Dolly Parton Voices Support for Gay Marriage

November 18, 2009

Dolly Partonby Stephen L. Betts | The Boot

The always candid Dolly Parton has revealed that she’s in favor of granting gays and lesbians the rights to marry.

“Sure, why can’t they get married? They should suffer like the rest of us do,” the outspoken superstar told CNN show host Joy Behar. When Behar suggested Dolly’s Southern roots might not mesh with the idea of marriage equality, the singer agreed, “I know that’s true.”

Dolly’s not alone. This year, Reba McEntire surprised some of her conservative fans when she spoke in support of her gay fans and “many gay friends.” “Don’t judge me and I won’t judge you,” she said. “Keep an open mind.”

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Catholic Bishops Affirm Stance on Marriage

November 18, 2009

by Michelle Boorstein | Washington Post

The nation’s Catholic bishops approved a position paper that emphasizes the church’s traditional positions on marriage Tuesday, the same day that the D.C. Council agreed to schedule a vote on legalizing same-sex unions for Dec. 1.

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House Committee Passes Partner Benefits Bill

November 18, 2009

by Kerry Eleveld | The Advocate

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Wednesday voted 23-12 to pass the Domestic Partner Benefits and Obligations Act, which would extend benefits to same-sex partners of federal government workers.

The bill is now likely to move to a full House floor vote, which many anticipate could take place before the end of the year.

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Church, State and Gay Marriage

November 18, 2009

Los Angeles Times editorial

The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington is warning the District of Columbia Council that the church will stop contracting to provide social services if the city approves same-sex marriage as planned. To which the only valid response is, “OK.”

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In Florida, it’s Adoption Year

November 18, 2009

Palm Beach Post editorial

November is National Adoption Month, a fitting time to recognize the strides Florida has made in turning around its foster care system and putting more children into permanent homes.

The state’s child welfare system is still in need of major improvements as illustrated this spring when 7-year-old Gabriel Myers, who was taking an anti-psychotic drug that neither his mother nor a judge had approved, killed himself at his Broward County foster home. Gabriel’s is one of several horror stories starring the Florida Department of Children and Families since the state privatized foster care and adoptions.

Still, the number of children in foster care — which has steadily decreased — and the number being adopted — which has steadily risen, tell a different story — one of success and hope.

Florida set a record this fiscal year with 3,777 adoptions through June 30. Of those foster children, 162 were in Palm Beach County, 20 in Martin County and 44 in St. Lucie County.

There have been 600 finalized adoptions since July 1, and about 200 — including 50 in Miami on Friday — will become final this month, putting those children in permanent homes in time for Christmas.

Florida also has seen a drop in the number of children in foster care. As of July 1 of this year there were 19,797 in foster care, a decline of 9,483 since the beginning of 2007.

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Protect Tampa’s Transgendered

November 18, 2009

St. Petersburg Times editorial

The days of denying a person a job, housing or even service in a restaurant solely on the basis of bigotry are not entirely gone. The Tampa City Council will vote Thursday on whether to protect transgender individuals under the city’s antidiscrimination laws. It is the right move and long overdue.

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Seven Tips For Dissolving Gay Unions

November 18, 2009

by Tara Siegel Bernard | New York Times

In a previous post, we talked about the problems that same-sex couples may face if they decide to untie their various legal knots — whether they’re married, part of a civil union or in a registered domestic partnership.

When a heterosexual married couple splits, they have access to divorce court and are entitled to the tax-free division of their property. With gay couples, that’s not necessarily the case. Depending on where they live, they may not have access to divorce court. Even if they do, they may face higher costs because their unions aren’t recognized by the federal government.

So we asked several experts on same-sex issues what gay couples need to think about before legally partnering, and what they’ll probably need to consider should they decide to split.

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Puerto Rico Gay Slaying Investigated as Hate Crime

November 18, 2009

by Mark Melia | Associated Press

The slaying of a gay teenager whose decapitated, partially burned body was found along a road in Puerto Rico last week is under investigation as a possible hate crime, a police official said Wednesday.

Activists say it would be the first case in this U.S. territory to invoke a law covering crimes based on sexual orientation.

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Letter to Ugandan Ambassador: Support Human Rights—Prevent the Passage of the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill

November 18, 2009

Dear Ambassador Kamunanwire,

I am writing to express concern over the “Anti-Homosexuality Bill” that is currently being considered in Uganda’s parliament. The parliamentary proposal represents a shocking assault on fundamental human rights and scientifically supported health interventions. In response, and in the belief that an attack on human rights anywhere is an attack on human rights everywhere, a group of human rights activists will gather tomorrow in Washington to express our concern with the bill. We would welcome an opportunity to meet with you to discuss those concerns.

The bill, as introduced, appears to be one of the most extreme legal provisions ever proposed in any country. It would increase the penalty for consensual homosexual conduct to life in prison. It also limits the distribution of HIV information through a provision criminalizing the “promotion of homosexuality.” Beyond that, it creates a crime of “aggravated homosexuality,” punishing anyone who is HIV-positive with death for having consensual same-sex relations, even if the relations are informed and safe, and regardless of whether the person is even aware of his or her HIV-status. That provision is contrary to every established health protocol and frustrates efforts to create the necessary social and legal framework to reach vulnerable communities. Even more outrageous, the law also potentially exposes anyone in Uganda—including HIV outreach experts—to criminal sanction for failing to report suspected homosexuals to the government.

We are concerned that this proposal would also undermine our country’s ability to provide medically appropriate support for HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment in Uganda. The passage of this law will only make it more difficult to reach Uganda’s gay and bisexual men with HIV information, care and treatment, thereby seriously compromising the national HIV response and our own country’s substantial investment in Uganda’s health sector.

Thank you, Ambassador, for your attention to this important human rights issue. In view of the gravity of this situation, we would appreciate a meeting with you tomorrow, or at your earliest convenience.

Sincerely,
Mark Bromley
Council Chair
The Council for Global Equality

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a proud member of the Council for Global Equality


Hidden Injustice: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth in Juvenile Courts

November 18, 2009

by Jody Marksamer | The Hill

For more than 20 years, the juvenile justice system has steadily become more punitive in how it treats youth accused of delinquent offenses.  In some jurisdictions, the pendulum is slowly starting to swing back, with reform efforts underway to develop more fair and effective juvenile courts.  Notably absent from these efforts, however, has been a focus on the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth.

The lack of professional guidance for juvenile justice professionals working with these youth is cause for concern. According to a 2009 study by Ceres Policy Research, LGBT youth comprise close to 12% of the overall population of youth in juvenile detention facilities.  Despite this compelling statistic, many juvenile justice professionals pay scant—if any—attention to LGBT youth.

A report released this week by the Equity Project, a collaboration of Legal Services for Children, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the National Juvenile Defender Center, aims to fill the gap in professional guidance for those working with this often-hidden population.  The report, Hidden Injustice:  Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth in Juvenile Courts, is the first comprehensive effort to examine the experiences of LGBT youth in juvenile courts nationwide.

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click here to find out more about the Equity Project and Hidden Injustice


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