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Tuesday, April 12, 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 campaign for full LGBT equality.)
U.S. MARRIAGE BAN UNDER ATTACK (via AP) - “These are frustrating, tantalizing days for many of the same-sex couples who seized the chance to marry in recent years. The law that prohibits federal recognition of their unions in under assault in the courts. The Obama administration has repudiated it and taken piecemeal steps to weaken its effects. Yet for now, the Defense of Marriage Act remains very much in force — provoking anger, impatience and confusion among gay couples.”

NEW POLL ON NEW YORK MARRIAGE (via HRC) - “A new poll released today shows public opinion continues to trend toward marriage equality in New York State with a record high of 58 percent support and a record low of 36 percent opposition.  The study comes from the non-partisan Siena Research Institute.”

THIS FRIDAY: U.S. HOUSE TO HOLD HEARING ON “DEFENDING MARRIAGE” (via Wash Blade) - “A subcommittee in the Republican-controlled U.S. House is set on April 15 to hear testimony in a hearing titled ‘Defending Marriage’ The hearing, which is set to take place before the House Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution, is scheduled to begin at 10 am in Room 2141 of the Rayburn House Office Building.”

THIS THURSDAY: UAFA, ENDA INTRODUCTIONS (via Wash Blade) - “Two key pieces of pro-LGBT legislation -- the Uniting American Families Act and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act -- are set for introduction in Congress on Thu rsday, according to an informed source. An LGBT rights advocate, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said on Thursday Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) would introduce UAFA in the House and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) would introduce ENDA in the Senate.”

STATE DEPARTMENT ON LGBT ABUSE OVERSEAS (via Wash Blade) - “The U.S. State Department published its annual report on Friday evaluating the state of human rights overseas and revealing that LGBT abuses continue to persist in many places abroad. … In addition to unveiling the report, Clinton also announced the launch of a new State Department website: The site is set to assemble reports, statements and other updates from around the world and is intended to become a depository of global human rights information.”

BIG NEWS OUT OF ARKANSAS: HIGH COURT STRIKES DOWN ADOPTION BAN (via Metro Weekly) - “The Arkansas Supreme Court today, in an opinion published without dissent, struck down the state's 2008 ballot initiative that prohibited unmarried, cohabitating individuals from adopting.”

EQM’S RICHARD SOCARIDES ON COUNTING LGBT PEOPLE IN THE CENSUS - “When I was White House Special Assistant to President Clinton in charge of gay rights from 1997 to 1999, I asked officials at the U.S. Census Bureau if they could count the number of gay people in the then-upcoming 2000 Census. I knew that we would be better off if we could quantify how many of us there were. The Census counted people by race and ethnicity, so why not by sexual orientation? I actually knew they could count us...”
THE INTERVIEW - Listen to Socarides discuss his piece on the weekly Equality Matters podcast now available for free download on iTunes:

MARYLAND TRANS BILL DEAD (via Wash Blade) - “In a development that stunned LGBT advocates, the Maryland State Senate voted 27-20 on Monday to recommit the Gender Identity Non-Discrimination Act to committee, effectively killing the bill for the year. The bill, which calls for banning discrimination against transgender people in the areas of employment, housing and credit, including bank loans, had been approved last month in the state’s House of Delegates by a vote of 86 to 52.”

METRO WEEKLY IN-DEPTH STORY ON MARYLAND - “Morgan Meneses-Sheets has opponents. They include members of the local LGBT community. As th e leader of Maryland's equal-rights advocacy organization, Equality Maryland, Meneses-Sheets's leadership has come under scrutiny by some members of the LGBT community who say the organization's efforts to secure marriage-equality during Maryland's 2011 legislative session were inadequate.”

WEEKLY STATE ROUNDUP (via Equality Matters) - Delaware Senate Approves Civil Unions / North Carolina Marriage Amendment Introduced in House / Texas House Considers Four Pro-Equality Bills – more:

TOMORROW IN WASHINGTON: AN ACTIVIST IN NEED (via The Advocate) - “LGBT advocates in the nation's capital are coming together Wednesday evening to benefit a young colleague recently diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma.  Learn more on how to help: uXtG

STORY UPDATE: NO DISCHARGE FOR NAVY PETTY OFFICER (via Wash Post) - “A Navy petty officer who faced discharge after he fell asleep in the same bed as another male sailor has gotten a reprieve, his attorneys said Friday. Stephen C. Jones, 21, a sailor at the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command, near Charleston, S.C., will be allowed to keep his job after Navy officials changed their minds and halted discharge proceedings against him, according to his civilian attorney, Gary Myers.”

WOMAN IN BI-NATIONAL MARRIAGE ESCAPES DEPORTATION (via - “An Argentine woman living illegally in the United States after overstaying her tourist visa will not be deported until the legality of her same-sex marriage is made more clear. Judge Terry A. Bain and government attorneys agreed Tuesday to halt deportation hearings in Manhattan's immigration court for Monica Alcota, 35, who came to the United States from Argentina more than 10 years ago.”

TRANS MAN SUES FOR HIS JOB BACK (via TLDEF) - “TLDEF filed a lawsuit on behalf of a transgender man who was fired from a male-only job solely because he is transgender. This is the first lawsuit to challenge the firing of a transgender person from a job where being male or female is a job qualification.”

THE NEW YORK TIMES: “A LAWSUIT’S UNUSUAL QUESTION: WHO IS A MAN?” - “What is a man? For El’Jai Devoureau, this is not a rhetorical question.”

HIV/AIDS PROTESTERS TARGET HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER (via Roll Call) - “Capitol Police ar rested a dozen protesters in front of Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s Washington, D.C., Congressional office Monday morning. The protesters were demonstrating House GOP-proposed cuts to HIV/AIDS prevention programs and staked out the Virginia Republican’s office on the third floor of Cannon House Office Building shortly after 10 a.m. to make their case.”

WHY THE TEA PARTY SHOULD SUPPORT MARRIAGE EQUALITY - “In an April 5 column in Forbes magazine, Bill Frezza argues that Tea Partiers should lead the charge in support of marriage equality in order to stay relevant and avoid being ‘run over’ by history.”

NOM DEFECTOR: NOM DOESN’T STAND FOR THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE - “Louis J. Marinelli, the former National Organization for Marriage (NOM) strategist who recently announced his support for marriage equality, took to his blog Monday to dispel the “illusion” that NOM represents the will of a broad and diverse grassroots movement of Americans seeking to defend “traditional marriage”
BACHMANN WORKING WITH HATE GROUP - “Tea Party leader and potential 2012 GOP presidential candidate Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) spoke with Tony Perkins, president of the anti-gay hate group the Family Research Council (FRC), about the “supernatural ability” she needs to oppose government spending. Before touting the benefits of a government shutdown, however, Bachmann took solidify her partnership with the FRC.”

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: MSNBC ON THE “REFUSE TO LIE” CAMPAIGN - “On Wednesday, MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts spoke to the New York Times’ Tara Siegel Bernard about a new grassroots effort in which married gay and lesbian couples refuse to file separate tax returns even though the federal government doesn’t recognize their marriages under DOMA.” bsp;
THE STORY OF ONE OPENLY GAY ATHLETE (via AP) - “Austin Hendrix thought he would be free once he got to college. There would be no more hiding the fact he's gay, no more denying something that is as much a part of him as the color of his eyes. He could be himself, not the muted version he'd been presenting to the world, to his friends and his teammates in Eastern Michigan's track and cross-country programs. That was the plan, anyway.”

NEW TODAY: PALM CENTER MERGES WITH WILLIAMS INSTITUTE (via Metro Weekly) - “The Palm Center, a think tank that has been dedicated to unparalleled research about the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy over the course of the law's life, announced today that it would be merging with the Williams Institute. The merger folds together two of the most well known LGBT research entities in the nation.”

MARK SEGAL ON SUPPORTING OBAMA (via Philly Gay News) - “In 2008, it took a lot of time for then-Sen. Obama to convince me that he was real in his support of our issues. As you might recall, we had a few bumps in that road and many in our community chastised me for not getting onboard sooner. But Obama did win me over and, in some ways, those of us who were late to get onboard are very proud we went with him, and are even prouder of his record.”
OCAMB ON MICHELLE OBAMA AND GAY MILITARY FAMILIES (via LGBT POV) - “Will First Lady Michelle Obama Include Silent Gay Partners in Her Military Families Campaign?”

WHY WE DON’T LIKE VICKY HARTZLER (via New York Daily News) – “Gen. James Amos, the commandant of the Marine Corps, said Thursday that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell should be repealed as soon as this summer—and he compared the holdouts to the Alamo. ‘We’ve not seen issues,’ Amos said when testifying before Congress. ‘There’s not been anxiety over it in the forces or in the field.’ But the top military brass’ testimony did not seem to sway some opinions on Capitol Hill: Republican lawmakers blamed Democrats for the repeal of the bill, and Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler pleaded with the joint chiefs, saying, ‘You can stop th is still … In your gut you know this is not the right thing.’”

“GLEE,” “MODERN FAMILY” TIE AT GLAAD AWARDS (via Reuters) - “‘Glee’ and ‘Modern Family’ tied for best TV comedy series at the annual GLAAD Awards on Sunday, as the campaign group honored shows and stars for advancing the portrayal of gays and lesbians in the media.”



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



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