While much of the news recently has been fairly frustrating for progressives, there is at least one area where there has been major progress worth celebrating – the march to full LGBT equality. Following are just some of the significant steps towards fairness and equality that have occurred over the past few weeks. As we’ve explained previously, celebrating and rewarding progress are core elements of achieving progressive change, so please “Share” this post and use our letters to the editor page to thank the organizations and elected officials involved in making these victories occur.
DOMA Repeal – President Obama last week announced his support for the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the indefensible Defense of Marriage Act. The Respect for Marriage Act has been introduced in the Senate by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and in the House by Representative Jerry Nadler (D-NY).
DADT Repeal Certification – On Friday, military leaders and President Obama certified that ending the ban of LGBT Americans serving their country in the military would not jeopardize military readiness. Such certification was established in legislation passed by the Democratic House and Senate in December 2010 as the final step towards ending the discriminatory Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, which will now be officially gone in 60 days.
New York - Sunday, July 23 was the first day in which same-sex marriages were legally authorized in New York, thanks to legislation that was recently passed with the strong support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
California - Last week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful (“FAIR”) Education Act, which requires that the economic, social, and political contributions of LGBT Californians be included in the school curriculum in that state.
Florida – The Miami-Dade County School District, which is the fourth largest in the nation, last week added sexual orientation and gender identity to their anti-bullying and harassment policy.
Maryland – Supporters of equality suffered a setback last spring when marriage equality legislation that had passed the state Senate was narrowly defeated in the state House of Delegates. A large progressive coalition, however, is back to get the legislation passed next year, and Maryland’s Governor Martin O’Malley announced last week that he has made the legislation one of his administration’s handful of top legislative priorities. If you’d like to support this effort, “like” Equality Maryland’s Facebook page.
Washington – in Washington State, Democratic Congressman and candidate for Governor Jay Inslee publicly announced his support for marriage equality a few days before launching his gubernatorial campaign. If you’d like to learn more about Inslee and his campaign, here is his campaign Facebook page and website.
Utah – the state Democratic Party elected Utah’s first openly gay major political party leader by choosing Jim Dabakis. Dabakis is a co-founder of the Utah Pride Center and Equality Utah.