My Story

Growing up in conservative West Michigan, I watched lesbian and gay friends and family members struggle to be accepted and be treated equally. There are gains and losses in this fight every day, and it is vital for LGBT individuals and their straight allies to stand up and to pay attention.

03 March 2011

Equality Update-Feb. 2011

Obviously, the top story is what I called a leap forward—the Obama Administration is no longer defending the Defense of Marriage Act.

But there have been many other changes in the fight for equality since the last time I reported steps forward and backward.

On the DOMA Front…

Obama is being heavily criticized by Republicans for the move to stop defending the Defense Of Marriage Act. Surprise, surprise. Again, shouldn’t marriage equality be a nonpartisan issue?
                                                 (been there, discussed that).

House Speaker John Boehner predicts that House Republicans will defend DOMA with legislation.

Rep. Jerry Nadler, Democrat from New York, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Democrat from California, have said they will introduce bills that would repeal DOMA.

Since the initial announcement, there  has been much discussion on what dropping the defense of DOMA means. See my initial reaction hereFor some expert opinion, see here and here.

Other Marriage Equality Updates

The Wyoming Senate has decided not to ban the recognition of out-of-state gay and lesbian marriages.

The Maryland Senate has voted to give same-sex couples the right to marry. The bill’s support in the House of Delegates is uncertain. Maryland would be the sixth state to offer same-sex marriage. 

Iowa, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, and New Hampshire are the other five.
 The Montana Senate has voted to legalize “homosexual activity.”

 Montana State Sen. Christine Kaufmann, an out lesbian:

 "For 30 years the words in this code have aligned me with people who molest animals. And what's my crime, of course? My family looks a little different than yours. For the past 20 years I have made a family with another woman, we have been happy, productive members of society and I'm not so much different than people in your communities."

No, it’s not marriage. But it’s something, right?

Still more American connections to Uganda and their "Kill the Gays Bill" (see here). An American teen abstinence group, with ties to the Ugandan pastor Martin Ssempa
(advocating for a death penalty for
                                                            homosexuality), had received   
                                                            $6.5 million in federal funds.

A Bill has been introduced in North Carolina that would ban any legal union except marriage.

The Hawaiian civil union bill was signed into law by Gov. Abercrombie (Democrat). Hawaii is essentially the seventh state to give lesbians and gays marriage equivalent rights.

Other Updates:

Tennessee State Senator Stacey Campfield and Representative Bill Dunn (both Republicans) have proposed a bill to ban discussion of any sexual orientation other than heterosexuality.

                                                       It’s being called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill:

“No public elementary or middle school shall provide any instruction or material that discusses sexual orientation other than heterosexuality.”

A transgendered woman is running for mayor in Amarillo, Texas.

The White House has appointed Jeremy Bernard as the first openly gay social secretary.

The difficult issue of bathroom use by transgendered individuals is up for debate in Maine. Basically, it seems like there is an argument over who gets to decide who gets to use what bathroom. There are the courts, the Maine Human Rights Commission, and then there’s the legislature. I’m not sure where this one is going to end up. Who should have control over what bathroom is used? Would gender neutral bathrooms solve this problem, or create an "other" category? Thoughts?

Whew! So much going on! And there's more every day. Here's to hoping I can keep up with it. 

Here's a comic for thought to end an epically long post.

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