march on Washington
The Human Rights Campaign said September 14 that an August 12 'statement' it made about the upcoming National Equality March in Washington, D.C., was an 'endorsement' of the march.
'Yes, we have endorsed the march,' said Communications Director Brad Luna. 'Yes, the release didn't say the word endorse,' but clearly that release is an endorsement.'
HRC's August 12 'statement' included these hesitant comments from President Joe Solmonese:
" 'The Human Rights Campaign considers October 11 in Washington DC to be a starting point' not a destination.'
" 'With thousands of LGBT people and allies coming to Washington to make a difference, it's our mission to help them become the citizen lobbyists that they want and need to be.'
" 'I've heard criticism about this gathering diverting resources from existing goals such as marriage equality in Maine and New Jersey. It's our intention and our obligation to ensure that in October, we amplify our energy not divert it.'
Other national groups that have endorsed the October 12 grassroots/netroots march include the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation; Join The Impact; the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches; the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network; Immigration Equality; the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission; and Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.
On September 15, march organizers provided a list of entertainment-industry people who recently endorsed the march. They include Calpernia Addams, Annette Bening, Greg Berlanti, Ilene Chaiken, Wilson Cruz, Melissa Etheridge, Carrie Fisher, James Franco, David Marshall Grant, Swoosie Kurtz, Chad Lowe, Camryn Manheim, Ewan McGregor, Sir Ian McKellen, Julianne Moore, Max Mutchnick, Kathy Najimy, Peter Paige, Felice Picano, David Hyde Pierce, Meg Ryan, Marisa Tomei and Gus Van Sant.
Marchers will 'demand action from the federal government to protect our rights in all 50 states,' said organizer Kip Williams. 'Real equality can only come from the president, the Congress and the Supreme Court.'
The march route still is not finalized. For a schedule of the weekend's events and more information, see equalityacrossamerica.org/blog/?page_id=33.
DOMA repeal bill
introduced in Congress
U.S. Reps. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and Jared Polis, D-Colo., introduced a bill September 15 to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, the Clinton-era law that prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages and affirms that states don't have to recognize other states' same-sex marriages.
The 'Respect for Marriage Act' would extend all 1,100 federal rights and obligations of marriage to married same-sex couples, including in critical areas such as Social Security, spousal immigration, income taxes and family medical leave. It also would ensure that a Gay couple's federal marriage rights remain intact when a couple is in a state that does not allow same-sex marriage.
'It is long past time for DOMA to go,' said Kevin Cathcart, executive director of Lambda Legal. 'When DOMA passed in 1996 it was a gratuitous slap in the face. But now, 13 years later, there are thousands of married same-sex couples who are hurt by this law. We've come a long way in 13 years and the federal government shouldn't be in the business of deciding that some married couples are worthy of federal respect and others are not. Married same-sex couples pay federal taxes just like everyone else and have a right to the same respect, important benefits and protections as everyone else.'
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey called DOMA 'one of the most discriminatory and far-reaching laws to emerge against our community.'
'DOMA is and has always been an immoral attack on same-sex couples, our families and our fundamental humanity,' Carey said. 'This hateful law has only served to discriminate against people and belittle our country's heralded values of freedom, fairness and justice. It is long past time to repeal DOMA, which has left a moral scar on this country.'
Ninety-one members of Congress are co-sponsoring the repeal bill. Notably missing from the list is Gay Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., who refused to support the measure because he believes it is unlikely to pass and fears it may divert energy from such goals as repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell and passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
President Barack Obama has repeatedly said that he supports a full repeal of DOMA.
Same-sex marriage is legal in four states 'Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts and Vermont' and there also are 18,000 married same-sex couples in California, though voters have banned any more same-sex marriages. Same-sex marriage will become legal in Maine in November if it survives a voter referendum. It becomes legal in New Hampshire in January.
With assistance from Bill Kelley
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