Monday, June 15, 2009

Pride Challenge: Stonewall 40 Years Later

Kelly, who has a blog called Rambling Along, has a yearly Pride Challenge....The idea is to get as many bloggers to post his picture and write on the theme.
This year's theme is Stonewall, 40 years later.

Before Stonewall, 49 states outlawed homosexuality and at least two states could imprison or send you to a mental hospital you for your entire life for being openly gay. Those two states were California and Pennsylvania. If you were gay at the time, not only would you fear arrest, but you could be fired from your job, denied housing and services at businesses, there was no way you could adopt a child if you were out, no way anyone would legally recognize your relationship. There was one church that you could attend that was affirming, and only if you lived in Southern California: The Metropolitian Community Church who's first service was a gathering of 12 people in Rev. Troy Perry's living room in Huntington Park, California on October 6, 1968.

Since 1969 we have made strides but there is still a way to go. Let's look at what has been accomplished and what needs to be done:

Workplace discrimination protections:
In 2009 there are currently 12 states and Washington DC that prohibit discrimination in the work place, based on sexual orientation and gender identity. They are: California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

There are 8 additional states that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in addition to those above: Connecticut, Hawaii , Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, and Wisconsin.

There have been 5 state courts, commissions, agencies, or attorney generals that have interpreted the existing law to include some protection against discrimination against transgender individuals in Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Massachusetts and New York. Bringing the total to 20 states that offer some protections against discrimination in the workplace.

There are 30 states that allow your sexual or gender identity to be used as an excuse to fire you.

There are 6 states that issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples: Connecticut (2008), Iowa (2009), Maine * (effective Sept. 2009), Massachusetts (2004), New Hampshire (effective 1/1/2010) and Vermont (effective 9/1/2009).

One state recognizes marriages by same-sex couples legally entered into in another jurisdiction
New York (2008)

5 states and Washington DC with a law providing the equivalent of state-level spousal rights to same-sex couples within the state: California (domestic partnerships, 1999, expanded in 2005), District of Columbia (domestic partnerships, 2002), Nevada (domestic partnerships, effective 10/1/2009), New Jersey (civil unions, 2007), Oregon (domestic partnerships, 2008) and Washington * (domestic partnerships, 2007/2009).

One state provides some statewide spousal rights to same-sex couples within the state Hawaii (reciprocal beneficiaries, 1997).

29 states with constitutional amendments restricting marriage to one man and one woman: Alabama (2006), Alaska (1998), Arizona (2008), Arkansas (2004), California (2008), Colorado, Florida (2008), Georgia (2004), Kansas (2005), Idaho (2006), Kentucky (2004), Louisiana (2004), Michigan (2004), Mississippi (2004), Missouri (2004), Montana (2004), Nebraska (2000), Nevada (2002), North Dakota (2004), Ohio (2004), Oklahoma (2004), Oregon (2004), South Carolina (2006), South Dakota (2006), Tennessee (2006), Texas (2005), Utah (2004), Virginia(2006) and Wisconsin (2006).

States with law, not amendment, restricting marriage to one man and one woman. (11 states) Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.

To protect our LGBT Youth, there are 9 states and Washington D.C. with laws that addresses discrimination, harassment and/or bullying of students based on sexual orientation and gender identity: California (2002), District of Columbia (2001), Iowa (2007), Maine (2005), Maryland (2008), Minnesota (1993), New Jersey (2002), Vermont (2001/2007), Washington (2002/2009) and Oregon (2007).

There are 4 additional states with law that addresses discrimination, harassment and/or bullying of students based on sexual orientation alone. Connecticut (2001), Massachusetts (2002), New York (2003), and Wisconsin (2001).

There are only 3 states with school regulation or ethical code for teachers that addresses discrimination, harassment and/or bullying of students based on sexual orientation. New Mexico (regulation), Pennsylvania (regulation) and Utah (code of ethics).

There are 21 additional states that prohibit bullying in schools but list no categories of protection. Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

There are 17 states that do not protect our children from bullying in any form.

Hate Crime Inclusion
12 states have a law that addresses hate or bias crimes based on sexual orientation and
gender identity. California (1999), Colorado (2005), Connecticut (2004), District of Columbia (1989), Hawaii (2003), Maryland (2005), Minnesota (1993), Missouri (2001), New Jersey (2002/ 2008), New Mexico (2003), Oregon (2001/2008), Washington (1993/2009) and Vermont (2001).

19 states that have a law that addresses hate or bias crimes based on sexual orientation alone are: Arizona (2003), Delaware (2001), Florida (2001), Illinois (2001), Iowa (2002), Kansas (2002), Kentucky (2001), Louisiana (2002), Maine (2001), Massachusetts (2002), Michigan (2002-data collection only), Nebraska (2002), Nevada (2001), New Hampshire (2002), New York (2002), Rhode Island (2001), Tennessee (2001), Texas (2002), and Wisconsin (2002).

There are 19 states that do not have hate crime laws that include LGBT

States where same-sex couples can jointly petition to adopt statewide. (10 states and D.C.) California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Vermont.

States where same-sex couples have successfully petitioned to adopt in some jurisdictions. (2 states) Nevada and New Hampshire.

Same-sex couples are prohibited from adopting in Florida, Mississippi and Utah. State courts in Michigan have ruled that unmarried individuals may not jointly petition to adopt. Florida is the only state that explicitly prohibits all GLB people, whether individuals or couples, from adopting. On Nov. 4, 2008, Arkansas voters approved a statutory ban on adoption and foster parenting by unmarried individuals cohabiting with a sexual partner.” State courts have ruled that second-parent adoptions are not available under current law in Kentucky, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin.

There are 38 states that either do not allow adoption or have not ruled on out LGBT persons to adopt, but have no prohibitions.

14 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws that provide protection from discrimination in housing – only 4 include transgender persons.
California (includes transgender), Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota (includes transgender), Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico (includes transgender), New York, Rhode Island (includes transgender), Vermont and Wisconsin

36 states allow landlords to discriminate against LGBT persons.

Our progress at the federal level: (Courtesy of Bill Clinton and upheld by Barack Obama)

DOMA The defense of marriage act. The following excerpts are the main provisions of the Act:

Powers reserved to the states:
No State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship.

Definition of 'marriage' and 'spouse':
In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word 'marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word 'spouse' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.

Op Ed at AWOP on DOMA and Obama

: Don't Ask Don't Tell, you can die for your country but you can't have sex, you can't get married and you can't tell anyone. Even if you follow these guidelines, if someone rats you out, you get a dishonorable discharge. Over 75% of the American population believes this should be overturned, allowing gays to openly serve in the military. President Obama is one of the 25%

"Sexual orientation will not be a bar to service unless manifested by homosexual conduct. The military will discharge members who engage in homosexual conduct, which is defined as a homosexual act, a statement that the member is homosexual or bisexual, or a marriage or attempted marriage to someone of the same gender." - "The Pentagon's New Policy Guidelines on Homosexuals in the Military"


Today, there are thousands of gay affirming churches and temples across the United States, you may find one in your area by searching:


Pride, to me, means I am no longer ashamed of being gay. I am no longer afraid to be who I am. It means I am free to feel for the first time in my life what true love is and to be able to return that love fully and know how it manages to transform one's whole life. It means that while I am still healing, still learning, I am no longer afraid of what the future brings. We may not be treated as full citizens of the United States, but we are already, we just need to come together and tell the ones who don't know it yet.

For the history of our community and those who have gone before us, visit the Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, Transgender And Queer Encyclopedia Online.
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