INDIANA: House Approves Marriage Ban

The Indiana House today approved a proposed ballot measure which would enshrine a ban on same-sex marriage in the state constitution.

It now moves to the Senate, where such a ban has passed with little trouble in recent years. If it clears the Senate, then a separately-elected House and Senate must once again approve the ban in either 2013 or 2014. Then, voters would have the final say in a November 2014 referendum. “The basic unit of society is the family, and the cornerstone of the family is marriage. Marriage is, and should be, the union of one man and one woman,” said Rep. Eric Turner, R-Marion. Rep. Ralph Foley, R-Martinsville, said the ban would have no effect on Hoosiers’ ability to live with and love whomever they choose. “That loving friendship is a different relationship than a husband and wife, and we should recognize that in the law,” he said.

Today’s House vote was a lopsided 70-26.

Joe. My. God.

—  David Taffet

Hawaii House Approves Civil Unions Bill

Late yesterday, the Hawaii State House voted 31-19 to pass the bill that would legalize civil unions for gays and lesbians as well as heterosexual couples in that state.

6a00d8341c730253ef0148c823c843970c "The House voted on a version of Senate Bill 232, which was amended by the House Judiciary Committee to include clarifying changes recommended by the attorney general. The bill now goes back to the Senate, which is expected to accept the House amendments and send the bill directly to the governor as early as next week."

If the bill is signed into law, civil unions in Hawaii would start on January 1, 2012.

Governor Neil Abercrombie has been a vocal supporter of gay and lesbian rights. Just last month he nominated an openly gay woman to the state's Supreme Court.

Watch a speech about civil rights that Abercrombie made at Hula's, a gay bar in Honolulu, while running for governor last year, AFTER THE JUMP.


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—  David Taffet

Hawaii State House Approves Landmark Bill to Protect Same-Sex Couples

Today the Hawaii State House passed SB 232 SD1 HD1 by a 31-19 vote.  The bill provides that equal rights and responsibilities of married couples in Hawaii be afforded to thousands of non-married couples in the state – including same-sex couples.

“Today is a great day for the people of Hawaii,” said Alan Spector, co-chair for Equality Hawaii.  “The action taken by the House today sends a strong message that our state recognizes the importance of moving towards equality.  Providing equal rights to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community is long overdue and we thank all those who have stood with us to make this day a reality.”

After minor changes were made in the House, the bill now heads to back to the Senate for agreement on the amendments before heading to Gov. Neil Abercrombie for his signature.  SB 232 SD1 passed the Hawaii Senate on January 28, by a 19-6 vote.  Except for some technical corrections and implementation amendments, the bill is identical to HB 444, the civil unions bill passed in 2010.  That bill passed the House and Senate with near supermajorities before Gov. Linda Lingle vetoed it.  No override vote was held.

“The Human Rights Campaign congratulates the Hawaii House of Representatives for overwhelmingly supporting the equal dignity and respect of Hawaii’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families,” said HRC president Joe Solmonese.  “No child of a same-sex family should have to grow up with less protections or thinking their family is less legitimate or loving than others.”

The Human Rights Campaign and Equality Hawaii have worked closely together since 2008 to build both public and legislative support for civil unions.  Through this joint effort, tens of thousands of phone calls, emails, postcards and handwritten letters have been sent to legislators urging them to approve this legislation.  More on our work in Hawaii is  www.hrcbackstory.org/category/states/hawaii/.

When Hawaii’s civil unions law is signed, the state will join thirteen other states plus Washington, D.C. with laws providing an expansive form of state-level relationship recognition for gay and lesbian couples.  Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington D.C. provide marriage to same-sex couples under state law.  New York and Maryland recognize out-of-jurisdiction same-sex marriages, but do not provide marriage licenses to same-sex couples in state.  Five other states—California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington —provide same-sex couples with access to almost of all the state level benefits and responsibilities of marriage, through either civil unions or domestic partnerships.  A new law providing for civil unions in Illinois will take effect on June 1st.

Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, and Wisconsin provide gay and lesbian couples with limited rights and benefits, not all rights provided to married couples.  An attorney general opinion and subsequent court ruling in Rhode Island resulted in limited recognition of out-of-jurisdiction marriages of same-sex couples. California recognized marriage for same-sex couples between June and November of 2008, before voters approved Proposition 8, which purports to amend the state constitution to prohibit marriage equality.  Couples married during that window remain married under California law, but all other same-sex couples can only receive a domestic partnership within the state. The state will recognize out-of-jurisdiction same-sex marriages that occurred before November 5, 2008 as marriages and those that occurred on or after November 5, 2008 as similar to domestic partnerships.

Same-sex couples do not receive federal rights and benefits in any state.  For an electronic map showing where marriage equality stands in the states, please visit: www.HRC.org/State_Laws.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  David Taffet

Video: Pope approves man-on-man erections



(H/t: You Are Hated)




Good As You

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Florida’s Orange County Approves LGBT Anti-Discrimination Law

Orange County City Council voted 6-1 to approve an anti-discrimination law covering sexual orientation on Tuesday:

Orange "The vote was notable for its lack of opposition. No residents spoke against it, in stark contrast to the city of Orlando's passage of similar protections in 2002, which attracted fierce debate, religious group antagonism and a close vote. 'It's a completely different world than it was 10 years ago,' said Patrick Howell, a lawyer and activist who lobbied for the new protections in both Orlando and the county. Commissioner Fred Brummer was the only 'no' vote. He said his objections centered on federal housing rules included in the ordinance, which he said could expose property owners to frivolous lawsuits.But Howell and others predicted the ordinance would not unleash a flood of courtroom discrimination claims, and much of its impact would be symbolic. 'A lot of this is about sending the message that Orange County is an inclusive community,' Howell said. 'Everyone's welcome.' The ordinance expands existing bias-protected classes already found in state and federal law, such as religion, race, disability and gender, to include sexual orientation."


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