Beyond the Carolinas
Eldridge launches congressional bid
KINGSTON, N.Y. — Sean Eldridge, a former staffer for Freedom to Marry and a leading advocate for marriage equality, announced his candidacy for New York’s 19th Congressional District on Sept. 23. Eldridge is married to Facebook co-founder and New Republic owner Chris Hughes, a Hickory, N.C., native.
Eldridge’s campaign will focus on jobs, education, health and campaign finance reform. Eldridge is a small business investor and president of Hudson River Ventures. He will challange incumbent Republican Rep. Chris Gibson.
Equality foe changes mind
CHARLESTON, S.C. — The lead architect of South Carolina’s anti-LGBT constitutional amendment has had a change of heart. Former state Sen. John Hawkins led the 2005 campaign to add an anti-LGBT amendment to South Carolina’s constitution. Now, he’s joining the Alliance for Full Acceptance, an LGBT community organization in Charleston.
“I was wrong about pursing the marriage amendment,” Hawkins told WCSC on Sept. 18. “I wish I hadn’t been so strident against it. … I never pursued the marriage amendment for any kind of religious reason, or any so-called moral reason, or anything like that. I pursued the marriage amendment out of a sense of duty to the law.”
The amendment Hawkin’s championed is also named for him. It passed with 78 percent of support from voters.
State officials in Tennessee are denying name-change requests from legally-married same-sex couples. Several individuals have reported being denied name changes on driver licenses and Social Security cards by office workers. Tennessee does not recognize same-sex marriages.
Houston Mayor Annise Parker has said her city should pass its own citywide anti-LGBT non-discrimination ordinance. Parker, who is lesbian, leads Houston as the only major metropolitan area in Texas without such a provision. San Antonia recently passed their own non-discrimination ordinance.
The Topeka, Kan., City Council has voted to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the mission statement for the city’s Human Relations Commission. The move will expand the commission’s educationa and awareness work. The provision did not LGBT non-discrimination protections.
Activists and community members celebrated the 15th annual International Celebrate Bisexuality Day on Sept. 23. The day is also known as Bi Pride Day and Bi Visibility Day.
Lawmakers in Pennsylvania, including openly gay state Rep. Brian Sims, have introduced legislation to ban anti-gay and “ex-gay” conversion therapy on minors. The bill follows similar successful efforts in California and New Jersey.
Transgender student Cassidy Lynn Campbell, 16, was crowned homecoming queen at her Orange County, Calif., high school in September. It’s beleived Campbell is the first-ever transgender homecoming queen.
Leaders of the Mormon Church are encouraging their members in Hawaii to speak out in favor of religious exemptions as that state considers legalizing same-sex marriage. The Mormon Church was a signficant proponent of California’s anti-LGBT Proposition 8, which was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court this summer.
Newly-elected Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is considering a block on proposed marriage equality legislation in the Australian Capital Territory. Abbott recently defeated pro-marriage equality former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.