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Yes, You Count!

The White House has announced that, as of the 2010 Census, same-sex couples, whether married or unmarried, will be counted. Bush era policies, citing the Defense of Marriage Act, previously prohibited release of data on same-sex couples and had computer programs written to reclassify same-sex couples as unmarried partners. These same programs will be used through 2011, but as of the 2008 American Community Survey (also prepared by the Census Bureau) the raw data with couples’ self-identified relationship status will be released. Full representation for same-sex couples in census data won’t be available until 2011. Meanwhile, what about the single gay people? They should count, too.

 


Yes, You Count!

The White House has announced that, as of the 2010 Census, same-sex couples, whether married or unmarried, will be counted. Bush era policies, citing the Defense of Marriage Act, previously prohibited release of data on same-sex couples and had computer programs written to reclassify same-sex couples as unmarried partners. These same programs will be used through 2011, but as of the 2008 American Community Survey (also prepared by the Census Bureau) the raw data with couples’ self-identified relationship status will be released. Full representation for same-sex couples in census data won’t be available until 2011. Meanwhile, what about the single gay people? They should count, too.

 

Is Ex-Gay OK with APA?

 

No. Yes. Maybe. The American Psychological Association (APA) still can’t seem to decide whether they are healthcare professionals or politicians beholden to an extremist constituency. Many of us have heard that the APA removed homosexuality as a mental disorder from the famed Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Illness (DSM) back in the seventies; actually they just reclassified it as a sexual orientation disturbance. See the difference? By the eighties we became “a normal variant of sexual expression,” which should have been the end of it. After over twenty years the APA felt compelled to assemble a task force to revisit the subject, especially in the face of the rising pray-the-gay-away movement (aka “conversion therapy”). You might think that their determination that conversion therapy does not work and can, in fact, be harmful would be cause for celebration. Well, don’t call the DJ or rent the hall yet. In spite of its concrete dismissal of conversion therapy, the Wall Street Journal reports that the APA has also determined “it is ethical – and can be beneficial – for counselors to help some clients reject gay or lesbian attractions.” Huh? In cases where a patient’s religion may clash with their sexual orientation, The APA’s Judith Glassgold explains, “…For some people, religious identity is such an important part of their lives, it may transcend everything else.” This little jewel seems to have been born from a letter the James Dobson’s American Family Association (AFA) sent the APA that said, “We believe that psychologists should assist clients to develop lives that they value, even if that means they decline to identify as homosexual.” There is a subtle difference between the statements: AFA is implying sexuality is a choice, while APA seems to imply we have simply chosen not to opt-in to heterosexuality.

 

No Names, Please


Washington’s new domestic partnerships law, which has been described as “everything but marriage,” is teetering due to religious and conservative groups fighting to get the issue on the ballot so everyone can decide whether we deserve slightly less than equal rights or no rights. Opponents of domestic partnerships seemed near crowing as they realized they were going to get enough signatures until WhoSigned.org announced they were going to make public a searchable database of who signed the petitions. The rats then scurried off to the courthouse and filed for an injunction to remain anonymous, fearful that their bigotry might expose them to harassment. In spite of Washington law that makes petitions public record, the judge granted the injunction until a hearing scheduled for September 3rd. The petitions, with more than enough signatures to put the measure on the ballot, were turned in one day before the law was due to take effect. As of press time, the vetting processing isn’t working out well for them – the average rejection rate is 13.31 percent, more than the margin of error allowable to get the initiative on the ballot. We should know the outcome within the next few days, long before we get to know whether or not we will ever learn the names of the brave souls who stood up for democracy, signed a petition and went to court to hide their patriotism.

 

Welcome to Kindergarten

The birthers, deathers and unscrupulous lobbyists have tainted the political landscape beyond what was imaginable (even during the Bush administration!). Birthers are fuming with certainty that President Obama is not a U.S. citizen, with no proof of their claim (other than an obviously forged birth certificate) and proof to the contrary (Obama’s birth certificate, which has been available on the internet since last year). Deathers and other healthcare reform opponents are telling people the government wants to put their darling grandma out of her misery while others are acting like unruly five-year-olds at town hall meetings. Petition gatherers in Maine, attempting to gather enough signatures to repeal Maine’s marriage equality law, have tricked petitioners into believing they were signing something against something they were for and vice-versa. And if you think that’s dirty, don’t forget the lobbyists that forged letters from such groups as the NAACP and sent them to legislators expressing support for something the NAACP is really against. Where are we going, and what am I doing in this basket?

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