From the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/05/washington-same-sex-marriage_n_2248014.html
OLYMPIA, Wash. — Gov. Chris Gregoire has signed into law a measure that legalizes same-sex marriage in Washington state, which now joins several other states that allow gay and lesbian couples to wed.
Gregoire and Secretary of State Sam Reed certified the election on Wednesday afternoon, as they were joined by couples who plan to wed and community activists who worked on the campaign supporting gay marriage. The law doesn’t take effect until Thursday, when gay and lesbian couples can start picking up their wedding certificates and licenses at county auditors’ offices. King County, the state’s largest and home to Seattle, and Thurston County, home to the state capital of Olympia, will open the earliest, at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, to start issuing marriage licenses.
Because the state has a three-day waiting period, the earliest that weddings can take place is Sunday. Same-sex couples who previously were married in another state that allows gay marriage, like Massachusetts, will not have to get remarried in Washington state. Their marriages will be valid here as soon as the law takes effect.
“This is a very important and historic day in the great state of Washington,” Gregoire said before signing the measure that officially certified the election results. “For many years now we’ve said one more step, one more step. And this is our last step for marriage equality in the state of Washington.”
Last month, Washington, Maine and Maryland became the first states to pass same-sex marriage by popular vote. They joined six other states – New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont – and the District of Columbia that had already enacted laws or issued court rulings permitting same-sex marriage.
Referendum 74 in Washington state had asked voters to either approve or reject the state law legalizing same-sex marriage that legislators passed earlier this year. That law was signed by Gregoire in February but was put on hold pending the outcome of the election. Nearly 54 percent of voters approved the measure.
The law doesn’t require religious organizations or churches to perform marriages, and it doesn’t subject churches to penalties if they don’t marry gay or lesbian couples.
Heather Kawmoto and Kay Lancaster of Tacoma attended the signing event Wednesday afternoon with their 9-year-old daughter, Kayleigh Kawmoto.
Kawmoto and Lancaster have been together more than 14 years, and domestic partners since 2007, and both said they can’t wait to finally pick up their marriage license as soon as the Pierce County auditor’s office opens at 6:30 a.m. Thursday. They will marry in a small ceremony on Sunday in Tacoma.
“It’s something we’ve hoped for and dreamed of,” Lancaster said. “I didn’t dare hope that it would be this soon, and we’re just thrilled that it is.”
Lancaster and Kawmoto said that the reality of their impending marriage sunk in in the past few days, as they were writing their vows.
“We never knew we’d be able to say those things to each other,” Lancaster said, starting to cry, as Kayleigh quickly handed her a tissue.
Maryland’s law officially takes effect Jan. 1, however couples can start picking up marriage licenses on Thursday, as long as the license has an effective date of Jan. 1. Whether clerks of court issue a postdated license is up to them, however. They are not required to do so. Maine’s law takes effect on Dec. 29. There’s no waiting period in Maine, and people can start marrying just after midnight.
In addition to private ceremonies that will start taking place across Washington state this weekend, Seattle City Hall will open for several hours on Sunday, and several local judges are donating their time to marry couples. Aaron Pickus, a spokesman for Mayor Mike McGinn, said that more than 140 couples have registered to get married at City Hall, and weddings will begin at 10 a.m.
Washington state has had a domestic partnership law in place since 2007. The initial law granted couples about two dozen rights, including hospital visitation and inheritance rights when there is no will. It was expanded a year later, and then again in 2009, when lawmakers completed the package with the so-called “everything but marriage” law that was ultimately upheld by voters later that year.
This year, lawmakers passed the law allowing gay marriage, and Gregoire signed it in February. Opponents gathered enough signatures for a referendum, putting the law on hold before it could take effect.
There are nearly 10,000 domestic partnership registrations with the secretary of state’s office. Most same-sex domestic partnerships that aren’t ended prior to June 30, 2014, automatically become marriages, unless one of the partners is 62 or older.
That provision was included in the state’s first domestic partnership law of 2007 to help heterosexual seniors who don’t remarry out of fear they could lose certain pension or Social Security benefits.
Marcy Kulland and Terry Virgona, both 59 and from Tacoma, said they plan to get married on Sept. 28, 2013 to celebrate their 22nd anniversary.
“I’m just ecstatic. Now we’re legitimized,” Kulland said. “It’s just absolutely wonderful.”
However, she that while the state law is a great step forward, as long as federal law continues to deny federal recognition of same-sex marriages, there’s more to be done.
“This completes us, it doesn’t complete our work,” Kulland said.
Here’s an opportunity to get involved on campus and support causes related to women, gender and sexuality.
On Monday night, a small but passionate group of student leaders assembled in the BCC to form a new network of humanitarian and justice activists on campus.
Known as the Progressive Student Alliance (PSA), this organization formed for the purpose of bringing exposure to important causes on campus and providing support for student organizations trying to make a difference.
PSA first organized late last year, and so the network was still in its early stages at the end of the semester. As a result, they are “just now finding out how best to network to strengthen our movements collectively,” according to Arturo Jaras Watts ’14.
Jaras Watts is one of many students involved in the launch of PSA last year. Rachel Lang ’14, Crystal Rodriguez ’14 and Mike Elwell ’13, as well as graduates Marissa Tota ’12 and Alicia Bissonnette ’12, brought PSA to life. Both Jaras Watts and Record were quick to emphasize throughout the meeting that the purpose of PSA was not to create a new organization with them as leaders. Rather, PSA will function as a horizontal network of dedicated leaders who provide support for other organizations on campus with important causes.
“Each of us here represent different clubs that we are committed to,” said Record. “But the purpose of PSA is so that when it gets to a point … where you go and present these ideas and it’s on the line and you need backup, we can come.”
Record clarified that this support was not automatic. “If you need a petition that needs to be signed, we should all read it and not just blindly follow you guys,” Record said, “but I think we can see the benefits that this would accrue for all of us.”
Another important function of PSA is to increase the visibility of important humanitarian and justice events happening on campus. In order to accomplish this goal, PSA discussed options such as compiling a bathroom newsletter that lists these events and provides information about the clubs and organizations sponsoring them.
“We have events like the phenomenal Take Back the Night event that happens every year and we want participation to be as large as possible,” said Jaras Watts. “The newsletter would serve that side of the function of increasing the visibility and reaching a greater portion of Fairfield students.” The group also discussed creating a public space such as a bulletin board in the BCC that would display these events and club information.
In all, ten different groups and organizations were represented at the meeting on Monday, although not all clubs involved in PSA were able to send representatives to the meeting. These groups ranged from the environmental club Leaders for Environmental Action at Fairfield (LEAF) to Act Against, a student movement that works to bring important issues to the forefront of campus consciousness.
The organizations and clubs involved in PSA are currently working on assembling their newsletter, which they hope to release during the first weeks of next semester.
The dinner is open to all students living in the Residential Colleges; Creative Life, Ignation and Service for Justice and will be held at 6PM on Wednesday, October 24 in the Kelley Center Presentation Room. The panel discussion will follow at 7PM. These events count for FYE Credit!
Sponsored by Service for Justice, Creative Life, and Ignatian Residential College, and the Gender, Sex, and Sexuality Commons
This week, some of America’s biggest and best known corporations, including Walt Disney Co., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., and consumer products giant Unilever, will descend on Boston to recruit students from the nation’s top business schools.
The companies will promote industry trends and career opportunities. And they will also highlight policies that make their workplaces friendly, comfortable, and inclusive for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees.
On Thursday, more than 1,000 MBA candidates, corporate executives, and recruiters will gather at the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center for the annual Reaching Out LGBT MBA Conference, which aims to connect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, business school students with some of the nation’s leading companies. Now in its 14th year, the conference has grown from 150 students networking over boxed lunches at Harvard Business School to a three-day event with high-profile sponsors, a sign that corporate America is more progressive than the public sector when it comes to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights.
The first major public company to offer health benefits to gay and lesbian couples, in 1991, was Lotus Development Corp., a Cambridge software company — more than a decade before Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage. Nearly all of the 636 major companies surveyed this year by the Human Rights Campaign — 99 percent — prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation; 80 percent forbid discrimination based on gender identity. Yet there are no federal laws, and only a handful of state laws, that do the same.
“There’s really no question that corporate America is leading the charge in the area of workplace fairness,” said Paul Guequierre, spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT civil rights organization in Washington. “In 29 states you can be fired from a job for being gay, and in 34 states for being transgender. That sad fact makes corporate nondiscrimination policies vital for LGBT workers.”
Executives say their companies haven’t put these policies in place for altruistic reasons. They are hungry for talent and want to attract the best and the brightest. In addition, labor specialists say, a diverse workforce contributes to a company’s profitability. A variety of experiences and opinions leads to a more well-rounded, creative process, and can appeal to a wider array of consumers.
Like many people in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, Hannah Yankelevich, who will graduate with an MBA from Dartmouth College next year, said she’ll consider how companies treat LGBT workers when she weighs offers. She’s thinking about returning to General Mills in Minneapolis, where she interned over the summer, because the chief executive announced that the company opposed an amendment recognizing marriage only as the union between a man and a woman.
“I wouldn’t work for a company that didn’t offer a supportive environment for the LGBT community, ” said Yankelevich, 27, one of the organizers of the conference.
State Street Corp. is attending the Reaching Out conference for the first time this year as it seeks to further expand its recruiting into minority and underrepresented communities. The Boston financial services giant attends conferences held by the National Black MBA Association and the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting for the same reason.
“Were not going to advance State Street unless we have access to the best talent, and that’s by offering an environment where employees can bring their whole selves to the workplace,” said Mike Scannell, head of talent acquisition and global inclusion. “For us to not be open to individuals regardless of their background is really prohibiting us from getting access to the best resources and talent that are out there.”
Along with policies prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, State Street has an employee group for LGBT workers and offers domestic partner health insurance, including transgender benefits for prescriptions and laboratory tests. The company is considering covering sex change surgery.
Mike Harrington, vice president and senior counsel at State Street, said he probably wouldn’t have come to State Street from a Boston law firm in 1998 if the company wasn’t welcoming to gay employees. In fact, Harrington told a headhunter that he wouldn’t apply for an opening at one New England company because it didn’t offer health insurance for same-sex partners. But it’s more than the benefits that have kept him at State Street. He feels comfortable plastering his office with pictures of his two sons and partner of 12 years.
“My family is the same as everyone else’s,” he said. “For me, it’s more about being in a place where I talk about Dave in the same way that the woman who sits next to me talks about her husband.”
Antonio Gomez-Lopez, a second-year student at the MIT Sloan School of Management, feels the same way. Gomez-Lopez, who helped organize the Reaching Out conference, said a company’s LGBT policies play a crucial role in deciding where he will work.
“I don’t want to hold a double life,” he said.
Out in the Workplace: an LGBT Alumni Group Panel will happen this Wednesday, Oct. 17, at 7PM in BCC 200.
In an interactive panel, Fairfield University alumni will address students about being openly gay in the workplace and offer strategies for career success while embracing diversity.
Fairfield University will be celebrating National Coming Out Day and LGBTQ History Month this October with an aggressive and engaging series of events that focus on the experiences of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) community. In a continued partnership between the Academic and Student Affairs divisions, the slate of programming is intended to bring together students, faculty, staff, and alumni to reflect on the history, culture, and future of the LGBTQ community. The events include an exciting mix of films, speakers, panels, and socials. All events are free and open to the public.
LGBTQ History month events are sponsored by The Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, The Humanities Institute, Dolan School of Business, Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions, Office of Student Diversity Programs, Office of New Student Programs, Office of Residence Life, The Department of Communication, The Women’s Studies Program, Campus Ministry, The English Department, Alliance student group and Fairfield University LGBT Alumni.
Related web site: www.fairfield.edu/student/sd_lgbt.html
Once again, Fairfield University is participating in the nationall LGBTQ History Month with a series of events featuring art, speakers, and films. View the events here on campus at http://www.fairfield.edu/documents/student/sd_lgbt_poster12.pdf
LGBTQ History Month got its start in 1994 when Rodney Wilson, a high school teacher, suggested there should be a month dedicated to the celebration and teaching of gay and lesbian history. Gay and Lesbian History Month was endorsed by GLAAD, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Education Association, and other national organizations. In 2006, Equality Forum assumed responsibility for providing content, promotion and resources for LGBTQ History Month. LGBTQ History Month provides role models, builds community and makes the civil rights statement of our extraordinary national and international contributions.
LGBT History Month celebrates the achievements of 31 lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender Icons. Each day in October, a new LGBT Icon is featured with a video, bio, bibliography, downloadable images and other resources. Check it out at http://www.lgbthistorymonth.com/
Twelve months ago today, the military policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” was repealed and the LGBT community was allowed to openly serve in the community.
The Huffington Post has published an article in honor of this first anniverasry, featuring 25 historic moments related to the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” occurring in the last 12 months. Check it out here: ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ One-Year Repeal Anniversary: 25 Amazing Moments
Today we met with Fairfield University juniors, Rachel Lang and Astrid Quinones to talk to them about the Gender, Sex and Sexuality Commons (GSSC).
Last year, Lang, Quinones and others found it necessary to claim a space to create and foster and all-inclusive community for students of various genders, sexes, and sexualities, and thus established the Gender, Sex, and Sexuality Commons (GSSC). In the process of creating this space, they collaborated with the Diversity Office, Women’s Studies Department, and clubs such as Alliance and Sisters Inspiring Sisters to build bridges across student groups with common interests and between students and academic department. Physically, the space acts as a central location for clubs to have meetings, discussions, and to network for events both inside and beyond Fairfield University to combat injustice. The GSSC is located at 70 McCormick, room 123 and is open to students around the clock.
The GSSC will be busy this semester organizing events in connection with LGBTQ Month in October and a film screening and discussion in November about sexual assault in the military. Last spring, the GSSC was active in organizing Women’s History Month through V-Day events, Take Back the Night and a Women’s Day Celebration, along with Fairfield’s own Gender Bender Ball. 2012’s theme for Women’s Day was empowerment, and raised awareness of the various issues we face and the things both men and women can do to empower others. Bringing together more student groups than ever, GSSC had student clubs, initiatives, and programs come to Women’s Day to present their passion in conjunction with the theme of empowerment.
Interested in becoming involved in the planning of this academic year’s events? Come to 70 McCormick, room 123 to share your ideas on Tuesday, September 18 at 7pm. If you can’t make it but have some ideas, please email Rachel.firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com