tv [untitled] March 29, 2012 4:00pm-4:30pm EDT
mason of personhood usa, who is the lead e put out a press statement comparing himself to susan b. anthony. in her campaign for women's suffrage in south dakota. and like her campaign, that was unpopular at first, but slowly started to gain and slowly started to gain, he will come back and fight for the unborn. and anyone who does this work is very familiar that colorado it's kind of easy to get a ballot initiative on. it's very low-threshold. what they did this year, they rewrote the title. so before mississippi, there's what i like to call personhood classic, which is just the basic language, life begins at conception. life begins at fertilization. and what they found themselves -- because colorado is a little bit more pro choice than mississippi. so what they found themselves in mississippi -- they weren't -- not prepared for was talking about ivf and talking about
birth control. so they decided they were going to start making these hybrids. so they did one and it wasn't one of the most extremes. this is a pretty basic one. it says personhood applies to every human being, regardless of the method of creation. a human being is a member of the species homeo samian at any stage of development. so there was a challenge to the ballot title. and that was lost, so when it was lost, it was appealed to the state supreme court and that was lost. so last week, personhood usa kicked off their petition -- their signature drive at numerous planned parenthood health centers across the state of colorado. so we do expect to see that. we probably won't know until this summer. another one we do expect to see is a public funding ban in oregon. and like florida, this is the basic no public funding for abortion. but unlike florida, oregon is one of the only states that does give public funding for abortion. and this was tried two times
before. in 1978 and in 1986. so this isn't the first time they've seen the fight and they're expecting to see it again. it is backed by oregon right to life, which is well-organized in their state. so we should know in july if we should see that. again, we're unsure what the implications will be for public employees that have insurance if this will cut their care also. so i'm briefly going to go over my watch list. and this is things that have been filed, things that have been moving, but unsure of what the future was going to be. so the first is parental notification in california. this is the fourth time. this was defeated in 2005, 2006 and 2008. they have filed multiple initiatives this year. so when one expires, there's already one that can keep on going. and they've done this up until june. and we expect this because they're not as organized as they were in the past. and they're trying to gain time
to get the funding and the organization to collect signatures. another one is religious liberties in colorado. this was just filed by focus on the family. and this has gained a lot of earned media. and right now they're waiting for the state to approve the title and the language. and i'm assuming when that happens that there will be multiple groups that will be trying to appeal not only to the state title board, but to the state supreme court to try to stop this. another one is personhood in montana. they've tried to put personhood on montana three times. the coalition partners there have always done a very successful decline to sign campaign. they do this around the primary, because in montana, that's usually around the time people are collecting signatures. they can go to polls, talk to people as they're going in and out. so that's always been a strategy that's worked in the past. this year, though, cal zatro, the co founder of personhood
usa, moved to montana last year and has made it his mission to make sure that personhood gets on the ballot in montana. and he actually sometimes is the only person collecting signatures in some places in the state. so we have an eye on that. personhood in nevada. and i'm sure everyone here has seen some press about this. so in the span of months, five separate titles by two separate groups were filed and four were withdrawn in the state of nevada. so what they would be doing -- and first of all, may i back up. the two groups weren't getting along. so one would put out a press release saying we're the true personhood, the other would put out a press release saying no, we're the true personhood. so great. my theory is, okay, great. so they would file. and this is what would happen. someone would go and appeal and try and start the process to make sure this didn't make it on the ballot. what they would do is wait until
that complaint was public, withdraw, and take that complaint to strengthen their language. so after this happened three times, the aclu and the planned parenthood who the state were working together, decided they were no longer going to help the opposition strength of their language. so it took a couple weeks. i think they were in shock and were kind of like, oh, where's the lawsuit? and when that didn't happen, chuck gallagher, who is one of the groups that pushes these initiatives in the state, he actually was a police officer once upon a time, and was called to a clinic to -- someone was blocking access for a patient, and refused to get involved, because of his religious beliefs. he with drew his petition and has thrown of his support bhimd personhood nevada and that was the other group that was the true personhood initiative in the state. so we're waiting to see what signature collection will look like. and the interesting thing about nevada, if this does get on the ballot, and it does pass, they
have to do it again in 2014 for it to become law. personhood in ohio. i think you guys are probably noticing a trend. this was filed again, state challenge to the title lost. again, appeal to the supreme court. last week that appeal was denied. and they have been slowly collecting signatures across the state. the interesting thing about ohio, though, if i'm a registered ohio vetoer and i sign a petition and it's not submitted in 2012, my signature could be used to be submitted at a later date. so they could use 2012 and them being a swing state, to build up their petition signatures. because they have until about july 4th to collect over 385,000 signatures. so we're not sure we'll see it this year. but it could be a possibility for an off year like 2013 or 2015.
personhood in oklahoma. oklahoma is a little bit eye of the personhood storm right now. i'm sure you've all seen the revamping of the personhood bill in their legislature. this did pass the senate overwhelmingly. i think only four people voted against it. and this was during the time of the virginia ultrasound. so it quietly went away, because there was a lot of outrage. and i don't think people in oklahoma wanted that outrage on them too. it's kind of come back. but not only is legislation on march 1st, personhood oklahoma filed a ballot initiative. again, it's personhood classic language, life begins at conception. and they said they will file three. so we're unsure what that looks like yet. we're unsure if this is another nevada situation where they wait until there is a challenge, withdraw, use that challenge to strengthen their language and try again. but they do have a kind of high
threshold for oklahoma for signatures to gather. and a fun fact. rick santorum signed the personhood oklahoma initiative in tulsa a couple weeks ago. and it's being used for earned media and fund-raising by personhood oklahoma. because he is a huge supporter of personhood. personhood oregon. again, basic language. we're kind of sure this isn't going to make the ballot this year. they've tried multiple times, and just to give you a little bit of reference. in 2010, personhood usa tried to get personhood on eight ballots. they only got it on one. so, you know, it's pretty easy to file language for ballot initiatives and pretty easy to get a lot of attention, especially in states that don't usually do ballot initiatives. so it kind of makes a scramble and kind of makes us move. but oregon is one of the places where they filed personhood, but
we don't think we're going to see much. some good news. is that there has been failed attempts this year to get on the 2012 ballot. here's what they tried and what didn't make it. personhood in alaska. application was denied, flat out. personhood in arkansas. they've tried twice in the past month, month and a half, to submit a ballot title in summary for personhood to circulate in the state. both times the attorney general has rejected it overwhelmingly. his first decision was 22 pages long. his second was 18. personhood arkansas has submitted a new ballot title, but they submitted it to a local television station. they have not submitted it to the government yet. and we're pretty sure that, you know, with a 22-page decision and 18-page decision, this attorney general is not leaving a lot of room for this to start circulating in his state. personhood in california has just recently expired. we didn't see any signature collection, and the group who
was circulating it had a press statement right after they submitted their title, saying we're not associated with personhood usa. pers personhood in florida. a couple people in the room may be wondering why i'm bringing up personhood florida. the ballot initiative title for 2012 in florida has expired. in florida i think you need to pay like 10 cents a signature or something to have it submitted to the secretary of state. and they were having fund raising challenges. and i also think signature challenges. so they withdrew the 2012 before it expired and submitted for 2014. so they are fund raising and doing earned media for 2014 but won't be on 2012. and last but not least, stop baby skull crashing and decapitation in north dakota. this was supposed to be a ban on tools used for abortion. and i don't think i need to tell
anyone that the title of this really hurt them. i don't think people are very comfortable with it. so that's my quick and dirty on what the ballot initiatives are. but i do want the to bring up one thing i was thinking about when the other panel was talking about rick santorum and newt gingrich and everyone signed the personhood pledge but mitt romney hasn't. but october of 2011 when mississippi was really starting to pick up steam, he went on the mike huckabee show, and mike huckabee has produced a movie on personhood, is a huge supporter. on septemberth when we lost our appeal, he had a fund racener jackson, mississippi. asked him, will you support a constitutional amendment of personhood on a federal level. and mitt romney said, absolutely. so with that --.
>> thank you, megan. i appreciate your description so much. it's -- what's frightening to know and having been in mississippi and campaigned is how much how many of these personhood initiatives are being promulgated by the most extreme anti abortion leaders in the country. they're not just quote, unquote pro life individuals. these are -- some of them have ties to the army of god, like patrick johnston in ohio and other individuals. the army of god is one of -- if not the most violent anti-abortion extremist organization in the country. individuals linked to bombings, murder, mayhem. unabashedly so. have been involved with the army of god and called -- been proud of that association. and anyway. so thank you for that. and on that happy note, we are now going to go -- i'd like to introduce marietta english who
is here joining us today. marietta is the vice president of the american federation of teachers. she is also -- yay! whew-hoo! teachers, yes. equal access to education, good. she is the president of the baltimore teachers' union. you have so many titles. i tried to pick and choose them. this is a short version. she's also the president of the american federation of teachers in maryland. and she's the past president of metro baltimore alliance of black school educators and a current board member. and i believe, you know, we are so thrilled she could join us today to talk about the anti union initiatives that swept the nation, as well. and to, you know, celebrate her as a labor leader and tireless fighter for fair wages and improved working conditions for teachers throughout the country. thank you. please welcome marietta english.
>> thank you. thank you for this opportunity. there is an anti union movement across this country. i'm not going to talk about the initiatives, but i will talk about some of those things that have happened across this country. the attack on unions which represent women is an attack on women. when wisconsin's governor, scott walker, administration targeted teachers, unions and nurses' unions, they exempted the male-dominated firefighters and police unions. you know, so that was definitely an attack on women. and this policy on attack on women has permeated throughout that -- wisconsin. but what he did was wake up the sleeping giant. because he then woke up all of the women and all of the labor unions who went into wisconsin
and, of course, you know, he now has a recall. and we're waiting to get him out of there. the republicans' attack on teachers' unions and unions representing other pink-collar professions like nurses, health care workers, early childhood educators, home health aides, they're attacking organizations in which women workers have political voice. that's the organization -- we organize in these unions, and have a voice in the workplace. and we also have a voice politically. and these other systems are male-dominated. and i know when i go into a lot of boardrooms, because i do have a lot of titles, most of them are filled with men. we can count the women on hand who sit in those boardrooms.
when we look around education, a lot of the superintendents who run these systems are men. but the actual work is done by women in the classroom. mitt romney tells us that contributions from unions to political campaigns are forms of corrupti corruption. that, they imply, that individuals who organize are corrupt and unpatriotic. oh, my gosh. but when the business banned together and they make huge contributions now, thanks to the supreme court ruling that you can make unlimited amount of contributions, well, that's commerce. that's a way of building business. the political attackers want you to value our voice by calling us names and they do that all the time. in the health care area, it is difficult to organize at least private sector nurses and health
care workers, and it's really harder to organize in public sector also. because these are basically dominated by women. and it's very hard and difficult. such places as oakwood health care in upstate new york where employers have tried to circumvent bargaining rights by giving nurses charge and responsibilities and calling it supervisors. but yet they still work as nurses. and, of course, in teaching, i can't -- i can tell you that for the last few years, teacher unions have been bashed all over this country. teachers have been blamed from -- for everything from why the grass doesn't grow to why children are not achieving. and every time you hear people
like michelle rhee who hadn't taught by two minutes, blame teachers. i can tell you that the -- without teacher unions, we are not the cause of children not achieving. we are not that cause. children -- it is policies that keep children from achieving. of we know the answers. no one ever comes to the teacher and says, what should we do? what policies are agreed? what should you do? we know that early education helps children to achieve. and yet those are not mandated programs. those are funds that get cut right away. those are programs -- we know that children need art, music, phys ed to be a whole child. and yet when the decisions come to be made, let's cut those programs. and then when children don't
achieve, it must be the teacher's fault. it must be the -- it's that old teacher's union that keeps bad teachers in the classroom. teachers unions only want to make sure that everyone have a right to due process. it's not about keeping bad teachers in the classroom. the american federation of teachers has an excellent dynamite president. and she is leading the country -- yes, she is -- give her a hand. in initiatives that will bring together businesses and education to help achieve. we have a program in west virginia where she's brought together the community, businesses, the union. to help turn that community
around. if you talk with the teachers' unions, we will lead you the right way. but they want to blame yourself for all the ills of society. we in baltimore have initiated one of the most innovative contracts in the country where teachers are now being -- have a voice about their own career. how fast they will move and whether or not they move from one pathway to another. given our expertise -- i know i've been teaching for a long time. i could probably teach this paper how to read. but nobody comes and asks us what we do. of there is always a lot of money put into programs and then
the program comes and goes. are there any teachers in the room? you know what i mean. they bring a program in, keep it for a couple days and then say oh, it doesn't work, let's try something different. and then we get blamed when it doesn't work. right now high-stake tests are governing our whole existence. and yet we don't have a part in developing those tests. we're in the maryland state assessment and these 8-year-olds are taking the tests for hours. and it's really, really sad because i can't sit here without having to get up. i wonder if these people sitting in boardrooms making decisions have any childhood studies or have any childhood
understanding. teachers can't do this alone. it takes the whole community to help educate these children. i know i raised two children and my son was in the eighth grade. i thought he would die. i didn't know if he would make it to the ninth grade. but you keep working with him. and now i'm proud to say he's a wonderful teacher. but it takes everybody to do this. it took the school, it took me, it took the community having been involved in activities. but you can't just blame us. and you can't just blame teacher unions. because if you come to us, we have the answer. they like to attack workers on -- who want the to organize, and those workers -- their jobs are undervalued. but what i can say is that the more they're attacked, the more we will rise. thank you.
>> thank you so much, marretta. it reminds me of the co founder and board member and president says. you know, you definitely -- she has the anecdote i think caesar used to say which is that, you know, if you're -- you've got a bad -- a bad man running around threatening things like a dog or a horse, you shake a stick at a twice, because those bees are organized. and i'm totally brutally slaying that tech metaphor. but it's a wonderful example. next i would like to introduce our wonderful final distinguished speaker, ray kerry, who is the executive director of the national gay and
lesbian task force. ray took over in 2008 and has provided some truly visionary leadership for during her tenure, the task force has accomplished many things that are far too many things to list. i too -- one of the biographies i read of the three of you, i had had to pick and choose. but one of them i thought was particularly note worthy was the passage of the lgbt inclusive federal hate crime prevention act, which was a huge victory. yes. defeating many anti lgbt ballot measures across the country. and playing a vital role in getting the united states sen us for the first time to count same-sex couples in the 2010 census, which is pretty massive. we are -- in addition to online leadership academy and many
other innovations. i to leave soon, so i want to make sure we get her up here so pleasey kerry. >> i -- you know, in true women's fashion, i won't rush through, but i do have to pick up my daughter from school. so i thank the teachers for teaching and i actually know she loves a good party. and she is a little activist. so i'll tell her all about to feminist majority. you have been incredible partners in the pursuit of equality. and i know we will continue to work together. and i just want to thank all of you for being part of such an important organization that we at the task force consider to be a sister. so thank you. and finally, before i get into my remarks, i do want to dedicate them tod audreyan rich a poet, i fighter and a feminist.
i'm going to talk about three general things. determination and destiny. love, and voice. first determination and destiny. we, together, as a progressive movement. and i happen to be in an organization that focuses on lgbt issues. but we consider ourselves first to be a progressive organization in how we work on equality and how we work on racial and economic justice. we are determined to win marriage equality nationwide. and we believe that it is our shared destiny to do so. and we have made progress, the number of people who can actually get married in states across the country by adding new york state to the list that has approved marriage equality. so we're pleased about that.
but as i was thinking about spending time wanted -- i want to talk very much about how our movements, which definitely overlap. so i want to make that point. but how our movements -- the feminist movement and lgbt movement are intertwined. our destinies are intertwined. and, in fact, we have much to learn from each other. i've been spending not only my whole life learning from the feminist movement, and my mother is a feminist and my grandmother is a feminist. but also studying what happens to our movements. for example, in 1973, when roe v. wade went through the supreme court, the polling on -- the public polling on whether or not a woman could have an abortion in the first trimester was at 53%. it was at 53%.
i don't need to go through everything that has happened since then in defending roe and defending everything else that has to do with freedom for our own bodies. as many of you know, we have a number of legal cases that are specifically on marriage equality that are barreling towards the supreme court. barreling towards the supreme court. a number of them may get there very soon, within the next couple of years. the polling on marriage right now is at 53%. familiar, hmmm? so it is amazing, right. ten years ago we weren't even close to 53%. but it's a cautionary tale. and as i sit here with you today, and fight on the lines with you, in virginia, where they are taking away public funding for access to health services for women, and in places across the country, 40 years later, after roe went
through the supreme court and we are looking at the same percentage, if we don't do much more as an lgbt movement and as a broader progressive movement to get that number up to talk to our friends and family and get way beyond 53%, i know that we are staring at history repeating itself. and i don't want to repeat that history. federally, we do have to overturn the so-called defense of marriage act. i do want to do a piece of education. and we're working towards that. i could spend lots of wonky time telling you about that, which i'm not going to do. many of you are familiar with it. but we do have to overturn the defense of marriage act, and we're moving in that direction. but i have to take a moment to educate on one point, which is that when we overturn the so-called defense of marriage act, it does not mean that we have access to choose to get married across