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Special equality update October 25, 2006 3:36 PM

October --- 2006 A Message from Our President Joe SolmoneseThis afternoon, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the right, under the state constitution, to receive the same state benefits, protections, and obligations as opposite-sex married couples. The legislature has 180 days to comply with this ruling by either amending the marriage statute to include same-sex couples or creating a similar law, like civil unions. This ruling demonstrates that now, more than ever, we must work to elect fair-minded candidates across this country who support equality. In that spirit, we are working toward victory on Nov. 7, securing much-needed change in this country. I hope that we can continue to count on you in these final days. Please consider making a donation and signing up to volunteer, and most importantly, don't forget to vote on Nov. 7! Breaking News New Jersey to Recognize Same-Sex Couples This afternoon, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the state Legislature must offer the same rights and benefits to same-sex couples that married couples currently receive. This ruling came after seven same-sex couples filed suit against the state when they were denied marriage licenses. This decision reflects the fair-minded values of New Jersey, where polls show that a majority of citizens supports marriage equality. Click here to find out more about this historic ruling as well as frequently asked questions about this ruling. Return to top Ballot Updates Constitutional Ballot Update An Arizona poll released yesterday shows that 56% of Arizona voters oppose the constitutional ban on domestic partnerships. Arizona is poised to become the first state to defeat a constitutional ban. HRC has contributed significantly to Arizona Together and our Arizona members are active in their campaign. We hope you consider getting involved in one of the eight campaigns across the country fighting these discriminatory bans. HRC has given financial and other resources to each of the ballot fights this year. Here are links to our allies: List of 8 items • Arizona • Colorado • Idaho • South Carolina • South Dakota • Tennessee • Virginia • Wisconsin list end Return to top Politics HRC's Congressional Scorecard What grade did your elected officials earn on issues of equality? Check out HRC's 109th Congressional Scorecard and learn about key votes and legislation affecting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans. HRC rated members of Congress on their records on issues such as the discriminatory Federal Marriage Amendment, critical hate crimes legislation and the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. This user-friendly guide also displays your elected officials' scores for the past six years, so you can see if they've improved on the issues that impact your community. Scorecard So find out who your fair-minded representatives are -- and be an informed voter this November! Download your copy of the scorecard today. Return to top Spotlight on Equality 4 Days 4 Equality HRC Regional Field Organizer Jamila Ball knows only too well that when it comes to elections, the final four days are when it all happens. In key races all over the country, the difference between a pro-equality or an anti-GLBT win comes down to simply this: who has the best operation for getting their voters to the polls. Right now, Jamila is on the ground in Philadelphia, working with HRC volunteers to get out the vote in one of the most important states in the 2006 election. Best of all, you don't have to be an HRC staffer like Jamila to do your part in the fight for equality this November. Through 4 Days 4 Equality, anyone can sign up to volunteer in Pennsylvania or another key state. You choose your location and arrange your own travel, and HRC will connect you to key races based on your interests. Click here to get started! Return to top Table with 3 columns and 3 rows   Coming Out       Coming Out The Human Rights Campaign and PFLAG have teamed up to launch our first-ever resource specifically straight for friends and family -- A Straight Guide to GLBT Americans. This resource helps map some of the emotions straight people feel when someone first comes out to them; walks people through myths and facts about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans; and outlines ways straight people can demonstrate their support. Download your copy today to share with your friends and family. Return to top   table end Family News Family This week, the HRC Family Project, in partnership with the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, will send initial invitations to participate in the Healthcare Equality Index survey to the largest 1,000 hospitals nationwide. Based on the results of the survey, HRC and GLMA will establish a quality indicator by which hospitals will be measured on their policies and practices with the GLBT community. Ultimately, we believe that this index will revolutionize the healthcare industry by raising the bar for hospitals and other sectors of the healthcare industry to meet the needs of our community. Return to top Religion News Religion In collaboration with Minneapolis' Voices United, the HRC Religion and Faith Program put on another successful event on Thursday, Oct. 12, in Minneapolis. Bishop Minerva Carcano set the tone for the event by preaching a sermon on the importance of compassion and openness for all of God's people. She wove together personal stories of poverty and immigration with the struggles GLBT people face in many of our places of worship. The panel discussion that followed beautifully picked up on the theme set forth by Carcano. Speaking from diverse perspectives (a Native American activist, a Conservative Jewish rabbi and a powerful Lutheran lesbian minister and activist), all challenged our houses of worship to  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
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