May 2011 Archives

Last week Equality Maryland announced that it is currently in the midst of a financial crisis, and that it needs about $25,000 a month to maintain its staff and pay for rent of its Baltimore headquarters. Today, Monday, May 31, in an e-mail message, Equality Maryland announced the resignation of its board president Charles Butler, board president of Equality Maryland ... [Read]

The White House today released President Barack Obama's proclamation commemorating the 2011 Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month, presenting his own pride in signing the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act in 2010 but -- for the first time in his presidency -- containing no reference to relationship recognition. The two-page proclamation begins: The story of America's Lesbian, Gay, ... [Read]

Today, the White House announced John Bryson as the president's pick to succeed Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, recently named as Obama's next ambassador to China. In a news release that preceded the 1:15 p.m. announcement, the White House stated that "Bryson will play a key role as a member of the President's economic team, bringing decades of knowledge and experience ... [Read]

This afternoon, the director of the Office of Personnel Management, John Berry, issued a brief memorandum to all executive department and agency heads, announcing new guidance for treatment of transgender employees of the federal government -- guidance that notes that it is "the policy of the Federal Government to treat all of its employees with dignity and respect and to ... [Read]

This afternoon, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with three amendments opposed by LGBT advocates, including one that would add a step to the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal process and two that reaffirm or expand the Defense of Marriage Act. On a 322-96 vote with substantial Democratic support and only token Republican opposition, ... [Read]

HRC Endorses Obama Re-Election

Posted by Chris Geidner
May 26, 2011 3:25 PM |
Before D.C. residents can head to the beach for Memorial Day weekend 2011, the Human Rights Campaign -- nearly 18 months from Election Day and with no Republican nominee -- has endorsed the re-election of President Barack Obama in 2012. HRC president Joe Solmonese: President Obama has improved the lives of LGBT Americans more than any President in history. In ... [Read]

[Photo: Bloomberg speaks at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art about marriage equality in New York. (Photo care of Freedom to Marry.)] Today, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave a major address on the fight for marriage equality in New York, concluding in his speech at Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and ... [Read]

Equality Maryland's interim executive director Lynne Bowman is in talks with the organization's board about her future with the organization, on the heels of news reported first by Metro Weekly on Tuesday, May 24, about the organization's finances. Bowman told Metro Weekly, "The organization is in a very difficult financial situation. We're trying to figure out what that means for me for June." ... [Read]

A new supporter for marriage equality and proponent of the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has won election to the U.S. Congress with tonight's upset victory that has been called for Democrat Kathy Hochul against Republican Jane Corwin in New York's 26th District. With 91 percent of precincts reporting, Hochul was winning the race 48 percent to 42 percent, ... [Read]

In a letter sent tonight from the Equality Maryland board members to "friends, allies, and supporters of LGBT equality" regarding the organization's financial crisis, which was reported earlier today by Metro Weekly, the board members state that they had voted to "remove" former executive director Morgan Meneses-Sheets from the position in April. Board members initially had given conflicting accounts at ... [Read]

Today, the administration issued its Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) regarding the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), as passed by the House Armed Services Committee earlier this month. Responding to a decision by the House Armed Services Committee to include provisions in the NDAA attempting to expand the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal process and to reaffirm or expand the ... [Read]

On Friday, May 20, the Republican members of the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group filed a motion to intervene in two cases challenging the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act that are currently on appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. The cases, Gill v. Office of Personnel Management and Massachusetts v. ... [Read]

The Be the Change nonprofit announced today that Kevin Jennings, currently serving in the Obama administration's Education Department as the assistant deputy secretary and the head of the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, will be leaving that role this summer to become the new president and CEO of Be the Change. Jennings -- who is a prominent out gay ... [Read]

[Photo: Attorneys Ted Olson, left, and David Boies -- who are co-counsel in the lawsuit challenging Proposition 8 -- talk after a lunch forum at the Cato Institute on Wednesday, May 18. (Photo by Chris Geidner.)] Although the federal lawsuit claiming that California's Proposition 8 is unconstitutional was filed nearly two years ago and won't find its way to ... [Read]

Activists in Maryland followed up on a statement issued by Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) on the hate crime indictiment of a suspect involved in a beating of a transgender woman at a McDonald's restaurant by announcing the formation of a new group called Gender Rights Maryland. According to a press release issued on Wednesday, May 18, Gender Rights Maryland ... [Read]

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) issued a statement today, reacting to Monday's indictment of Teonna Brown, 18, who was charged with first degree assault and a hate crime, for the physical attack on Chrissy Polis, a transgender woman, at the Rosedale, Md., McDonald's on Monday, April 18. In the statement, he said: “I want to commend BaltimoreCountyState's Attorney Scott D. Shellenberger for ... [Read]

Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) is jumping into an already crowded Republican primary to take on Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) in 2012. In a statement released today, Akin's office announced: MISSOURI - Today Congressman Todd Akin, a known and tested conservative congressman from Missouri’s Second Congressional District, announced that he will run for the United States Senate to replace Claire McCaskill ... [Read]

Immigration Equality plans to host a meeting in New York City on Wednesday, May 18, to discuss strategies for helping keep bi-national same-sex couples from being separated due to current law, which prevents Americans with same-sex spouses from sponsoring their foreign partner for purposes of obtaining a green card or otherwise preventing deportation. Among the organizations planning to have representatives ... [Read]

The grand jury for Baltimore County indicted Teonna Brown, 18, with five charges on Monday, May 16, including that of a hate crime, for the physical attack on Chrissy Polis, a transgender woman, at the Rosedale, Md., McDonald's on Monday, April 18. According to information obtained from the Baltimore County State's Attorney's Office, Brown was charged with first-degree assault, second-degree ... [Read]

From The Washington Post editorial board: PAUL WILSON DORMAN, a citizen of the United Kingdom, came to the United States on a visitor's visa in 1996 and never left. He met an American man who became his partner of 15 years. They have jointly purchased property and made out wills with the other as beneficiary. In 2009 they entered into ... [Read]

The news of the retirement of Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.) has set off a flurry of speculation about the House's only out lesbian, Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), and whether she would run fr the seat. Although other possible names include former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.), the Victory Fund's Denis Dison told Metro Weekly that sources close to Baldwin have said ... [Read]

The Wall Street Journal brought attention to a Fulton County Daily Report article providing additional information about the circumstances of -- and problems with -- King & Spalding's representation of the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group in its defense of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. On April 14, the House general counsel signed a contract for the ... [Read]

Beginning at 8:35 p.m. Wednesday evening, May 11, the House Armed Services Committee reached the "military personnel" portion of today's committee markup of the National Defense Authorization Act. The NDAA markup began a little past 10 a.m. Wednesday morning, and the committee took breaks for meals and full House floor votes throughout the day before reaching the personnel issues in ... [Read]

From today's White House press briefing:     Q    Jay, I've got some questions for you, a series of questions where DOMA and immigration intersect.  Under DOMA, U.S. citizens in legally recognized same-sex marriages cannot sponsor their spouses for residency in the United States.  And -- nationals could be subject to deportation and separation from their spouses upon expiration of temporary ... [Read]

Legal filings in Edith Windsor's challenge to the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act could be completed as early as August 19, according to an order filed today by the magistrate judge overseeing this part of the case. The discovery and briefing schedule in Windsor's case -- the first case in which the lawyers for the ... [Read]

From the ACLU: WASHINGTON– The Department of Justice (DOJ) today filed a motion to dismiss a class action lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of New Mexico which seeks full separation pay for service members who were honorably discharged but had their separation pay cut in half because of “homosexuality.” In the past six years, ... [Read]

Today, in an extensive speech addressing his aims for comprehensive immigration reform, President Barack Obama spoke to a crowd in El Paso, Texas, about his aims. Nowhere in the speech, however, did he address the issue of same-sex bi-national couples. Such couples have had green card applications denied in the past because of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage ... [Read]

Big news in today's poll out from The Washington Post: Virginians are pro-marriage equality. From the Post: Forty-seven percent of Virginians say gay couples should be allowed to legally wed, and 43 percent are opposed, according to the poll. Fifty-five percent of Virginians say gay couples should be able to legally adopt children. The results mirror a dramatic and rapid ... [Read]

Just in from the office of Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.): During consideration of the national defense authorization act this week by the House Armed Services Committee, Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) will offer an amendment to require that all four military service chiefs certify that implementation of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT)" repeal won’t impact combat readiness and effectiveness. The ... [Read]

Attorney Lavi Soloway tells Metro Weekly that Henry Velandia's deportation proceedings have been adjourned, in part, because of Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to vacate the Board of Immigration Appeals decision in another case involving a same-sex couple on Thursday. Moreover, Soloway says, "The government attorney agreed to adjourn the case." Velandia, who is from Venezuela, is married to Josh ... [Read]

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As Metro Weekly publishes the first part of its series on the Defense of Marriage Act, the man who signed the bill into law -- President Bill Clinton -- is now working to help pass marriage equality in New York. In a statement released by the Human Rights Campaign earlier today, Clinton says: Our nation's permanent mission is to form ... [Read]

Attorney General Eric Holder today filed a very rare decision, vacating a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals related to the application of Paul Wilson Dorman, in which the BIA applied Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act to his pending case. Holder writes: Pursuant to my authority set forth in 8 C.F.R. § 1003.1(h)(1)(i), I order that ... [Read]

This September, same-sex couples in America will have lived under the Defense of Marriage Act -- a federal law that both defines those relationships out of existence across the U.S. government and purports to forbid states from being forced to recognize same-sex marriages performed anywhere else in the country or around the world -- for 15 years. Today, activists, advocates, ... [Read]

Today, Metro Weekly received the new contract signed by House General Counsel Kerry Kircher and attorney Paul Clement, on behalf of his new firm -- Bancroft PLLC -- for its representation of the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group in defense of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act in ongoing challenges to the law. The contract was signed by ... [Read]

[Photo, above: Luke Gruenhagen (second from left), Paul Organ (center), Jessica Gbegnom (second from right) stand on the raised cement barrier at the White House fence minutes past midnight on Monday, May 2, 2011, following the announcement that Osama bin Laden had been killed. (Photo by Chris Geidner.)] On Sunday night, May 1, less than 30 minutes before the day's ... [Read]