Rome's annual Gay Pride has gotten underway with calls for equal rights and same sex marriage. Report by Jane Witherspoon / ITN.
Steve Rothaus' Gay South Florida - for and about (but not just) LGBT people
Click here to ask me a question, which I'll answer online.
Rome's annual Gay Pride has gotten underway with calls for equal rights and same sex marriage. Report by Jane Witherspoon / ITN.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL., says "I'm done" with the proposed immigration reform bill he co-authored if gay couples are added to the package.
"If this bill has in it something that gives gay couples immigration rights and so forth, it kills the bill. I'm done," Rubio said Thursday during an interview on the Andrea Tantaros Show. "I'm off it, and I've said that repeatedly. I don't think that's going to happen and it shouldn't happen. This is already a difficult enough issue as it is."
BY ALFONSO CHARDY and STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
Gay activists gathered Wednesday in front of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s Doral office to protest the Senate Judiciary Committee’s failure to include undocumented gay foreign nationals in a bipartisan immigration reform bill the panel approved late Tuesday.
While the number of protesters at the corner of Northwest 87th Avenue and 36th Street was relatively small, about 30, their action presaged potential trouble for the controversial bill that would legalize more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.
The 13-5 vote in the committee almost didn’t happen after some Republican senators indicated they might withdraw support for the bill if Democrats pressed their bid to attach the gay amendment to the proposal.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., one of the Republicans who wrote the bill, said the coalition that assembled the bill would fall apart if same-sex couples were included.
“It would certainly mean that this bill would not move forward,” Flake told the panel Tuesday.
While Democrats ultimately caved in and withdrew the amendment, the action angered gay activists across the nation. They vowed to mount a national lobbying campaign to pressure politicians to add a gay immigration clause when the bill comes up for debate on the Senate floor after the Memorial Day recess.
Whether the tug-of-war might kill the immigration reform bill remains to be seen. But what happened Tuesday night in the Senate Judiciary Committee may indicate that gay immigration has emerged as a potentially pivotal issue for the fate of the bill and a harbinger of future epic battles in Congress over whether lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender immigrants deserve recognition as a separate class.
Undocumented LGBT immigrants, as individuals, would receive legal status like any other foreign national without papers if the bill becomes law.
But what gay activists want is an amendment that would compel federal immigration authorities to allow U.S. citizens and legal residents who are gay to file petitions for their undocumented partners so they can get green cards.
As currently written, the bill does not change immigration law that gives petition power only to married heterosexual couples.
“I myself am gay and I’m in a relationship with someone who is about to become a U.S. citizen and he can’t petition for me,” said Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez, a 27-year-old immigrant from Brazil who arrived in the U.S. when he was 14.
Sousa-Rodriguez was one of the organizers of Wednesday’s protest in front of Rubio’s office. Rubio is one of the Republican senators in the so-called Gang of Eight who drafted the immigration reform bill approved late Tuesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Rubio spokesman Alex Burgos said Wednesday that adding a gay-partners component to the bill would likely kill it.
"Senator Rubio and others have noted the reality here," Burgos said. "Approving this immigration reform legislation into law will be difficult enough as it is and, if this measure is adopted, it will virtually guarantee that the bill won't pass and that the coalition that helped put it together will fall apart."
The Rubio protest was organized by several immigration and gay activist groups including GetEQUAL, a national organization that advocates for the full equality of LGBT people.
The bill would grant provisional legal status to undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country prior to Dec. 31, 2011, and have no serious criminal records. Then they have to wait 10 years to apply for green cards after paying fees, penalties and unpaid taxes.
Though the bill survived several attempts in the committee to reshape it, it almost got derailed Tuesday night when the gay issue arose.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., told the committee late Tuesday that he had decided to withdrew the gay immigration amendment to prevent the collapse of the bill.
While Democrats reluctantly withdrew the amendment, they also believe that the issue will become moot if the Supreme Court in June throws out a portion of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that prohibits the U.S. government from granting federal benefits to married same-sex couples.
May 22, 2013 in Bisexual, Business, Current Affairs, Florida, Fort Lauderdale & Broward County, Gay, Immigration, Lesbian, LGBT, Marriage, Media, Miami & Miami-Dade County, Miami Beach, Palm Beach County, Politics, Religion, South Florida, Transgender, Weblogs, Wilton Manors, Workplace, Youth | Permalink | Comments (16)
BY ERICA WERNER AND DAVID ESPO, ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON -- A far-reaching bill to remake the nation's immigration system is headed to the full Senate, where tough battles are brewing on gay marriage, border security and other contentious issues, with the outcome impossible to predict.
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the measure 13-5 Tuesday night, setting up an epic showdown on the Senate floor after Congress' Memorial Day recess. The legislation is one of President Barack Obama's top domestic priorities - yet it also gives the Republican Party a chance to recast itself as more appealing to minorities.
Sen. Patrick Leahy's 11th-hour decision to hold back on an amendment to extend immigration rights to same-sex married couples that cleared the way for the bill's approval.
Until Leahy, D-Vt., began speaking on the issue to a hushed hearing room Tuesday evening, it wasn't clear how the matter, which had hovered over the three weeks of committee sessions to review the legislation, would play out.
Leahy had been under pressure from gay groups to offer the amendment, which would allow gay married Americans to sponsor their foreign-born spouses for green cards like straight married Americans can. But Republican supporters of the bill warned that including such a measure would cost their support. As the committee neared the end of its work, officials said Leahy had been informed that both the White House and Senate Democrats hoped he would not risk the destruction of months of painstaking work by putting the issue to a vote.
"I don't want to be the senator who asks people to choose between the love of their life and the love of their country," Leahy said, adding that he wanted to hear from others on the committee.
May 22, 2013 in Bisexual, Business, Current Affairs, Florida, Fort Lauderdale & Broward County, Gay, Immigration, Lesbian, LGBT, Marriage, Media, Miami & Miami-Dade County, Miami Beach, Politics, Religion, South Florida, Transgender, Weblogs, Wilton Manors, Workplace, Youth | Permalink | Comments (0)
BY SMAIL BELLAOUALLI, ASSOCIATED PRESS
RABAT, Morocco -- A Moroccan court has convicted two men of homosexuality and public indecency, and sentenced each to four months in prison, in the latest case against gays in this North African nation.
Prosecutors at the Temara court near Rabat, the capital, said at Monday's trial that the men, aged 28 and 19, were caught having sex in a car and arrested. The men denied the charges.
Moroccan law outlaws homosexuality and gives a penalty of six months to three years in prison and a fine of up to 1,000 dirhams ($115). According to the latest figures available from the Ministry of Justice, in 2011 there were 81 trials involving accusations of homosexuality.
The daily al-Akhbar reported on May 9 that three other Moroccans from the northern town of Souq al-Arbaa recently received three-year sentences for homosexuality.
While harsh penalties exist on the books toward drinking alcohol publicly, selling alcohol to Muslims, sex outside of wedlock and other so-called moral crimes, they are rarely enforced in Morocco and police usually ignore people violating such laws.
However, in the case of homosexuality, it is still taboo in this conservative society, and the lawyers for Monday's defendants were quick to distance themselves from "this phenomenon."
"If we thought our clients were homosexuals, we would refuse to defend them," one of the lawyers said to the judge in court. He refused to identify himself to The Associated Press afterward.
BY JULIE PACE, AP WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT
WASHINGTON -- Two people familiar with the Senate immigration deliberations say the White House has suggested to Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy that it would be best to put off a controversy over gay marriage until a bill goes before the full Senate.
President Barack Obama backs the proposal to give equal treatment to gays and lesbians, but is unlikely to veto a broad immigration bill that does not include the provision.
Leahy, the Democratic chair of the Judiciary Committee, has not yet said whether he will seek a vote on the provision in committee. He could raise the issue again if the bill goes before the full Senate.
The people familiar with the deliberations were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and insisted on anonymity. The White House had no comment.
From an Associated Press article by Erica Werner about the upcoming immigration bill:
The test will begin Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. As of Tuesday evening's deadline for filing amendments, some 300 had been offered by Democrats and Republicans. A number of them, particularly from the GOP side, would strike at the heart of the bill in a way supporters say would destroy the fragile agreement between four Republican and four Democratic senators who wrote the legislation. ...
Perhaps the biggest potential trouble for the bill loomed from the Democratic side, in the form of two similar measures filed by Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., to extend immigration rights to gay citizens and permanent residents, allowing them to petition for U.S. residence for their partners just as straight married Americans can.
All four Republican members of the Gang of Eight have voiced serious concerns about such a provision, saying it could kill the bill or cost their support. Those objections are why it was left out of the bill in the first place, despite vigorous advocacy from gay-rights groups.
News release from the DOMA Project:
17 YEARS AFTER THE DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT WAS INTRODUCED, GAY AND LESBIAN BINATIONAL COUPLES ENGAGE PUBLIC IN THE FIGHT TO KEEP THEIR FAMILIES TOGETHER
MARRIED GAY AND LESBIAN COUPLES CONTINUE TO BE DENIED ACCESS TO GREEN CARDS AND FIANCÉ(E) VISAS BECAUSE OF FEDERAL LAW
Seventeen years ago, on May 7, 1996, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. At the time, legislators’ primary objective was to express moral disapproval of gays and lesbians. DOMA Section 3, which defines marriage for all federal purposes as between one man and one woman, has caused catastrophic and irreparable harm to American families. Same-sex married couples are barred from 1,138 provisions of federal law that are designed to strengthen families. By contrast, no marriages were actually defended.
For 17 years, DOMA has caused immeasurable financial and emotional hardship for gay and lesbian Americans, particularly those in long-term committed relationships with a foreign national. In Boulder, Colorado, Catriona lives with her spouse, Cathy, a citizen of Ireland. Together they are raising three children. This family lives under constant threat of separation ever since Cathy’s work visa ran out last year. Other couples, like American, Jesse Goodman and Argentinean, Max Oliva, have been forced to live in exile in London, unable to return home. Others have no alternative but to struggle in long distance relationships indefinitely, traveling across the globe for short visits, sustaining their commitment to one another by Skype and telephone. The years lost to DOMA will never be regained for these families.
Even DOMA’s original sponsor, former Republican Congressman Bob Barr repudiated the discriminatory law in 2009 as an unacceptable infringement on individual liberty. President Clinton, who signed DOMA into law, finally denounced it this past March. With 12 federal court rulings against DOMA in less than three years, and the Obama Administration’s unprecedented commitment to fight DOMA alongside lesbian and gay plaintiffs, many commentators see a Supreme Court ruling striking down DOMA as imminent.
This week the Senate Judiciary Committee will begin work on the markup of a comprehensive immigration reform bill that excludes gay and lesbian couples. Senate Republicans have threatened that inclusion of an amendment to add gay families to the bill will ensure that comprehensive immigration reform goes down to defeat. Republicans are once again scapegoating gay Americans, rather than fixing a broken immigration system so that it protects all our families. Because gay and lesbian couples have been left out of immigration reform, everything now rides on a Supreme Court decision on DOMA due in a few weeks. Despite some optimism, the Court’s final ruling on DOMA won’t be known until the day of the ruling. If the Court upholds DOMA, gay and lesbian Americans with foreign-born partners would have no recourse; couples and families would continue to be torn apart, parents separated from children, and American citizens driven into exile.
From Anthony Timiraos, CEO/President of Our Fund in Fort Lauderdale:
Our Fund is helping to coordinate a national initiative here in South Florida that will engage hundreds of organizations and people on a single day to give in support of the LGBTQ community. GiveOUT Day is scheduled for May 9th, 2013 but already, local non-profit organizations have begun to promote this web event. We have about 25 organizations participating in South Florida.
From GiveOUT Day:
Give OUT Day is a new national initiative that will engage hundreds of organizations and mobilize thousands of people on a single day across the country to give in support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender & queer community. It is a chance for LGBTQ groups large and small, to work across the wide range of issues and activities that matter to the LGBTQ community from sports to policy change, families to the arts. It is a chance for members of the LGBTQ community and our many allies to stand up and show our support for our community together on one day. It is a chance to make history, we hope you’ll join us!
May 02, 2013 in Arts, Bisexual, Business, Current Affairs, Florida, Fort Lauderdale & Broward County, Gay, Immigration, Key West & Monroe County, Lesbian, LGBT, Media, Miami & Miami-Dade County, Miami Beach, Palm Beach County, Politics, Religion, South Florida, Transgender, Weblogs, Wilton Manors, Workplace, Youth | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Hundreds packed O Cinema Miami Shores Wednesday night for the Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival's Centerpiece screening, I Do, a movie about immigration equality starring screenwriter David W Ross and Jamie-Lynn Sigler.
Ross, who received the 2013 festival's Rising Star Award, attended the screening and answered questions (above with festival director Franc Castro, center, and I Do producer Stephen Israel).
May 02, 2013 in Arts, Bisexual, Business, Current Affairs, Film, Florida, Food and Drink, Gay, Immigration, Lesbian, LGBT, Marriage, Media, Miami & Miami-Dade County, Miami Beach, Music, Politics, Religion, South Florida, Television, Theater, Transgender, Travel, Weblogs, Workplace, Youth | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)