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Monday, May 9, 2011

EQUALITY - WHAT MATTERS: The latest in the LGBT rights movement

NYT: JUSTICE DEPT. CONTINUES TO ENFORCE DOMA DESPITE DEPORTATION RULINGS - "After two instances in which deportations were suspended in immigration cases involving same-sex couples, the Justice Department has cautioned that it will continue to enforce a law that bars the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. A Justice Department official said Saturday that Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. had made no change in the administration’s approach to the law, the Defense of Marriage Act, suggesting that deportations could continue in other immigration cases involving married gay couples."

KERRY ELEVELD SPEAKS WITH THE  AMERICAN IMMIGRATION LAW ASSOCIATION (via America Blog) - "I just talked to Crystal Williams of the American Immigration Law Association (AILA) and her take was that this decision from Holder could have two implications, but she stressed, that this was her read and that the language of the decision is 'extremely curious.'"
TODAY IN COURT: ACLU AND PLAINTIFF EDIE WINDSOR TO KEEP FIGHTING DOMA (via Wash Blade) – “A schedule could be established on Monday for pending federal litigation challenging the Defense of Marriage Act during a status conference before the New York federal district court handling the lawsuit. The status conference concerns the case of Windsor v. United States, which was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union... The lawsuit contends that DOMA is unconstitutional because it violates the equal protection principles of the Fifth Amendment.”


IN-DEPTH SERIES: 15 YEARS OF DOMA (via Metro Weekly) – "Fifteen years ago, though, it was another state -- Hawaii, wh ose Supreme Court ruling and ongoing case in which three same-sex couples were seeking marriage licenses -- that captured the nation's attention. In addition to the nation's attention, says Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), the issue caught the eye of the lagging presidential campaign of then-Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kan.), which 'saw this as a classic wedge issue' and prompted Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.) to introduce the Defense of Marriage Act to stop same-sex couples and their lawyers from, as Frank says, 'bringing same-sex marriage to every state.' ...'Fifteen years later, I think we can be fairly candid about why that happened,' [Richard] Socarides says. 'And the only reason it happened is because the people who believed that vetoing the bill would have jeopardized the president's election won the political argument.'"
ALERT: UGANDA'S ANTI-GAY BILL MAY FACE VOTE THIS WEEK (via IGLHRC) – "The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission is deeply concerned at reports that the now infamous Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda may be passed by that country's Parliament. The Bill, first introduced in October 2009, was ostensibly 'shelved' by Uganda's president Yoweri Museveni following an international outcry. However, public hearings on the Bill took place [Friday] in the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee. The remaining stages of the legislative process – namely second and third readings of the bill and presidential adoption – could be completed within the remaining week of the current parliamentary session."
WHAT THE BILL WOULD DO (via Box Turtle Bulletin) – "The Anti-Homosexuality Bill, if passed in its current form, would impose the death penalty for those who are HIV-positive, who is a 'repeat offender,' or whose partner is deemed 'disabled' regardless of whether the relationship was consensual. It would also impose a lifetime sentence for other cases. The bill would lower the bar for conviction, making mere 'touching' for the perceived purpose of homosexual relations a criminal offense. It threatens teachers, doctors, friends, and family members with three years imprisonment if they didn’t report anyone they suspected of being gay to police within twenty-four hours."

NOM WILLING TO SPEND $1 MILLION TO STOP MARRIAGE EQUALITY IN NY (via NYT) – "As in past years, the local religious opposition to same-sex marriage will have the support of a Washington-based national political lobby, the National Organization for Marriage... Brian Brown, the group’s president, said call urged voters to tell lawmakers they opposed same-sex marriage. 'We spent over half a million dollars in New York' in 2009, he said, 'and we’re ready to spend that and more this time. We are willing to spend a million against any Republican senator who votes for gay marriage.'"
BILL CLINTON ENDORSES NEW YORK MARRIAGE EQUALITY (via HRC) – Clinton: “Our nation's permanent mission is to form a ‘more perfect union’ - deepening the meaning of freedom, broadening the reach of opportunity, strengthening the bonds of community. That mission has inspired and empowered us to extend rights to people previously denied them. Every time we have done that, it has strengthened our nation. Now we should do it again, in New York, with marriage equality. For more than a century, our Statue of Liberty has welcomed all kinds of people from all over the world yearning to be free. In the 21st century, I believe New York's welcome must include marriage equality.”
WHAT TO EXPECT IN THE COMING WEEKS IN NEW YORK – "It will be a fierce fight. Everyone in New York on our side is very optimistic.  But it will not be easy.  We know from California, Maine, Maryland and Rhode Island that our opposition does not give up. And they have now turned to New York, where the eyes of the country will be focused on a dramatic run-up to gay pride on Sunday, June 26th.  If Cuomo pulls this off, the movement will have a new hero," said Socarides.

POLL SHOWS MAJORITY OF REPUBLICANS SUPPORT RECOGNITION OF SAME-SEX COUPLES (via EQM) – "A majority of Republicans now support some form of legal recognition for same-sex couples, according to a poll released Wednesday by Public Policy Polling (PPP). 51 percent of respondents said they approved either full marriage rights or civil unions for gay and lesbian couples, while 48 percent answered that there should be no legal recognition of gay couples at all."
MICHIGAN LAWMAKERS ATTACK COLLEGES WITH DOMESTIC PARTNER BENEFITS (via Michigan Messenger) – "The Michigan House approved an amendment to the education budget on Thursday night that will penalize state universities and colleges five percent for offering domestic partner benefits for same-sex or unmarried partners."
STATE BY STATE HEADLINES (via EQM) – CA: Senate Committee Rejects Bill To Give Proposition 8 Supporters Legal Standing; HI: Governor Signs Transgender Employment Non-Discrimination Bill Into Law; TN: “Don’t Say Gay” Bill Too Late For House Passage This Year -
PRO-EQUALITY ADOPTION BILL INTRODUCED IN CONGRESS (via EQM) – "Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) introduced legislation Tuesday that would restrict federal funds for states that allow for discrimination in adoption or foster care placement based on the sexual orientation, marital status, or gender identity. H.R. 1681, known as the Every Child Deserves a Family Act (ECDFA), currently has 39 co-sponsors in the House. The Washington Blade reports that Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) 'is expected to introduce companion legislation in the Senate in June.'"
INCLUSIVE FAMILY IMMIGRATION BILL INTRODUCED (via Wash Blade) – "A U.S. House member from California on Thursday introduced family immigration legislation that includes language allowing gay Americans to sponsor their foreign partners for residency in the United States."
NRA'S ANTI-GAY BIAS CONTINUES TO SHOW (via EQM) – "The National Rifle Association (NRA) dropped the law firm King & Spalding shortly after the firm announced their decision to not defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) on behalf of the U.S. House of Representatives. King & Spalding had previously represented the NRA on important cases, including the Supreme Court decision McDonald v. Chicago."
TOMORROW: "BECOMING CHAZ" TO AIR NATIONALLY (via NYT) – "This unflinchingly personal film, which will have its premiere on Oprah Winfrey’s network on Tuesday, details Chastity Bono’s journey from her spangled childhood in rhinestone pantsuits on “The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour” to a more recent two years in her televised life: Chastity, now Chaz, invited cameras to witness the searingly intimate experience of his gender transition."

GET EQUAL PROTESTS CHICK-FIL-A IN CA (via KFSN) - "A gay and lesbian civil rights group has a beef with Chick-fil-A. They say the chicken restaurant is giving money to several organizations that discriminate against homosexuals. Members of 'Get Equal' protested outside the restaurant in North Fresno Friday morning."


LGBT YOUTH GROUP TO CLOSE DOORS THIS WEEK (via Wash Blade) – "The National Youth Advocacy Coalition (NYAC), a Washington, D.C.-based national organization that advocated on behalf of LGBT youth for more than 18 years, announced on Monday that it would close its doors for good on May 13."
ANOTHER MOTHER'S DAY IN LIMBO (via The Advocate) – Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, one of the two lead couples challenging Proposition 8: "We are a family. But as long as the discrimination written into law by Prop. 8 stays on the books, our family will be less than other families."


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