D.C. City Council Rejects Cuts to Programs for Poor Families

July 31, 2009

We just received word from our colleagues at the National Women’s Law Center that the D.C. City Council has rejected a proposal to cut or eliminate poor families’ Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits for failure to meet work requirements. Plus, the final budget also restored part of the funding the Mayor proposed to cut from other programs for poor families.

This is a huge victory for the poor women and children of the District. Cutting these funds would have put thousands of families in our community deeper into poverty. The TANF program provides vital cash assistance and job readiness services.

Earlier this week, we asked you to make calls to your D.C. Councilmembers about this very issue. Thank you so much for taking action. Your calls made a difference!

Please spread this good news by passing this message along to other residents of the District of Columbia.


Joan Entmacher
Vice President for Family Economic Security
National Women’s Law Center

Washington State Reviewing Signatures on Anti-Gay Rights Petition

July 31, 2009

by Brad Shannon | The Olympian

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Social conservatives who organized the Referendum 71 challenge to domestic-partnership rights for same-sex couples turned in fewer signatures than initially thought.

David Ammons of the Office of the Secretary of State said the actual number is 137,689, about 800 fewer than the 138,500 estimated at Saturday’s turn-in of signatures by the Protect Marriage Washington campaign, which is led by Christian faith groups.

The signature total is 14 percent more than the 120,577 valid signatures needed for the issue to qualify for the Nov. 3 ballot. That is below the typical 18 percent invalidation rate, raising questions about the measure’s viability.

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House Subcommittee Backs Extension of Benefits To Gay Partners of Government Employees

July 31, 2009

by Joe Davidson | The Washington Post

Reflecting changing national views on gay and lesbian relationships, a House subcommittee voted Thursday to extend employee benefits to the same-sex partners of federal workers.

The debate that preceded the 5 to 3 vote along party lines quickly moved beyond the federal workplace and into such fundamental cultural issues as religion, morality and the state of marriage — heady stuff for a House Oversight and Government Reform panel that more typically deals with the arcane details of government employment.

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Action Alert: AAA South Under Attack for Treating All Spouses Equally!

July 31, 2009

Last week, we told you that iconic auto club AAA South, the fourth largest AAA affiliate in the country, is committed to recognizing all spouses, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, in company policies and services. AAA South now allows married same-sex couples to receive spousal discounts under AAA’s Associate Membership program. Now AAA South is under attack by an anti-gay group, which is calling on its members to flood the company with phone calls and emails. We must not let them bully and pressure AAA South into discriminating against same-sex spouses.

Please let AAA South you appreciate their fair and principled policy. Send a thank you note now; and while you are at it, personalize your letter and ask AAA South to consider extending this service to all registered domestic partners.

NCLR applauds AAA South for treating LGBT members equally and hails the advocacy work of Equality Florida, which brought the issue to the attention of AAA South.

AAA South has more than four million members in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and Puerto Rico. To have such an iconic company set a standard of full equality for all married couples, regardless of sexual orientation, sends an important message that must be encouraged.

AAA has supported NCLR for nearly a decade as one of our top corporate sponsors. Please join us and stand with them. Send a thank you note now.

In Solidarity,

Maine Gay Marriage Challenged

July 31, 2009

Associated Press

AUGUSTA, Maine — Opponents of Maine’s new gay marriage law have submitted petitions seeking a November referendum on the measure.

Leaders of the Stand for Marriage campaign said Friday they collected more than 100,000 signatures of registered Maine voters. Cartons containing the petitions were later turned in to the secretary of state’s office to be certified.

A November referendum will be held if at least 55,087 signatures are certified by Sept. 4.

At a news conference outside the State House, campaign leaders said marriage between one man and one woman is a basic building block of society and must be protected. In May, Maine became the fifth state to recognize same-sex marriages.

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Albania Plans to Legalize Gay Marriages

July 30, 2009

TIRANA, Albania — Albania’s governing Democrats have proposed a law allowing same-sex civil weddings in the small, predominantly Muslim country.

An announcement on the government Web site Thursday said the bill “may spark debate” but was needed to stop discrimination against gay couples. Current law only recognizes heterosexual marriages.

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Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue: A Gay Woman Marine Who Didn’t Tell For Years Now Speaks Out

July 30, 2009

by Julianne Sohn

I‘ve always wanted to serve my country.

And when I decided to apply to Marine Corps Officer Candidates School (OCS), I was determined to become a leader of Marines. But there was one small detail. Okay, it wasn’t really that small. It was and still is the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy.

During my senior year at UCLA, I wanted to serve so much that I felt that I could adhere to the policy and be a hard-charging Marine. Little did I know how hard it would be on myself and my loved ones.

I was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the Marines in December of 1999. After 10 weeks of surviving OCS, I was a Marine. I went on to serve on active duty until 2003 as a public affairs officer. And later I served a tour of duty in Iraq in 2005. It was definitely an honor to serve my country, but over time I realized that I should have asked myself another question, “at what cost?”

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