Friday, July 16, 2010

LGBT News Weekly Roundup

By: Ben Crowther (tumblr)

Welcome to the first installment of the LGBT News Weekly Roundup. Below you'll find some headlines from the week along with a few sentences explaining the event and a link to a bigger article.

Argentina legalizes same-sex marriage
Argentina became the 10th country, and first Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage this week. It passed through the upper legislative chamber on Thursday, having passed through the lower chamber earlier. President Cristina Kirchner has promised to sign the bill when it reaches her desk. This is a major victory after hours of debate, a close 33-27 vote, and heavy lobbying against the bill by the Mormon and Catholic churches.

Problems with the Pentagon's DADT survey
Several bloggers are raising red flags about the Pentagon's DADT survey that was sent out last week for the big report due in September. This report, remember, is what the President, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of Defense will use to determine if the law should be repealed (at least, if the bill passes through the Senate). There's controversy around the use of the term "homosexual" rather than "gay and lesbian", over whether gay and lesbian service members will be protected from being discharged if they take the survey openly, and over how some of the questions and answers were phrased.

Employment Non-Discrimination Act no longer on the table this session
"It is phenomenally disappointing that ENDA will most likely not pass this session, more so because the Democrats could lose control of Congress in November. It will be that much harder to pass ENDA under a Republican majority. The real tragedy, however, would be if we cannot move on and start strategizing for the future."

Defense of Marriage Act ruling
Last week, a federal district court judge in Massachusetts ruled that section 3 of DOMA, the part that defines marriage as between "one man and one woman" for federal purpose, is unconstitutional. With section 3 overturned, couples that have a same-sex marriage will be able to receive federal benefits like immigration and taxes. The powerfully written opinion will be important if the Justice Department decides to appeal the case to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, and may eventually go to the Supreme Court. Combined with Perry v Schwarzenegger, the Prop 8 case, along with several others, we're looking at some very important legal decisions in the next couple years.

Gays are more likely to use social media
54% of gay and lesbian respondents read blogs, compared to 40% of heterosexuals. 73% use Facebook, and 29% use Twitter compared to to 65% of heterosexuals on Facebook and 15% on Twitter. The study didn't try to guess why, but I'd guess it has to do with the fact that it's a lot harder to find other queer people in person, so people turn to social networking sites.

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