Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Morning Sweep

The Capitol's editorial board writes that even though the Dec. 2 marriage vote's results were disappointing to same-sex marriage advocates, the bill coming to the floor for a vote was an important event in Albany politics.

In The Life has an excellent video documenting reactions to the marriage bill's defeat, including a great interview with Sen. Diane Savino, whose speech on the floor in support of marriage has won her much admiration in the LGBT community:

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Marching On

On December 2, 2009 the New York State Senate rejected a bill that would have allowed same-sex couples to marry. New Yorkers responded to the vote with sadness and anger, but mostly with renewed determination to win. Join the Pride Agenda as we continue fighting for equal rights for all LGBT New Yorkers and our families.

Morning Sweep

Here's some of what's happened during the holiday season:

Mexico City has legalized marriage for same-sex couples.

The New York Times
profiles a trans youth worker for the Hetrick-Martin Institute.

With a rise in openly gay candidates winning public office, some political experts say these elections are a better indication of societal attitudes than are high-profile fights over same-sex marriage in states like New York, New Jersey and Maine.

The federal court challenge to California's marriage equality ban is being called "the biggest U.S. gay rights battle next year" and is seen as part of a growing move to build support for marriage equality outside of the election process. The trial is set to begin on Jan. 11 in San Francisco.

Washington D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty signed the District's marriage equality bill. The bill must now pass a 30-day period of Congressional review.

CNN explains the difficulty lesbian and gay members of the military face in keeping their sexual orientation a secret under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Morning Sweep

Paterson's signing of an Executive Order to prohibit discrimination against transgender State employees has encouraged many. Activists and legislators have responded with gratitude and hope for passing the GENDA bill, which would prohibit discrimination in both the public and private sector.

Legislation to extend benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees quietly jumped a preliminary hurdle yesterday. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee voted to advance it to the full Senate.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Morning Sweep

Gov. Paterson today signed an Executive Order to prohibit discrimination against transgender State employees. “New York now begins to catch up to where many other states have been for quite a while,” said Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van Capelle. “The work is not over, though, until New York enacts a comprehensive law banning discrimination against transgender people.”

Dennis deLeon, NYC's Human Rights commissioner under Mayor David Dinkins and, for 15 years, the president of the Latino Commission on AIDS, has passed away.

The Washington D.C. City Council approved marriage equality legislation yesterday on an 11-2 vote. Mayor Adrian Fenty has promised to sign the bill. Congress has 30 working days to act on the bill, but it has rejected legislation just three times in the past 25 years.

A transgender advocate explains on Huffington Post why employment non-discrimination protections so important.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Morning Sweep

This month's Siena poll finds that 47% of voters surveyed were disappointed that the Senate rejected the marriage bill, compared to 41% who say they were pleased by the Senate’s vote. In August, 50% of voters told Siena that they supported the Senate passing the same sex marriage bill, with 44% then opposing it.

Gov. Paterson will make an important announcement tomorrow regarding a major policy affecting transgender civil rights in New York State.

An impassioned Buffalo News op-ed by Jim Ver Steeg, former executive director of the Pride Center of Western New York, points out the damage done by the Senators who voted "no" on marriage.

Houston has become the largest city to elect an openly gay mayor.

“It’s a historic election for my community, and I believe an election that will change some people’s minds about the city of Houston,” said Annise Parker, 53. “It’s a diverse, international city that welcomes everyone.”

Friday, December 11, 2009

'Tis the season to support marriage equality

This jolly fellow resides in Delmar, NY. His snapshot was sent to us by a Pride Agenda supporter.

Morning Sweep

LGBT activists in Queens are eager to oust local State Senators who voted against the marriage bill, and couples in the area are ready to act.

Lisa Linsky, a member of the Pride Agenda's Pride In My Workplace program and partner at McDermott Will & Emery LLP, writes eloquently on Huffington Post about why the protections of marriage are necessary for same-sex couples.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the sponsor of the U.S. House bill to overturn DOMA, says that there will be no attempt to pass the bill in 2010 and that serious work on the repeal probably won't begin until 2013.

David Mixner shares his top 10 LGBT news stories of the year.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Morning Sweep

The expected vote on New Jersey's marriage bill that was scheduled for today has been canceled. Instead, the bill will go to the state's Assembly for a hearing first.

The New York Times urges New Jersey to hurry up and vote on the bill before Gov. Corzine leaves offices on Jan. 19.

In the wake of widespread international condemnation of Uganda's anti-gay bill, the death penalty and life imprisonment for gay people will reportedly be dropped from the legislation.

A San Francisco bay-area board of education is taking an unfortunate step backwards and plans to phase out an elementary school curriculum it adopted to prevent anti-gay bullying, reportedly "under the duress of a lawsuit and threats of recall."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Morning Sweep

LGBT rights groups in NY are gearing up for an active election year. "We are going to begin a very strategic and steady rollout over the course of the next months of candidates who we feel would make better state senators than the people currently sitting in the seats," said Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van Capelle.

Marriage activists tell Politico that despite this year's losses, marriage equality in the U.S. is "inevitable."

Bill Hammond's column in the Daily News highlights the courageous statements of the Senate Democrats who voted in support of marriage and the cowardly silence of those who voted "no."

The Advocate has named Senator Kirsten Gillibrand one of their people of the year for her advocacy on LGBT rights.

Proposed legislation in Uganda that would, among many other extreme punishments, impose the death penalty for some gay Ugandans, is being debated. The bill has sparked international protests from governments, human rights advocates and some religious groups.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Morning Sweep

The Empire State Pride Agenda announced today its endorsement of Assemblymember José Peralta in the 2010 Democratic Primary Election for State Senate District 13 in Queens. Assemblymember Peralta is challenging Hiram Monserrate, the incumbent State Senator who last week reneged on a stated commitment in a 2008 Pride Agenda candidate questionnaire to support marriage equality legislation and voted "no" instead.

Thanks to a donation from the Episcopal Community Services of Long Island, the Ali Forney Center has expanded to include a new new 16-bed shelter in Astoria, Queens for homeless LGBT youth.

The New Jersey Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday voted 7-6 to pass the state's marriage equality bill. The full state Senate is expected to vote on the measure this Thursday.

In response to the anti-gay Manhattan Declaration, a statement signed by a group of anti-gay faith leaders, a group of LGBT equality advocates of faith have drafted The Affirmation Declaration, which "calls for pro-LGBT people of faith to sign on as supporters of civil equality."

Monday, December 7, 2009

Morning Sweep

The Buffalo News featured a series of opinion pieces on the marriage loss in New York, including an editorial calling the vote "appalling" and commentary featuring a local same-sex couple.

The Hudson Valley Daily Freeman also editorializes on its disappointment over the loss.

The Daily News reports that "gay advocates are on the warpath" to oust the eight NY Senate Democrats who voted "no" on marriage.

New Jersey's Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to hear testimony and vote on the state's marriage equality bill today. If the legislation passes, it would be sent to the full state Senate for a vote as early as next Thursday.

The New Jersey Star-Ledger editorializes in favor of marriage passing and argues that as younger generations become more supportive of marriage for same-sex couples, it is a matter of when and not if this legislation will eventually pass.

The New Jersey Record also states its support.

Openly gay U.S. Reps. are optimistic that the House will pass bills that would provide health coverage to the partners of gay federal employees and protect gay and transgender workers from workplace discrimination.

A Washington State Senator celebrates his state's decision to uphold domestic partnership rights and lays out a plan for winning full marriage equality in the future.

The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund has filed an employment discrimination suit against an Orlando McDonald's after learning that a manager had left a derogatory voicemail for a transgender applicant implying that he would not hire her because of her gender identity.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Morning Sweep

Last night's rally in Union Square brought out hundreds of marriage equality supporters who are dedicated to continuing the fight.

Gay City News and Towleroad have great pictures of the rally.

NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn spoke emotionally yesterday about the defeat of the marriage bill.

New Jersey's marriage bill
will go before the state's Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday and then to full Senate next Thursday.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Morning Sweep

Much is being written on yesterday's disappointing marriage loss in the Senate, including stories in the Associated Press, New York Times and Gay City News.

Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van Capelle, quoted in the Observer: "It's a defeat today, but it's not a defeat for marriage equality," he said. "We had some of the most extraordinary speeches delivered on the floor of the Senate that I've ever seen delivered in all my time up in Albany. We had people share stories about their families, about their loss, that I don't think we've heard before, and I think we've seen what we asked for happen. We know have a road map for 2010 and the work we have to do."

Here are some of the amazing, inspiring stories shared by Senators in support of marriage during the debate.

The New York Times, Journal News and Albany Times Union editorial boards lament the loss.

Jo-Ann Shain and Mary Jo Kennedy, longtime marriage activists, comment on the loss. The two were litigants in the 2006 Hernandez v. Robles case, in which the New York State Court of Appeals ruled that there was no constitutional mandate to allow same-sex couples to marry in New York and that the issue should be decided by the state legislature.

Comments from the opposition just help to solidify our resolve for the future.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Pride Agenda statement and Senate marriage vote tally

Click here to read Pride Agenda Executive Director Alan Van Capelle's statement on today's marriage vote loss in the Senate.

Below, in alphabetical order, is the record of how Senators voted on the marriage bill. To find out who your Senator is, click here.
  • Eric Adams (D) — YES
  • Joseph Addabbo (D) — NO
  • James Alesi (R) — NO
  • Darrel Aubertine (D) — NO
  • John Bonacic (R) — NO
  • Neil Breslin (D) — YES
  • John DeFrancisco (R) — NO
  • Ruben Diaz (D) — NO
  • Martin Malave Dilan (D) — YES
  • Tom Duane (D) — YES
  • Pedro Espada (D) — YES
  • Hugh Farley (R) — NO
  • John Flanagan (R) — NO
  • Brian Foley (D) — YES
  • Charles Fuschillo, Jr. (R) — NO
  • Martin Golden (R) — NO
  • Joseph Griffo (R) — NO
  • Kemp Hannon (R) — NO
  • Ruth Hassell-Thompson (D) — YES
  • Shirley Huntley (D) — NO
  • Craig Johnson (D) — YES
  • Owen Johnson (R) — NO
  • Jeffrey Klein (D) — YES
  • Liz Krueger (D) — YES
  • Carl Kruger (D) — NO
  • Andrew Lanza (R) — NO
  • Bill Larkin (R) — NO
  • Kenneth LaValle (R) — NO
  • Vincent Leibell (R) — NO
  • Tom Libous (R) — NO
  • Elizabeth Little (R) — NO
  • Carl Marcellino (R) — NO
  • George Maziarz (R) — NO
  • Roy McDonald (R) — NO
  • Hiram Monserrate (D) — NO
  • Velmanette Montgomery (D) — YES
  • Thomas Morahan (R) — NO
  • Michael Nozzolio (R) — NO
  • George Onorato (D) — NO
  • Suzi Oppenheimer (D) — YES
  • Frank Padavan (R) — NO
  • Kevin Parker (D) — YES
  • Bill Perkins (D) — YES
  • Michael Ranzenhofer (R) — NO
  • Joseph Robach (R) — NO
  • Stephen Saland (R) — NO
  • John Sampson (D) — YES
  • Diane Savino (D) — YES
  • Eric Schneiderman (D) — YES
  • Jose Serrano (D) — YES
  • James Seward (R) — NO
  • Dean Skelos (R) — NO
  • Malcolm Smith (D) — YES
  • Daniel Squadron (D) — YES
  • William Stachowski (D) — NO
  • Toby Ann Stavisky (D) — YES
  • Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D) — YES
  • Antoine Thompson (D) — YES
  • David Valesky (D) — YES
  • Dale Volker (R) — NO
  • George Winner (R) — NO
  • Catherine Young (R) — NO
TOTAL: 24 YES, 38 NO

Morning Sweep

Late last night, the New York State Assembly passed marriage equality legislation for the second time this year. By re-voting in “extraordinary session,” the Assembly has removed any obstacle to the bill being sent to the Governor for his signature when the Senate votes on the bill.

In a preliminary vote yesterday, the D.C. Council approved the marriage equality bill by a vote of 11-2. The measure must pass another vote in that chamber before it goes to the mayor for his signature and then Congress for review.

Parenting magazine has an excellent story on how parents can approach the issues faced by LGBT and questioning youth.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Morning Sweep

Today is World AIDS Day. Here's a roundup of some of the year's most important news on HIV/AIDS.

The Washington D.C. Council is expected to vote in favor of same-sex marriage today.

Marriage equality activists in California are still divided over whether to return marriage to the ballot in 2010 or 2012.

Newsweek profiles a Brazilian man who was recently granted asylum in the U.S. to escape the anti-gay violence he experienced in his home country.