All Articles Tagged "lgbt rights"
A settlement was reached this week that will compensate service members that participated in a class-action lawsuit for the pay they didn’t receive after they were discharged from the armed services under the now-overturned “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law. According to The New York Times, the Pentagon has agreed to pay service members discharged after November 10, 2004 who were only given half pay when they were honorably discharged.
“According to the American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the action against the Defense Department, the half pay was the result of an internal policy adopted in 1991,” writes the Times. “Troops are entitled to separation pay if they are involuntarily and honorably discharged after completing at least six years of service. Separation pay is calculated based on years of active service and the service member’s monthly basic pay when at the time he or she was discharged.” In total, the story says the Pentagon failed to pay out $2.4 million to about 180 former service people.
Adding insult to injury, Colorlines writes that those discharged were disproportionately African American, female, or both. Quoting a 2010 Service Women’s Action Network report, the site says: “Even though black women comprise less than one percent of servicemembers, they represented 3.3 percent of all don’t ask, don’t tell discharges… According to a 2010 Service Women’s Action Network report, women were 15 percent of the armed forces in 2008, but comprised 34 percent of the don’t ask, don’t tell discharges.”
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was repealed about two years ago. The law became an issue again recently when Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s Defense Secretary nominee, was asked to respond to questions about his support of LGBT rights in the military. He said he supports the repeal, though he made comments in 1998 about a candidate for ambassador that would indicate he has issues with the LGBT community.
In that recent letter, Think Progress quotes Hagel saying, “I know firsthand the profound sacrifice our service members and their families make, and if confirmed as Secretary of Defense, I will do everything possible to the extent permissible under current law to provide equal benefits to the families of all our service members.” (The quote includes the bold statement.)
Are N.C Republicans Using the Same-Sex Referendum to Prove a Point to Obama and the Democratic Party?
The North Carolina House voted Monday whether to allow a May referendum on the issue concerning adding a ban of gay marriage to the state’s constitution.
The amendment is worded to protect businesses in the state that may offer health and life insurance to domestic partners. Unfortunately the state and municipal government employees that have domestic spouses enjoying the same benefits will no longer be afforded the same privilege.
Bear in mind that while North Carolina has a law that defines marriage solely between a man and a woman; at the same time, there is no constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis told reporters that he is confident that the referendum will go to voters in May – a notion that is going against many critics, that believe that the Republican-dominated house was pushing for a November date.
Tillis also discussed that the May decision was not about politics, even though the date coincides with those of the Republican primary. Yet, with all the strong Republican candidates coming out adamantly against same-sex marriage – having the referendum vote in May would further cement the parties right-winged tilt, inching them one more step towards victory.
Although 61 percent of North Carolina citizens believe gay marriage should remain illegal, 55 percent would vote against a constitutional amendment, detailed a poll released by the Public Policy Polling, last week. However, Republican voters are split, with 47 percent saying amending the state constitution is going too far.
While, this poll is primarily being discussed on a state level, some have discussed how President Barack Obama’s reelection efforts in North Carolina may be affected by the possible May referendum date. Especially since Obama barely squeaked out of victory in 2008.
Since the 2012 Democratic National Convention will be held in Charlotte, Obama’s campaign is making it no secret that he plans to win the state over again during this upcoming election.
The bill is now heading towards the Senate for approval but with the Republican majority already claiming victory – the outlook seems somewhat bleak. Even though, a September survey by the PPP found that 43% of North Carolinians approved of Obama’s job performance; even still the polling group puts the President’s chances at winning the state again at 50-50.
Cynthia Wright is an avid lover of all things geeky. When she isn’t freelancing, she can be found on her blog BGA Life and on Twitter at @cynisright.