February 2012 Archives

A local organization today accused Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier of "abdicating" her responsibility to keep transgender people safe, but Lanier retorted that the LGBT community has failed to meet police halfway in their outreach efforts. The back-and-forth between the DC Trans Coalition and the MPD happened today during an MPD oversight hearing held by the D.C. Council's Judiciary ... [Read]

Public Policy Polling new polling released today shows Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) having improved in a match-up against her closest possible Senate competitor, former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) -- although the changes are within the margin of error and continue to show a nearly tied race between the two. Baldwin went up two and Thompson down one from the ... [Read]

[Graphic: Two primaries -- in Arizona and Michigan -- are being held on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012. (Illustration by Aram Vartian.)] Tonight, voters in Michigan and Arizona had a significant say in the selection of this year's Republican presidential nominee -- a say that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's wasn't expecting less than two months ago. Even more surprising is ... [Read]

Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe (R) will not be seeking re-election, meaning the loss of one of the most pro-LGBT equality members of the Senate Republican caucus -- and talk of a possible pick-up for Democrats. Snowe said in a statement, first reported by The Portland Press Herald, that "this was not an easy decision. My husband and I are in ... [Read]

This past week, in the midst of marriage equality votes in Maryland and a day after the heated back and forth on MSNBC’s Morning Joe between Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) and The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart about Christie's marriage equality bill veto – Metro Weekly spoke with MSNBC's Thomas Roberts about his upcoming appearance in D.C. as the emcee at ... [Read]

Today, the Department of Justice announced that the lawyer who argued against the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act in court this past December, Tony West, was being named to the No. 3 spot at Justice, with out gay DOJ lawyer Stuart Delery being promoted to take West's spot as the head of the Civil Division at DOJ. In ... [Read]

During his 88th birthday celebration this past Saturday, Feb. 25, Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe said "to hell with" British Prime Minister David Cameron over comments Cameron made at the October 2011 Commonwealth summit linking British foreign aid to the gay human rights records of recipient countries like Zimbabwe. Mugabe's remarks come on the heels of a new constitutional draft just ... [Read]

The bill hasn't been signed yet, but opponents seeking to overturn Maryland's recently-passed marriage equality bill are already organizing in preparation for an expected referendum. The marriage equality bill, scheduled to be signed into law by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) on Mar. 1, passed the Maryland Senate by a 25-22 vote one week after passing the House of Delegates by ... [Read]

House GOP Leadership Appeals DOMA Ruling

Posted by Chris Geidner
February 24, 2012 1:30 PM |
In a brief filing today in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group has announced that it is appealing this week's decision in Golinski v. Office of Personnel Management finding that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. The appeal sends the case to the U.S. Court of ... [Read]

The Maryland Senate passed HB 438, a bill legalizing marriage equality in the Free State, by a 25-22 margin after its third reading Thursday afternoon, sending the measure to Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) for his signature into law. O'Malley, who has made the bill part of his 2012 legislative agenda, has vowed to sign the bill. Opponents have vowed to ... [Read]

The Maryland Senate resumed debate today concerning amendments to HB 438, a bill to legalize marriage equality, just a day after opponents were able to postpone debate by having the bill laid over for one day. In total, six amendments were offered and all were rejected. The Senate has currently adjourned until 4 p.m., when the body will consider the ... [Read]

A year ago today, the announcement about the Defense of Marriage Act came by way of a letter from Attorney General Eric Holder to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). "After careful consideration, including a review of my recommendation," Holder wrote, "the President has concluded that given a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimination, classifications based on sexual ... [Read]

[Image: Screen capture of the Republican presidential debate on Feb. 22, 2012.] The Republican presidential debate in Arizona on Wednesday night, Feb. 22, featured no direct mention of LGBT issues -- and one very coded reference by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R). In the course of giving an answer about what he meant when he said he was "severely ... [Read]

Today, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued its order finding that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act -- the federal definition of marriage -- is unconstitutional in Golinski v. Office of Personnel Management, Karen Golinski's challenge to the denial of her request for equal health insurance benefits for her wife. Golinski, a federal ... [Read]

This past week, Rep. Darrell Issa's (R-Calif.) held a hearing titled, "Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?" in which religious figures spoke out against the federal mandate requiring health insurers to provide full contraception coverage for employees of religious-owned businesses. During the two-day panel (which largely ... [Read]

The Maryland Senate has postponed debate over a bill to bring marriage equality to the Free State, allowing opponents extra time to determine a strategy and draft amendments to the bill in hopes of postponing its passage in the upper chamber. The bill, HB 438, passed the House of Delegates on a narrow 72-67 vote last Friday and passed out ... [Read]

The proponents of Proposition 8 have filed the necessary paperwork today asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to reconsider the three-judge panel's decision on Feb. 7 in Perry v. Brown that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. The lead attorney for the proponents of Proposition 8 told Metro Weekly earlier today that they would be filing such a ... [Read]

The Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee voted largely along party lines Tuesday, Feb. 21, in favor of HB 438 (pdf), a bill to legalize marriage equality. The bill, supported by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), is now expected to go before the full Senate for a vote on Wednesday, Feb. 22. Seven of the eight Democrats on the committee, including Chairman Brian ... [Read]

Charles Cooper, the lead attorney for the proponents of Proposition 8, tells Metro Weekly that the proponents of the California marriage amendment will be asking the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to review the three-judge panel decision issued on Feb. 7 holding that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. [UPDATE @ 7P: READ Metro Weekly's report on today's ... [Read]

[Image, above: Screen shot from ABC News's This Week on Sunday, Feb. 19, 2012. Image, below: Gibbs.] The question of whether marriage equality will be a part of the Democratic Party platform this year was placed to the Obama campaign squarely today. The response: "I don't know." ABC News's Jake Tapper, guest hosting This Week, today asked former White ... [Read]

The Phoenix New Times published an article dated Feb. 16 detailing a relationship gone sour between conservative Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu (R), who is running for Congress in Arizona's 4th District and has made a name for himself as what the article calls an immigration hawk, and an immigrant from Mexico, who the article claims Babeu threatened with deportation ... [Read]

By Justin Snow, reporting from Annapolis. Gathering in the hall outside the chamber of the Maryland House of Delegates, supporters of marriage equality beamed with excitement on Friday evening. After nearly two hours of debate, the Maryland House of Delegates voted 72-67 to pass the Civil Marriage Protection Act of 2012, all but ensuring the legalization of same-sex marriage in ... [Read]

The Associated Press reports that, as expected, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has vetoed the bill passed on Thursday, Feb. 16, that would have allowed for same-sex couples to marry in the state. State legislators have until January 2014 to secure two-thirds veto-proof majorities needed in each chamber to turn the bill into law. Garden State Equality chair ... [Read]

The Department of Justice sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) today stating that the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments would not be defending the government's laws preventing equal treatment for servicemembers who have same-sex spouses, a decision confirmed by Metro Weekly that was first reported by Talking Points Memo's Ryan Reilly. A White House spokesman tells Metro ... [Read]

The New Jersey General Assembly has passed the Marriage Equality and Religious Exemption Act by a vote of 42-33, according to The New York Times and the Star-Ledger in New Jersey. The Assembly was 12 votes shy of the 54 votes required for a veto-proof majority, which is expected to be needed because Gov. Chris Christie (R) has said he ... [Read]

In a growing sign that the Democratic Party could face a significant question this summer over whether it will include marriage equality as a plank in the party's national platform, the co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus announced their support for such a plank today. The co-chairs, Reps. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), released a joint statement announcing ... [Read]

In Washington this past week and New York this past year, Republican lawmakers came out in support of marriage equality to help the bills pass. As the vote in Maryland on the Civil Marriage Protection Act of 2012 approaches, a similar pattern is appearing in Annapolis -- with three state lawmakers now announced in support of the bill. On Feb. ... [Read]

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, the LGBT military legal advocacy group, agreed to delay its challenge to military policies that the organization says discriminate against servicemembers with same-sex spouses so that a federal appeals court can resolve two pending federal appeals challenging the federal definition of marriage in the Defense of Marriage Act. On Wednesday, Feb. 15, U.S. District Court Judge ... [Read]

Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) signed a statewide marriage equality bill into law this Monday, Feb. 13. The same day, the New Jersey Senate passed a marriage equality bill by a 24 to 16 vote. But both bills will continue to face political opposition, leaving both states' same-sex couples uncertain about their marriage prospects. Also this week, the Colorado legislature ... [Read]

In an email to One iowa's supporters, outgoing executive director Troy Price announced that he was leaving the organization to work for President Obama's reelection: I am writing to you today with mixed emotions to announce my departure from One Iowa. I have been offered and accepted a position as Political Director with the Obama for America campaign. This was ... [Read]

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) supports the 2012 Democratic Party platform including, for the first time, language in full support of marriage equality, her spokesman told Metro Weekly on Tuesday evening, Feb. 14. The former House speaker's support for the move comes in response to Freedom to Marry's announcement on Feb. 13 that it was launching a campaign to ... [Read]

The marriage equality bill in Maryland -- the Civil Marriage Protection Act of 2012 -- will be sent to the full House for a vote, following committees' passage of the bill tonight. According to The Capital of Annapolis: The House Judiciary and Health and Government Operations committees voted 25-18 to send the same-sex marriage bill to the floor for all ... [Read]

[Image: Screen capture of Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill sponsor David Bahati's appearance on MSNBC.] As the Associated Press claims that Uganda's newly re-introduced Anti-Homosexuality Bill (AHB) directly conflicts with the President Yoweri Museveni's foreign policy agenda, today Jim Burroway of Box Turtle Bulletin reported that the bill is so broadly worded that it could incriminate any clothed individuals who accidentally ... [Read]

[Image: Screen capture of Gov. Christine Gregoire (D-Wash.)'s speech upon signing the state's marriage equality bill on Feb. 13, 2012.] Washington state Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) has signed same-sex marriage bill into law, completing the final stage on the road to marriage equality in the Evergreen State. The bill, concerning civil marriage and domestic partnerships, was signed today during a ... [Read]

Today, Freedom to Marry announced in a news release that it will be pushing the Democratic Party to adopt full marriage equality in its 2012 party platform -- despite that the position is not held by the leader of the Democratic Party, President Obama. Freedom to Marry's position is supported by other LGBT organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign, National ... [Read]

The New Jerey State Senate has passed marriage equality by a vote of 24-16. The bill, which was expected to pass through the Senate, must now make it through the state Assembly on Thursday. Passage could have a significant impact on the state. According to the 2010 Census, per the Williams Institute, there are an estimated 16,875 same-sex couples in ... [Read]

[Photo: The scene at the Maryland House of Delegates joint committee hearing on Feb. 10, 2012. (Photo by John Riley.)] Like Rocky Balboa, marriage equality is back for another round of fighting. Supporters and opponents of a bill legalizing same-sex nuptials clashed once more at a joint hearing of the House Judiciary and Health and Government Operations committees on ... [Read]

[Photo: Contractors, Obama for America staff and attendees of Feb. 9, 2012, fundraiser for President Obama's re-election work and mill around outside the D.C. home where the president had spoken earlier in the evening. (Photo by Chris Geidner.)] Tim Gill, one of the most significant funders in the LGBT movement and a host of the Thursday night, Feb. 9, fundraiser ... [Read]

There has been much commentary in the past two days about the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit's opinion affirming the trial court decision that California's Proposition 8 is unconstitutional, from The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart, Slate's Dahlia Lithwick and The American Prospect's E.J. Graff to Jason Mazzone and Rick Hasen to Orin Kerr and Eugene Volokh. Only ... [Read]

While the Washington state House passed a Senate-approved state marriage equality bill that will soon be signed into law by Governor Christine Gregoire (D), three out LGBT Illinois state representatives -- Kelly Cassidy (D), Greg Harris (D) and Deb Mell (D) -- introduced the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act to legalize marriage equality in Illinois. The Illinois bill would ... [Read]

Today, White House press secretary Jay Carney spent a significant amount of the White House press briefing defending the Health and Human Services Department's decision regarding requiring health plans -- including some offered by religious-backed entities -- to include contraception coverage against criticism from religious advocates and adherents, congressional Republicans and Republican presidential candidates by saying the decision was about ... [Read]

The so-called "conscience clause" bill that would allow private child placement agencies to discriminate against prospective adoptive or foster parents based on sexual orientation, family status and a number of other factors continued its march toward becoming state law as Republicans held fast against amendments to the bill during its second reading in the Virginia Senate.   The bill, Senate ... [Read]

[Photo: The CNN newsroom a little past 1 a.m. Feb. 8, 2012. (Photo via John King on Twitter.)] About 12 hours after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit paved the way, pending appeal, for same-sex couples to be able once again to marry in California, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum (R) -- one of the most clear ... [Read]

Thanks to The Village Voice's Steven Thrasher, you have the ability to hear me talk about today's Proposition 8 decision, in addition to reading about it. Enjoy! ... [Read]

Although neither candidate supports marriage equality, today's decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Perry v. Brown striking down California's Proposition 8 gave the campaign of President Obama and his most likely general election challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), a chance to spar a bit on LGBT equality issues. Although White House press ... [Read]

One of the lawyers fighting Proposition 8 said that today's decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Perry v. Brown striking down the initiative makes it "somewhat less likely" that the U.S. Supreme Court would hear an appeal of the case, while his co-counsel was more ambitious, suggesting that the ruling could have a ripple ... [Read]

[NOTE: This post was expanded and updated, with the last update at 2 p.m.] The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit today affirmed the August 2010 decision by U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker that California's 2008 amendment banning same-sex couples from marriage is unconstitutional, deciding the case on narrow grounds relating to the facts of the amendment's ... [Read]

[UPDATE: THE NINTH CIRCUIT HAS RULED - "BREAKING: Ninth Circuit Strikes Down Proposition 8 on Narrow Grounds."] Although the path to get here is a winding one -- and although the details are important -- today's coming decision in the challenge to the constitutionality of Proposition 8 brought by the American Foundation for Equal Rights in Perry v. Brown likely ... [Read]

Calling Uganda's anti-homosexuality bill "manifestly inconsistent with Uganda's international human rights obligations," a U.S. State Department spokeswoman tells Metro Weekly it continues to oppose the legislation, which lawmakers in Uganda are reportedly planning to reintroduce. Box Turtle Bulletin reported the possible reintroduction on Feb. 6. The bill was first considered in 2009 and, if passed, would greatly enhance the country's ... [Read]

During the Feb. 2 New Jersey Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the state marriage equality bill, Greg Quinlan president of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX, pictured right) testified against the bill by saying that homosexuals, with therapy, can convert into heterosexuals -- a notion discredited by the American Psychological Association. Nevertheless, Quinlan and his practices have found ... [Read]

Quick on the heels of Metro Weekly's exclusive reporting this weekend and on Feb. 6 about a proposed executive order to prohibit sexual orientation and gender identity employment discrimination among federal contractors, The Washington Post editorial page has come out in favor of such an executive order and The New York Times op-ed page features supportive discussion of the issue ... [Read]

[Image: Screen capture of HRC's homepage celebrating Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein's support for marriage equality.] LGBT grassroots activists, calling themselves the Queer Occupy Wall Street Caucus, united outside of New York City's Waldorf-Astoria hotel on Feb. 4 to demonstrate against a Human Rights Campaign gala honoring, among others, global investment banking and securities firm Goldman Sachs for its ... [Read]

[UPDATE: THE NINTH CIRCUIT HAS RULED - "BREAKING: Ninth Circuit Strikes Down Proposition 8 on Narrow Grounds."] The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit's public information office expects a ruling on Tuesday, Feb. 7 by 10 a.m. Pacific/1 p.m. Eastern Time in the Perry v. Brown case challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8. The long anticipated appeals court ... [Read]

With the senior policy advisor for Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) telling Metro Weekly on Feb. 4 that timing is key for President Obama to take action to prohibit federal contractors from discriminating against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, questions about the specifics of the proposed executive order -- on which the White House is not ... [Read]

Although the White House remains silent about the status of a proposed executive order to ban LGBT discrimination among federal contractors, some of D.C.'s leading LGBT advocates and lawmakers have been meeting to strengthen the case for and work out the details of the proposal, Metro Weekly has learned. In mid-January, the House's longtime lead sponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination ... [Read]

Virginia Anti-Gay Adoption Bill Could Cost State Taxpayers Millions

Posted by Daniel Villarreal
February 3, 2012 3:12 PM |
Today, the Virginia legislature took two steps toward passing a bill allowing private adoption agencies to refuse adopting to same-sex couples based on "religious or moral beliefs." Sen. Jeffrey McWaters (R) and Del. Todd Gilbert (R) introduced the bill which passed 8 to 7 along party lines in the Senate committee and 71 to 28 in the state House. ... [Read]

One Million Moms, a project of the the American Family Association, called upon JC Penny to fire talk show host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres after she was hired as the company's new spokesperson on Jan. 25 -- a move that led to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance to launch an online campign "standing up" for the out lesbian entertainer and ... [Read]

Just as a recent Washington Post poll shows for the first time that a majority of Marylanders support marriage equality, LGBT activists and their allies are scrambling to deliver the votes needed to pass the measure through the Maryland General Assembly.  The Post poll found that 50 percent of Marylanders support marriage equality, while 44 percent are opposed. The poll ... [Read]

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled today that the videotape of the trial over the constitutionality of Proposition 8 -- Perry v. Brown -- should not be released, reversing U.S. District Court Judge James Ware. From the court's unanimous opinion, authored by Judge Stephen Reinhardt: We resolve the narrow question before us on a narrow basis ... [Read]

[NOTE: This post was updated throughout the aftermath of the vote, with the final update at 12:50 a.m. Feb. 2.] [Photo: The Washington Senate, voting on Feb. 1, 2012, to pass the state's marriage equality bill. (Photo by Joe Mirabella.)] In Washington state on the evening of Feb. 1, the marriage equality bill passed the state Senate on a 28-21 ... [Read]

November's chickens have come home to roost for Virginia's LGBT population. After Democrats lost two seats last year to split the Senate 20-20, and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) cast the tie-breaking vote to shift control of the upper chamber to the Republicans, many LGBT activists publicly worried that they would be fighting an uphill battle, not only to get ... [Read]

On Tuesday, the pink-ribboned breast cancer charity known as Susan G. Komen for the Cure stopped issuing grant money to Planned Parenthood, a nationwide, nonprofit provider of reproductive, maternal and child health services which also include breast and cervical cancer screenings. Susan G. Komen says its decision comes from a new rule forbidding funding to any organizations under government investigation; in ... [Read]

An appeals court ruling on whether the public should be able to watch video of the trial challenging Proposition 8 is expected on Thursday, Feb. 2 -- but it's unclear, regardless of the court's decision, that the tape will not be released to the public immediately. [See update.] The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit's public information ... [Read]