August 04, 2007

Positive Movement in Two Key States

I'm posting about two stories here that show where the battles for GLBT equality are really being fought; on a state-by-state level. In two of those states, California and Virginia, attitudes are changing and progress could be made.

The Bay Area Reporter tells us that there was some movement from Republicans in the California state legislature toward the direction of equal rights in this year's session.

A surprising change has occurred with Republican lawmakers during this year's legislative session in Sacramento. They are voicing less dissent to LGBT legislation, and some GOP members are casting "aye" votes when it comes to certain gay rights measures.

The actions of the minority party in the state Capitol have not gone unnoticed. Last week the Assembly passed on a 70-1 vote a resolution urging Congress and President Bush to pass LGBT-inclusive federal hates crimes legislation.

Immediately afterward, Equality California, the statewide LGBT advocacy group, noted in a press release that the resolution passed with "historic bipartisan support." Joining 46 Democrats were 24 Republicans in favor of the measure, the most bipartisan support ever received in the California Legislature for a measure affecting the LGBT community, according to EQCA.

Meanwhile, the Washington Blade reports that there is some hope for a breakthrough in Virginia, a staunchly anti-gay state:

It might take five years, but Virginia could eventually see its anti-gay marriage amendment modified to clear the way for domestic partnerships or civil unions, according to a speaker at a gay rights conference here last weekend.

David Lampo, vice president of the Log Cabin Republicans of Virginia, told the Blade that improving the climate in the state for gays can be done through individual bills in a piecemeal fashion.

“I think if we can do some of these issues a baby step at a time we should get them through,” he said. “It might take longer, but hopefully in five years we can get the marriage amendment modified and at least have domestic partnerships and civil unions so we’re not constitutionally prohibited like we are now.”

Lampo said there are plenty of interim measures that could advance gay rights in the notoriously anti-gay state. One strategy is to broaden support for gay issues by reaching out to different groups, especially those that would benefit from non-discrimination policies and domestic partnership benefits, especially universities.

“If we got that accomplished it will be a great boon,” he said.

The Log Cabin Republicans were also cited in the story about progress in the California GOP. A while back I asked how a gay person could be active in the Republican party, and I received some thoughtful responses that express the view that working for change from within was a viable option that could make a difference.

While I am still somewhat sceptical of that approach, these are two examples of where it might actually be working that way.

1 comment:

  1. Positive movement is, well, positive movement and I'm happy for it. CA is well known for the positive steps that it has and is taking. It's great to hear of states like VA actually reassessing the fully value of having all citizens equal. VA brought us the wrong side of Loving v Virginia on the topic of interracial marriage. It could right that historical wrong by opening its heart to furthering marriage equality. Check out what MA has done: We are an example of the good that can come from equality.