'The road has potholes but equality is on the horizon,' said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.
WASHINGTON - Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans scored big wins in 2005, according to a new report from the Human Rights Campaign. The report - Equality from State to State: GLBT Americans and State Legislation 2005 - details record-setting and historic state legislation affecting the GLBT community over the past year.
"The road has potholes but equality is on the horizon," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "This report proves that as the national conversation over equality continues, Americans come down on the side of fairness."
More state anti-discrimination bills passed in 2005 than in any other year. Eleven bills were passed in state legislatures that established or strengthened statewide anti-discrimination protections for the GLBT community.
While last year, 13 states amended their constitutions to ban the protections and responsibilities of marriage for same-sex couples, this year 15 states defeated attempts to write discrimination into their state constitutions. Another two states are likely to defeat marriage amendments before the year ends.
"Last year saw same-sex couples and their families disgracefully used as a political wedge issue," said Solmonese. "When the fog of divisive politics recedes, the real stories emerge of hard-working GLBT Americans seeking equality -and fairness wins."
California became the first state ever to pass a bill to extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples this year. Unfortunately Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed this important legislation. Another historic milestone occurred in Connecticut as well, where the instituted civil unions to provide state-level rights and responsibilities to long-term, committed same-sex couples. The bill was signed by the state's Republican governor, Jodi Rell.
Maryland and Colorado became the ninth and 10th states to include gender identity and expression, and the 30th and 31st states to include sexual orientation in their hate crimes laws. Again, both bills became law under the states' Republican governors.
"The tremendous progress we've seen crosses party lines and proves fairness need not have partisan boundaries," said Solmonese.
HRC partners with statewide GLBT advocacy groups across the country to advance pro-equality legislation and beat back attacks on our families. In 2005, HRC provided more than $820,000 directly to state organizations, ballot campaigns and other work in the states in addition to drafting bills, testifying in statehouses, activating our members and providing strategic assistance.
"Until every state treats its gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens with dignity, respect and equality under the law, our work as a community will not be done," added Solmonese.
Download the full report.
The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.
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