2005: Record Year for Gay and Transgender State Legislative Victories

Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) Americans
scored big wins in 2005, according to a new report from the Human Rights
Campaign. The report – "Equality from State to State: GLBT Americans
and State Legislation 2005" – details record-setting and historic state
legislation affecting the GLBT community over the past year.

"The road has potholes but equality is on the horizon," said
Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "This report proves that
as the national conversation over equality continues, Americans come
down on the side of fairness. When the fog of divisive politics recedes,
the real stories emerge of hard-working GLBT Americans seeking equality

More state anti-discrimination bills passed in 2005 than in
any other year. Eleven bills were passed in state legislatures that
established or strengthened statewide anti-discrimination protections
for the GLBT community.

While last year, 13 states amended their constitutions to
ban the protections and responsibilities of marriage for same-sex
couples, this year 15 states defeated attempts to write discrimination
into their state constitutions. Another two states are likely to defeat
marriage amendments before the year ends.

"Last year saw same-sex couples and their families
disgracefully used as a political wedge issue," said Solmonese. "When
the fog of divisive politics recedes, the real stories emerge of
hard-working GLBT Americans seeking equality – and fairness wins."

California became the first state ever to pass a bill to
extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples this year.
Unfortunately Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed this important
legislation. Another historic milestone occurred in Connecticut as
well, where the instituted civil unions to provide state-level rights
and responsibilities to long-term, committed same-sex couples. The bill
was signed by the state's Republican Governor Jodi Rell.

Maryland and Colorado became the ninth and 10th states to
include gender identity and expression, and the 30th and 31st states to
include sexual orientation in their hate crime laws. Again, both bills
became law under the states' Republican governors.

"The tremendous progress we've seen crosses party lines and
proves fairness need not have partisan boundaries," said Solmonese.

The Human Rights Campaign partners with statewide GLBT
advocacy groups across the country to advance pro-equality legislation
and beat back attacks on our families. In 2005, HRC provided more than
$820,000 directly to state organizations, ballot campaigns and other
work in the states in addition to drafting bills, testifying in
statehouses, activating our members and providing strategic assistance.

"Until every state treats its gay, lesbian, bisexual and
transgender citizens with dignity, respect and equality under the law,
our work as a community will not be done," added Solmonese.

The full report is available online at

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