Garden State Equality is out to convert New Jersey Chick-fil-A franchisees to their pro-gay marriage cause.
GSE President Steve Goldstein sent the following message to email list this morning:
Today, Friday, August 3, 2012 is Garden State Equality’s Dialogue Day with Chick-Fil-A. If you live or work in New Jersey, we’d like you to call the operator of your nearest Chick-Fil-A restaurant in New Jersey today, to ask him or her to meet with a local group of Garden State Equality members. We want the operators to see and hear in person how the national owners’ anti-LGBT advocacy hurts real people deeply – families, couples and children who yearn for equality. We ask you to call today even if you personally may not be able to join such a meeting.
1. Below please find a list of the 22 Chick-Fil-A stores across New Jersey with the store locations, phone numbers and individual operators’ names. Ask for the operator by name. If he or she isn’t there, you can ask to speak to the senior manager on duty.
2. When you call, say: “I’m a member of Garden State Equality and we want equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. We know the national owners of Chick-Fil-A don’t believe in equality, but we hope you may be fair. We believe in talking and mutual respect. Are you willing to meet a group of us in the next few weeks?”
3. If the owner says no, express your pain, not anger, as you conclude the conversation quickly and respectfully. Respond: “I’m hurt you won’t meet us. I’ll let others know. I wish you well.” Please do not engage in hostility. We advocate equality in love.
4. If the owner says maybe, respond: “Then I’m going to call you back on Monday, is that okay?” Then please do call back on Monday.
5. If the owner says yes, respond: “That’s great. Before we set up a day and time, I’m going to talk to others to see their schedules. I’m going to call you back next week, is that okay?”
6. Then please email [email protected] your name and your phone number, the location below of the Chick-Fil-A you called – that’s important so we know which Chick-Fil-A you’re talking about – and the operator’s response, whether yes, no or maybe. If the operator said yes, we will call you and other Garden State Equality members in your area next week so we can coordinate schedules to do the meeting.
We understand that activists in other states are staging “kiss-ins” at Chick-Fil-A stores. We respect everyone who engages in the activism that inspires them. At Garden State Equality, we’re aiming for something beyond one day. We aim to start dialogues wherever we can. We want everyone to see the love and commitment of families with LGBT people – indeed, to see all people as real people. That, we believe, is the basis of winning equality everywhere.
Thank you all so much. Immediately below is the list of the 22 Chick-Fil-A stores in New Jersey with their phone numbers and names of the store operators. If the spirit moves you, please consider making a $13.00 donation today to Garden State Equality – that’s what it would cost a couple to eat a typical Chick-Fil-A meal. A $26.00 donation would represent the cost for a family of four. You can donate online at www.GardenStateEquality.org
Audubon, (856) 547-0815, operator Charles Bohs Cherry Hill, Marlton Pike, (856) 488-9117, operator Dave Curran Cherry Hill, Haddonfield Road, (856) 488-1600, operator Dave Curran Delran, (856) 764-0765, operator Sal Miliziano Deptford, Clements Bridge Road, (856) 853-0425, operator Doug Clark Deptford, Deptford Mall, (856) 848-7712, operator Christian McGrory Eatontown, (732) 542-2243, operator Jeff Bassett Edison, (732) 548-6024, operator Travis Biggs Egg Harbor, (609) 407-4900, operator Amy McCloy Galloway, the Stockton College Chick-Fil-A is closed for the summer. Please call the next closest store. Hamilton, (609) 581-7601, operator John Velarde Howell, (732) 730-9033, operator Ted Reim Marlton, (856) 985-4391, operator Brian Bowman Mount Laurel, Centerton Road, (856) 439-2696, operators Brian Bowman or Bob Mancini Mount Laurel, (856) 778-1900, Nixon Drive, operator Bob Mancini Paramus, (201) 967-9494, operator Ken Walsh Sewell, (856) 464-2277, operator Jeff Price Sicklerville, (856) 262-0002, operator Burley Clark Turnersville, (856) 228-2111, operator Burley Clark Vineland, (856) 327-4414, operator Phil Kelley Voorhees, (856) 772-2201, operator Zach Johnson Woodbridge, (732) 634-8981, operator Jim Strole
The Associated Press is reporting that gay rights activists are planning a ‘Kiss In’ today at Chick-fil-A restaurants throughout the country. Protestors of Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy’s stand for traditional marriage are being encouraged to go Chick-fil-A stores and kiss a fellow demonstrator of the same gender.
AP quotes one organizer, Carly McGehee of Dallas as saying she hopes the protest “helps LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender) youth who feel isolated and are victims of bullying.”
Is isolation and bullying a problem for only gay youth? Are gay activists encouraging same sex marriages for youths?
Earlier this week The
Posted: August 3rd, 2012 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Chick-fil-A, Garden State Equality, Gay Marriage, Gender Equality, marriage, Marriage Equality, Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act | Tags: Chick-fil-A, Gay Marriage, Kiss In, Marriage Equality, Same Sex Marriage, Steve Goldstein | 69 Comments »
Asbury Park Press quoted Goldstein as saying that Garden State Equality does not support the ‘Kiss In.’ Rather, GSE would reach out to Chick-fil-A operators, as they are today. Goldstein said some of the operators are “in deep with us,” according to APP.
In an email sent to his members in the 11th Legislative District this afternoon, Garden State Equality President Steve Goldstein apologized for endorsing Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini in last November’s election.
Angelini, who has been very supportive of the gay lobbying group was absent for the Assembly vote on the Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act on Thursday. The bill passed 42-33 with two Democrats voting NO.
Angelini was on vacation, celebrating her 25th wedding anniversary in Jamaica, according to Goldstein’s email.
Goldstein said that he and two other GSE members met with the Assemblywoman on Friday, February 10th in an attempt to persuade her to cut her vacation short in order to be present of the vote. Angelini refused stating that the bill had the votes to pass anyway and in the unexpected event that it failed, it would be voted on again in a matter of weeks.
Goldstein, and “an avalanche of calls and emails” said it did not matter that the bill had enough votes to pass:
Dear members, as so many of you have told us through your avalance of calls and emails, it shouldn’t matter whether or not Mary Pat’s vote was needed. She is elected to vote in the legislature, and certainly elected to vote on the biggest issues of the day – perhaps the biggest issue of all time to so many in her district like you. If you are a public servant, there are absoluely times to have personal lives. Was this really one of them, especially when the legislature will be on break in a month?
Goldstein said that the group was “deeply pained” by Angelini’s absence.
Goldstein said he received more calls and emails filled with “deep pain and anger” than he received after Sean Kean’s 2009 vote against a similar bill and Kean’s “remarkably insensitive speech” about that vote. The calls and emails suggested that GSE extract a written promise from Angelini that she will vote to override Governor Christie’s veto and that she work on other Republican legislators to do the same.
Goldstein’s entire email can be read here.
Asked to comment, Angelini said she had not seen the email. MMM forwarded it to her. This post will be update if she comments.
In addition to the comments about Angelini, Goldstein praised Senator Jennifer Beck for her work in support of the gay marriage bill. He also promised to make up for GSE’s endorsement of Angelini to Vin Gopal, one of Angelini’s opponents last November, in his upcoming race against Marlboro Councilman Frank LaRocca for the Monmouth County Democratic Chairmanship.
Posted: February 18th, 2012 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act | Tags: "LaHornicca", 11th Legislative District, Frank LaRocca, Garden State Equality, Gay Marriage, Jennifer Beck, Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act, Mary Pat Angelini, Monmouth County Democrats, NJ State Assembly, Steve Goldstein, Vin Gopal | 17 Comments »
Perhaps Not. Perhaps So.
That is not the question the Assembly should be considering when deciding the fate of the Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act
The heart of the argument for same sex marriage advocates is that civil unions have not worked in establishing the rights and benefits that married couples enjoy to same sex committed couples, as the New Jersey Supreme Court ordered.
The anecdotal evidence that the gay community has provided to “prove” that civil unions don’t work has been compelling enough to cause some state legislators to change their position on same sex marriage since the issue was voted on in the Senate in 2006. Senator Shirley Turner voted YES for the marriage equality bill yesterday. She told Politickernj,
“I was wrestling with this,” said Turner, who was the 24th”aye” vote. “I felt we could accomplish it with civil unions but from what I have been hearing from gays and lesbians, they have been telling me it was not working. They were not being treated as equals, and I don’t want anyone being treated unequally.”
Assemblyman Peter Barnes, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, is a Catholic who was previously opposed to same sex marriage. On February 2 he voted with his committee, 5-2, to move the Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act to the full Assembly.
Barnes said it was the job of legislators to “tackle the difficult issues, whether we agree or disagree,” and his Catholic faith had put him at odds with this issue. Barnes told Politickernj,
“As a Catholic, as I really struggled with this over the past (few) years,” he said. “Tradition has not always been good, and it has not always been fair. Tradition can’t control our vote.”
“I will absolutely be voting for this out of committee today, and I am absolutely leaning in favor of voting for this on the floor,” Barnes said. “The civil union is not working…I don’t think reasonable minds can even disagree on that.”
“The civil union is not working….I don’t think reasonable minds can even disagree on that.”
A reasoning mind, which is very different from a reasonable would want more than heart wrenching stories and anecdotes from advocates before concluding that “the civil union is not working.”
One could easily make a reasonable argument that the civil union has worked. There were 5,790 civil unions registered from 2007 through 2011 and less than 20 civil rights complaints. If judged only by those statistics, a reasonable mind would conclude that civil unions have worked extraordinarily well.
But that is a reasonable conclusion, not a reasoning conclusion.
Patrick Murray, the Monmouth University pollster, blogged:
The New Jersey Supreme Court declared that the state must provide and protect identical legal rights for civilly joined same sex couples as it does for married heterosexual couples. Same sex marriage advocates argue this hasn’t happened in practice under the state’s civil union law. They have provided witnesses who give compelling stories of instances when their rights were denied. Opponents have argued these are isolated instances that can be corrected with improvements to existing law.
The researcher in me says there is a pretty easy way to determine this. Take a random sample of same sex civil union couples and a matched sample of heterosexual couples married at the same time and survey them. If the former group has had significantly more problems with health insurance, parental rights, having next of kin rights honored, etc. – then the argument that civil unions don’t meet the Court’s mandate would be strong. If not, perhaps the incidents are isolated and modifications to the current bill are all that is needed. This is something that should be examined honestly by our three governmental branches.
Murray’s methodology would bring far more reasoning to the debate than there has been to date. Such a study would be examined honestly by our three governmental branches, if they were serious about the issue and not playing politics. If Murray or another pollster could construct a poll that tested the veracity of the respondents while collecting the data, such a study would be very useful.
Yet, such a study would not resolve the issue.
If the study concluded that civil unions are working, gay marriage advocates would emphasize other arguments, “separate but equal” perhaps, in their fight to have their relationships called marriages.
If the study concluded that civil unions are not working, the reasonable approach, the approach that gay marriage advocates are pushing and reasonable minds are falling for, would be to call the relationships marriages.
A reasoning approach, assuming the objective is equal rights and benefits, would be to study why civil unions haven’t worked. Assuming that the relationships will not continue to suffer the inequities conveyed in the anecdotal stories the legislative committees have relied upon as evidence that civil unions are not working is not reasonable or reasoning. Changing the name of the relationships from civil unions to marriages will not be a panacea.
Civil unions were a completely new distinction in 2007. Employers, hospitals and others who have “caused” the inequities or inconveniences that same sex couples have suffered did not know what civil unions were. The forms that triage nurses used to admit patients into hospitals and the human resource personnel used to process employees did not have a box to check that said “civil union.” There was one heart wrenching story of a New York doctor saying “What the heck is that?” to a partner of a trauma patient explaining his relationship as next of kin. The doctor didn’t buy or understand that the partner was next of kin to his patient and the patient’s sister had to travel from Delaware to authorize “emergency” treatment. There will likely be other doctors who say “What the heck?” when a partner says “I’m his husband” when arguing that he is authorized to approve treatment.
Same sex couples argue that they shouldn’t have to carry official paperwork that explains and proves their relationship anymore than married couples should have to. All it will take is one multi-million dollar suit involving a partner who lies about martial status to authorize treatment that goes wrong before hospitals require all couples, gay or straight, to produce there relationship certificates before treating incapacitated patients.
“Why haven’t civil unions worked?” if they haven’t, is both a reasonable and reasoning question that should be asked if the objective of the Legislature is to ensure that same sex couples have equal rights.
There has been no effective method to ensure that civil unions work.
Garden State Equality, the gay advocacy group leading the way to same sex marriage has not wanted civil unions to work. They encourage their members to report discrimination to on their website. They don’t encourage civil rights complaints to the authorities. That explains why there is so much anecdotal evidence that civil unions don’t work and so few complaints.
Steve Goldstein, CEO of Garden State Equality, was Vice Chairman of the Civil Union Review Commission that concluded in 2008, one year after the civil union law became effective, that civil unions don’t work. Goldstein’s participation on the commission was clearly a conflict, especially in light of his work to ensure that civil unions not work by using stories of discrimination to advance his same sex marriage agenda and by encouraging his members to report discrimination to Garden State Equality rather than the Division of Civil Rights.
The question for legislators in the Assembly considering the Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act should not be “Have civil unions worked?” Despite the reasonable evidence that they have worked—so few complaints with the Civil Right Division—there will be much work to do to ensure the civil rights of same sex couples even if their relationships are called marriages.
The question before members of the Assembly should be “What is marriage?”
Posted: February 14th, 2012 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: marriage, Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act | Tags: civil unions, Garden State Equality, Gay Marriage, marriage, Marriage Equality, Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act, Peter Barnes, Same Sex Marriage, Shirley Turner, Steve Goldstein | 25 Comments »
In a widely published OpEd piece, Rob Eichmann, the GOP State Committeeman from Gloucester County, questioned why the the State Legislature’s Democratic leadership has made gay marriage their top priority of the year.
Assembly Minority Conference Leader Dave Rible says the Democrats putting the issue on the front burner is a “slap in the face to the guy on the unemployment line.”
Both men have a point.
Garden State Equality, the gay rights organization behind the push for same sex marriage, boasts of 86,000 members on its website. That makes them, they say, the largest civil rights organization in the state.
That 86,000 number is questionable.
Steve Goldstein, Chair and CEO of the GSE, told MMM that they consider any person who takes two affirmative actions for equality to be a member. How they track that, he wouldn’t say. I’m pretty sure they consider me a member. Goldstein was aware that I signed up for their email list this week. I told him that I noticed that shortly after I signed up that the the number changed from 85,000 to 86,000. “I promise you, Art, we’re not counting you as 1,000 members.”
Goldstein finally acknowledged, sort of, that the membership claim is based upon a combination of their email list of 70,000 plus the 17,200 facebook friends they have, less a fudge factor to eliminate overlaps. Given that there is a facebook plug in on the GSE page, the fudge factor should probably be more than 1,200.
Even if GSE’s membership numbers were accurate, they would be representing less that 1% of New Jersey’s population.
The number of same sex couples who have committed to each other in the form of civil unions is a more reliable indicator of just how big this “civil rights” problem is.
According to Daniel Emmer, spokesperson for the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, 5,790 couples have been joined in civil unions since 2007 when the legislation designating the unions become effective. That’s 11,580 people, statewide, that this issue impacts directly, if we generously assume that none of those unions have been dissolved by divorce. Do they call it divorce?
One might conclude that Goldstein’s political skills are remarkable. He has managed to make his small, be it 11,580 or 86,000 people, constituency’s concern the top priority of our state government during a time when our economy is anemic, municipal governments are making significant changes to balance their budgets and our urban schools are not educating their students. Unemployment and foreclosures are not our top priority. Another generation of minority students are not getting educated, and Steve Goldstein has managed to make same sex marriage the most important issue of the State Legislature.
Or has he?
Goldstein has been played by the Democrats before. Jon Corzine, while he was governor got Goldstein to agree to back off the same sex marriage issue during the 2008 presidential election cycle and the 2009 gubernatiorial election cycle. Corzine made passionate speeches before gay audiences about how important their rights were. He was blowing smoke.
Are the Democratic leaders of the legislature playing Goldstein again? I think they are.
The Democrats and their special interest donors want nothing to do with Governor Christie’s agenda for this year. They want to raise taxes, not lower them. They don’t want to reform education. They don’t want to reform the civil service system so that municipalities can lower their costs and taxes.
The Democrats don’t want Christie to be an effective spokesman for Mitt Romney, especially if Romney wins the GOP presidential nomination.
That’s what this is about for the Democratic leadership. Avoiding Christie’s agenda and changing the public conversation. It’s not about civil rights and benefits for Goldstein’s small constituency.
Whether or not it’s really about civil rights for Goldstein and GSE is another question which will be the subject of a future post.
Posted: January 27th, 2012 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Marriage Equality | Tags: Chris Christie, civil unions, Dave Rible, Garden State Equality, Gay Marriage, GSE, marriage, Marriage Equality, Mitt Romney, Rob Eichmann, Same Sex Marriage, Steve Goldstein, Steve Sweeney | 78 Comments »