Cleve Jones and LGBT New Mexicans deliver DOMA repeal signatures to Sens. Bingaman and Udall

May 3, 2011 at 6:00 am 12 comments

Update: The Advocate covers the New Mexico delivery and our DOMA campaign.

By Adam Bink

I wrote last week about partnership with ProgressNow New Mexico and Democracy for New Mexico to bring Sens. Bingaman and Udall onboard to support DOMA repeal. We are working one by one to demonstrate to Senators how important it is for them to support equality for same-sex couples.

Yesterday, Cleve Jones went into the Senators’ Albuquerque offices with local LGBT activists to deliver 1,000 messages from New Mexicans to the Senators. Many had voted for, volunteered for, or contributed to their election and would like the same support back. I’ll post video of the delivery later.

Below is a joint release and a link where you can view the messages of New Mexicans asking for equality for them or their friends, family and colleagues.

Courage Campaign



Renowned activist Cleve Jones joins New Mexican families to deliver messages

Albuquerque: Earlier today, renowned LGBT activist Cleve Jones, founder of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, joined New Mexican same-sex couples and activists to deliver over 1,000 messages to the offices of Sens. Bingaman and Udall, demanding that they support Sen. Feinstein’s legislation to repeal the “Defense of Marriage Act”, or DOMA. The messages were gathered jointly by the 700,000 member Courage Campaign, in partnership with its sister organization ProgressNow New Mexico (both are part of the ProgressNow Action Network) and Democracy for New Mexico, a popular state political blog.

“Thousands of LGBT people and straight allies supported Sens. Bingaman and Udall in their political campaigns,” Courage Founder and Chair Rick Jacobs said. “It’s time for both senators to end second class citizenship for gay and lesbian couples who serve in our military, teach our kids, nurse us back to health and live next door, but are barred from Social Security benefits, visas for legally married bi-national couples, survivor benefits in the military and paying their fair share in taxes.”

On April 27, Mary Ellen Broderick and Barb Wold, a lesbian couple living in Albuquerque for the past 18 years and publishers of the Democracy for New Mexico blog, wrote to the three organizations’ members and readers in the state, alerting them that Sens. Bingaman and Udall are not co-sponsors of Sen. Feinstein’s legislation. The legislation, titled the “Respect for Marriage Act”, would repeal DOMA and allow legally married same-sex couples, no matter where they reside, to have access to the over 1,000 federal benefits currently denied to committed same-sex couples. Members and readers were also asked to leave personal messages for the two Senators if they voted, volunteered for, or contributed to their election in the past.

The messages, which were hand-delivered to the two Senate offices today, can be viewed at:

In March, Courage Campaign joined with Sen. Feinstein and Rep. Nadler to introduce the “Respect for Marriage Act,” legislation that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. Both members of Congress penned e-mails to Courage Campaign’s 700,000 members asking them to join the campaign. As of this release, over 53,000 individuals have signed up for the long-term campaign, including volunteer state captains in 30 states. In addition, Courage Campaign successfully targeted and picked up the votes of Sens. Klobuchar (D-MN) and Kohl (D-WI), giving equality advocates the 10 votes they need to pass repeal through the Senate Judiciary Committee. The legislation now has 22 co-sponsors.

Cleve Jones, Senior Advisor to the Courage Campaign, a protégé of Harvey Milk’s as well as founder of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt and the force behind the 2009 National Equality March, was in New Mexico to participate in the New Mexico AIDS Walk when told of the Senators’ position. He quickly rearranged his schedule to join New Mexico activists to deliver the messages and tell Sens. Bingaman and Udall that now is the time to support only one class of citizenship in our nation.

“We need full federal equality in all 50 states, and repealing DOMA is a cornerstone of that goal,” noted Cleve Jones. “Sens. Bingaman and Udall must join the right side of history by demanding equality for their constituents.”

“We moved to New Mexico 18 years ago because we knew its residents and representatives were fair-minded people,” said Mary Ellen and Barb. “We voted for, volunteered for, donated to, and blogged for Sens. Bingaman and Udall for years. Now we’d like the same support back.”

# # #

Courage Campaign is a multi-issue online organizing network that empowers more than 700,000 grassroots and netroots supporters to work for progressive change and full equality in California and across the country. Last year, the Courage Campaign tracked NOM’s “One Man One Woman Summer Marriage Tour” at Through a one-of-a-kind online tool called Testimony: Take A Stand, the Courage Campaign is chronicling the sights, sounds and stories of LGBT families and all who wage a daily struggle against discrimination across America. For more information about Testimony, please visit,

ProgressNow New Mexico is a nonprofit advocacy organization specializing in effective earned media campaigns and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values. Its grassroots efforts are aimed at bringing people together to have a strong voice that creates progress in New Mexico. As a leading multi-issue advocacy organization, ProgressNow New Mexico works directly with the public on progressive actions. This includes holding public officials accountable, training and organizing activists to change their communities, and using cutting-edge online communications tools to support progressive causes.

The Democracy for New Mexico blog has served as an information clearing house for the progressive grassroots since 2004. We seek to provide political news, opinions and information that will help ordinary citizens become informed and active participants in our democracy rather than passive bystanders. Our main goal is to empower people to speak truth to power and advocate actively for progressive change.

Entry filed under: DOMA Repeal.

Prop 8: New briefs in support of plaintiffs’ arguments on standing issue Me, DOMA, and New Mexico

12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sagesse  |  May 3, 2011 at 6:08 am

    Interesting that Courage Campaign and it’s allies are most effective when campaigning to change federal laws. NOM is most effective when spending vast amounts blanketing a state with advertising against equality. NOM doesn’t seem to be able to mobilize nationally (and that’s a good thing).

    • 2. BK  |  May 3, 2011 at 7:50 am

      Then we need to become able to effectively blanket a state with advertising for equality…

      As an aside, I read up on SC Justices Scalia and Thomas, and I nearly… well, I don’t know what. Something bad. But those men frustrate me to no end, and I’ve only known of them for a short time! I can’t imagine the anger others (like who saw them appointed). Grr.

      • 3. Ann S.  |  May 3, 2011 at 10:30 am

        The hearings on Thomas’s appointment were especially interesting galling.

    • 4. adambink  |  May 3, 2011 at 8:56 am

      Yes and no. A lot of our state-based work focuses on California because that’s our home base. We did a tremendous amount of work to keep the Republicans from doing what the NYTimes called a “dirty trick”, dividing up the 2008 electoral votes by congressional district:

      “If voters understand that the initiative is essentially an elaborate dirty trick posing as reform, they are likely to vote against it. But judging by the misleading name of their organization, the initiative’s backers want to fool the public into thinking the change would make elections more fair. They are planning on putting it to a vote in June 2008, an election when there will be few other things on the ballot, and turnout is expected to be extremely low.”

      Which was a state proposal. We also recently succeeded in forcing Blue Shield to put off huge rate hikes for state consumers pending an investigation by the Insurance Commissioner. But a lot of our equality work is on the federal level, yes.

      • 5. Sagesse  |  May 3, 2011 at 7:31 pm

        I admit, I was commenting on your current work, say 2010 and 2011, because that’s what I’m familiar with. I do think Camp Courage in New Hampshire was effective, not just sure why there in particular. It seems that at the state level the legislators are more easily bludgeoned… er…. threatened than at the federal level.

  • 6. Straight for Equality  |  May 3, 2011 at 6:15 am

  • 7. Kathleen  |  May 3, 2011 at 6:44 am

    • 8. Alan E  |  May 3, 2011 at 7:50 am


      • 9. AnonyGrl  |  May 3, 2011 at 7:57 am


  • 10. Phil L  |  May 3, 2011 at 8:42 am

    I’m hoping that these senators come around and that DOMA can be repealed before its “defense” becomes more costly than has already been speculated.

    I’m glad that King and Spalding dropped support of its defense though (despite the fact that it’s still going to be defended in general.)


    Now, on a totally OT note: A new Facebook page has been created. It’s sort of a silly experiment to see if we can get more “likes” than NOM’s page:

  • 11. adambink  |  May 3, 2011 at 8:57 am

    A piece from The Advocate:

  • 12. Ronnie  |  May 3, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Subscribing & sharing……

    From Freedom to Marry, meet Richard & John. They have been together for 61years & hope to be able to marry in New York, the state they have called home for a very long time.



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