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Queer Talk: Full Equality is the Goal

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Marriage equality is the current enormous focus of the bigger goal of full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and via TPM, one response from Thursday’s pro-marriage equality vote in Minnesota reveals something about why the goal of equality is broader than marriage. After the bill passed, state Rep. Peggy Scott (R) said:

‘My heart breaks for Minnesota. It’s a divisive issue that divides our state,’ Scott said as she wiped tears from her face, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. ‘It’s not what we needed to be doing at this time. We want to come together for the state of Minnesota, we don’t want to divide it.’

Apparently Scott is one of those people who interprets sharing the freedom she has with others as somehow diminishing her own. More, it’s even a “divisive” kind of thing, to include gay and lesbian couples marriage equality, which no matter how many ways it’s wrapped in the Bible and tradition and “our innocent children,” fundamentally means you do not see the gay and lesbian and bisexual and transgender people as your equal.

Minnesota

Nevertheless, another step toward marriage, and full, equality has been taken in Minnesota. The bill did pass the House, with a wider margin than anticipated, 75 -59, which saw all but two of the 73 Democratic—Farmer—Labor Party (Democratic Party) voting Yes, and all but four of the House’s 61 Republicans voted against it. According to the Star Tribune, the Senate (39 DFL and 28 Republicans) will hear the bill on Monday. It will require 34 votes to pass, which is expected. The Senate is comprised of 39 Democratic-Farmer-Labor members and 28 Republicans and conservatives. The bill will require 34 votes to pass. Gov. Mark Dayton has promised to sign it. Marriages will begin on August 1.

It’s a startling shift in the state, where just six months earlier voters turned back an effort to ban them in the Minnesota Constitution.

Illinois

A marriage equality vote in Illinois has been delayed, and Gov. Pat Quinn (D) who has said he’ll sign it, is, according to Think Progress, “getting restless.”

In remarks Thursday, he called for the Illinois House of Representatives to follow the state Senate’s lead and enact marriage equality. …

After months of delays, Quinn says it is now ‘time to vote.’ He told reporters “… I believe a majority exists to get this bill passed through the House onto my desk so I can sign it into law.’ …

Recent polling showed 50 percent of Illinois voters in support of marriage equality, compared with just 29 percent in opposition. …

A source told the Chicago Phoenix that the bill currently has 58 of the necessary 60 votes for passage. The legislative session ends on May 31.

Nevada

There’s much work ahead in Nevada, but the process has begun. From Box Turtle Bulletin:

An effort to rescind Nevada’s voter approve constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and replacing it with a law providing marriage equality began its long, two year process last month when the state Senate voted 12-9 to approve Senate Joint Resolution 13. The resolution then moved to the Assembly, where the Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections held hearings on the bill late yesterday. …

After three hours of testimony, the committee took no action. It will be brought back again for another working session. If the resolution passes the lower house, it will have to pass both houses again in 2015 before it can be sent to voters.

Pennsylvania

Finally, something different is happening in Pennsylvania. At Think Progress, and back to the full equality process:

Pennsylvania Lawmakers Introduce Sweeping LGBT Protections

Despite Pennsylvania’s geographic location in the northeast and its general reliability as a blue state in presidential elections, it is a largely conservative state outside of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Currently, the state offers no protections against discrimination for the LGBT community, including in employment, housing, and public accommodations – let alone any form of legal recognition for same-sex couples. A new pair of bills (HB 300 and SB 300) introduced this week with bipartisan support from 100 state lawmakers would ensure that LGBT people have legal recourse if they experience discrimination because of their identities. …

The Republican-controlled General Assembly may stymie the bill’s progress, but a recent Susquehanna Polling survey found that more than 70 percent of Pennsylvanians support the protections, even in the conservative central regions of the state.

Indeed, Pennsylvanians are growing increasingly accepting of LGBT equality, with other recent polls showing 74 percent support civil unions and even a 52 percent majority support marriage equality. Still, as Equality Pennsylvania Executive Director Ted Martin explains, nondiscrimination protections are currently much more essential to the well-being of LGBT people than relationship recognition … .

I’m celebrating every marriage equality victory. Watching the debate Thursday in the Minnesota House, hearing the cheers from outside the chamber when the vote was announced … this is exciting and wonderful in itself. But more, each victory is also another step toward the bigger goal of full equality, which must include local, state and federal recognition of human rights.

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4 Responses to Queer Talk: Full Equality is the Goal

  1. Cujo359 May 11, 2013 at 2:18 pm #

    Despite Pennsylvania’s geographic location in the northeast and its general reliability as a blue state in presidential elections, it is a largely conservative state outside of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

    Having grown up there, I can attest that this is true. Central PA being that favorable to gay marriage is nearly as newsworthy as Utah or North Dakota being in favor.

    And no, don’t settle for less than you want. Progressives have been doing that for a generation now, and what we got is far less than we would have settled for thirty years ago.

    • Joyce Arnold May 11, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

      Those Blue areas of states — Red or Purple — are incredibly important in the equality efforts. Of course, so are those who vote and work for equality in the Reddest of Red states and areas of states.

      Anyway, this is very significant action in PA. Cheers to those making it happen.

  2. secularhumanizinevoluter May 11, 2013 at 11:20 pm #

    Equality under the law…plain and simple and anything less is unacceptable.

    • Joyce Arnold May 12, 2013 at 8:54 am #

      Equality does indeed seem to me, too, to be a “plain and simple” kind of thing.

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