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The Oregon Lavender Vote

Posted by Laura Calvo on 28th October 2008

The race for Oregon’s U.S. Senator race may very well be the election that will give Barack Obama the 60th vote in the senate.

The race has been identified on a national level as a very tight race that may be decided by a few percentage points. That means every vote will count when the point spread is so tight.

Enter GLBT Oregonians. The Oregon Lavender Vote.

Estimates of Oregon’s GLBT electorate vary. However, the estimates from scholars and people who study such things range from a low of 3% to a high of 10% of the Oregon electorate.

A 3 percentage point margin in favor of Jeff Merkley on election night may very well be the winning deciding factor.

Jeff Merkley in the U.S. Senate will mean a big difference in Supreme Court Justice appointments as the senate must approve those appointments. Which means that two pro-equality Oregon senators will be voting on those appointments.

Jeff Merkely in the U.S. Senate could possibly make the 60 vote margin needed to prevent killing important legislation needed to put our country back on track.

Oregon GLBT voters will possibly hold the key to winning a very tight race where every vote counts as precious.

Gordon Smith knows this and that’s why he is desperately airing an ad that says he supports gay rights in one market.

But then Smith shows his true colors by simultaneously running an ad in another market smearing Constitution Party candidate Dave Brownlow for supporting gay marriage. (Something which Brownlow does not support)

By trying to smear Brownlow as a gay marriage supporter, Smith loses all credibility as a supporter of gay rights. In fact it’s another Smith blatant betrayal of all the GLBT people who have supported him in the past. It’s an out right insult to use the issue of gay rights and gay marriage to pander votes in a win-at-all-costs campaign. Gordon Smith can’t be for and against gay rights in different markets and not pay dearly for such a two-faced position.

If the Oregon LGBT electorate is only 3% as some suggest, it would be nothing short of sweet justice to see Mr. Smith lose this election by that 3% margin and have to return to running his frozen pea plant in the middle of nowhere eastern Oregon.

Make sure you cast your ballot.

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Posted in gay lesbian bisexual transgender, Gordon Smith, Jeff Merkley, Oregon Democrats, Oregon Senate 2008, Statewide | Comments Off

Merkley Endorsed by National LGBT Organization

Posted by Laura Calvo on 16th September 2008

NSD

Jeff Merkley, Oregon’s U.S. Senate democratic candidate,  earned the endorsement of National Stonewall Democrats.

National Stonewall Democrats is a grassroots network connecting LGBT Democratic activists from Seattle, Washington to Austin, Texas to Little Rock, Arkansas to Atlanta, Georgia. With more than 90 chapters across the country, Stonewall is a grassroots force for social change within our movement and within our party. Our members do the hard work of calling voters, putting together campaign mailings, going door-to-door for our fair-minded candidates and having tough conversations with Democratic party officials about why our families need and deserve more support from our party and its elected officials.

Laura Calvo, a member of National Stonewall Democrats board of directors and interim President of the Democratic Party of Oregon GLBT Caucus, said it was her honor to announce the endorsement of Jeff Merkley. Calvo said, “Jeff Merkley has been unequivocal in his support of equality for our entire community and every American family.  I think it’s very important to acknowledge Jeff’s significant contributions and leadership in regards to the issues of fair employment opportunities, having the equal right to provide for our families as every other American family has the right to do without question and for all Americans to be treated with dignity. In addition, Jeff Merkley has been an effective voice in the legislature in many other areas. From improving the Oregon economy, to ending predatory pay-day loan practices, to being one of the most effective advocates for public safety and protecting the rights of victims of crime, Jeff Merkley has been an effective leader. ”

Continuing, Calvo also said, ” Jeff Merkely’s record on the issues of what really matters to working Oregoninans is exemplary. To attempt to discredit that record with gutter generated attack ads is a mixture of twisted ethics and desparation unbecoming any sitting elected representative of the people of Oregon, especially a U.S. Senator. All too often GLBT Americans are the victims of violent crime or subjected to abusive slurs and vulgar rumors simply for being who we are. We are pretty good at recognizing smears and twisted outright lies for what they represent.  We’ve spent too many years of our lives fighting those kinds of vulgar attacks.  When confronted with sleazy attacks and lies we only go to work and fight that much harder to expose the truth. Oregon voters resent lies and aren’t fooled by sleezy campaign smears.”

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Posted in Benton County, Central Oregon, Gordon Smith, Jeff Merkley, Lane County, Marion County, Multnomah County, National Stonewall Democrats, News, Oregon Democrats, Oregon Senate 2008, Statewide, Washington County | 4 Comments »

Barney Frank RE: John Mccain

Posted by Laura Calvo on 9th August 2008

“In a number of areas, Senator John McCain is praised for moderation that he has not in fact shown in his votes.”

Hon. Barney Frank (D-MA)

Sound kind of familiar? Trying to look like a moderate, but not when you look at the votes on the floor of the Senate. Most especially so when it comes election time?

Frank goes on to say,

“With one exception, the relevance of which Senator McCain himself is rapidly diminishing, John McCain’s record is completely opposed to our efforts to combat prejudice and gain legal equality.”

“The one exception has to do with his vote against the constitutional amendment that would have banned marriage.”

Here’s why it sounds familar. Oregon’s current Republican junior Senator and who is also McCain’s Oregon campaign chair is trying hard to appear moderate at election time, just like McCain.

Back to Barney Frank,

“He [McCain] did vote against that amendment [Federal Marriage Amendment] on states’ rights grounds. But in his effort to win over the right wing support he has needed to secure the Republican nomination and hold Republican votes in November, he has paved the way for a retreat from that position.”

Oregon’s Republican junior Senator doesn’t need to pave any kind of way to retreat to hold Republican votes. Thats because Oregon’s Republican junior Senator already voted twice to support the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts does share something in common with a particular Oregonian. That would be Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives Jeff Merkley who is the pro-equality Democratic candidate for U.S. Senator from Oregon. Both Jeff Merkley and Barney Frank are endorsed by eQuality Giving.org

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Posted in Gordon Smith, Jeff Merkley, National Stonewall Democrats, Oregon Democrats, Oregon Senate 2008, Statewide | Comments Off

New Video – Find Out What Obama Really Said About Gordon Smith

Posted by Laura Calvo on 15th July 2008

From the Jeff Merkley campaign:

In a desperate move, Gordon Smith is misleading voters about Senator Barack Obama. Obama, who has endorsed Jeff Merkley for U.S. Senate, has criticized Smith for supporting George Bush and the Republican agenda that has caused this country great damage.

Smith serves as John McCain’s Campaign Chairman.

KGW News has the story.

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Posted in Events, Gordon Smith, Jeff Merkley, Multnomah County, News, Oregon Democrats, Oregon Senate 2008 | 1 Comment »

Log cabin warns GOP, Beware of marriage Politics

Posted by Laura Calvo on 3rd July 2008

Laura Calvo

In an article published in Politico Patrick Sammons, president of the Log Cabin Republicans, warns the GOP that marriage politics will not have the same effect on voters this election cycle as it did in 2004.

Acceptance of loving, committed gay and lesbian couples is on the rise and, consequently, the marriage debate does not have the same heat it used to. Republicans who try exploiting the issue for political gain this November will fail. And they’ll further alienate the young people who are already leaving the GOP in droves.

Hmm, ok so what else does the leader of Gay republicans have to say?

Unfortunately, prospects for House and Senate Republicans look bleak in November.

OK, no big surprise there, what else?

Republicans also spent much of 2006 debating divisive wedge issues such as a federal constitutional ban on marriage equality………………………

and

Making these wedge issues a prominent part of the GOP agenda made the party look out of touch with the priorities of average Americans. This disconnect with average voters cost Republicans the majority in Congress — pollsters agree Democrats won in 2006 because of independents (exit polls showed independents voting for Democrats by 57 percent to 39 percent).

But then he mentions the “S” word (Smith) and makes it sound like the Smith has a great record of supporting the fairness and freedom of gays & lesbians.

Interestingly enough, the two GOP U.S. senators targeted by Democrats, who should be in the most electoral danger given their constituency — Susan Collins of Maine and Gordon Smith of Oregon, are in the best position to win reelection in 2008. Not surprisingly, both Smith and Collins have strong records in favor of fairness and freedom for gay and lesbian Americans.

Whoa! I said whoa big fella! wait a minute. Smith does not have what I would call a strong record in regards to the fairness and freedom for gay and lesbian Americans.

In 2002, the Human Rights Campaign endorsed Smith in his bid for the US Senate seat from Oregon.

In 2003, while the Oregon legislature was holding the first ever hearing on what is now the Oregon’s inclusive nondiscrimination law, Smith was silent. As a US Senator and as someone with such a “strong” record why did he not come out in support of this law?

In 2004, Smith Supported Measure 36, which amended the Oregon Constitution to define marriage as being between one man and one woman.

In 2005, Smith was again strangely silent on supporting Oregon Senate Bill 1000, which would have created domestic partnerships and banned discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

In 2006,Smith voted in favor of the Federal Marriage Amendment in the U.S. Senate. But let’s not forget that his vote was just one of the 85% of votes he gives away, like a vending machine on tilt, to the Bush Administration in deep and stark contrast to the wishes of the majority of Oregonians.

In 2007 the real record continues. There was still no vocal support nor any evident behind the scenes support for Domestic Partnerships and banning discrimination from Smith in 2007. The year that did finally bring us The Oregon Family Fairness Act and the Oregon Equality Act which we now have as law in Oregon. Those laws granted all the rights and privileges of marriage on a state level, banned discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodation, and expanded the hate crimes law to include gender identity. But absolutely nobody in Oregon or elsewhere can thank this sitting US Senator for supporting, or even lifting a finger to help these laws pass, let alone refer to this record as a strong supporter.

In background, all of these laws were recommended to the legislature as a part of the Democratic Party of Oregon platform, Basic Rights Oregon advocacy and leadership, and a Governors Task force comprised of business leaders, clergy, and citizens of Oregon. Not to mention the important role the Human Rights Campaign played in support of these laws.

Smith also supported an extremist Judge Leslie Southwick:

Southwick agreed with the decision to remove an 8-year-old girl from her birth mother largely because she was living with another woman in a lesbian home. Southwick joined the opinion that sexual oreintation is a choice.

To say the least, Gordon Smith does not have a strong record of supporting fairness and freedom for gay and lesbians. He actually voted and acted in betrayal of the Human Rights Campaign endorsement received in 2002. Interestingly enough he wooed and courted the HRC when he was running for election, then went back to his true colors. A deeply red shade of conservative millionaire republican politician, relieved to not have to pander excessively any further until 2008.

Meanwhile, in very sharp and learn contrast, Oregonians do have an actual U.S. Senate candidate who actually has the credentials to say he does have more than a strong record of supporting true equality and fairness for all LGBT people and their families. That is Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives Jeff Merkley.

In 2005 while Smith was busy being silent on the issues, then Republican Speaker of the House Karen Minnis used some arcane procedural tactics to scuttle the hopes for Domestic Partnerships and an anti discrimination law. Jeff Merkely, House minority leader in 2005, fought visibly tooth and nail against Minnis’ mean spirited 11th hour scuttle of the bill. He along with other progressive Democrats vowed to take back the Oregon House and to make the Oregon Family Fairness Act and the Oregon Equality Act a top priority.

Jeff Merkely was actively in the lead in the Oregon House, pulling together the votes needed to pass these historic pieces of legislation and doing so in the face of fierce opposition.

Mr. Sammons, thats I would call a “Strong Record of in favor of fairness and freedom for gay and lesbian Americans”.

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Posted in Gordon Smith, Jeff Merkley, National Stonewall Democrats, News, Oregon Democrats, Oregon Senate 2008 | 1 Comment »