LGBTQ Corner

Florida Marriage Ban Ruled Unconstitutional

The sunshine state is the latest to see the ban on equal marriage struck down by the federal courts. On Aug. 21, U.S. district court judge Robert Hinkle ruled that Florida’s ban on equal marriage is unconstitutional. Judge Hinkle wrote, “Liberty, tolerance, and respect are not zero-sum concepts. Those who enter opposite-sex marriages are harmed not at all when others, including these plaintiffs, are given the liberty to choose their own life partners and are shown the respect that comes with formal marriage. Tolerating views with which one disagrees is a hallmark of civilized society.” Hinkle also ruled that the marriage of a woman whose wife recently passed away be recognized by the state and that the woman be listed as the legal spouse on her wife’s death certificate.

Currently, eleven states are awaiting trial about same-sex marriage bans in the United States. Thirty-three states now accept same-sex marriage or have seen their same-sex marriage ban struck down in court and deemed unconstitutional by both democratic and republican judges.

New York Governor Fights for Transgender Protection

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently vowed to fight for the protection of the transgendered community. If re-elected in the next election, he plans to work on passing the Gender Expression Non-Discriminatory Act, or GENDA, which includes gender identity and expression in the New York Civil Rights Law. Gov. Cuomo wrote, “I write to reiterate my deep commitment to protect the rights of all New Yorkers, including those in the transgender community. Indeed, New York State has a long history of advancing transformative civil rights laws in an effort to protect disadvantaged citizens. We must continue to advance progressive reforms to protect those who continue to suffer discrimination without recourse.””

The New York Assembly has passed GENDA a total of seven times, but the bill has never received a vote in the state senate. New York is one of over 30 states to not have a law protecting against discrimination based on gender identity, and one of three states to have a law protecting against demonstration based on sexual orientation but not based on sexual identity.

Uganda Passes another Discriminatory Law

Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda, has passed yet another law discriminating against the LGBTQ community. The new law criminalizes the transmission and attempted transmission of HIV. Worry is spreading that this will only prevent those who are HIV positive or possibly HIV positive from seeking prevention and treatment. Those who are found guilty under the new legislation can be punished with fines and/or jail time. Those who “attempt” to transmit HIV can serve up to five years of jail time, while those who “intentionally” transmit HIV can be dealt up to ten years of jail time.