After posting this entry, I received updates from LA and NY based groups - GALAS and AGLA NY, as per in comments section below. Although this information was not previously publicised, GALAS was active during pre-voting period to ensure defeat of the Proposition 8; and AGLA NY participated in a number of post-voting protest rallies.
GALAS: “GALAS helped sponsor a fundraiser on October 23rd along with Club Nur, MJ's Bar and a few others raising almost $7000. We also submitted letters/articles to the Glendale Newspress, Armenian Reporter, Asbarez, and Pasadena Star News. The Armenian Reporter printed an open letter from GALAS directed to the Armenian Community to vote No on Proposition 8.
Letters (1 November, Armenian Reporter)Significant attempts were made to get the others printed as well.
Vote "No" on Proposition 8 in California: The Armenian thing to do
On November 4, Californians will be asked whether they want to insert within their state constitution a ban on marriage for a portion of the state's population. If passed, Proposition 8 will take away a fundamental right that the California Supreme Court confirmed in May of this year: the right of any person to marry another person of his or her choosing. No matter what you feel about gays or lesbians, it is wrong to deny a group of people a right that is so cherished by society. It is also unfair: On the one hand, gay people are sometimes accused of being promiscuous; on the other hand, when they want to form a committed, monogamous, long-lasting relationship, they are told that they cannot protect that relationship within the framework of civil marriage. And remember, the court's decision said nothing about whether churches or other religious institutions would have to recognize gay marriage. Prop. 8 has nothing to do with religion. It has nothing to do with gay marriage being "taught" to children in schools, which will not happen. And nobody is going to get sued over their personal views on homosexuality. All these are lies that the opponents of gay marriage are spreading to scare Californians into voting in favor of the marriage ban. In fact, the opponents of gay marriage have gone even as far as to call people who are in favor of gay marriage and tell them to vote "yes" (which is the wrong way to vote if you support equal marriage rights). As Armenians, haven't we experienced firsthand what it means to be discriminated against? As Armenians, shouldn't we be promoting equality and justice for all people, regardless of our personal views of those people? As Armenians, we should not judge other people who have done nothing wrong, and we certainly should not use our vote to discriminate against them. This has everything to do with fairness and justice. On November 4, please vote no on Proposition 8.
Very truly yours,
Gay and Lesbian Armenian Society of Los Angeles (GALAS)
We've had politically oriented meetings for the last three months and our last meeting was held in conjunction with The LA Gay and Lesbian centers Voting Day party at the Henry Fonda Theater.
A major outreach/awareness program is in the works with AGLA of New York to reach out to the entire Armenian American Community.”
AGLA NY: In the meantime, AGLA NY posted the following entry:
“This past week has been full of highs and lows for LGBT Armenian Americans. [...]***
It is particularly disheartening that the heavily Armenian populated counties of Fresno and Los Angeles both voted to pass Prop 8 which seeks to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry.
As a sign of solidarity with our LGBT brothers and sisters in California and recognizing that LGBT rights are universal rights, AGLA NY will be participating in at least 2 Prop 8 protests in NYC this week: one in front of the Mormon Temple on the UWS this Wednesday; and the second at City Hall on Saturday.
Please join us as we make our voices heard to those who would challenge the rights of LGBT people to marry."
"Proposition 8 eliminates equal rights for one segment of the population while continuing to grant that right to others," said Maria Armoudian, an Armenian-American radio personality on KPFK in Los Angeles. "We Armenians have had to endure a century of discrimination. Let us now stand together calling for an end to discrimination for all people. Vote NO on Prop 8."
30 October 2008
It’s been almost a week that historic presidential elections in the US were accompanied by disappointing voting results in California effectively banning recently introduced historic same-sex marriage ruling there.
There are protests currently going on in California, elsewhere in the US, and it seems that gay rights movement re-gaining its seemingly lost momentum.
It’s, therefore, strange and disappointing that Armenian American LGBT groups keep silent over these issues. We have at least 4 groups in the US – in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Boston. Groups in LA and NY are more advanced in terms of structural organisation.
No doubts, many individual gay (and straight) Armenians are part of the process. It is only natural to expect that organisations that are supposed to represent and support them will voice their position, or even better, get involved in more active participation, being part of the process.
Disappointingly, so far, there is no even single statement issued by Armenian LGBT groups in the US.