December 3, 2022

LOVE WINS: Bipartisan support for gay marriage gives hope as fight continues to protect LGBTQ rights

LOVE WINS: Bipartisan support for gay marriage gives hope as fight continues to protect LGBTQ rights

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Twelve Republicans voted to break a filibuster to vote with all Democrats on a bill to protect same-sex marriage at the federal level, repealing the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which held that marriage is only between a man and a woman.

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The bill was the product of a bipartisan group of senators that included Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Thom Tillis (R-NC).

The House passed its own version of the bill months ago, with 50 Republicans jumping on board.

The Senate bill now includes an amendment guaranteeing that no undue burden will be placed on religious freedom, which has brought some more GOP support, including from Mitt Romney (R-UT).

Republican senators who supported advancing the bill included Sens. Joni Ernst (Iowa), Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.), Todd Young (Ind.), Dan Sullivan (Alaska), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) and Richard Burr (N.C.).

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The bill, called The Respect for Marriage Act, also includes protection of interracial marriage, which, ironically, quizzically and disgustingly, Mitch McConnell, married to Asian Elaine Chao, voted against.

RELATED STORY: SAY GAY: Disney launches new LGBTQ+ “Pride Collection” merchandise line in slap at Ron DeSantis

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Meanwhile, the need to protect LGBTQ rights and keep the movement going has been illustrated by the controversy surrounding a Long Island town after the school board there ordered the removal of all Gay Pride flags and all Progress Pride flags from classrooms.

The Progress Pride flag adds to the initial design by incorporating minorities within the LGBTQ community β€” using white, pink, and blue arrows for transgender people and recognizing those who died from HIV/AIDS.

The controversy erupted after Sarah Ecke, a teacher and Gay Student Alliance advisor, put up both flags in her classroom.

Jackie Napolitano-Furno, the Board of Education president of the Connetquot Central School District in Islip, has claimed that a student complained about the flags making him or her uncomfortable, and so a rule was initiated that only the US flag and New York State flag could be hung in classrooms.

This, of course, ignores the fact that many students who are LGBTQ face threats and bullying, and that the flags are meant to make them feel welcome.

In response to the district’s actions, some 600 students, family members, teachers, and community supporters joined in a protest to speak up for the marginalized students, as initially reported by Patch.

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They started a petition to present to the board of education, which currently has over 1400 signatures – it can be found here.

The BOE meeting to discuss the issue turned fairly chaotic.

The students have received support from various quarters: New York Governor Kathy Hochul has ordered the NY State Division of Human Rights to look into the matter, and the New York State PTA and the NY Teachers United Union have each offered their unequivocal support.

Occupy Democrats reached out to the district for comment, but so far they are yet to respond, only informing us that the policy on flags remains in place.

Follow Ross on Twitter @RossRosenfeld

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