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Archive: Civil Rights

October 9, 2009

Gay Marriage Poll: Still Plenty to Argue About


A majority of Americans (53%) oppose legalizing gay marriage, according to a new poll released Friday by the Pew Research Center.

At the same time, some 57% of those polled support civil unions -- legal agreements that give same-sex couples many of the same rights as married couples -- for gay and lesbian couples.

As President Obama prepares to speak at Saturday night's annual banquet of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender political action organization in the United States, it's clear that the issue of gay marriage is still as important as it is contentious for many Americans.

NOW on PBS invited San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Maggie Gallagher, president of the National Organization for Marriage to debate gay marriage in our interactive "Issue Clash." So far, most people who came to the debate think Newsom won, and many added their own arguments. What do you think?

October 28, 2009

Gays Gain Protection from Hate Crimes: Insight from Judy Shepard

President Obama has signed into law a measure that extends federal protections to people who are victims of violent crime because of their sex or sexual orientation.

The new law gives such victims the same federal safeguards already provided to victims of crime as a result of their race, color, religion or national origin.

For over a decade, Judy Shepard -- whose 21-year-old son Matthew was tied to a fence, tortured, and left to die in an anti-gay hate crime in 1998 -- has campaigned for the bill, partially named after Matthew.

In reaction to the news, Shepard, president of the Matthew Shepard Foundation Board said: “We are incredibly grateful to Congress and the president for taking this step forward on behalf of hate crime victims and their families, especially given the continuing attacks on people simply for living their lives openly and honestly.”

NOW’s Senior Correspondent Maria Hinojosa spoke to Shepard in 2007 about the importance of passing the Matthew Shepard Act.

"There's no such thing as an innocent bystander," Shepard tells Hinojosa. "We fear for ourselves when we see someone else being attacked, but where is our moral compass if we allow that to happen?"

November 4, 2009

Gay Marriage Fight Continues Despite Maine Setback

gaymarriage1.jpgOn Tuesday, voters in Maine repealed a state same-sex marriage law, but gay marriage proponents vow to continue their fight.

“We will not allow the lies and hate – the foundation on which our opponents built their campaign – to break our spirits. We are on the right side of history and we will continue this fight with even more vigor,” Joe Solmonese, president of Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay rights organization, said after the defeat in Maine.

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