Friday, April 17, 2009

What Would An Omnibus LGBT Rights Bill Contain?

Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) is an openly gay freshman congressman who has been making lots of news lately. He just returned from Iraq, where he asked the American & Iraqi governments to investigate the murder of gay Iraqis. Now, he's talking about an omnibus LGBT rights bill.

What would such a bill include?
The nonprofit donors group last month proposed that Congress tackle omnibus legislation that would include language regarding hate crimes, employment non-discrimination and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” as well as language from other LGBT rights-related bills.

The group’s proposed measure would also contain a clause requiring the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages, civil unions and domestic partnerships legalized by states.
Marriage rights wouldn't be included. Polis said that if the bill contained marriage language, “it’s a more difficult battle.”

President Obama is a supporter of gay Civil Unions. From the White House website: "Obama also believes we need to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enact legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally-recognized unions. These rights and benefits include the right to assist a loved one in times of emergency, the right to equal health insurance and other employment benefits, and property rights."

Could the omnibus bill contain some sort of gay civil union or domestic partnership language? It very well could. Recent national polls have shown majority support for civil unions, so it's not politically impossible. Excited to see how this develops.

1 comment:

  1. I don't like the idea of a gay-rights bill--that would make us seem like people with different civil rights needs than other minorities. We don't require special treatment, actually; we just need/want the same protections, responsibilities and rights as everyone else. I'd like a sexual orientation/gender expression plug-in to the civil rights bill would create a lot of that stuff--but if it was promoted as the 'gay rights bill' it'll have a really hard time passing in my estimation.

    Another random thought: i don't know why we haven't started undoing the opposition by calling people anti-gay the same way we talk about 'anti-choice' when talking about people who are against reproductive rights.