Thursday, July 30, 2009

Good News: Medals for Harvey Milk & Billie Jean King & progress on another pro-LGBT bill

The Obama Administration announced today that Harvey Milk and Billie Jean King will become the first out gay and lesbian to receive the Medal of Freedom. This is good news indeed, and they are certainly in good company.

In other good news, a House subcommittee passed the second pro-LGBT bill to start the long slog through Congress. This is The Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act introduced by the only out lesbian in Congress, Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin. The bill would extend benefits to same-sex domestic partners of federal civilian employees on the same basis as heterosexual spouses receive benefits.

HRC reports that there were a few tussles in the subcommittee, but that the bill was reported out successfully. Next it goes to the full House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The first bill to move through Congress was the Matthew Shepherd Hate Crimes Act. Versions of the hate crimes bill have passed both the House and Senate, but its final fate won't be resolved until September.

Both of today's events are cheerful news. But we need to keep our eyes on our real goal. Medals aren't a substitute for equality. Benefits for partners of one class of workers aren't benefits and protections for all families.

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