Anti-gay hate crimes increasing

WASHINGTON, D.C. — For the first time, crimes directed against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation are the second most frequent hate crime committed after crimes based on race, according to the 2011 hate crimes statistics released Dec. 10 by the FBI as part of the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. Surpassing crimes committed on the basis on religion, the number of reported hate crimes committed against gay men and lesbians increased from 1,277 in 2010 to 1,293 in 2011.

“The 2011 FBI hate crimes data is a sad reminder that even as we make great strides toward equality under the law, LGBT people face dangers in America,” said HRC President Chad Griffin (pictured). “We must rid our country of the violence that has devastated our community for far too long.”

Hate crimes statistics are submitted to the FBI by law enforcement agencies across the country on a voluntary basis — there is no requirement under the law for agencies to submit the data. In 2011, the number of agencies reporting this data dropped to 14,575, a decrease from 14,977 the previous year.

A marriage equality three-fer, Pt. 1

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Dec. 7, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order granting review in Hollingsworth v. Perry (formerly Perry v. Brown), the federal constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8. Enacted in November 2008, Prop 8 eliminated the fundamental freedom of lesbian and gay Californians to marry. With this order, the Supreme Court will consider whether Prop 8 violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The Perry case was filed on May 22, 2009, in Federal District Court on behalf of two California couples. In an historic August 2010 ruling the Court found Prop 8 unconstitutional. On February 7, 2012, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the decision.

The Supreme Court also has granted review in United States v. Windsor, a challenge to the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Enacted by Congress in 1996, DOMA nullifies the marriages of gay and lesbian couples for all purposes of federal law.

A marriage equality three-fer, Pt. 2

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Psychological distress is lower among LGB individuals who are legally married to a person of the same sex, compared with those not in legally recognized unions, according to a new study led by Richard G. Wight from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and the Williams Institute at UCLA Law.

The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, also has implications for understanding mental health disparities based on sexual orientation: There were no statistically significant differences in psychological distress between heterosexuals and LGB persons in any type of legally recognized same-sex relationship.

A marriage equality three-fer, Pt. 3

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Support for marriage equality has increased by 21 points over the last eight years, according to a new Hart/McInturff poll for NBC News/Wall Street Journal. The bipartisan poll shows support for marriage equality at 51 percent, up significantly from 30 percent in 2004 and 41 percent in 2009. The survey is just the latest in a series of polls illustrating the growing momentum for marriage equality.

U. of Iowa raises the standard

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa is now the first public college or university to add LGBT-specific demographic questions to its college admission form. The school follows Elmhurst College, a private liberal arts college, which made history in August 2011 as the first U.S. college or university to include LGBT demographic questions on its admission form.

The new University of Iowa admission application asks the optional question, “Do you identify with the LGBTQ Community?” It also offers “Transgender” as an additional gender choice. School reps say the questions will be used to determine incoming students’ needs, track retention rates, potential interest in campus programs and to offer support resources.

University of Iowa Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Vice President Georgina Dodge says inviting students to provide this information will help with both student success and retention. “LGBTQ students are important members of our campus community, and we want to provide them with an opportunity to identify themselves in order to be connected to resources and to build networking structures.”


Russian PM opposes ‘propaganda’ bill

MOSCOW, Russia — Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says a proposed law banning so-called “gay propaganda” is unnecessary. He recently told reporters that “not all relations between people can be regulated by law.” If enacted, the Bill on Administrative Responsibility for Propaganda of Homosexuality Among Minors would prohibit all non-condemning discussion about LGBT people or issues. The law would extend to health care providers speaking in a professional capacity.

Opponents of the measure argue that aside from further isolating the LGBT community — particularly youth who are struggling with their sexual orientation — the law will undermine efforts to disseminate accurate health information and combat the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Medvedev told the media that the nation’s majority party, United Russia, agrees with his position on the proposed anti-gay law. The first hearing on the bill is expected to be held the week this issue of qnotes hits the streets. Similar laws have been adopted locally in some regions of Russia.

David Stout

David Stout is the associate editor of QNotes. He can be reached at