Wisconsin Domestic Partner Registry Takes Effect
Same-sex couples in Wisconsin now can sign up for the state’s new domestic partnership registry. It provides 40-some legal protections to same-sex couples. Some critics say the law doesn’t mean much in the way of equality, while others criticize it as unconstitutional, because the state passed a constitutional ban on gay marriage. Wisconsin is the first Midwestern state to provide statewide protections for same-sex couples through legislation.
Obama To Award Medal of Freedom to GLBT Pioneers
President Barack Obama is awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom to 16 people, including a posthumous award to slain gay politician Harvey Milk and an award to lesbian sports pioneer Billie Jean King. Milk became the first openly gay elected official in a major US city upon his election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. He encouraged GLBT people to live their lives openly. Milk, along with San Francisco Mayor George Moscone, was shot and killed in 1978 by Dan White, a former city supervisor. King is the 1960s and 1970s tennis legend who became one of America’s first openly gay major sports figures when she revealed her sexual orientation in 1981.
Census To Report Same-Sex Marriage Data
According to new guidelines, the US Census Bureau will release publicly gay marriage data reported in next year’s census. The decision follows a legal opinion from the Commerce Department that argued the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act does not prohibit the Census Bureau from publicly releasing the data. This is contrary to the opinion of the Bush Administration.
Israel’s Gay Community Rallies After Shooting
Following the recent shooting rampage at a center for gay and lesbian youth in Tel Aviv that left two dead and at least eleven injured, hundreds of Israelis joined a rally organized by the country’s gay community. Organizers called the attack the worst hate crime in Israel’s history. According to eyewitnesses, the attacker, wearing a mask, opened fire indiscriminately inside the center. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to bring the killer to justice. Opposition leader Tzipi Livni, who attended the rally, said the attack should strengthen young people who wanted to come out of the closet.
Burundian Homosexuals Suffer Under New Antigay Law
According to Human Rights Watch, gay men in Burundi have suffered increased discrimination and fear following a law passed in April criminalizing homosexuality. International organizations and foreign governments criticized Burundi after it passed the law. Boris Dittrich, head of homosexual rights advocacy at Human Rights Watch, which actively worked against the law’s passage, says that his group has not given up its efforts to have the criminalization repealed.
Amsterdam Mayor Marries american Gay Couples on Canal
Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen married five American-Dutch gay couples, according to Reuters. He performed the ceremony on a cruise around the city’s canal during Amsterdam’s Gay Pride Festival. He made additional history eight years ago when he presided over the first legal gay marriage in Holland. Ira Siff, an opera professional from New York who married his partner, opera singer Hans Heijnis, said, “For me, it’s a message to New York, the most liberal state, the most hip state, to get with it.”