Latest News

Election Results Bring New Challenges, Some Opportunities for LGBT Equality

Dem_Election_Party_Carnahan_11-02-10_233

[caption id="attachment_23" align="alignright" width="440"]Dem_Election_Party_Carnahan_11-02-10_233Democratic Election Party- Carnahan[/caption]

WASHINGTON – The initial results of Election Day indicate new challenges as well as some opportunities ahead for moving forward on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality, said the Human Rights Campaign – the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization.
The loss of the House of Representatives to an anti-equality leadership, along with the loss of some fair-minded Senators, will certainly impede federal legislative efforts. Perhaps most strikingly though, candidates who were the most vociferous opponents of LGBT equality did not fare well against fair-minded candidates.
“Social justice movements always experience steps forward and steps back and this election turned out to be a mix of both,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “Even though we will face greater challenges in moving federal legislation forward, nothing will stop us from using every tool to advance LGBT equality at every level. Attempts to hold back the tide of the equality movement will surely put anti-LGBT leaders on the wrong side of history.”
The loss of the House to anti-equality leaders is a serious blow to the LGBT community. The presumptive leadership team of Reps. Boehner, Cantor and Pence all score zeros on the HRC scorecard and many soon-to-be committee chairs have long anti-LGBT records. The past four years of Democratic leadership stopped anti-equality lawmakers from being able to move the most damaging legislation and amendments forward, however, the 110th and 111th Congresses did not hold pro-equality majorities on every issue. The 112th Congress will prove even more challenging in rounding up the votes needed to advance pro-LGBT legislation. A particular disappointment is the loss of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal champion Patrick Murphy in the U.S. House.
“We will be prepared to fight attempts to turn back the clock on equality as well as highlight how far this new leadership is outside the mainstream of public opinion,” said Solmonese. “We need not look any further than their decade of House control that brought us attempts to pass a federal marriage amendment, strip courts of jurisdiction to hear LGBT rights claims, cut HIV/AIDS funding and vilify openly LGBT appointees.”
In assessing the impact of LGBT issues on the election, most races were primarily focused on economic woes creating a difficult environment for incumbents. Polls show that LGBT issues were not decisive in these losses, and in fact, anti-LGBT candidates did not fare well – particularly the efforts of the National Organization for Marriage that poured millions of dollars into this election with only a mixed bag to show for it. Their effort to unseat New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch was fruitless, as was their full throated support for Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman in California, as well as Carl Paladino in New York. Additionally, a record number of openly LGBT candidates won elections across the country including Rep.-elect David Cicilline as a new openly gay member of Congress.
“No doubt anti-equality forces will try to trumpet this election as a validation for their divisive politics, but nothing could be further from the truth,” said Solmonese. “The victories of Mark Dayton over rabidly anti-gay Tom Emmer and Lincoln Chafee over NOM-endorsed John Robitaille clearly demonstrate voters choosing equality over extremism.”
The outlook in the states remains more hopeful for moving LGBT issues forward. In New York voters chose marriage equality supporter Andrew Cuomo along several new state senators who support equal marriage. In Minnesota, voters rejected Tom Emmer and instead chose Mark Dayton who has pledged to sign a same-sex marriage bill into law. In other states like Maryland, Hawaii, Rhode Island and Colorado, the coming year may see additional opportunities to advance relationship recognition laws.
HRC committed significant resources to the 2010 elections including contributing more than $850,000 through HRC’s federal PAC to pro-equality Congressional candidates and political committees as well as contributing nearly $400,000 to support pro-equality state and local candidates. HRC deployed 39 staff to 17 states to work for pro-equality candidates and mobilize HRC members. The organization sent more than 3.3 million election-related action alert e-mails to HRC members and supporters, recruited more than 4,500 volunteers to support pro-equality candidates and made more than 85,000 phone calls to HRC members through staff in the field and weekly phone banks at HRC headquarters.
HRC endorsed 202 candidates for the U.S House of Representatives, 21 candidates for the U.S. Senate and 16 candidates for Governor. Of the 164 races where a winner has been called, 80% of HRC endorsed candidates have won.

WASHINGTON – The initial results of Election Day indicate new challenges as well as some opportunities ahead for moving forward on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality, said the Human Rights Campaign – the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization.

Read more ...

Midterm Elections: One Step Forward, One Step Back… and still Moving Forward

RickGarcia2

[caption id="attachment_21" align="alignright" width="440"]RickGarcia2Rick Garcia[/caption]

The Nov. 2 election marked the largest Republican take-over in some 70 years.  For the last 22-months, Democrats held control of the House, Senate and the Presidency, but Tuesday’s stinging rebuke demonstrated voters’ frustration that visible change is not happening soon enough.

Read more ...

Missouri Youth Respond To Bullying With Grassroot Organizing

ivUSPN

ivUSPN

The kids are revolting and we should all be proud. On Nov. 20 a coalition of young queer and straight activists across the state are convening in Columbia, Missouri to empower themselves with the skills and tools to combat bigotry and bullying in their communities.

Read more ...

Bethany Place to Observe World AIDS Day in Belleville, Dec. 1

worldaidsday

[caption id="attachment_10" align="alignleft" width="440"]worldaidsdayWorld AIDS Day 2010[/caption]

BELLEVILLE, IL – Bethany Place will observe World AIDS day (WAD) on December 1st, at 7pm. The Observance will be held at the ROHO Group, located at 100 N. Florida Avenue, in Belleville. This years observance marks the 22nd year of Bethany Place, which has served Southern Illinois since 1988.

Read more ...

HIV/AIDS and the African-American Community in St. Louis

aidsribbon

aidsribbon

On January 20, 2009, Barack Obama was sworn in as president.  “Larry”, (who asked that his real name not be used) a 28- year old gay African-American man from St. Louis, shed some tears to mark the historic day.  Three days later all the hope, all the pride that defined inauguration day vanished in an instant when Larry was told he was HIV-positive.

Read more ...

Non-Profit of the Month: Growing American Youth

gay2006logo300dpi

[caption id="attachment_6" align="alignright" width="440"]gay2006logo300dpiGAY: Growing American Youth[/caption]Growing American Youth is social support organization for youth, 21 and under who may identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning. Youth served come from throughout the Metropolitan area, including St. Charles and Illinois.

Read more ...

A Long Time Coming: Civil Union Bill Awaits Governors Signature in Illinois

GayIFlag

[caption id="attachment_4" align="alignright" width="440"]GayIFlagIL bills passed recognizing civil unions between same sex couples[/caption]

Landmark legislation swept through the Illinois General Assembly this week as both the House and Senate passed bills recognizing civil unions between same sex couples in back to back votes.

The Senate’s 32-24 vote on Dec. 1 followed the Illinois House passing the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act on Tuesday with a vote of 61 to 52. 

Read more ...