October 2011 Archives

[Photo: Servicemembers Legal Defense Network executive director Aubrey Sarvis, left, speaks at a news conference on Oct. 27, 2011, announcing the organization's filing of a lawsuit challenging the Defense of Marriage Act, as several of the lawsuit's plaintiffs wait to speak. (Photo courtesy of SLDN.)] Today in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network filed a federal ... [Read]

The Family Research Council's political arm, FRC Action, today released its "Vote Scorecard" for the first session of the 112th Congress. Of the 10 House votes scored, half relate to abortion, two to the Obama health care legislation, two to LGBT issues and one to school vouchers. In the Senate, no LGBT votes were scored. FRC has been designated ... [Read]

[Image, above: Screen capture of the FaithVotes web site at 1:30 p.m. today. Image, below: Screen capture of the FaithVotes web site at 2:30 p.m. today.] A video uploaded to YouTube on Oct. 16 by user "djdubyasr" and promoted by the U.S. Pastor Council that takes aim at Houston Mayor Annise Parker caught the attention of the Gay and Lesbian ... [Read]

The Senate Judiciary Committee has set Nov. 3 for beginning the mark-up of the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. From Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the chairman of the committee: The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee will begin debate on legislation to repeal the Defense of Marriage (DOMA) on November 3, Chairman Patrick ... [Read]

The U.S. Court of Appeals fo the Ninth Circuit today granted a stay pending appeal of U.S. District Court Judge James Ware's order unsealing the tapes of the Proposition 8 trial. The appeals court, however, set a rapid schedule for considering the matter, ordering oral arguments on the question of releasing the tapes for the week of December 5. From ... [Read]

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) announced that the committee today reported the Elementary and Secondary Education Reauthorization Act of 2011 -- a mark-up that did not contain either of two anti-bullying bills pushed by LGBT advocates. The two amendments that advocates had been hoping to have been added to the bill are the ... [Read]

[Photo: Janice Langbehn receives the Presidential Citizens Medal from President Obama on Oct. 20, 2011. (Photo by Chris Geidner.)] Janice Langbehn, a woman who came to be known to the LGBT community and the nation because of a tragic wrong she faced, was recognized today by President Obama for "transform[ing] her own profound loss into a resounding call for compassion ... [Read]

Today and Thursday, Oct. 20, the Senate's Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is slated to consider the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. For more than a year, LGBT advocates have been told that the ESEA reauthorization is the time when two bills aimed at improving the lives of LGBT students would be addressed. The Safe Schools ... [Read]

The defense team of former Army Lt. Dan Choi was dealt a setback on Oct. 11 after a U.S. District Court judge ruled that the judge overseeing Choi's trial cannot allow Choi's attorneys to pursue a defense of selective or vindictive prosecution following a 2010 arrest while protesting in front of the White House, according to the Associated Press. Chief ... [Read]

Today, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced that his committee, which held a hearing on the Respect for Marriage Act earlier this year, will hold a mark-up session and vote on the bill that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act next month. In a statement announcing the news, Leahy said, "The march for equality continues, and now ... [Read]

At 2:25 p.m. today, on a 48-44 vote, the U.S. Senate confirmed Alison Nathan's nomination to serve as a federal judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Nathan, an out lesbian, will be the second out lesbian federal judge with lifetime tenure in the country, joining U.S. District Court Judge Deborah Batts on the ... [Read]

Today, in the 28th House District in Colorado, a little bit of history is being made as Brian Carroll announces his candidacy for the 2012 election for the seat. An Army veteran still serving in the Colorado National Guard, Carroll appears to be the first out gay servicemember to run for office after the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." ... [Read]

[Photo: President Barack Obama greets departing Associate Counsel to the President Alison J. "Ali" Nathan, left, Meg Satterthwaite, and their twin sons Oliver and Nathan, in the Outer Oval Office on July 7, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.)] Today, the U.S. Senate is slated to vote on the nomination of Alison Nathan for a seat on ... [Read]

Today, without comment, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case challenging Louisiana's policy that prevents unmarried adoptive parents from both being listed on a child's birth certificate. In this case, Adar v. Smith, a gay couple, Oren Adar and Mickey Smith, had adopted a child and were told by the registrar -- Darlene Smith -- that both men ... [Read]

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed two pro-transgender equality bills into law on Oct. 9. Masen Davis, the executive director of the Transgender Law Center, announced on Twitter that Brown had signed the two bills into law, both of which had been advocated for this session by the organization. From the TLC news release: Governor Brown just signed two important ... [Read]

The federal government asked U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Chief Judge Royce Lamberth today to stop a magistrate judge in the court from allowing former Lt. Dan Choi to proceed with a defense of selective or vindictive prosecution in his trial stemming from a 2010 arrest at the White House. Lawyers representing the government and Choi appeared ... [Read]

[Photo: Gautam Raghavan, the new White House "point of contact" on LGBT issues, is an associate director of public engagement in the White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs. (Photo courtesy of the White House.)] Today, the White House made formal what Metro Weekly first reported on Sept. 23: Gautam Raghavan, the former deputy White House liaison ... [Read]

[Image: Michael Fitzgerald testifies before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Oct. 4, 2011.] President Barack Obama's fourth out LGBT judicial nominee, California attorney Michael Fitzgerald, appeared before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee this afternoon along with three other federal trial court nominees for a brief hearing on their nominations. Fitzgerald was nominated by Obama on July 20 for a ... [Read]

On Oct. 1, the obligation of the federal government to pay for the House Republican leadership's defense of the Defense of Marriage Act increased from $500,000 to $750,000 -- with a new "cap" on the defense set at $1.5 million. Those new numbers are set by a modification of the original April contract between House General Counsel Kerry Kircher and ... [Read]

Besides President Obama's keynote address at the Human Rights Campaign's 15th annual national dinner, the two key political speeches came from a representative from Wisconsin and a mayor from New York. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) told the crowd -- to thunderous applause -- "I'm Tammy Baldwin, and I'm running for Senate." Baldwin, who was introduced by longtime HRC board of ... [Read]

[Photo: President Obama addresses the 15th annual Human Rights Campaign national dinner. (Photo by Chris Geidner.)] Tonight, President Barack Obama addressed the Human Rights Campaign for the second time in his presidency, speaking at the Washington Convention Center to a crowd of approximately 3,000 people. In one of the strongest attacks yet from the president against his potential Republican 2012 ... [Read]