Thursday, November 05, 2009

Maine Marriage Setback a Call to Action for Federal LGBT Rights

by Kathy Drasky

Subjecting Minority Rights to Majority Vote Repeatedly Denies Equality to LGBT Families

San Francisco, CA - November 4, 2009 - The State of Maine's rejection of marriage equality at the ballot box yesterday is being heeded as a call for federal LGBT rights by activists and organizations around the US, including Out4Immigration.

The Maine vote was 53% in support of taking away civil marriage rights granted to gays and lesbians by approval of the state legislature and signed into law by the state's governor 6 months ago. 47% of voters supported marriage equality.

"Subjecting minority rights to majority vote repeatedly denies equality to LGBT families," said Mickey Lim, vice president and co-founder of Out4Immigration, a grassroots organization that works closely with same-sex marriage groups for recognition of same-sex binational couple rights tied to federal immigration policies.

Out4Immigation advocates for same-sex binational couples, relationships in which one partner is American and the other from another country and supports the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA).

Discriminatory US immigration policies refuse to recognize same-sex binational couples for immigration purposes because the US prohibits the recognition of same-sex marriages, civil unions and domestic partnerships. Due to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), even same-sex marriages performed in other countries where they are legally recognized are invalid at the federal level.

"Federal marriage protections for opposite-sex couples provide these couples with 1,138 rights that are denied to gay and lesbian couples, regardless of state marriage, civil union or domestic partner laws," said Lim. "It's why it is imperative that our federal government steps up and stops the chaos and confusion of ballot initiatives that continue to deny and strip away civil rights from people."

Results in a Washington state election that would keep a domestic partnership law on the books, referred to as "everything but marriage" were still too close to call. In Kalamazoo, Michigan, Ordinance 1856, which added protections for LGBT people to a nondiscrimination law, was approved by 65% of voters.

(Forward this press release to your networks. Click here for the Out4Immigration website version.)

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