January 2012 Archives

[Image: The Florida primary field. (Illustration by Aram Vartian.)] At the close of the polls in Florida at 8 p.m. Eastern Time, Fox News was able to call the Republican primary race immediately for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. At the close of the polls in the Central Time Zone panhandle of the state, Talking Points Memo reports that ... [Read]

Creating Change International Panel Highlights Trans Abuses And Ugandan Needs

Posted by Daniel Villarreal
January 31, 2012 5:15 PM |
Moderator Cary Alan Johnson, executive director of the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission, noted that more than 80 countries around the world still have laws targeting sexual and gender identity at the plenary panel on "International LGBT Issues and Organizing" this weekend at Creating Change. What's more, he said, other countries are creating new laws or worsening ... [Read]

Today, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network executive director Aubrey Sarvis told Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that his organization is "troubled" that a new program directive released recently failed to provide protection to same-sex partners. Referencing a request made by the organization in the run-up to the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" that it end discrimination against same-sex couples, where possible ... [Read]

The Department of Housing and Urban Development today released the final text of the department's new nondiscrimination rule, which will prohibit sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in several of the agency's programs, including Title VIII-based public housing and Federal Housing Administration-backed loans. The rule, according to a HUD news release, will be published in the Federal Register "next week." ... [Read]

Maryland Governor O'Malley: "We Must Choose Words and Laws" Of Compassion

Posted by Daniel Villarreal
January 29, 2012 5:00 PM |
[Photo: Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) addresses the 2012 Creating Change conference on Jan. 29, 2012. (Photo by Michael Maldonado.)] At the closing brunch of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force 2012 Creating Change conference, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) spoke of his newly introduced civil marriage bill, the state's gender identity bill, the country's other recent advances ... [Read]

[Photo: HUD Sec. Shaun Donovan speaking at Creating Change. (Photo by Chris Geidner.)] Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan today told those LGBT advocates gathered for the Creating Change conference taking place in Baltimore, Md., "HUD has been a leader in the fight ... for equality." As part of that, he announced that the federal housing program anti-discrimination regulation ... [Read]

Maryland's First Lady Catherine Curran O'Malley has apologized after a statement she made on Jan. 26 during her opening remarks at Creating Change, the 24th National Conference on LGBT Equality. During the speech, she referenced the failed 2011 marriage equality bill saying, "We didn't expect things that happened to the House of Delegates to occur," O'Malley said, "but sadly they ... [Read]

Rea Carey at Creating Change: "We Are Not A Single-Issue Movement"

Posted by Daniel Villarreal
January 27, 2012 4:40 PM |
[Photo: Rea Carey at the 2012 Creating Change conference. (Photo by Michael Maldonado.)] During her State of the Movement Address at the 2012 Creating Change conference this afternoon, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) executive director Rea Carey emphasized, "We are not a single-issue movement," effectively warning activists and media creators against focusing singularly on marriage equality at ... [Read]

On Friday, Jan. 27, a report co-authored by several national organizations will detail how, "[c]ontrary to stereotypes, children being raised by same-sex couples are twice as likely to live in poverty as those being raised by married heterosexual parents." Jennifer Chrisler, the executive director of one of those organizations -- the Family Equality Council -- spoke with Metro Weekly about ... [Read]

[Photo: Rep. Barney Frank talks to reporters in D.C. about his congressional retirement on Nov. 29, 2011. (Photo by Chris Geidner.)] He's retiring from Congress at the end of his current term, but news comes today that Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank (D) is adding at least one new commitment to his life. Initially reported by NECN, Frank's communications director ... [Read]

Tonight, OutServe announced that it will be holding a "Capital Summit" on May 14 and 15, with the aim of "gather[ing] actively-serving military of all sexual orientations with experts from resource and advocacy groups to discuss the legal rights of gay and lesbian military partners, as well as resources for their support," according to a release issued by the organization ... [Read]

President Barack Obama delivered the State of the Union Address tonight. The sole mention of LGBT issues came, basically, as an aside at the end of the speech, when Obama referenced the military's diversity and, by inference, the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell": Those of us who've been sent here to serve can learn from the service of our ... [Read]

With reporting by John Riley. Early today, Jan. 24, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) met with marriage-equality supporters at a breakfast held at the governor's residence to discuss the Civil Marriage Protection Act of 2012 before introducing it to the General Assembly. In a news conference today following the breakfast, O'Malley explained his support for marriage equality and why he ... [Read]

One of First Lady Michelle Obama's guests tonight at President Obama's State of the Union Address will be U.S. Air Force Colonel Ginger Wallace -- the first U.S. servicemember following the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" to have her partner, Kathy Knopf, participate in her "pinning" promotion ceremony.  In a statement today from Servicemembers United, Wallace said, "Kathy and ... [Read]

A week after calling for a public vote on marriage equality, Washington state Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen (D) has pledged to support a bill legalizing marriage equality all across the Evergreen State. Her support marks the crucial 25th vote needed to pass the Senate bill in the 49-person chamber, which is the last hurdle to passage of marriage equality ... [Read]

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is nominating the gay, black mayor of Chatham, N.J. to the state's supreme court, a historic nomination celebrated by the state's LGBT organization today. Garden State Equality executive director Steven Goldstein was told the news by Christie himself. "As I told the Governor right then and there, you could have picked me up off ... [Read]

On Jan. 27, The Advocate reported that major layoffs had occurred at the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, a fact confirmed by the organization to Metro Weekly. The nonprofit organization, whose aim is "empowering real people to share their stories, holding the media accountable for the words and images they present, and helping grassroots organizations communicate effectively," confirmed that ... [Read]

BREAKING: Gingrich Wins South Carolina

Posted by Chris Geidner
January 21, 2012 7:15 PM |
[NOTE: This post was updated throughout the evening, with the final update at 10:45 p.m.] Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) has won the South Carolina primary today, garnering more than 40 percent of the vote with two-thirds of the vote having been reported. The shift of circumstances for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), who began the week preparing, ... [Read]

[Photo: Boston Mayor Thomas Menino (D) speaks at Freedom to Marry's "Mayors for the Freedom to Marry" news conference on Jan. 20, 2012. (Photo by Chris Geidner.)] Boston Mayor Thomas Menino (D) told attendees of the winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors today that "[m]arriage for gay couples has made my city of Boston a much better place ... [Read]

Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) announced today on Facebook that her campaign for U.S. Senate raised more than $1 million in the last three months of 2011. The note states: Tammy is thrilled by the enormous outpouring of support for her campaign to fight for WI's middle class. Thanks to you, we raised over $1.1 mil last quarter. Tammy now has ... [Read]

[Image: The Republican field narrows in advance of the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary. (Illustration by Aram Vartian.)] This morning, Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced he was dropping his bid to be the Republican presidential nominee -- throwing his support to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich just three days after former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. dropped his bid ... [Read]

Gay men perhaps know West Hollywood-based filmmaker Ryan James Yezak for his music video tributes featuring nearly naked gay men lip-syncing songs like Katy Perry's "Peacock" and Kesha's "We R Who We R." On Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year, however, Yezak unveiled a video titled "The Gay Rights Movement," which presents a collage of contemporary LGBT film and ... [Read]

Today, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network announced that the group's executive director, Aubrey Sarvis, would be leaving the organization once a new executive director could be found. Sarvis led SLDN through the legislative repeal and implementation of the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the law whose passage led to the start of the organization in 1993. In a release, Sarvis ... [Read]

[Image: Screen capture of Jon Huntsman Jr, with his wife Mary Kaye Huntsman, announcing the end of his presidential campaign on Jan. 16, 2011.] Coming off his third-place "ticket to ride" finish in New Hampshire, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. announced today that he has ended his campaign for president and endorsed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for ... [Read]

This week, Tennessee State Rep. Richard Floyd (R) introduced a bill that would punish trans people with a class C misdemeanor for using a bathroom or dressing room outside of one matching the gender on their birth certificate. However, Sen. Bo Watson (R) withdrew the Senate version of the bill on Jan. 12, stating "we have more pressing issues before ... [Read]

The evangelical movement today took a stand to make it clear that, despite the cable TV talk that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has the Republican presidential nomination all but sealed up, they have not settled on the man former House Speaker Newt Gingrich refers to as the "Massachusetts moderate" for their pick for president. Although Gingrich was their second-place ... [Read]

Today, the Washington state senate filed a bill that would make The Evergreen State the seventh in the union to legalize marriage equality. But even though the bill may pass the Senate and eventually be signed into law, anti-LGBT opponents may still try and overturn it at the November ballot. The senate bill (supported by Democratic state Gov. Christine Gregoire) ... [Read]

Del. Heather Mizeur (D-Montgomery County) announced she is partnering with Del. Keiffer Mitchell, Jr. (D-Baltimore City) to co-host a town hall meeting on marriage equality, sponsored by the left-wing political advocacy group MoveOn.Org. The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. at the Silver Spring (Md.) Civic Building, located at One Veterans Plaza. Several Maryland organizations and ... [Read]

Responding to a report today in The Globe and Mail that "a [Canadian] Department of Justice lawyer says [a same-sex couple's] marriage is not legal in Canada since they could not have lawfully wed in Florida or England, where the two partners reside," concern quickly spread that Americans who married in Canada and have returned to the United States could ... [Read]

A recent hazing-related death at Florida A&M University has raised questions about both ongoing problems of hazing at the university and whether sexual orientation played a role in this particular incident. On November 19th, as detailed by CNN, after the Florida A&M University football team lost its annual game against Bethune-Cookman University, 26-year-old FAMU drum major Robert Champion Jr. ... [Read]

In today's Metro Weekly, I lay out a path forward in "Absent Update" for President Obama's stalled evolution on marriage equality. Definitely go read that first, but, of note for the point of this post, I write in part: [O]nce the [U.S. Court of Appeals for the] Ninth Circuit rules in Perry [v. Brown], and the dissatisfied party asks the ... [Read]

The 2012 election season had winners besides former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney on Jan. 10. In Minnesota, Susan Allen won her special election to become the state's first Native American female in the legislature -- and, in doing so, also added another LGBT lawmaker's voice to the effort to defeat the pending marriage amendment in the state. Winning the election ... [Read]

[Image: Screen capture of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaking to supporters after winning the New Hampshire primary on Jan. 10, 2011.] Unlike the long night in Iowa, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was on stage declaring victory in the New Hampshire primary at 8:26 p.m., focused not on the other Republican challengers but instead "the disappointing record of a ... [Read]

Responding to a question from Metro Weekly about former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (R)'s claim in New Hampshire on Jan. 9 that he and President Obama hold the same views about the right of same-sex couples to marry, White House press secretary Jay Carney initially parried today, saying, "I think ... you know very well what the president's views are ... [Read]

Noting that he often is told, "Santorum, quit trying to impose your morality on everyone else," former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum spent his time at the Derry-Salem Elks Club in New Hampshire this morning claiming that he and President Obama hold the same position on marriage equality -- but also explaining his conservative, anti-LGBT equality positions by using language more ... [Read]

President Obama had the 1996 Outlines survey, where, as a state Senate candidate, he had supported "same-sex marriages" but the White House was unwilling to discuss for the longest time. Now, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) has found a Republican primary version of that: a flier that BuzzFeed's Andrew Kaczynski reported was distributed by Romney's 2002 gubernatorial campaign ... [Read]

This morning, all of New Jersey's Democratic members of the U.S. Congress -- including Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez -- urged their state legislative colleagues to pass marriage equality, where the Star-Ledger reports a marriage equality bill is expected to be introduced this week. In the letter to the members of the New Jersey Senate and Assembly, which details ... [Read]

[Image: Screen capture of ABC/Yahoo! GOP presidential debate.] Tonight, the remaining Republican would-be presidential candidates met for one of two debates before the Jan. 10 primary election in New Hampshire -- but a short constitutional law primer is necessary to understand what was really going on when the candidates were asked about contraception, marriage and adoption. When asked by ... [Read]

The national understanding of rape, as defined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation's data collection program, now includes what Vice President Joseph Biden called a "long-awaited change to the definition of rape" that will include men who are raped, victims who are too drunk to consent, oral penetration without consent and other changes that will make the definition more expansive. ... [Read]

The American Civil Liberties Union, on behalf of four Michigan public employees and their partners, sued Michigan Gov. Richard Snyder (R) today to stop enforcement of the state's new law that prohibits some public entities from offering health coverage to their employees' domestic partners, arguing that the law is the "the result and expression of discriminatory animus toward gay and ... [Read]

WUSA9.com is reporting that Councilmember Harry Thomas, Jr. (D-Ward 5) is going to resign from office sometime this week, sources close to the councilmember tell the CBS affiliate television station.  Thomas, a two-term councilmember, came under scrutiny when faced with allegations that he had misused $300,000 earmarked for youth sports programs for personal expenses, including trips, golf outings, an SUV ... [Read]

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) decided to grant deferred action on the immigration case of Anthony John Makk, an Australian who is married to American Bradford Wells and had been denied a marriage-based green card, according to a news release issued this afternoon by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). The move, Immigration Equality spokesman Steve Ralls says, means ... [Read]

Bachmann Drops Presidential Bid

Posted by Chris Geidner
January 4, 2012 3:41 PM |
After a 5 percent showing in the Iowa caucuses, which were won by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) announced today that she is ending her bid for the Republican presidential nomination. According to CBS News: "Last night, the people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice, and so I have decided to stand aside," [Bachmann] ... [Read]

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney eked out a remarkably narrow win at the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3 to advance his presidential ambitions -- providing space, though, for come-from-behind second place finisher and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum to claim some of the success in the first-in-the-nation GOP contest. The Republican voters in Iowa selected Romney as the state's pick ... [Read]

[Source: Talking Points Memo.] With about one-third of the votes counted in tonight's Iowa caucuses, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum are locked -- within votes of one another -- in a three-way tie. UPDATE @ 10:50P: Still too close to call, but Romney and Santorum have taken a lead ... [Read]

Kyrsten Sinema, an out bi woman who has been endorsed by the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund in past state legislative races, announced today that she will be running for Congress in the new 9th congressional district in Arizona. Sinema, who would be the first out bi member of Congress, is running in part against, as she says in her ... [Read]

It's hours until the Iowa caucuses today, but the only LGBT news thus far today out of Iowa was Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann's terse exchange with CNN's Soledad O'Brien. Asked by O'Brien this morning about her 2004 comments that being gay was "part of Satan," Bachmann initially called it a "bizarre thing to bring up." When O'Brien countered that she ... [Read]

A day before the Iowa caucuses, The Atlantic's Molly Ball covers the "Santorum surge," writing of former Sen. Rick Santorum: Santorum, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul appear locked in a tight battle for the top spot on Tuesday. Late polling shows each hovering above 20 percent, within the margin of error. Assuming it's close, it probably matters little who places ... [Read]