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 "Open for Business to Everyone," in Phoenix, Arizona, Feb. 26, 2014.
    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

    No More Space Race for US, Rivalry Gives Way to Collaboration

    What began as a struggle for dominance in space between two world powers has changed entirely to one of joint efforts

    Beijing Warns Critics Over South China Sea Dispute

    Official warns critics that the more they challenge China's position regarding disputed territories in one of world’s busiest waterways, the more it will push back

    Move Over Millennials, Here Comes iGeneration

    How the first generation to be born, almost literally, with a smartphone in hand, might change America

    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.
    Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020i
    X
    Ramon Taylor
    May 05, 2016 10:05 PM
    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020

    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Child Labor in Afghanistan Remains a Problem

    With war still raging in Afghanistan, the country also faces the problem of child labor as families put their school-age children to work to help make ends meet. But, thanks to VOA's Afghan Service, two families whose children had been working in a brick-making factory - to earn their livings and pay off family debts - now have a new lease on life. Zabihullah Ghazi reports.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora