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

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.


—  David Taffet

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


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: 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.


—  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.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  David Taffet

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


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

Indiana House to Prohibit Same-Sex Marriage and Civil Unions in Valentine’s Day Vote?

Happy Valentine's Day from the Hoosier State. A vote is on tap in Indiana's House which would prohibit recognition of same-sex marriage and civil unions in the state, and that vote could come as early as today:

Indiana Political analysts expect that the ban is almost certain to pass, with Republicans in control of the Legislature.

The amendment states that only marriage between one man and one woman is valid in Indiana, and prohibits civil unions by stating that a legal status "substantially similar" to marriage for unmarried people is not valid.

Opponents have argued that the amendment isn't needed because Indiana law already bans gay marriage, but supporters said they are concerned that the courts could overturn that law.

Supporters also contend that traditional heterosexual marriage is best for raising children. Opponents said the amendment seeks to write discrimination into the state's constitution.

A House panel approved the measure last week.

Towleroad News #gay

—  David Taffet

United Kingdom Set To Allow Civil Unions In Churches

As had been rumored since last year, the British government is preparing to allow same-sex civil unions in the United Kingdom to according to the Daily Telegraph. Civil unions have been required to be entirely secular since they were legalized in the country in 2005,

Uk "They could, it is understood, also be carried out in the future out by priests or other religious figures. The landmark move will please equality campaigners but is likely to prompt a fierce backlash from mainstream Christian leaders, as well as some Right-leaning Tories."

"The Church of England has already pledged not to allow any of its buildings to be used for civil partnership ceremonies, while last year Pope Benedict said same-sex marriage was among the 'most insidious and dangerous challenges that today confront the common good.'"

"Some faiths, however – including the Quakers, Unitarians and Liberal Jews – support the change in the law and will apply for their buildings to host same-sex "marriage" ceremonies."

Towleroad News #gay

—  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.

Towleroad News #gay

—  David Taffet