March 2012 Archives

The ongoing dispute between the House Republican and Democratic leadership over the defense of federal laws banning recognition of same-sex married couples reached a new level today as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) claimed that a planned filing by the lawyers representing the House Republicans to oppose equal veterans benefits to a ... [Read]

In a development reported earlier today by The Huffington Post's Sam Stein, documents provided to Metro Weekly and other LGBT entities show that Mitt Romney's Free and Strong America PAC contributed $10,000 to the National Organization for Marriage in 2008. One of 50 donations listed on NOM's 2008 IRS Form 990, the donation is listed only as having come from ... [Read]

Another day, another poll showing Marylanders divided over the issue of marriage equality. With the state's recently passed marriage equality law likely headed to referendum on the November ballot, opponents of marriage equality are touting a new poll by the independent firm OpinionWorks and reported by The Washington Post showing that 43 percent of registered voters in Maryland would vote ... [Read]

Today, at an event in a bowling alley, presidential candidate and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum told a young man bowling with him, who apparently had reached for a pink bowling ball, "You're not gonna use the pink ball. We're not gonna let you do that. Not on camera," according to Reuters reporter Sam Youngman. The Human Rights Campaign's vice ... [Read]

"Marriage will be won or lost in the United States in the next two to three years," the previously confidential memorandum from 2009 stated. In the summer of 2009, the National Organization for Marriage led off its "$20 million strategy for victory" memo with that assessment. Weeks earlier, Nate Silver, then writing at fivethirtyeight.com, had looked at the polling on ... [Read]

On Monday, March 26, the Department of Justice took aggressive action to move forward the case of a California federal court employee, Karen Golinski, who is beginning to receive equal health insurance coverage for her wife as a result of the trial-court win in her ongoing lawsuit challenging the constitutionality Defense of Marriage Act. Calling the resolution of the case ... [Read]

As the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit gears up to hear appellate arguments next week in two cases challenging the federal definition of marriage contained in the Defense of Marriage Act that excludes same-sex couples, the "who's who" of the arguments are getting sorted out as the court today announced the three-judge panel that will be hearing ... [Read]

Jeremy Kennedy -- the campaign manager for the Coalition to Protect All North Carolina Families, the effort to defeat the marriage amendment that will be on North Carolina's primary ballot on May 8 -- is having a good day. With the launch today by several prominent pro-LGBT equality blogs of a "blogswarm" to defeat Amendment One, Kennedy is sounding hopeful. ... [Read]

U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that under a new rule it plans to propose on Tuesday, March 27, families headed by same-sex couples would be allowed to file a joint declaration to customs agents upon return to the United States -- saving hassle for those families and nearly 75,000 hours a year of customs agents' time. According to the ... [Read]

On March 21, Starbucks chief executive officer Howard Schultz responded to a recent campaign launched by the National Organization for Marriage urging people to "Dump Starbucks" by telling attendees at a corporate shareholders meeting, "I think Starbucks has many constituents, and from time to time we are going to make a decision that we think is consistent with the heritage ... [Read]

With a 211 to 116 vote on Wednesday, March 21, the New Hampshire House of Representatives rejected a bill to repeal the state's marriage equality law. According to Reuters, about 100 Republicans voted against the bill. Although the bill was expected to be vetoed by Gov. John Lynch (D), supporters of repealing the 2009 legislation that Lynch had signed ... [Read]

[READ Chris Geidner's news analysis -- "Obama's Adventures in Wonderland" -- for more on this development.] At multiple events in New York City on Monday, March 19, First Lady Michelle Obama -- in campaigning for her husband's re-election -- made reference to the effect that Supreme Court appointees will have on "whether we can ... love whomever we choose." Although ... [Read]

The Supreme Court today denied review in a case brought by Christian student groups against San Diego State University, declining consideration of the question of whether colleges can require student groups to adhere to religious nondiscrimination policies in their membership decisions. The Alliance Defense Fund, which represented the SDSU student organizations, had asked the court to consider whether a university ... [Read]

"While the president does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the record is clear that the President has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same sex couples. That's what the North Carolina ballot initiative would do -- it would single out and discriminate against committed gay and lesbian couples ... [Read]

Michael Fitzgerald, an out gay California lawyer, received overwhelming approval today from the U.S. Senate, with a 91-6 vote, for his nomination to serve as a federal judge on the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California -- making him the fourth out LGBT federal, lifetime-tenured judge in the nation. Fitzgerald's confirmation will make him the first ... [Read]

It was announced today that, following an agreement reached between the parties' leaders, the Senate will be voting in the coming weeks on 14 of President Obama's judicial nominees -- including out gay nominee Michael Fitzgerald, whose nomination for the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California is due to be voted on about 2 p.m. Thursday, March ... [Read]

The White House today announced that President Obama is naming Dr. Grant Colfax as the new director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP). Colfax was most recently the director of the HIV Prevention Section in the San Francisco Department of Public Health. "Grant Colfax will lead the my Administration's continued progress in providing care and treatment ... [Read]

Addressing the recent spate of "emo killings" in Iraq, in which young gay men and others with similar public presentation have been targets, the spokesman for the American embassy in Iraq told the San Francisco-based group, Gays Without Borders, that the embassy "strongly condemns" the killings and "is fully engaged at the highest levels to end these attacks, bring the ... [Read]

Today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced that he was filing a cloture petition to attempt to force Senate votes on 17 federal trial court judge nominees, including out gay attorney Michael W. Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald, who was nominated by President Obama in July 2011 for a judgeship on the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, had ... [Read]

[Photo: President Obama at the 2010 White House LGBT Pride Month Reception. (Photo by Ward Morrison.)] Since Metro Weekly's exclusive reporting on March 8 that then-candidate Sen. Barack Obama told the Houston GLBT Political Caucus in February 2008 that as president he would support a nondiscrimination policy based on sexual orientation and gender identity for federal contractors, the White House ... [Read]

Following Metro Weekly's exclusive report on March 8 that then-Sen. Barack Obama told the Houston GLBT Political Caucus in February 2008 that he would support a federal contractor nondiscrimination policy including sexual orientation and gender identity as president, the American Civil Liberties Union today called on President Obama to sign an executive order to that effect, calling it "the single ... [Read]

Advocates of marriage equality in Maryland are touting a new poll that indicates a majority of voters -- 52 percent -- are supportive of the recently-passed marriage equality bill signed into law by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) on Mar. 1. The poll of 600 voters, which was conducted by Public Policy Polling on behalf of the Marylanders for Marriage Equality ... [Read]

Chris Hughes, the out gay 28-year-old co-founder of Facebook who left the company to help create then Sen. Barack Obama's social media effort in his 2008 presidential campaign, has purchased a majority share of and has become the publisher and editor-in-chief of The New Republic, The New York Times reported and Hughes confirmed in a letter at The New Republic. ... [Read]

Today, 70 groups ranging from the American Civil Liberties Union to the National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers to the NAACP -- along with LGBT advocacy groups like the Human Rights Campaign; National Gay & Lesbian Task Force; Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network; Trevor Project -- urged the Obama administration to endorse the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA). ... [Read]

GOProud has a new friend: Republican House candidate Samuel "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher. Following his interview this morning on CNN, in which he was questioned about previous statements made about LGBT people, Wurzelbacher and Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of GOProud, released the following joint statement: "The left and their friends in the main stream media don't want to talk about ... [Read]

New polling numbers from Public Policy Polling today look good for marriage equality supporters: It looks like Maine voters will reverse their 2009 decision and legalize gay marriage in the state this fall. 54% think that gay marriage should be legal to only 41% who think it should be illegal. And when we asked about the issue using the exact ... [Read]

[Image: Ten states were up for grabs on Super Tuesday 2012. (Illustration by Aram Vartian.)] With former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) winning primary races in the Massachusetts, Vermont and Virginia early in the evening, by 9 p.m., his three wins put him in the lead for the Super Tuesday night, a day when he was likely to take the ... [Read]

Following an investigation that began in November 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice today filed a federal lawsuit against the Anoka-Hennepin School District, the Minnesota school district that has been the subject of significant public criticism for its treatment of LGBT students, alleging that the district violated students' constitutional rights, as well as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and ... [Read]

Today, out gay Michigan congressional candidate Trevor Thomas (D) announced the support of former Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) and former Lt. Gov. John Cherry (D) in his bid to unseat first-term Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) -- and first in his attempt to win an expected primary fight. A former Human Rights Campaign and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network spokesman who also ... [Read]

[Photo: Servicemembers Legal Defense Network co-founder Michelle Benecke speaks at SLDN's 20th annual dinner, where the plaintiffs of the organization's ongoing lawsuit seeking equal spousal benefits for servicemembers were recognized on stage. (Photo by Chris Geidner.)] On Saturday evening, March 3, two events were held putting forth two visions of equality, one in the Armed Forces and one about marriage. ... [Read]

On his way to the airport to return to Los Angeles from DC, the incoming president of the Human Rights Campaign, Chad Griffin, spoke with Metro Weekly about today's news. "To me, this is the grandest, most exciting opportunity of my life," Griffin says when asked about why he would leave California to return to D.C. -- and to an ... [Read]

[Photo: Chad Griffin (Photo by Rex Wockner.)] The Human Rights Campaign today announced that Chad Griffin, the force behind the challenge to California's Proposition 8, will take over as the next president of HRC. In a statement released by HRC, Griffin said, "All over this country in big cities and small towns, there are families and young people who long ... [Read]

Responding to the Feb. 21 decision by the proponents of Proposition 8 to seek expanded review from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in the appeal of Perry v. Brown, the plaintiffs challenging California's Proposition 8 today told the court it should deny the proponents request because "the panel decision reflects a straightforward application of settled Supreme ... [Read]

Although students gathered outside Chick-fil-A at New York University today to stand in opposition to the restaurant’s substantial contributions to anti-LGBT groups, the university's student government chair sent out an email to all students reiterating the governing board's position made in 2011 when it "voted not to support an institutional ban of Chick-Fil-A" from campus. "The Student Senators Council believes ... [Read]

[Image: Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), flanked by Senate President Thomas V. "Mike" Miller (D-Calvert, Prince George's counties), left, and House Speaker Michael Busch (D-Anne Arundel Co.), right, signs the Civil Marriage Protection Act into law. Behind O'Malley is his wife, Catherine Curran O'Malley, and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown.] Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) signed into law HB 438, a bill ... [Read]

[READ Metro Weekly's full report: "Gov. O'Malley Signs Marriage Equality Bill, Making Maryland Eighth State (Plus DC) to Do So."] Watch live now as Marlyand Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) signs the state's marriage equality bill. ... [Read]

On Wednesday, Feb. 29, a rally in support of nine Harvard students expelled for homosexuality in 1920 coincided with the launch of Lady Gaga's pro-LGBT Born This Way foundation and the 62nd anniversary of President Dwight Eisenhower's executive order requiring the firing of all LGBT American federal employees. Each offers a chance to consider the current state of LGBT student ... [Read]

The Human Rights Campaign announced today that it is endorsing Elizabeth Warren (D) in her challenge to unseat Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), who won the special election in 2010 to fill out the term of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) after his death in 2009. HRC President Joe Solmonese said in a statement, "We enthusiastically endorse Elizabeth Warren for the ... [Read]

Andrew Breitbart died overnight, a fact first reported a little before 9 a.m. this morning at his site, Big Journalism, and confirmed to Metro Weekly by Breitbart.com, LLC, editor-in-chief and in-house counsel Joel Pollak and, externally, by ABC News. Breitbart was 43 years old and, up to his last tweet, was constantly poking and prodding at those who opposed him ... [Read]

With marriage equality out of the way, transgender Marylanders are hoping there is enough goodwill -- and enough time left in the 2012 legislative session -- to pass a comprehensive statewide bill that would ban discrimination based on gender identity or expression. The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee heard testimony on Tuesday, Feb. 28 from opponents and proponents of a proposed ... [Read]