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Minnesota, USA: Bipartisan Marriage Equality Bill to Be Introduced Wednesday

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

MinnesotaA group of bipartisan legislators plan to introduce a marriage equality bill at the state capitol tomorrow, Fox 9 reports:

The historic legislation, co-authored by Republican Sen. Branden Petersen, will be formally introduced on Thursday. Petersen told The Star Tribune he planned to co-sponsor the bill in order to do “the right thing,” adding that he is fully prepared to accept losing his seat for bucking his party on the issue. “I have a certain amount of peace about that,” Petersen told the Star Tribune. “I will let the chips fall where they may.”

Talk about the courage of your convictions – let’s support Senator Petersen when his re-election rolls around.

USA: Bipartisan Immigration Reform Plan Silent on Bi-National Gay/Lesbian Couples; McCain: Gays Not Important

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Washington DC LegislatureThere’s a new plan being floated in the Senate for immigration reform, put together by a bipartisan group of senators. One problem, as noted by the The Washington Blade, is that it makes no mention of bi-national gay and lesbian couples:

A blueprint for comprehensive immigration reform made public on Monday by a bipartisan group of senators contains no provision for bi-national same-sex couples, despite the push among LGBT advocates to include such language in immigration reform. The document, the result of ongoing talks between a “Gang of Eight” after the start of the 113th Congress, would enable a pathway to citizenship for the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States. But this path to citizenship would be contingent upon tougher border enforcement measures.

According to Buzzfeed, President Obama plans to include a fix for gay and lesbian bi-national couples in his own version of the plan:

A Democratic source said: “Same-sex couples will be part of his proposal.” A second source confirmed that, unlike the Senate framework released Monday, same-sex bi-national couples — those with one American and one foreign partner — will be included in the White House principles.

Why the, um, oversight by the bipartisan senators’ group? AmericaBlog speculates:

When push comes to shove, Senate Democrats aren’t exactly known for their courage when it comes to civil rights generally, and gay civil rights in particular. As Joe Sudbay wrote about, a lot, during the painful effort to get Democrats to move on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, a lot of people in this town, and a lot of Democrats, suffer from political homophobia. It’s the notion that gay civil rights is a third rail they must avoid at all costs, even if the polls, and the public, are on our side. Homophobia is an irrational fear of gay people, and far too many Democrats and Republicans suffer from it. Even after their fear of moving forward on DADT ended up in a resounding repeal that included even more Republicans than we had expected, Democrats are still, obviously, afraid of “the gay.”

Americablog also points out that the senate democrats (Sens. Schumer, Robert Menendez and Dick Durbin) blamed senate republicans for the omission, and promised a later amendment:

“They blamed it on the Republicans…. Schumer was very matter of fact about it, very Machiavellian,” said the source, who asked not to be named. Gay advocates were told that Senate Judiciary Committee Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) will offer an amendment in his committee to protect gay couples.

Think Progress reports that Senator John McCain, for one, wasn’t afraid to take some responsibility for leaving out this important piece of immigration reform for the LGBT community:

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) — One of the architects of the bipartisan Senate plan to reform the immigration system — told CBS on Tuesday morning that including binational gay and lesbian couples whose relationships are currently not recognized by the federal government in the proposed legalization process is a “red flag” that is “not of paramount importance.”

Senator McCain continues his long fall from principled republican, who was respected by many democrats, to a sad, confused, spiteful and increasingly bitter partisan thug.

Wyoming, USA: Marriage Equality Bill Gets Bipartisan Support

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

WyomingThis week Wyoming lawmakers introduced two bills that could give more rights to same-sex couples–one is a marriage-equality measure, the other a civil-union bill.

Democrat Cathy Connolly and Republican Keith Gingery are co-sponsoring both efforts, to improve the chances of at least one passing. “Legally speaking, I would prefer the gay-marriage bill,” Gingery, chairman of the judiciary committee, told The Jackson Hole News and Guide. “We already know how it works.”

Similar bills have become before the Legislature in the past, though none have succeeded. But recent wins in other states, and new faces in the Statehouse, could spell victory this time.

Authored By Dan Avery – See the Full Story at Queerty

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NC, USA: Amendment One Opposition is Bipartisan, Widespread

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Amendment OneWhen the North Carolina General Assembly voted late last year – without much notice or any public testimony – to place on the May 8 ballot a constitutional amendment that would make marriage between a man and woman the only legally protected relationship in the state, the move was met with widespread outrage from civil rights groups. Organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union and Equality North Carolina condemned the proposed amendment as an assault on basic freedoms, and hundreds of North Carolinians rallied outside the State Capitol to protest the General Assembly’s vote for what is now known as Amendment One.

As more people have learned about Amendment One’s many unintended consequences and far-reaching harms, from jeopardizing the health insurance of children raised by unmarried couples to endangering domestic-violence protections for unmarried women, the number of voices speaking out in opposition has only grown. Bank of America executives have warned that Amendment One’s ban on domestic-partner benefits would be bad for business and detrimental to North Carolina’s competitiveness in an unstable economy.

Child-welfare advocates have voiced concerns that Amendment One would threaten existing health care and parental custody for thousands of children being raised by loving but unmarried couples, both gay and straight. Religious leaders from many different faiths have denounced Amendment One’s divisiveness and the harm it would cause to countless families. And North Carolina NAACP President William Barber has condemned any attempt to write discrimination against a class of people into the state constitution, a document that is designed to defend people’s rights, not diminish them.

Full Story from The Carborro Citizen

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