News / USA

Recent Announcements Give Boost to Gay Rights Advocates

Recent Announcements Give Boost to Gay Rights Advocatesi
X
February 11, 2014 3:14 AM
A pair of high-profile announcements, one from the government and the other from an athlete, have bolstered gay rights advocates in the United States. VOA's Pam Dockins has the story.
Pamela Dockins
A pair of high-profile announcements, one from the government and the other from an athlete, have bolstered gay rights advocates in the United States.

Married same-sex couples in the United States will be entitled to more benefits because of a new Justice Department policy, announced on Saturday, that expands federal recognition of same sex marriages.

The new guidelines will allow these couples, for example, to jointly file for bankruptcy and will give them more rights in the criminal justice system.  

"This policy has important real-world implications for same-sex married couples that interact with the criminal justice system," said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who heads the Justice Department. For instance, as a result of this policy, the Department will recognize that same-sex spouses of individuals involved in civil and criminal cases should have the same legal rights as all other married couples."

....such as the right not to testify against a spouse in court.

On Sunday a top college football player revealed that he's gay. The announcement from University of Missouri's Michael Sam could mean he'd become the first openly gay player on a National Football League team, if he's drafted.

First lady Michelle Obama praised Sam in a Tweet.

The NFL has put out a statement welcoming Sam. But there already is an anonymous chorus of NFL insiders saying the league is not ready.

Nevertheless, the Human Rights Campaign's Paul Guequierre said the two announcements show greater acceptance of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals.

"The American public has really embraced LGBT equality," he said. "We still have a lot of work to do, but these are two signs that we are on the right path."

But Chris Gacek of the conservative Family Research Council said the announcements do not indicate a widespread change in sentiment.  

"I think this sort of general argument that there is this great wave kind of sweeping over the country does not really strike me as true. I think most people still think of marriage as still being between a man and a woman," Gacek said.

Ultimately, experts say, it will be up to the U.S. Supreme Court to make a final decision, at least on gay marriage.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs