News / USA

US Gay Rights Supporters Applaud Recent Victories

Tom Cushing, a production expert at Fast Signs, cuts down a sheet of anti-Senate Bill 1062 signs that read
Tom Cushing, a production expert at Fast Signs, cuts down a sheet of anti-Senate Bill 1062 signs that read "Open for Business to Everyone," in Phoenix, Arizona, Feb. 26, 2014.
Chris Simkins
U.S. Gay rights activists are celebrating a series of recent legislative and legal victories for same-sex marriage. The advancement of gay rights in the United States comes as other countries adopt tougher anti-gay laws.

Cheers erupted outside Arizona's state capitol building after Governor Jan Brewer vetoed of a bill that would allow business owners with strongly held religious beliefs to deny service to gays and lesbians.

Since the bill's passage by state lawmakers there was growing opposition from major corporations and civil rights groups. Proponents say it was designed, however, to protect businesses like bakeries, flower shops and wedding photographers who may have objections to same-sex marriage.

Arizona State Senator Steve Yarbrough said the measure was about protecting people's right to exercise religion freely. "I have to give credit to the opponents who have turned this into a discrimination bill against gays. It could not be further from that," he said.

Gay rights supporter celebrate

The defeat of the controversial Arizona legislation comes as supporters of gay rights celebrated federal court rulings in four states that struck down bans on same-sex marriage.  

In Texas, Nicole Dimetman and her partner won their case after a federal court judge ordered Texas to stop enforcing an 11-year old law against same-sex marriage. Dimetman said the ban violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection.

"We always have been equal and the United States Constitution has always protected our equal rights, but now it is explicitly stated and states can not discriminate against us," she said.

But Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said he will appeal the court ruling lifting the same-sex marriage ban. "This is an issue where there are good people on both sides of the issue, and as the court pointed out that this ruling is just one step along the pathway to resolving this.

Supreme Court ruling possible

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia recognize gay marriage. Political analysts say the legal fight over state laws banning it likely will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Gay rights supporters like Sandra Borchers say the latest victories can lead to bigger changes in other states.

"We have enough momentum going that we can now ask for more rights for our LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender] community and for everybody to be equal," said Borchers.

Gay rights activists say that while strides have been made in advancing equal rights for gays in the United States, other countries are moving farther away. In Russia last month, the government banned foreign same-sex couples from adopting Russian children.

Uganda's law spotlighted

And in the East African nation of Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni signed a bill into law that imposes harsh penalties for homosexual acts, including 14 years in jail for first-time offenders and life in prison for repeat offenses.

The Obama Administration strongly condemned the Uganda law, calling it a step backward in the country's protection of human rights. White House Spokesman Jay Carney said, "We will continue to urge the government of Uganda to repeal this abhorrent law and to advocate for the protection of the universal human rights of the LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender] person in Uganda and around the world."

Carney says the United States is reviewing its relationship with Uganda in light of the new law. The United States sends Uganda more than $400 million in aid each year. But Ugandan President Museveni told reporters he would not repeal the law because of pressure from other countries and human rights groups.

"The outsiders cannot dictate to us. This is our country this is our society this is our future. The outsiders will have to live with us or if they do not want, take their aid. Uganda is very rich. We do not need aid," said Museveni.

Like Uganda, more than 80 countries reportedly have laws against homosexual acts, including India. Gay rights activists say that in light of those statistics, they will redouble their efforts in their fight for equal rights.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs