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04/19/2007


Chelsea Clinton Calls LGBT Rights the ‘Unfinished Business’ of this Century: VIDEO

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In a keynote speech given at a Human Rights Campaign conference over the weekend, Chelsea Clinton remarked on the “incredible progress” of gay rights in this country, while also highlighting the ‘unfinished business’ that must be addressed on the road to full equality. CNN reports:

"My mother has often said that the issue of women is the unfinished business of the 21st century,” she said of Hillary Clinton, the former New York senator and secretary of state. “That is certainly true. But so too are the issues of LGBTQ rights the unfinished business of the 21st century." […]

In her address, Clinton pushed for more progress in combating bullying of gay youths. She pointed to celebrities such as Jason Collins, the NBA veteran who announced that he was gay in a Sports Illustrated story in April, and actress Ellen Page, who came out as gay at the same Las Vegas conference last Friday, as role models changing the lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, queer narrative.

"Changing laws and changing the political dialogue while necessary is insufficient to ensure that bullying stops; to ensure that every young person is supported by their parents and their teachers as they question who they are and they discover who they are regardless of the sexuality," Clinton said.

Watch the address, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Chelsea Clinton Calls LGBT Rights the ‘Unfinished Business’ of this Century: VIDEO" »


Actress Ellen Page Comes Out: VIDEO

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The 26-year-old actress Ellen Page — most famous for her role as the precocious pregnant teenager in Diablo Cody's film Juno — came out on Valentine's Day during a speech she made at the Human Rights Campaign's Time to Thrive youth conference in Las Vegas.

She said, "I am here today because I am gay... and because maybe I can make a difference to help others have an easier and more hopeful time. Regardless for me I feel a personal obligation and a personal responsibility. I also do it selfishly because I’m tired of hiding and I’m tired of lying by omission. I suffered for years because I was scared to be out. My spirit suffered, my mental health suffered, and my relationship suffered. And I’m standing here today with all of you on the other side of that pain."

She added, "And I am young yes. But what I have learned is that love — the beauty of it, the joy of it and yes even the pain of it — is the most incredible gift to give and to receive as a human being."

See the video and full transcript of her speech, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Actress Ellen Page Comes Out: VIDEO" »


HRC Calls on Feds to Recognize Utah Same-Sex Marriages; ACLU Prepares Lawsuit

The Human Rights Campaign today called on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to ensure that the marriages of more than 1300 gay couples who married before the SCOTUS stay are recognized by the federal government, the Salt Lake Tribune reports:

HolderIn a letter delivered to Holder Thursday, the civil rights organization said there is no "legal reason to question the validity" of marriages that occurred between Dec. 20 and Jan. 6, when the U.S. Supreme Court stayed a federal judge’s ruling overturning Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage.

The letter pointed out Utah Gov. Gary Herbert initially directed state agencies to recognize the marriages.

"Even though the governor’s office has now made a political decision to cut off this recognition, it continues to insist that it makes no pronouncement about the validity of these unions," wrote Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). "There is simply no reason for the United States government not to extend federal recognition to these more than 1,300 couples."

HRC also sent a letter to attorneys general in 17 states where same-sex marriage is legal, calling on them to recognize the Utah marriages.

The Department of Justice is reviewing Herbert's decision to put the marriages on hold.

BakerSupport for marriage equality in Utah is at a record high, the Washington Blade reports:

A recent consumer survey conducted in Utah reveals that support for same-sex marriage in the state was at an all-time high last week just before the Supreme Court halted the weddings with a stay.

The poll, conducted using Google’s digital platform polling system, found that support for same-sex marriage reached 41 percent as of last week. Although the poll shows a majority of Utah voters have yet to embrace marriage equality, the result demonstrates a 13-point increase in support over two years when compared to an earlier poll from Brigham Young University.

David Baker (pictured), a Mormon and gay D.C. activist, said he ran the poll in the aftermath of the federal district court ruling in Utah in favor of marriage equality for more updated data on the state’s support for same-sex nuptials.

UtahThe ACLU is planning a lawsuit against Utah for putting marriages on hold, TPM reports:

The ACLU called for plaintiffs on Wednesday, and got "overwhelming interest" from couples who were married before the stay was granted.

"We have a great pool and we are working through that, and plan to bring litigation that will protect all marriages, whether the couples are named plaintiffs or not," the ACLU said in a statement.

In a letter to Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes on Wednesday, ACLU of Utah legal director John Mejia called on the state to recognize the same-sex marriages performed before the stay.

"In short, these marriages are valid and have vested the married couples with rights that the state and federal governments must recognize. Utah and the federal government should thus accord same-sex couples who married in Utah all of the same protections and obligations that married couples of the opposite sex receive," he wrote. "When these couples married, they immediately obtained all of the same protections and obligations enjoyed by all of the other married couples in Utah."

Meanwhile, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes is telling county clerks to complete the paperwork for same-sex marriages performed before the SCOTUS stay, the AP reports:

Reyes' spokeswoman Missy Larsen says the office is notifying counties Thursday afternoon...Larsen says Reyes' new directive was issued to clear up some confusion and only applies to marriages that were solemnized.

And The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) announced today that it was joining the law firm of Magleby & Greenwood, P.C., as counsel for the plaintiff couples in Kitchen v. Herbert, the case which went before Judge Shelby and has been appealed to the Tenth Circuit:

The case was brought by three same-sex couples in Utah: Derek Kitchen and Moudi Sbeity; Karen Archer and Kate Call; and Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge. On December 20, 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby ruled that Utah’s ban on marriage by same-sex couples violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process of law. The Tenth Circuit has ordered an expedited briefing schedule, with briefing to be completed by February 25, 2014.

Said Peggy Tomsic of Magleby & Greenwood, P.C.: “We believe it is in our clients’ best interest now that the case is on appeal, and particularly since it is on an expedited briefing schedule, to have a national organization with significant experience litigating and winning marriage equality cases to enhance our perspective and fire-power as we move forward.

We also wanted a national organization that has a real connection with Utah. Kate Kendell, NCLR’s Executive Director, was raised in Utah, worked here as a lawyer for many years, and has a daughter living here who finally had the opportunity to marry the love of her life when Judge Shelby issued his ruling.

I have known Kate for years. I know she and NCLR are committed to bringing equality to every gay and lesbian citizen in this country, and I know that Kate will work tirelessly to bring equality to her home state.”


Michelangelo Signorile At Odds With HRC Over Positive 'Duck Dynasty' Message

FredFred Sainz (pictured right), the VP of the Human Rights Campaign gave a statement to CNN regarding the lifting of Phil Robertson's suspension from "Duck Dynasty," and Michelangelo Signorile was not happy about it. The statement was positive and affirmed A&E's decision, and the Sirius XM radio host took to Twitter to air his grievances.

Joe.My.God. reported on the HRC statement:

"It's not really a reversal [to reinstate Phil Robertson]. We think it's actually a positive outcome, and we want to thank A&E for their attentiveness and collaboration over the course of the last few weeks. We've received assurances also that the Robertson family is now open to working with African-American and (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people to address the real harm that such anti-gay and racist comments can cause. That's been our 'ask' since Phil's comments ran in GQ, and while it's a positive step, it certainly cannot and should not be the last one."

Signorile fired back with his own 140 character statement:

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What do you think about the HRC's affirmation? Sound off in the comments below.


Facebook Analysis of Viral Campaign Maps Geographic Breakdown Of Marriage Equality Stances

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In a Facebook post titled, "The Unequal Adoption of Equal Signs," users Bogdan State and Lada Adamic have broken down the "equal sign" phenomenon which seemingly overran the social networking site in March of this year.

HRCTheir study found that 2.77 million users in the U.S. changed their profile picture to an equal sign in support of marriage equality, in an effort spurred by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Those statistics were then used to indicate which geographic areas (broken down into roughly 100,000 person sections) had the greatest adoption rates.

Some of the findings were less than surprising, namely that areas along the east and west coasts, and around the Great Lakes, had the highest percentages of Facebook users changing their profile pictures to the equal signs. Others, including the breakdown of Facebook users in some of the nation's larger urban areas (including New York) were more telling. 

The Washington Post reports:

While many cities saw high rates of participation in the campaign, the new analysis shows that there was in some cases great variation within cities.

NYC“These striking differences at the level of urban areas could be the either the result of large geographical differences in terms of support for marriage equality, or they could be the result of lack of connectivity between social networks that made the phenomenon less likely to catch on in certain regions,” Facebook’s Bogdan State and Lada Adamic wrote  Monday afternoon.

In New York, adoption was highest in Manhattan and the parts of Brooklyn and Queens closest to it. But the rates of people changing their profile pictures were very low in the Bronx, outer Brooklyn and Queens, parts of Long Island, Staten Island and New Jersey.

Other statistics showed that people around the age of thirty were most likely to change their picture, and that many of the twenty-five counties with the highest rate of equal signs contained college towns.  

Check out more pictures of the geographic breakdown on Facebook and in the Washington Post article


Madonna Joins HRC Campaign Against Russia

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Madonna sent an email out this morning drumming up support for the Human Rights Campaign's 'Love Conquers Hate' campaign.

Wrote Madge in the mail:

"Love conquers hate." It's an iconic message that the Human Rights Campaign's members and supporters have spread to millions around the United States.

But right now in Russia, LGBT people and our allies who support basic fairness and dignity face a different reality. They are being targeted by hateful new laws that outlaw support for LGBT equality. Even with the 2014 Sochi Olympics just a few months away, fair-minded Russians are facing fines, harassment, and violence at the hands of thugs.

At this dangerous moment in Russian history, we as advocates have a responsibility to speak up and take our hopeful message global. That's why I'm joining HRC's Love Conquers Hate campaign, in hopes that more and more fair-minded people around the world will stand up and fight against the Russian government's campaign of hate.

Madonna wore the HRC shirt in a photograph she posted last month on Instagram.


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