Tag Archives: lgbt rights

One More State to Wed In

I was absolutely elated to hear that same-sex couples will now be able to get married in the great state of New York as of this past Friday, June 24, 2011. Even though I am now a Californian, New York will always be one of my homes away from home, and while Cali still fights to get this right back, it is heartening to see more states taking this next step forward in the attempt to protect equal rights for all.

And yet, there are still so many opponents, homophobes and haters out there who continue to come out of the woodwork to have their hate speech heard. While it is to be somewhat expected that members of the religious right would be the most outspoken when it comes to gay marriage, the hypocrisy of it all continues to boggle my mind. These are the same people who are preaching love thy neighbor before turning around and qualifying that statement with, “Oh, well, we didn’t mean YOU.”

These are also the same people who are found time and again preaching hate about the way of homosexuality before being discovered performing homosexual acts with strangers in public restrooms.

Fortunately, the celebrations are being heard louder than the criticism for New York at this point, with couples beginning to plan weddings in the Big Apple and around the state.

“New York sends the message that marriage equality across the country is a question of ‘when,’ not ‘if,'” Vice President Fred Sainz of the Human Rights Campaign said on Friday.

It’s also likely that New York’s approval will give a boost to other states fighting for marriage for the LGBT community. At present, 44 out of 50 of the United States do not allow gay couples to marry, with 30 of those 44 taking steps to ban gay marriage in constitutional amendments. Bills for same-sex marriage legalization failed in Maryland and Rhode Island this year as well.

The good news is, the states of Illinois, Hawaii¬† and Delware have added civil unions to their state statutes, joining California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington. New York’s decision may make the next attempt to legalize same-sex marriage in these states that much easier.

New York’s same-sex marriage law will go into effect 30 days after the signing of the bill, on July 24, 2011.

For all those new gay married couples to-be, here are some great tips on writing your own vows from The Broke-Ass Bride and Mahalo.com:

For all those more practical soon-to-be same-sex married couples, here are some tips on how to file taxes from Mahalo.com:

Leave a comment

Filed under LGBT, Same-Sex Marriage, Social Justice

Gay Rights Protected By United Nations

Before moving to California, I was a correspondent at the United Nations Secretariat in New York City. I must admit, I was actually rather jaded by my experience there. While I relished my experiences hearing Hillary Clinton, President Bill Clinton, President Barack Obama and Vice President Al Gore speak in person, I also became aware of how little the UN is actually able to accomplish. The truth is, getting a majority of the world’s countries together to speak about their issues enables a lot of talking with not must listening. Countries come to the table to have their own problems heard, not really to hear the problems of other nations.

When I heard this week that the UN council passed a resolution to protect the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered individuals, introduced by South Africa, I was thus quite surprised – and pleasantly so. This is one of the first major steps the organization has taken in a long time, in my humble opinion.

This is such a subject of contention that the resolution led to abstentions, mostly for representatives of African countries.

The depute assistant secretary of state for international oranganizations, Suzanne Nossel explained, “It really is a key part in setting a new norm that gay rights are human rights and that that has to be accepted globally. It talks about the violence and discrimination that people of LGBT persuasion experience around the world and that those issues … need to be taken seriously. It calls for reporting on what’s going on, where people are being discriminated against, the violence that is taking place, and it really puts the issue squarely on the UN’s agenda going forward.”

No truer words.

The resolution came on the heels of New York moving one step closer to approving same-sex marriage in the state as well. In fact, New York’s Roy McDonald, a Republican, even came forward this week in favor of marriage approval:

These are all key steps in protecting and championing the rights of LGBT persons nationwide and internationally as well.

The United States ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, said the resolution “marks a victory for defenders of human rights. It sends a clear message that abuses based on sexual orientation and gender identity must end.”

Hillary Clinton, the U.S. Secretary of State, added, “gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights.”

Clinton continued, “Men and women are harassed, beaten, subjected to sexual violence, even killed, because of who they are and whom they love. Some are driven from their homes or countries, and many who become refugees confront new threats in their countries of asylum. In some places, violence against the LGBT community is permitted by law and inflamed by public calls to violence; in others, it persists insidiously behind closed doors.”

You go, girl!

1 Comment

Filed under LGBT, Social Justice