People For the American Way


JUNE 2009

In This Issue

SPOTLIGHT: PFAW Issues Open Letter to President Calling for Leadership on LGBT Equality

YEO Network Convening: Progressing Into a New Dawn

Supreme Court Watch

President Obama, Census Bureau Looking at Ways to Recognize Same-Sex Marriages in 2010 Census

--Featured Video


The Equine Posterior Achievement Award is back!

EPA Awared mini

The Award Committee took a little break, but due to popular demand and a never-ending flood of extreme rhetoric, theatrics and overall lunacy from the Radical Right, we're back offering this award to the nominee you vote for on a monthly basis.

See who's been nominated this month and cast your vote now.

Read More & Vote more

Call for DHS to Publish "Right-wing Extremism" Report

The murders of Dr. George Tiller in Kansas and Stephen T. Johns at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum reiterate the need for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to finalize and publish its "Rightwing Extremism" report.

Sign the Petition


PFAW Issues Open Letter to President Calling for Leadership on LGBT Equality


PFAW President Michael B. Keegan issued an open letter to President Obama urging him to use his influence to advance the cause of LGBT equality and make good on his promises to help end discriminatory policies such as the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Don't Ask Don't Tell.

"I am writing to respectfully urge you to bring the energetic moral vision that you championed as a presidential candidate to the cause of equality for gay and lesbian Americans.


"Any reasonable person is aware of the extraordinary challenges that faced the nation as you took office, including a dire financial crisis that has cost millions of Americans their jobs, homes, and access to health care. You have not shied from these most daunting of challenges. But it seems that you have shied from promoting the vision of equality that you articulated during your campaign.

"Legislative change is needed, and we will continue to push Members of Congress and the Democratic leadership to move forward to end discrimination against LGBT Americans even as they grapple with other urgent national priorities. We are counting on you to call for and help win passage of legislation that you pledged to support."

Read the letter in its entirety >

Take action to repeal DOMA >


YEO 2009

This year's Young Elected Officials (YEO) Network National Convening was a smashing success. We hope the Convening helped to rejuvenat Network members' sense of progressive values and gave the YEOs an energy jolt to help keep their innovative work going.

More than 140 YEOs gathered in Atlanta, Georgia for three days of networking, innovative policy sharing and critical skills building. This was the largest gathering of YEOs to date, with more than 40 newly elected or new-to-the-Network attendees.

Read More >

(Photo galleries and video footage will be posted in the next few weeks, so be sure to check back regularly.)

Young Elected Officials Network is a program of People For the American Way Foundation.

Nomination on Track, Sotomayor Hearings Set to Begin July 13


In recent years Supreme Court nominees have traditionally had hearings within two months of being nominated, so this timeline is right on track. Judge Sotomayor is an eminently qualified nominee and, so far, the misguided efforts by some prominent Republicans and their right-wing allies to smear her have failed. But we haven't crossed the finish line yet. If you haven't joined our petition urging the Senate to confirm Judge Sotomayor, please do so now.

Take Action >

Supreme Court Watch

There have been several important Supreme Court decisions handed down this month, including one yesterday in which the Court's conservative bloc, by a 5-4 decision, substantially gutted Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Here are some of our press releases on the decisions and how they relate to the Sotomayor nomination:

6/29: Supreme Court Rules Against Diversity in Ricci >

6/25: Supreme Court Strip Search Decision Supports Sotomayor Dissent >

6/25: The Ricci Ruling and the Sotomayor Nomination >

6/22: Supreme Court Upholds Section 5 of Voting Rights Act >

6/18: PFAW Statement on Supreme Court's Age Discrimination Ruling >

President Obama, Census Bureau Looking at Ways to Recognize Same-Sex Marriages in 2010 Census

Census Bureau seal

Last year, PFAW launched an effort -- which 25,000 members and activists joined by signing our petition -- to urge the Census Bureau to reverse its policy of editing the data from same-sex couples who accurately report that they are legally married and re-classifying them as "unmarried partners."

President Obama and the White House are now looking at ways to include same-sex marriages, unions and partnerships in 2010 Census data -- another small step toward what we hope will be a larger agenda toward equal justice under the law for LGBT Americans.

Read More >

Take Action (we need to keep the pressure on!) >


Rev Williams Screen Cap

Rev. Byron Williams of PFAW's AAMIA discussing Prop 8 and Marriage Equality on CNN

Rev. Byron Williams, a member of PFAW's African American Ministers In Action network, was on CNN's No Bias No Bull adding a progressive, African American, religious (and eloquent) voice to a discussion about California's Proposition 8 and marriage equality for same-sex couples.

Watch >


Right Wing Watch: Wiley Drake Prays For Obama's Death (6/4)

The other day I noted that Wiley Drake, Alan Keyes' vice-presidential running mate, had declared that George Tiller's murder had been the answer to his "imprecatory" prayers.

Now Drake has proclaimed that he is likewise issuing such prayers against President Obama in hopes that he also dies.

Read More >

Right Wing Watch: Christian Coalition 2.0, Or The Triumphant Return of Ralph Reed (6/23)

Literally, just yesterday as I was doing my right-wing monitoring, I thought to myself "you know who's name I never see any more? Ralph Reed."

And for good reason, given his deep ties to Jack Abramoff. Actually, the last time he made any news was when he was forced to skip a fund-raiser with John McCain last year thanks to the fact that he has been permanently tainted by his association with Abramoff.

Read More >

Right Wing Watch: Nobody Could Have Predicted (6/29)

Last week, I wrote a post about an incoherent claim from Focus on the Family's Steve Jordahl in which he mashed together the infamous DHS report, the current hate crimes bill in the Senate, and an amendment added to the National Defense Authorization Act by Rep. Alcee Hastings that "would prohibit the recruitment, enlistment, or retention of individuals associated" with hate groups by the US military to claim that the "hate-crimes bill may target pro-life servicemen and women."

Read More >

Obama Takes Small Step for LGBT Equality When He Promised a Leap (6/18)

Since taking office, the American people have seen a flurry of activity from the Obama administration, ranging from increased diplomatic efforts abroad to fixing the economic crisis at home. But one area where we've seen far too little movement is gay rights.

Read More >

Fourteen Years Later, PFAW Continues to Denounce 'Irresponsible Speech' and Intolerance in Our Country (6/16)

It's no mistake that freedom of speech is in the FIRST Amendment to the Constitution. It's impossible to overstate its importance to our democratic system. But respect for free speech doesn't give us the right to turn a blind eye to dangerous, irresponsible speech. As we've seen through the explosion on rightwing hate, violent rhetoric can lead to violent actions, and we have a duty to stand up to it and call it by name.

Read More >

Wendy Long May Have More in Common with Sotomayor Than She Thought (6/3)

If you've been following the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, the term "reverse-racist" has undoubtedly appeared in a story you've read. Rush Limbaugh branded Sotomayor a 'reverse-racis'’ on his radio show, while Newt Gingrich labeled her a racist when he posted a statement on his Twitter account.

Some right wing groups claim that Sotomayor is a judicial activist who will bend the law based on her own personal views.

Wendy Long of The Judicial Confirmation Network, a conservative-leaning organization involved with judicial nominations, sent a letter to Senators yesterday outlining concerns.

Read More >

More Blog Posts >

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