State Of Equality Round-Up: April 11-15, 2011
April 11, 2011 2:22 pm ET by Equality Matters staff
To check out last week's State of Equality Round-Up, click here.
Thursday: Senate Approves FAIR Education Act. On Thursday, the California State Senate voted 23-14 to approve the FAIR Education Act, a bill that would require schools to fairly and accurately portray the historic contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in social science instruction. The bill now moves to the Assembly Rules Committee.
Thursday: “Seth’s Law” Passes Assembly Committee. The California Assembly Education Committee voted 7-3 yesterday to approve AB 9, a bill that would create and strengthen anti-bullying and anti-harassment programs in public schools. The bill as named after a 13-year-old student who committed suicide after being bullied for being gay.
Monday: Senate Approves Civil Unions Bill. Delaware's Senate voted 13-6 last Thursday to approve legislation that would allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain civil unions, which would provide them with nearly all of the same rights, benefits, and obligations afforded to married couples under Delaware law. The Delaware House is expected to consider the bill this Wednesday.
Thursday: House Civil Unions Vote Expected Today. The Delaware House is expected to vote today on a measure that would allow same-sex couples to enter into civil unions. The bill was approved in the House Administration Committee yesterday on a 4 to 1 vote.
Friday: House Approves Civil Unions. The Delaware House voted 26-15 to approve legislation legalizing civil unions for same-sex couples. The bill now moves to the governor's desk, where it is expected to be approved.
Wednesday: Gay Candidate Wins Council Seat Despite Anti-Gay Slurs. Jesse Walters won his bid for a seat on the Miami Shores local village council after some of his yard signs were defaced with anti-gay slurs. Walters is the fourth openly gay official in Miami-Dade County.
Wednesday: Legislature Passes Transgender Employment Protections. The Hawaii State Senate voted 22 to 2 to pass legislation that would prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity. The bill now moves to Governor Neil Abercrombie’s desk for final approval.
Tuesday: Senator Attempts To Sneak Through Anti-Gay Adoption Amendment. An amendment that would allow child welfare agencies to deny unmarried straight couples and gay couples in civil unions to adopt or be foster parents has been slipped into a bill to assist the blind. The bill, SB 1123, and the anti-gay amendment, Amendment No. 65, are currently in assignments and will soon move into committee (and perhaps even a full floor vote) by the end of the week.
Wednesday: Anti-Gay Adoption Bill Voted Down In Committee. A bill with provisions that would have allowed religious organizations to deny gay couples adoption and foster care services died in the Senate Executive Committee today on 7 to 6 vote (with one abstention).
Wednesday: Federal Court Denies Accurate Birth Certificate To Son Of Gay Parents. Yesterday, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court decision that required the state of Louisiana’s registrar’s office to list the names of two same-sex adopted parents on their son’s birth certificate.
Monday: Senate Votes To Kill Transgender Protection Bill. The Maryland Senate voted 27-20 to send HB 235, a bill that would have prohibited employment, housing, and credit discrimination on the basis of gender identity, back to committee, effectively killing the bill's chances for passage until 2012. Morgan Meneses-Sheets, executive director of Equality Maryland, said her organization was "shocked and appealed" by the vote.
Tuesday: Bill To Restore Domestic Partnership Benefits Introduced. On Monday, a bill to allow state employment contracts to include benefits for same-sex domestic partners was introduced into the Minnesota legislature. The benefits were previously offered to same-sex couples but were stripped in 2003 due to pressure from Gov. Tim Pawlenty and other Republicans.
Tuesday: Gender Identity Protection Bills Pass Senate Committee. The Nevada Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor voted 4-3 last week to approve SB331, a bill that would prohibit public accommodations discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression. The committee also approved SB 368, a bill that would prohibit housing discrimination on those same bases. Both bills now move to a full Senate floor vote.
Thursday: Assembly Committee Approves Transgender Non-Discrimination Bill. The Nevada Assembly Committee on Commerce and Labor voted to approve AB211, a bill that would prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression.
Monday: Poll Reveals Majority Support For Marriage Equality. A new poll reveals that support for marriage equality in New York has reached an all-time high of 58%, while opposition has reached a "record low" of 36%. Governor Andrew Cuomo plans to push for a vote on marriage equality within the next several weeks if possible.
Thursday: Anti-Gay Groups Preparing For A Fight In New York. Anti-gay organizations like the National Organization for Marriage have already begun preparing to fight against marriage equality in New York, even though a vote on a marriage equality bill has not yet been announced.
Monday: Marriage Amendment Introduced In House. A bill advancing a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage has been introduced into the North Carolina House of Representatives after passing easily in the State Senate. Some worry that the amendment would even end domestic partner benefits provided by some private employers.
Wednesday: Tension Emerges Over Marriage Equality Vote. Rhode Island House Minority Leader Robert Watson began a heated exchange on the House floor Tuesday, demanding a vote on the state’s proposed gay marriage bill before next week’s April recess. Democratic leadership has put off voting on the bill in order to solidify enough support for its passage.
Monday: House Committee Considers Four Pro-Equality Bills. The Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee heard testimony on four pro-equality bills last Tuesday, including a bill that would repeal that state's "homosexual conduct" law and a bill that would add gender identity/expression to the state's hate crime law. The bills were left pending in committee.
Thursday: Attorney General Advises Against Allowing Gay And Lesbian Couples To Adopt. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli advised the State Board of Social Services not to impose regulations that would allow same-sex couples to adopt, arguing that the regulations do “not comport with applicable state law and public policy.”