August 2011 Archives

The trial of former Army Lt. Dan Choi for failure to obey a lawful order by a police officer was halted abruptly mid-afternoon today when the government prosecutor told the court she intended to file a writ of mandamus (or writ of prohibition) against Mag. Judge John Facciola for allowing Choi's defense team to investigate and pursue a defense of ... [Read]

With reporting from court by John Riley. The third day of the U.S. government's trial of former Lt. Dan Choi ended with a 10-day delay for the government to seek an order from a higher court stopping the decision made today by U.S. Magistrate Judge John Facciola to allow Choi's lawyers to argue the government singled out Choi for "vindictive ... [Read]

Former Army Lt. Dan Choi, the prominent "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal advocate currently facing a charge of failure to obey an order by a police officer in federal court, told his lawyer, Robert J. Feldman, to reject a last-minute offer from the U.S. Attorney's Office to avoid prosecution, an e-mail between Feldman and Assistant U.S. Attorney Angela George reveals.  ... [Read]

Former Army Lt. Dan Choi took the witness stand today during the second day of his federal trial for failing to obey a lawful order by a police officer, where he delivered several impassioned speeches protesting his prosecution in U.S. District Court for actions that, he believes, are protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  Choi, who became ... [Read]

Three weeks from today, the U.S. Armed Forces will begin living in a post-"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" world. The 60-day congressional review period will have passed since President Obama, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen certified on July 22 that the military was ready, under the terms of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell ... [Read]

While former Lt. Dan Choi has already spent a day in federal court for the charge of failing to obey a lawful order by a police officer, things are moving at a pace that left Choi’s defense guessing that the bench trial may take three days.  Choi, who has gained a national reputation as a prominent figure in the fight ... [Read]

The Human Rights Campaign this afternoon announced that its president, Joe Solmonese, will be stepping down from his role at the end of his current contract, which ends March 31, 2012. The news was announced following a report Friday evening, Aug. 26, by Pam Spaulding of Pam's House Blend that Solmonese would be leaving HRC after more than six years ... [Read]

[FOLLOW-UP ARTICLE: HRC Announces Solmonese's Departure in 2012, Start of "Search Process" for Successor] On Friday night, Aug. 26, Pam Spaulding at Pam's House Blend reported that Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese will be stepping down in the coming months from his leadership role at the nation's largest LGBT political organization, a fact confirmed by Metro Weekly. His most ... [Read]

FINAL UPDATE: As of 9:30 p.m. tonight, Virginia state Del. Adam Ebbin (D-Arlington) -- the only out LGBT lawmaker in the Virginia legislature, who was profiled on Aug. 11 in Metro Weekly -- bested his two challengers in his bid to win the Democratic nomination to run for the state Senate seat currently held by state Sen. Patsy Ticer (D-Alexandria). ... [Read]

Northern Virginia Democratic primary voters will go to the polls on Tuesday to decide whether they will nominate Virginia Del. Adam Ebbin (D-Arlington), Virginia's only out gay politician, for the 30th Senate District seat being vacated by retiring state Sen. Patsy Ticer (D-Alexandria). Ebbin -- profiled on Aug. 11 in Metro Weekly -- is running in a three-way Democratic primary ... [Read]

Today,'s Jeremy Kryn reported that GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain told a group of bloggers on a conference call held Aug. 16 that President Obama's decision to stop defending Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is "an impeachable offense." He also, according to the report, said that any impeachment effort based upon Obama's DOMA decision will not ... [Read]

Back on July 1, the Department of Justice took a big step in defining what its Feb. 23 decision that the federal definition of marriage found in Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional would look like. In Karen Golinski's case seeking equal health benefits for her wife, DOJ argued that the case should not be tossed ... [Read]

Attorney Lavi Soloway writes, "San Francisco Immigration Judge Marilyn Teeter has granted [Immigrations and Customs Enforcement] Motion to Administratively Close Deportation of gay Venezuelan Alex Benshimol, ending the nightmare faced by Alex and his American husband, Doug Gentry." Soloway -- the co-founder of Stop the Deportations and lawyer representing Benshimol -- notes that the decision was dated August 11 and ... [Read]

Sujey Pando, who is from Mexico and seeking asylum in the United States after facing a series of abuses and rape in Mexico, also married her wife, Violeta Pando, in Iowa this past year. Today, they had a hearing in immigration court in Denver, which was supposed to be a final decision on Pando's asylum claim but instead resulted in ... [Read]

Following the passage of California's S.B. 48 -- the FAIR Education Act (bill text) -- opponents immediately launched a referendum campaign aimed at stopping the law, which would amend the Education Code to include social sciences instruction on the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, as well as those of persons with disabilities and members of other ... [Read]

In an email to supporters, former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) announced that he would not be seeking to run for the state's other Senate seat, which is being vacated by Sen. Harb Kohl (D-Wisc.). The decision, one group backing her run, says the news makes Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) -- the only out lesbian in Congress -- the front-runner for ... [Read]

Following her straw poll win in Ames, Iowa, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) sat down with CNN's Candy Crowley, who asked if the Republican candidate for president would reinstate the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" military policy if elected president. "The 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy has worked very well," Bachmann replied. "It worked very well, and I would be in ... [Read]

In an effort to reach out to LGBT organization leaders who have expressed concerns about safety and police decisions in recent months, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier is meeting this afternoon with leaders of several LGBT organizations at MPD's headquarters.  The meeting, at 300 Indiana Ave. NW, was scheduled following the July 6 hate crimes hearing, which was organized by ... [Read]

Over at SCOTUSblog -- an indespensible resource for those who follow the work of the U.S. Supreme Court -- Kali Borkoski today announced an online symposium -- a collection of articles -- on the issue of same-sex marriage and the high court. The series of posts are to focus on California's Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act and ... [Read]

The GOP 2012 Field: After Ames

Posted by Chris Geidner
August 15, 2011 4:45 PM |
Over the weekend, Texas Gov. Rick Perry entered the Republican race for president; former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty dropped out of the 2012 race; Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann barely defeated Texas Rep. Ron Paul to win the Iowa straw poll in Ames, Iowa; and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney sat back, staying out of Iowa for the weekend. From the ... [Read]

Today, the National LGBT Bar Association, the official affiliate of the American Bar Association, announced its 2011 list of the "Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40." Of the 40 honorees -- who include lawyers from across the country -- one-quarter practice in the District, more than in any other city. The local lawyers recognized include three government lawyers: David W. Knight, ... [Read]

With White House Deputy Director of Public Engagement Brian Bond, who has served as the White House's liaison to the LGBT community, leaving for the Democratic National Committee to serve as director of constituency outreach later this month, the question was: Who would replace Bond? The answer, it turns out, is three different answers. Politico's Mike Allen reported this morning ... [Read]

Members of the local LGBT community, including the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA), Transgender Health Empowerent and the DC Trans Coalition, met with Mayor Vince Gray on Thursday, Aug. 4, to talk about transgender employment issues in the District. In a blog post on the GLAA's web site, Rick Rosendall, Vice President for Political Affairs at GLAA, summarizes Gray's ... [Read]

Today, GOProud announced that Ann Coulter would be serving as the honorary chair of the group's advisory council. The move comes as the latest in a back-and-forth skirmish between GOProud and Log Cabin Republicans, which this past week criticized a recent Coulter TV appearance. Coulter, in an interview with Joy Behar, started the latest skirmish between the two groups when ... [Read]

A Personal Aside: Seeing the Change

Posted by Chris Geidner
August 8, 2011 5:15 PM |
In 1713 -- nearly 300 years ago -- Chambers Russell was born. A founder of the town of Lincoln, Massachusetts, Russell built a two-story Georgian mansion house on the property about 1740 -- still decades before the colonies would declare their independence from Great Britain. Russell, a lawyer and judge, died before the new nation would be formed, but ... [Read]

Equality Maryland announced today that is seeking applicants for the organization's executive director position. While Lynne Bowman has served as the interim executive director of Equality Maryland since May of this year, Patrick Wojahn, board chair of the Equality Maryland Foundation, says as of yesterday no one has applied for the position.  On its web site, Equality Maryland states that it is looking for ... [Read]

The House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) has been defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court since President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Feb. 23 that the Department of Justice would no longer defend Section 3 of the law – the federal definition of marriage. In one of those cases – Edith Windsor's challenge ... [Read]