June is Pride month and this year marks the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, widely recognized as a milestone in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights movement. Hereâ€™s a round-up of some of the latest news and developments affecting the LGBT community that may be of interest:
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Same sex marriage has now been legalized in six states (three via a court ruling, three via the legislature): Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire. A same-sex marriage bill has also passed the New York State Assembly, but has yet to progress in the Senate. In California, the state Supreme Court has upheld the validity of some 18,000 same sex marriages that took place in 2008 but same sex marriage is no longer legal in the state after passage of a constitutional amendment that was upheld by the court. Itâ€™s important to recognize that state laws do not extend any of the benefits on a Federal level.
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Aetna last October became the first U.S. health insurer to link its site to the Gay and Lesbian Medical Associationâ€™s (GLMA) database. As a result, Aetnaâ€™s DocFind online health care provider directory is now linked to GLMAâ€™s growing database of more than 1,200 LGBT-friendly medical professionals. The database includes primary care providers, specialists, therapists, and dentists who welcome LGBT patients.
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Insurers (Metlife, Chubb, Nationwide, Marsh & McLennan Cos, New York Life Insurance Co and Progressive) were among 259 businesses to earn the top rating in the seventh annual Corporate Equality index published by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC) last September. The Index rates employers based on their treatment of LGBT employees, customers and investors. Ratings are based on factors such as nondiscrimination policies and domestic partner benefits.
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â As companies look to reach out to the LGBT market, they may like to know that a recent national survey conducted by Harris Interactive found that gay and lesbian adults are more likely to read blogs and to use social networking tools. For example, more than half (55 percent) of gay and lesbian respondents reported reading some type of blog, compared to only 38 percent of heterosexuals. Gay and lesbian adults are also choosing to connect online through social networking sites more often, with some 23 percent of gay and lesbian respondents reporting being members of the business-oriented social networking site LinkedIn, compared to 13 percent of heterosexual adults.