R-71 Qualifying for November Statewide Vote

August 31, 2009

by David Ammons | Washington State Secretary of State’s blog

With the Referendum 71 signature-check now nearly complete, state election officials say they’ve now confirmed that sponsors turned in more than the bare minimum needed for a spot on the November statewide ballot. Signature-checkers passed the 121,000 mark on Monday, the 23rd day of an exhaustive hand check of all 137,000-plus signatures submitted on July 25 by foes of a new “everything but marriage” domestic partnership law passed by the Legislature in April.

It takes 120,577 valid Washington voter signatures to qualify a referendum to the state ballot. That is equal to 4 percent of the total vote for governor last fall. Voters will have a choice of accepting the new law or rejecting it.

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Crossing Borders

August 31, 2009

by Andrew Harmon | The Advocate

Jet-lagged and nervous, Matthew lands at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport dreading the next leg of the journey. He’s traveling home with his partner, a man with whom he’s spent the last 22 years in the capital of an undisclosed Middle Eastern country not known for its social tolerance. The drill is always the same: Somewhere between stumbling off the plane, shuffling through the jet bridge with passports in hand, and entering separate lines at immigration (“U.S. Citizens Only” and “Noncitizens”), the men go from intimates living in a strange land to strangers who avoid making eye contact through the glass wall that divides them. They take these precautions, Matthew says, because he fears that his partner could be barred from entry if there’s any evidence suggesting he might be enticed to stay in the United States.

Invariably, Matthew’s partner is pulled aside for questioning anyway. His Middle Eastern ethnicity and the impression that he’s traveling alone are red flags for immigration officers in the post-9/11 world. But he is not traveling alone, which is why Matthew’s dread turns into rage. “He is led off, I do not know where,” he says. “I want to help him. I want to ask what the hell they are doing with him, to keep their hands off him.… And I sob as I look through the glass.”

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Gay Pride and Prejudice

August 31, 2009

Los Angeles Times editorial

The issue before a federal judge in January will be same-sex marriage in California and whether the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, with its guarantees of equal protection and due process of law, prohibits Proposition 8 and other bans on the right to marry. As a constitutional case, it will involve its share of arguments about meeting legal tests for various levels of judicial scrutiny and whether homosexuals constitute a “discrete” group. Dry stuff indeed, and yet the lawsuit against Proposition 8 also threatens to be an emotionally wrenching case about the nature of homosexuality, just as the proposition itself was one of the most rancorous and divisive issues to face California voters in recent years.

Is sexual orientation inborn or a choice? Can it be changed? If so, should it be changed? Do gay and lesbian partners make good parents? As good as straight parents? Do homosexuals contribute as much to society as heterosexuals? Would their marriages harm the unions of heterosexual couples and the institution of marriage? As the case unfolds, it could pose those and other questions, presenting an opportunity to debate seemingly every prejudicial canard about gays and lesbians. And what’s especially dishearteningis that it is the plaintiffs — those seeking to end the state’s ban on same-sex marriage — who may force the debate for the purpose of dismissing those tired biases and strengthening their constitutional argument.

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Photos: Vigil for Na Na Boo

August 31, 2009

from Washington City Paper

Transgender Health Empowerment Inc. (T.H.E.)  hosted a candle light vigil for Tyli’a “Na Na Boo” Mack who, along with another transgender woman, was brutally attacked on August 26th in Washington D.C.

Vigil for Na Na Boo

Vigil for Na Na Boo

To see more pictures, click here.

Gay Rights Group Aims to Raise $10,000 for HD90 Special Election

August 31, 2009

by Jason Hancock | Iowa Independent

An Iowa-based political action committee that supports marriage rights for same-sex couples is working to raise $10,000 by midnight Friday in the hopes of countering the huge investment made by an anti-gay marriage organization in the special election in House District 90.

Fairness Fund PAC, which is associated with the state’s largest gay-rights advocacy group, One Iowa, is hoping a last-minute surge of money can help bring Democrat Curt Hanson to victory. The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), a New Jersey-based group that opposes same-sex marriage, spent nearly $90,000 on a television ad campaign for Republican candidate Steve Burgmeier.

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Once Political, Now Just Practical

August 31, 2009

by Sara Sarasohn | New York Times

I have two kids and a big full-time job. Other working mothers say to me, “You must be so busy!”

“Not really,” I tell them. “My wife stays home with the kids.”

Then they say, “A wife? I need a wife.”

They don’t mean they wish they could be gay. They mean they wish they had someone who would do errands and chores.

In 1971, Ms. Magazine published an essay by Judy Syfers called, “Why I Want a Wife.” Feminists of the early ’70s have a reputation for humorlessness, but that essay is pure satire. Ms. Syfers lists in excruciating detail all the things a wife is supposed to do for her husband. They are the chores women are talking about when they tell me they want a wife: someone to keep track of dentist appointments, take care of sick children, prepare meals and serve them pleasantly.

“Why I Want a Wife” goes on for almost a thousand words. In 1971, the biting humor was in the truth of it. Men really did think wives should support them through graduate school while doing the laundry and gracefully handling their social life as a couple. Ms. Syfers pointed out that it was a ridiculous system.

That essay does not make me laugh. I have a wife. She does almost everything on Ms. Syfers’s list. My marriage is not a ridiculous system.

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D.C. Community Vigil Tonight

August 28, 2009

Two young transgender women were brutally stabbed on Wednesday, the 26th, at the 200 block of Q Street in northwest Washington, DC. Tyli’a “NaNa Boo” Mack died at the scene, while the second victim was rushed to a nearby hospital where she remains in critical condition.

Transgender Health Empowerment Inc. (T.H.E.) is hosting a candle light vigil for the victims at the site of the attack at 209 Q St. NW tonight, Friday the 28th, at 6:30pm.  T.H.E. asks that all community members to come show their support and solidarity.

NCLR extends our deepest sympathies and condolences to the entire D.C. community and the family and loved ones of NaNa Boo and her friend.

For more information about the vigil, please visit the D.C. Trans Coalition’s website