February 2011 Archives

The Department of Justice filed its response today to an inquiry from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California about the case of Karen Golinski, a federal court employee in California who sued so that her wife could receive spousal health benefits. The filing notes that DOJ believes that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act ... [Read]

In an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) sounded very much like a man planning on spearheading a defense of the Defense of Marriage Act now that the Obama adminstration -- in the case of Section 3 of DOMA -- has decided that it will no longer do so. In the interview, Boehner said, ... [Read]

Immediately following the Thursday, Feb. 24 passage of a bill on Maryland's Senate floor that would grant same-sex couples in the state legal marriage recognition, opponents promised to take the issue to the ballot box. “I don't think the votes on that board accurately represent the citizens of the state of Maryland,” Sen. Nancy Jacobs (R- Cecil and Harford) said, ... [Read]

As suggested this afternoon by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, the Department of Justice has filed its brief defending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States. It has done so, though, in a rather remarkable way: It changed the question of what the lawsuit is. Noting that "[t]he repeal process is well under way," the ... [Read]

[UPDATE: For expanded analysis of tonight's filing, see "DOJ Avoids DADT Constitutionality Question, Argues DADT Repeal Act Changed LCR Case."] As suggested this afternoon by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, the Department of Justice has filed its brief defending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States. On Thursday, I laid out the issues with how ... [Read]

Notwithstanding the government's decision to stop defending Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act against constitutional challenges, White House press secretary Jay Carney suggested today that the Department of Justice will continue defending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in court. Although President Obama signed the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act into law on Dec. 22, 2010, the implementation of ... [Read]

The fallout has been rapid and expansive from the Feb. 23 letter from Attorney General Eric Holder to House Speaker John Boehner regarding the government's decision to stop defending Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. Section 3 sets the federal definition of "marriage" and "spouse" as referring only to opposite-sex married couples. In a move that was discussed ... [Read]

After about an hour of discussions from opposing views, Maryland’s State Senate voted 25-21 in favor of Senate Bill 116, The Civil Marriage Protection Act on Thursday, Feb. 24. A House version of the bill is expected to be introduced in House committee tomorrow. If signed into law, the bill would grant same-sex couples legal marriage rights in the state ... [Read]

On Wednesday, Feb. 23, Attorney General Eric Holder declared in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) that "the President and I have concluded that classifications based on sexual orientation warrant heightened scrutiny." This is an important determination reached by the president and the Department of Justice that is preliminary to and independent of the decision (that got more ... [Read]

Equality Maryland spent the first half of Wednesday, Feb. 23 celebrating the second reading Senate passage of a bill that would grant same-sex couples marriage rights in the state if signed into law. But the day closed somberly at Equality Maryland’s headquarters in Baltimore with a vigil for Tyra Trent. Police are investigating the death of Trent, a 25-year-old transgender sex ... [Read]

Moments after the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it would no longer be defending challenges to Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, Ted Olson announced that the legal team in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger challenge to Proposition 8 was asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to lift the stay of the trial court ... [Read]

Senate Bill 116, The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, passed a second reading in the Maryland State Senate on Wednesday, Feb. 23 with amendments made to the bill.  The Senate began discussion of amendments to the bill at 10 a.m., and concluded shortly before 12:30 when Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. declared that the amendments had gone ... [Read]

[UPDATE: Read my expanded article, "DOJ Stops Defending DOMA Provision."] The Department of Justice has made a decision that heightened scrutiny applies to sexual orientation classifications such as that involved in the Defense of Marriage Act. In a letter sent to Speaker John Boehner, Attorney General Eric Holder writes that, because of this decision, the Department will no longer defend ... [Read]

Rahm Emanuel, the former head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee who served as President Barack Obama's first White House chief of staff, was elected mayor of Chicago following today's vote, according to the Associated Press. Roll Call reports: With 86 percent of the precincts counted, the AP called the race for Emanuel with 55 percent of the vote, the ... [Read]

Following quickly on the heels of today's historic committee vote sending Maryland's marriage equality bill to the floor of the full Senate, the final necessary vote for passage in the Senate declared his support for the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act. Sen. James Carew Rosapepe (D-Prince George's, Anne Arundel) is the 24th member of the 46-member body to ... [Read]

Today, President Barack Obama had a meeting to discuss the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act with a bipartisan group of Senate leaders on the topic. Although the White House reports that the meeting with the leaders was "productive," there was no discussion of either of the bills introduced in the 111th Congress that were aimed at reducing ... [Read]

In new U.S. diplomatic cables provided by WikiLeaks, The Guardian today published cables detailing the United States diplomacy relating to Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill. [UPDATE: As reported as Box Turtle Bulletin, the cables initially were published a week ago in El Pais.] The cables show an acute awareness of the sensitivity of the issue and the danger of the anti-gay legislation. ... [Read]

The California Supreme Court granted the request to take the certified question, as requested by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger challenge to Proposition 8 -- putting off same-sex marriages in California for at least an additional eight months. What does this mean? Under the U.S. Constitution, there must be an actual ... [Read]

The Los Angeles Times reports: The California Supreme Court will decide Wednesday whether to plunge back into the legal battle over same-sex marriage. The state high court, meeting in closed session, will review a request by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to determine whether Proposition 8's sponsors have legal authority to defend the ballot measure. Metro Weekly reported ... [Read]

[Photo: President Barack Obama takes questions from members of the media the day after unveiling his third budget proposal. (Photo by Chris Geidner.)] With a focus on the White House budget unveiled on Feb. 14 and the protests for freedom in Egypt and across the Middle East, President Barack Obama held a news conference in the South Court Auditorium of ... [Read]

[UPDATE @ 5:50 PM: Anton Tanumihardja will not be deported today. According to Lavi Soloway, the order from the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement reads: "Therefore ICE will extend the Stay ... until a decision is made by the [Board of Immigration Appeals] on his Motion to Reopen."] At 1 p.m. today, Feb. 14, Anton Tanumihardja is scheduled to board ... [Read]

GOProud advisory council chair Tammy Bruce announced her resignation from the group today, after having particpated in events with the group throughout CPAC this weekend. GOProud board chairman Chris Barron, however, also tells Metro Weekly that the gay conservative group has added former American Conservative Union executive director Chuck Muth to its advisory council. Muth currently serves as the president ... [Read]

In a day that included remarks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) from GOProud advisory council members Andrew Breitbart and Margaret Hoover, the biggest talk about LGBT issues came from Ann Coulter. The last questioner during the Q-and-A portion of Coulter's Saturday afternoon speech asked abut "the controversy at CPAC surrounding GOProud." And she said, first, that she "talked ... [Read]

Metro Weekly caught up with Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) at CPAC to talk about "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal and moving forward. Asked about the repeal, Hatch reiterated his opposition, noting that the only reason he wasn't in the Senate on Dec. 18, 2010, to vote against repeal was that he was attending his grandson's graduation. At the same ... [Read]

Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele was among the notable attendees at Thursday night's Andrew Breitbart-hosted GOProud "Big Party." (That, despite the fact that GOProud had called for Steele's resignation multiple times.) Among the others were two names in the GOP presidential primary hat: former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson (R) and out gay GOP political strategist Fred Karger. ... [Read]

Although we'll have more at Metro Weekly on tonight's Andrew Breitbart-hosted GOProud "Big Party" (which was crowded and featuring more than one would-be presidential candidate), the talk of the party among the journalists in attendance -- and there were more than a few -- was the apology. GOProud's brash board chairman, Chris Barron, was in the unusual position of backing ... [Read]

[Photo: Donald Trump arrives at the 2011 CPAC. (Photo by Chris Geidner.)] GOProud's board chairman, Chris Barron, decided he wanted to invite Donald Trump to CPAC. So, he did. Today, Trump arrived at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel about 3 p.m. this afternoon, Feb. 10. Of the invitation, Barron told Metro Weekly, "We invited Trump for a couple of ... [Read]

Talking With Grover

Posted by Chris Geidner
February 9, 2011 4:30 PM |
On Feb. 8, Metro Weekly spoke with Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, in preparation for this week’s cover, "Guess Who's Coming to CPAC?" Catching a few minutes of his time in the week leading up to the annual conservative conference, Norquist spoke about CPAC and the role of gay conservatives – particularly GOProud – within the ... [Read]

Later this afternoon, Metro Weekly will be posting this week's cover story -- "Guess Who's Coming to CPAC?" [UPDATE: The story is posted.] We're putting it up online early as right-wing, primarily religious conservatives continue to raise questions about the role of GOProud, the gay conservative group that counts CPAC in 2010 as its public debut, at the annual gathering ... [Read]

Webb Announces Retirement

Posted by Chris Geidner
February 9, 2011 1:17 PM |
[Photo: Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) questions senior military leadership about the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy on Dec. 2, 2010. (Photo by Ward Morrison.)] Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) today announced that he will not be seeking re-election in 2012. Webb has a complicated history with the LGBT community, having been the sole Democrat on the Sentate Armed Services Committe to ... [Read]

[Photo: Supporters of marriage equality in Maryland wore red to the Feb. 8 Senate hearing on S.B. 116. (Photo by Yusef Najafi.)] As part of the Maryland Senate's consideration of S.B. 116, the bill that would bring marriage equality to the state, a hearing is being held today in the Senate. Among those testifying in opposition is the National Organization ... [Read]

It turns out that claiming something is anti-trans humor stirs up people, and brings them out of the woodwork to tell you why you have no sense of humor. So it has gone with the two posts at Metro Weekly's Poliglot about The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson. As the Superbowl gets under way and other questionable examples of ... [Read]

Following up on the Metro Weekly post about Craig Ferguson's Feb. 4 sketch featuring his "half-sister" -- played by a man and named "Peg" -- Metro Weekly received a significant number of comments defending Ferguson and stating that those having a problem with the sketch were "oversensitive" or in need of "a sense of humor."   Metro Weekly asked Meghan ... [Read]

Tonight, the night after the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and National Center for Transgender Equality released a report about the widespread prevalence of anti-transgender discrimination, The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson on CBS presented a sketch portraying anti-trans stereotypes and playing off of them for humor at every turn. The sketch featured Ferguson's "half-sister" -- played by ... [Read]

The Los Angeles Times reports today on a Wednesday interview with the new California Supreme Court Chief Justice, in which she says the decision whether to take the Proposition 8 matter could come next week. From the LA Times: Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye said Wednesday that the California Supreme Court may decide "as soon as next week" whether to weigh ... [Read]

This morning, President Barack Obama addressed the National Prayer Breakfast, an annual event sponsored by The Fellowship -- also known as The Family, where he discussed his prayers for recovery for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and an end to violence in Egypt. Calling attendance a "tradition that I'm proud to uphold," Obama discussed his upbringing, including "the equal worth of ... [Read]

In the first two years of the Obama administration, Media Matters for America had expended some serious energy toward addressing LGBT issues, most notably in its work helping to refute criticism of and attacks on Kevin Jennings, the assistant deputy secretary for safe and drug-free schools in the Department of Education, and spearheading the joint organizational effort to produce the ... [Read]

Some news tonight from the Richmond Times-Dispatch: Attempts to ban gays from openly serving in the Virginia National Guard and, conversely, to have the Guard adhere to the same regulations as the U.S. Department of Defense, died on Tuesday in a House committee. The House Rules panel dispatched House Bill 2474, the proposed ban sponsored by Del. Robert G. Marshall, ... [Read]

Sen. Allan Kittleman (R-Carroll, Howard), who had been supporting civil-union legislation in Maryland in recent weeks, today announced his support for full marriage equality -- and for the marriage bill introduced on Jan. 25. In a statement released today, Kittleman said, "with the civil union legislation no longer being a viable option, I was put in the position of deciding ... [Read]