November 2010 Archives

Illinois House Passes Civil Unions Bill

Posted by Chris Geidner
November 30, 2010 8:29 PM |
From the Chicago Tribune this evening: SPRINGFIELD --- Civil unions would be allowed in Illinois beginning next year for same-sex couples under legislation the House passed today. The 61-52 vote followed spirited debate on whether the action would be tantamount to legalizing gay marriage. Sponsoring Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, called on his colleagues to join the arc of history that ... [Read]

In a statement just released by the White House, President Barack Obama commented on today's release of the Pentagon working group report regarding "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal implementation. [Read Metro Weekly's full coverage of the report.] In the statement, he references the legislation passed earlier this year in the House aimed at repealing DADT and "call[s] on the Senate ... [Read]

In a ceremony on the floor of the U.S. Senate this evening, Vice President Joseph Biden swore in Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), according to a report from the Chicago Tribune. Kirk replaced Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) after defeating Alexi Giannoulias in November's election. Kirk will complete the final month of the term of then-Sen. Barack Obama and will begin a ... [Read]

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit today announced the panel of judges who will be hearing next week's appeals, which includes the appeal of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the challenge to California's Proposition 8 (discussed here earlier today). Those hearing the Dec. 6 Perry arguments will be Judges Stephen Reinhardt, a Carter appointee known for being one of ... [Read]

[Photo: Kamala Harris, California attorney general-elect, talks with a voter. (Photo from Harris campaign website.)] San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris (D) will be the next Attorney General of California in one of the last outstanding statewide races in the country. With her win, California's governor and attorney general come January will continue the current governor and attorney general's position ... [Read]

The Senate Armed Services Committee, as had been suggested in recent days, announced that it would be holding hearings in the follow-up to the Nov. 30 scheduled release of the Pentagon working group's report into implementation of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal. From the SASC website, the purpose of the hearings are "To receive testimony on the report of the ... [Read]

In a brief filing in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, the U.S. Department of Justice filed the formal documents to announce that it plans to appeal the trial judge's order in Witt v. U.S. Department of the Air Force. On Sept. 24, U.S. District Court Ronald Leighton ruled that the Air Force's discharge of Major ... [Read]

After the U.S. Senate failed to garner the votes needed to overcome a filibuster to proceed to debate on the National Defense Authorization Act on Sept. 21, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) -- who led the effort -- appeared to take a certain amount of pleasure in the blow to the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal effort. At a meeting with ... [Read]

Earlier today, the Palm Center announced that Fox News had rejected an ad it had prepared relating to the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. As Media Matters for America's Karl Frisch wrote: Once again proving that Fox News has a love/hate (perhaps more hate/hate) relationship with the LGBT community, the right-wing network has rejected an advertisement from the Palm Center ... [Read]

[Photo: Attorney Ted Olson speaks to Chad Griffin (right) and Kristina Schake before the start of the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial challenging the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8. (Photo by Diane Walker for AFER.)] One of the co-founding board members of the organization bringing the historic challenge to California's Proposition 8, Kristina Schake, is resigning from the American Foundation for ... [Read]

On Wednesday evening, Nov. 17, some were questioning Greg Sargent's report that there could be 60 votes in the U.S. Senate to overcome a filibuster of the National Defense Authorization Act if it contains the amendment aimed at repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." On Thursday, surrounded by Democratic pro-repeal senators, one-time Democratic vice-presidential candidate Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), said he ... [Read]

HHS Finishes Hospital Visitation Rules

Posted by Chris Geidner
November 18, 2010 12:01 PM |
In a call with reporters on Wednesday, Health and Human Services Department officials discussed the final rules submitted today regarding hospital visitation policies for hospitals that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding. Hospitals participating in either program are required under the rules to allow a patient "to receive the visitors whom he or she designates -- regardless of sexual orientation or ... [Read]

This afternoon, White House spokesman Shin Inouye told Metro Weekly that President Obama had spoken with one of the Senate leaders of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal -- Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) -- about the provision's inclusion in the National Defense Authorization Act. [He later added that the president "conveyed" his view of the "importance" of repeal of DADT during ... [Read]

Get Equal's Robin McGehee told me in March, "Our goal is not to be the person who gets to be in those negotiations." She added, "It's to be able to get Joe [Solmonese of the Human Rights Campaign] and Rea [Carey of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force] and Mara [Keisling of the National Center for Transgender Equality] into ... [Read]

[Photo: James Pietrangelo II sent his message to the White House from across Pennsylvania Avenue on Monday. (Photo by Yusef Najafi.)] When Lt. Dan Choi handcuffed himself -- as Metro Weekly reported earlier today -- to the White House for a third time this year, James Pietrangelo II, Choi's fence partner the two previous times, stood apart from him ... [Read]

World Bank Cuts Matching Funds For PFOX

Posted by Chris Geidner
November 15, 2010 3:38 PM |
On Nov. 11, Metro Weekly reported that Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX) had been listed as an eligible organization in the World Bank's 2010-2011 Community Connections Campaign, which would give it matching funds provided by the bank for any employee donations given to PFOX through the drive. Today, however, the World Bank told employees of a change ... [Read]

With a Sunday morning tweet, former Lt. Dan Choi announced his plans for the week, writing, "True freedom is gained by going to jail for justice." Today, he has written that a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" protest will be happening at the White House at 2 p.m. The news follows Get Equal's visit to the office of Senate Majority Leader ... [Read]

Lame Duck With the Obamas and the McCains

Posted by Chris Geidner
November 15, 2010 10:27 AM |
It's not yet Thanksgiving, but the lame-duck session of Congress that begins today is the Democrats' best chance for a holiday in the near future. It's also the last chance for President Obama to make good on his promise to secure repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy this year. Additionally, say most observers, it's likely the last ... [Read]

Today, without comment, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the request of Log Cabin Republicans for the court to dissolve the stay pending appeal in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States entered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which put a stop to U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips's injunction halting the enforcement of "Don't Ask, Don't ... [Read]

The First Report on the DADT Report

Posted by Chris Geidner
November 10, 2010 10:58 PM |
"A Pentagon study group has concluded that the military can lift the ban on gays serving openly in uniform with only minimal and isolated incidents of risk to the current war efforts, according to two people familiar with a draft of the report, which is due to President Obama on Dec. 1." That's the lead paragraph from tonight's must-read report ... [Read]

In a filing at the U.S. Supreme Court this afternoon, the U.S. government, represented by acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal, asked the court to leave in place the stay of U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips's injunction of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. The government's argument would keep DADT in effect while the Log Cabin Republicans v. United States ... [Read]

The most important aspect of today's American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit challenging the Defense of Marriage Act's definition of marriage -- as reported on Monday night by Metro Weekly -- follows the rules of real estate: location, location, location! Edith "Edie" Windsor -- a New York City widow who lost her wife, Thea Spyer, after a decades-long battle with multiple ... [Read]

As reported on Monday night by Metro Weekly, the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders filed a lawsuit today challenging the application of the Defense of Marriage Act's definition of marriage to several same-sex married couples and one widow in a federal lawsuit filed in Connecticut. At first glance, the lawsuit looks similar to the Gill v. Office of Personnel ... [Read]

Double Dose of DOMA Challenges

Posted by Chris Geidner
November 8, 2010 11:26 PM |
The Defense of Marriage Act is due for a two-pronged attack on Tuesday, as two separate organizations and sets of lawyers, representing different plaintiffs, plan to file lawsuits in federal court challenging the federal definition of marriage. The Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) plans to file a lawsuit in Connecticut challenging DOMA’s Section 3, which defines "marriage" and ... [Read]

In the past 24 hours, several media outlets have reported on the possibility of a version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) moving forward in the Senate with the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal provision stripped from it – discussions the leadership at the Human Rights Campaign struck back at today as "background noise" that does not have the ... [Read]

Over the weekend, the military leadership began weighing in on the post-election landscape for the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Although the decision to be made is a legislative one and one that President Barack Obama supports, the military leadership's support -- or opposition -- has played into support for and opposition to DADT repeal throughout the year. The ... [Read]

Although -- as Metro Weekly reported earlier -- some analysts and strategists are discussing the impact of the loss of Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) in the House on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network spokesman Trevor Thomas told Metro Weekly in an email, "SLDN's focus right now is in the Senate during the lame duck session." Providing ... [Read]

Saying she is "sanguine" not overly hopeful about the chances for passage of comprehensive immigration reform that includes the Uniting American Families Act in the coming weeks, Immigration Equality executive director Rachel Tiven said 2011 doesn't look good either. On a conference call Thursday with Immigration Equality supporters and journalists, though, Tiven wasn't giving up, saying, "We're going to do ... [Read]

[UPDATED @ 2:28 P.M.] At his news conference Wednesday afternoon, President Barack Obama was asked by CNN's Ed Henry about the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Of gay and lesbian servicemembers, he said, "They should not be prevented from doing so because of their sexual orientation. ... The overwhelming majority of Americans feel the same way." ... [Read]

In Iowa, Judges Are Ousted

Posted by Chris Geidner
November 3, 2010 1:16 AM |
In Iowa, which declared Iowa's marriage ban unconstitutional under the state's constitution in 2009, the National Organization for Marriage got one of its first electoral victories this year. The judicial retention elections appear to have resulted in the replacement of all three justices up for a vote this year. Here, as of 3:35 a.m. and with 1767 out of 1774 ... [Read]

Rep. Murphy, Sen. Feingold Lose Seats

Posted by Chris Geidner
November 2, 2010 11:56 PM |
Tuesday's votes will lead to lots of changes, but the loss of two Democratic supporters of LGBT issues, Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) and Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.), are noteworthy -- and, for some, stinging. In a sign of the growing noise from gay Republicans, though, the challengers to both incumbents were supported by one of the right-partisan gay groups. With ... [Read]

[UPDATED @ 10:30 P.M.] Out Rep. Barney Frank (D) -- despite opposition from GOProud -- is cruising to victory in Massachusetts, nearly doubling his challenger, Sean Bielat. Frank will be joined by another out New Englander -- Providence, Rhode Island, Mayor David Cicilline (D) -- in the 112th Congress. With 62 percent of precincts reporting, according to the AP, ... [Read]

Lexington's New Mayor

Posted by Chris Geidner
November 2, 2010 8:13 PM |
In Lexington, Kentucky, Jim Gray -- currently the vice mayor of the city -- has defeated incumbent Mayor Jim Newberry in an election that would have made little notice were it not for the fact that Gray is gay and out. That fact was noted by Craig Cammack, the chairman of Lexington Fairness. Writing that he was at Gray's acceptance ... [Read]

The House: Whither (Wither?) Pelosi?

Posted by Chris Geidner
November 2, 2010 6:45 PM |
Where will the the night end for the first female speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives? Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has pushed a moderately progressive to extremely liberal -- depending on your vantage-point -- agenda through the House, but often her attempts at legislation to those ends have been stymied by a Senate unwilling to act or requiring more ... [Read]

The Senate: A Long Way From Sixty

Posted by Chris Geidner
November 2, 2010 4:55 PM |
It was not too long ago that the Democrats had -- finally -- seated the 100th senator: Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.). That magic 60-vote count didn't last. As 2009 became 2010, Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) announced his retirement and the expected loss of his seat to the Republicans -- setting in place a challenge for the Democrats to pick up ... [Read]

We're now four hours until the polls start closing. I'm "on" now for the next 12 hours (plus some?), providing Metro Weekly's readers with updates as there are noteworthy developments and adding in my analysis as it seems appropriate. Every election is a bit of a gamble and will doubtless have surprises, but here are the 25 elections of interest ... [Read]

With one judge dissenting, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a stay of the injunction of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy issued by U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips, pending the outcome of the government's appeal of Log Cabin Republicans v. United States. The immediate impact of the ruling, which was ... [Read]

At Metro Weekly's Poliglot, we asked folks at several of the LGBT organizations -- on this Monday before Election Day -- for their thoughts on the coming elections. We asked: Will life for LGBT Americans change if Republicans take back the House on Election Day, giving the speakership to Rep. John Boehner? Will it be better or worse? How so? ... [Read]