News / USA

    Gay Rights Groups Push for Anti-Discrimination Laws

    Chris Simkins
    The U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether to hear a case involving laws that define marriage as being only between a man and a woman.  Voters in several states approved same-sex marriage initiatives last month.  And gay rights groups are now pushing harder to legalize same-sex marriage across the country and strike down other measures they say discriminate against gays and lesbians.

    George Ramirez and his partner German Roa have lived together for 16 years.  Now, they are allowed to marry in Maryland, after voters there endorsed a law legalizing same-sex marriage.

    "We want the opportunity to consider marriage for all its purposes for making a public statement, for the legal rights, and we want to be able to consider that just like anybody else," said Ramirez.

    Gay rights advocates won election victories for same-sex marriage in four states last November.  Now there is a drive to push for laws in other states to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry.

    Gay Rights groups in Minnesota celebrated after voters rejected a measure to define marriage as between "a man and a woman."  The state was the first in the nation to defeat a marriage amendment that has been enshrined in 30 other state constitutions.
     
    Now there is growing support for the legislature to legalize same-sex marriage.  Gary Schiff, is a lawmaker in Minneapolis.

    "You are going to see gays and lesbians turning their attention to the state capitol and asking for a marriage equality bill at the top of the agenda," said Schiff.
    Up until last month, Americans had never approved a same-sex marriage measure by popular vote.

    Derek McCoy is the president of the Maryland Family Alliance, which opposes same-sex marriage.  He says he expects lawsuits challenging the state's new marriage equality law.

    "We now have changed the definition of marriage in our state.  It [same sex marriage] is going to be taught at the earliest ages, kindergarten, first grade, second grade your kids will not only be taught about this issue but educated and formed and influenced that this is the right thing to do," said McCoy.

    But Gay Rights groups also have their eyes set on other issues besides marriage.  The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay and lesbian civil rights organization, launched a national television advertisement promoting its victories and calling for more civil rights legislation.  Brian Moulton is the group's legal director.

    "In a great deal of places marriage is not the primary issue for our community. It is more basic things like employment protections and housing protections.  Right now, it is still perfectly legal to fire somebody based on their sexual orientation in 29 states," said Moulton.

    William Galston is a social policy expert with the Brookings Institution in Washington.

    "I have rarely seen sentiments shift so quickly on highly charged social issues. It is clear which direction this is evolving and I would expect those pressures to reflect themselves in state level initiatives to protect rights for everyone and more slowly at the federal [government] level as well," said Galston.

    Gay Rights advocates say they hope the momentum from same-sex marriage will inspire similar campaigns aimed at ending discrimination.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora