Spotlight on Gay Rights: Legislation Update
- President (and Nobel Laureate) Barack Obama pledged to end "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy on Saturday night at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) gala. The policy adopted by the U.S. military in 1993 doesn't allow openly homosexual individuals to serve in the armed forces. The event was organized by the HRC which is the country's largest gay rights group. President Obama did not say when the policy would be repealed.
- The Matthew Shepard Act was passed in the House. The federal bill expands the definition of hate crime to include crimes committed due to a person's sexuality, gender identity, or disability.
- The National Equality March took place on Sunday in Washington D.C. Marchers called on the President to make good on his promises for equal rights for gays. Similar marches have taken place in 1979, 1987, 1993, and 2000 and have attracted large crowds through performance and celebrity appearances.
- California passed a bill making May 22 Harvey Milk Day in California. It was passed to recognize the San Francisco Supervisor who was slain in 1978. Milk was one of the first openly gay people to be elected to office and passed landmark gay rights legislation in the city.
- California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger also signed a bill that will retain the "married" status of those same-sex couples who wed before the passage of Proposition 8 and will retain all rights associated with marriage, except the name, for those who wed after the passage of Prop 8. He additionally signed into a law a bill that expanded funding for domestic violence programs targeted to lesbian and gay communities.
Wherever you stand on the issue of equality and gay rights, the issue has taken on a new urgency in states and in the nation's capital.
- Gay rights marchers in DC: 'We won't back down' (AP)
- Governor OKs Harvey Milk Day, marriage bill (SFGate.com)
- Massachusetts Sues Federal Government Over Defense of Marriage Act (FindLaw's Law & Daily Life)
- D.C. Same-Sex Marriage Bill Introduced (FindLaw's Law & Daily Life)
- Marriage Overview (provided by Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC)
- Estate Planning for Domestic Partners (provided by Ira L. Zuckerman, P.A.)
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