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2010 legislative season marked by an
increase in anti-bullying legislation
WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, today released a comprehensive state-by-state report detailing LGBT-related legislation in 2010 and an outlook for 2011. The report indicates that the majority of pro-LGBT legislation came in the form of anti-bullying legislation. The report also details expectations for 2011 with an expectation of an increase in LGBT-related legislation in the year ahead. To view the report online, including interactive maps of current state law, visit: www.hrc.org/StateToState2010.
“Faced head-on with the issue of bullying in our schools, many states attempted to address the growing problem yet much work remains to be done,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “With the 2011 state legislative sessions underway, we expect an increase in both pro- and anti-LGBT legislation and we will continue to work closely with state LGBT groups and allies in the fight for equality in communities everywhere.”
Highlights of the report include:
* Marriage equality: Marriage equality took effect in both New Hampshire and the District of Columbia in 2010, while several state legislatures battled back proposals to amend state constitutions to prohibit same-sex couples from marrying. The Maryland attorney general issued an advisory opinion allowing the state to recognize out-of-jurisdiction same-sex marriages. In this election year, most states shied away from marriage legislation.
* Relationship Recognition: Governors played an instrumental part in both moving relationship recognition forward and in stymieing progress. The legislatures in both Illinois and Hawaii passed civil union bills, but Hawaii’s governor vetoed the legislation. Colorado and New York added to the number of benefits available to same-sex couples.
* Schools and Anti-LGBT Bullying: Bills addressing bullying, harassment and discrimination faced by students made more progress than any other legislation with a direct impact on the lives of LGBT people. Recognizing the particular vulnerability of students subjected to harassment, state legislatures across the country adopted anti-bullying bills. The new laws vary widely and not all provide enumerated protections, though all make substantial improvements on the prior laws.
* Adoption: While Courts in two states struck down discriminatory laws that had made it nearly impossible for gay and lesbian parents to adopt, and a new law in New York secured the rights of LGBT parents, anti-equality legislators in several states have introduced discriminatory bills that would attack the rights of all unmarried parents in both adoption and foster care. A new law in New York secured the rights of LGBT parents as equality advocates continued to beat back discriminatory legislation in several states.