Miss Manners on Addressing Gay Couples

September 21, 2009

from the Advocate

Miss Manners is the expert on all facets of etiquette, and in her latest column she says that “updating old customs for new times happens to be her favorite part of this job.”

She follows up by answering a reader’s question on how to address mail to a same-sex couple. The reader wonders if she should use the same formalities as when addressing an opposite-sex couple, then asks a question out of concern for the couple in question.

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Census Sheds Light on Same-Sex Marriages

September 21, 2009

from the Associated Press

Nearly 150,000 same-sex couples reported being in marriage relationships last year, many more than the number of actual weddings and civil unions, according to the first U.S. census figures released on same-sex marriages.

About 27 percent of the estimated 564,743 total gay couples in the United States said they were in a relationship akin to “husband” and “wife,” according to the Census Bureau tally provided to The Associated Press. That’s compared with 91 percent of the 61.3 million total opposite-sex couples who reported being married.

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NCLR Attorney Awarded Chicana/Latina Foundation’s 2009 Emerging Leadership Award

September 21, 2009

For Immediate Release

(San Francisco, CA, September 21, 2009) — The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) today announced that Chicana/Latina Foundation will honor NCLR attorney Lisa Cisneros with its 2009 Emerging Leadership Award. The Emerging Leadership Award is presented annually to young leaders committed to social justice and who have demonstrated their commitment with actions and deeds.

Cisneros joined NCLR as a Pride Law Fellow in the fall of 2007. She leads Proyecto Poderoso—Project Powerful—a collaborative effort by NCLR and California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) aimed at improving legal services for low-income LGBT residents of rural California. Proyecto Poderoso is based in CRLA’s Salinas Valley office and is made possible by a generous grant from Pride Law Fund’s Tom Steel Fellowship.

“I grew up in Salinas, and came out as a teenager here. I come from a Mexican-American family,” Cisneros says. “These personal experiences and the opportunity to help deliver much-needed services led me to take on this challenge. My parents taught me that if you want to see the world change for the better, you must jump in and do your part to change it.”

Proyecto Poderoso improves legal services to rural LGBT people by providing community education, building the expertise of CRLA attorneys and staff in the area of LGBT law, and directly providing legal services. The project also draws on support not only from NCLR and CRLA, but also from a network of individuals and organizations, including LGBT groups and allies, as well as Latino organizations.

“NCLR is very proud to work in partnership with California Rural Legal Assistance to improve legal services for low-income LGBT residents of rural California, many of whom are agricultural workers without access to basic services. Lisa brings a unique passion and innovation to NCLR and her work is truly transformative, said NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell. “We are tremendously grateful to see Lisa acknowledged by the Chicana/Latina Foundation, a particularly important leader in providing opportunities and recognition for young women in California. We couldn’t agree more that she is an emerging leader who will help shape the next generation of the LGBT movement.”

Lisa Cisneros received her J.D. from UC Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) in 2007. During law school, she worked as a judicial extern in federal court, and served as a law clerk at Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, as well as at NCLR. She was a member of Boalt Hall’s prestigious Death Penalty Clinic, and a senior editor for the California Law Review. Upon graduation, Cisneros received the Francine Diaz Memorial Award for her contributions to the Boalt community and public service.

The Chicana/Latina Foundation will honor Cisneros with the Emerging Leadership Award at its Annual Scholarship Dinner, where they will also honor other women who demonstrate commitment to social justice. The awards ceremony and dinner will take place at the Palace Hotel on October 9, 2009.

For more information, please visit the Chicana/Latina Foundation website at www.chicanalatina.org.

Action Alert: Road Trip—Leave Home and Protect Our Future

September 21, 2009

This is an all hands on deck moment!

There are three action items that urgently need our help this fall—Maine, Washington State, and the National March for Equality.

Both Maine and Washington need our help preserving their laws that protect LGBT people. We all endured the devastating defeats of ballot measures in California, Florida, Arizona, and Arkansas last November. We must never let those so steadfastly opposed to our relationships, families, and fairness win again. With your help we CAN and WILL win in Maine and Washington!

Protect Marriage in MaineNo On 1: Protect Maine Equality

We have won marriage in Maine, and now, the very same motley crew of highly-paid, dirty-trick consultants who stripped California couples of the freedom to marry have been shipped in to eliminate that precious right for families in Maine. But we can and must stop them this time. We must say NEVER AGAIN!

Can you please help?
No On 1-Protect Maine Equality needs us!

• Sign up for the virtual phonebank that you can join in from the comfort of your own living room.
• Take a Volunteer Vacation to bring man- and woman-power to Maine.
• And DONATE—our opponents are outspending us 3-1!Approve Rerendum 71

During the same time when Maine was passing marriage laws, Washington State passed a comprehensive domestic partnership bill that protects our relationships. Now our opponents want to strip these basic protections from our families! We cannot let this happen.

Approve Referendum 71-Washington Families Standing Together needs our help!

Sign up for a virtual phonebank.
• Help to spread the word.
• And donate as generously as you can to help protect our families.

Our opponents are not satisfied with preventing us from marrying—as this ballot measure in Washington state proves—they want to send us back to the days of fighting for the barest minimum protections. We must stop them!

National Equality March nationalequalitymarch

On October 11th, LGBT people and allies will march in Washington to demand full and equal protection for LGBT people in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states.
Sign up now and spread the word. Make a road trip of it and visit Maine and Washington State, ending up in Washington, DC on October 11th to march!
This fall, get on the road and help keep the hard-won protections in two of our states and demand equality in our nation’s capital. Onward!

Together we win,

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Poll: Iowans Divided on Gay Marriage Ban

September 21, 2009

from the Associated Press

A new poll shows Iowans are divided on whether they would vote for or against a constitutional amendment to end gay marriage in Iowa.

The Iowa Poll by The Des Moines Register shows 41 percent say they would vote for a ban and 40 percent say they would vote to continue same-sex marriage. The rest either would not vote or say they are not sure.

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Same-Sex Marriage: Exploring the Racial Divide

September 21, 2009

by Robert McCartney | Washington Post

As the D.C. government prepares to legalize same-sex marriage, some supporters fret that the issue could divide the city along racial lines. It probably won’t happen, because gay rights activists in the District have built a potent, biracial political bloc that seems set to drive the bill to passage easily in coming months. The real threat to same-sex marriage here will be conservatives in Congress trying to meddle in what should be a matter for the District to decide on its own.

Nevertheless, it’s an intriguing fact, acknowledged by both sides, that blacks in the District overall oppose same-sex marriage while whites support it. Why is that so? And should African Americans, who battled so long for civil rights for themselves, be natural allies of gay people seeking such rights today? The answers cast light on the intersection of racial , gender and class politics in the city.

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