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Californians still oppose marriage discrimination
A second Field Poll has found that Californians do not plan to amend the state constitution Nov. 4 to re-ban same-sex marriage. Poll results released July 18 showed that 51 percent of likely voters will oppose Proposition 8 and only 42 percent plan to vote for it. The numbers are similar to those of an earlier Field Poll on the proposition.

Poll Director Mark DiCamillo said the numbers mean there is a 90 percent chance the proposition will fail on election day.

"Starting out behind is usually an ominous sign for a proposition," he told The San Diego Union-Tribune. "Over 90 percent of propositions that start out behind get taken down."

Sixty-eight percent of Republicans said they plan to vote for the measure, while 63 percent of Democrats said they will vote against it.

On an interesting note, the poll found the strongest opposition to the initiative was among voters between the ages of 50 and 64 - the Americans whose social attitudes may have been most directly affected by the sexual revolution of the 1960s. In that group, 57 percent will vote against the referendum and only 38 percent plan to vote for it.

The huge, pivotal Southern California counties of Orange and San Diego also plan to reject the referendum, with 50 percent of respondents opposing it and 45 percent favoring it.

Anti-Gay activists denounced the poll findings as inaccurate, even though the Field Poll is considered highly reputable. Pollsters said the results' margin of possible error was 3.9 percentage points.

The California Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in May, and weddings began on June 16. The court said banning same-sex couples from marrying violated the state constitution.

Americans support open gays in the military
A Washington Post-ABC News poll released July 21 found that 75 percent of Americans oppose the military's ban on openly Gay service members, the so-called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy signed into law by President Bill Clinton 15 years ago.

Even Republicans - 64 percent - and white evangelical Christians - 57 percent - support scrapping the ban.

Pollsters questioned 1,119 people in a random national sampling and reported an error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

H&R Block to reimburse gay couples who couldn't file
H&R Block will give a $100 coupon or free TaxCut software to married and civil-union Gay couples who were blocked from using TaxCut Online to prepare their 2007 income taxes.

In some states, such couples are required to file their state taxes as a married couple, while all such individuals are required to file their federal income taxes as if they were single.

TaxCut Online wasn't configured to deal with that disconnect.

"We're pleased that H&R Block has decided to do right by Gay couples throughout the country," said Rebecca Shore of the American Civil Liberties Union's Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Project, which had pressured the company. "Saying you've been civilly united will never be the same as saying you're married, but at least Gay couples will no longer face the prospect of paying more to prepare their taxes."

The ACLU represented Jason Smith and Settimio Pisu, a Connecticut couple who attempted to use the company's online service only to be informed by the software, "We Don't Support Connecticut Civil Union Returns."

Connecticut law bans discrimination based on civil-union status.

GLAAD unhappy about Dobson's Hall of Fame recognition
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation expressed displeasure July 18 over the induction of the Focus on the Family ministry into the National Radio Hall of Fame.

"For 20 years James Dobson has used his expansive, well-funded media platform to perpetuate false and misleading information which contribute to putting Gay and Lesbian families in harm's way," said GLAAD President Neil Giuliano. "GLAAD urges the media to scrutinize and shed light on Dobson's record of inaccurate claims about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people and include an in-depth analysis of his distorted and defamatory statements."

The Hall of Fame is part of the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago. Inductees are nominated by the National Radio Hall of Fame & Museum Steering Committee, which includes radio executives, academics, trade journalists and others interested in radio's history.

Dobson and Focus on the Family won in the category of "a broadcaster who has made at least a 20-year contribution to the radio industry and has distinguished him/herself at the local and/or regional level."

Assisted by Bill Kelley
pictures: top - Neil Giuliano
bottom: Robin Tyler, Diane Olso

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