WASHINGTON - As the nation prepares to hear the State of the Union address, today, the Human Rights Campaign - America's largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization - released the third annual Equality from State to State: GLBT Americans and State Legislation report, examining the state of state legislation that affected the GLBT community in 2006. From New York to Florida to California to Washington state, Equality from State to State 2006 outlines the legislative gains and challenges GLBT Americans faced in their state capitols.
"State capitols continue to be the epicenters in the quest for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality and we will continue to work with our allies to support legislation that moves our goal of equality forward," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.
During the year 2006, almost 400 bills affecting the GLBT community were introduced in state legislatures, approximately the same as the previous year, with 44 becoming law. Although marriage equality dominated the public discourse about GLBT Americans, several significant non-marriage measures became law. Washington became the 17th state to pass an anti-discrimination law. The California Legislature became the first to pass a bill specifically addressing domestic violence in the GLBT community, and 15 measures extending rights to same-sex couples passed, in six states and the District of Columbia.
"This past year, we saw a 42 percent increase in the number of favorable bills passed from 2005, with California passing the most favorable bills - 10 in total," said Human Rights Campaign State Legislative Director Carrie Evans.
Of the 242 favorable bills - i.e., bills intended to increase the rights of the GLBT community - that were introduced in 2006, 231 were in the areas of anti-discrimination (87), hate crimes (32), relationship recognition (83), parenting (five) and education/schools (24). Thirty-four of the favorable measures passed 15 of these were in the area of relationship recognition.
Of the 137 unfavorable bills - i.e., bills intended to abridge the rights of the GLBT community - introduced in 2006, 73 were in the areas of anti-discrimination (20), hate crimes (one), relationship recognition (16), parenting (19) and education/schools (17). Five of these unfavorable measures unrelated to marriage passed.
Some of the highlights of the report include:
The report, Equality from State to State, is available at the Human Rights Campaign website at www.hrc.org/statelegreport. To get a print copy of the document, please contact email@example.com.
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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