September 19, 2012 | by Phil Reese
National news in brief: September 14
Christine Gregoire, gay news, gay politics dc, Washington Blade

New polls in Washington State have LGBT advocates optimistic that a law signed by Gov. Christine Gregoire extending marriage rights to same-sex couples will be upheld by voters. (photo by Evan Derickson via Wikimedia)

Marriage leads in polls ahead of Wash. vote

OLYMPIA — A poll of 524 likely voters shows the gap widening between those who would preserve same-sex marriage in Washington State, and those who would reject the new law.

Fifty-six percent of respondents to the KING 5/Survey USA poll would vote to uphold Washington’s yet-to-be-implemented same-sex marriage law, while just 38 percent would vote to overturn the law. The 18-point margin is the widest yet shown for the measure, which Public Policy Polling put at 51 percent in favor, and 42 percent against in June.

Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) championed and signed the law in February 2012, which was immediately followed by a campaign to bring the new law to a voter referendum, taking place Nov. 6.

“While this is the biggest number and the widest spread recorded by any independent poll, this remains a very fluid race and our opponents have yet to unleash their attacks,” read a statement by Zach Silk, campaign manager for Washington United for Marriage, which supports same-sex marriage. “We’ve seen what’s happened in other states and that’s generally a late attack aimed at frightening voters, so we’ll continue to work round-the-clock, talking to voters and reminding them that in Washington, everyone should have the freedom to marry the person they love.”

Washington joins voters in both Maine and Maryland in voting on whether or not to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples on Election Day. Additionally, Minnesota voters will choose whether or not to bar those unions with a constitutional amendment. An August poll in Maryland found 54 percent in favor of same-sex marriage, with 40 percent opposed, while a July poll in Maine put the difference at 57 percent in favor and 35 percent against.

School climate survey released

NEW YORK — A survey examining the experiences of 8,548 LGBT students from all 50 states and the District of Columbia shows, for the first time, improvement in school environments for LGBT students.

The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network’s sixth biennial National School Climate Survey shows that reports of LGBT students hearing anti-gay epithets “frequently” or “often” has decreased significantly, though eight out of every 10 LGBT student still reports experiencing harassment in school because of their sexual orientation.

The survey also found the presence of a gay-straight alliance club on campus or LGBT-inclusive curriculum led to less reporting of students feeling unsafe on campus.

“The 2011 survey marks a possible turning point in the school experiences of LGBT youth,” said Dr. Joseph Kosciw, GLSEN’s Senior Director of Research and Strategic Initiatives. “But an alarming number of LGBT youth still face barriers that inhibit their ability to receive an education.”

Grindr gets political

LOS ANGELES — Grindr — mobile phone software that allows gay men to find and chat with other gay men based on proximity — has announced it is mixing sex with politics.

The most popular “geosocial” app for gay men announced the creation of Grindr for Equality: Election 2012 as a means for mobilizing its 1.5 million user-base to become informed about local political contests, with an eye on spurring action.

“I’m a big believer that a lot of people can do something small and get a very big impact,” Grindr CEO Joel Simkhai told U.S. News and World Report. “We simply don’t have the rights everyone else has.”

Simkhai has indicated Grindr for Equality will be used to mobilize local users in specific contests of greater concern to the LGBT community.

 

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