Entries in Gays (8)


Will Boy Scouts Lift Ban on Gays?

Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty ImagesUPDATE: In a statement Wednesday, the Boy Scouts of America said that "due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy."

"To that end, the executive board directed its committees to further engage representatives of Scouting’s membership and listen to their perspectives and concerns," the statement continued. "This will assist the officers’ work on a resolution on membership standards. The approximately 1,400 voting members of the national council will take action on the resolution at the national meeting in May 2013."

(NEW YORK) -- The fate of the long standing ban on gays in the Boy Scouts may be decided by the organization's governing board on Wednesday, when officials wrap up their third day of closed-door meetings outside Dallas.

Supporters of lifting the ban say it would be good for the organization.

"The Boy Scouts will make a private choice and I think that if scouting wants to have a prosperous future in the United States, they're going to have to appeal to those of us who have young kids and are going to be enrolling them in the program," explains Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout and founder of Scouts for Equality.

"If you look at where young Americans are on this issue, especially the Millennial Generation, those of us under the age of 35, we are overwhelmingly supporting LGBT equality and recognizing that gay people are, you know, people," he says.

But opponents, like Richard Land, who heads the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, warn of consequences to the Boy Scouts if the ban is lifted.

"There will be a mass exodus from scouting to some new form of organization if the scouts make this decision," Land says.

Even though the organization has promised church-affiliated troops would still be able to decide whether to keep the ban in place, Land doesn't buy it.

"This is not a live and let live situation here.  They want to force every scout troop in America to accept homosexual scout leaders and homosexual scout members," he says.

Despite the objection of the Southern Baptist Convention,  Wahls points out that many other denominations support the lifting of the ban.

"Presbyterian clergy, numerous United Methodist ministries, the ELCA Episcopalians and the United Church of Christ have all weighed in and believe that ending this policy would be in line with scouting's fundamental values of dignity and respect," he says.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Washington State Lawmakers Pass Same-Sex Marriage Act

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(OLYMPIA, Wash.) -- Washington state is on the verge of becoming the seventh state in the U.S. to allow same-sex marriages after House lawmakers passed a bill Wednesday to legalize these unions.

However, the joy felt by supporters of homosexual nuptials may be short-lived because its opponents have vowed to let Washington residents determine the future of the law by putting it up for a vote in November.  In that case, gay and lesbian couples won’t be able to wed until the referendum is decided in 10 months.

If same-sex marriage foes are unable to get the required number of signatures for a November referendum, the law will go into effect 90 days after Gov. Chris Gregorie signs it next week.

Washington, which passed a Defense of Marriage Act in 1998, has been more open toward gay rights since then, instituting a Domestic Partnership law five years ago.  Polls have also shown that a majority of residents would not vote to overturn a same-sex marriage law passed by the Legislature.

Besides the District of Columbia, only New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Iowa permit gays and lesbians to legally wed.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Is Officially Over

Bill Clark/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With virtually no fanfare, the Pentagon's policy of forcing members of the military to keep quiet about their sexual orientation or else face discharge ended on Tuesday, meaning that all branches of the armed forces can now act on applications from openly gay and lesbian people.

"Don't ask, don't tell" -- first instituted after long debate in 1993 -- was repealed by Congress last December and signed by President Obama.  Since then, the Pentagon has reviewed its policies and had all 2.25 million current military members undergo training to ensure an orderly transition.

Before the repeal, the Pentagon conducted a survey and found that most soliders said that having homosexuals among them would not be disruptive.  The Marine Corps was the least receptive to the idea.

Over the past 17 years, 14,000 service members were kicked out of the military for being gay or lesbian.  Many said they were "outed" by others.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Federal Court Asked to Reconsider Order on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

Bill Clark/Roll Call/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The legal saga concerning the repeal of the controversial "don't ask, don't tell" military policy continued Thursday night.

The Obama administration filed papers on Thursday asking a federal appeals court to reconsider an order from last week ruling that DADT was no longer enforceable worldwide.

Even though Congress has passed a law that eventually will repeal DADT, the order from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals called for an immediate halt to the policy.

In court papers, lawyers for the Obama administration argue against an "abrupt" court order putting an end to the policy in favor of an "orderly transition" put in place by the political branches.

The Justice Department lawyers said they expect the military will certify the repeal of the law sometime by the end of July or early August, after which there will be a 60-day wait before the law will be taken off the books.

A gay rights group challenging the law has been frustrated with the Obama administration's timeline.

"'Don't ask, don't tell' is an offense to American values that should have been gone long ago," said R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, in a statement.  "It is shameful that a president who has taken credit for opposing the policy is taking extreme measures to keep it on life support."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rumsfeld: 'Time Has Come' to Allow Gays to Serve Openly

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who served at the Pentagon under two Republican presidents, says the “time has come” time for gays and lesbians to serve openly in the U.S. military.

Two months after President Obama signed a law that will lead to the repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell, Rumsfeld told ABC News Radio the nation is ready for open service.

“First of all, we know that gays and lesbians have been serving in the military for decades with honorable service,” Rumsfeld said.  “We know that [repeal of a ban on gays serving openly] is an idea whose time has come.”

Rumsfeld says he has “enormous respect” for the ground commanders and service chiefs who have expressed concerns about the impact of gays serving openly on unit cohesion, and he urged the top brass to implement the new law “with care.”

But Rumsfeld says that congress, which passed the repeal bill in the waning days of the last session, has expressed the will of the American people.

“We’ve seen it evolve in our country,” Rumsfeld said of the nation’s perception of gays and lesbians, reiterating that many have served in uniform with distinction.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Hospital Visitation Rights for Gay, Lesbian Partners Take Effect

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Patients at nearly every hospital in the country will now be allowed to decide who has visitation rights and who can make medical decisions on their behalf -- regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or family makeup -- under new federal regulations that took effect Tuesday.

The rules, which apply to hospitals participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs, were first proposed by President Obama in an April memorandum and later implemented by the Department of Health and Human Services after a period of public review.

They represent a landmark advance in the rights of same-sex couples and domestic partners who heretofore had no legal authority to be with a hospitalized partner because they were either not a blood relative or spouse.

Hospitals must now inform patients, or an attending friend or family member, of their rights to visitors of their choosing.  The policy also prohibits discrimination against visitors based on race, ethnicity, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Poll: Americans Broadly Support Military Service by Gays

Photo Courtesy - Bill Clark/Roll Call/ Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Seventy-seven percent of Americans support allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the U.S. military -- the highest percentage in polling going back 17 years -- capping a dramatic long-term shift in public attitudes on the issue.

The result in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll comes as the House prepares to vote on legislation that would repeal the current “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, a measure previously approved in the House as part of a larger bill, but stalled in the Senate.

When first asked in an ABC/Post poll in 1993, 63 percent of Americans favored allowing service by homosexuals who don’t reveal their sexual orientation -- the “don’t tell” policy.  Far fewer, 44 percent, supported service by gays who openly reveal their sexual orientation.

Both views have changed, the latter most sharply.  Today, 83 percent favor allowing service by gays who don’t tell, up 20 points, and, as noted, almost as many also favor service by gays and lesbians who do disclose their sexual orientation, up 33 points from its 1993 level.

These numbers have been largely stable the last few years.  The former, 83 percent, matches its high last February.  The 77 percent figure is two points above its previous high in ABC/Washington Post polls in 2008 and last winter.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Supreme Court Keeps 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' in Effect

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Supreme Court issued an order Friday denying a request from a gay rights group to ban the implementation of "don't ask, don't tell."

In October, District Court Judge Virginia Phillips ruled the policy -- which bans openly gay troops from serving in the military -- was unconstitutional, and she issued a worldwide injunction blocking its enforcement.

An appeals court later overturned the injunction, deciding the policy could remain in effect while the government appealed the merits of the case.

Friday’s order from the Supreme Court is a victory for the Obama administration. The president has said he believes the policy should be repealed by Congress and not the courts.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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