A Very Good Year for Marriage Equality
What a year it has been for marriage equality!
Here’s a quick run down of recent progress, and there will quite likely be even more news by the time this issue arrives at your door (or in your inbox):
In just one year, the number of US states with marriage equality has jumped dramatically. In November, Maine, Maryland and Washington State approved marriage equality at the ballot, and Minnesota successfully defeated an anti-LGBT marriage amendment. In early May, the states of Rhode Island and Delaware both passed marriage equality bills through their legislatures, with their governors signing the laws on May 2 and May 8, respectively. Literally as I was sitting at my desk writing this news brief, the Minnesota House approved marriage equality in that state by a 75 to 59 vote. Passage is likely in the Senate, with the Governor eager to sign! Advocates in Illinois are also working to get a vote.
We are, of course, awaiting the Supreme Court’s ruling on Prop 8 and DOMA. Only the Supreme Court knows how they are planning to rule, but it is quite possible that California, the most populous state in the US, could have marriage equality restored before the end of June.
That’s just the United States. In other parts of the world, France, New Zealand and Uruguay all approved marriage equality, and the UK is currently considering legislation that would enact marriage equality in England and Wales.
We live in transformational times.
Donna Redd Receives Brenda Howard Award
Long-time bi activist Donna Redd is the recipient of the 2013 Brenda Howard Award, presented at an award ceremony on February 24, 2013. The award was presented to her by Estraven on Sunday February 24, 2013, with the following introduction:
“We are gathered here today to give the Brenda Howard Award to Donna Redd. … After serving in the Armed Forces for 20 years, where Donna had to hide her bisexuality to avoid being discharged, she started her tireless work on behalf of the most disenfranchised people in New York City. She works with numerous organizations, helping people in need negotiate the city bureaucracies, meaning that she has to put up with people who are not always so kind. But she goes where the need is, year after year, and her warm-hearted, good-natured perseverance has a way of getting people what is necessary.
She got an MA in Counseling & Clinical Psychology from Columbia University in 2001, but it is not fame or fortune that motivates Donna. Rather, she simply does what needs to be done, helping the low-income bisexual population with such issues as health problems and domestic violence. She has an amazing presence, and can light up a room just by walking into it with her joyful spirit. She is also a writer, musician and singer, who has entertained crowds all over the city.
Finally, just as PFLAG was started by a mother out of love for her son, and Brenda Howard is known as the “Mother of Pride” since she organized the first New York City Pride March after Stonewall, Donna is being honored here today for her work “mothering” those who need help, the young and desperate ones with nowhere else to turn. It is truly a great personal honor for me to be asked to present this award to Donna. While we all worry about LGBT homeless people, people with AIDS, etc., Donna is the one who is actually there finding them housing and getting them to the doctor. Thank you from all of us, Donna.”