Tuesday, March 11, 2008

It’s Personal

Check out this touching and informative article in the Los Angeles Times:

Same-sex union -- it's personal

As the high court considers the legality, couples who wed in the Bay Area savor the joy of the institution.

By Mary Engel

March 6

When Jackie Goldberg and Sharon Stricker headed to San Francisco to get married four years ago, they saw their wedding as a political statement. It surprised them both when, halfway through the ceremony on the steps of the City Hall rotunda, the usually stalwart Goldberg burst into tears.

"It felt much different than I expected," Goldberg said Wednesday, a few days shy of the March 8 anniversary. "I thought I was going to be proud and pleased and happy. But I didn't expect to be emotionally moved."

Read the entire article…

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

our day in court

Yesterday, we witnessed a moment in history.

Hundreds of supporters gathered at the California Supreme Court and thousands more tuned in to the oral arguments over whether same-sex couples should continue to face exclusion from marriage with all the security, protections, responsibilities and respect it brings them and their kids and loved ones.

A telling exchange came when the justices asked whether the concept of equality evolves, and, if so, why this is the time to accord same-sex couples their freedom to marry.

In response Therese Stewart, San Francisco Chief Deputy City Attorney, cited the Court's own historic 1948 decision striking down a ban on interracial marriage, the first such ruling in America, which declared that "the essence of the right to marry is freedom to join in marriage with the person of one's choice."

She added,”…just because society doesn't see something as unequal until a given time, that doesn't mean it wasn't always unequal or unjust, it just means we were blind to it."

My friend Shannon Minter, Legal Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, added: “People want to marry the one person who to them is irreplaceable. We demean ourselves as a society… if we do not give individuals that freedom to choose whether to marry and whom to marry.”

Sometime in the next 90 days, the Court will decide whether to end the denial of the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. We must use these precious days to create the climate that enables the judges to do what is right -- through conversations, organizing, and engagement. Based on what I saw at oral arguments yesterday, there is every reason to think that if we do our part, the judges can do theirs.

The Let California Ring team will keep you posted in the coming weeks. Thanks for all you’ve done on behalf of this movement.


Evan Wolfson
Executive Director and Founder
Freedom to Marry

P.S. If you missed the live broadcast of oral arguments, click here to watch an archived version.

Monday, March 3, 2008

March Forth for the Freedom to Marry!

It's Time to Make History.
Be There, tomorrow!

After four long years, the legal battle for the freedom to marry has reached the California Supreme Court.

TUNE IN to watch the oral arguments.

Tuesday, March 4
9 a.m. to 12 noon

Watch the Live Webcast on:

The Freedom to Marry @ the Oscars

Support for the freedom to marry has hit Hollywood!

Freeheld, a documentary about a woman struggling to secure benefits for her partner as she dies of cancer, won an Academy Award, bringing acclaim and visibility to this important issue.

Read about it in the New York Times…

Friday, February 29, 2008

Oral Arguments Live Viewing Information

Wherever you are, make sure you tune in at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, March 4, as California makes history.

Seating at the courthouse is restricted, but you can watch this historic event on TV, via the Internet or at one of many viewing events being planned across the state.

Watch oral arguments live on the California Channel cable network (televised statewide). For a list of local stations, visit www.calchannel.com.

View the live webcast at www.calchannel.com.

Community viewings (9 a.m. to 12 noon, unless otherwise noted):


West Hollywood City Hall
Community Conference Room, First Floor
8300 Santa Monica Boulevard


San Francisco LGBT Community Center
Three Dollar Bill Cafe
1800 Market Street (at Octavia)

UC Hastings College
of the Law

Louis B. Mayer Auditorium
198 McAllister Street
(Panel discussion about the cases will follow at 12:30

California Supreme Court
Overflow Auditorium3
59 McAllister Street

Milton Marks Conference Center

Hiram J. Smith State Office Building
Lower Level

455 Golden Gate Avenue

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Sometimes all it takes is sharing a story

Sharing your story is the easiest and often most moving thing you can do to help open hearts and minds about the freedom to marry. When we share our stories with family and friends, it puts a personal face on marriage. That’s what the Personal Stories of our website is all about, sharing our stories. More and more people keep sending us their stories, telling us why they support the freedom to marry for everyone. Do you have a story to share?

We’ve just added some more to the site, so check them out!

Read Liam’s story:

This movement has never been about the freedom to marry for me. I can marry the woman I love someday. I am, however, part of the queer community — my Mom and her partner Nellie have been my model for a healthy, committed relationship for 25 of my 26 years on this planet... read more…

Read Samantha’s Story:

… What many people who know this family don't realize until they are told is the amount of extra thought, effort, work, and cost that have gone into protecting this family... read more…

If we all share our stories with the people in our lives, more and more Californians will realize that love is love, and that we all deserve the freedom to marry, and the honor, security and protection that come with it.

An Important Partner

We’d like to highlight a key coalition partner for its hard work in Santa Barbara: the Pacific Pride Foundation!

The Pacific Pride Foundation proudly provides services to the HIV/AIDS and LGBT communities of Santa Barbara County. Lately they’ve been doing a lot of great work for Let California Ring, too!

Thanks to them, the February 5 Day of Action was a huge success, and they are continuing to help host events and house parties in Santa Barbara.

Here’s what Executive Director, David Selberg has to say:

The Let California Ring movement in our state is doing wonderful work locally to open hearts and minds about the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples. Yes, this could actually happen in California, just as it did in Massachusetts. Many of you have connected with Ted, who is working in our offices to help Pacific Pride Foundation organize this educational campaign. We need help identifying supporters throughout Santa Barbara County in the next three months to show grassroots support for marriage.

If you live in the Santa Barbara or Ventura area and want to get involved in the campaign, give Ted a call.

Ted Jackson
(805) 617-9239 Mobile
(805) 963-3636, x106 Office

Thanks, Pacific Pride Center!

The Freedom to Marry in California

March 4 is when it all happens. The California Supreme Court will hear oral arguments about the freedom to marry for all couple. The San Francisco Chronicle covers the historic court case:

The justices will hear a variety of defenses of the marriage law. Attorney General Jerry Brown's office argues that the domestic partner laws satisfy California's constitutional requirement of equal treatment for gays and lesbians. Schwarzenegger's office will present its view that discrimination based on sexual orientation should be judged less strictly than bias based on race or sex. Two advocacy groups will ask the court to uphold the law on the grounds that opposite-sex couples make better parents.

Read the whole article.

Our Just Say It campaign is an effort to convince the governor to express support for the freedom to marry as a defendant in the case. Sign the open letter.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Let California Ring Event in Ventura

Love is a Drag!

Friday, February 22
8 p.m.

2 W. Main Street

Cover $10 with a complimentary cocktail!
A fundraiser for Let California Ring.

This hilarious fur covered drag show is shamefully presented by Bears Ventura at the only bar with the balls enough to allow it, Paddy’s in Ventura!


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Why we say “freedom to marry”

Evan Wolfson, executive director of coalition partner Freedom to Marry USA, this to say about Freedom to Marry Week:

Much as we want people to understand that the words gay and marriage do belong together, we don't want "gay marriage." It's the freedom to marry that matters - for all of us - and the way to secure it is by talking to others. And it's the personal ask - each one of us raising our voice and not just assuming that those around us are there, or can't get there - that makes all the difference. Turn to the people in your life now, and say, "Happy Freedom to Marry Week!"

Read the whole post.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

TOMORROW…Your phone rings in an elevator. It's the wedding march. Someone asks, "Why do you have the wedding march on your phone?" You answer, "To remind me and everyone around me that LGBT people still don't have the freedom to marry."

But wait, do you have the ringtone on your phone?

To increase our visibility tomorrow—Valentine's Day—and every day throughout the year, we’re offering a free wedding march ringtone to Let California Ring members and calling on you to use it as a conversation-starter every time your phone rings. Click here to get yours now.

Yes, tomorrow is the big moment—Valentine’s Day! Are you ready for it? You’ve got your sign, you’ve signed our letter to the governor, and you’re planning to attend one of the many freedom to marry events across California. We’re so happy to count you as a face for the freedom to marry.

Once you’ve downloaded your ring tone, use it as a tool to engage someone every time your phone rings. Use it to keep the conversation going with friends, family members, co-workers or people you meet on the bus, street, store or the elevator. Use it tomorrow, the day after and every day—until we all have the freedom to marry the person we love.

Thanks for all that you’ve done to make this campaign a success. We’ve come such a long way, and thanks to your dedication, we can now count thousands of Californians as new supporters for the freedom to marry. Change is just around the corner, my friends. Can you feel it?

It starts with us today. And it continues with us tomorrow. I hope you’ll attend one of the many freedom to marry events this week. And don’t forget to bring your phone!


Geoff Kors
Let California Ring

Don’t Miss...

The Year of Paper

Last night, the documentary The Year of Paper had its Los Angeles Premier at the LA Gay & Lesbian Center’s Reinberg Theater and doubled as a fundraiser for Let California Ring. Filmmaker Kelley Rouse talks about why putting a human face on marriage is so important.

Our documentary, The Year of Paper, advocates marriage equality as we follow three couples--gay, heterosexual and lesbian--through their newlywed year.

Along with putting human faces on a contentious issue, the film educates about the practical side of all those legal rights and obligations that come with a marriage license.

Ultimately, The Year of Paper and the Let California Ring campaign share the core belief that love is love. If you can connect to folks on that core level and open their eyes to those basic truths, then you have a chance to get past any bigotry or fear..

We're proud to be part of the coalition and to make our Los Angeles premiere a fundraiser for this important campaign.

--Kelly Rouse & Nikki Parker, Co-directors, The Year of Paper

If you missed the film last night, check it out in San Francisco tomorrow night as part of Freedom to Marry Week

Thursday, February 14
7:30 p.m.

San Francisco LGBT Community Center
1800 Market St.
San Francisco

Presented by Frameline, Let California Ring and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

$10 suggested donation. All proceeds benefit the Let California Ring (www.LetCaliforniaRing.org) campaign, groundbreaking effort to open hearts and minds and build public support for marriage in California.

A reception will follow the screening.

From the field...

February 5 Day of Action

February 5 may seem like an eon ago, but photos and stories are just coming in from last week’s Let California Ring Day of Action.

Volunteers in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Sacramento stood outside 15 locations from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday and talked to people about the freedom to marry. The thought of talking with strangers can be intimidating, but we know talking about the issue is what’s going to make the difference in this state.

Many of the over 100 volunteers were first-timers and pretty nervous. Once they started having conversations though, people realized the power of talking. They realized how good it feels to have conversations with people about marriage. They realized the difference just one person can make and the huge impact 100 people can make.

Many people we talked with shared that they themselves are gay or have a gay friend or family member. Time and time again the volunteers were thanked for coming out and talking about such an important issue. We found some people who are against us too, but that didn’t stop us. Rather it motivated us to talk to more and more people. By the end of the day, we reached out to 2,596 people.

Tuesday was a super day, but it was only one day of the many days ahead. We have to keep talking every day about the freedom to marry.

--Hannah, Let California Ring Field Organizer

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

You've got to be there

We’re only five days away from our big day—Valentine's Day—and five days away from the largest statewide visibility push ever conducted for the freedom to marry.

You’re invited to some of the biggest, boldest events celebrating the freedom to marry throughout the week of February 14. During Freedom to Marry Week, we will gather to recognize a dream realized four years ago—when thousands of LGBT couples gathered at San Francisco City Hall to have their love recognized in an equal and dignified way.

Four years later, as these dreams remain contested, we have not forgotten our shared vision—that all people deserve to marry the person they love. In fact, we stand stronger, with millions of like-minded Californians, ready for change.

Freedom to Marry Week 2008 will be an important moment for supporters of the freedom to marry. Make sure you are present and counted at one of the many happenings across our state. Click here to check out the full list of events or read more below.

In addition to attending these events, you can help make Valentine’s Day 2008 a day to remember by:

  • Spreading the word to your family, friends, neighbors and colleagues about the freedom to marry and Valentine’s Day 2008.
  • Making your support seen by being a face for the freedom to marry! Download one of our “I Said It” posters and add your face to the hundreds of others making their support visible through our online gallery.
  • Hanging your “I Just Said It” sign in your window or cubicle (or anywhere where people are likely to see it and ask what you said!) to show your support throughout Freedom to Marry Week.

Thanks for all that you do.


Geoff Kors
Let California Ring

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

What we already knew…

Same-sex couples just as committed as straight couples
SDSU co-authored study finds equal level of commitment and relationship satisfaction
By Randy Hope
Gay and Lesbian Times

Here at Let California Ring, this study came as no surprise to us.
However it’s still nice to hear that:

“Same-sex couples are as committed and happy in their romantic relationships as heterosexual couples, according to two studies in the January issue of the journal Developmental Psychology.

The authors of the studies – researchers from San Diego State University, University of Urbana-Champaign, the University of Washington, and the University of Vermont – say their findings challenge the stereotype that same-sex relationships aren’t as healthy or secure as heterosexual pairings and are therefore not as psychologically healthy.”

That’s why everyone deserves the freedom to marry, and the honor, dignity and respect that come along with it.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


…To get your t-shirt before the Day of Visibility.

Get a t-shirt at a special $20 rate and wear it with pride on Valentine’s Day. February 6th is your last chance to get one before the big day!

Let California Ring Day of Visibility

February 14

Love. It’s what Valentine’s Day is all about.

Every day, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Californians are denied the freedom to marry the person they love. Let California Ring is a coalition effort to open hearts and minds, engage millions of Californians in conversations about the freedom to marry, and increase support for marriage for gay and lesbian couples.

This groundbreaking campaign is educating people in a whole new way about fairness, freedom, and the principle that all people—lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and non-LGBT—should have the freedom to realize their hopes and dreams.

Let California Ring has found the perfect messenger—you! Wear your Let California Ring t-shirt or ring during Freedom to Marry week to start conversations with the people in your life about why you support the freedom to marry.

Don’t know what to say? Download handy conversation starters at http://www.LetCaliforniaRing.org/conversations

February 5 Day of Action

February 5 Day of Action

If you live in Santa Barbara or Los Angeles, here’s a great way for you to get involved with Let California Ring:

Join us at the polls on Election Day! We will be out in small groups talking to people about the freedom to marry and asking them to sign a pledge of support. Small teams will be made when you arrive – so come alone or come with friends! Polling place assignments will be given out at the training.

Santa Barbara Training

Saturday, February 2
1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Los Angeles Training

Monday, February 4
7 p.m. to 9 p.m.


Saturday, February 2

2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

*Note: all volunteers must attend one training.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Freedom to Marry Sizzles at The Flame in San Diego!

Commentary by Kristi Shaw from the San Diego LGBT Community Center.

I have never heard a nightclub so quiet.
On Saturday, January 19 the San Diego LGBT Community Center’s Marriage Equality and Education Project presented a special Freedom to Marry program during “Milk,” San Diego’s premiere lesbian night, at one of the biggest LBGT clubs in town, The Flame.

Vixen from LA-based Pin Up Girls started the night off with an upbeat performance. She was joined by local hip hop artist and rapper Miz Liberty, who regularly performs at Milk. Miz Liberty added her funky, upbeat style to the issue, performing some crowd favorites as well as a special song that captured her strong feelings about why the freedom to marry is so important.

I took the stage next and said a few words about Let California Ring and encouraged people to sign up, donate and get involved. This was followed by the Let CA Ring video showcased on all screens and over the loudspeaker.The hush that fell over the crowd was unforgettable and several people came up to me afterwards, with tears in their eyes, saying the video and its message was one of the most moving things they have ever seen.

All in all it was a hugely successful night for the freedom to marry movement down here in San Diego!

Over 100 people signed the petition and we raised a significant amount of money for Let California Ring. The visibility the campaign received was also amazing and we have similar events planned at two other nightclubs in the coming months!If this event was any indication, I think 2008 is going to be great!

- Kristi Shaw, San Diego LGBT Community Center’s Marriage Equality and Education Project Coordinator

Thursday, January 31, 2008

We're Just Two Weeks Away

Two weeks away from the day we celebrate love - Valentine's Day - and two weeks away from the largest state-wide visibility push ever conducted for the freedom to marry.

Take the first step: add your name to our letter to Governor Schwarzenegger that has already garnered over 8,700 signatures. Ask him to tell the California Supreme Court that the current law banning marriage for lesbian and gay couples is unconstitutional and that all loving couples deserve the freedom to marry. We're delivering it on February 14th, and we want your name on it.

On our day of visibility – Valentine’s Day -- it’s also vital that we make ourselves seen. That means wearing your Let California Ring t-shirt and displaying your ring wherever it can be seen (on your finger, bag or your keychain) to prompt a conversation about what the freedom to marry means to you.

If you’ve already ordered a ring, you should get it by Valentine’s Day. Order a t-shirt at a special rate of just $20 between now and February 6th to get yours by February 14th!

Help us make Valentine’s Day a milestone to remember for the LGBT community by making yourself seen and heard today:

I hope that Valentine’s Day 2008 will be a big moment in our shared history – for LGBT people in California and people in every state. Our state will be the tipping point, and the momentum for change, the kind that has the power resonate across the country, and it starts now with you.

Thanks for reading. And I hope you’ll join us!


Geoff Kors
Let California Ring

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

New Facebook Application!

Show your support for the freedom to marry on Facebook.

Add our ring of support to your profile and show your commitment to the freedom to marry!

We hope you’ll display our ring until the day that everyone has the freedom to marry the person they love.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Six Organizations: One Event

What issue can get key LGBT leaders from national, statewide and local organizations in one room? Marriage in California.

Over 150 people braved the rain in Los Angeles last night to get insight and raise money for Let California Ring. It was truly unprecedented to have the leading LGBT organizations in the city, state and country on one stage. It is such a crucial time in California right now and to see so much support for the campaign was inspiring.

On the stage: (l to r) Geoff Kors (Equality California Institute), Patrick Sammon (Log Cabin Republicans), Joe Solmonese (Human Rights Campaign), Matt Forman (The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force), Jody Huckaby (PFLAG), and Lorri Jean (L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center).

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

If Al Gore can say it...

Al Gore said he supports the freedom to marry for LGBT couples. Everyone's listening. And when you say you support the freedom to marry, people who love you listen too.

Just say it by signing our open letter to Governor Schwarzenegger at
www.LetCaliforniaRing.org/justsayit and ask your friends and family to do the same.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sign an open letter to the Governor on marriage

Opportunities like this don't come along very often.

Sign our open letter asking the Governor to tell the California Supreme Court that the current law is unconstitutional and that all loving couples deserve the freedom to marry.

With the Court expected to rule on the legal right for gay and lesbian couples to marry in 2008, right now is the time for your voice to be heard: heard by Governor Schwarzenegger by February 14.

As a defendant in the case, the Governor's voice is critical -- he can change history. That's why we want him to tell the Court that all LGBT Californians should be able to marry the person they love. But your voice can be equally powerful, so I want you to just say it too.

Just say it: "Everyone should be able to marry the person they love. I support the freedom to marry." Say it out loud, to the person next to you on the bus or at dinner. And then, ask Governor Schwarzenegger to tell the Court that the current law is unconstitutional.

Let California Ring is all about everyday people coming together to amplify their collective voice of support for the freedom to marry. For people like you and me, that starts with the most basic action: "just say it" -- to our friends, family members, and neighbors.

We need to generate conversations and get every Californian -- from Supreme Court Justices to our elected leaders to your colleagues at the water cooler -- thinking about what the freedom to marry means for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people between now and February 14 -- the day we celebrate love. So just say it, right now.

With the Court's ruling on the legal right for gay and lesbian couples to marry expected this year, showing that Californians support that basic freedom for everyone is critical right now. Here's how you can help:

  • Just say it. Tell all your friends, family members and colleagues and ask them to join you in signing the open letter to the Governor.

Now is the time to double your impact: sign the letter to the Governor and then just say it: make your support for the freedom to marry seen and heard between now and February 14.

Thanks for all that you do -- every action you take makes a difference and fills me with determination.


Geoff Kors
Let California Ring

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Behind the Scenes: Volunteer Night!

If you live in Los Angeles, we have an easy and fun way for you to get involved. Hannah blogs about Volunteer Nights:

We have volunteer night a couple times a week here at Let California Ring. On Monday nights we gather from 7-10pm for Data Entry Night. We crowd around the table in our conference room; you can barely see the table underneath the piles of data we are entering, pizza, and the many lap tops in use. Although we get a lot of work done at Data Entry Nights it hardly feels like work. As we type we talk about anything from what’s been going on in our lives since the Monday before to current events to our love lives. We spend a lot of time laughing. The hardest part about Data Entry Night is deciphering the handwriting of the data we are entering; we all squint at the most troublesome handwriting and everyone takes a guess at we think it says.

We also have Phone Bank Night every Thursday from 6:30 to 9:30. On Phone Bank Nights we call people who have told us they want to volunteer with us and sign them up for a specific activity. We each ding a bell when we get someone signed up for a shift, it’s a lot of fun to hear dings coming from all over the office and shout, “Way to go!!” down the hall.

Volunteer nights are what help keep things running here at Let California Ring. Without them we couldn’t get our data entered and we couldn’t sign up enough volunteers to keep building our team. I feel fortunate to get to work with so many great volunteers, and have so much fun along the way!

--Hannah, Field Organizer