HRC Blog

The Week in LGBT Equality

Post submitted by Dan Rafter, Former HRC Associate Director of Communications

From a historic step forward in the Democratic party, to another court striking down the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act, to LGBT athletes shining in the Olympics – it was a big week in the equality movement. Here’s a look back:

  • The Democratic Party platform drafting committee is including language supportive of marriage equality in the party’s 2012 platform, which will be ratified by the full platform committee and then the Democratic National Convention next month. HRC Legislative Director Allison Herwitt testified before the drafting committee last week.
  • German cyclist Judith Arndt became the first openly LGBT Olympian to earn a medal in this year’s Games – she scored a silver in the Women’s Cycling Time Trials earlier this week.
  • President Obama nominated Pamela Chen to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on Thursday. If confirmed, Chen will be only the fifth openly-gay individual to receive a lifetime judicial appointment. 
  • On Tuesday, a federal judge in Connecticut – appointed by President George W. Bush – ruled that the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional. This is the fifth district court to find DOMA unconstitutional, following similar decisions in Massachusetts, California, and New York.
  • Last Friday, founder Jeff Bezos and his wife made a historic $2.5 million investment in the fight for marriage equality in Washington State. The sizable donation makes Bezos one of the most generous individual supporters of marriage equality.
  • On Monday, we learned that a North Dakota newspaper was changing its policy and printing wedding announcements for same-sex couples. After the newspaper initially refused to print the announcement for a lesbian couple, HRC launched a twitter campaign calling on the media outlet to change their discriminatory policy.
  • Advocates for marriage equality in Maine are launching a massive letters to the editor campaign across the state to share compelling personal stories about why same-sex couples should be allowed to marry one another.
  • The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals rebuffed several plaintiffs who wanted to challenge the constitutionality of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act simply because they don’t like LGBT people.
  • New polling found that support for marriage equality in Maryland has reached 54 percent. Marylanders will vote on the state’s marriage equality law this November.
  • Amtrak launched a new ad campaign featuring same-sex families. Amtrak’s move is reflective of the growing momentum among businesses to support equality and embrace benefits and work environments that address the needs of their LGBT employees.
  • We’re continuing to see the repercussions of the Boy Scouts’ ban on openly gay people.  At the beginning of the week, we told you about five Eagle Scouts who returned their badges – and yesterday shared the story of another Scout who shared his moving resignation letter with HRC.
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