October 12, 2009
Gay Rights Activity Escalates in Washington
Sexual orientation is on the brink of being added to the list of federally prosecuted hate crimes, after the House approved the Matthew Shepard Act last week. Fifteen Democrats and 131 Republicans opposed the act, which was attached to a $680 billion defense bill. The Senate is expected to approve the bill this week.
President Obama, who has promised his approval, also renewed his pledge to end the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy while speaking to the nation's largest gay advocacy group Saturday night.
The flurry of gay rights activity in Washington last week started with a decision by the D.C. City Council to consider allowing gay marriage in the district. If approved, Washington will become the first city below the Mason-Dixon line to allow gay marriage.
And on Sunday, tens of thousands chanted "hey Obama, let mama marry mama," in the National Equality March.
Support for civil unions is growing, while more people continue to oppose gay marriage than support it, according to a new Pew Forum report. Some study findings include:
-57 percent of Americans favor civil unions for gay and lesbian couples
-53 percent oppose allowing gays and lesbians to marry
-49 percent say homosexual behavior is morally wrong