For 1st time, gay marriage may win statewide vote – U.S. News

Updated at 1:45 p.m. ET — After losing some 30 ballots on same-sex marriage across the country over the past decade, advocates of lesbian and gay couples are encouraged by polls showing they have a good chance of finally logging their first victory in a statewide popular vote.

Polls show majorities back same-sex marriage in Maryland, Washington and Maine, and they indicate a tight battle in Minnesota – the four states holding votes on the issue in November.

“We’re feeling positive. The reality is, we haven’t won a ballot measure on marriage yet,” said Sarah Warbelow, state legislative director for the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights. “I think it’s very reasonable and realistic to expect that we’ll win one or more of these ballot measures; certainly the polling suggests that all four are … a possibility.”

Polling ahead of such ballots has not always accurately captured voters’ sentiment: In California in 2008, the same-sex marriage camp had a majority, though the ban on gay and lesbian marriage ultimately prevailed. In North Carolina, polls had predicted a closer race in the May ballot on the constitutional amendment (a 16-point difference, according to Public Policy Polling at the time), but the anti-gay marriage camp won by more than 20 points.

“They’re doing what they’ve also done, taking their victory lap before their first victory,” said Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, which on Thursday gave $250,000 to each of the four state campaigns opposed to same-sex marriage.

“The poll numbers that they’re interpreting as good for them are actually not good for them,” he said Friday, though noting that Washington could be tough for his side.

So far, the polls show support in the low-to-mid 50s for same-sex marriage:

via For 1st time, gay marriage may win statewide vote – U.S. News.

Related Images:

Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy Assures Mike Huckabee That Nothing Has Changed | Advocate.com

Chick-fil-A COO Dan Cathy spoke with Mike Huckabee on Friday to assure him that nothing has changed about his restaurant chain’s antigay ways.

Huckabee is the organizer of the “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” that supposedly set a sales record for the fast-food company. The Fox News host and failed presidential candidate rallied thousands to defend a series of comments Cathy made, in which he called same-sex marriage “twisted” and seemed to cop to his company foundation’s history of more than $5 million in donations to antigay groups by declaring cavalierly “guilty as charged.”

Then a Chicago alderman named Proco “Joe” Moreno claimed he was finally going to relent and allow Chick-fil-A to expand to his ward because company officials had agreed to end donations to antigay groups and drafted an anti-discrimination statement that was sent to local operators. That statement, titled “Chick-fil-A: Who We Are,” was posted on the company’s website this week and set off backlash from those hordes of “Appreciation Day” believers. Now Cathy wants to clarify that, no, the company doesn’t have any such agreement.

via Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy Assures Mike Huckabee That Nothing Has Changed | Advocate.com.

Related Images:

Chick-fil-A Ceases Anti-gay Donations, Clarifies Stance on Gay Customers & Employees

September 18, 2012 – Chicago, Illinois – The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA), Illinois’ leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights advocacy organization, has learned that Alderman Moreno has finalized his negotiations with Chick-Fil-A. Alderman Moreno has confirmed that Chick-fil-A will no longer give money to anti-gay organizations and that they have clarified in an internal document that the company will treat every person equally, regardless of sexual orientation. The Civil Rights Agenda worked closely with the Alderman in an advisory role as he negotiated these concessions with the executives at Chick-fil-A. Additionally, members of TCRA spoke directly with executives at Chick-fil-A during negotiations to aid in educating their decision makers about anti-discrimination policies and issues affecting the LGBT community.

In a letter addressed to Alderman Moreno and signed by Chick-fil-A’s Senior Director of Real Estate, it states, “The WinShape Foundations is now taking a much closer look at the organizations it considers helping, and in that process will remain true to its stated philosophy of not supporting organizations with political agendas.” Winshape, a non-profit funded by Chick-fil-a, has donated millions of dollars to anti-LGBT groups, including some classified as hate groups. In meetings the company executives clarified that they will no longer give to anti-gay organizations.

“We are very pleased with this outcome and thank Alderman Moreno for his work on this issue,” said Anthony Martinez, executive director of The Civil Rights Agenda. “I think the most substantive part of this outcome is that Chick-fil-A has ceased donating to organizations that promote discrimination, specifically against LGBT civil rights. It has taken months of discussion, both with our organization and with the Alderman, for Chick-fil-A to come forward with these concessions and we feel this is a strong step forward for Chick-fil-A and the LGBT community, although it is only a step.”

Additionally, they have sent an internal memo to franchisees and stakeholders that states that as a company, they will “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect-regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation and gender” and that their “intent is not to engage in political or social debates.” This statement was placed into an official company document called “Chick-fil-A: Who We Are.”

“Although we are encouraged by their internal statement, we would still like for the company to adopt an anti-discrimination policy at the corporate level,” said Rick Garcia, policy advisor for The Civil Rights Agenda. “It is one thing for a company to say they respect everyone they serve and employ, it is quite another for them to put that into their policies and demand that all employees adhere to that behavior. As we have heard from gay employees that work for Chick-fil-A, there is a culture of discrimination within the company and we would like to ensure that employees can speak out and call attention to those practices without fear of reprisal. It takes time to change the culture of any institution and steps like a corporate policy ensure that progress is made.”

via The Civil Rights Agenda.

Related Images:

Four major Washington state newspapers endorse marriage equality ballot measure | LGBT Weekly

Washington United for Marriage, the broad coalition working to defend the state’s bipartisan marriage law, today hailed four editorials from leading newspapers across the state which endorsed Referendum 74 and the state’s pro-marriageequality law this past weekend.

The Columbian which serves the greater Vancouver area, the Seattle Times, and The Spokesman Review which covers Spokane and the surrounding towns, and The News Tribune which serves Pierce County, all endorsed R-74 in strong editorials. In addition, the Seattle Times established a page on its website where readers and supporters can send in photos with people holding a “I do Approve Referendum 74 Same sex marriage” sign literally showing their support.

The four newspapers follow the editorial board decision to endorse Referendum 74 by the Walla Walla Union Bulletin on Sept. 12th.

via Four major Washington state newspapers endorse marriage equality ballot measure | LGBT Weekly.

Related Images:

Gaynadians – Toronto, where same-sex marriage is legal, really knows how to do Pride up via dallasvoice.com

It’s been said that love is the universal language. But gay Pride comes in a close second.

Rainbow-colored everything. Shirtless men holding hands. Lesbians on motorcycles. No matter where in the world you may find yourself, there are certain aspects of Pride events that transcend verbal communication and simply convey the coming together of a diverse group of people with one unifying sense of purpose and celebration.

While we’re deep in the heart of Dixie for Dallas Pride, Toronto is deep in the planning stages for World Pride 2014, a massive international event that promises to be the biggest gay party on the planet. And what better host than a Canadian city that proudly rejoices in equality for everyone, 365 days a year.

Toronto Pride, which took place earlier this summer, features 10 full days of events every June, with parties, marches, parades and performances that celebrate the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, two-spirit and queer (LGBTTQ) communities. (Yes, they have an even longer abbreviation than we do in the U.S., just another example of their commitment to all-inclusion.)

The festivities — and the broader acknowledgment of equality — extend far beyond the parade route and the borders of the gay village. At the airport, banners authoritatively welcome visitors to Toronto Pride. Taxicabs are adorned with Pride colors and event logos. And in all parts of the city, rainbow flags pop up in storefronts and restaurants as a warm gesture of “welcome.”

It’s a sight you normally expect to find only in the Castro, or Key West, or P-town … to see it citywide in a major city comes with a real sense of Pride for a visitor.

But you don’t have to wait until Pride Week to experience the vibrant energy of one of the gayest cities in the world, and home to Canada’s largest LGBT community. Toronto’s Gay Village (or simply “The Village”) is the area immediately surrounding the crossroads of Church and Wellesley streets, filled with restaurants, bars, nightclubs, bathhouses and gay-oriented businesses. Many may recognize a few building exteriors from the U.S. version of Queer As Folk, which frequently filmed on location in this neighborhood.

via Gaynadians.

Related Images:

No negative impacts from repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ study reveals – U.S. News

The repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in 2011 has not had a negative impact on force readiness, recruitment or retention, contrary to predictions that it would, according to a new study published Monday.

The policy, implemented in 1993 while then President Bill Clinton was pushing for openness in the military, was repealed on Sept. 20 last year. Before its enactment and the repeal, service members had said having openly gay troops would harm the military.

But the study by the Palm Center, which conducts research on sexual minorities in the military, determined those concerns were unfounded. The research by nine scholars, some professors at military academies, began six months after the policy (known as DADT) ended and wrapped up near the one-year mark.

The scholars said they interviewed opponents and advocates of the repeal, as well as active duty service members who are gay, and conducted on-site field observations of four military units, among other research. They also reached out to 553 of the nearly 1,200 generals and admirals who signed a 2009 letter saying the repeal would undermine the military and eventually got interviews with 13 officers

via No negative impacts from repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ study reveals – U.S. News.

The Volokh Conspiracy » Constitutional Law Professors: 87% Support Same-Sex Marriage, But Only 54% Believe It Is Constitutionally Mandated

Eighty-seven percent of constitutional law professors back marriage for same-sex couples, and 7 out of 10 believe the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, but only a slight majority of 54% think the federal Constitution requires states to recognize same-sex marriages. That’s the result of a survey of 485 constitutional law professors that I conducted this summer with the help of my indefatigable and indispensable research assistant, Minnesota 2L Samuel Light. In this post, I want to highlight some of the main results from the survey.

The survey was prompted by a comment from a pro-SSM law professor that the constitutional debate on the issue among scholars was over. According to him, there was no remaining doubt among specialists that recognition of SSM is required by the Constitution. I suspected this claim was too strong. Despite a common criticism, many constitutional law professors pride themselves on being able to separate their policy preferences from their constitutional views. (Whether they succeed in doing so is a different question.) So I wanted to test the hypothesis that the matter of same-sex marriage has been settled by asking professors themselves.

The survey was also prompted by the progress of some major cases challenging anti-SSM laws. One of the cases challenges California’s Prop 8; others take on the Defense of Marriage Act. These cases are teed up to reach the United States Supreme Court in the 2012 Term. (The Court will consider whether to take the Prop 8 case and at least one of the DOMA cases at its September 24 conference.) The cases don’t necessarily call for a comprehensive answer to the question whether there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, but that large question will definitely be in the background.

via The Volokh Conspiracy » Constitutional Law Professors: 87% Support Same-Sex Marriage, But Only 54% Believe It Is Constitutionally Mandated.

Related Images:

Pelosi and 144 House Democrats File Brief Against DOMA – Poliglot

Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and 144 other House Democrats filed a brief on Friday arguing that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.

The brief was filed in the case of Edith Windsor, an 83-year-old lesbian widow who sued the government after she was taxed more than $363,000 on assets that passed to her after the death of her wife in 2009 because the government did not recognize their marriage.

The two women first met in 1963 and were married in New York in 2007 after a more than 40-year engagement.

Windsor’s case has reached the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and been petitioned to the Supreme Court for review.

The brief dissects arguments made by the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), instructed by House Republicans to defend the constitutionality of DOMA in court after the Obama administration refused to do so in February 2011, and argues that the Court of Appeals should uphold a New York District Court’s June ruling that DOMA violates the Constitution.

Pelosi was joined by Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) in signing the amicus brief, which voluntarily offers information to the court. According to the brief, there is no legitimate federal interest in denying same-sex couples the rights that come with marriage.

“It is impossible to believe that any legitimate federal interest is rationally served by depriving a widow like [Edie] Windsor of the marital deduction that allows married couples to pass property to the surviving spouse without penalty, thus maximizing the survivor’s financial well-being,” the document reads.

via Pelosi and 144 House Democrats File Brief Against DOMA – Poliglot.

Related Images:

Las Vegas tourism officials embracing value of LGBT dollars – Business – ReviewJournal.com

At the Bagatelle Beach Club, DJ Roland Belmares spins a song while young people dance their Friday away. Cocktails flow as servers walk the area, ensuring no glass is empty.

It’s just another pool party in Las Vegas, ladies and gentlemen. Or is it?

This weekend, thousands of gay and lesbian visitors will gather in Las Vegas to celebrate at the Pride Las Vegas parade, festival and satellite events. Many of those tourists can be found at the Tropicana, home of Gay Days Las Vegas.

Gay tourism is on the rise in the city, propelled by word of mouth, new programming and targeted efforts by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

For its part, the travel board creates dedicated advertising campaigns aimed at the LGBT community that appear in gay media publications such as Curve and Out. A recent one features a stereotypical male-female couple standing in the middle of an all-male pool party under the phrase “Everyone’s welcome, even straight people.”

Kevin Bagger, senior director of marketing for the authority, said that in terms of popular gay tourist destinations, New York tops the list, while Las Vegas and San Francisco are tied for second.

“It is important to the LGBT market that the market they visit is welcoming and authentically so,” Bagger said. “You have to do more than just have a rainbow-colored logo.”

via Las Vegas tourism officials embracing value of LGBT dollars – Business – ReviewJournal.com.

Related Images: