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I probably wouldn't have pointed to as a champion of progressive thought and equality, but what do I know? reports that Dana Rudolph, publisher of, was interested in entering an Amazon.comcontest that offered a prize of $25,000 in college tuition. The recipient of the prize could either be the winner or the winner’s immediate family member, which the website categorized as “his or her spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents and siblings.”

Yeah -- about that. Gays and lesbians can’t have spouses in almost every state in the country, and in some states can’t even be adoptive parents. So by’s original terms, Rudolph’s lesbian partner isn’t her family.

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These stories rarely turn out well. But, enter executive customer relations employee Jennifer Hanner, who wrote back to Rudolph's letter questioning the policy to say the following:

“In the event a winner of this sweepstakes wishes to apply the prize to his or her domestic partner—whether same-sex or opposite-sex— will apply an expanded definition of ‘immediate family’ to permit the prize to be applied to domestic partners as long as the couple is able to provide proof of the relationship,”

Nicely done, Jennifer! Now, if only policy-makers would follow suit. According to the Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 39 states do not recognize same-sex couples as family. Meaning, for example, a couple that has been together for 30 years and now finds that one partner is in the ICU cannot see one another. No comforting hand, no familiar face. No information.

And while civil union, domestic partnership, and same-sex marriage legislation is moving forward in some states, anti-equality and anti-marriage bills are winding their way through others.

Marriage isn't just about rights and documentation, although they encompass the fundamental benefits that every newlywed opposite-sex couple enjoys from day one. Our society loves a good wedding, and with good reason -- marriage is a celebration of love and commitment, a purely happy occasion. Recognizing same-sex partners as family means recognizing their freedom to be with the person they love. That means, the freedom to marry.

So it's pretty fabulous that gets it, and is so ahead of the game. I know I'm inclined to go purchase my next book from them.

If this is something that you care about, get involved locally! I'll even make it easy for you:

Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Equality California
Let California Ring