Thursday, November 26, 2009

Calle 13's René Pérez and Miss Universe Denise Quiñones stand up for Jorge Steven López Mercado

An quick update on the brutal murder of 19 year old Jorge Steven López Mercado in Puerto Rico:

After the multiple vigils and rallies in the United States over the weekend demanding that the murder of the young gay man be investigated as a hate crime, and a meeting Tuesday with the Puerto Rican branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, authorities in the island have announced that, for the first time ever in Puerto Rico, a little known 2002 statute will be used to go ahead and investigate the murder as a hate crime.

Myriam Mercado and Jorge López, parents of Jorge Steven, participated in a vigil that took place yesterday in San Juan, along with Jorge Steven's brother, Jorge Gabriel. Ms. Mercado, who has moved the world by releasing a statement professing her love for her gay son and putting out a videotaped message of thanks to all who have expressed their support throughout the world, tearfully addressed the crowd last night once again to express thanks. "You have given us hope at our most difficult moment as a family," she said. 9 year-old Jorge Gabriel led the crowd in chanting "Long-live Steven".

Political leaders were conspicuous in their absence. Two weeks after the horrible crime and the worldwide outrage it has elicited and there is still no word whatsoever from Puerto Rican Governor Luis Fortuño, a conservative darling who is being mentioned as a potential 2012 Republican U.S. presidential candidate.

Amazingly, two well-known and extremely well-loved Puerto Rican showbiz darlings did make an appearance. René Pérez, lead singer for the most successful reggaeton band in the world, Calle 13, and Denise Quiñones, Miss Universe 2001, marched in last night's vigil in support of Jorge Steven's family. After the vigil, they stopped to give my friend Pedro Julio Serrano the following declarations on video:

René: OK, we just left the vigil for Jorge Steven, eh, so, and against hate crimes. Let's hope that the government begins to work and speaks about... ah, speaks about this, which is an evil - which takes place world-wide - but, here, what happened was atrocious. The crime was vicious... vicious... viciously awful, and strong and unjust, and it's also unjust that it hasn't even been spoken about. Speaking of stupid things, they honor Paris Hilton in the Senate, and they cannot speak about this?
Denise: It's so important that all of us give an example, of ourselves, all of society, the politicians, our leaders, they should begin to give an example to break this... this cycle of hate, of inequality, of homophobia, which is... of intolerance... which is completely destroying our unity as Puerto Ricans, as, as human beings, and our dignity. So, I am here as well, with René and with everyone, in solidarity with Steven's family also, next to Steven, and we send him kisses... eh... and I believe... he must be happy to see all the unity this has created and all the conciousness this has created and... this is his symbol [laughs] a very big kiss to all his family and to Jorge Steven..
René: I am "Homo" because I'm "Homo-sapiens", I am "sexual", hence I am 'Homo-sexual" as well.
A week ago or so, on Tweeter, I sent a message out to René hoping he'd give me a statement repudiating the murder. He quickly responded and said "it's among the worst crimes that Puerto Rico has lived through".

That was a surprise since in May, when I was sent a statement on René's commitment to the fight against AIDS in the Latino community, I tried to press his handlers for something that directly addressed HIV transmission risks in the gay community and I was told that such a statement might be going too far.

So tonight, knowing how influential René is among Latino youth, I was frankly shocked and moved by his comments. More than that, at the end of the video, René seems to ad-lib a play on words basically saying everyone is equal, hence everyone is gay. He's not admitting he is gay, but he is calling on everyone to join the protest. He could have left it at that; at a video that might have been seen by a few people. But, later, using his Tweeter account (@Calle13Oficial), he polished the statement a little more: "I am 'homo' because I am 'Homo-sapiens', I'm 'sexual' because I am a sexual human being. Hence I am 'homo-sexual.'"

Simply, wow! Here is the top-selling reaggaton artist in the world publicly saying that the struggle of the LGBT community is the struggle of us all. Just powerful, powerful stuff. As Denise says in the video, Jorge Steven "must be happy to see all the unity this has created and all the consciousness this has created."

Sweetly, with a tinge of sadness for a life lost, the former couple, now close friends, stop for a moment and give the same signal that Jorge Steven used to give to everyone he loved as a way to remember him.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Myriam Mercado, mother of Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado, says love conquers hate

Earlier today, I attended a vigil in memory of Jorge Steven López Mercado that took place at Pier 45 in the West Village of Manhattan. I will probably post some images tomorrow. But, tonight, I wanted to share this video that my friend Pedro Julio Serrano sent me, in which Myriam Mercado, Jorge Steven's mom, expresses gratitude to the hundreds that showed up today at the different vigils throughout the United States in memory of her son. It was shot earlier today and I have taken the liberty of translating her words...
Hi. My name is Myriam. I am Steven's mom. My family and I are incredibly grateful for all the love, the unconditional support that you have given me. That's what gives me the strength, in part, it gives me the force for me to bring a message: Love conquers hate. And this we have to shout to the world. Because... Steven was a human being. He was my son. He was a brother. I ask you and beg you, everyone in the world, that we should love everyone else no matter what's there. Behind of what is there, there is a human being, just like my son, who did not deserve this. In the name of my family and my own, I offer my hand, I don't have how to pay back every... the demonstrations and the love that I have received. So we are all going to bring a message: Love conquers hate. And together, we have the strength.
Previously on Blabbeando:

Saturday, November 21, 2009

In Puerto Rico, a mother's love for her murdered son...

More than a few people might be wondering why I haven't written about the brutal murder of Jorge Steven López Mercado in Puerto Rico last week.

The young man's body was found decapitated, dismembered and burned in what appears to be a homophobic hate crime, and the news has drawn unparalleled worldwide attention leading to a number of vigils taking place tomorrow in the United States.

I will write more about this in the future but I wanted to point out, even at this late hour, a guide to the different vigils taking place tomorrow: .

I also want to highlight the tremendous work that my friend Pedro Julio Serrano has been doing to bring awareness about the crime and to demand justice from Puerto Rican authorities.

Today PJ met Myriam Mercado, Jorge's mom, as well as some of his friends in Puerto Rico. PJ just posted the above pic on Facebook and it nearly broke my heart. In It, PJ and Jorge's mom recreate one of Jorge's signature poses (left).

Tonight she released the following statement:

When my son told me he was gay, I told him, 'Now, I love you more'. I want to tell the world that hatred is not born with human beings, it is a seed that is planted by adults and is fostered creating a climate of intolerance and violence. We must change our ways and understand that anyone... could have been my son. And I want everybody to know that Jorge Steven was a very much loved son.

So join a vigil if you are near any of the cities where they are taking place and join Miriam Mercado in urging justice for the horrific murder of her 19 year old son. I will certainly be joining protesters tomorrow on the Chelsea Piers here in New York.

For full details check out Boy in Bushwick who has been covering the case all week long.

And, for now, I will leave you with the following YouTube videos. They show Pedro Julio at a rally that took place on Thursday in Puerto Rico, and videos posted on YouTube honoring the life of Jorge Steven.

Some additional info at CNN.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bad economy claims one of the best gay news magazines in the world

Shock waves are still being felt in the United States over the sudden demise of several leading LGBT newspapers under the Window Media imprint after the media conglomerate announced it was shutting them down after declaring bankruptcy.

Among the papers affected by the bankruptcy proceedings were the Southern Voice, the South Florida Blade and the venerable Washington Blade.

Some of the papers might actually be revived under different ownership and name. Staff members of the Washington Blade, for example, have already announced the launch of a new publication to be called "DC Agenda" (set to launch today).

Just as shocking as the Window Media closures, at least to those of us who follow international LGBT media, was this week's announcement that the owners of Zero magazine in Spain might also be shutting down the print version of their publication after declaring themselves under financial duress.

Rumors that the magazine was in trouble surfaced earlier this year when Zero Press SL, publishers of the magazine, failed to produce a single issue after July for what had been a monthly publication. On their website, all content was gone except for an offer for two photography books they had published before at a discount.

Their Facebook page was full of inquiries about the status of the magazine with no response from the editors.

Official word finally came yesterday, via Spanish newspaper El País, when they quoted Zero Press SL Director Miguel Ángel López as saying that publishing the magazine was no longer economically viable ("Crisis threatens Zero magazine").

"The 'no' from the banks, the crisis in publicity and the general situation has made it impossible for us to sustain a monthly with 16 full staff members," he said.

López says that Zero will survive but in a different incarnation. Indications are that the magazine might go into a bi-monthly publication schedule and eventually be replaced by an online version of the magazine.

A year ago I was all giddy about the prospect of Zero launching a Latin American wing ("Zero magazine's global ambitions"). According to El Pais, their abandoned Latin American venture, HispaGay, was a flop.

López, who admits Zero had been launched twelve years ago following the prototype set by US magazine "Out", had criticized the US counterpart in an interview with Argentina's Pagina/12 last year. Out, he said then, "never reached a situation in which it was anywhere near to achieving something in political terms; they allowed themselves to be carried away by commercial interests, beyond activism".

And that is exactly what made Zero so great. Sure, they had the puff pieces and fashion spreads, but they also ran in-depth articles on transgender rights, immigration issues, and gay life in Spain and elswehere. Among their most controversial articles was a cover piece on the coming out of the Catholic Reverend José Mantero, about whom I wrote early in the life of this blog, back in 2005.

The magazine, which as of late had turned a bit more fashion-oriented, nevertheless outshone The Advocate and Out in many ways. It covered issues such as gay life in Cuba in a more in-depth way that The Advocate ever did, and also celebrated LGBT sexuality and eroticism in ways that no US LGBT news publication would ever do. For a special issue on body image in the gay community, the full staff posed naked for a series of articles on the topic.

It ran into controversy more than a few times, drawing particular scorn from gays in Spain for putting politicians from the conservative Partido Popular political party on the cover. It also was known for it's photo spreads and centerfolds including that of Kylie Minogue's choreographer and lollipop boy Marco Da Silva (right). That's also porn star François Sagat on their latest - and final? - cover (above).

In any case, the beefcake is certainly important but not necessarily the point I am trying to make with this post.

Just as it is a shame to see the Washington Blade and other LGBT newspapers under Window Media fold, it's shocking that Zero might be gone as well.

If they survive, whether as a print media or on the internet, I'll keep tabs on it and will post updates in the future.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez on marriage equality and anti-gay persecution

As rare as it is to have Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez on the record on LGBT rights, I wanted to share this little nugget from an interview given on the spot during his visit to Europe last month. In it, an Italian gossip show host lobbies a series of questions on controversial issues and elicits as clear an answer from Chavez on his views on marriage equality and anti-gay discrimination. From my translation:

REPORTER: Can you tell me your position on gay marriage? [EDIT] a world in which gay marriage is possible.
HUGO CHAVEZ: I believe that... look, each country has its customs, no? At least, in Venezuela, it is not well-regarded, no? But there are societies, there are societies, there are ideas which continue to mature [EDIT] ...what I am indeed against is any persecution against anyone based on sexual orientations...
REPORTER: What do you think... [CLIP]
HUGO CHAVEZ: ...we are all equal, the particularities of the individual, of a human being, have to be respected.
REPORTER: ..brings us, justly, to gay marriage... [CLIP]
HUGO CHAVEZ: In Venezuela, it is not well-regarded...
REPORTER: What do you think...
HUGO CHAVEZ: Now, if... Me? The same as Venezuelans, as the majority of Venezuelans, those of us who don't see it as being good.
HUGO CHAVEZ: No, but it's a state of opinion, it's a state of opinion. Which doesn't mean we are in opposition, that I am in opposition of what you might think.
Translation caveat number one: Italian is not my first language, so I might have erred in translating some of the reporter's questions. Translation caveat number two: As you would expect for an Italian paparazzi show, the video has several edits which means that Chavez' response has been severely truncated. Translation caveat number three: "No es bien visto" can be translated as "it's not well-regarded" but doesn't have the full impact of "it's not considered to be a good thing" which is probably what Chavez means.

All in all, Chavez admits a couple of things: 1) He thinks that marriage equality is a symbol of a 'mature' society and yet he sides with the Venezuelan population that believes marriage equality is wrong, and; 2) He says that he is against persecution against anyone based on sexual orientation.

Last week, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission sent out an urgent alert on the arbitrary detention of LGBT leaders in Caracas. So far, no word from the Venezuelan government or Chavez. I guess it's one thing to say that he is against discrimination against the LGBT community when interviewed in a foreign country but quite another when it comes to governing his own country.

Update (or, some additional thoughts as of 11/21/09): Over at Towleroad as well as below, some readers have taken some issue with what I wrote on this post. I wanted to address a couple of those issues.

On taking Chavez to task for violence and detentions against the LGBT community in Caracas instead of the local authorities and the city's mayor: Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma might be among those who oppose Chavez and the IGLHRC 'action alert' might be directed at local Caracas officials, but ultimately Chavez is the country's president and it would make a world of difference if he stepped in and publicly declared the detentions a violation of people's human rights. What's particularly galling to me is that there he is in Venice boasting that he is against persecution based on sexual orientation and yet, when he goes back home, he continues his long-term silence on LGBT issues.

On taking Chavez to task for his position on marriage equality when even US President Barack Obama does not support marriage rights for same-sex couples: I doubt that marriage equality advocates in Venezuela give a second thought to Obama or his position on the issue when advocating for the right of same-sex couples to marry in their country. The video was actually sent to me by an LGBT rights organization called Venezuela Diversa and, in a statement that accompanied the video, they deplored Chavez's stand on the issue. Interestingly, they argue that, on LGBT issues, Venezuela is being left behind other countries in Latin America (no mention of Obama) and argued that left-wing movements throughout the world had embraced the issue and now support it (an arguable point).

Argentina is about to see the first marriage between a same-sex couple in all of Latin America in a couple of weeks and courts and legislatures have paved the way for a series of advances in countries like Uruguay, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, Chile and others. They are advances that have been obtained through the hard work of local organizations and activists with little economic or strategic input from organizations in the United States.

Obama should be taken to task for not being the "fierce advocate" he promised to be on LGBT rights but his reticence does not mean that every other heads of nation should get a free pass on LGBT issues, including marriage equality.

On these being 'fringe' issues in a region that is facing larger problems: Arguments that the Latin American region is largely homophobic and not amenable to be progressive on LGBT issues, or that these are fringe issues raised by a small minority in countries facing greater social problems, are defeatist and ignorant of the tremendous advances that have been made in the last few years when it comes to same-sex partnership rights in Latin America.



Friday, November 13, 2009

Coda: Maine

During my stay in Maine a couple of weeks back, as I followed the "No on 1" campaign in it's attempt to beat back an effort to strip away marriage rights from same-sex couples, I ran into two young guys producing an online documentary on the last days of the campaign.

Chase Whiteside
and Erick Stoll of New Left Media (above) just sent me a message alerting me that they had just posted the resulting documentary on YouTube in two parts. In it, they capture the mood of the campaign, campaign supporters, staff and volunteer during those last hours - and a sense that "No on 1" might win. It also captures the heartbreak when election night results begin to show that a win is not at hand.

Here is part 1...

And part 2...

Blink and you might miss a shot of me at the blogger's table on election night... My photos here...

Thursday, November 05, 2009

While in Maine...

So, while still in Maine, we decided that it might be a good idea to do an outing and check out some sights. First we went to Two Lights State Park, via Southern Portland. Can't say we ever spotted the lighthouses that were advertised. But it was pretty pretty.

There were rocky beaches...

Crashing waves, hm, wait! I gotta post that on Facebook!...

Dammit! No cell phone service!

Wait, is it Saco as in 'TACO'? Or Saco as in José CanSECO...

When in Maine... at Point Park.

A sandy beach...

Onward soldiers to Kennebunkport, a/k/a Bush-landia. A little bit past Fall foliage peak in these parts of the country.

Not sure what it was about Kennebunkport but I realized I didn't take any photos of the town, unless you count this picture of Rex staring at the sea, at a stop a few miles away from downtown.

And back to Portland, mission accomplished, for grub at Becky's. Or, wait, was that the following night? Oh, well. It makes a good closing pic.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Heartbreak in Maine: No on 1 campaign concedes

While 'No on 1/Protect Marriage Equality' campaign director Jesse Connolly did not concede defeat at the end-of-the-night address to supporters of the campaign at the Portland Holiday Inn, the faces of the campaign staff behind him told a different story. There was sadness and tears and a sense of the team trying to hold each other together. They seemed to know that the 'Yes on 1' lead was insurmountable and, while it wasn't spelled out at the time, the message reverberated through the shocked crowd.

Well, now it's official. I just received the official 'No on 1' concession --

Tonight, hundreds of thousands of Maine voters stood for equality, but in the end, it wasn't enough.

I am proud of the thousands of Mainers who knocked on doors, made phone calls and talked to their family, friends and neighbors about the basic premise of treating all Maine families equally.

And I'm proud of this campaign because the stories we told and the images we shared were of real Mainers -- parents who stood up for their children, and couples who simply wanted to marry the person they love.

We're in this for the long haul. For next week, and next month, and next year-- until all Maine families are treated equally. Because in the end, this has always been about love and family and that will always be something worth fighting for.
Some of us at the bloggers' table had advance warning of things turning for the worse. But for a majority of those gathered it must have come out of nowhere. For most of the night, they had been looking at incoming reports and cheering what seemed to be an early lead for the 'No on 1' side. Alas, that was not to be. Below, scenes captured soon after the 'No on 1' team had left the stage for the final time.

Previously on Blabbeando:

Sorta live-blogging from the Holiday Inn in Portland - Election night in Maine

[November 5, 2009] With 99% of precincts reporting, the Bangor Daily News says that 'No on 1' lost with 47.19% of the vote while the 'Yes on 1' side won with 52.81% of the vote.

[1:13 am] The Associated Press: "Gay Marriage-foes claim victory in Maine"

[1:00 am] For the night: As of 12:53am, with 86% of precincts reporting, The Bangor Daily News says that the the anti-gay 'Yes on 1' has 52.74% to 47.26% from 'No on 1'. There are 4 precincts in Portland that haven't reported which should go for our side but it is unlikely that they will cover the 25K vote difference. So, unless a miracle happens, it looks as if the anti-gay forces won tonight.

[11:30 pm] Seen at the ballroom...

[11:08 pm] Tonight, Mainers were also voting on Question 5 which, if approved would make it easier for individuals with certain medical conditions to have access to marijuana. The New York Times is reporting that the marijuana referendum will pass.

[10:00 pm]
Maine Governor John Baldacci was also in high spirits tonight as he addressed the crowd.

[9:38 PM] 'No on 1 / Protect Marriage Equality' campaign director Jesse Connolly just went live on Rachel Maddow. By now the room is full and everyone is in high spirits. People had to be told to quiet down a couple of times for the Maddow live-feed.

[9:16 PM]
Mary Bonauto, Civil Rights Project Director at Gay and Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) just gave a rousing speech. As one of the main legal advocates behind the strategy to secure marriage rights in Northeastern states, she said that to win tonight would be that much sweeter. As someone born in Maine, she said, it would be amazing to be able to marry her partner of 22 years in her home state.

[8:41] Second song of the night? Eddie Grant's "Electric Avenue". Those of us on the bloggers' team were asked weeks ago for input on which songs the band should sing tonight. The Awesomes are a well-known 80's music cover band here in Portland. The song I submitted? The Thompson Twins' "Lies".

[8:15 pm] Room is filling up. The band's first song of the night: The Pointer Sister's "Automatic". USTREAM already carrying the live-feed of tonight's shin-digs here.

[8:10 pm] Sitting at the bloggers' table at a ballroom at the Holiday Inn in Portland, Maine, waiting for the procedings to begin. Polls close in a couple of minutes and The Bangor Daily News has already began to post some results. The ballroom is still empty, save a tableful of bloggers, a band doing a live-check, and TV news crews. Campaign manager Jesse Connolly was in the room a few minutes ago. He'll be going live on The Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC tonight. The photo is of the window at campaign headquarters the night I met the staff. The place must be pretty empty tonight. But that's where the heart of the campaign still rests.

Jeremy Hooper is is also live-blogging at Good As You and so is Rex at Wockner. Louise is here also from Pam's House Blend.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The back of Nate Silver's head -- Day 0 in Maine

OhMyGodOhMyGodOhMyGodOhMyGod. The day has arrived and I have to say I feel a bit queasy. It might be my first time in Maine and I may not call the state my home but it certainly feels personal. As it should.

For those pondering whether voters will vote 'No on 1' to protect marriage equality or vote 'Yes on 1' to strip those rights away, there has been some fodder in the last 48 hours that has given hope to those on both side of the issue.

There was that alarming poll released yesterday by Public Policy Polling showing "No on 1" not only losing 51-47 percent but trending down from a previous poll taken two weeks earlier which showed a 48-48 tie. But that came with the caveat that the margin of error still covered the spread and that the actual result might go either way.

And then there was polling analyst wünderkind Nate Silver (right) walking to the plate after the PPP poll had been released their and confidently re-stating his belief that the 'Yes on 1' side is a 5-to-2 underdog *.

Then, there was Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap telling reporters yesterday that he expected turnout to be extremely low - in the 35 percent range - and then, hours later - telling Politico that his predictions might have been wrong and that turnout might actually be over 50% and might even break state turnout records (conventional wisdom says that a higher turnout number means a better chance for the anti-gay referendum to fail).

When it comes down to it, though, little has changed in the last few days: We have polls that show an extremely tight race with few undecideds. The pessimist that I am, I am assuming that those who still say they are undecided will probably end up voting 'Yes on 1', and that means a single thing.

PPP poll or no poll, Nate Silver or no Nate Silver, the answer is turnout, turnout, turnout.

I am a bit hesitant to go by Dunlap's high turnout 'guestimate', particularly because it varied so widely overnight. There have been unofficial reports that turnout in Bangor, Maine - the third largest city in the state - have been high. Some Twitterers have posted information about low turnout in other parts of the state.

But I have been involved in several elections and I have seen it all before. Remember Bush-Gore? Prop. 8 in California? We all thought the win was ours (well those of us who wanted Gore to win and Prop. 8 to fail). And it turned out not the way we wanted.

The big difference with Prop. 8 is that it definitely served as a warning. I haven't seen signals that anyone is resting on their laurels and expecting a 'No on 1' win. The 'No on 1 / Protect Marriage Equality' campaign has a lot to be proud of and deserve to win. They have run a tight ship, engaged more than 8,000 field volunteers, worked day and night to make winning the vote a reality.

And yet, my stomach is still in knots. I don't want to raise my hopes up. I would rather not assume anything. I would rather celebrate if and only it's time to celebrate.

Tonight, I'll be sorta live-blogging and Tweeting from the Holiday Inn in Portland. You are welcome to catch my tweets at The official 'No on 1' campaign Tweeter address is at

For a vote this tight, it could be a very long night. Results might actually not be in tonight.

And what if it's a 'No on 1' loss? Rex Wockner put it best when he wrote this on his blog two days ago:
If we lose in Maine on Tuesday, the Legislature will just pass the law again and the governor will sign it again. We're not talking about a constitutional amendment here, as was the case with Prop 8 in California. In reality, gays are going to be able to get married in all 50 states, perhaps even very soon if the Olson/Boies Prop 8 case succeeds at the U.S. Supreme Court. And if it doesn't, next up -- very, very soon -- are New Jersey and New York, which will be added to Iowa, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and, starting in January, New Hampshire. Where all this is headed could not be clearer. But until then, there will be days like this Tuesday when bigots might force a backward step in the inevitable, unstoppable march to equal treatment under the law for GLBT Americans. The next generation will remember "Yes on 1" voters the way we remember people who believed black folks should drink from separate water fountains. I absolutely guarantee you that.
Rex will also be sorta live-blogging at the Wockner blog. He won't be Tweeting but he will be also filing live and taped reports for POTUS on XM radio and OutQ on Sirius radio. So tune in!

Less than four hours until polls close. Cross your fingers.

* Photo credit: The back of Nate Silver's head, taken by yours truly earlier this year on the way to the Pittsburgh International Airport from Netroots Nation. We both got on the same airport shuttle. Let's hope that what's inside that head is right about tonight's chances.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Red is the color of equality in Maine -- 1 day to go!

Unfortunately I wasn't able to make it to today's big "No on 1" campaign 'Get Out the Vote' rally for marriage equality here in Portland. I'm pretty sure other bloggers were able to make it, though, so let's take a look at the internetz and see what we can find.

Jeremy Hooper of Good As You finally made it to Portland and already posted two videos featuring speakers at today's rally (click on "Twas the night before..." to watch them). A bird pooped on him while taping. Yes, you read that right: Jeremy got pooped on - and didn't seem to appreciate it. In my neck of the woods, that's considered good luck. Perhaps a good omen?

John Aravosis and Joe Sudbay of AmericaBlog are also here. Joe has actually been here for a few days and has been posting great stuff over at the AmericaBlog offshoot AmericaBlogGay. He's got some photos from today's rally and a video as well (go to "Scenes from today's GOTV Rally in Portland" to watch them).

Louise from Maine who blogs for Pam's House Blend and has a personal blog at Louise's Snack Bar was also there! You guessed it! She took pictures and video (click on "'No On 1' Final Rally today in Portland..." to watch). I swiped the code for her video ans posted it above. I hope she doesn't mind! If you see people wearing red shirts or sweaters ut's because people were asked to wear red. has some great pics as well (click on "NO in 1 Rally - Portland")

Thank you guys! Made me feel as if I had been there!

Finally - That last minute urgent call for donations from the "No on 1 / Protect Marriage Equality" campaign? The original ask was for $25K. The haul as of right this moment? 1,340 donors have given $74,550 dollars to the "No on 1" campaign. Here is campaign manager Jesse Connolly giving thanks earlier today (via Adam Bink of Open Left):

Will the added economic muscle ad up to a win tomorrow? I certainly hope so but we are all on pins and needles here.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Pod People take over Maine -- 2 days to go!

UPDATE #2 (11/2/09 at 12:30am) - ALARMING NEW POLL OUT

A new poll is out and the news is not good. Public Policy Polling, which had the 'Yes' and 'No' tied at 48-48 just two weeks ago, has the 'Yes on 1' side leading the 'No on 1' side 51-47.

From the Public Policy Polling press release:
The measure's fate could be determined by the age composition of the electorate on Tuesday. Senior citizens support it by a 59-40 margin while voters under 30 oppose it 51-48. Last year exit polls showed more voters under 30 turning out for the Presidential election than ones over 65 but we expect seniors to turn out at a much higher rate than younger voters this year, as is often the case in off year elections. If the electorate ends up being younger than we anticipate the fight could be even closer.
Pollsters surveyed 1,333 likely voters between yesterday and today and, while the difference is within the margin of error, it does show a trending move towards the 'Yes' side in recent polling. For the complete press release and access to full poll go to Public Policy Polling.

UPDATE #1 (11/1/09 at 11:59pm) - DONATE!

The anti-gay "Yes on 1" campaign sent a message out to supporters today asking for a last minute donation drive to raise $25,000 for a brand new television ad. It would be their last minute push to poison the airwaves and turn the key 'undecided' vote to their side. More than likely, it will feature Don Mendell, a public school counselor who appeared in one of their earlier campaign ads. The amazing Jeremy Hooper, who blogs at Good As You, has a post today on Mr. Mendell, a breakdown on the facts and myths behind the last minute push by "Yes on 1", and a copy of the "Yes on 1" solicitation letter (read "Don, we now are gays in peril, and we're the ones worried about getting decked in the halls").

Our ask? DONATE TO 'NO ON 1': Blabbeando's message tonight is simple. Please help deflect a last minute poison pill from the 'Yes' folks. Please CLICK HERE and donate to the "No on 1" campaign RIGHT NOW! It will help 'No on 1' raise their ad buy power in local media and help them to counter any last minute surprise move by the anti-gay camp.

Original post from earlier tonight:

Today we headed to the "No on 1 / Protect Marriage Equality" campaign's Get Out the Vote headquarters in downtown Portland. It was the last full weekend of door-to-door canvassing before Tuesday's vote and we got there in time for the volunteer debriefing on their experiences in the field.

Teams were separated into "pods" depending on the neighborhood being covered. As they returned to the office, each of the volunteers handed in their canvassing clipboards and sat down for a well-deserved meal. Once again, I was struck by the number of younger people involved, gay and straight alike, as well as the range in ages represented in the room.

When asked if today was their first experience ever volunteering for a voting canvassing effort, approximately half of the volunteers raised their hand. A few volunteers then stood up to share their experiences on the field, as expected, and spoke of meeting people on both sides of the issue. A young woman spoke of having her preconceptions challenged when she knocked on the door of a young married couple in a wealthy suburb who she expected to be an ally, and instead finding out that they would be voting 'Yes' on 'Question 1'; while an older man in a white collar suburb with a truck parked outside enthusiastically told her that he would vote in favor of marriage equality. There were a lot of unanswered knocks and more than a couple of volunteers saying that they met some voters who were fed-up with the constant ads, knocks on the door and telephone calls and couldn't wait for Tuesday to be over - whether or not they were voting 'No on 1'.

As in the last couple of days, I took a few pictures. Accordingly, my "No on 1" campaign photo album has been updated with new pics. You can see the full album here.

Two days to go, folks! Tuesday night comes and that's it! If you can help by calling voters from your own state, please click here now. If you can make a donation, please click here now as well.

As usual, Rex (above) has his latest take as well. For his latest thoughts, click here.