Survey finds increased support
NEW YORK, N.Y. — The Pulse of Equality survey, a new study commissioned by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), reveals that majorities of Americans now favor a broad range of policies and legal protections for LGBT people.
The key findings include:
• Three-quarters of U.S. adults (75 percent) favor either marriage or domestic partnerships/civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. Only about two in 10 (22 percent) say gay and lesbian couples should have no legal recognition. (Gay and lesbian couples are able to marry in two states, and comprehensive civil union or domestic partnership laws exist in only five others and the District of Columbia.)
• U.S. adults are now about evenly divided on whether they support allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally marry (47 percent favor to 49 percent oppose).
• Almost two-thirds (64 percent) of U.S. adults favor allowing openly gay military personnel to serve in the armed forces. (The current “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law bans military service by openly gay personnel.)
• About six in 10 (63 percent) U.S. adults favor expanding hate crime laws to cover gay and transgender people. (Hate crimes laws cover gay and transgender people in 11 states and the District of Columbia, and an additional 20 states’ laws cover sexual orientation but not gender identity.)
• A slight majority of U.S. adults (51 percent) favor protecting gay and transgender people under existing laws that prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations. (Existing non-discrimination laws cover gay and transgender people in only 12 states and the District of Columbia, and eight other states’ laws cover sexual orientation but not gender identity.)
• Nearly seven out of 10 U.S. adults (69 percent) oppose laws that would ban qualified gay and lesbian couples from adopting children. (In several states, gay and lesbian couples are banned from adopting.)
Across the LGBT-related policy proposals, there were statistically significant differences in support with respect to age, gender, race/ethnicity and religion. People under 65, and especially those 18-34, were more supportive than people over 65. Women were generally more supportive than men, with women age 18-34 often being more supportive than other segments.
Hispanics were more supportive than whites and African-Americans in showing strong support for allowing openly gay military personnel to serve in the armed forces. African-Americans were more strongly supportive than whites and Hispanics of expanding existing hate crimes laws to cover gay and transgender people.
Mainline Christians (a category that includes, among other denominations, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians and Episcopalians) and Catholics were more supportive than Evangelical Christians, and Mainline Christians were often among the more supportive segments on a variety of issues.
Adoption ruling favors gays
MIAMI, Fla. — On Nov. 25, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman issued her ruling in the case of Frank Martin Gill, a 54-year-old North Miami man who is challenging Florida’s decades-old law banning all gay and lesbian people from adopting children. Judge Lederman decided that Gill’s sexual orientation should not preclude him from being able to adopt his two foster children, whom he has parented for more than four years.
The State of Florida is appealing the ruling to the State Supreme Court. The outcome of this case there could overturn Florida’s decade’s-old ban on gays and lesbians adopting children. Florida is currently the only state that expressly bars all gays and lesbians from adopting. They are allowed to be foster parents.
Youth center finds funding source
NEW YORK, N.Y. — The Ali Forney Center has found the funding to continue its drop-in center for homeless LGBT youth in New York City, where it is the only full-time resource of its kind. Previously, the center was funded solely by a Federal Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) grant administered by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. AFC learned in September that its contract would be discontinued in July 2009. The center’s closing would have left hundreds of youth in crisis on the streets without critical services.
The NYC Ryan White Planning Council, a body of AIDS service providers, consumers and government officials that allocates Ryan White CARE Act federal dollars for people with AIDS, became aware of this crisis and voted unanimously to use unspent Ryan White monies to continue funding the Ali Forney Center’s outreach contract through February 2010, at which time AFC will be eligible to apply for ongoing Ryan White funds.
Leaders speak out on AIDS Day
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On the 20th annual World AIDS Day, observed Dec. 1, LGBT rights groups called for a renewed focus on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment policy at the federal level. They encouraged the incoming Obama administration, along with the Senate and House leadership, to bring a more concentrated approach to the epidemic through the development of a National AIDS Strategy.
In a statement, Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, mirrored the position of her colleagues. “The continuing scourge of the AIDS epidemic is a national disgrace. With a new administration and Congress about to take the reins of political power, we commit ourselves to the advocacy work to shift the government’s attention from the failure of ‘abstinence-only’ programs to developing HIV/AIDS prevention programs that actually work. In addition, life-giving services must be delivered to those in need. We call for the creation of a national strategy on AIDS because nothing less will suffice.”