Gay Rights thread, 2011 edition! And it's already been a rather interesting year for Gay Rights and Issues.
Oh lordy this one is getting complicated. I'm going to paint a broad picture here because things there's lots going on.
- The Obama Administration has refused to defend DOMA
in court, calling it unconstitutional. The GOP lost their shit of course, and the House Republicans will probably step in
to defend it. In the meantime, we've got attempts to repeal the provision.
- A request to allow same-sex marriages in California during the appeal process has been denied
, which is not that unusual, although disappointing.
Right now, we're waiting on the CA Supreme Court to decide whether the defendants even have standing to defend Prop 8 in the Federal Appeal, as the CA Governor and Attorney General have both refused to do so. The oral arguments have been moved to September for some fucking reason.
Bans and Bills
- Along with the wave of GOP elections last year have come many politicians seeking to stop or reverse the progress of the gay rights cause. Many states are attempting to pass bills preemptively banning gay marriage and in some cases, attempting to strengthen existing legislation.
Here's some of the bigger/more recent examples, which I will update whenever I feel like it.
Iowa - A ferocious battleground where the GOP and tea-party movement are attempting to reverse the states pro-gay marriage law. They are failing, for now, but it's a close thing and due to Iowa's judicial election system, three of the judges who ruled in favor of gay marriage have since lost their positions.
Maryland - Came VERY close to passing a gay marriage bill but intense last minute pressure from right-wing groups managed to sway the vote and stop passage. This is going to be a big fight in Maryland in coming years.
Hawaii - Finally, has Civil Unions!
Delaware - Civil Unions!
Wyoming - An attempted anti-gay marriage bill has failed, when of all people, many Wyoming Republican Senators dissented, protesting the interference of government in peoples private lives. Wyoming has civil unions already.
Colorado - Civil Unions bill defeated.
Here's a recent Gallop poll on gay marriage. Support has increased a full 9% in the last year.
Don't Ask, Don't Tell has been officially repealed in a stunning 'lame duck' session at the end of 2010. The latest news I have been able to find is that official certification will probably be sometime this summer, possibly June or July.
In the meantime, the military is training its personnel on what will change and what will not. You can see some of that in a PowerPoint slideshow over at Huffington Post.
Gay Teen Suicides/It Gets Better
Last year, around September, we had a rash of highly publicized stories of gay teens (and teens perceived to be gay) taking their own lives as a result of hateful anti-gay bullying. It's still up in the air whether this was an increase in these incidents, or more likely in my personal opinion, simply an increase in reporting on the issue.
In response, blogger, podcaster, and columnist Dan Savage created a video with his partner Terry to talk to at-risk teens facing bullying, and show them that their lives will get better if they just hang in there. The video went viral, and it blossomed into the It Gets Better Project
. To date, thousands of It Gets Better videos have been created by celebrities and people from every walk of life, and it's created a much needed dialogue on gay teens and the issue of teen bullying in general.
The Trevor Project, an LGBT youth suicide-prevention organization, has since seen their incoming calls increase by 50%, which is frightening in a sense, but at least it means more LGBT youth are reaching out for help.
Dan and Terry just did an NPR interview on the topic, in line with the release of the It Gets Better book. You can hear the interview here
(it's quite good), and buy the book here