The 2010 census will count same-sex couples & the state department to increase gay rights.
Despite the ratification of California's Proposition 8 and the brouhaha surrounding Miss California Carrie Prejean, things have been looking up lately for people interested in marrying someone of the same gender (and those just interested in protecting the right to marry whomever you choose but still down with hetero-normative relationships... like Brad Pitt). And, for the most part, the East Coast has been leading the way. With their stuffed shirts, ascots and comfortable shoes for yachting, residents of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Maine and Iowa are the states that find gay marriage most agreeable*.
But the new government, controlling the house, senate and White House, may be thinking about changes. Some Barack Obama supporters feel that the president is sympathetic to gay marriage but does not want to alienate religious supporters and probably would keep anything too-too objectionable until he's reelected in 2012.
In the interim, a few moves have been made on behalf of the gay community. First of all, according to the New York Times, the next census (2010) will tally gay married couples in the states (mostly in the Northeast) that allow dudes to marry dudes and chicks to marry chicks. The decision is a reversal of a previous ruling that stated counting gay couples was in violation of the federal defense of marriage act. Personally, though incredibly important, I find being census-ed to be tedious and, frankly, a little creepy. If it weren't tantamount to treason and /or perjury, I'd probably just make up a bunch of stuff when questioned… "Yeah, there're 25 of us living here. No, you can't meet them. Yes, I am married to five of them. Yes, one of my spouses is a man, man." Then again, I appreciate the appeal of standing up and being counted for the first time. I think there are counties which don't extend suffrage to gingers.
Next in same-sex coupledom, last week the president signed into existence certain rights and benefits for gay federal employees. Per ABC, there are, unfortunately, some consequences of the act that were unforeseen. Namely, diplomats and aides to diplomats may be posted in foreign countries where homosexuality is illegal (in some of those same countries, it's probably illegal to be ginger). The State Department, never an organization to painted into a corner, will deal with all of these situations on an individual basis. They should probably tell all of their personnel being posted to England that they have a different word for cigarette over there, to be on the safe side.
And because everyone needs a little Monday pick-me-up, enjoy Andy Samberg's attempt to stabilize US – Iranian relations:
*Note: Vermont and Maine won't have gay marriage until fall 2009.