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UAFA, ENDA introduction set for Thursday

Nadler, Merkley to take the lead on pro-gay legislation

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Rep. Jerrold Nadler is set to introduce UAFA in the House (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Two key pieces of pro-LGBT legislation — the Uniting American Families Act and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act — are set for introduction in Congress on Thursday, according to an informed source.

An LGBT rights advocate, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said on Thursday Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) would introduce UAFA in the House and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) would introduce ENDA in the Senate.

“It’s actually kind of a big gay week,” the advocate said. “We also have the civil unions bill in Delaware expected on Thursday and then Friday is the DOMA hearing. So it’s actually a pretty active week where our issues are concerned.”

Nadler’s office didn’t respond on short notice to respond to confirm that UAFA would see introduction in the House on Thursday. Last week, Ilan Kayatsky, a Nadler spokesperson, said the lawmaker would introduce the bill “shortly.”

As it was introduced in the 111th Congress, UAFA would enable gay Americans to sponsor their foreign partners for residency in the United States as straight Americans can do for their foreign spouses. Based on U.S. Census data from 2000, current immigration law threatens to tear apart 36,000 bi-national same-sex couples in the United States.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the House introduction of UAFA would be concurrent with the Senate introduction. In the 111th Congress, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) was the sponsor of UAFA.

Erica Chabot, a Leahy spokesperson, said her boss would again introduce the legislation in the 112th Congress, but added she doesn’t have a date for when that would happen.

“Sen. Leahy is committed to reintroducing UAFA, but I don’t have a date certain at this time,” she said.

On the same day Nadler is expected to introduce UAFA in the House, Merkley is expected to introduce ENDA in the Senate.

Julie Edwards, a Merkley spokesperson, said in response to a request to confirm whether the bill would be introduced Thursday that the legislation would be debut “soon” and she could say more later.

The Senate version of ENDA, according to Capitol Hill sources, is set to have Republican support immediately upon introduction from Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Mirk Kirk (R-Ill.),

Kevin Kelley, a Collins spokesperson, said his boss and Kirk would be original co-sponsors along with Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee. But Kelley said he couldn’t confirm the date of introduction at this time.

Christian Berle, deputy executive director of Log Cabin Republicans, said Snowe would also be an original co-sponsor for ENDA. Snowe and Collins were both original co-sponsors in the 111th Congress.

“I just got confirmation from Sen. Snowe’s office that she will be an original co-sponsor of ENDA,” Berle said.

ENDA would bar job discrimination against LGBT people in most situations in the public and private workforce. Job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is legal in 29 states and legal in 38 states on the basis of gender identity.

Last week, gay Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) introduced the House version of ENDA. As of Monday, the legislation had 117 co-sponsors. Frank has said Republican control of the House will prevent passage of ENDA during the 112th Congress.

UPDATE: On Wednesday, Chabot confirmed Leahy is set to introduce UAFA on Thursday in the Senate, which would be concurrent with the introduction of the bill in the House. She said she’d have information on co-sponsors upon introduction.

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. roy b

    April 11, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    it’s about time the UAFA is finally passed

    • FAEN

      April 12, 2011 at 8:58 pm

      This should have been passed in 2009/2010. No way this important life saving measure passes the teabagger House.

  2. Jerry

    April 11, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    I am don’t expect either act to pass the 112th session, but we can get some idea of just how much work we have left ahead of us to become first class citizens.

  3. Sloan

    April 11, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    I am disheartened that even our leaders just take it as a forgone conclusion that it would be impossible to pass ENDA in this session of Congress. There is a chance of passage IF supporters believe it is possible, knowing the broad support that exists for ENDA among everyday Republicans, Democrats and Independents, and people of all faiths. But if we don’t act on that belief that it’s possible, if we throw up our hands and resign ourselves to failure, then we create a self-fulfilling prophecy. But know in our hearts the rightness of the cause of equality — and that even people who are not yet on board can get on board if we invite them persistently enough — and we may even be able to create some surprising success, even in this session of Congress.

  4. Brian McComas

    April 12, 2011 at 1:44 am

    Please everyone stop the hate. Homosexuals are not against God. Read this article! http://notzrimkabbalah.com/HomosexualityandGod.html

    The word “Marriage” means two forces joined together in spirit with Blessings from God. The State has no rights to this, yet the State marries people. Marriage has NEVER meant a man and woman in an oath of love for life. Ignorant people who do not study the Torah and Bible have proclaimed what Marriage means….from this we have UNJUST laws!

    Rabbi’s and Preachers, Priests, and Professors support the Gay and Lesbian Marriages. I am a straight man, and I will support Justice and fight Injustice. Read that article if you believe the Bible says homosexuality is evil. Read that article.

  5. FAEN

    April 12, 2011 at 3:21 am

    At this point I want to punch a f*cking wall! When the Dems had the House and the Senate ENDA was nowhere to be found. We were promised time and time again the it would be introduced but I guess that was just a lie.

    As far as the UAFA goes-I had high hopes in 2009-10 with the Dems in charge of the House, the Senate and the White House, they would be able to push it through. It’s now 2011 and my partner and I are STILL waiting. And we’ll have no choice but to continue to wait. No way it passes with the teabaggers in the House. A lot of GLBT activists warned of this. They knew we only had a certain amount of time to push through some important legislation. But the Dems and the President knows we have no choice but to vote for them so were as important as a piece of gum at the bottom of someone’s shoe. That is until the election of course. Then they’ll be all the speeches about equality and how the gay community has a ‘fierce advocate’ in the White House. Really? Where?

    How many years must binationals be in such limbo? How long will our families be separated, pushed into exile? I am sick to death of the speeches, sick of how spineless the Dems are and sick of how the GOTP have increased their hatred of GLBT tax paying Americans. For f*ck sake Dems, take some action. This is NOT the wedge issue it used to be. Equality is a winning issue. Stop acting like wimps already!

  6. Billy Bob

    April 12, 2011 at 5:34 am

    Why don’t all the gay bi-nationals in this country just refuse to leave the country?They can’t deport ALL the gay couples now can they? I don’t know who to trust anymore, I guess all we have to trust is ourselves.

  7. Justin

    April 12, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    I get more and more sick everytime I think about this. My partner is Canadian and I had to move to Canada in order for us to be together. We both want nothing more than to live and work in the US but the country I grew up and was born in – will not allow me to do this. Makes me sick. I had a great paying job and saw my family every day. Now I’m 12 hours from them and can barely get the time to see them on holidays. Who will the UAFA hurt? And if you are against gay marriage – fine – be against it but this is not about gay marriage. This act is about bringing families together that deserve to be together. And it’s about equal immigration rights for all American born citizens to let them live with the person they love in their own country.

    • FAEN

      April 13, 2011 at 2:58 am

      Count yourself lucky-I wish my partner and I could have moved to Canada.

  8. Leonine

    April 14, 2011 at 10:58 am

    My comments couldn’t be any more on target than the comments posted by FAEN. I also wish that my partner and I could move to Canada to be together. As it is I have been preparing to give up my job and relocate to Ukraine so that my partner and I can be together.

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Living

Trusting The Tech – Why technology is key for the LGBTQ community

The LGBTQ community is harnessing the power of technology in order to promote inclusion.

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After another Pride month, we reflect on how far we’ve come – and how much work is still left to do.  Changing perceptions and raising awareness is never easy but, in the modern world, the LGBTQ community is harnessing the power of technology in order to promote inclusion.  In this article, we’re going to look at the ways in which our tech is taking things to new levels:

Safety First

In 2021, we’re still seeing far too many headlines about attacks on members of the LGBTQ community, and its vital that individuals are vigilant about their safety – and that of others. Technology such as the GeoSure travel safety app can provide a valuable layer of protection.  Additionally, new features such as the functionality introduced by Tinder to prevent LGBTQ identification being shown in the profile of users who may be travelling through intolerant nations are incredibly important.  We’re all working toward a world without discrimination but, until that day comes, safety is of paramount importance.  Similarly, technology comes into play when it comes to venues such as salons in areas where safety may be an issue.  A lot of salons are now mindful of this and are using appointment booking software such as Booksy which allows them to manage appointments through an app to ensure that their environments are as safe and comfortable as possible. 

Inform And Educate

Technology can be an incredibly powerful tool when it comes to breaking down barriers between the LGBTQ community and other members of society.  The groundbreaking LGBTQ+ Experiment website has been created to do just that by allowing people to ask – and answer – questions in order to increase understanding.  More importantly, innovations like this one are incredibly useful in eliminating some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding the LGBTQ community.

Uniting Communities

You may have read about a recent incident on Lake Moses, Washington, whereby a group of young boaters were recorded hurling abuse at fellow boaters who were displaying a Pride flag.  During the incident, the abusers ran into trouble when their boat burst into flames…….and were rescued by the boaters with the Pride flag.  

Following the incident, thousands of Washingtonians took to social media to praise the rescuers – with many describing the incident as ‘karma’.  As unpleasant as this event was, through the use of social media, it brought together members of all communities, thereby connecting and uniting people against this kind of mindless abuse.  

Putting LGBTQ In The Picture

Improving visual representation has always been important for different ethnic and gender groups; from the introduction of African American Barbie dolls to more inclusion in television and film.  Tech giant, Apple, has highlighted its commitment to visual inclusivity by introducing gender neutral and same sex couple emojis – a move which can only help to improve inclusivity.

Connecting Through Content

Historically, media channels tended to ‘play it safe’ when it came to the representation of minorities – something which resulted in a widespread sense of isolation and alienation.  The advent of the internet – and more significantly, social media – means that representation, and the publishing of content, is handed to the masses, rather than to a few media outlets who may or may not have their agenda.  For the LGBTQ community, the ability to create and publish content which highlights issues and promotes inclusion is a huge step toward better understanding and awareness. 

Technology is constantly evolving and can be an extremely valuable tool when it comes to connecting and uniting communities and improving understanding.  In a world where it seems that anything is possible, this technology is key to breaking down barriers and creating a world where inclusion is the norm.

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Real Estate

How to prepare yourself in this seller’s market

Millennials are putting down the avocado toast and picking up mortgages

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Just because it’s a seller’s market, doesn’t mean it’s not a good time to buy.

For the first time, Millennials are cutting back on spending money on multiple streaming subscriptions, $10 drinks, and avocado toast. They are dipping their feet into purchasing their first home. The current market conditions can be tough for some buyers though, so being prepared is more important now than ever. 

The first step in the home buying process is finding the right real estate agent. Your agent should be trustworthy and someone who is knowledgeable about the area, sales contract, and local programs that may be able to save you money. Once you find the perfect agent, ask them to refer you to their preferred local lenders. When talking with lenders, not only should you focus on interest rates, but also ask about their in-house processing and underwriting. This may be able to give you a competitive advantage against other offers. 

Once you’ve decided on your lender, they will need several documents to help them determine your eligible purchase price. Now is the perfect time to get your documents in order, including 30 days of pay stubs, two years of tax returns and/or W2s and 1099s, and two consecutive bank statements. Providing these documents in a timely manner can help expedite the pre-approval process and prevent delays once you’re under contract. The lender will also look at your median credit score from the three major credit bureaus. Since your credit score has a direct effect on your interest rate, it’s important to pay close attention to your score. If your credit score needs a little help, talk to your Realtor and lender to see if they have recommendations on how to boost your score or programs that may be able to help.

After you’ve been pre-approved, it’s time to look at properties. With these current market conditions, properties typically don’t stay on the market for very long. Depending on the type of property, some may only be on the market for a few days. Doing your due diligence at the beginning of your home search can help save you time and focus on the properties that really fit your criteria. Now is the time to make that wish list, visit neighborhoods, research schools, and get a really good idea of what you’re looking for. In this market, it’s very important to see a property as soon as it hits the market. By fully understanding your search criteria in advance and making sure you’re available to see properties after work or on a lunch break, you will be better prepared to make an offer when “the one” hits the market. 

The most common question I get now is, “should I wait?” In most cases, the cost of waiting can cost you. With historically low interest rates and housing prices continuing to increase, now is still a great time to purchase real estate. Being prepared, patient and having an informed Realtor and lender on your side will definitely help in this market.

Teddy Rojanadit is a licensed Realtor in D.C., Virginia, and Maryland with Bediz Group at Keller Williams Capital Properties. Follow him at @teddydcrealtor on Instagram, TikTok and Facebook. He can be reached at [email protected] or 202-664-3736.

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Real Estate

The five-step downsizing plan

Set goals and a budget — then de-clutter

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Before you downsize, you’ll need to de-clutter your home.

Are you considering downsizing? For any number of reasons, this might be a decision that makes sense at this point in your life. 

Perhaps you have children that are now grown and have moved out, or you entertained large parties and those days have passed, now having more space than you can use. Maybe you simply want less home to take care of and fewer chores on your to-do list. Perhaps you’d like a smaller mortgage, so you can put the extra money toward other things. Or possibly, you’re willing to pay a slightly higher mortgage so that you can have a smaller home in an area where you’ve always wanted to live. Whatever your reasons, if you’re thinking of downsizing, having a plan can be extremely valuable. Those preparing to downsize may find that following this helpful five-step plan can make the process a smooth and successful experience:

Think through your goals: This may seem like an obvious step, but it is one that people often overlook. As you think about downsizing, take the time to sit down and come up with a detailed list of your goals. Ask yourself the necessary questions that will help you to narrow and focus your search. These are questions like: What’s important to you in life — being close to family and friends? Living in a place you love? Having easy access to medical care? Access to an international airport? Spend some time thinking through your priorities and desires. How much of a mortgage will you be able to pay, particularly if you are retiring or anticipating increased health care costs as you age? Maybe you’re able to live mortgage free with the sale of your larger home.

How much square footage would you feel comfortable caring for? How will you prepare for the move? Thinking carefully about your future by working through important questions like these can help you move closer toward a concrete vision of your ideal downsizing situation and provide peace of mind and confidence during the process. 

• Look for a location you love: Location is an important aspect of any real estate transaction, but this can be especially true when downsizing. What are your reasons for downsizing? Thinking this through may help you to choose a location that is ideal for your needs. Are you downsizing because you are getting older and health issues are a concern? If so, choosing a location close to a city center where you can easily access medical care might be important. Are you downsizing because you’re tired of living in a large home in a suburban area and want easier access to amenities that a more urban environment may offer? If so, looking for more walkable neighborhoods closer to a larger metropolitan area might be important for you. Are you retiring and downsizing because you want to live in that gay-friendly city that you’ve always loved? Focus your home search there. 

• Be sure to budget: After you’ve thought through your goals and decided on a desirable location, you’ll want to spend time closely looking at your financial situation and coming up with a realistic budget to achieve your goals. Meeting with a financial professional to review your assets and debts, what you might make from the sale of your current home, and what the total costs of downsizing might be can be tremendously helpful, and can ensure that you make your move with financial confidence and security.

Don’t forget to declutter: Certainly, downsizing means you’ll have less space – and this means less room for extra stuff. Before your move, take advantage of the downsizing process as an opportunity to let go of items you no longer truly need or use and to make space for new things and experiences. It is important to get started on this process early. Often, when people are downsizing, they still overestimate the amount of room they will have for extra items. Don’t make this mistake. Taking the time to sit down and think about what will fit within your new space removes the stress of later having to dispose of those belongings after you move.

Find the right agent: The importance of this step in your downsizing plan should not be overlooked. Whether you are staying relatively close to home or moving across the country, you will need an agent who knows the community you’re interested in and can help direct you to neighborhoods and homes that will best fit your needs. This can particularly be true when you are an LGBTQ home buyer or seller and you want to ensure that you find not only a house that you love, but also a community where you can feel truly at home. Working with the right agent can reduce your stress, save time, and greatly increase your overall satisfaction with your real estate experience. Wondering how to find exactly the right agent for your needs? At GayRealEstate.com, that’s where we come in.

Whatever your real estate needs – whether you are looking to buy, sell, upgrade, or downsize, at www.GayRealEstate.com, we are here for you. We are passionate about connecting LGBTQ home buyers and sellers across the country with agents who are talented, experienced, and committed to helping their clients achieve their real estate dreams. In any real estate experience, having an agent who knows and loves their community and who values each client, and understands that client’s unique needs can be invaluable. We are dedicated to delivering that experience every time. You deserve nothing less. We look forward to helping you soon.

Jeff Hammerberg is founding CEO of Hammerberg & Associates, Inc. Reach him at 303-378-5526 or [email protected].

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