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Houston LGBT Rights Ordinance Challenge May Fall Short

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

Texas mapThe city is close to finishing a validation of the signatures turned in by opponents of the new Houston LGBT rights ordinance.

Joe.My.God reports:

From JMG reader Mike Craig of Out & Equal Houston: When the Houston Area Pastors Council turned in 7 boxes of petitions to the City on July 3rd, they boasted of gathering more than 31,000 valid signatures. An independent group of concerned citizens has spent the last three weeks independently reviewing each page of that repeal petition in an effort to provide additional accountability to the referendum process. This was a grass-roots effort involving more than 100 volunteers who communicated via social media and participated in a crowd-sourced effort that uncovered fatal flaws with what was turned in. Having finished this exhaustive review, the HERO Petition Review Working Group concluded that the petitioners did not, in fact, turn in enough valid signatures in order to place this issue on the ballot… Based on these simple criteria, this independent review showed only 16,499 valid signatures were turned in. Additional scrutiny can only lower that number further. A full report detailing these findings has been provided to the City Secretary, City Attorney and Mayor. While it is our hope that the City’s own determination will come to a similar conclusion, we understand that it is ultimately the legal & statutory responsibility of the City Secretary and we will abide by that office’s findings.

The official report has not yet been released, so we have to wait and see if the repeal does quality for the ballot. If not? Expect a lawsuit.

Cases like this make it really clear. It was never really about the word “marriage”. It’s about preventing the granting of any right at all to LGBT citizens.

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US Census Will Count Same Sex Couples as Families

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

titleThe results for the 2013 survey by the US Census will, for the first time, categorize same sex couples as families.

The Washington Post reports:

The 2013 American Community Survey results, which will be reported in September, will mark the first time the census integrates an estimated 180,000 same-sex married couples with statistics concerning the nation’s 56 million families. Until now, they had been categorized as unmarried partners, even when couples reported themselves as spouses. Because of the large disparity between the number of gay and straight married households, combining the two is not expected to have a significant effect on the statistics that scholars and planners use to analyze how families are changing. Its significance is largely symbolic of the growing acceptance of gays in American society. “I think the American public already thinks same-sex married couples are families, and the Census Bureau is just catching up with public opinion,” said Andrew J. Cherlin, a sociologist at Johns Hopkins University who studies families.

Slowly but surely. the wheels of government are turning toward equality for the LGBT community.

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USA, California: Effort to Repeal Transgender Kids Law Survives First Count

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Transgender FlagAlthough an initial count of signatures revealed the effort to repeal California’s new law that protects transgender kids in schools didn’t have enough signatures to qualify, it did eke out enough for full recount.

The Advocate reports:

Since the deadline for turning in signatures this past November, the office of California’s secretary of state has been performing a spot-check to determine the validity rate. With the number turned in, the average validity rate needed to qualify for the ballot stands at 81.5%. Were the spot-check to yield a rate higher than that figure, the law would be suspended until after the ballot initiative this coming November. Los Angeles County, the final county being put through the spot-check process, came in with a validity rate of 77.8%, bringing the overall state rate to 77.93%. While this wasn’t a high enough rate to suspend the law and put the measure on the ballot, this did meet the threshold needed to launch a new verification process, this time checking each of the 619,241 signatures received. In the meantime, the law will remain in effect.

Let’s hope that the recount confirms the low validity rate of the initial count – we need to protect transgender students, some of the most vulnerable students in the school population. If it does get to the ballot, we need to fight it tooth and nail.

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