New Hampshire Senate Votes to Allow Gay Marriage

April 29, 2009

CONCORD, N.H. – The state Senate has voted to make New Hampshire the fifth state to allow gay marriage.

The 13-11 vote came after a 45 minute debate over an emotional issue that drew 500 people to the Statehouse for a hearing earlier this month.

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Hate Crime Verdict Sends Message

April 29, 2009

By Kenneth Buck, Weld County District Attorney
Guest Commentary | The Denver Post

In July 2008, Angie Zapata, a young transgender woman, was brutally murdered in Greeley, bludgeoned to death with a fire extinguisher by a man she befriended on a social networking site. The motivation of her killer was clear: He hated gay and transgender people.

As district attorney of Weld County, I made the decision to charge the defendant with a bias-motivated crime under Colorado law.

Weld County is a tolerant community, but we don’t tolerate illegal, and especially violent, behavior. I never witnessed hesitancy on behalf of any member of law enforcement to fully pursue justice in this case. The Greeley Police Department did an excellent job in this investigation, and the prosecutors in this office spent many sleepless nights preparing this case for trial.

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President Obama Urges Passage of the Federal Hate Crimes Bill

April 29, 2009

This week, the House of Representatives is expected to consider H.R. 1913, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. I urge members on both sides of the aisle to act on this important civil rights issue by passing this legislation to protect all of our citizens from violent acts of intolerance – legislation that will enhance civil rights protections, while also protecting our freedom of speech and association. I also urge the Senate to work with my Administration to finalize this bill and to take swift action.

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Some See Gay Marriage Coming to Illinois

April 29, 2009

Rather than head to Iowa, many same-sex couples in Chicago who want to marry seem content to wait until they can legally wed in Illinois, demonstrating a sense of optimism about the issue once unheard of in the gay and lesbian community.

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Maine: Vote on Gay Marriage Expected

April 29, 2009

by Abby Goodnough | New York Times

The joint judiciary committee of the Legislature approved a bill to allow same-sex marriage in the state, setting the stage for the House and Senate to vote on it as soon as next week. Eleven of the 14 committee members voted in favor of the bill, two voted against it and one proposed letting voters decide the matter in a referendum. Gov. John Baldacci, a Democrat, has not said whether he will sign the bill. The New Hampshire House of Representatives approved a same-sex marriage bill last month, and the Senate is scheduled to take it up Wednesday.

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Marriage Equality Is Inevitable

April 29, 2009

Which side of history do you want to be on?

by Bernard Whitman | Forbes

Marriage equality is going to happen in this country. It’s only a matter of time.

For some, this reality is exciting, uplifting and extraordinary. For others, it is scary, frightening, even unfathomable. But no matter your opinion on the subject, this truth is inexorable: Gays and lesbians will one day be able to wed legally in all 50 states. Our relationships will finally be recognized as valid under the law and protected by our government. And America will be a stronger country for it.

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Committee Approves Gay Marriage Bill

April 28, 2009

by Susan Cover | Portland Press Herald

The Legislature’s Judiciary Committee voted 11-2-1 today in support of a bill to allow gay marriage in Maine.

Eleven members voted in favor of the bill, two voted against it, and one voted to send it to referendum.

The vote was briefly interrupted when a woman began yelling at legislators because she wanted them to reject the bill. Elaine Graham of Farmington was escorted from the Statehouse by Capitol Police, but will not face charges.

The bill will now move forward to the full Senate for consideration.

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NCLR Applauds Tlingit and Haida Central Council Resolution

April 28, 2009

The National Center for Lesbian Rights applauds Resolution TA/09-44 unanimously passed by the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. The resolution calls for the tribe members to “offer our support and caring for all two-spirit sons and daughters in every way, as well as all the beloved children of this nation, and wish to open communication and support groups to have better understanding.” During the 74th Annual Tribal Council Assembly in Juneau, the council members acknowledged that many of their two-spirit members, that is, their lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) tribe members were subject to prejudice and violence, and called upon their community to reject this kind of discrimination and embrace each citizen, regardless of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

read the resolution (pdf)

New Poll Shows Majority of New Hampshire Voters Continue to Support Marriage Equality for Lesbian and Gay Couples

April 28, 2009

CONCORD, NH – A poll released today by New Hampshire Freedom to Marry shows that 55% of New Hampshire Voters support marriage for lesbian and gay couples, while 39% are opposed. The poll, conducted by UNH Survey Center, surveyed 491 New Hampshire voters from April 13 through the 22.

“New Hampshire has a live and let live attitude. These strong numbers in support of marriage equality are not surprising. A majority of New Hampshire voters have supported marriage equality since polling on the subject began in 2003. We hope that New Hampshire can soon join our neighbors in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont, and enact marriage equality,” said Mo Baxley, Executive Director of New Hampshire Freedom To Marry.

The poll also found that 63% of Independent and 34% of Republican voters in New Hampshire support marriage for lesbian and gay couples. The poll also found that when asked only 32% would be “bothered” if gay and lesbians could get a marriage license.

House Bill 436, which would recognize marriage equality for lesbian and gay couples under New Hampshire law, passed the House of Representatives last month and is pending in the state Senate. Last week, a Senate committee voted 2-3 against the bill. A vote by the full Senate is expected on Wednesday.

The New Hampshire Freedom to Marry Coalition was founded in January 2001 and is New Hampshire’s Statewide LGBT education and advocacy organization. NCLR applauds their efforts throughout the state. Be sure to check back often for important updates as this bill moves forward.

A Quiet Day in Iowa as Same-Sex Couples Line Up to Marry

April 28, 2009

by Monica Davey | The New York Times

DES MOINES — In a way, life looked unexpectedly ordinary here on Monday as Iowa began allowing same-sex couples to marry.

The large, angry protests some had imagined never materialized in this city, the state’s most populous. Neither did the crowds of couples from all over the nation that some feared might create a carnival-like atmosphere captured in earlier images from other places.

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