National Briefs

Posted on 26 Jan 2006 at 10:34pm
By Staff and Wire Reorts

Gay rights law supporters rally on state Capitol steps in Washington

More than 1,000 gay rights supporters rallied on the Capitol steps, calling for passage of a gay civil rights law bill that appears to have sufficient support this year after nearly 30 years of failure in the state Legislature.

Wearing “I’m for Equality” buttons and carrying signs that read “Equality for All of God’s Children,” supporters listened Monday to lawmakers and religious leaders who support the measure that would add “sexual orientation” to a state law that bans discrimination in housing, employment and insurance. Sixteen states have passed similar laws.

“We are on the brink of doing something truly remarkable,” Governor Chris Gregoire told the cheering crowd. “Finally, after far too many years, the state is going to take a stand to say that gay and lesbian individuals living in our great state have the right to be valued and considered to be as worthy as any other citizen.”

The measure passed the House last week and its passage in the Senate is expected soon.

Virginia Legislature approves ballot measure banning gay marriage

The Virginia Senate gave final approval Wednesday to a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

The approval came despite warnings from opponents who claim it is so broadly worded that it could have unintended consequences for all unmarried couples. The House of Delegates had already approved an identical measure.

The measure will be placed before Virginia voters in the November general election.

Virginia law defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman. But Senator Stephen Newman, a Republican, said a constitutional amendment is necessary to strengthen the state’s position if federal courts try to force the state to recognize same-sex marriages or civil unions performed elsewhere.

Senator John Edwards, a Democrat, argued that the amendment is so sweeping that it could undermine contracts affecting unmarried people, including straight couples. Among the examples he cited were insurance, powers of attorney and joint ownership of property.

Indiana Legislature tables amendment to overturn gay rights ordinances

A proposed amendment that would have overturned gay rights ordinances in Indianapolis and other cities has been withdrawn by its author.

Representative Jeff Thompson, a Republican, withdrew the controversial measure Wednesday. He had tried to insert it into a bill on emminent domain. House Speaker Brian C. Bosma, also a Republican, adjourned the House on Tuesday to prevent a vote on the measure.

Bosma said the matter needed to be more thoroughly examined by a legislative committee with the public given an opportunity to provide input on the idea.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition of January 27, 2006.

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