April 2011 Archives

GOProud is ready for the upcoming election, and ready to take on the president. Jimmy LaSalvia announced the launch of the group's election season plans today, saying in a statement, "Our organization's number one goal between now and November 2012 is defeating Barack Obama. We look forward to the Iowa Straw Poll as the kickoff to this effort." The release ... [Read]

On this week's Swish Edition, Metro Weekly editor Sean Bugg discusses the King & Spaulding brouhaha, the attack on Chrissy Lee Polis in Baltimore, and offers a glimpse into this week's cover story, celebrating 50 years of the Academy. ... [Read]

The board of directors at Equality Maryland announced today that Lynne Bowman, former director of programs and services at Equality Federation and a founder of Equality Ohio, will serve as the organization's interim executive director beginning May 2.  [UPDATE: Read Metro Weekly's exclusive interview with Bowman: "Help From Ohio."] The announcement comes less than one week after Equality Maryland's former ... [Read]

The White House responded this evening to questions about if and how the planned June 30 resignation date of Defense Secretary Robert Gates would impact the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, with White House spokesman Shin Inouye telling Metro Weekly, "The DADT repeal act was signed into law by the President, and certification and implementation will ... [Read]

Here's the report from Harlan Spector at The Plain Dealer: CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A federal judge ruled Monday that a gay Cuyahoga County worker can claim constitutional protection in her job discrimination lawsuit against the county. The ruling involves Shari Hutchinson, a lesbian who works for the county child support enforcement agency. Hutchinson sued the county in 2008, claiming she ... [Read]

President Barack Obama plans to nominate Leon Panetta, currently serving as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, to replace Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a senior administration official told reporters today. Gates has announced previously that he plans to leave office this year, but the official said that -- on the condition that Panetta is confirmed -- Gates would like ... [Read]

From this morning's off-camera press gaggle with White House press secretary Jay Carney:      QUESTION:  A question on the situation regarding the Defense of Marriage Act.  Yesterday Attorney General Eric Holder rejected attacks on Paul Clement, who is taking up defense of the statute on behalf of the U.S. House.  Paul Clement has taken a lot of heat from the ... [Read]

The Human Rights Campaign has pushed the story that its public protestations and threatened in-person protests led to the decision by Atlanta-based King & Spalding to seek to withdraw as counsel for the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group in its defense of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. Then, in a report relying heavily on HRC's account, Talking ... [Read]

Del. Joseline Pena-Melnyk (D-Anne Arundel, Prince George's), the lead sponsor of a bill that would have provided some protections to transgender Marylanders had it not been shelved during the 2011 legislative session, addressed her colleagues in an open letter, regarding the recent attack of a transgender woman and candlelight vigil which has been scheduled for tonight. "Incidents such as this ... [Read]

Today, the law firm of King & Spalding announced -- only 11 days after taking on the representation of the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group in its defense of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act -- that it was dropping its representation because the vetting process had been "inadequate." The move prompted the lead King & Spalding lawyer ... [Read]

[See Metro Weekly's full report from Chris Geidner: "King and Spalding Files Motion to Withdraw From DOMA Defense, Prompting Clement's Resignation."] King and Spalding, the international law firm that had contracted with the House of Representatives Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) to defend Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court challenges, announced this morning that the ... [Read]

A candlelight vigil is scheduled to take place at the McDonald's at 6315 Kenwood Ave. in Rosedale, Baltimore, at 7 p.m. on Monday night where on April 18 a transgender woman was physically attacked, before appearing to have a seizure, in an incident recorded on a portable phone by a McDonald's employee. The Baltimore Sun spoke to the victim, 22-year-old ... [Read]

A video that has garnered attention within the LGBT community appears to show a Baltimore County transgender woman being assaulted physically by two patrons of McDonalds on Monday, April 18, as employees from the restaurant stood by, one of them recording the incident on a portable phone. The Bilerico Project reported on the video today, which shows the woman battered ... [Read]

Shortly after Morgan Meneses-Sheets released a statement announcing her departure from Equality Maryland and that it was not her choice to leave, the organization's director of development Matt Thorn released a statement announcing that Meneses-Sheets was fired after a closed board meeting and that he is now leaving the organization in protest. Today, it is with great sadness that I ... [Read]

Morgan Meneses-Sheets, executive director of Equality Maryland, announced today, April 22, that she is it no longer with the organization. Shortly after her announcement, Equality Maryland's Director of Development Matt Thorn released a statement saying that Meneses-Sheets was fired after a vote by the Equality Maryland board, and that he is leaving the organization in protest. Meneses-Sheet's statement comes a ... [Read]

What Did Obama Mean?

Posted by Chris Geidner
April 21, 2011 1:47 PM |
If a picture says a thousand words, what does this video of President Barack Obama responding to an audience member at an event on April 20 in San Francisco crying out "gay marriage" by responding that "our work is not finished" mean? Let the wild speculation begin. ... [Read]

On Monday, April 18, news broke that King & Spalding partner Paul Clement would be the lead outside counsel representing the House's Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group in litigation challenging the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act -- the House Republican leadership's response to the Department of Justice's Feb. 23 decision not to defend Section 3 of ... [Read]

Former Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.), the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal leader who lost his re-election bid to Rep. Mike Fitpatrick (R-Pa.) in 2010, will not be seeking back his seat in Congress. He will, however, be asking voters across Pennsylvania to elect him attorney general in 2012. Current Attorney General William H. Ryan Jr., served as the First Deputy Attorney ... [Read]

The contract between House General Counsel Kerry Kircher and attorney Paul Clement, on behalf of King & Spalding, to "represent the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group as a party or as an amicus" in "one or more civil actions" relating to "the constitutionality of Section III of the Defense of Marriage Act" has been released. The news of the agreement became ... [Read]

Today, the House of Representatives Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, through Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), announced that it would be intervening in cases challenging the Defense of Marriage Act's constitutionality, a move authorized earlier this year by the Republican members of the BLAG. Word then came that former Solicitor General Paul Clement -- the top appellate litigator during part of the ... [Read]

Without opposition from either the Department of Justice attorneys representing the Obama administration or the lawyers representing Edith Windsor in her challenge to the federal definition of marriage contained in the Defense of Marriage Act, the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) of the U.S. House of Representatives filed a motion to intervene in Windsor v. United States "for the limited ... [Read]

The Human Rights Campaign released a statement today, April 18, criticizing Speaker John Boehner for "endorsing a right-wing plan to defund part of the Department of Justice because of the Obama Administration's thoughtful analysis that the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.":  The Speaker made his position known in response to a letter from Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi who ... [Read]

Today, President Barack Obama signed the budget bill that averted the government shutdown a week ago. In doing so, he issued a signing statement noting issues with three provisions -- two relating to transfer of detainees at Guantanamo and one that defunded four of the Obama "czars." Obama's statement did not, however, reference the District-related provisions that led to a ... [Read]

Today, the House Judiciary Submcommittee on the Constitution held its scheduled hearing on "Defending Marriage," featuring testimony from the National Organization for Marriage head Maggie Gallagher, Ed Whelan of the National Review and Ethics and Public Policy Center and Rutgers Law professor Carlos Ball. Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), the chairman of the subcommittee, opened the hearing with a discussion of ... [Read]

On Friday, April 15, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution will take a look at "Defending Marriage" in a hearing called by the subcommittee chairman, Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.). The hearing is set to take place at 10 a.m. in room 2141 of the Rayburn House Office Building and is slated to feature three witnesses, six Republican members and ... [Read]

In an email sent from the board of directors of The Trevor Project, it was announced that Charles Robbins, the executive director of The Trevor Project, resigned on April 8. The email says nothing about the reasons for Robbins's departure, and the board notes it "appreciates Charles' years of service and wishes him well in his future endeavors." Already, however, ... [Read]

On April 20-21, the Virginia State Board of Social Services will meet to consider "adopting new standards for licensed private child-placing agencies," which would allow same-sex couples to adopt children in the state for the first time. According to the Family Equality Council, this change could be helpful for Virginia children because of the state’s poor record in the area ... [Read]

After being online for a week and a half, the Republican National Committee site, "Hope Isn't Hiring," has disappeared -- and with it several strong statements from the RNC opposing President Barack Obama's claimed advancements on LGBT equality. The site, criticized by the Log Cabin Republicans and other LGBT groups, specifically took aim at President Barack Obama's efforts to repeal ... [Read]

Today, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden launched their new initiative, Joining Forces, "to support and honor America's service members and their families." With President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden at their side, however, the event was being launched without the inclusion of any gay and lesbian families. Asked why not, Kristina Schake, Michelle Obama's communications ... [Read]

The Palm Center, a think tank that has been dedicated to unparalleled research about the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy over the course of the law's life, announced today that it would be merging with the Williams Institute. The merger folds together two of the most well known LGBT research entities in the nation. Although both are think tanks that ... [Read]

Sen. Richard Madaleno (D-Montgomery), the only out LGBT member of the Maryland Senate, provided a statement to Metro Weekly regarding today's move by the Senate killing the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act, House Bill 235. Most notably, Madaleno said that, prior to the start of the 2012 session, he "will pre-file a new version of the Gender Identity Antidiscrimination Act that ... [Read]

Morgan Meneses-Sheets, executive director of Equality Maryland, said the organization was "shocked and appalled" today, April 11 -- during the last day of Maryland's legislative session -- by the 27 votes in favor of the sending the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act, House Bill 235, back to committee. That move killed the bill this year, and according to Meneses-Sheets raises the question ... [Read]

The Maryland Senate this afternoon sent the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act, House Bill 235, back to the Judicial Proceedings Committee during the bill's second reading, 27-20, killing the bill in this year's legislative session. The vote happened after Sen. James DeGrange (D-Anne Arundel), who was expected to vote against the measure, asked for the bill to be recommitted to committee.  ... [Read]

The Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act, House Bill 235, is on the schedule to be discussed and expectedly voted upon today, April 11, in the Maryland Senate on what is the last day of the state's legislative session. The bill passed favorably in the Senate's Judicial Proceedings Committee on April 9, with a 7-4 vote and an amendment from Sen. Brian Frosh ... [Read]

The Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee voted today, April 9, 7-4 in favor of the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act, House Bill 235. The legislation passed with an amendment, from Sen. Brian Frosh (D-Montgomery) to take out protections against discrimination based on "appearance, expression or behavior" and instead adding "the manifestation of that identity in gender-related appearance, characteristics and mannerisms." The ... [Read]

Today, House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution Chairman Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) called for a hearing on "Defending Marriage," which is scheduled to take place on April 15. The website for the House Judiciary Committee notes that the hearing will be held at 10 a.m. that day and is being held "By Direction of the Chairman." Committee press secretary Charlotte Sellmyer ... [Read]

The Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act, House Bill 235, was put on hold today in the Maryland Senate's Judicial Proceedings Committee by a request from Sen. Nancy Jacobs (R-Cecil & Harford Counties). The committee vote has been scheduled for Saturday, April 9.  Jacobs expressed concern on April 7, during a hearing regarding the bill, saying that her problem with the legislation, ... [Read]

Today, after a one-day delay from the original planned release on April 7, the State Department released the 2010 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. The reports provide a trove of country-specific information that often includes details of any anti-LGBT discrimination prevalent in the given country. From the introduction: A third trend, and one that points in a negative direction, ... [Read]

The Maryland Senate's Judicial Proceedings Committee held a hearing on House Bill 235, the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act, today, April 7, taking testimony in favor of and against the bill. The committee did not, however, vote on the bill this afternoon. The committee's clerk office confirmed that it could not establish whether a vote would occur tonight or tomorrow, although ... [Read]

[Photo: Gen. Peter Chairelli, vice chief of staff of the Army, testifies before the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday, April 7, 2011. (Photo by Chris Geidner.)] Following a little less than an hour of testimony and questions, the House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) adjourned his committee's hearing into the implementation of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell ... [Read]

Today, the Senate Judicary Committee moved forward the nomination of J. Paul Oetken, who was nominated for a judgeship in the Southern District of New York by President Barack Obama in January. A spokesperson for the judiciary committee, Erica Chabot said the nomination, along with three other district court nominees, will be "referred to the full Senate, where they will ... [Read]

The Arkansas Supreme Court today, in an opinion published without dissent, struck down the state's 2008 ballot initiative that prohibited unmarried, cohabitating individuals from adopting. As same-sex marriage is illegal and not recognized in Arkansas, this initiative had the effect of prohibiting same-sex couples from adopting children. From the court: On November 4, 2008, a ballot initiative entitled “An Act ... [Read]

At the end of the 111th Congress, 203 members of the 435-member body had joined Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) in co-sponsoring the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. The jobs protection bill, though only 14 members away from having a majority of the House as co-sponsors, never made it out of the House Education and Labor Committee chaired by ENDA co-sponsor Rep. George ... [Read]

Now retired, former U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker, who presided of the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial over the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8, was asked if he is gay and -- now -- he's telling. Reporters, at that. Reuters reports: The talk to a handful of reporters was Walker's first public comments to reporters about presiding over the lawsuit ... [Read]

Following up on the March 31 letter that Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) sent to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano seeking a stop on deportations of married, same-sex bi-national couples until a final judicial decision can be reached on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, a significant group of senators joined the cause today. Writing to both Attorney General ... [Read]

On Monday, April 4, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) launched the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP) Open Season. The program, which OPM director John Berry said in a release "gives enrollees security and peace of mind as they plan for the cost of long term care," is now open to same-sex domestic partners. This is the first ... [Read]

Maryland Senator Katherine A. Klausmeier's (D-Baltimore County) office confirmed on Tuesday, April 5, that the Senate's Rules Committee is about to meet. The Rules Committee, according to multiple sources, is expected to take action today on House Bill 235, the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act. [UPDATE @ 1:10 PM: According to Equality Maryland executive director Morgan Meneses-Sheets [and later confirmed by Klausmeier's ... [Read]

In an open letter sent to Maryland Senate President Thomas V. "Mike" Miller (D-Calvert, Prince George's), the seven LGBT members of Maryland's House of Delegates address House Bill 235's assignment to the Senate Rules Committee, instead of the Senate's Judicial Proceedings Committee: We respectfully request that you allow HB 235, Human Relations - Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity – Antidiscrimination ... [Read]

On Monday, April 4, the lead sponsors of the Respect for Marriage Act -- the bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act -- asked Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) for a briefing on any House defense of DOMA. On March 9, the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Committee -- on a party-line 3-2 vote -- passed a resolution that called on the ... [Read]

[Image, above: A screen capture from the top of the Republican National Committee's new website, "Hope Isn't Hiring," which takes aim at President Obama's record in office.] With the launch of President Barack Obama's re-election campaign, a response from the Republican National Committee was to be expected. "Hope Isn't Hiring," a new site launched by the RNC includes a page ... [Read]

Following up on this past week's largely uneventful House Armed Services Military Personnel Submcommittee hearing featuring Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Clifford Stanley and director of the Joint Staff, Vice Adm. William Gortney, the full House Armed Services Committee (HASC) will be taking a crack at hearing from the service chiefs on Thursday, Apr. 7. According to the ... [Read]

In LGBT news from today's White House press briefing transcript: Q:    One of the President's goals has been the passage of the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, which barred job discrimination against gay and transgender Americans.  That's going to be a challenge with Republicans in control of the House.  One idea that’s being proposed as an interim alternative is an executive ... [Read]

President Barack Obama filed the necessary paperwork with the Federal Election Commission today to begin his re-election campaign. Although expected, the move shifts the conversation and makes "Obama's re-election efforts" the prism through which much of the administration's upcoming moves will be viewed by the media. The Washington Post's Dan Balz writes, "President Obama’s decision to launch his 2012 reelection ... [Read]

[Photo: House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee members listen to testimony about the implementation of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act. (Photo by Chris Geidner.)] Today, testifying before the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee, Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Clifford Stanley laid out a plan that could end the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy by ... [Read]