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The Four2012 Campaign

Progressives are launching a new social media-based marriage equality campaign aimed at building national support for key state ballot initiatives across the country.

The site, TheFour2012.com, is funded in large part by Jason Goldberg, the CEO of Fab.com and targets marriage equality ballot initiatives in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington.

The effort is being organized by Andre Banks of All Out; Ryan J. Davis of Blue State Digital; Brian Ellner, who helped coordinate marriage equality efforts in New York; and Richard Socarides, the former gay and lesbian liaison for President Clinton.

Voters in Minnesota will be deciding whether to amend their state’s constitution to prohibit same-sex couples from marrying, voters in Maine will be deciding whether to grant same-sex couples the ability to marry under state law, and voters in Maryland and Washington will be voting whether to accept or reverse state legislature-passed bills that would allow same-sex couples to marry.

(via Buzzfeed)

Vision

On November 7th, inspired by the LGBT victories in Maryland, Maine, Washington & Minnesota, we launched a movement to make our voices heard in Pennsylvania.  In the early hours, as our numbers spiked on our Facebook page, we were ecstatic.  “We might really have something here,” we thought. And we do.  But how we we keep moving forward? Our small team discussed this question this week and want to be completely transparent with our goals.


What we are today:

A grassroots network of individuals from Pennsylvania to Australia coming together to establish a community in which we share our personal stories and build support for marriage equality in our beloved state.


What we are not today:

A non-profit looking to quickly mobilize or fundraise.  There are plenty of organizations in Pennsylvania under the ‘LGBT non-profit’ heading that we support and back - but we are not one of them.

So you may ask, what is the point of our group?

  1. Show Love - Through our blog, we want to show that love is paramount.  We want Pennsylvanians to know that support for marriage equality is growing - and they should hop on board.  By sharing your personal stories, we will show that love is the only precondition for marriage and discrimination is absolutely unacceptable.

  2. Keep you updated with current legislation and news.  We have two wonderful lawyers on board, whose own website has up to date information on Pennsylvania’s current discriminatory legislation. With their help and the help of our entire network, we will keep you up to date. 

  3. We want to puncture the public sphere.  While right now, our efforts will remain in the blogosphere, we are thinking about the future.  This week, we are meeting with an incredible designer to help us build our brand.  We hope that brand will expand outside of just a logo and blog to include items like bumper stickers and shirts that can show public support for marriage equality.

Last week we were asked, “Is there anything we can do now?” Absolutely.

  1. Write a blog post. Get friends to write blog posts. Email them to us.

  2. Share relevant news and information with us.

  3. Help us grow the Facebook page. While sharing the page will not yield significant results, continuing to share the content we post will.  Make sure to keep the “via Marriage Equality in PA - NOW” when sharing!

  4. Send us your ideas! info@marriageequalitypa.com. We want to hear from you. We want to collaborate with you. We want to create change together.

Today we launch our blog. Today we continue our push forward. Join us.

Hey, Facebook friend,

Listen, I know you didn’t mean any harm commenting on my post, and I like you; we had some great times growing up. But Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan believe that I am less than you. They believe I am a second-class citizen and don’t deserve the same rights that you had the privilege of being born into simply by being straight. They want to add a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage forever. It would set us back decades and ensure that I never legally have the opportunity to have a family or a partner in my lifetime.

They also believe that being at a partner’s side when he or she is dying is a benefit, not a civil right. They could keep me from my partner as he dies in a hospital. Could you even imagine something like that in your own life, being separated from your wife on her deathbed? Could you imagine your marriage never being recognized, or being told that your family is not a family and that you do not deserve any of the federal rights that come with marriage, of which there are over 1,100? Did you know that? Eleven hundred.

Ryan doesn’t believe in the hate crimes prevention act fought unwaveringly for by Judy Shepard, mother of Matthew Shepard, who was murdered for being gay in Wyoming. Murdered for being gay. Could you imagine if I were murdered for being gay? Could you really look my mom in the eye and say, “Oh, well, we cannot prosecute this crime as a hate crime”?

I know there are important issues involved in this campaign. I know that people are suffering and that the economy has not improved at a rate we all wish it would. Yes, people are suffering, but the gay and lesbian community has been suffering for hundreds of years, and I am so tired of it, so tired of feeling less-than, so tired of knowing I have friends on Facebook who will vote for someone who will keep me a second-class citizen for my entire lifetime. I have already spent half a lifetime hiding, half a lifetime conforming. It is exhausting and demeaning, and I am worn out. I want to love myself full-out. I want a president who can look me in the eye and say, “You are equal! You are equal to everyone else in this country, and I will fight for your rights. The time is now, and it is long overdue.” Romney and Ryan could not look me in the eye and say that, and I feel sorry for every gay and questioning child who might have to listen to a potential president who believes that he or she is not equal. Children will take their lives. It is the worst form of trickle-down bullying, and it absolutely splits my heart in half. When the president says you are less-than, it gives permission to every authority figure, every politician, every teacher, every bully on the playground to push you around and bully you and treat you as less-than. It is dangerous, and lives will be lost.

If this is not important to you, please remove me from your friends list. I need people in my life who love me and consider me 100-percent equal.

Max von Essen
Broadway Performer. Gay.

Follow Max von Essen on Twitter: www.twitter.com/maxizpad