Entries from: LGBT Elected Officials

Marriage equality passes in Minnesota!

Washington, D.C. — Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, issued the following statement today regarding the passage of legislation in Minnesota giving same-sex couples the freedom to marry:
“This is a dream come true for same-sex couples across Minnesota, and for the state’s gay and lesbian lawmakers who’ve worked so hard for this victory.  Their leadership has been powerful and inspirational, and they deserve our thanks for standing up for fairness, for equality and for all LGBT Minnesotans.”
The Victory Fund is the only national organization dedicated to growing the number of openly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender elected officials at all levels of government.  For more information, visit www.victoryfund.org.

dibble clark marriageSame-sex couples in Minnesota won the right to marry today after the state Senate today gave final passage to a marriage equality bill.  Gov. Mark Dayton has vowed to sign it.

Sen. Scott Dibble, who is openly gay, led the effort in the Senate, and openly lesbian Rep. Karen Clark was lead sponsor in the House.  ”Today we have the power, the awesome, humbling power to make dreams come true,” Dibble said moments before the vote, his voice trembling.

“This is a dream come true for same-sex couples across Minnesota, and for the state’s gay and lesbian lawmakers who’ve worked so hard for this victory,” said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.  ”Their leadership has been powerful and inspirational, and they deserve our thanks for standing up for fairness, for equality and for all LGBT Minnesotans.”

Photo:  Beaumont Enterprise

Bill to ease trans name changes passes in Calif. Assembly

Toni-AtkinsTransgender Californians could soon find it easier to change their legal names.  The State Assembly this week passed a bill introduced by openly lesbian Majority Leader Toni Atkins (pictured) that would make the process easier, less expensive and more private, according to San Diego Politico.

“Transgender people are entitled to have their official documents and their legal name reflect their true identity without a burdensome and expensive process that endangers their personal safety,” said Atkins.  Currently those seeking name changes must get approval from a court and have the name change application published in a newspaper, which could expose transgender individuals to discrimination or harassment.

“Having identity documents that accurately reflect who you are is vital in so many areas of every day life – from applying for a job to exercising our rights at the ballot box,” said Masen Davis, Executive Director of Transgender Law Center. “Many of us wouldn’t think twice when asked to show our ID, but this is a very serious issue for transgender people.”

The legislation now heads to the California Senate.

Minnesota House approves marriage equality bill

karen clark scott dibbleThe Minnesota House of Representatives has passed a bill legalizing marriage for same-sex couples, and the legislation is expected to be taken up by the state Senate in the next few days.

“This is a historic day for Minnesota,” said Karen Clark, the openly lesbian sponsor of the bill.  ”In Minnesota we don’t turn our back on family… Freedom means freedom for everyone.”

Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund, congratulated Clark and her colleagues.  ”We’re incredibly proud that out lawmakers like Representative Clark are leading the fight to win more freedom for LGBT Americans.  She stood up and asked her colleagues to see her as their equal, and that’s an incredibly powerful request,” Wolfe said.

Sen. Scott Dibble, an openly gay Democrat, will lead efforts to pass the bill in the state Senate.

Photo:  Minnesota Public Radio

Minnesota legislature could pass marriage bill by Sunday

minnHot on the heels of marriage equality victories in Rhode Island and Delaware, state lawmakers in Minnesota are also moving this week to legalize marriage for same-sex couples, according to the Minneapolis StarTribune.

Marriage legislation introduced by openly lesbian state Rep. Karen Clark will get a vote on the House floor this Thursday.  In the Senate, where openly gay state Sen. Scott Dibble is the lead sponsor, the bill could be voted on sometime this weekend.

Officials with Minnesotans United for All Families, the advocacy group working to pass the legislation, say they’re still having conversations with wavering legislators, but so far no Republicans have indicated they will vote “yes,” according to the Pioneer-Press.

The push to allow same-sex couples to marry in Minnesota comes just a few months after voters rejected an effort to add a ban on marriage equality to the state constitution.

Ill. gov. works with out legislator to round up marriage votes

patquinnIllinois Gov. Pat Quinn told the Windy City Times this week that he’s working with openly gay state Rep. Greg Harris, the sponsor of a pending marriage equality bill, to secure enough votes for the measure’s passage in the coming month.

“We’ve been talking to house members of both parties, really dozens of them. I’m really optimistic we’re within striking distance. Hopefully between now and the 31st of May, Greg Harris, our sponsor, will find a moment to call the bill for a roll call,” Quinn said.

The Illinois House has until the end of the legislative session to pass the bill, which has already won approval in the state Senate.  ”We’ve come a long distance. We’ve traveled over a very high mountain. But when you come down to the last stretch in the race, we’ve got to sprint. We cannot jog. In other words, what we have to do in these next few days and weeks is redouble our efforts because we don’t want any legislators at the last minute deciding not to vote yes,” Quinn told the Windy City Times.