Movement Advancement Project

Judging by recent comments in the diaries, we’re tired.  That should come as no surprise – a lot has happened in the world of LGBT advocacy this year, and it seems like there hasn’t been any emotional down time.  Anyone would be dizzy just from trying to keeping tabs on it all.  I know I’m looking forward to a year-end holiday break (Merry Christmas, James Dobson – you heard it from a lesbian first!).  

I know that when I’m tired, it can be too easy to remember defeats and harder to remember victories.  So, as we rest and recharge this month, I think it is important to review what we, together, have accomplished this year.  

Back in March Keori created “as comprehensive a list as I could put together of all the pro-LGBT legislative efforts going on”.  I’m going to build off of her scaffold.  Please drop items I’ve missed in the comments, with locations, dates, links etc., if possible.  I’m interested as much in community initiatives such as “We demonstrated in support of our embattled GSA” or “PFLAG just started a chapter here” as I am in legislative initiatives like “Our city council is considering a T-inclusive housing ordinance”, or “anti-equality amendment averted”.

I think that together we’ve accomplished more than we might realize.  We need to take some time to pat ourselves on the back, because damn it, we deserve it.I’ve always loved Donna Deitch’s line in Desert Hearts, “If you don’t play, you can’t win”.  I think that is very true when it comes to advancing civil equality for LGBT people, and so I even consider defeats as victories of a sort in the sense that every time we get our issues to the table and compel a debate, we’ve taken another step forward.  Therefore, I’m listing all the initiatives we’ve attempted (that I know about), regardless of whether the outcome was the desired one or is still pending.

A note on advocacy organizations, I list only one per state but some states have more than one.  I encourage readers to contribute links to other organizations.


Judicial – n.b. there are way too many lawsuits to cover adequately here. FWIW, here are those we covered at Pam’s House Blend.

* LOST: Federal court dismissed lawsuit of Janice Langbehn, who was kept apart from her dying partner by hospital personnel.  See: Langbehn v. Jackson Memorial Hospital

by: Pam Spaulding







Statewide legislation

PENDING: a bill to amend the existing hate crimes law to add sexual orientation as a covered category (HB 533).  Passed House 46-41.


WON a favorable settlement from City of Birmingham resulting from Mayor Langford’s discriminatory refusal to allow city workers to attach Pride banners on city light posts.

Advocacy organization: Equality Alabama


Statewide policy

PENDING: request that the University of Alaska to add sexual orientation to its non-discrimination policies.

Local legislation

VETOED: Anchorage LGBT non-discrimination ordinance (Ordinance 64(s2)) was passed by the Anchorage Assembly 7-4 and the veto was not overridden.

Advocacy organization: Alaskans Together for Equality


Statewide legislation

PENDING: HB 2455, a bill to prohibit discrimination in employment, public accommodations and other areas based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

PENDING: HB 2543/SB 1397, a bill to permit gay, lesbian or straight couples to register as domestic partners and receive a limited bundle of rights, including hospital visitation, emergency medical decision-making, and inheritance.

PENDING: HB 2544 would require that school districts provide medically accurate and comprehensive sex education, including age-appropriate information on topics related to sexuality, including contraception, abstinence, and disease prevention.

PENDING: HB 2598/SB 1219 would provide family leave benefits to family members, including domestic partners, of state employees.

PASSED: SB 1209 createD a bill of rights for children in foster care which includes the right to be free from unfair treatment because of sexual orientation, gender identity, and other personal characteristics.

PENDING: SB 1368 would prohibit discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

PENDING: SB 1410 would require the school board to implement procedures protecting students from harassment, intimidation, or bullying based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and other personal characteristics.

PENDING: HB 2298 would amend existing anti-bullying law to add sexual orientation and gender identity.

PENDING: SB 1212 would amend existing law regarding a central state repository for collecting information on hate crimes to add a requirement that information be collected for hate crimes based on gender identity or expression.

Local legislation

OPEN: Phoenix Domestic-Partner Registry, starting 2/9/09


PENDING: Equal pay for equal work lawsuit stemming from the Arizona legislature stripping health benefits from domestic partners but not married spouses of state employees.

Advocacy organization: Equality Arizona


Statewide legislation

PENDING: HB 2176 would prohibit a county or municipality from creating a domestic partnership registry or other certification process recognizing a domestic partner relationship not recognized by the state constitution. Existing laws creating such registries would be void.

Advocacy organization: misc


Statewide legislation

PASSED Marriage Recognition and Family Protection Act (SB 54) affirming that same-sex couples married before the passage of Prop. 8 are entitled to full recognition as married spouses in California, regardless of where they married and that couples

married outside of California after the passage of Prop. 8 must be given all of the rights, protections and responsibilities of spouses under California law.

PASSED Harvey Milk Day Bill (SB 572). Requires the governor to annually proclaim May 22nd as Harvey Milk Day, designating it as a “day of special significance” and encourages public schools and educational institutions to conduct suitable commemorative exercises about the historical accomplishments of

Harvey Milk.

PASSED LGBT Domestic Violence Services Act (AB 1003) improves and expands access to a state domestic violence fund for LGBT-specific organizations that serve victims of domestic abuse.

VETOED LGBT Prisoner Safety Act (AB 382) would have required state prisons to consider sexual orientation and gender identity to safely house prisoners.

VETOED Equal ID Act (AB 1185) would have codified existing legal protections for transgender people born in California which allows them to obtain a court order reflecting their correct gender and any accompanying name change.

PENDING Mental Health Services for At-Risk Youth (SB 543) would expand

access to essential mental health services for minors age 12 to 17, including LGBT youth, and allow them to obtain counseling without parental consent. Many LGBT youth seek counseling to help them with issues relating to coming out and either cannot obtain parental consent or are fearful of doing so. Passed Senate 22-12. Status: Will be heard after the legislature reconvenes in January.

PENDING Survivors’ Home Protection Act (AB 103) would end an inequity that presently exists for LGBT partners, particularly seniors, by preventing them from having to pay unfair property taxes and potentially losing their shared home following the death of a partner. Status: Will be heard after the legislature reconvenes in January.

Legislative resolutions

PASSED Resolutions urging the repeal of Prop. 8 (SR 7, Senator Mark Leno; HR 5, Assemblymember Tom Ammiano)

PASSED Resolutions in support of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act (SR 23, Senator Christine Kehoe; HR 16, Assemblymember Pedro Nava).

PASSED Resolutions in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (SR 27, Senator Mark DeSaulnier; HR 20, Assemblymember Mike Eng).

PENDING Resolution urging repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (SJR 9, Senator Christine Kehoe). Status: Passed by the Senate 23-13. Will be heard in the Assembly after the legislature reconvenes in January.

PENDING U.S. blood donor nondiscrimination resolution (AJR 13, Assemblymember Tom Ammiano). Status: Passed by the Assembly 46-29. Will be heard in the Senate when the legislature reconvenes in January.

PENDING Uniting American Families Act Resolution (AJR 15, Assemblymember Kevin De León, Co-Sponsor: Asian Americans for Civil Rights and Equality). Status: Passed by the Assembly 45-29. Will be heard in the Senate when the legislature reconvenes in January.

PENDING Resolution urging repeal of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (AJR 19, Assemblymember Julia Brownley, Co-Sponsor: California Faculty Association). Status: Passed by the Assembly 47-29. Will be heard in the Senate when the legislature reconvenes in January.


ELECTED: John A. Pérez, the the state’s first openly gay legislator named Assembly speaker.

Advocacy organization: Equality California


Statewide legislation

PASSED “Designated Beneficiaries Agreements” bill (HB 1260) provides a new tool for estate planning, giving Coloradans access to a new, low-cost and convenient method for making plans for end-of-life decisions, inheritance, and other protections related to health care and medical emergencies.

PASSED “State Group Benefits Domestic Partners” bill (SB 88) allows state employees to apply for health insurance for their domestic partners.


CONVICTED: Allen Ray Andrade prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for the hate-motivated murder of Angie Zapata.

Advocacy organization: Equal Rights Colorado


Statewide legislation

PENDING: (HB 6452) would update Connecticut’s anti-discrimination laws to add gender identity or expression as protected categories. .

PASSED: SB 899 codified the Connecticut state Supreme Court decision Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health by recognizing marriage under state law for gay and lesbian couples.


Statewide legislation

PENDING: HB 5 would amend existing anti-discrimination laws, including in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations, to add sexual orientation as a protected category. Passed House 26-14.

DEFEATED: SB 27 is a proposed amendment to the state constitution providing that only a marriage between a man and a woman shall be valid in Delaware. Defeated in Seante 11-9-1.


District of Columbia B 66

Would permit the domestic partner of a mother to be included on a birth certificate as a parent to the child.


Statewide legislation

DIED in committee: bill to repeal prohibition against gay people adopting HB413.

DIED: bill to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and pregnancy, familial, or marital status (HB 397/SB 2012).

Local legislation

PASSED: Tampa transgender rights ordinance.

PASSED: Tallahassee City Commission voted unanimously to provide domestic partner benefits for same-sex employees.

PASSED: City Commission voted to include sexual orientation and gender identity under the city’s anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies.

PASSED unanimously: City of Miami Domestic Partner ordinance.

VICTORY against an attempt (Charter Amendment 1) to repeal anti-discrimination protections in Gainesville.


WON: openly-gay Steve Kornell won a seat on the St. Petersburg City Council.

WON: openly-gay Anthony Niedwiecki won a seat on the Oakland Park City Commission. Because he garnered the most votes, he also became mayor.

RUNNING: openly-gay North Miami Mayor Kevin Burns is running for Mel Martinez’s U.S. Senate seat in 2010.

LOST: anti-gay mayor of Fort Lauderdale Jim “Robo-Potty” Naugle lost his re-election bid.


GUILTY: Joseph Eli Bearden was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison in the death of a 25-year-old gay man.

Advocacy organization

Equality Florida


Statewide legislation

Local legislation

PASSED: The East Point City Council voted unanimously to expand the city’s non-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Advocacy organization


Advocacy organization


PENDING: Civil Unions bill HB444 HD1 passed in the House and passed its first reading in the Senate but stalled in the Senate JGO committee. The bill has been carried over to the 2010 session.

Advocacy organization




PENDING: Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act (HB 2234) would create civil unions.

PENDING: HJRCA 2, which proposes a constitutional amendment to be submitted to voters providing that “only a union between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage” in Illinois.

PENDING: Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act (HB 178) would provide for marriage equality under state law.  After 1st reading, buried in committee.

Advocacy organization

ACLU Illinois







The state legislature in Maine is introducing a marriage equality bill (SP034/LD1020), which currently has 60 co-sponsors from both the Republican and Democratic parties, giving it bipartisan support. (Normally no more than 10 co-sponsors are allowed on a bill.)


* States considering bills adding “gender identity and expression” to the state anti-discrimination statutes: Maryland (HB474/SB566)

* Maryland has two companion bills introduced, HB351 and SB290, that would grant full marriage equality and next-of-kin recognition under the law to same-sex couples. Neither one has moved, but neither has the anti-gay marriage bill. No one wants to touch that issue this year. There are also two separate bills addressing rights and protections for same-sex couples and their families which do not go through the conservative Judiciary Committee. One addresses an inheritance tax exemption that would add “domestic partners” to the list of family members that can inherit property without paying an inheritance tax. It routes through the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee. The other is a House bill for the Maryland Family & Medical Leave Act, which would require employers subject to the federal Family & Medical Leave Act of 1993 to allow employees to take leave to care for additional family members, including domestic partners and children of domestic partners.

* anti-equality amendment defeated.


* States considering bills adding “gender identity and expression” to the state anti-discrimination statutes: Massachusetts (HB1722, also adds gender identity and expression to hate crime statutes)








* PASSED almost full-fledged DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIPS.  Gov. Gibbon’s veto was overridden 14-7 in the Senate and 28-14 in the Assembly.


* New Hampshire (HB415) adding “gender identity and expression” to the state anti-discrimination statutes.

* New Hampshire has a proposed bill (HB436) to upgrade civil unions to full civil marriage equality. The House Judiciary Sub-Committee on marriage voted to send the bill to the House floor on March 18th. HB415, which adds gender identity and expression to the state’s anti-discrimination laws, was also sent to the House floor. Six anti-gay bills died in committee during the same hearing.

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina…


* Bill (SB2278) which adds sexual orientation but not gender identity/presentation to the state’s anti-discrimination laws.

Northern Marianas Islands



* Advocacy organization: Oklahomans for Equality



* Bill (HB300) that adds sexual orientation AND gender identity and expression to the state’s anti-discrimination statute.  It would amend the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act to include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity or expression” as protected classes. The bill, introduced by Rep. Dan Frankel (D) has 79 co-sponsors from both parties. The bill advanced through the House committee on March 11th and will go to the floor. Thirteen municipalities have such protections, but they do not exist on the state level.

Puerto Rico

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota



* Bill (HB538) adding “sexual orientation or gender identity and expression” to the state’s employment anti-discrimination statutes. It was authored by Reps. Villareal and Cohen, and has been referred to the State Affairs Committee, where it has sat since February 18th.



WON: Straight ally Ben McAdams won a special election to replace Sen. Scott McCoy, the only openly-gay member of the UT legislature, who resigned to focus on a law career.


* PASSED a MARRIAGE equality bill (S. 115), then overrode Gov. Douglas’s veto.



* RUNNING:  straight Ally Krystal Ball is running for Congress.


* FAILED: Gov. Tim Kaine’s executive order against anti-LGBT discrimination couldn’t protect man from being fired because he is gay.

Advocacy organization

Equality Virginia



* DONATED:  Roman Catholic bishop Herbert Brevard of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands contributed $500 to the repeal of Maine’s marriage equality law.

Advocacy organization



* Washington (SB5952, adds gender identity and expression to hate crimes statutes)

* Washington State has a proposed Domestic Partner expansion bill (SB5688) which would grant full marital benefits and next-of-kin recognition under the law to same-sex couples. On March 10th the bill passed in the state Senate by a 30-18 vote. It has enough co-sponsors in the House to assure passage, and Governor Chris Gregoire has stated her intent to sign it. Rep. Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney’s office has reported 98% positive feedback from constituents.

Local legislation

Aberdeen adopts new domestic-partnership policy  “The Aberdeen City Council adopted a new domestic-partnership policy Wednesday night, allowing same-sex couples with at least one person employed by the city to receive the same kinds of benefits as married couples, according to The Daily World of Aberdeen. …Other cities in Grays Harbor County are expected to introduce the same change in benefits soon.”

Advocacy organization: Equal Rights Washington


Advocacy organization


Advocacy organization


Advocacy organization

Wyoming Equality

Laurel Ramseyer

Laurel Ramseyer