Thursday, October 29, 2009

News Roundup: Sen. Schumer Calls for Nationwide Marriage Equality; Maine AG Challenges NOM; Kalamazoo Update; Yes on 1 Claims Hate Crime Victimhood

Sen. Schumer Calls for Full, Nationwide Marriage Equality

Sen. Chuck Schumer spoke at a Empire State Pride Agenda dinner, the largest LGBT advocacy group in New York. In his speech, Schumer made a call to his colleagues to full marriage equality in all fifty states.

"If Dick Cheney can support marriage, so can every Senator. So can every Democrat, Republican, Liberal Conservative. Equality should know no bounds, and we must not rest until we have marriage in all fifty of these United States."

Maine's Attorney General Challenges NOM

Attorney General Janet Mills says now that a federal judge has ruled against their request to suspend Maine's law that they disclose donor identities, they should hand over the information now and not wait until after elections.

"We are not going to give them legal advice. We trust that their legal counsel will advise them to comply fully," she said. "The court has ruled that it is in the public interest to do so, and the law couldn't be clearer.

"I would hope that they would file before the election," Mills said. "Why not? What is there to hide?"

Kalamazoo In the Middle of a LGBT Rights Battle

Kalamazoo, MI residents will have to decide whether or not to reject the city commission's non-discrimination ordinance which would outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in work, housing and public accommodations.

From WoodTV:
Mary Balkema, the Kalamazoo County Treasurer, heads the opposition group Kalamazoo Citizens Voting No.

Balkema was instrumental in gathering thousands of signatures two different times to get the measure rescinded by the city commission and placed on the ballot.

Their main argument is that an ordinance protecting the rights of gays and lesbians in hiring, housing and public accommodation isn't necessary. They say discrimination against gays and lesbians simply doesn't happen in Kalamazoo.

"The opposite side cannot site one example of discrimination in housing, employment or public accommodation," Balkema said. "So this discriminatory ordinance is looking for a non-existent problem."

But David Garcia, the Executive Director of the Kalamazoo Gay and Lesbian Resource Center, says the ordinance is not only necessary, it's past due.

"When we hear the opposition say that Kalamazoo doesn't need an ordinance because it just doesn't happen here in Kalamazoo, gay people aren't being fired, I'm quick to say come on down here to the Resource Center and volunteer with us for a month, answer the phone calls and you'll see that's' simply not true," Garcia told 24 Hour News 8.
Balkema was responsible for passing an offensive flyer that has scared residents into voting against the ordinance. The flyer shows pictures of men in women's clothing and stating that they will infiltrate women's bathrooms and commit assault, adding that children will have to share bathrooms with sexual predators.

Help the campaign One Kalamazoo! Find even more info here.

Washington Post Columnist Debunks D.C. Anti-Marriage Testimonies

Metro columnist for the Washington Post, Robert McCartney has written a great editorial debunking the testimonies of D.C. residents who spoke out against the District's marriage equality bill, one of whom said "Once you became a homosexual, you gave up your rights."
The Rev. Walter E. Fauntroy, the District's first delegate to Congress, was probably the most prestigious person who testified against same-sex marriage. He spoke at the election board hearing about what he sees as the importance of allowing a vote; afterward I asked him about the substance of the issue.

Fauntroy said that same-sex marriage threatens children. "Every child needs to be bonded to a man and a woman," he said. That ignores research showing that same-sex couples do a perfectly good job of raising children. Also, same-sex couples can already adopt in the District.

Fauntroy also said the "survival of the species" is at stake. "I have some brilliant friends who are gay, and it bothers me that they're not going to pass those genes on," he said.

I've got news for Fauntroy. His friends are more likely to pass on their genes, such as by artificial insemination, if they are permitted to marry. He and the other opponents should get out of the way and let them do so.

Yes on 1 in Maine Claims Their Defaced Signs Is A Hate Crime

. . . but did they do it themselves?

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