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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. ... 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 Human Rights Campaign is the largest LGBT rights and advocacy group in the United States. In the past few years, however, HRC has come under fire for the ways in which it operates, its outrageous budget and some of its shortcomings on federal legislative initiatives. Cheryl Jacques, who was HRC President before Joe Solmonese, was outed from the organization after 2004 when numerous states amended their constitutions to ban marriage recognition for same-ex couples. ======== Let me add... for sake of North Carolina pride: North Carolina remains the only Southern state to not have a proposed amendment banning same-sex marriage put in front of voters. Thank God for allies in the North Carolina Legislature! Technorati Tags: hrc, lgbt, gay rights, gay marriage