Friday, October 30, 2009

Equality in the News October 23-30

Apologies for the late posting of this edition of Equality in the News, everyone! Blogger and Word were not playing nicely together. :) -Rebecca

Happy (early) Halloween Everyone! My has the time really been flying lately, before you know it will be November and you know what that means? Turkey, yes, but more importantly Equality North Carolina Foundation’s Annual Conference & Gala, which this year will be held in Greensboro. There’s still time to register, if you haven’t done so. You don’t want to miss it, there will be many exciting workshops and speakers! -Jennifer


A Local Take on Federal Hate Crimes Legislation
Our own Ian Palmquist was interviewed for a story on President Obama's signing of federal hate crimes legislation on News Channel 14. We're very proud of him, and also of the fancy new banner you see behind his head during the interview. :)

Hometown Minister Makes Good!
Reverend Gilbert H. Caldwell, a native of Greensboro and graduate of North Carolina A&T, has been elected to the PFLAG national board of directors. Rev. Caldwell is a founding member of United Methodists of Color for a Fully Inclusive Church, Black Methodists for Church Renewal, and the Church Within a Church Movement.


Obama keeps his Promise
This week President Obama signed a bill to include violence against members of the LGBT community in federal hate crimes law. The expanded law also covers crimes motivated by gender identity or disability. Obama has also expanded some of the federal benefits of same-sex partners, but not health benefits or pension guarantees. He has allowed State Department employees to include their partners in certain embassy programs available to married spouses.

Maine Governor Urges Residents to Vote for Equal Marriage
On Tuesday Maine Governor John Baldacci urged residents to vote against repealing Maine’s equal marriage law, while acknowledging his past opposition to gay marriage. Baldacci admitted to once preferring civil unions to equal marriage. Baldacci comments, “I came to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage.” Rev. Bob Emirch states, “Politicians have had their chance to speak; now they just need to step aside and let the people make their decision.” Let’s hope that decision is for equal marriage.

We "Count"
The 2010 Census, for the first time, will include the opportunity for people in same-sex relationships to be counted. While it's nice for the government to "see" our community during the Census, these numbers will be invaluable to LGBT groups whose funding depends on having accurate demographic information, as well as to those who claim that no LGBT folks live in their communities.

Brazilian Husband of Massachusetts Man denied US Asylum
A Brazilian man has been denied asylum by the Obama administration and will not be reunited with his Massachusetts husband. Apparently, attorney General Eric Holder did not act on a Friday deadline in the case of Genesio “Junior” Oliveria effectively denying the 30-year-old Brazilian man’s request for asylum in the U.S. on humanitarian grounds. Since 1994 sexual orientation has been grounds for asylum in the United States after a ruling by (then) Janet Reno. Dozens of asylum seekers have won asylum on that ground according to immigration equality.

US Attorney Starts Job in Washington
America’s first openly gay U.S. Attorney started her job in Washington this week. “I don’t think I can fully appreciate how important it is to many people to have someone in a role like this who is gay,” Jenny Durkan, the new U.S. attorney commented. LGBT rights activists state her appointment reflects a growing acceptance in the U.S. as well as the attitude of President Obama’s administration. Kudos to Durkan for her new role as a U.S. Attorney!

Thank YOU for Being a Friend, Bea
You may know her as Dorothy Zbornak or Maude Findlay, but also remember her as a friend to the LGBT community. Bea Arthur included a $300,000 donation to New York's Ali Forney Center, an organization supporting homeless LGBT youth. The organization plans to use the funds to help purchase a residence for young people. I wonder: will it also have a lanai and a bottomless supply of cheesecake in the fridge?


Argentina Considers Equal Marriage
Recently, there has been a growing number of equal marriage supporters in the Argentina congress, which has opened debate on whether to change dozens of laws that define marriage as a union between a “man and a woman." It remains to be seen whether or not an equal marriage law has enough votes to overcome opposition from religious groups. The Roman Catholic Church remains a driving force in Argentina. Let’s hope Argentina sets a great example for the rest of Latin America by passing an equal marriage law!

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