Biggest national & international LGBT news stories of 2011

qPDX likes to keep the focus local but we are also queers in this big bad world with national and international news that affects us all. These are my picks for the most important ones of 2011. […]

Bill Passed to repeal DOMA

Last week the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. The Human Rights Campaign successfully delivered over 135 thousand petitions calling for this repeal. The bill’s main sponsor, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California (D) fears that the bill will have no chance in the House that is controlled by Republican conservatives. Even with 31 Democratic Senate sponsors, there is Republican hindrance.

President Obama announced this past February that the law would no longer be defended by his administration. He stated recently that he supports “civil unions” but, what about “same-sex” marriages? This federal law has economically impacted all gay and lesbian couples around the nation, not giving them the same government privileges as heterosexual couples. There are currently six states which now recognize gay and lesbian marriages (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire) however, couples’ rights are still limited. They cannot file for joint federal tax returns, nor do they have spousal Social Security benefits. Also, couples are not a part of the Family and Medical Leave Law or protected from estate taxes if their partner dies.

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CAUSA & Basic Rights Oregon team up for Spanish radio campaign promoting freedom to marry

(Mira pagina 2 para español)

New radio ads designed to reach out to Latino communities about the freedom to marry hit Oregon airwaves this week. The ad campaign also highlights the strong relationship between two statewide, grassroots organizations: Basic Rights Oregon, which advocates for gay and transgender rights, and CAUSA, which advocates for immigrant rights.

The ads, which will run on Spanish-language radio in the Portland region for four weeks, tell the stories of Latino families coming to terms with having a gay child, and underscore the importance of family supporting each other. You can listen to the ad (in Spanish) here: [display_podcast]

Excerpt from one ad (translated to English):

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National News: CNN runs “front-page” story on gay immigration (in)equality

As a queer person, and as an immigrant into what is widely known as the “toughest country to get in to” in the world, I am constantly reminded of the inequality people face in this country who are involved in binational same-sex couples.I don’t have a Green Card, I am not allowed to work, I receive no government support, I am constant danger of my visa being revoked. As a student, I am forced to pay extortionate out of state tuition that is three times that of in-state tuition, and even if I were in a committed long term relationship, I would not be able to get a green card through my partner. I am actively discriminated against because of both my citizenship and my sexuality.

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