CommunityPam's House Blend

A few gay civil rights updates

Just thought I’d post some news I came across — mostly good news — out on the wires today…

Oregon: Gay marriage groups set sights on Minnis.

Gay marriage advocates lost a court battle before voters defeated a measure which would have legalized same-sex marriage. This summer, they failed to win approval for civil unions in the Legislature. Now, after dusting themselves off, the state’s gay rights advocates are regrouping, galvanized by a new goal: Ousting House Speaker Karen Minnis. Basic Rights Oregon, the state’s largest gay advocacy group, has singled out Minnis as enemy No. 1. In Portland last week, the group hosted a “Stick It to Minnis” event to raise funds to oust the Republican from Wood Village. In the Legislature’s final month, activists met Minnis and other legislators outside their parking garage with signs urging the House speaker to stop behaving like a tyrant.

Minnis said she doesn’t mind being called “Queen Minnis.” But she resents being told she thwarted the democratic process. From the beginning, she says she promised that the House would not vote on a civil unions bill.

Massachusetts: Anti-gay marriage coalition collapsing.

A coalition of lawmakers supporting an anti-gay marriage amendment is falling apart, virtually assuring that same-sex marriage will for now remain legal in Massachusetts, according to an Associated Press poll. The survey, conducted between Sept. 6-9, found at least 104 lawmakers who plan to vote against the proposed constitutional amendment, which would ban gay marriage but create civil unions.

The amendment, which is scheduled for a vote on Wednesday, needs the support of at least 101 of the state’s 200 lawmakers to get on the 2006 ballot.

Utah: Fight looms on gay benefits.

Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson’s push to offer health-care benefits to domestic partners of city employees has gay marriage advocates and their opponents accusing each other of flip-flopping in their legal analyses of Utah’s constitutional ban on gay marriage.

If Anderson signs an executive order extending dental and medical benefits to nonmarried domestic partners, as he has promised to do before this November, opponents have threatened to file suit. Further complicating the matter, that legal fight may be rendered meaningless if one state lawmaker fulfills his promise to introduce legislation prohibiting Anderson’s plan.

And as Anderson prepares to engage the fight, he has the backing of the majority of his constituents. A new Dan Jones & Associates poll for the Deseret Morning News and KSL-TV shows 54 percent of Salt Lake City residents favor Anderson’s plan to extend health benefits to domestic partners of city employees. Still, showing the issue is controversial even in politically liberal Salt Lake City, a sizable number, 42 percent, oppose it.

California: And last, but not least, a reminder about my earlier post, “Lawmakers to delay delivery of gay marriage bill to the Governator,” that it’s not too late to lobby on the marriage issue – there is a two week window to weigh in. Equality California‘s website is encouraging not just a state-wide but also a national response to his intention to veto. Contact info:

Capitol Number, Sacramento: 916-445-2841
Fresno: 559-445-5295
Los Angeles: 213-897-0322
Riverside: 951-680-6860
San Diego: 619-525-4641
San Francisco : 415-703-2218

Governor’s Office
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding