Nine, marriage equality activists arrested over two years ago for going to the San Diego County Clerk's office and demanding marriage licenses for same-sex couples, were vindicated August 24 when city attorney Jan Goldsmith filed a motion to dismiss all charges. Originally scheduled for April 30, the scheduled trial had already been delayed until September because the judge in the case found the prosecution had been discriminating against Queer potential jurors and dissolved the jury pool. The Equality Nine regard this as a victory for marriage equality and free speech.

San Diego Queer Groups Fight Proposition B (tags)

Queer organizations in San Diego, including Canvass for a Cause (CFAC) and the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (S.A.M.E.), are uniting against Proposition B, a "reform" initiative sponsored by openly Gay Right-wing Republican City Councilmember and Mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio that would destroy any hope of retirement security for city workers.

San Diego Marriage Equality Trial Delayed (tags)

A funny thing happened to the six remaining defendants in the Equality Nine case — members of the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (S.A.M.E.) who were arrested while demonstrating for marriage equality at the San Diego County Clerk’s office August 19, 2010 — on their way to a trial that was supposed to begin April 30. Judge Joan Weber, discovered that prosecutors had systematically excluded Queers from the jury pool, and she threw out the entire jury pool and decided that the case would have to start over September 18.

John Brooks: Occupy Inspires Neophyte to Run for Congress (tags)

John Brooks was a retired agent for the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife until he saw the Occupy San Diego protests on TV and was inspired to run for Congress as an alternative Democrat. Though he ran afoul of the San Diego Democrats for Equality's endorsement process, he's recently been endorsed by Progressive Democrats of America and his real views on Queer rights and women's choice are far more progressive than the Democrats for Equality's questionnaire made them sound.

Marriage Equality Activists Face Trial March 28 (tags)

The Equality 9 — nine members of the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (S.A.M.E.) who sat in at the San Diego county clerk's office August 19, 2010 to protest the delay in implementing the federal court decision that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional, are facing trial in San Diego County Superior Court March 28. They are asking for people to show up at 8 a.m. for a pre-trial march and rally and to contact San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith to urge him to drop the charges.

Where's OUR Religious Liberty? (tags)

The recent controversy over whether institutions owned by the Roman Catholic Church should be required to include birth control coverage in the health insurance they offer employees, the attempt in Virginia to require women seeking abortions to submit to medical rape, and the radical Right's reaction to the 9th Circuit appeals court ruling that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional raises the question: why does it seem as if only bigoted Right-wing churches have "religious liberty" in this country? Why are America's officially tolerated spiritual belief systems seemingly limited to those of the Roman Catholics, Mormons and Southern Baptist Convention?

Democrats Are Not Evil (tags)

Whatever we think of the Democratic Party, like it or not, in the current political emergency, we are going to HAVE to align with them and vote for every Democrat on the ballot over every Republican — not because the Democrats are that progressive but because the Republicans plan a sweeping Right-wing revolution comparable to the changes Germany went through when Hitler took power in 1933, and the Democratic Party is one essential vehicle we will need to use to stop them.

Occupy Activist Recalls Police Brutality, Medical Neglect (tags)

At the annual holiday fundraiser of the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (S.A.M.E.) December 9, activist and police brutality victim Michelle "Jersey" Deutsch recalled not only being Maced by police but being the victim of prejudicial treatment at the hospital once the doctors and nurses treating her learned that she was an Occupy San Diego activist who had been attacked by police at the occupation site.

Marriage Equality Protesters Have Day in Court Oct. 17 (tags)

The "Equality Nine," marriage equality protesters who were arrested in August 2010 for staging a sit-in at the San Diego County Clerk's office to protest the continuing denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples, were back in court October 17. The city attorney, who has refused to drop the charges, has offered them a plea deal, but so far all but two have refused to take it.

Occupy San Diego Draws Thousands Downtown Oct. 15 (tags)

Despite attacks by police wielding pepper spray and Mace, confiscation of their possession and a series of threats to evict them forcibly from the Civic Center Plaza, over 1,000 members and supporters of Occupy San Diego reclaimed their downtown space October 15. The day was busy, including three marches and two rallies as well as Occupy San Diego's usual open discussion about its goals.

Free the Equality Nine! Action Sept. 28 in Downtown San Diego (tags)

Over a year has passed since the ?Equality Nine? ? members and supporters of the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (S.A.M.E.) ? were arrested on August 19, 2010 at the San Diego County Administrative Center. Now the Equality Nine plan to present their petitions to City Attorney Jan Goldsmith at a rally Wednesday, September 28, 4 p.m. outside the City Attorney?s office, 1200 Third Avenue downtown. The next court hearing in the case is scheduled for Monday, October 17 in the San Diego County Courthouse downtown.

Marching with S.A.M.E. at the San Diego Pride Parade (tags)

A lot of progressive Queers and Queer-friendly allies have written off the annual Pride events as overly commercial, corporate and mainstream. But that's not what it felt like to me when I marched with the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (S.A.M.E.) in San Diego's Pride Parade July 16. In a mixed contingent that also included members of the Bradley Manning Support Group and the International Socialist Organization, I felt like part of a movement, participating in an island of militant political awareness that asserted the values on which Pride was founded that have largely got lost in the overall celebration. With nine S.A.M.E. members facing criminal charges for seeking marriage licenses following the federal district court ruling declaring Proposition 8 unconstitutional, some of the signs the contingent carried linked their members -- and Bradley Manning -- to notorious American political prisoners of the past.

Over 500 Turn Out for San Diego Slut Walk (tags)

For those who thought the battle over whether women who dress in sexually provocative clothing are thereby giving men the ?right? to rape them was won in the 1970?s, it was a shock last January when a police representative in Toronto, Canada told a class he was lecturing to that ?women should avoid dressing like sluts in order to not be victimized.? His boorish, sexist remarks had one positive result: they rekindled the feminist movement via a series of ?Slut Walks,? mass demonstrations in which women deliberately dress in so-called ?slut wear? both to communicate a sex-positive message and to make the point that women should be free to dress any way they like and go about wherever they like without inviting men to rape them. The message of the ?Slut Walks?: don?t teach women how to avoid rape: TEACH MEN NOT TO RAPE!

Back to the Ballot - Queer Activists Debate Whether to Seek Repeal of Prop. 8 (tags)

With the court challenge to Proposition 8, California?s voter-approved ban on legal recognition of same-sex marriages, mired in potential legal wrangling that could take years to resolve, Equality California (EQCA) revived their plans to take the issue back to voters and seek an initiative to repeal Prop. 8. But the 70 or so activists at the EQCA town-hall meeting in San Diego June 3 split over whether that?s a good strategy ? or whether EQCA, primarily a lobbying organization, is the right group to run such a campaign.

Oceanside, Hillcrest to Host Fundraisers May 20 for a North County LGBT Center (tags)

Max Disposti, founder of the North County LGBT Coalition, has a dream for a center to serve the Queer community in Oceanside the way the LGBT Community Center in Hillcrest serves the city of San Diego. His group is hosting a fundraiser Friday, May 20, 6 to 9 p.m. at the Oceanside Museum of Art, 704 Pier View Way in Oceanside to raise money for the Center ? and, as a gesture of community support, the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality is hosting one for the same cause the same day ? Friday, May 20 ? from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Bamboo Lounge, 1475 University Ave. (between Herbert and Normal Streets) in Hillcrest.

San Diego Hosts Three May Day Rallies (tags)

San Diego hosted no fewer than three rallies on Sunday, May 1 — one between the Centro Cultural de la Raza and World Beat Center in Balboa Park, followed by a march to the Federal Building downtown where the second rally was held, and a third at the San Diego Community Concourse that united the participants with another set of marchers, who had assembled earlier in the morning in Chicano Park, also for a walk downtown. The rally speakers focused on a wide variety of progressive issues — workers’ rights, education cutbacks, health care, immigrants’ rights, war and peace, Queer liberation — and attempted to draw connections between them and psych the participants for the long struggle ahead to preserve and extend those rights in the face of a relentless assault on them by the radical Right.

San Diegans March in Support of Chrissy Lee Polis, Transgender Rights (tags)

The San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (S.A.M.E.) and All Out at City, the Queer student group at San Diego City College, drew about 70 people to a march and rally they staged outside the McDonald’s in Hillcrest April 30 in support of Transgender rights. The rally was in support of Chrissy Lee Polis,the 24-year-old Transgender woman who was beaten up by two teenage girls in a women’s restroom at a McDonald’s in Baltimore April 18, while McDonald’s staff and customers looked on and only one person actually tried to stop the attack. One McDonald’s employee filmed the incident on a video-equipped cell phone and posted the clip to the Internet, where it “went viral” and shocked the conscience of many people who saw it. S.A.M.E., All Out at City and various individuals, many of them Transgender, seized the teachable moment to hold an event that held Transgender rights central to the overall struggle for Queer equality.

S.A.M.E. Rallies Against Hate Crimes, Bullying (tags)

Drawn by several recent hate assaults on Queer people in the Hillcrest and North Park areas, members and supporters of the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (S.A.M.E.) rallied at the North Park Community Park Saturday afternoon, March 26. The rally featured speeches by openly Queer elected officials like Assemblymember Toni Atkins and School Board member Kevin Beiser, as well as ministers and others in support of Queer equality, but the most moving statements came from people who’d been on the receiving end of anti-Queer violence or bullying themselves: S.A.M.E. member René Torres, high school student Maya Conti and North Park resident Jacob Harshbarger, who wasn’t at the rally but sent a statement describing not only the attack against him but the lax response of local police and prosecutors. “I felt that the system that was supposed to be there to protect me was treating me as though it was my fault,” Harshbarger said.

Public Workers’ Struggle Is Our Struggle (tags)

Though it ended in a setback when the Republican majority in the Wisconsin state legislature used legally dubious tactics to ram the bill through anyway, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s plan to strip his state’s public workers of the right to form unions and bargain collectively has engendered nationwide resistance from America’s increasingly embattled working class. Tens of thousands of people from Wisconsin and elsewhere flooded Madison, the state capital, and occupied the capitol building to protest Walker’s policies, and the Democrats in the Wisconsin State Senate left the state for three weeks to deny Walker and the Republicans the votes they needed to eviscerate the state’s union movement. America’s working and middle classes need to stand strong and fight back in the face of these efforts by the corporate and radical Right to deny the non-rich any voice whatsoever in America’s politics.

Connor Maddocks Teaches "Trans 101" to Queer Marriage Group (tags)

The Queer community is increasingly referred to by the awkward acronym "LGBT" ? which stands for "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender" ? but few Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals really understand the needs, struggles and the rights of Transgender people. To bridge that gap, the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (S.A.M.E.) invited Connor Maddocks, facilities manager at the San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center and a female-to-male Transgender person, to make a presentation at their March 8 meeting. Maddocks' talk spanned a number of issues, from the physical aspects of a gender transition to the ways Transgender people are discriminated against and the hostility they sometimes face not only from heterosexuals but other Queers.

Lawyers’ Guild Forum on Nonviolent Resistance: Participant, Attorney & Observer (tags)

The National Lawyers’ Guild hosted a forum on nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in downtown San Diego February 23, and discussed the issue from three points of view: attorney Alex Landon, protest participant Zakiya Khabir and legal observer Rachel Scoma.

Marriage Activists Discuss “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal (tags)

Members of the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (S.A.M.E.) discussed the bill Congress passed last December aimed at repealing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy excluding open Queers from serving in the U.S. military. The discussion, at their regular meeting January 11, revealed mixed feelings; S.A.M.E. members supported “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal as a civil rights issue, but many of them are also anti-war and want Queers to have the right to be in the military — and the good sense not to join.

Joshua Napier: Singer, Songwriter, Queer Activist Brings Passion to His Music (tags)

The first thing you’ll notice when you hear Joshua Napier sing is the sheer emotion and passion he projects with his music. Napier sings with an edgy intensity that makes you identify with him and his songs. What’s more, though he’s a political activist and writes topical songs, he has the knack of the best activist songwriters of combining the personal with the political and creating pieces that reflect his beliefs instead of hitting you over the head with them. Napier is equally passionate off-stage. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio and raised by a single mother, he was out as Gay in high school. One of the reasons he came to San Diego was to find an activist community with which he could work. Active as the membership chair of the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (S.A.M.E.), he recently left that group’s board to join the board of Activist San Diego (ASD) because he wanted to work with a group that isn’t just focused on Queer issues. Catch him wherever you can — at fundraisers, coffeehouse gigs or the “Redfest” event of politically aware music he’s planning for this summer.

Over 100 San Diegans Demonstrate for Marriage Equality on Eve of Court Hearing (tags)

Over 100 San Diego supporters of marriage equality took to the streets in Hillcrest Saturday, December 4 as part of a statewide mobilization, "Unite to Make It Right," two days before the scheduled Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals hearing on the legal challenge to Proposition 8, which banned legal recognition of same-sex marriage in California. The event consisted of two rallies and a march in between, and speakers called for more militant activism and more aggressive challenges aimed at President Obama and other elected officials who have talked the talk of Queer equality but have done little or nothing to bring it about.

San Diego Activists Turn Out to Support Bradley Manning (tags)

San Diego’s progressive community turned out for a downtown rally September 19 in support of Bradley Manning, alleged leaker of the 90,000 pages of documents about the war in Afghanistan and the so-called “Collateral Murder” video of a U.S. attack on civilians in Iraq in 2007, who’s currently being held awaiting trial in an Army brig. Law professor Marjorie Cohn, anti-war veteran Chuck Wynette and other speakers called for Manning to be set free whether he leaked the papers or not.

“Equality Nine” Marriage Rights Demonstrators to be Arraigned Sept. 30 (tags)

The “Equality Nine” — Michael Anderson, Brian Baumgardner, Sean Bohac, Felicity Bradley, Kelsey Hoffman, Mike Kennedy, Zakiya Khabir, Chuck Stemke, and Cecile Veillard — are activists with the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (SAME) who were arrested at a sit-in outside the San Diego County Clerk's office August 19. They're scheduled for arraignment at the San Diego County Courthouse, 220 West Broadway downtown, Thursday, September 30, and they want supporters to come to the plaza outside the courthouse at noon that day to show support.

Marriage Victory Celebration Draws 3,000 to Hillcrest Streets (tags)

Account of the marriage equality celebration that occurred on the streets of Hillcrest, the San Diego neighborhood famous for its large Queer population, on August 4, 2010 — the day Judge Vaughn R. Walker announced his decision in the federal lawsuit challenging Proposition 8. Though Queer activists and allies have since been frustrated by the court-ordered delays in enforcing Walker's decision, they can be proud that a judge ruled that there is absolutely no rational basis for a ban on marriage between two partners of the same gender.

Fernando Lopez: Marriage Equality Activist Looks to the Future (tags)

San Diego marriage equality activist Fernando Lopez discusses his own relationship history, his involvement with Marriage Equality USA, the heartbreak of the Proposition 8 defeat and his own critique of the No on 8 strategy, the current Perry v. Schwarzenegger case and his outlook for the future of same-sex marriage in the U.S. A longer version of the interview published in the February-March 2010 issue of Zenger's Newsmagazine.

Sherry Wolf: Lesbian Socialist Activist Speaks in San Diego (tags)

Lesbian socialist Sherry Wolf came to San Diego December 3 to promote her new book, “Sexuality and Socialism.” Wolf offered a provocative critique of much of the Queer community’s orthodoxy, most notably the Queer mainstream’s embrace of the notion that people’s sexual orientation is inbred and genetically determined. She also mused on how and why the Queer movement morphed from a liberation struggle demanding sexual freedom to an elaborate commercial mechanism to promote Queer-owned businesses. Her final conclusion: there can be no true sexual liberation as long as capitalism survives and forces most people to spend their time working at jobs they hate and taking care of families on their own.

SAME Meeting Challenges Queer Establishment, Democratic Party (tags)

The San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (SAME) hosted a meeting at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center June 23 that was billed as a response to Proposition 8 and a discussion of the future of marriage equality in California — but it also turned into a radical response to the Queer establishment in general and the Courage Campaign in particular. Lesbian activist Robin Tyler, who was one of the lead plaintiffs in the suit that briefly won marriage rights for same-sex couples in California, criticized the strategies and tactics of the Courage Campaign and denounced the Democratic party as having screwed over Queer people for 35 to 40 years, She called for the Queer community to cut ties with the Democrats once and for all.

Queer Democrats Debate Proposition 8 Response (tags)

The wounds were still raw from the California Supreme Court decision upholding Proposition 8, the state’s voter-approved ban on marriage for same-sex couples, when the predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club met May 28 and debated how the club should respond. The members heard from attorney Charlie Pratt, who had been at the sit-in at the County Administrative Center's marriage license bureau the day before and had been singled out for special harassment by police, and also discussed whether and when the Queer community should mount its own ballot initiative campaign to repeal Proposition 8.

Over 70 Activists Stage Marriage Equality Sit-in at S.D. County Clerk’s Office (tags)

Over 70 marriage equality activists occupied the office of the San Diego County Clerk Wednesday, May 27 as a protest against the California Supreme Court’s ruling that Proposition 8, which restricts marriage in California to one man and one woman, is constitutional. Michael Anderson and Brian Baumgardner led the action by demanding a marriage license, and other Queer couples followed suit. The event ended peacefully, with no arrests, when the crowd dispersed an hour after the official closing time of the building.

San Diego Hosts Meeting on Same-Sex Marriage Equality (tags)

The San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center hosted a town-hall meeting April 2 to discuss the future of marriage equality in the wake of the upcoming California Supreme Court ruling on Proposition 8, the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage in the state. Speakers included Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, other professionals and grass-roots activists like Fernando Lopez, whose group is organizing people to go talk to individuals one-on-one to make them aware of how Queer people suffer from not having access to civil marriage.

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