gay rights

Jessica Robinson


A committee in the Idaho House Thursday rejected a gay rights measure known as the “Add the Words bill” on a 13-4 party line vote.

Malcolm Griffes / KPLU

The Food and Drug Administration FDA is proposing ending the lifetime ban on gay blood donors. But even if such is the case, there would still be restrictions. And that disappoints activists who’ve been pushing for change.

An effort to overturn one Idaho city's gay rights ordinance appears to have failed by a slim margin. The anti-discrimination law in Pocatello was upheld Tuesday night by a projected margin of 90 votes.

City councils in seven Idaho cities have barred employers, landlords and most businesses from discriminating on basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. But Pocatello's ordinance was the first in the state to be put to a popular vote.

Jessica Robinson

Voters in Pocatello, Idaho will decide the fate of the city’s non-discrimination ordinance Tuesday.

Pocatello is one of seven cities in Idaho that have passed laws aimed at protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual people, but this is the first time one of these measures has been put to a popular vote.

Eric Gay / AP Photo

Oregon's Attorney General says she won't defend the state against federal lawsuits challenging the state's same-sex marriage ban. A ruling in the case could come this spring. 

Ten years ago Oregon voters changed the state's constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

tswartz / Flickr

A bill intended to prevent health care providers from trying to convert gay people under age 18 has passed the state House.

House Bill 2451, which passed on a 94-4 vote, would make it an act of unprofessional conduct to try to change the sexual orientation of a patient under 18. That would include efforts to change behaviors, gender expressions or to reduce sexual or romantic attractions toward people of the same sex. 

Jessica Robinson

Gay rights advocates say legislation introduced this week in Idaho would undermine local anti-discrimination ordinances passed in seven Idaho cities. The new bills are aimed protecting religious people from activities they say violate their beliefs.

Republican Idaho lawmakers are responding to incidents elsewhere in the Northwest. A florist in Richland, Wash., faces lawsuits for refusing to provide the flowers for a same-sex wedding. In Oregon, investigators found a baker in Gresham who made a similar stand violated the state's civil rights laws.

Students and parents protesting the departure of a gay vice principal from their Seattle-area Catholic high school on Wednesday turned in a petition to the Archdiocese of Seattle asking the church to reconsider its policy on gay marriage.

The archdiocese responded with a statement saying they stand by the decision to replace the popular teacher, coach and vice principal.

Alex Garland

A gay woman hired to choreograph a Catholic school musical says she recently got engaged to her partner and is nervous about how school leaders will handle the news.

Stephanie Merrow is working on her second musical for Eastside Catholic School in Sammamish, where vice principal Mark Zmuda was recently forced out of his job for marrying his partner.

Alex Garland

Students at a Seattle-area Catholic school are gaining national attention for their protest over the forced departure of a gay vice principal.

An online petition started by the senior class president of Eastside Catholic was the third fastest growing U.S. petition on Friday, attracting around 15,000 signatures in one day.

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

The nation's largest freight rail carriers have announced they will provide health benefits to the same-sex spouses of their employees, one day after legally married, gay engineers filed a federal lawsuit in Seattle.

Gus Melonas, a spokesman for BNSF Railway Co., read the statement from the National Railway Labor Conference to The Associated Press on Wednesday. The conference represents the railroad companies in dealings with labor groups.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

County officials who issue marriage licenses in Washington state are gearing up for a possible influx of new applicants following the Internal Revenue Services’ ruling that states gay marriage will be recognized across state lines for federal tax purposes.

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Editor's note: KPLU has asked all nine candidates in the Seattle mayoral race to tell us about a time when his or her leadership skills were put to the test. One candidate's answer follows.

Ed Murray’s Capitol Hill office is on the same block as the Gay City LGBT library. Inside hangs a sign that says "March with Ed in Pride."

Murray wants to be Seattle’s first openly gay mayor. So maybe it won’t surprise you that many of his leadership moments have to do with securing gay and lesbian rights after many setbacks. Take 2005, for example.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans say they feel more accepted in society than they did 10 years ago, and they're overwhelmingly optimistic that the trend will continue. But a sweeping new Pew Research Center survey also finds persistent levels of stigmatization and secrecy in the community.

Associated Press

The Boy Scouts of America's National Council has voted to ease a long-standing ban and allow openly gay boys to be accepted as Scouts.

Of the local Scout leaders voting at their annual meeting in Texas, more than 60 percent supported the proposal.

The Richland florist who refused to sell flowers for a same sex-couple’s wedding has filed a counter suit.

Arlene’s Flowers owner Barronnelle Stutzman says she "will not wilt." She argues there are plenty of other shops in the Tri-Cities that could cater to a gay or lesbian wedding. 

Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press

Frustrated at being left out of an immigration overhaul, gay rights groups are pushing to adjust a bipartisan Senate bill to include gay couples. But Democrats are treading carefully, wary of adding another divisive issue that could lose Republican support and jeopardize the entire bill.

Both parties want the bill to succeed. Merely getting to agreement on the basic framework for the immigration overhaul, which would create a long and costly path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million people in the U.S. illegally, was no small feat for senators. And getting it through a divided Congress is still far from a done deal.

Courtesy Sunny Rivera

It all began in 1983 in the basement of a church.

They were a dozen or so lesbians in committed relationships who wanted to be good mothers. Some already had children, and some were still figuring out how to make it happen.

One woman even handed out mimeographed instructions on how to artificially inseminate with a syringe and sperm from a donor.

During a recent weekend, 10 of those women filled the living room of a home in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood.

Years of criticism and even a U.S. Supreme Court challenge couldn't force the Boy Scouts of America to admit openly gay members and leaders. But money talks, and after the defections of major donors, the 103-year-old organization is poised to lift its national ban.

Just last summer, the Boy Scouts reaffirmed the ban after a lengthy internal review. Several incidents since then have tarnished the organization's image and fueled an aggressive nationwide protest led by an Eagle Scout.

The Boy Scouts of America are considering lifting a national ban on gay scouts and leaders, the organizations spokesman announced.

USA Today reports:

"If this policy shift is approved by the national board meeting at their scheduled meeting next week, it will be a sharp reversal of the Scouts' decade's old national policy banning homosexuals.

The Associated Press

Former Seattle councilwoman Cheryl Chow has brain cancer and says she has one more thing she wants to do before she dies.

She told KING-TV she is coming out and telling people she is gay after being secretive for more than 60 years. She wants to encourage others to not be afraid to tell their parents or children the truth.

The Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington's gay marriage law is now on hold.

Preserve Marriage Washington submitted more than 200,000 signatures Wednesday, blocking the law from taking effect on Thursday.


OLYMPIA - Washington Governor Chris Gregoire is emerging as an unlikely gay rights activist - both at home and on the national stage. Her role in helping pass a same-sex marriage law this year has made Gregoire a sought-after spokesperson for the movement.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Gov. Chris Gregoire will sign a measure legalizing gay marriage in Washington state into law on today.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Gay marriage supporters are thrilled. Opponents are gearing up for a ballot fight. That's the dynamic after the Washington House voted Wednesday to send a same-sex marriage bill to the governor.

Up in the marble nosebleeds, proponents of gay marriage watched the debate quietly. But when the vote was tallied the celebration went on for more than a minute.

Susan Fairo cheered with her partner of 17 years. "I'm relieved, I'm delighted," she said. "It felt like a historic moment. So, we're a step farther."

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A bill to legalize same-sex marriage is in the hands of Governor Chris Gregoire. It passed the Washington House Wedesday with a 55-43 vote. During the three-hour debate, many lawmakers shared their own personal stories.

Democrat Jamie Pedersen, who is openly gay, spoke of how same-sex marriage would affect his own family.

The Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington state Legislature has voted to legalize gay marriage, setting the stage for the state to become the seventh in the nation to allow same-sex couples to wed.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Gay marriage isn’t the law in Washington yet, but national opponents are already preparing for a repeal campaign.

Tuesday's ruling overturning California’s ban on same-sex marriage is not expected to affect similar laws in other states. Oregon and Idaho also have voter-approved amendments against gay marriage.

But Washington lawmakers are poised to send Governor Chris Gregoire a measure allowing gays and lesbians to marry.

California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriages is unconstitutional, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today in a much-anticipated decision from the nation's most populous state. The judges upheld a lower court's ruling.

As you'd expect, the ruling has drawn praise from those who support same-sex marriage and condemnation from those who oppose it. Both sides acknowledge that the decision isn't the last word on the subject — an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is expected.