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posted Friday, January 1, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 01

National News
by Rex Wockner - SGN Contributing Writer

DC legalizes Gay marriage
The Washington, D.C., Council voted 11-2 December 15 to legalize same-sex marriage.

Mayor Adrian Fenty signed the bill into law December 18, which sent it to Congress for a 30-day 'review' period.

Congress is not expected to block the law, multiple sources said.

Gay couples should be able to begin marrying in D.C. once the review period's 30 "legislative" days pass.

"As a D.C. resident, I am personally proud of the council for standing so strongly for fairness and affirming the common humanity that bonds each of us," said National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey.

"It's a huge victory," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "[It] means a great deal coming after marriage equality losses in New York and Maine."

Solmonese said it will be important to remain "vigilant" even after the weddings begin in D.C.

"The U.S. Congress can choose to intervene and overturn the law at any time - a loophole the radical right is bound to try to exploit," he said.

In addition, anti-Gay activists are in Superior Court battling a decision by the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics not to give residents an opportunity to veto the law at the ballot box.

At present, D.C. grants full recognition to same-sex marriages that took place elsewhere.

Same-sex matrimony is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont and, starting in January, New Hampshire. It also was legalized in California and Maine, but voters later re-banned it.

Internationally, same-sex couples can marry in Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain and Sweden.

Springsteen: Legalize Gay marriage in NJ
Rock legend Bruce Springsteen has come out in support of same-sex marriage.

He lives in New Jersey, where the Legislature is considering a bill to legalize Gay matrimony.

"I've been following the progress of the marriage-equality legislation currently being considered in Trenton," Springsteen wrote on his website. "I've long believed in and have always spoken out for the rights of same-sex couples and fully agree with Governor [Jon] Corzine when he writes that 'The marriage-equality issue should be recognized for what it truly is - a civil rights issue that must be approved to assure that every citizen is treated equally under the law.'"

Springsteen urged "those who support equal treatment for our Gay and Lesbian brothers and sisters to let their voices be heard now."

Actress Meredith Baxter comes out
Actress Meredith Baxter came out in an interview on NBC December 2.

"I'm a Lesbian. It was a later-in-life recognition of that fact," she said. "I got involved with someone I never expected to get involved with and it was that kind of awakening and I never fought it because it was like, 'Oh, I understand why I had the issues I had early in my life.'"

Baxter said she always "had a great deal of difficulty connecting with men in relationships."

"Sometimes, I assumed I was a bad picker, which I was indeed, but I also was involved with people who made me think, 'Oh, they're the problem,' because there were problems with the people I chose. It never occurred to me to think, 'Oh, it's me.'"

She said she hopes her coming out will encourage people to stop voting against LGBT people at the ballot box.

"If anybody knows someone who's Gay or Lesbian, then when they are addressing Gay or Lesbian issues, political issues, that affect their rights, they are less likely to vote against them, to take away their rights," Baxter said. "So ... if I can be that Lesbian you know now, 'OK, well, if I vote this way, then that actually might affect this person I know, that Meredith.'"

Baxter, 62, starred in the TV shows Family and Family Ties.

EQCA's Kors: Do not support politicians who oppose Gay marriage
The head of Equality California, Geoff Kors, is encouraging LGBT people to refuse to support any politician who opposes same-sex marriage.

"We have to support only candidates who are 100 percent for equality ... and this includes support for marriage equality and for coverage for transition-related health care for Transgender people," he wrote at lgbtpov.com. "We must help to advance those candidates who support us all the way, and refuse to give to those candidates who do not."

"Legislators must know that if they backpedal on or do not vote for our rights, it will impact them when election time rolls around again," Kors said. "These legislators risk their endorsements and campaign donations when they cave in to pressure from our opponents. In some districts, these legislators are putting their re-election on the line."

With assistance from Bill Kelley



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