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Aug 8, 2011: Congress Lashes out at Gay Families
It's been a busy week, with an incredibly offensive anti-gay brief coming out of Congress. But a surprise announcement from the American Psychological Association could put a stop to such briefs in the future. Time's running out before North Carolina votes on banning civil unions, a tribe in Washington state votes unanimously to recognize LGBT marriage, and a survey in New Jersey proves that we're winning. And also, that we're losing.
We've got a bunch of bad news to get through before we get to the good news.
First, are you, or anyone you know, in North Carolina? Your voice is needed now to stop a constitutional amendment that could ban not just marriage, but also civil unions for LGBT couples. The measure is likely to be heard in a session that starts in September, but now's the time to contact legislators and tell them why gay and lesbian North Carolinians legal protections. Equality North Carolina is leading the charge -- visit EqualityNC.org to get involved.
In other news this week, John Boehner's legal team submitted a brief in defense of DOMA that's even more offensive than anyone could have predicted. But that may turn out to be its achilles heel, since its anti-gay rhetoric can be easily dismantled with facts.
For example, the brief insinuates that LGBTs are less qualified to be parents, but we know that claim's not backed up by studies. They also claim that LGBTs aren't discriminated against -- in a brief intended to discriminate against LGBTs. And their weirdest claim is because you can't look at a baby and tell whether it's going to grow up to be gay, maybe being gay is a choice people make later in life.
By the way, Boehner committed taxpayers to giving this lawyer a half million dollars to come up with stuff like this. So, money well spent.
Let's talk about some good news now. By a unanimous vote, the American Psychological Association is the latest in a long line of professional organizations to endorse marriage equality. The APA cited dozens of studies on the psychological value of marriage equality, which may not be enough to stop anti-gay activists from making stuff up about us, but should take the wind out of their sails when their lawyers go before skeptical judges.
There's a teeny bit of good news in Washington State, where the Suquamish Tribal Council unanimously voted to provide marriage equality on their reservation.
But it could be some time before marriage is legalized in the rest of the state. New census data out this week shows that the number of same-sex couples in Washington has increased 50% over the last decade, to 24,000 households. Of those, about 6,000 are raising children. Efforts to extend marriage to those families would likely stall in the state Senate, where the political support simply isn't strong enough. Yet.
And a confusing poll in New Jersey has both sides claiming victory. The survey shows that when voters are offered a choice between marriage or nothing for LGBTs, they favor marriage by 47% to 42%. But if civil unions are offered as an option, support for marriage drops to 41% for marriage, 40% for civil unions, and 17% for nothing.
So, you could say that more respondents favor legalizing marriage than not. But you could also say that a majority don't favor legalizing marriage.
What the poll really shows us is that there are a lot of people still on the fence. Just like the legislators in North Carolina and the Senators in Washington state, residents of new Jersey need to hear from us. North Carolina, Washington, New Jersey. Get to work.
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