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HRC Weekly Update from Joe Solmonese

HRC Weekly Update from Joe Solmonese

HRC Weekly Update from Joe Solmonese

Joe’s Weekly Message

Our never-ending battle for equality can sometimes seem like a
roller-coaster with plenty of unexpected turns, ecstatic highs and
deep lows. This has been one of those roller-coaster weeks that has
yielded a number of very important developments when it comes to
giving our families the legal recognition they deserve.

When Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives
this January, we knew that the greatest opportunity for LGBT Americans
over the next two years would come in the states. It’s frustrating but
nonetheless a reality that when it comes to many important legal
rights, how well protected we are depends upon where our families live
and work. Marriage and relationship recognition are matters of state
law, and state legislatures have led the way in protecting our
families against discrimination in employment, housing and public
accommodations, so our work there is critical.

This year, three state legislatures are considering marriage equality
legislation: Maryland, Rhode Island and New York. Three more are
considering legislation to make civil unions legal: Delaware, Hawaii
and Colorado.  And several others, including Massachusetts,
Maryland and New York are considering anti-discrimination statutes to
protect transgender people. Small victories like yesterday’s
breakthrough in Massachusetts, where Governor Deval Patrick issued an
executive order extending executive branch anti-discrimination
protections to include gender identity and expression, continue to
move equality forward in the states.

In Maryland, HRC is on the ground with Equality Maryland to see the
Free State through to full equality. Just yesterday, marriage equality
legislation passed a key state senate committee and a successful vote
in the full senate is expected this coming week The vote in the House
of Delegates will follow and Governor Martin O’Malley has
already indicated that he would sign marriage equality into law. We’re
also on the move in New York State. In addition to having staff on the
ground throughout the state, we released another video

yesterday as part of our New Yorkers for Marriage Equality campaign.
This one features Mad Men star John Slattery. This entire effort is
meant to galvanize support for the legislation later this year. In New
Hampshire, the turnout yesterday was massive at a hearing to repeal
– yes, repeal – marriage equality: 800 people attended and
700 of them were marriage equality supporters. HRC is there working
with New Hampshire Freedom to Marry to fight the attacks and give New
Hampshire families the certainty and peace of mind that they
deserve. 

This has been an equally busy week for civil unions. For years, HRC
has worked alongside our partners at Equality Hawaii to bring about a
civil unions bill. This week, state legislature passed the bill for
the second time in ten months. And it’s on its way to a new
governor, Neil Abercrombie, who has promised to sign it into
law.  HRC is also in Delaware, where we are working closely with
our partners at Equality Delaware to secure the same legal protections
and obligations that state law offers married couples. All families
deserve equal benefits, including equal state pensions and tax
treatments in the event of a partner’s death. An important civil
unions bill was introduced in Colorado this week as well and we’ll be
working with our partners at One Colorado to issue action alerts to
our members when the time is right.

The federal courts are also addressing LGBT rights including the right
to marriage equality and the constitutionality of DOMA.  In just
a few weeks, the Justice Department will face a critical legal
question in two new cases that it has not yet had to face: what level
of judicial review is appropriate for claims based on sexual
orientation? Check out analysis on this important issue here.

Not all the news this week has been good news, though. State
representatives in Indiana took the first step in sending to the
voters an anti-marriage constitutional amendment, and legislators in
North Carolina announced plans to push a similar amendment.

Irrespective of where the rollercoaster takes us, you have my
commitment that we here at HRC will keep moving equality forward.

Joe Solmonese
President, Human Rights Campaign

P.S. This week, we released Equality from State to State,
a great resource that documents all of the state legislation that
impacted LGBT people and their families in 2010.  Check it out
and see what progress your state has made.

Envelope

© 2011 Human Rights Campaign
1640 Rhode Island Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036-3278
Phone: 202/628-4160 TTY: 202/216-1572 Fax: 202/347-5323
Our never-ending battle for equality can sometimes seem like a roller-coaster with plenty of unexpected turns, ecstatic highs and deep lows. This has been one of those roller-coaster weeks that has yielded a number of very important developments when it comes to giving our families the legal recognition they deserve.
When Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives this January, we knew that the greatest opportunity for LGBT Americans over the next two years would come in the states. It’s frustrating but nonetheless a reality that when it comes to many important legal rights, how well protected we are depends upon where our families live and work. Marriage and relationship recognition are matters of state law, and state legislatures have led the way in protecting our families against discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations, so our work there is critical.
This year, three state legislatures are considering marriage equality legislation: Maryland, Rhode Island and New York. Three more are considering legislation to make civil unions legal: Delaware, Hawaii and Colorado.  And several others, including Massachusetts, Maryland and New York are considering anti-discrimination statutes to protect transgender people. Small victories like yesterday’s breakthrough in Massachusetts, where Governor Deval Patrick issued an executive order extending executive branch anti-discrimination protections to include gender identity and expression, continue to move equality forward in the states.
In Maryland, HRC is on the ground with Equality Maryland to see the Free State through to full equality. Just yesterday, marriage equality legislation passed a key state senate committee and a successful vote in the full senate is expected this coming week The vote in the House of Delegates will follow and Governor Martin O’Malley has already indicated that he would sign marriage equality into law. We’re also on the move in New York State. In addition to having staff on the ground throughout the state, we released another video yesterday as part of our New Yorkers for Marriage Equality campaign. This one features Mad Men star John Slattery. This entire effort is meant to galvanize support for the legislation later this year. In New Hampshire, the turnout yesterday was massive at a hearing to repeal – yes, repeal – marriage equality: 800 people attended and 700 of them were marriage equality supporters. HRC is there working with New Hampshire Freedom to Marry to fight the attacks and give New Hampshire families the certainty and peace of mind that they deserve. 
This has been an equally busy week for civil unions. For years, HRC has worked alongside our partners at Equality Hawaii to bring about a civil unions bill. This week, state legislature passed the bill for the second time in ten months. And it’s on its way to a new governor, Neil Abercrombie, who has promised to sign it into law.  HRC is also in Delaware, where we are working closely with our partners at Equality Delaware to secure the same legal protections and obligations that state law offers married couples. All families deserve equal benefits, including equal state pensions and tax treatments in the event of a partner’s death. An important civil unions bill was introduced in Colorado this week as well and we’ll be working with our partners at One Colorado to issue action alerts to our members when the time is right.
The federal courts are also addressing LGBT rights including the right to marriage equality and the constitutionality of DOMA.  In just a few weeks, the Justice Department will face a critical legal question in two new cases that it has not yet had to face: what level of judicial review is appropriate for claims based on sexual orientation? Check out analysis on this important issue here.
Not all the news this week has been good news, though. State representatives in Indiana took the first step in sending to the voters an anti-marriage constitutional amendment, and legislators in North Carolina announced plans to push a similar amendment.
Irrespective of where the rollercoaster takes us, you have my commitment that we here at HRC will keep moving equality forward.

P.S. This week, we released Equality from State to State, a great resource that documents all of the state legislation that impacted LGBT people and their families in 2010.  Check it out and see what progress your state has made.

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