Huelskamp most anti-gay Congressman
WASHINGTON, D.C. — According to the Center for American Progress, the most anti-gay member of Congress has been freshman Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS). In his first 18 months, he has authored an amendment to ban a directive that allows military chaplains to voluntarily solemnize same-sex unions, an amendment to “prohibit the use of funds to be used in contravention of the Defense of Marriage Act and a bill to ban the use of military facilities for any same-sex unions. He also co-sponsored three more anti-gay measures.
Six other House Republicans have each put their name on at least five anti-gay proposals, putting them just behind Huelskamp, They are: Rep. W. Todd Akin (R-MO), a sixth-term Congressman; Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN), a 15th-term Congressman who is retiring at the end of 2012; Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), a fifth-term Congressman; Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), a first-term Congresswoman; Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), a third-term Congressman; and, Rep. Donald A. Manzullo (R-IL), a 10th-term Congressman.
Fourteen more House Republicans sponsored or co-sponsored at least four of the proposals. Just one Democrat co-sponsored any of the anti-gay measures — Rep. Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, who co-sponsored a proposed constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage.
Bill targets military spousal equality
WASHINGTON, D.C. — House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) has introduced HR 6046, the Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act of 2012, that would change the definition of “spouse” in four areas of U.S. Code related to recognition, support and benefits for married service members and veterans. The changes would ensure that spouses of the same gender are eligible for key military benefits, including coverage under TriCare insurance, an increased housing allowance and survivor benefits.
“Our nation’s senior military leaders and commanders on the ground are increasingly uncomfortable with administering two classes of recognition, support and benefits for our nation’s service members — one for straight service members and a different one for their gay and lesbian peers. There cannot be two classes of service members, and this legislation addresses that effectively,” said Army Veteran and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis.
HRC President Chad Griffin added, “The Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act represents an important step forward in the ongoing work to achieve full equality in our nation’s military. This legislation recognizes that all military families make extraordinary sacrifices and exhibit unparalleled bravery — yet not all of those families are treated with the same dignity and respect.”
Anti-marriage leader comes around
NEW YORK, N.Y. — In a June 22 New York Times op-ed, David Blankenhorn, founder of the Institute for American Values and a key witness for anti-gay marriage proponents in California’s Prop 8 federal district court trial, revealed that he now supports marriage equality for same-sex couples. Blankenhorn noted in his piece, “[A]s a marriage advocate, the time has come for me to accept gay marriage and emphasize the good that it can do.”
Adam Umhoefer, head of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, the sponsor of the court challenge to Prop 8, said, “Marriage equality has always been about building strong families and ensuring that loving couples and their families not be denied the fundamental freedom to marry. We are happy to consider Mr. Blankenhorn a supporter in that endeavor and applaud his commitment to equality.”
Anti-gay activists dismissed Blankenhorn’s change of heart as a capitulation to societal pressure.
Study looks at male role models
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — The absence of male role models did not adversely affect the psychological adjustment of 17-year-old teens raised in lesbian-headed households, according to a new study published in Gender & Society. “This study is part of a growing body of research that evinces the positive psychological well-being of children reared in planned lesbian families,” said the study’s co-author Nanette Gartrell, MD, Visiting Distinguished Scholar at the Williams Institute.
Findings were based on teens who participated in the U.S. National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study. Approximately half of the teens had male role models. The teens with and without male role models did not differ from each other in psychological well-being, and also did not differ on stereotypical feminine (e.g., understanding) and masculine (e.g., competitive) traits.
“No differences were found in the well-being of those with and without male role models, or between girls and boys. There was no empirical evidence suggesting that boys require a same-sex parent, or male role model, to develop a healthy psychological well-being,” said lead author Henny Bos, Ph.D, University of Amsterdam.
Poll finds broad marriage support
LONDON, England — A poll of more than 2,000 British people conducted for LGB rights group Stonewall has revealed that three-in-five people of faith support government plans to extend civil marriage to same-sex couples, despite a vitriolic campaign against the proposal by some faith leaders. Significantly, more than 80 percent of British adults under 50 support the proposal.
The YouGov survey shows that three-in-five people say there’s still public prejudice against Britain’s 3.7 million LGB people, and four-in-five believe it’s right to tackle that prejudice where it exists. The study also finds that more than four-in-five people would have no objection if the first child — and heir to the throne — of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge grew up to be lesbian, gay or bisexual.
On the down side, the report reveals that in the last five years 2.4 million people of working age have witnessed verbal homophobic bullying at work and 800,000 people of working age have witnessed physical homophobic bullying at work. Two-thirds of people aged 18 to 29 say there was homophobic bullying in their school.