June 2012 Archives

The Republican-led House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group today mailed its petition to the U.S. Supreme Court asking it to review the May 31 ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit that the federal definition of marriage contained in the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.  In a filing obtained by Metro Weekly, BLAG asks the Supreme Court, ... [Read]

A spokesman for Marylanders for Marriage Equality, the coalition of groups working to defend the state's recently passed civil marriage law, said the coalition is undeterred by the number of signatures opponents have successfully collected to force a November referendum aimed at repealing the law. Opponents of marriage equality, led by the Maryland Marriage Alliance (MMA), announced on MMA's Facebook ... [Read]

[Photo: Defense Department general counsel Jeh Johnson, fifth from right, poses for a photograph with servicemembers and veterans, including Ronnie Bryant, fourth from right, following the Pentagon's LGBT Pride Month Event on June 26, 2012. (Photo by Chris Geidner.)] Heading to the Pentagon today was "spectacular" for Ronnie Bryant. The first-ever Pentagon LGBT Pride Month Event (transcript here), featuring a ... [Read]

National Stonewall Democrats today announced the group's first 25 endorsements -- including six out LGBT candidates. The partisan LGBT organization has a rolling endorsement process, so more endorsements are expected as the election season moves forward. One prominent race in which the group did not issue an endorsement is Democrat Elizabeth Warren's effort to unseat Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) -- ... [Read]

Today, the Supreme Court issued its ruling in the Obama administration's challenge to Arizona's immigration law, S.B. 1070, holding that three of the four provisions at issue were preempted by federal law and that the final provision -- the "show your papers" provision -- was not preempted by federal law but would need to be carefully implemented by the state ... [Read]

As ABC's Jake Tapper reported earlier this afternoon, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, Mary Cheney, married her longtime partner, Heather Poe, today. The couple are raising two children and live in Virginia, where the constitution was amended in 2006 to limit marriages to one man and one woman, but married today in DC, where marriage equality has ... [Read]

Over the past day, much has been made of the GOProud board's decision to endorse Mitt Romney for president. The gay conservative group is known for being more conservative than Log Cabin Republicans and has often attracted attention with brash moves. What wasn't clear from the group's release was how close the endorsement came to not happening at all. Or ... [Read]

Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), running to take retiring Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.)'s seat, has launched her first ad, Roll Call reports, and it focuses on Wisconsin paper industry jobs, sanctions on China and bipartisanship. Baldwin has no primary challenger, whereas Republicans -- including former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R-Wis.), who has fared the best against Baldwin in early polling -- will ... [Read]

[Photo: Adm. Mike Mullen testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Dec. 2, 2010. (Photo by Ward Morrison.)] On Sept. 18, retired Admiral Mike Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will join Servicemembers Legal Defense Network aboard the USS Intrepid in New York City to mark the one-year anniversary of the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," ... [Read]

Lawyers for the House Republican leadership today told a federal court that the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group plans to ask the Supreme Court to overturn a federal appeals court ruling from May 31 striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act. Although the Supreme Court request had been expected, it was unclear when such a request, called a ... [Read]

Recent decisions from the Obama administration suggest that the government is taking tentative first steps to gear up for the day when an American with a same-sex spouse who wants to immigrate to the U.S. will be able to get a green card for that foreign spouse. Over the past month, the Board of Immigration Appeals, which is a part ... [Read]

The Defense of Marriage Act has taken several hits in recent weeks. The federal definition of "marriage" and "spouse" has been found to be unconstitutional in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, a trial-court case striking it down is on appeal before the Ninth Circuit, and federal trial-court judges in California and New York struck down Section ... [Read]

[Photo: Defense Department General Counsel Jeh Johnson testifies in favor of repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" on Dec. 2, 2010. (Photo by Ward Morrison.)] A week from Tuesday, the man who co-chaired the Pentagon's review of how to implement the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and then helped guide its repeal, Department of Defense General Counsel Jeh Johnson, ... [Read]

[Photo: President Obama speaks at the 2012 White House LGBT Pride Month reception on June 15, 2012. (Photo by Metro Weekly.)] Today, for the fourth time, President Obama hosted members of the LGBT community and their allies for a White House LGBT Pride Month reception.  Today, for the first time, Obama was able to look out into the crowd and ... [Read]

This morning, in a conference call with reporters, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced a new policy of "deferred action" for certain young, undocumented immigrants who meet a series of conditions, stopping deportation of a group of people in the country who would be covered by the passage of the DREAM Act. In a Rose Garden address later today, President ... [Read]

[Image: Screenshot of the Department of Defense website on the morning of June 15, 2012.] Defense Secretary Leon Panetta made history this morning by releasing a video celebrating LGBT Pride Month. Thanking gay and lesbian servicemembers for their service and congratulating the armed forces on the implementation of the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" over the past nine months, the ... [Read]

Marriage equality supporters in Maryland got a boost from President Obama, who told a crowd at Baltimore's Hyatt Regency hotel on Tuesday, June 12, that they should vote in favor of the state's recently passed marriage equality law, calling it "the right thing to do." The move is the first time the president has spoken out in favor of a ... [Read]

[Image: Image shared June 12, 2012, on Facebook by the Human Rights Campaign, featuring a capture from a Traditional Values Coalition email.] Although the only comments opposing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to be heard in today's Senate Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on the bill came from one witness, Craig Parshall of the National Religious Broadcasters Association, one ... [Read]

[Photo: Lee Badgett, left, and Kylar Broadus are seated as Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), right, and Al Franken (D-Minn.) introduce themselves to Sam Bagenstos, third from left, and Ken Charles. (Photo by Chris Geidner.)] The Senate Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions Committee held a hearing this morning into the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which has been pending in Congress off and ... [Read]

This past week, the appeal of Karen Golinski's case seeking equal health insurance coverage for her wife began with the filing by the Republican-led House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to reverse the February trial-court decision that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.  Today, parties in agreement ... [Read]

While Massachusetts Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren says she supports the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, comments related to marriage equality in a recent interview should not be read as an endorsement of federal legislation guaranteeing the right to marry to all same-sex couples, her press secretary tells Metro Weekly. On Friday, June 8, Salon reported ... [Read]

Marylanders for Marriage Equality, the coalition of groups fighting to uphold Maryland's recently passed marriage equality law, announced on May 7 that they had opened new campaign offices and hired additional field staffers, part of several new measures the coalition has undertaken in preparation for a November referendum on the law. Over the past six weeks, Marylanders for Marriage Equality ... [Read]

This morning, the Senate Housing, Employment, Labor and Pensions Committee announced the witness list for the upcoming June 12 hearing on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act -- a bill to outlaw sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in private employment. The witnesses include: M. V. Lee Badgett, Research Director of the Williams Institute for Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at ... [Read]

Today, the Human Rights Campaign is releasing what it calls "groundbreaking research" involving "more than 10,000 LGBT-identified youth ages 13-17." The national LGBT political organization is releasing the survey as part of the start of incoming Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin's tenure at the helm of the group. HRC, headed by Joe Solmonese since 2005, says the results show ... [Read]

Echoing several other recent court opinions, U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Jones today ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act's federal definition of marriage is unconstitutional insofar as it forced Edie Windsor to pay estate taxes after the death of her wife, Thea Spyer, that would not have been owed had she been married to a man. In deciding that ... [Read]

The federal appeals court hearing the challenge to California's Proposition 8 passed on taking another look at the ruling. The decision today by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit not to reconsider the appeal, in which a three-judge panel had found the amendment to be unconstitutional in February, starts a 90-day clock for the proponents to decide whether they will ... [Read]

[UPDATE @ 1:45P TUESDAY: BREAKING: Ninth Circuit Passes on Further Review of Prop 8 Case, Setting Up Appeal to Supreme Court] The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is expected to be issuing a filing of some sort in the ongoing challenge to California's Proposition 8 on Tuesday, June 5, at 10 a.m. Pacific Time, a court spokesperson ... [Read]

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) will be joining Lambda Legal and the ACLU in arguing that Illinois's civil unions law does not meet the state's constitutional guarantees of equal protection, raising the question of what the Cook County clerk of courts -- the named defendant -- will do in its response to the lawsuits. The move came just two days ... [Read]

The opinion from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit on May 31 striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act in Gill v. Office of Personnel Management was not a broad ruling striking down the federal definition of marriage on a variety of grounds -- as the trial-court judge had done when he decided the case ... [Read]