Facebook Adds Civil Unions & Domestic Partnerships To Relationship Status

Facebook users in America, Canada, Australia, Britain and several other countries now have two more options when announcing their relationship status: civil unions and domestic partnerships.

The changes were made in consultation with Facebook’s Network of Support, a group that includes LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] organizations such as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, and the Human Rights Campaign. “As LGBT people face a patchwork of relationship recognition laws, this gives people more tools to adequately describe their relationship,” said Michael Cole-Schwartz, spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign. “Facebook has been a company that has tried to be inclusive of the LGBT community and this just one sign of it.”

Joe. My. God.

—  David Taffet

Facebook Adds ‘Civil Union’ and ‘Domestic Partnership’ to User ‘Relationship Status’ Options

Civilunion

Facebook has added "civil union" and "domestic partnership" to its "relationship status" options in user profiles, following an anti-bullying initiative called 'Network of Support' in consultation with LGBT groups that began last October.

Facebook Said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios in response to the changes: "Today, Facebook sent a clear message in support of gay and lesbian couples to users across the globe. By acknowledging the relationships of countless loving and committed same-sex couples in the U.S. and abroad, Facebook has set a new standard of inclusion for social media. As public support for marriage equality continues to grow, we will continue to work for the day when all couples have the opportunity to marry and have their relationship recognized by their community, both online and off."


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—  David Taffet

Hawaii’s Governor: Civil unions ‘reinforce our core values of equality and aloha’

It’s way more to fun to read about the outcomes of legislative battles for equality when we win. And, reading about Hawaii today was a lot better than reading it last July when then-Governor Linda Lingle vetoed the civil unions bill. Today’s Star Advertiser article has some great quotes today. One is from a gay citizen and the other comes from the Governor.

First, Tim Earhart:

The president of Dignity USA-Honolulu, who founded what he called the first “gay church” when he moved to Hawaii 41 years ago, was moved to tears at what he witnessed.

“I, with my own two eyes and ears, got to witness this historic moment when lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning people are now elevated to the status of ordinary citizens,” said Earhart, 64.

“We no longer have to apologize for loving one another.”

Then, Governor Neil Abercrombie, who campaigned on his commitment to sign the civil unions bill. He has until March 3 to apply his signature. And, there’s no doubt he’s on board:

In a written statement, Abercrombie said civil unions “respect our diversity, protect people’s privacy, and reinforce our core values of equality and aloha.”

“This has been an emotional process for everyone involved, but that process is now ended,” he added. “Everyone has been heard; all points of view respected.

“For me, this bill represents equal rights for all the people of Hawaii.”

John updated yesterday’s post on the Hawaii legislation with the video of the Senate taking its roll call vote on the civil unions bill. Here it is again:

H/T Igor Volsky for the video.




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—  David Taffet

Hawaii Senate Says YES To Civil Unions, Putting Them Just 1 Governor’s Signature Away

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Following in the footsteps of the House, Hawaii's State Senate today approved a civil unions bill in a 18-5 vote, sending it to Gov. Neil Abercrombie's desk, where he will sign it. And so ends the reign that ex-Gov. Linda Lingle held in the state, vetoing the matter last year. When Abercrombie signs it, the bill will become law and take effect Jan. 1, 2012. (NB: In other gay news from the Hawaii Senate, lesbian Sabrina McKenna was confirmed as a State Supreme Court justice.)


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—  David Taffet

Hawaii soon to be more civil, united

140State Senate just voted 18-5 to give final legislative approval to civil unions. It now goes to Gov. Abercrombie, who has announced plans to sign:

Lambda Legal Applauds Final Legislative Approval of Hawai`i Civil Union Bill [Lambda Legal]




Good As You

—  David Taffet

HAWAII: Civil Unions Bill Passes Final Hurdle, Passes To Desk Of Governor

Just in from Equality Hawaii!

Equality Hawaii, the state’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, and the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, today applauded the Hawaii legislature for approving civil unions for the second time in ten months. The bill, which was passed in its amended form today by the Hawaii Senate on an 18-5 vote, now heads to Gov. Neil Abercrombie for his signature. “We honor and thank the legislature today for their commitment to equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Hawaii, said Alan Spector, co-chair of Equality Hawaii. “For the second time in less than a year, legislators have dedicated themselves to providing dignity and respect to all families in the Aloha State.”

Congratulations Hawaii! Linda Lingle can SUCK IT.

Joe. My. God.

—  David Taffet

Final passage of Hawaii civil unions bill delayed, expected today

Out of “an abundance of caution,” the Hawaii Senate is delaying the final vote for civil unions until Wednesday.

The Senate was poised Tuesday to pass civil unions legislation and send the bill to the governor for his signature, but Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Clayton Hee proposed the delay to make sure there was adequate public notice after the bill reached the Senate.

The measure had passed the House on Friday.

Hee called for the delay out of “an abundance of caution,” although he said he believed the two-day notice period had already passed.

If the bill is signed into law, as expected, then Hawaii will become the seventh state to grant same sex couples essentially the same rights of marriage without authorizing marriage itself.

Sure, I would rather it be gay marriage, but I’m going to celebrate passage of this bill into state law with the understanding that every time we move a step closer we are that much nearer to realizing “The Big Kahuna,” or full marriage equality. Our enemies know this, as well, and it is why they gnash their teeth, and howl, every time another state approves gay civil unions.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  David Taffet

Civil Unions Bill Makes for Happy Valentine’s Day in Colorado

Today, Sen. Pat Steadman, an openly gay Democrat in Colorado, introduced a Civil Unions bill (SB 172) in the state legislature.  The legislation provides that equal rights and responsibilities of married couples in Colorado be afforded to thousands of non-married couples in the state.

If you live in Colorado, please send your legislators a note asking them to support this important civil rights legislation!

“Today is an exciting day. Civil unions will provide committed same-sex couples in Colorado with the critical legal protections and responsibilities they need to take care of one another. Protections like the ability to visit one another in the hospital, live together in a nursing home, or inherit property. Responsibilities like making medical decisions for your partner or adopting children.” -  Brad Clark, Executive Director

Now is our best chance to make Civil Unions in Colorado a reality. Join our friends at One Colorado and a growing list of supporters at their lobby day to tell your legislators face to face that equality for all communities, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity is important to you.

One Colorado Lobby Day
Monday, February 21 | 8am-3pm
The Center | 1301 E. Colfax | Denver, CO
Register for Lobby Day

One Colorado will make sure that you have all of the tools and information needed to make your visit a success. Tell your legislators that Coloradans value equality. Can’t make it?  The Human Rights Campaign has made it quick and easy to stay involved. Send your legislators an email telling them that you support equality.


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—  David Taffet

Indiana House Votes 70-26 in Favor of Constitutionally Banning Same-Sex Marriage and Civil Unions

Indiana

The Indiana House of Representatives has approved a constitutional amendment that would ban both same-sex marriage and civil unions in the Hoosier State.

The amendment states: "Marriage. Provides that only marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana. Provides that a legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized. This proposed amendment has not been previously agreed to by a general assembly."

The Courier Press reports:

The House voted 70-26 for the ban, starting the clock on the long process of amending Indiana’s 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.

A long and ugly road.

In related news, we'll likely get a final vote on civil unions in Hawaii tomorrow, and possibly a vote on marriage equality in Maryland by the end of the week. A lot happening. Stay tuned, folks…


Towleroad News #gay

—  David Taffet

Civil Union Bill Introduced in Colorado

Colorado state Senator Pat Steadman has introduced his promised civil union bill, One Colorado tells us:

Steadman Today, Senator Pat Steadman introduced the Colorado Civil Unions Act. The bill allows committed gay and lesbian couples to enter into a civil union, a form of state-level relationship recognition that provides critical legal protections.

“Especially in these difficult economic times, gay and lesbian couples need the critical protections that civil unions offer to provide for their families,” said Brad Clark, Executive Director of One Colorado. “Civil unions will ensure that thousands of gay and lesbian couples all across the state can protect the ones they love.”

The Colorado Civil Unions Act provides committed gay and lesbian couples with critical legal protections and responsibilities, such as the ability to insure a partner, to inherit property, to take family leave to care for a partner, to visit a partner in the hospital, and to make medical and end-of-life decisions for a partner.

“Civil unions will allow committed couples to share in the responsibilities and protections in Colorado law that most families take for granted. Our society is stronger when we promote personal responsibility and taking care of one another, and civil unions do just that,” said Senator Pat Steadman, sponsor of the bill.

A key provision of the civil unions bill includes a religious exclusion. The bill explicitly protects freedom of religion by not requiring priests, ministers, rabbis, or other religious officials to certify a civil union. Religious leaders who want to certify a civil union may do so.

Last week, the Colorado Independent reported on a new Public Policy Polling survey that showed strong support for civil unions.

One Colorado also reports that they'll be delivering more than 1,000 Valentine's messages to state lawmakers today asking them to support and protect all families.


Towleroad News #gay

—  David Taffet