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    Massachusetts Transgender Equal Rights Bill Approved By Legislature

    Huffington Post - November 16, 201

    Massachusetts will become the 16th state to treat transgender citizens as a protected class after legislature passed the Transgender Equal Rights Bill, which not only adds protections to the state's civil rights laws against employment, education, housing and credit discrimination, but also adds gender identity and expression to the state's hate crimes law.

    As the Associated Press is reporting, the bill, which still needs routine final approval votes in both branches, was approved by the Senate Wednesday morning on a voice vote. The House passed the bill late Tuesday after Democratic leaders moved to limit debate to one hour, effectively cutting down on opponents' amendments. [Read Full Story]

    Photo by Getty Images



    Michigan House Removes 'Religion Clause' from Anti-Bullying Legislation

    By Marilisa Kinney Sechteleben, Yahoo! Contributor Network - November 12, 2011

    Michigan legislators have been working on school anti-bullying legislation. "Matt's Safe School Law" passed the senate last week, with a controversial "religion and morality exemption," that bothered many bill supporters. The House of Representatives passed an amended version, leaving out the religion clause. Here's a history and update of the legislation. [Read Full Story]

    Photo by istockphoto



    DOMA Repeal Bill Clears Senate Judiciary Committee Vote

    By Larry Margasak, Huffington Post - November 11, 2011

    WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to repeal a federal law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman, but the legislation lacks vote for passage in either House.

    The vote was 10-8, with all committee Democrats favoring appeal and all Republicans opposed. The only immediate effect is political: Democrats can show part of their liberal base of backers that they strongly support equality in federal benefits for gay couples. [Read Full Story]


    Obama backs measure repealing Defense of Marriage Act

    CNN - July 20, 2011

    President Barack Obama is now backing legislation that would allow federal recognition of same-sex marriages performed under state law -- a move long sought by proponents of equal rights for same-sex couples and part of the president's self-described "evolution" on the hotly contested issue.

    The White House announced Tuesday that Obama supports the Respect for Marriage Act, legislation that would overturn the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. The Clinton-era measure bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages and says states cannot be forced to recognize such marriages from other states. [Read Full Story]

    Photo by AP


    Paul Oetken, First Openly Gay U.S. Federal Judge, Confirmed By Senate

    Huffington Post - July 19, 2011

    By Alana Horowitz

    The Senate confirmed the first openly gay U.S. federal judge on Monday. Paul Oetken, a New York City resident, was a former lawyer for the Clinton administration and most recently worked for Cablevision.

    Oetken will serve on United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. [Read Full Story]

    Photo by ThinkStock