June 2011 Archives

At the White House LGBT Pride Month Reception this afternoon, President Barack Obama only made one real news announcement -- telling the mostly white, mostly male crowd that "in a matter of weeks, not months, I expect to certify the change in policy" required by the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act –- "and we will end 'don't ask, don't ... [Read]

[Photo: President Obama speaks to reporters on June 29, 2011 in the East Room of the White House. (Photo by Chris Geidner.)] At the presidential news conference today, President Barack Obama wanted to focus on the economy. Two reporters, however, NBC's Chuck Todd and The Wall Street Journal's Laura Meckler, shifted the focus at points to marriage. Although the ... [Read]

Today, the Department of Health and Human Services announced a plan to include sexual orientation and gender identity in health data collection, a result of discretion granted to the secretary of HHS in a provision of the Affordable Care Act addressing data collection regarding health disparities. Specifically, today's plan requires "HHS [to] integrate questions on sexual orientation into national data ... [Read]

Robert Lee Pitman, an out gay magistrate judge in the Western District of Texas, was nominated today by President Barack Obama to serve as the U.S. Attorney for the district, which includes San Antonio and Austin and also covers the western end of the state. In a statement announcing the nomination and three others, Obama said, "These nominees have proven ... [Read]

On Wednesday, June 29, President Barack Obama and the First Lady are due to host the LGBT Pride Month Reception at the White House. Today, Get Equal announced that volunteers will be showing up with cards in hand to the White House to provide guests with a "Get Bold to Get Equal Scavenger Hunt." Get Equal DC volunteer Charles Butler ... [Read]

What New York Wrought

Posted by Chris Geidner
June 28, 2011 10:25 AM |
[Image: Screenshot of White House press secretary Jay Carney responding to Bill Press's question about same-sex marriage on Monday, June 27.] Days after the New York legislature passed and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed a bill to allow same-sex marriages, signs were clear that the fallout was going to be widespread -- from awkward exchanges in the White House ... [Read]

Equality Maryland's board of directors unveiled today, the organization's six-month strategic plan to "stabilize internal operations of Equality Maryland" by December 31.  In a statement posted on Equality Maryland's website, they write: The boards are committed to embracing a new way of doing business in order to create a community supported organization.  By doing so, they will secure the necessary ... [Read]

The Advocate's Andrew Harmon reported three more military separations related to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in recent weeks, in addition to the one previously reported by Metro Weekly. Air Force spokesman Joel Harper released this statement about all four discharges: On April 29th, 2011, the Secretary of the Air Force approved the discharge of an Airman under the provisions of ... [Read]

[FOLLOW UP: Read "A Singular Sensation," Metro Weekly's full report on tonight's vote and bill-signing.] Following developments late this afternoon surrounding the religious exemption language in New York's proposed marriage equality bill, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R) has said a vote on the bill will happen this evening in the Senate. Assembly Majority Leader Ron Canestrari (D), according ... [Read]

Today, the White House announced the President Barack Obama will be appointing former Rep. Patrick Murphy -- the House champion of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal who lost his re-election bid in 2010 -- to be a member of the Board of Visitors to the United States Military Academy, or West Point -- the institution where he formerly taught constitutional ... [Read]

[FURTHER UPDATE: MARRIAGE BILL PASSED: Read "A Singular Sensation," Metro Weekly's full report on tonight's passage of New York's marriage equality law and Gov. Andrew Cuomo's late-night bill-signing.] [NOTE: A new post, "New York Marriage Vote: Tonight" will cover all developments from 7 p.m. Friday, June 24, onward -- as well as providing the New York Senate livestream.] Less than ... [Read]

Tonight, President Barack Obama -- with emcee Neil Patrick Harris -- addressed a crowd of about 600 supporters who paid a minimum of $1,250 for a seat at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers on Seventh Avenue in New York City. Introduced by former Army Capt. Jonathan Hopkins -- a West Point graduate forced out of the military because of "Don't ... [Read]

Equality Maryland announced on Thursday, June 23, that the organization will not be renewing contracts with the organization's field director Damon Hainline, field organizer Karess Taylor-Hughes and the communications manager Linsey Pecikonis, beyond June 30. Remaining on staff through July, a month in which the organization will focus on fundraising, will be one field organizer Owen Smith, office manager Kim ... [Read]

[Obama for America 2012 representatives gather outside the Broadway Theater production of Sister Act on June 23, in preparation for President Obama's evening visit and remarks at the theater. (Photo by Chris Geidner.)] As President Barack Obama travels to New York this evening, he will be making three stops -- the first at the LGBT Leadership Council Gala at the ... [Read]

Following Metro Weekly's June 20 report about a series of LGBT organizations that have submitted letters to the Federal Communications Commission regarding issues that had been the focus of AT&T lobbying, Equality California interim executive director Jim Carroll told Metro Weekly that the organization today filed a letter with the FCC withdrawing its 2009 letter regarding net neutrality regulations being ... [Read]

From today's White House press briefing, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius talked about the difficulties of collecting health data about LGBT populations:      Q    Madam Secretary, I have a question for you on a different topic.  As I’m sure you know, the absence of nationwide data about the LGBT community’s health needs and disparities has been a problem.  ... [Read]

Asked about "the president's views on the gay marriage bill in New York," White House press secretary Jay Carney started giving a series of answers in the Monday, June 20, press briefing that drew clear and unmistakable attention to a series of delicate political circumstances surrounding President Barack Obama and LGBT advocates who are looking for the president to support ... [Read]

As a supplement to Metro Weekly's in-depth report on the scope of AT&T's involvement in the public policy positions of multiple LGBT organizations, here are the letters submitted over the course of more than two years. Equality California: 07-52 10-13-2009 Geoff Kors 7020141585.pdf Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation: 09-51 06-05-2009 Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation 6520219446.pdf 07-52 01-25-2010 ... [Read]

The board co-chair of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation confirmed that Jarrett Barrios submitted a resignation letter to the board and that he will be helping the organization "manage the transition" for his successor. Beyond that, however, Roxanne Jones was unable to provide Metro Weekly with many specifics in a discussion about recent happenings at the media watchdog ... [Read]

GLAAD's Barrios Resigns

Posted by Chris Geidner
June 18, 2011 6:25 PM |
Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation communications director Rich Ferraro emailed Metro Weekly regarding the article published earlier today at Politico about the future leadership of Jarrett Barrios. He writes: This evening Jarrett Barrios resigned from his position as President of GLAAD. I'm sure you might have seen a Politico article that ran this evening regarding GLAAD’s Board of Directors. ... [Read]

The "glittering" fad -- which began when Nick Espinosa tossed glitter at Newt Gingrich earlier this year and continued when others "glittered" Tim Pawlenty -- continued across the GOP 2012 presidential field today when pro-LGBT activist Rachel E. B. Lang "glittered" Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) at the RightOnline conference. The difference today was that Get Equal was on the case ... [Read]

The news of the day from Netroots Nation, taking place in Minneapolis, came when White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer stated that then-state senate candidate Barack Obama had not filled out the 1996 questionnaire stating that he supported same-sex marriage -- a survey that has been reported countless times over the past couple years. He was asked about the 1996 ... [Read]

On Thursday, June 16, the Senate Armed Services Committee complete its work on the National Defense Authorization Act, announcing on Friday morning that it had been unanimously approved by the committee. None of the three amendments opposed by LGBT advocates that were adopted by the House in its version of the bill earlier this year are listed in a comprehensive ... [Read]

Over the course of the past hour, Lady Gaga -- who had been very involved in the 2010 "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal efforts -- jumped into the New York marriage debate. Minutes ago, she provided her nearly 11 million Twitter followers with a link to the Human Rights Campaign's New Yorker for Marriage Equality webpage, which is used to ... [Read]

An incident involving a supermarket, a D.C. gay couple, an epithet and an apology grabbed the attention -- and the Twitter feed -- of a member D.C. City Council this evening. D.C. City Councilmember Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) reacted today to news that a gay couple had been called "faggots" over this past weekend by a cashier at the ... [Read]

Tonight, marriage equality in New York took a step forward -- albeit one it's taken several times previously. Simon Garron-Caine at Gay City News reports: While State Senate Republicans on June 15 dragged their heels on moving a marriage equality bill to debate and a vote, the Assembly, having waived the three-day hold on newly introduced legislation, rushed Governor Andrew ... [Read]

The Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families today announced it has a awarded a $250,000 contract to the Heartland Alliance of Chicago to create first-ever resource center to support the resettlement of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender refugees. From the release: "The Obama administration has issued a clear mandate that comprehensive human rights include the elimination of ... [Read]

Former Lt. Dan Choi was in federal court today, the lone individual still facing charges from any of the 2010 "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" protests that took place at the White House. He also was in uniform, a reminder of the symbol for repeal that Choi and other active servicemembers became during the course of the 2010 debate over ending ... [Read]

U.S. District Court Judge James Ware ruled today that the Aug. 4, 2010, decision by now-retired Judge Vaughn Walker striking down Proposition 8 as unconstitutional could not be vacated -- as the proponents of Proposition 8 argued on Monday, June 13 -- because Walker is gay and has a partner. In introducing the denial, Ware writes: After considering the Oppositions ... [Read]

Today, in a move announced last week, the Department of Education sent a letter to schools around the nation alerting them to their obligations under the Equal Access Act -- specifically as they relate to gay-straight alliances and other similar student organizations. Education Secretary Arne Duncan wrote that the act "requires public secondary schools to treat all student-initiated groups equally, ... [Read]

Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics against House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) regarding the $500,000 contracted by the Office of the General Counsel for the defense of the Defense of Marriage Act. The contract at issue -- first signed with King & Spalding and then with Bancroft, PLLC -- ... [Read]

Today, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California, in Los Angeles, released an opinion finding Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional in a bankruptcy filing brought by a same-sex married couple, Gene Douglas Balas and Carlos A. Morales. The underlying basis for the challenge was described by the court: This case is about equality, ... [Read]

GOP Debate ... Live!

Posted by Chris Geidner
June 13, 2011 8:01 PM |
I'll be liveblogging the GOP 2012 presidential debate taking place in New Hampshire and broadcast on CNN here should any LGBT questions or answers arise or other related news of interest to LGBT people, but be sure to follow me on Twitter for live coverage. * * * 8:12: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) announced that she filed the paperwork necessary ... [Read]

This afternoon, a suggestion from outgoing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" certification could come before he is set to leave office at the end of the month. From the Associated Press: Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he sees no roadblocks to repeal of the ban on gay military members serving openly. He says if the ... [Read]

Today, a group of lawyers led by Tennessee attorney and former Lambda Legal legal director Abby Rubenfeld is filing a lawsuit instate court challenging the constitutionality of a law recently passed in the state that would prohibit local municipalities and counties, including local school districts, from enacting local laws or school policies that protect LGBT people against discrimination. Rubenfeld will ... [Read]

On June 12, 2011, residents of and visitors to Washington, D.C., celebrated lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride at the Capital Pride Festival. Less than five blocks away -- but 44 years earlier -- the U.S. Supreme Court met to hand down its opinion in Loving v. Virginia, a case brought by Mildred and Richard Loving challenging Virginia's anti-miscegenation law ... [Read]

On June 3, the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group -- the three Republican members -- filed a motion to dismiss Karen Golinski's lawsuit seeking equal health insurance benefits for her wife. A federal court employee in California, Golinski has spent the past couple years in a legal process that had at one point pitted the judges of the U.S. Court ... [Read]

Asked today to explain the difference between a 2009 moratorium on deporting certain widows and widowers of U.S. citizens and the White House's failure to take up advocates' request that a similar moratorium be issued to stop the deportation of the foreign same-sex partner of U.S. citizens, White House press secretary Jay Carney provided no direct answer -- only reiterating ... [Read]

Pride at Work, a nonprofit labor organization that is the official LGBT constituency group for the AFL-CIO, announced today that Morgan Meneses-Sheets has been hired as the organization's development director. The organization, whose mission is to ensure equality and visibility for LGBT people at their place of employment, stated in a message to supporters: "Morgan is an exemplary, tireless ... [Read]

On June 7, Jim Burroway at Box Turtle Bulletin -- the same blog that has led the country in its coverage of Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill -- unveiled his newest project: "What Are Little Boys Made Of?" In introducing this new investigation, Burroway wrote: In the summer of 1970, just before Kirk [Murphy]'s fifth birthday, his parents learned about a new ... [Read]

Tonight, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) -- a leading potential 2012 Republican challenger to President Barack Obama -- was on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight. Romney was asked about same-sex marriage and how his faith affects his political views on matters relating to homosexuality. Romney has said that he had supported "gay rights," but Morgan questioned that because of his ... [Read]

An Air Force spokesman told reporters that the April 29 discharge of an Airman under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" -- the first such discharge since heightened procedures for discharge were instituted in October 2010 -- was based on a statement from the Airman that he was gay. Following up on Metro Weekly's June 2 report that the Airman had been ... [Read]

Winning the Future, LGBT-Style

Posted by Chris Geidner
June 1, 2011 4:55 PM |
The Obama administration -- ever eager to advance its 2011 theme of "winning the future" -- has now extended the three-word slogan to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality with an official White House web page: "Winning the Future: President Obama and the LGBT Community." Brian Bond, deputy director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, described the ... [Read]