Equality Matters

State Of Equality Round-Up: April 4-8, 2011

April 04, 2011 6:03 pm ET - by Equality Matters staff

To check out last week's State of Equality Round-Up, click here.

AR: Supreme Court Strikes Down Gay Adoption Ban

DE: Senate To Vote On Civil Unions Soon

RI: Marriage Equality Bill Still Several Votes Short


Thursday: Supreme Court Strikes Down Gay Adoption Ban. The Arkansas State Supreme Court rejected a voter-approved initiative prohibiting same-sex and unmarried straight couples from adopting children or serving as foster parents. The court ruled that the ban violated the adults’ rights to privacy by basing their eligibility to foster or adopt children on their private, consensual sexual conduct.


Monday: LGBT Advocates Consider Ballot Initiative To Repeal Prop 8. Equality California has announced that it will be launching a “community engagement initiative” to start a dialogue about potentially attempting to repeal California’s Proposition 8 through a ballot initiative in 2012. The initiative comes as a response to concerns that the legal battle over Prop 8’s constitutionality won’t be resolved for several more years.

Wednesday: Committees Approves Two Pro-LGBT Bills. The California legislature advanced two pro-LGBT bills Tuesday. The Gender Non-discrimination Act, which would specifically include gender identity as a protected class in existing non-discrimination laws, passed the Assembly Judiciary Committee by a vote of 7-1. The FAIR Education Act, which would instruct California school districts to include LGBT history into their curricula, passed the Senate Judiciary Committee by a 3-2 vote.


Wednesday: Senate To Vote On Civil Unions Soon. The Delaware State Senate is expected to vote soon on a bill that would extend civil union rights to same-sex couples in the state. The debate and vote over the bill are expected to occur Thursday afternoon.


Tuesday: Senate Committee Passes Gender Identity Employment Protection Bill. Yesterday, Hawaii’s Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would officially ban workplace discrimination based on gender identity. The bill has already passed the House.


Tuesday: Gender Identity Protection Bill Moves Out Of Senate Rules Committee. After receiving considerable pressure from pro-equality groups and activists, the Maryland Senate Rules Committee has voted to advance a transgender non-discrimination bill to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. Many feared that the bill had been sent to the Rules Committee to languish and die as time in the current legislative session ran out. 


Monday: Governor Nominates First Openly Gay Justice To State Supreme Judicial Court. Governor Deval Patrick nominated Barbara A. Lenk, an associate justice of the state Appeals Court, to a seat on the state’s Supreme Judicial Court. Of the nomination, Gov. Patrick said “I love the idea of firsts as you know and I’m proud of this one, but first and foremost. This is very well-prepared and highly qualified candidate.”


Monday: Senate Abandons Bill To Ban LGBT Protections. The Montana Senate sent a bill which would have it unlawful for any city, town, or county in the state to pass LGBT discrimination protections back to committee to die last week. The committee concluded its work without reviving the bill, meaning it is nearly impossible for the bill to pass the Senate before the full legislature’s session ends on April 29th.

Rhode Island

Tuesday: House Committee Reviewing Bill To Prove Same-Sex Couples Marriage Benefits. A Rhode Island House committee is reviewing a bill today that would provide same-sex couple to enter into agreements that would provide many of the benefits provided by civil marriages. The bill is one of several proposed alternatives to a full marriage equality bill. 

Thursday: Marriage Equality Bill Still Several Votes Short. A bill to that would allow gay and lesbian couples to get married in Rhode Island is still several votes short of the number necessary to ensure passage in the state House. According to several sources, 32-34 Representatives are currently in favor of the bill, several short of the 38 needed for passage.


Wednesday: Nashville Prohibits City Contractors From Discriminating Against LGBT Employees. The Nashville Metro Council voted 21-15 to approve a rule which would require contractors doing business with the city to not discriminate against their employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.


Monday: House Approves Budget Provision To Fund Promotion Of “Family And Traditional Values” On College Campuses. The Texas House voted last week for a budget provision that would require state colleges and universities to match every dollar they spend promoting “alternative sexual practices” with a dollar towards promoting “family and traditional values.” The vote was 110-25.


Tuesday: Governor Opposes Allowing Same-Sex Couples To Adopt Children. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell told reporters today that he opposes proposed regulations that would allow gay and lesbian couples to adopt children. He voiced religious concerns as a major reason for his opposition to the regulations.

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