Archives – January, 2012
More than 1 in 5 LGBT Coloradans has been refused care because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. For transgender individuals, that number spikes to 58 percent. Forty-one percent of LGBT Coloradans do not feel safe telling their health care providers that they are gay or transgender.
These striking statistics are from a new report called “Invisible: The State of LGBT Health in Colorado,” published by One Colorado Education Fun, the education arm of the LGBT advocacy group One Colorado, along with support from Denver Health. Derived from a survey of 1,300 LGBT Coloradans, One Colorado’s report seeks to document empirical evidence about the difficulties LGBT individuals face when navigating the state’s health-care system and make recommendations about improving LGBT public health in Colorado. Among their suggestions: health professionals should collect and publish data on sexual orientation and gender identity, health providers should use inclusive forms and questions that are LGBT-friendly, and LGBT individuals should come out to their providers to encourage openness and communication.
You can read One Colorado’s full report on their website. Below, Brad Clark, Executive Director of One Colorado, and Jess Woodrum, the organization’s Deputy Director, discuss the release of the “Invisible” report.
By Jacob Combs
Yesterday, while New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie used some colorful words with reporters in response to criticisms of his call to put marriage equality up for a referendum, he also shared some interesting news about Bruce Harris, the openly gay man he has nominated to the state’s Supreme Court. From Bloomberg:
The governor, 49, said today that Harris told him that he has advocated for gay marriage personally and as a politician.
“If confirmed to the court, he would recuse himself from that matter because he did not want there to be the appearance of bias on his part on that issue,” Christie told reporters. “My perspective on that issue was to put it aside because he’s not going to rule on that.”
Timothy Kincaid, at Box Turtle Bulletin, argues that Harris’s decision is the right one, since he is not pledging to recuse himself based solely on his orientation, but rather for his previous political action in support of marriage equality. Harris wrote an email in 2009 to a group of Republican legislators who opposed marriage equality, using his own experience to persuade them to change their minds. Here’s the full email, courtesy of Kincaid:
As a Republican elected official and someone who has worked hard (and successfully) to get Republicans elected in Chatham Borough, it disturbs me that same-sex marriage has become a Republican versus Democrat issue (understanding there are some Democrats who do not support same-sex marriage). I was encouraged to see former Governor Christine Whitman’s op-ed piece in the Sunday, November 29, 2009 Star-Ledger supporting same-sex marriage, I hope you read her article and will seriously consider her suggestion.
You have met me and my partner of nearly 30 years, Marc, on more than one occasion at various political gatherings. The New Jersey Supreme court has determined that our relationship is entitled to the equal protection guarantees of the State Constitution. The New jersey Civil Union Review Commission determined that civil unions do not provide the equality the State Constitution mandates.(Please take a few moments and visit www.gardenstateequality.org. which has two short videos that provide sad examples of the failures of the civil union law.)
When I hear someone say that they believe marriage is only between a man and a woman because that’s the way it’s always been, I think of the many “traditions” that deprived people of their civil rights for centuries: prohibitions on interracial marriage, slavery, (which is even provided for in the Bible), segregation, the subservience of women, to name just a few of these “traditions.”
I hope that you consider my request that you re-evaluate your position and, if after viewing the videos, reading Governor Whitman’s letter and thinking again about this issue of civil rights you still oppose same-sex marriage on grounds other than religion I would appreciate it if you you’d explain your position to me. And, if the basis of your opposition is religious, then I suggest that you do what the US Constitution mandates – and that is to maintain a separation between the state and religion.
By Jacob Combs
Today, Maryland’s Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee will take up a marriage equality bill a 1 p.m., with LGBT advocates and religious leaders holding a rally in support of the legislation at 9:30 a.m.
Yesterday, the Washington Post released a poll showing that Marylanders support the legislation 50-44 percent, but many polls in the last few months have shown the margin between the two sides to be very close. The Post poll showed deep racial divides in the opinion of Maryland Democrats, with support standing at 71-24 percent for whites and 41-53 percent for blacks. Gov. Martin O’Malley’s religious protections, which go further than those in last year’s failed bill, are in many ways aimed at garnering the support of Democrats in the House who withheld their votes last year based on input from religious members of their constituencies.
In an excellent editorial yesterday, the Baltimore Sun made the case for the bill’s adequate protections of religious liberty:
There may never be a consensus among the state’s religious organizations over whether God intended people of the same sex to love each other and to marry. Those are theological questions best left up to the members of each faith to decide, and this legislation includes clear, explicit protections of their right to do so. But just as the government may not impede the right to the free exercise of religion, no particular religion’s values may be the basis of the law of the land. A democracy requires that all citizens be treated equally and in accordance with the same basic rules of fairness.
I wrote last week about religious leaders in Maryland who are personally opposed to marriage same-sex couples being granted marriage rights, but are supporting O’Malley’s bill and the freedom of gay couples to have the same choice to marry as their straight counterparts. Maryland’s marriage equality bill passed the Senate last year, so passage looks likely in that chamber this year as well.
UPDATED: If you want to listen in live to the committee hearing today, you can do so here.