Archives – May, 2012
Equality news round-up: New York appeals court says calling someone “gay” isn’t defamatory, and more
By Scottie Thomaston
- An appeals court in New York has rejected a claim of defamation based on someone who was called “gay”. Lambda Legal issued a statement saying, in part, “Saying that someone is gay is not an insult. Being identified as gay is neither bad nor shameful – not in our society, and not under the law.”
- Anti-LGBT murders increased in 2011.
- The SEIU has a resolution to bargain for transgender-inclusive health care.
- The White House continues to dodge questions on a contractor executive order, after ExxonMobil voted against LGBT protections.
- PFLAG on bullying.
- The New Jersey Senate has rejected a gay court appointee.
By Scottie Thomaston
What you may have missed over the past week at Prop8TrialTracker.com…
On Monday, May 21, Jacob began the week’s coverage with a piece on the Amendment One vote in North Carolina. I wrote about the sentencing of Dharun Ravi on charges of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy, in the death of Tyler Clementi; Ravi was sentenced to 30 days in jail. Then, I wrote that Theodore Boutrous, a lawyer fighting Proposition 8 in court, has stated his belief that the Obama administration could very well weigh in against Proposition 8 in court.
I posted a round-up of various LGBT equality-related news items, highlighting NAACP President Ben Jealous’ comments on the NAACP’s decision to support marriage equality. Also on Monday, I wrote about a new complaint against the National Organization for Marriage filed by Republican candidate for president Fred Karger, alleging that NOM failed to disclose $345K in contributions. Finally, Matt Baume posted this week’s Marriage News Watch.
On Tuesday, May 22, Jacob started the day’s coverage noting that the ATF, following up on the EEOC ruling that claims of anti-transgender employment discrimination can be filed as claims of sex discrimination, will open an investigation into the plaintiff’s (in the original EEOC decision) discrimination claims. I wrote about a speech HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius gave at the World Health Assembly saying that people, and especially LGBT people, should have wider access to health care worldwide. Adam wrote about a new lawsuit challenging the Senate’s filibuster, and what the lawsuit could mean for LGBT equality. Then, I noted an update in Sevcik v. Sandoval, the marriage equality case filed in Nevada: the rest of the defendants responded to the initial complaint.
On the same day, in the DOMA challenge Golinski v. OPM in the Ninth Circuit, I wrote about the denial of the request for an initial en banc hearing, and noted that oral arguments in the case will be heard in September. I wrote a news round-up, especially calling attention to the fact that May 22 is Harvey Milk Day.
On Wednesday, Jacob wrote about a new ABC News/Washington Post poll that noted a new milestone in LGBT rights: for the first time more people strongly supported marriage equality than strongly opposed it. I wrote about a new bill proposed by a Democratic congressman, the Juror Non-Discrimination Act, that would prevent people from being kicked off a jury based simply on sexual orientation or gender identity. Then, I posted a news round-up highlighting that Exxon-Mobil was considering banning anti-LGBT discrimination.
On Thursday Jacob wrote that the Obama campaign launched a massive outreach effort aimed at the LGBT community. I wrote about a new poll from Public Policy Polling that showed a majority of Marylanders would vote to uphold marriage equality in the state, and that the shift in support was led primarily by strong majority support from black Marylanders. Also on Thursday, I wrote a piece noting factual errors made in an article written by Jeffrey Rosen for The New Republic, on marriage equality. Then, I wrote that anti-gay groups in Maryland had set a goal to get 200,000 signatures by May 6 (despite the fact that they didn’t need that many to qualify for the ballot) and that while they would likely reach the number of signatures needed to have marriage equality placed on the ballot, they missed their stated goal by tens of thousands of signatures. I posted a news round-up with analysis of the new Maryland polling numbers.
Friday morning, Jacob wrote that a judge had struck down DOMA in Dragovich v.US Dept. of Treasury. I posted about the Senate’s version of the National Defense Authorization Act, noting that the anti-gay provisions were removed from that version. Then, I posted a news round-up highlighting protests in North Carolina against a pastor who seemed to suggest gay people should be put behind an electric fence and left to die.
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By Jacob Combs
Last week, a new PPP poll showed majority support for marriage equality in Maryland, with 57 percent of voters saying they would uphold a law granting marriages to gay and lesbian couples and only 37 percent saying they would vote against it. Now, a new poll out from Washington shows similar support for marriage in that state, with 54 percent of respondents saying that they will vote to uphold that state’s marriage equality bill, and only 33 percent planning to vote against it.
Most importantly, the poll showed significant support for the measure among independents by a 52-36 percent margin. Despite these positive numbers, though, anti-marriage equality forces in the state are expected to turn in more than enough signatures to put the question on the ballot for voters to decide in November.
Even though Referendum 74 appears likely to make the ballot, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for the opponents of marriage equality in Washington. As Pam’s House Blend reported Thursday, NOM set a goal of turning in 200,000 signatures in support of the measure (more than the 120,577 required by the state) by May 6, one month before the final deadline. Past ballot initiatives in Washington have turned in many more than 120,000 signatures, with one tax repeal measure receiving 408,000 signatures in 2010.
May 6 has passed, and NOM has been remarkably silent. Not only did the group miss its own self-proclaimed deadline, it looks like the NOM-backed Protect Marriage Washington may not even have 200,000 signatures to file by the final June 6 deadline.
Anti-marriage advocates will no doubt be out in force this summer and fall, engaging in the same kind of fear-based campaigning that we’ve seen too often in the past. But their difficulty in gathering signatures and today’s new poll shows that the groundwork for marriage equality in Washington is strong. Our opponents are having trouble riling up their base, and the state clearly supports marriage equality in principle. Votes too often don’t match poll responses, so there is much work ahead of us, but Washington seems poised to be a very good battleground state for a win this November.