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Courageous Couples in New Jersey Sue For Full Marriage Rights New Jersey joins Massachusetts on the leading edge of the struggle for full equality. We wish our counterparts well, and hope they can build on our advances here in Vermont to lead the way to full and genuine equality for same-sex couples through inclusion in marriage.

From the New York Times:
New York Times, June 26, 2002
229 W. 43rd Street, New York, NY, 10036
(Fax: 212-556-3622 ) (E-Mail: ) ( )
New Jersey Is Likely to Be Gay Marriage Battleground By Andrew Jacobs
JERSEY CITY - The contentious battle over gay marriage, previously fought in distant Hawaii and rural Vermont, will move into the New Jersey court system on Wednesday, when a national gay rights group plans to file a lawsuit in state court here on behalf of seven same-sex couples who have been denied marriage licenses. But groups opposed to gay marriage, like the New Jersey Catholic Conference and the New Jersey Family Policy Council said today that they would seek to head off the effort by pushing for legislation to prohibit same-sex unions. That is the method opponents used in Hawaii after a court decision in 1993 recognized gay marriage. The Legislature there explicitly limited marriage to unions between a man and a woman.
Drawn by New Jersey's activist Supreme Court and a Democratic-controlled State House, the national group Lambda Legal [Defense & Education Fund] had been drafting the suit for more than a year. But the group said it was spurred to act now after the surviving partners of people killed in the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attack often went unacknowledged by governmental and charitable organizations. While several states have enacted domestic partnership legislation - and Vermont allows gay couples to enter into civil unions that resemble marriage - the New Jersey plaintiffs are seeking to marry without caveats. Lambda, based in Manhattan, said it was prepared to take the case to the State Supreme Court, the farthest it can go since the suit is based on the state, not the federal, constitution. Lambda's lawyers argue that New Jersey is violating the state constitution's right to equal protection by excluding gay and lesbian couples from the institution of marriage and the hundreds of benefits bestowed upon the legally wed. They include spousal inheritance rights and pension and Social Security benefits upon a spouse's death. "Our lawsuit seeks full equality so same-sex couples are treated no different than heterosexual couples," said David S. Buckel, the lead attorney on the case. "Domestic partnership and civil unions are incredibly meaningful to our families but not having the choice to marry means they are still second-class citizens." The decision to file suit in New Jersey was not a random one, as homosexuals and same-sex couples with children already enjoy a comparatively generous array of rights and protections here. The state was among the first to enact anti-discrimination and hate-crimes legislation that included gay men and lesbians in its protections, and its Supreme Court is considered among the most liberal in the nation. Courts here have rejected the Boy Scouts of America ban on gay members, a ruling later overturned by the United States Supreme Court. New Jersey courts have also upheld the adoption rights of unmarried couples, both gay and straight, making the state something of a magnet for such families. Robert F. Williams, a law professor at Rutgers University's Center for State Constitutional Studies, said the New Jersey Supreme Court has not been shy about interpreting the constitution as it sees fit. "It has a long record of being innovative and very active in dealing with what a lot of people might call hot-button social issues," said Mr. Williams. Len Deo, president of the New Jersey Family Policy Council, said gay marriage was a threat to traditional American culture. "Marriage between a man and a woman has stood the test of time for thousands of years," he said. "It creates the best environment for raising children and traditionally carries the benefits that help create a stable family." But the gay and lesbian plaintiffs make the same argument for marital rights. High school sweethearts who have been together for 28 years, Cindy Meneghin and Maureen Kilian live in suburban Morris County with their two children, Joshua, 9, and Sarah, 7. As PTA members, first-aide volunteers and soccer coaches, they view themselves as model citizens and responsible parents. But although they have been jointly paying a mortgage for 16 years, neither are protected from potentially ruinous inheritance taxes should one of them die. And when it comes to hospital visitation and health insurance coverage, their relationship is all but invisible. "We're good citizens, we pay our taxes and one of us always waits for the kids to get off the school bus," said Ms. Meneghin, 44, the director of Web services at Montclair State University. "In many ways we embody the ideal of American family values, so why can't we have the same rights to raise our family as everyone else?"
Vicious Anti-Gay Attacks in Miami- Dade
We can't drop our focus on Vermont, but we also have to be mindful of the pressing struggles our colleagues face around the nation. Here's an important announcement from Miami-Dade:
Gay Rights Laws Under Vicious Attack in Miami-Dade
In 2002, the fight for justice and tolerance for lesbian and gay Americans comes home again. It comes back to Miami-Dade County, where one of the first great battles in our long and ongoing campaign for basic human rights was ought in 1977. Back then, Anita Bryant and a group of radical preachers managed to remove protections from discrimination against lesbians and gays from the County's Human Rights Ordinance via referendum.
It's happening again. In 1998, the County Commission voted to add "sexual orientation" to the Human Rights Ordinance, protecting lesbians and gays from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and credit applications. The next day, reactionary forces began efforts to remove "sexual orientation" from the Ordinance by petitioning for a repeal referendum. Although the process of getting signatures on petitions was rife with fraud and is the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation, the petitions were certified and there will be a referendum on the September 10th election ballot. SAVE DADE is leading the battle for a "NO" vote.
We know we can win. Unlike 1977, we have the benefit of having fought this fight many times before. We have many victories under our belt and the strength gained from the tremendous unity built in the crucible of the AIDS crisis. This time, SAVE DADE has a comprehensive campaign strategy, almost-universal support from Miami-Dade's political and business leaders, and a general understanding of the contributions gays and lesbians have made to Miami's economic and cultural renaissance.
We're scared we may lose. While our polling indicates that a majority of the citizens of Miami-Dade are with us, much will depend on turnout for other races on the election ballot, including many highly contested local races in districts where our polling is much less favorable. We also know that our opponents will use vile tactics, up to and including tying us to the recent scandals in the Catholic Church or the Boy Scouts.
We need your support today. Those of us who live in Miami-Dade, those who vacation here and those of us who understand the implications of this fight nationally must respond to this threat to turn back the clock in one of America's most diverse cities.
We are under attack in Miami-Dade, and we need your financial contributions to get out the vote and to have the ability to respond to the awful tactics of our opponents in the months ahead.
Jakki Flanagan Vermonters for Civil Unions P.O. Box 1574 Montpelier, VT 05601 (802)899-2930
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever does. -- Margaret Mead *

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Are you a couple? Maybe you haven't heard about this great group. Called Lesbian couples in love. Its for real. Not one of those fake mens things. So if you want to meet other lesbian couples that share the same interests check it out. Bethany and I are members.Just click on the link and off you'll go.
Here are some of the pictures of the Rally in Montpelier,Vt. Just click the name of picture and give it a couple of seconds.

Hi everyone,Denise here. Why not check out my newest linkpage for Denise's Place.
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Daily Horoscope
What's your sign?

Dragonfly. . . . .
Brings illusions,
Brings visions of power,
No need to prove it,
Now is the hour!
Know it, believe it,
Great Spirit intercedes,
Feeding you, blessing you,
Filling all your needs.
Dragonfly medicine is of the dreamtime and the illusionary facade we accept as physical reality. The iridescence of Dragonfly's wings reminds us of colors not found in our everyday experience. Dragonfly's shifting of color, energy, form, and movement explodes into the mind of the observer, bringing vague memories of a time or place where magic reigned.
Some legends say that Dragonfly was once Dragon, and that Dragon had scales like Dragonfly's wings. Dragon was full of wisdom, and flew through the night bringing light with its fiery breath. The breath of Dragon brought forth the art of magic and the illusion of changing form, and the shape of its new body became like Dragonfly's. In accepting the challenge to prove its power and magical prowess, Dragon lost its power. Dragonfly is the essence of the winds of change, the messages of wisdom and enlightenment, and the communications form the elemental world. This elemental world is made up of the tiny spirits of plants, and of elements air, earth, fire, and water. In essence, this world is full of nature spirits.
If Dragonfly has flown or been sighted in your life today, you may have forgotten something small like to water your plants. On another level, you may need to give thanks to the foods you eat for sustaining your body. On the psychological level, it may be time to break down the illusions you have held that restrict your actions or ideas or recovery.
Dragonfly medicine always beckons you to seek out the parts of your habits which you need to change. Have you tended to the changes you have wanted to make in your life? If you feel the need for change, call on Dragonfly to guide you through the mists of illusion to the pathway of transformation. See how you can apply the art of illusion to your present question or situation, and remember that things are never as completely as they seem.
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