Arizona! Act Now to Protect State Employee Benefits

June 4, 2009

Last night, in the middle of the night, the Senate passed SB 1145. Among other things this bill changes the definition of the word “dependant” to specifically target for removal the domestic partner benefits that were afforded to state employees only last year.

“At a time in our state’s history of unprecedented financial crisis and job loss and when the majority of Americans believe healthcare is one of our foremost issues, removing access to health care for Arizona families is a tragedy,” said Barbara McCullough-Jones, Executive Director of Equality Arizona. She continued, “Arizona took a giant step forward last year recognizing the universal desire of Arizonans to be responsible for our families with the adoption of domestic partner benefits for state employees. News from the Arizona Senate today that they have voted to remove domestic partner benefits is a crushing blow to the survival of all families in Arizona.”

One year ago through an administrative rule change the definition of “dependent” was written to include domestic partners and their dependents. It also extended coverage to dependents under 23 if they are a full time student. For the first time, both heterosexual and same-sex couples became eligible for equal employment benefits. One year ago ALL employees of the State of Arizona were allowed to provide healthcare for their families.

Those benefits are in jeopardy TODAY. Right now, the house is in Caucus, this afternoon they will decide if the budget changes approved last night will be sent to Governor Brewer’s desk for signature. Call your Representative and Governor Brewer RIGHT NOW, and let them know it is unfair to strip access to healthcare away from Arizona families.

find out how to get involved here

Wisconsin Domestic Partner Protections Vote Next Week!

June 4, 2009

Momentum is on our side now. Just in the past few days the Nevada legislature voted into law a domestic partnership registry for same-sex and unmarried straight couples, and New Hampshire became the sixth state to recognize marriages between same-sex couples.

Now it is Wisconsin’s chance to turn the tide: the Wisconsin State Assembly is poised to vote on the state budget—including domestic partnership protections—in the next few days. We need you to take action now to ensure the budget passes!

Please encourage your state representative to do the fair and just thing by voting for the budget containing these crucial protections for committed same-sex couples. Let them know that the government shouldn’t stand in the way of a couple’s ability to take care of each other. Wisconsin LGBT families need basic legal protections, especially in these trying times.

Our friends at Fair Wisconsin have been working hard to get these protections included, and now it is your turn. Write your legislator or call your representative today.

Please take action. Wisconsin LGBT families are counting on you.

In solidarity,

Kate Kendell, Esq.
Executive Director
National Center for Lesbian Rights

Outrage and Determination Mark NCLR Gala

June 4, 2009

by Heather Cassell | The Bay Area Reporter

The last week of May was a wild seven-day ride for the LGBT community and its allies. Many felt a mixture of frustration and determination at seeing the California Supreme Court uphold Proposition 8 and the 18,000 same-sex marriages that occurred last year, followed by the announcement of a federal challenge to Prop 8 by the legal odd couple Theodore Olson and David Boies.

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“No Excuses. No Delays.” Do We Really Mean It?

June 4, 2009

by Nadine Smith | The Bilerico Project

At a recent speaking engagement, I asked a group of people what the world would be like if from the day they were born prejudice had never touched their lives.

No homophobic bullying in school. Supportive families at homes No trans-bashing humor on TV.
No workplace discrimination. Equal treatment of all families regardless or orientation or gender identity.
No closet, ever, because you had never, ever needed one.

Most of the people responded by talking about new laws that would be in effect but they struggled to name the deeper, more personal impact on the texture of their daily lives.

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Editorial: Vote on Gay Marriage

June 4, 2009

Editorial | The New York Times

Six states have now made it legal for same-sex couples to marry. New York is not one of them. Gov. David Paterson wants the state to guarantee that right, and the protections that come with it, and the Assembly approved legislation legalizing same-sex marriage last month. Malcolm Smith, the leader of the State Senate, insists that he, too, favors marriage for gay couples, but he won’t let a bill go to the floor unless he’s privately lined up enough votes.

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