Culture shift re:
homosexuality, bisexuality, etc.
Events during 2009-JUN illustrating
cultural shifts about sexual minorities
The acronym SSM refers to same-sex marriage;
GLBT refers to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual persons.
||2009-JUN-01: USA: President Obama declares June to be Lesbian Gay
Bisexual Transgender Pride Month: The beginning of the gay liberation
movement occurred four decades ago this month. It was triggered by a police
attack on the Stonewall Inn in New York City, NY. |
His proclamation said, in part:
"Due in no small part to the determination and dedication of the LGBT rights
movement, more LGBT Americans are living their lives openly today than ever
before. I am proud to be the first President to appoint openly LGBT candidates
to Senate-confirmed positions in the first 100 days of an Administration.
These individuals embody the best qualities we seek in public servants, and
across my Administration -- in both the White House and the Federal agencies
-- openly LGBT employees are doing their jobs with distinction and
"The LGBT rights movement has achieved great progress, but there is more work
to be done. LGBT youth should feel safe to learn without the fear of
harassment, and LGBT families and seniors should be allowed to live their
lives with dignity and respect."
He listed some of the initiatives that the government is involved in:
||Decriminalization of same-sex behavior around the world.
||Hate crimes laws
||Supporting civil unions
||Supporting federal rights for LGBT couples
||Outlawing discrimination in employment
||Ensuring adoption rights
||Ending the "Don't ask, Don't tell" policy in the Armed forces.
"These issues affect not only the LGBT community, but also our entire Nation.
As long as the promise of equality for all remains unfulfilled, all Americans
are affected. If we can work together to advance the principles upon which our
Nation was founded, every American will benefit. During LGBT Pride Month, I
call upon the LGBT community, the Congress, and the American people to work
together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or
gender identity." 1
2009-JUN-03: NH: Governor
signs SSM bill into law: The House and Senate were able to establish compromise wording on their SSM
bill that both could accept. Governor Lynch signed it into law. New Hampshire is
thus the sixth state to legalize marriage for all loving committed couples, both
opposite-sex and same-sex. 2More info.|
2009-JUN-12: India: Anti-gay law may be reconsidered:
Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was created during the 19th century
during colonial times to criminalize same-sex sexual behavior. Law minister
Veerappa Moily has indicted that the government may revisit the law and
liberalize it. Ashok Row Kavi, consultant for UNAIDS and UNDP, said: "It will
be the best thing for the national AIDS control program since efforts to curb
the spread of HIV and AIDS will no longer be impeded by the law." During 2001,
Naz Foundation, a non-profit gay-positive group, had petitioned the Indian
high court to "read down" section 377. The health ministry supported the
petition the law ministries opposed it. The high court has recently finished
hearing arguments on the petition. 3
2009-JUN-12: USA: Proposed
change to gay immigration: The Senate Judiciary Committee held a
meeting to hear public input on the "Uniting American Families Act" (UAFA).
Many countries, like Canada, France and Germany, recognize loving committed
same-sex couples in their immigration legislation. The U.S. does not; they are
treated only as friends. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who chairs the
Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) have introduced bills in
the Senate (S. 424) and House (H.R. 1024) that would allow citizens to sponsor
their same-sex partners in a similar way as heterosexual spouses currently
petition for foreign-born husbands and wives. Leahy said in an
interview: "I think it's a matter of fairness." 4,5,6
benefits for same-sex partners of federal employees: President Obama
signed a presidential memorandum that grant a limited number of employee
benefits to same-sex partners of federal workers.
2009-JUN-19: Federal Census Bureau
will count same-sex marriages: During the Bush administration, the Census
Bureau refused to count same-sex couples, citing the federal
Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as
justification. In a major win for the GLBT community, the Bureau will now
count same-sex marriages (SSMs), civil unions and domestic partnerships. The
next major census is due in 2010.
Steve Jost, a spokesman for the Census Bureau, said:
"They will be counted, and they ought to report the way they see themselves.
In the normal process of reports coming out after the census of 2010, I think
the country will have a good data set on which to discuss this phenomenon that
is evolving in this country."
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said that:
"The president and the administration are committed to a fair and accurate
count of all Americans. We're in the midst of determining the best way to
ensure that gay and lesbian couples are accurately counted."
Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force,
called the policy change a significant step:
"The census, I like to say, is on its face about numbers. But what the census
is really about is telling the story of our country. Many people, including
people in the administration, are realizing just how important it is to make
sure that (lesbian and gay) Americans are not rendered invisible." 7
2009-JUN-28: Unitarian Universalists recognize Lawyer Eric Isaacson:
Rev. William Sinkford, President of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA),
gave the President's Annual Award for Volunteer Service to Eric
Isaacson, a lawyer from San Diego, CA. Isaacson has provided pro bono legal
services to various UUA groups so that the voice of religious liberals
would be heard in important court cases, including those related to
marriage equality in California. 8
2009-JUN-29: President Obama pledges to work for GLBT equality: At
a White House ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots --
the police attack that triggered the gay liberation movement -- President
Obama pledged his effort to end the military Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, to
repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and to fulfill other campaign
promises leading to equality for LGBTs. Referring to DOMA, he said:
"We have a duty to uphold existing law, but I believe we must do so in a
way that does not exacerbate old divides. And fulfilling this duty in
upholding the law in no way lessens my commitment to reversing this law."
Regarding DADT, he said:
"I believe preventing patriotic Americans from serving their country
weakens our national security ? Ending the policy requires an act of Congress
and will take time." 9
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
"Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month, 2009," The White
House, 2009-JUN-01, at:
"New Hampshire Legalizes Homosexual Marriage," CitizenLink, 2009-JUN-03, at:
"Moily signals rethink on anti-gay law," Times of India, 2009-JUN-12, at:
Daryl C. Hannah, "When Same-Sex Partners Meet Immigration Law," DiversityInc,
"Uniting American Families Act," Human Rights Campaign,
"S.424," bill text, at:
Lisa Leff, "White House: Census to better count gay couples,"
Associated Press, 2009-JUN-19, at:
"UUA Honors Eric Isaacson for Marriage Equality Work," UUA-L Digest, Volume 77,
Issue 1, 2009-JUL-01
Kevin Canessa Jr., "Obama: I'll Work to Repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' for
Military Members," DiversityInc., 2009-JUN-30, at:
Copyright © 2009 by Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Initial posting: 2009-JUN-03
Latest update: 2000-JUL-02
Author: B.A. Robinson