Know Thy Neighbor

Posted by Censor Librorum on May 29, 2007 | Categories: Lesbian in a Catholic Sort of Way takes us back to our good ‘ole Puritan days – public shaming! I wonder how many people would endorse “Yes! Let’s discriminate!” petitions if they knew their friends, co-workers and neighbors could read about it online. But, even more importantly, KnowThyNeighbor makes the point real change doesn’t start with lobbyists, it starts with people in neighborhoods and families talking about things.

Here’s more about them – was created in the fall of 2005 in response to an initiative petition to ban same-sex marriage in Massachusetts. It was the brainchild of Tom Lang, a gay married man, and Aaron Toleos, a straight married man.

Tom and Aaron saw the petition as an act of violence against the gay community and was their way to draw attention to the issue and provide a platform for gay activism at a very grassroots level.

In December of 2005, published the names of all 148,000+ petition signers and altered the dynamic of the petition process in several important ways:

1.Anti-gay marriage activists and supporters lost their veil of anonymity. believes that citizens who sponsor an amendment to take people’s rights should never be allowed to do so under the cover of darkness.

2.Gay citizens from all across Massachusetts were inspired to speak out in defense of their equal rights. Finding the names of friends, neighbors, family, co-workers, etc…helped trigger many into a state of activism. Uncomfortable but desperately needed conversations continue to take place every day as a result.

3.Putting the names online led to the discovery of rampant fraud in the signature collection process. Both civil and criminal investigators have been assigned by the Attorney General.

The GLBT leadership often lets fundraising and legislative lobbying efforts take precedence over grassroots, neighbor-to-neighbor advocacy. But a face-to-face conversation with someone you know can sometimes be the most powerful agent of change. exists to make sure those conversations happen!

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