In New Hampshire, hearings are scheduled early this year as the Legislature considers the repeal of pro-gay marriage laws in that state. There is talk that the people of New Hampshire want to vote on the issue directly -as occurred in California in 2008- which puts the marriage laws at risk. But NH equality groups (such as Freedom to Marry) claim that recent polls show that most citizens believe that gays & lesbians deserve fair and equal treatment. Proposition 8 in California is still in process, but the outlook remains good. Other states such as Illinois and Hawaii recently passed civil union legislation, making them the 6th and 7th states to enact such laws in favor of their LGBT citizens. What are the Projections? It seems that the trend, at least for the time being, is toward ‘civil unions’ instead of ‘marriage’ when legislation is being considered or actually enacted in new states across the nation. ‘Domestic partnerships’ are still in the mix as well, as was the case recently in Nevada. But domestic partnership status does not offer the same rights and responsibilities as marriage, while ‘civil unions’ sometimes do. In recent weeks, President Obama has finally come forward to vocalize his reconsidered belief that he could
back ‘civil unions’ for the LGBT minority, perhaps an extension of his support –finally- of the overturn of DODT. Let’s remember, our President has had a great many issues to tend to these past two years; he has not overlooked our community... it’s just taking a bit of time & consideration. Nonetheless the current political and social implications are confusing, to say the least… While many pro-gay advocates are staunchly against civil unions in lieu of the word marriage, proclaiming of course that “separate is not equal,” others within the LGBT community agree that the term ‘civil unions’ is obviously a step in the right direction especially if the particular legislation outlines the same rights and obligations granted to heterosexual partners. –This can be a grey area, however, in that the exact terms of civil union legislation can vary from state to state. So it’s important to stay informed. Hotspots to keep an eye on in 2011 are Maryland, New York and perhaps Minnesota and Rhode Island. And of course it will be of interest to watch for updates about Proposition 8, especially if/when it heads to the US Supreme Court.
How can the average couple or advocate make a difference? One strength of our community is our ability to make the most of grassroots efforts, and the internet today offers innovative ways to build on that foundation. Keep informed, stay connected and find out what’s going on locally. Many of America’s LGBT youth today are amazingly active politically; others consider themselves on the sidelines. They can’t fully embrace the system and therefore don’t want to invest. Or they feel ostracized as partially acknowledged citizens and therefore have decided that participation is rather hopeless. But time and again throughout history, it’s been documented that the best way to change the system is from within: keep this in mind as you, yourself, consider becoming involved in upcoming political forums whether it’s the town council meeting or the 2012 Presidential elections. –Is there a gay, trans- or pro-gay candidate for the zoning board? Make sure you are aware & do what you can to provide support. Does your state representative need to hear your input about upcoming legislation concerning hate crimes? Be sure to make the call or send that email. Anti-gay groups are committed to organizing their members to get involved; our community needs to step up and do the same.
Vol. 6 Issue 1 2011 LGBT Planning Resource Guide 39
Published on Mar 16, 2011
An expanded issue of the nation's first Gay and Lesbian Wedding Magazine. This issue features the latest tips and trends for 2011 along wit...