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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

EQUALITY - WHAT MATTERS: The latest in the LGBT rights movement

(This update is for members of the media and interested parties following the gay-rights movement.  It is produced by Equality Matters, a new campaign for full LGBT equality.)

DOMA REPEAL BILL TO BE INTRODUCED TOMORROW (via advisory) - “On Wednesday, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, and Representatives Barney Frank (D-MA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jared Polis (D-CO), David Cicilline (D-RI), and John Conyers (D-MI), the ranking Judiciary Democrat, will announce the re-introduction of the Respect for Marriage Act in the House.  This legislation would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a 1996 law which discriminates against lawfully married gay and lesbian couples.”

SENATE SIDE OF THE HILL (via email) - “Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand will hold a press conference at 2 p.m. on Wednesday in Washington to announce that, along with her Democratic colleagues Senators Feinstein (CA) and Leahy (VT), she will be introducing legislation to finally and fully repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  Senator Gillibrand will be standing with a New York couple who face great complications in their daily lives due to the existence of DOMA and will speak to specific hardships faced by gay couples and families daily that would be eliminated by DOMA repeal.”
NEW POLLING RELEASED BY HRC - Voters favor federal benefits for married same-sex couples – “American voters oppose the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the law that forbids the federal government from recognizing legally married same-sex couples, as well as efforts by the House Republican leadership to intervene in court cases defending the law… Overall, voters say they oppose the Defense of Marriage Act – 51 percent oppose the law and 34 percent favor it.  Independent voters, who were instrumental in the Republican House takeover, oppose this law by a 52 percent to 34 percent margin.”
NEW THIS AFTERNOON (via media release) – “Congressman Barney Frank, Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, today introduced an amendment in the Committee which would have the effect of pressuring countries which persecute people on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or religious belief.  Although most votes in the committee have broken along party lines, Congressman Frank’s amendment passed the Committee with near-unanimous support.”
SENATE TO MEET TOMORROW ON OPENLY GAY NOMINEE - Wash Blade’s Chris Johnson: “A Senate hearing has been scheduled on Wednesday for a judicial nominee who, if confirmed, could become the first openly gay male to sit on the federal bench.”  Cont. reading:

WHAT HAPPENED IN MARYLAND - Delegates Downplay Struggle of LGBT Americans - By Carlos Maza: “During the bill’s final floor debate, some opponents of marriage equality attempted to draw a distinction between the fight for equality embodied by the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s and the current struggle for full LGBT equality.” Cont. reading:
WASH POST EDITORIAL BOARD - Lessons from loss in Maryland's gay-marriage battle - “It's probably a pipe dream to hope for stiff-spined legislators who take principled stands on issues and stick to them, even at peril to their reelection prospects. Advocates now seem to believe that the better strategy is to cultivate grass-roots support, perhaps by means of a more aggressive and better-targeted PR campaign than they have conducted so far. They say they'll try again for legislation in Annapolis next year. Here's hoping they prevail.”
OBAMA AND RELIGION - Where will he stand on same-sex marriage in 2012? By Kerry Eleveld: …John Green, a political scientist at University of Akron and senior adviser at the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life, says he “believes that a religious rationale for denying equal marriage rights will be a much tougher sell for moderate-to-progressive candidates in 2012. ‘God is in the mix -- that kind of argument is harder to make with this volatility,’ he explains. ‘Part of it is because public opinion is changing, but there are also many people who support progressive causes for traditional religious reasons -- whether it's a matter of social justice or caring for the poor or caring for their neighbor.’  Cont. reading:

2012 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE TIM PAWLENTY - I won't ‘ever be at the point’ to support marriage equality; watch the full interview:

YOUNG POLITICAL OPERATIVES AND THE ANTI-GAY CANDIDATES THEY WORK FOR - Huff Post’s Sam Stein: “It's become a political truism to say that there is a generational divide with respect to gay rights, as polling data bears out the fact that younger voters, even conservatives, are far more in favor of same-sex marriage than their elders. But as the 2012 election, particularly the Republican presidential primary, takes shape, that divide -- even between some presumptive candidates and their younger staffers -- has been drawn more sharply into focus.”
WHITE HOUSE ANTI-BULLYING CONFERENCE - By Tom Allison: “President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama on Thursday attended the kickoff of the White House Conference on Bullying Prevention.  ‘A third of middle school and high school students have reported being bullied during the school year,’ President Obama said from the East Room of the White House. At the conference, the administration announced the launch of, an initiative that acknowledges that LGBT people may be at a higher risk of bullying and provides resources for LGBT victims.” Cont. reading:

WATCH THE CONFERENCE ONLINE (via The White House blog) -

TRANS DISCRIMINATION AND ROTC (via The Brown Daily Herald) - By Maddy Jennewein: “In the current debate ove r the potential return of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps to campus, much attention has been given to economic, administrative and militaristic concerns. But little attention has been paid to the rampant discrimination within the military against transgender people. Cont. reading:

WEDNESDAY ON WALL STREET - Inaugural LGBT Leadership Summit “Out on the Street” will be the first-ever annual LGBT Leadership Summit for the Wall Street community, by the Wall Street community.  Deutsche Bank will host the inaugural summit which will focus on two primary areas: Wall Street as an LGBT workplace of choice and leveraging LGBT diversity to drive business. Learn more:

WOLFSON V. SPRIGG (via Towleroad) - Freedom to Marry's Evan Wolfson and designated hate group Family Research Council's Peter Sprigg debate John Boehner's announcement that the House will defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court.  Watch:

NOM’S GALLAGHER KEEPS SPINNING - “Maggie Gallagher, chairwoman for the National Organization for Marriage, has spent the last several weeks attempting to spin the Obama administration's decision not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court as a victory for anti-gay groups.” Cont. reading:



Trevor Thomas
Director of Programs
Equality Matters
202.772.0110 (o) 616.430.2030 (c)

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