Archive for October, 2009

8: The Mormon Proposition Trailer

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

8: The Mormon Proposition, a film by Reed Cowan. View at YouTube.

Learn more about the film at www.mormonproposition.com Read Fred Karger’s article on 8: The Mormon Proposition at the Huffington Post:

8: The Mormon Proposition Will Knock Your Socks Off

By Fred Karger, Founder, Californians Against Hate

Producer Reed Cowan’s amazing new documentary is ready for its close-up.

This could well be the movie of the year. Take a look at the web site, read all about the movie and see who is behind it. You will be even more impressed.

I received a call from Reed earlier this year. He was coming out to San Francisco to film all the activities around the oral arguments being made before the California Supreme Court in San Francisco in the case to overturn Proposition 8.

Having played a very active role in uncovering the massive involvement of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church) in last year’s Prop 8 campaign, Reed asked me to be in his documentary.

I went up to San Francisco on Wednesday, March 4th to be a part of history, and see this filmmaker begin his journey. I met Reed and his partner Greg in front of the Castro Theater at 6:00 pm. That is the spot where the march to City Hall was about to begin on a chilly San Francisco night.

There were thousands and thousands of demonstrators gathering, ready to begin their solemn candlelight vigil to City Hall. We were recreating the famous nighttime march of 30 years ago, right after Harvey Milk was assassinated.

Reed grew up Mormon in Utah, and knows firsthand the inner workings of the Church. He knew that there was an incredible story to tell, and he spent the better part of a year putting every aspect of this documentary together.

All his hard work, and that of so many others who participated in this strong indictment of the Mormon Church and its leaders, will undoubtedly change history.

I have watched this filmmaker every step of the way over the last eight months. I went to Miami for a second interview in April, and this summer, Reed dispatched a film crew to my home for some final questions. He is very thorough.

8: The Mormon Proposition will explain once and for all just how the Mormon Church operates, and how they have led the fight against marriage equality all across the United States since Utah became the first state to ban same-sex marriage in 1995. 29 states have followed Utah’s lead, and the Mormon Church has made sure of that.

The film also goes into great depth about how the Mormon Church has destroyed so many lives and families in its desire to impose its will on others.

Please tell the world about this incredible documentary. It is a film for all to see.

Thank you Reed Cowan and everyone else who gave up so much and worked so hard to make Reed’s dream a reality.

News Alert: Uncovering secrets in Maine

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

so_florida_blade

Uncovering secrets in Maine
Anti-gay group rolls out scare tactics as referendum nears

By Danielle Truszkovsky

ON OCT. 1, the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics & Election Practices met to determine if a complaint filed by Fred Karger of Californians Against Hate against the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) would be investigated. In his complaint, Karger claimed that NOM violated campaign reporting requirements and that the group was actively participating in money laundering. Despite the evidence he submitted, which included NOM emails pertaining to fundraising specifically for Maine while alluding to donor anonymity, the commission’s staff recommended that no investigation be conducted due to lack of supporting evidence.

NOM had failed to disclose even its required IRS 990 filings to the public so it is not surprising that the evidence Karger possessed was limited. In my last Blade column published Sept. 18 entitled, “Follow the money: Why the federal gov’t must investigate NOM’s financial practices,” I detailed how the group has habitually hidden and revised its records. Uncovering NOM’s secrets has been the focus of my work for many months and as the title of my last column implies, I do believe an investigation into the group is warranted.

So I flew to Maine specifically to attend this hearing but due to circumstances beyond my control, I missed the first portion of the proceedings. I arrived just in time to hear the testimony of NOM Executive Director, Brian Brown, and a member of his legal team, Barry Bostrom.

Both Bostrom and Brown lavished praise on the staff and the Commission for their professionalism. They insinuated that the entire proceeding was a waste of everyone’s time and it was obvious that Brown had thought he had already won. At that point, most of us in the audience believed NOM had won as well — it is rare that a Commission overrules a staff recommendation.

Then Brown made an egregious error, stating: “Mr. Karger refers to the fact that we refused to disclose our financial records … this is simply not the case. We have given our 990s to journalists. They are now publicly available — they’re available on our web site and we did that because we got so many calls and people showing up at the office asking for them that it became quite difficult to work.”

Apparently, Brown had no idea I had entered the room. If he had, perhaps he would have reconsidered that statement because I am one of only two journalists who showed up at NOM’s office requesting 990s — I know this because Brown told me so in person when I interviewed him on Sept. 1. (The other was the Blade’s Lou Chibbaro Jr.)

IRS regulations require charities to release the documents within 24 hours of an in-person request. Brown did not release the documents to me — ever. And his reference to the documents “now [being] publicly available” was laughable because popular blogger ChinoBlanco revealed that NOM had secretly released the 990s on the web within days of the Maine hearing, presumably to feign compliance in front of the Commission.

Brown went on to attack Karger’s efforts and made false claims against the gay civil rights movement in general. Although it was never my intention to speak at this hearing, by the time Brown was finished, I simply couldn’t remain silent and allow his false statements to go uncontested.

ALTHOUGH THE COMMISSION does not allow public questioning of witnesses, they did grant me a few moments to speak. Here’s what I said:

“My name is Danielle Truszkovsky … I’m a political columnist … one of the journalists who have visited the NOM offices to request the 990s. It’s been an ongoing process attempting to obtain the records. I know that the group Californians Against Hate sent an initial request in March and (NOM) had 30 days to release the records, which they did not do and as far as I know, they have still not sent the records to Californians Against Hate.

“I also personally visited their ‘national headquarters’ in Princeton three times to make an in-person request and no one was ever available at that office — it’s basically a barren, empty space. I did speak with Brian [Brown] at his Washington, D.C., office and they did not have the returns available at that point.”
I went on to explain that NOM has also amended its 2007 return numerous times even though it is extremely rare for charitable organizations to do so. I quoted an e-mail … from NOM to its supporters in which the group “takes credit” for the signature gathering and fundraising efforts in Maine. This is a direct violation of the campaign laws in Maine that require groups that fund these efforts to register as PACs (Political Action Committees) or BQCs (Ballot Questioning Committees). My testimony ended with, “Now, I ask, how is it possible that this group [NOM] is the largest contributor to Stand for Marriage Maine at $160,000 but they are the only one who is not registered as a PAC or BQC?”

BROWN AND BOSTROM were then given the opportunity to speak again and when the pair finished, the Commission had some very interesting questions about NOM’s activities and attempts to conceal its records from the public. Brown admitted that NOM released its 990s on the web only within the past week. It was also revealed that after NOM donated its initial $160,000, the group has since poured hundreds of thousands more into Maine. As they scrambled to defend their activity in Maine, their story seemed to simply fall apart.

Upon completion of the discussion, the Commission voted 3-2 to conduct an investigation into the National Organization for Marriage.

Prior to the hearing, Brian Brown submitted a sworn affidavit, which states, “NOM does not accept donations designated for the Maine referendum” and “NOM has not made expenditures exceeding $5,000 for the purpose of initiating or promoting the people’s veto referendum in Maine, other than by contribution to Stand for Marriage Maine PAC.” If it is determined that NOM did violate any of the points listed in the affidavit, Brown could face perjury charges.

It will be interesting to see what developments occur next. It is safe to assume that NOM will do everything in its financial power to prevent its records from being examined. In California, NOM lodged a lawsuit against the secretary of state, the attorney general and the five commissioners of the California Fair Political Practices Commission for allowing an investigation into the group. NOM has also initiated litigation in California that attempts to remove all disclosure of contributors to political initiatives and campaigns. Rather than comply with state and federal regulations, it seems NOM and its backers prefer to use their massive war chest to conceal records and intimidate the officials who seek to protect the citizens they represent. Will NOM resort to the same desperate scare-tactics in Maine?

On Oct. 1, the Maine Commission on Ethics & Governmental Practices made a courageous decision to stand up for fairness. This, however, is just one small victory. On Nov. 3, the citizens of Maine will decide if their gay and straight neighbors deserve the same civil rights. For more information on protecting equality in Maine, visit the No on 1 campaign www.mainefreedomtomarry.com.

NEWS From Maine to California and the World

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

News Coverage #26

San Francisco Examiner – Maine

Portland Press Herald – Kennebec Journal

The Advocate

New York Times – Scott James Column

Associated Press – Oaks Speech

WBZ CBS – Maine Finance Reports

KGTV – San Diego

Ohio Chrocicle

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

On Top Magazine

Edge Boston

Mike Tidmus – Subpoena

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

On Being Notorious

Mike Tidmus – Subpoena

Planet Transgender

Frontiers IN LA

People for the American Way

Personal Money Store

San Diego News Network

Tips Q

Mike Tidmus – Manchester Boycott

LGBT News

Pam’s House Blend

TPM

Gay Agenda

On Top Magazine — Maine

Maybe It’s Just Me

NG Blog

Arkansas Times

GLT – Bragman Commentary

Gay Marriage Watch

NG blog

Queerty

Gay News Bits

Joe My God

On Being Notorius

Bilerico Alex Blaze Radio Interview

America Blog – Maine

WGME – TV

WGME TV – CBS

Fox Maine

Bangor Daily News

Pam’s House Blend – Maine

Bureau News

KRSO Sonoma

Bay Windows

Bangor Daily News

MPBN News Radio Maine

Bangor Daily News Longer Story

WBZ Boston

Pink News UK

New Civil Rights Movement

Mike Tidmus Maine

MPBN

Kennebec Journal Morning Sentinel

The Celebrity Cafe

Tips-Q

She Wired

Daily Variety

Gay Agenda

America Blog

Queerty

LGBTPOV Blog

Towleroad

Ameriqueer

Queerty

Joe My God

Morning Sentinel

Mike Tidmus – NOM Law Suit

Article VI Blog

Pam’s House Blend

New University

Nathan Shumate

Live Journal

The Examiner

Mike Tidmus

KFSM TV – Maine Law Suit

South Florida Blade

Gay News Bits

Gay Agenda

Bangor Daily News

LGBT POV

MPBN News

Tips Q