Help Us Hear Wedding Bells

We are asking you, our friends and neighbors, gay and straight, for your help.

As many of you have heard, Governor Paterson has proposed that New York State legalize same-sex marriage. This is wonderful news, except that the State Senate is several votes short of passage. We ask you to please contact our representatives to seek their support.

Polls show that a majority of voters in New York State, including in Eastern Suffolk County (our district), now support equal marriage rights. However our representatives have fallen behind the voters.

Senator Ken LaValle

Senator LaValle has voted against our marriages before. We are hoping he will have a change of heart. We are asking you to please:

1. Join us for a visit to Ken LaValle’s office in Selden on Thursday May 21st at 3PM; and / or

2. Contact Senator LaValle and ask him to support marriage equality.

Here is Senator LaValle’s contact information:

State Senator Ken LaValle

631 696 6900

518 455 3121

I have added a brief note at the end of this message that you can copy if you can’t think of what to say. Or you could click on the following link at New York State Pride Agenda:

Assemblyman Fred Thiele

Our Assemblyman Fred Thiele did indeed have a change of heart. Fred voted against our marriages last time but, after some reflection, has changed his mind: He has signed on as a co-sponsor for the upcoming vote!

Although the State Assembly is already on board, Fred’s support has very important symbolic value and helps with the momentum. Thank you Fred!

If you can, please:

1. Join us for a visit to Fred Thiele’s office in Bridgehampton on Friday May 15th at 10AM to congratulate Fred, thank him for his support, and to strategize on how to move forward; and / or

2. Contact Fred and thank him for his support. He will certainly be getting lots of negative responses, too, so he needs to hear from you!

Fred’s contact information:

State Assemblyman Fred Thiele

631 537 2583

If you have any doubts on whether your voice matters, here is quote from a Vermont state senator on his decision to change his vote to support marriage:

Representative Robert South, a freshman from a conservative district, said he reversed his position after 228 of his constituents reached out and urged him to support the override, compared with 198 who urged him to oppose it.

When you speak with others about marriage, please clarify that same-sex couples are not asking to have our marriages sanctified by any religious organization. We are rather seeking equal civil rights for a civil marriage for our family.

Marriage includes over 1,000 rights and responsibilities that we are denied, from the financially annoying, such as me having to pay taxes on Stuart’s health insurance, to the terrifying, such as never being sure whether Southampton Hospital would let me in should something happen to him.

You can imagine how not having our marriage recognized affects our sense of security, and that of our kids.

For a moving view into how California couples responded to the vote which undid marriage rights there, please take a look at this:

Break My Heart Video:

Let’s hope New York State values its citizens more.

We really appreciate your help.

We are hoping to be able to legally marry right here in New York State within the next two years, so that we can celebrate our thirty years together (!), in spring 2011, with a wedding! Wouldn’t that be grand?

Thanks again.




Sample note (inspired by Pride Agenda):


Dear Senator LaValle,

Governor Paterson has recently introduced a bill to secure marriage rights for same-sex couples. As your constituent, I urge you to support the marriage equality bill and vote for it when it comes to the floor.

All New York couples and families deserve the 1,324 rights and responsibilities that come with marriage in New York State. Loving same-sex couples and their children should not be treated as second-class citizens by being denied access to the protections of marriage.

I very much hope you will support the Governor's marriage equality bill. I would appreciate it if you would respond to my concerns on this issue. Thank you.



UPDATE: May 13

The marriage bill (A.7732/O'Donnell)(S.4401/Duane) to provide equal access to marriage for same-sex couples has just passed the State Assembly with bipartisan support. This means that once again, the Assembly has stood on the side of equality and justice for the LGBT community.

Now, we need the State Senate to act!

Week of May 7: Click Here for UPDATES

Who can protest and does not is an accomplice in the act _The Talmud

Southampton Town Board: Please Consider Graves Protection Law

Help Us Hear Wedding Bells - a note from Ken Dorph

Health Care in India: A Human Right? Hazel Kahan on WPKN/WPKM Thursday at Noon

Health Care Here: Q & A on Single Payer System

Bailout for East End Land Preservation?

Long Island Wins: Statement on Immigration Legislation in Congress

Join the campaign for Rights for Black Farmers

Peace and Justice Calendar: Vigil for Marcelo Lucero in Patchogue May 8 - Civil Rights Forum in Riverhead May 14

Suffolk Peace Vigils

Casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan

Democracy Now!

The independent news hour with Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez:
on Riverhead/Southampton/Southold/Shelter Island
Channel 20:

Note: Channels 20 (public access) and 22 (government meetings) now require a digital capable TV or converter box and have been removed from the basic cable service in violation of contracts with the east end towns. Call your Town Council members to find out what they are doing about this.

Starting April 1 - new schedule for Democracy Now!

Monday 6:30 am

Tuesday 6 PM

Wednesday 8 PM

Thursday 10 PM

Friday 6:30 am

Saturday - 10 PM

Also on WUSB 90.1 FM 5 PM Mon-Friday and East Hampton LTV Ch 20


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Health Care in India: A Human Right?

Tidings from Hazel Kahan

Thursday, May 7 at 12:00 Noon on
WPKN 89.5 FM, WPKM 88.7 FM and streaming audio on

In her next monthly program, Healthcare as a human rights issue, Hazel Kahan of Mattituck brings tidings from Dr. Sara Battacharjee, a physician specializing in community medicine, in South India.
"Like most people, it would not have occurred to me to look to India for solutions to our country s deeply flawed healthcare system until I listened to Dr. Sara's vision and saw her work in action in the slums and villages. I came away enormously inspired and eager to share what I learned with everyone I know."
Tidings from Hazel Kahan can be heard on the first Thursday of every month.

Health Care Here: Q & A on Single Payer Plan

May 5, 2009

Dear friends, relations, neighbors, acquaintances:

If I had the energy, I would write a letter to each of you separately. But I am old and tired; I can’t manage that.

Those of you who know me well know that I have for a long time paid attention to what is going on in the world. Not much of it has made me happy.

But recently I learned of something--a bill in Congress--that is the best news I have heard since the days of FDR. It is HR676, Expanded and Improved Medicare for All. It is a single-payer health care bill, the National Health Insurance Act, sponsored by John Conyers and co-sponsored by 75 others. It will cover every resident of the U.S.

It emphasizes preventive care, includes in-patient and out-patient , emergency, long-term and palliative care . It provides dental care, mental health services, vision care, chiropractic service, podiatric care, substance abuse treatment and prescription drug coverage.

In these days, when health care is the business of investors--of HMOs and PPOs whose single pursuit is profit--we need a different system. Now is the moment to reach for it.

I want to tell you about HR 676. I ask that you read on, and that you act. You may want to skim, choose what to read and what to skip. But you will get the idea. When you have understood what is at issue, please write your members of Congress. And please tell everyone you know about this, as I am telling you

You will ask:What does single-payer mean? Will it be another big bureaucracy?How will HR 676 work? Can we afford it? Who will pay for it? How?Why include everyone? Can we combine it with for-profit plans?Does HR 676 have a chance of passage in Congress? What about similar bills (HR1200, S703) and not so similar proposals?

The answers to these questions, and more, will be found at the web site of Physician for a National Health Program. The text of the bill can be found on google.

Type in HR 676.

To save you time, I offer some short answers :

What does single payer mean?It means that the government sets aside the taxes it collects for this purpose and pays the bills. The taxes, in this case are a 2% income tax and a 7% payroll tax.
Will it be another big bureaucracy?No. The big one is the one we have now, with multiple duplicating and fragmented entities--investors and their HMOs/PPOs.

How will HR676 work?We get an identification card, show it to our doctors, hospitals, etc. We are not billed, have no co-pays or deductibles.

Can we afford it? Who will pay for it?It will cost less, and we will pay less, than what we pay now. We all--except the poor-- pay:2% of income, 7% of payroll.

Is it “socialized medicine” ?No. That term means that the government owns the hospitals and employs the doctors. Here the doctors and hospitals are independent.
Why include everyone?Because that is the most efficient, lowest-cost way. And morally right. 22,000 of us die each year for want of health care.

Can we combine a single payer plan with for-profit plans?No. When we put everyone in one group, the costs are as low as they can be. When we have for-profit investors alongside, they will--as they have done--siphon off the low-cost young and healthy.
Does this bill have a chance of passage in Congress? It now has 75 co-sponsors in the House. It has wide public support: physicians, nurses, unions, the NAACP, the League of Women Voters, others.

What about the other proposals before Congress?In the Senate, Bernie Sanders has introduced a single-payer bill that stresses rural health centers and family doctor training (S703). In the House, Jim McDermott has introduced a bill similar to it (HR1200). Max Baucus and Ted Kennedy are meeting with people to put together a bill; but the people they are talking to are for-profits. S703 and HR 1200 also need our support.

MORE QUESTIONS? Please write to me, since I have done some reading. Or see the bill and PNHP.You may want to know what will happen to Medicare and Medicaid, VA hospitals, US employees’plans; what will happen to investors in HMOs, to their facilities and employees; how the US subsidizes health care today; how we got so stuck in the present system.

Bailout for East End Land ?

April 25, 2009

Congressman Tim Bishop
137 Hampton Road
Southampton, New York, 11968

Dear Congressman Bishop:

The Community Preservation Funds of the five east end towns are
shrinking as the real estate market is dying. But building has not
stopped and we will lose even more open space when the economy

We could take advantage of the comparative lull in the destruction
of our open space if we can get some Federal funds to allow the
towns to buy land.

Also there are numerous parcels which are known to be the
sites of native and colonial era burial grounds. For example:
In Southampton the town was not able to buy all of the Romeo
property in the Shinnecock Hills. Limitations in the amount
of a single purchase from the the Community Preservation Fund
was a factor. The owner is now paving a portion of the land
and has or will soon offer the property for sale as building lots ...
building over a cemetery! This should stop.

Can you propose legislation what would get some of the
Federal stimulus funds to help us 'Save What's Left"?

Please let me know what your thoughts are on this.

Anthony Ernst

During a meeting on environmental legislation in Cutchogue on April 25, Mr. Bishop expressed interest in this "Bailout for East End Land" proposal. Those interested are invited to write
in support. The congressman can be contacted through his web site.