July 2011 Archives

In a docket entry posted today on the California Supreme Court's website, the court announced that it will be hearing arguments on Sept. 6 in the certified question it accepted from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in the Perry v. Brown challenge to Proposition 8 about whether the proponents of Proposition 8 have standing to appeal ... [Read]

Throughout the life of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," Servicemembers Legal Defense Network published the "Survival Guide" -- a booklet to help guide servicemembers living under DADT. Today, in a move that shows the changed landscape in the military -- and within the LGBT organizations that have pushed for DADT repeal -- SLDN is releasing "Freedom to Serve: The Definitive Guide ... [Read]

On Sunday, July 24, as couples across New York began marrying, playwright and activist Larry Kramer -- heralded earlier this year at the Tony Awards ceremony for the revival production of his play The Normal Heart -- was quoted by The New York Times in a way that has led to much debate and discussion in the days since. From ... [Read]

Today, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman jumped into the ongoing national debate over the federal definition of marriage contained in Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act -- supporting the lawsuit filed by Edith Windsor, who was forced to pay a $350,000 estate bill because of the federal government's refusal to recognize Windsor's marriage to a woman. Windsor's ... [Read]

This morning, I joined Bruce DePuyt for NewsTalk, the TBD.com/News Channel 8 daily news program to talk about the multitude of recent LGBT developments over the past couple weeks. On a panel with Rev. John Crestwell of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis and Pete Tucker, a progressive blogger who writes at TheFightBack.org, we discussed marriage in New York and ... [Read]

A lawsuit filed by opponents of same-sex marriage in New York that seeks to void the law "is without merit," a spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said today. The lawsuit asks for the Marriage Equality Act to be declared void by virtue of a claimed violations of the state's Open Meetings Laws and the constitutional provision that dictates when ... [Read]

In an order filed by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the court has kept in place the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy while it considers the appeal in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States -- with the caveat that it also kept in place the bar on "investigating, penalizing, or discharging" any ... [Read]

On Dec. 22, 2010, President Barack Obama looked up after signing the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act into law and told the audience assembled, "This is done." Today, after 3 p.m., Obama signed another document, also signed by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: the certification required under the ... [Read]

[Photo: Maryland out gay Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery) speaks at a news conference on July 22, 2011, in which Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) announced his support for a marriage equality bill in the state in 2012. (Photo by Yusef Najafi.)] Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley (D) met with Marylanders for Marriage Equality, members of the LGBT legislative caucus, Lt. Governor Anthony ... [Read]

Republican political operative Roger Stone -- known primarily for his work on opposition research and negative ads -- is joining the advisory board of GOProud, adding another another voice to the group's advisory board that is certain to inflame liberals. In a release announcing the move, Stone said, "I am a libertarian Republican in the Barry Goldwater mold and I ... [Read]

Pentagon officials told Metro Weekly this evening that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were ready to recommend certification of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal to the president, possibly as early as Friday, July 22. That news did not, however, stop attorneys for Log Cabin Republicans from hitting back at ... [Read]

Both the Wall Street Journal and NBC News are reporting this evening that top Pentagon officials -- Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- are set to announce that they are certifying that the military is ready to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," a requirement before repeal under the Don't ... [Read]

[Photos: The Artis family after the July 20, 2011, Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. (Photo by Chris Geidner.)] Geraldine and Suzanne Artis of Clinton, Connecticut, are married and keeping busy raising three sons, Geras, Zanagee and Gezani. On Wednesday, July 20, though, the couple was ... [Read]

[Photo: Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) talks with reporters at the close of the 2011 legislative session. (Photo courtesy of Maryland Governor's website.)] After days of speculation, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley's (D) office announced today that he will be appearing at the Maryland State House Friday afternoon, July 22, to announce his decision on sponsorship regarding marriage equality legislation ... [Read]

Politico's Abby Phillip reports this afternoon -- and the White House confirmed -- that the President Barack Obama is planning on nominating Michael Fitzgerald, an out gay attorney in Los Angeles, to serve as a district court judge in federal court in California. [UPDATE @ 5:35 PM: The White House has announced Fitzgerald's nomination. Read the White House release below ... [Read]

[Photo: Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) confers with Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) before a committee hearing into the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. Lewis testified at the hearing in support of the RMA. (Photo by Chris Geidner.)] This morning, the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing into the Respect ... [Read]

White House press secretary Jay Carney announced today that President Barack Obama supports the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act that will have its first Senate hearing on July 20. In response to a question from Metro Weekly, Carney said Obama is "proud to support" the bill that "would take DOMA off the ... [Read]

In a letter filed on July 18 with the magistrate judge overseeing the discovery -- or evidentiary -- portion of Edith Windsor's ACLU-led challenge to Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, Windsor's lawyers criticize the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group's failure to respond to its requests that are part of that process -- and ask the court to compel ... [Read]

The government this evening continued its attempt to keep the end of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in the hands of the executive branch, asking a federal appeals court to keep the policy in place for now and hold off on hearing the appeal of the Log Cabin Republicans v. United States lawsuit -- which is scheduled for Sept. ... [Read]

Today, in a 80-13 vote completed at a little past 6:10 p.m., the Senate approved the nomination of out gay attorney J. Paul Oetken to serve as a federal disctrict court judge in the Southern District of New York. The move came with no opposition from Senate Democrats and a majority of the Republicans supporting the nomination as well. ... [Read]

In advance of this week's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 20, by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on the Respect for Marriage Act -- the bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act -- the Republican-chosen witnesses were added to the hearing list today.  Thomas Minnery, the senior vice president for public policy at Focus on ... [Read]

[Photo: The contingent of active-duty servicemembers and veterans line up to march in the San Diego Pride Parade on Saturday, July 16. (Photo by Tony Lindsey.)] The third contingent in today's San Diego Pride Parade would have been unheard of in the recent past. Yet, this year, the presence of a parade contingent of active-duty servicemembers and veterans was celebrated ... [Read]

Although "temporarily reinstating" most of its stay of the injunction in the Log Cabin Republicans v. United States case tonight, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit kept in place the part of the injunction that bars the military from "investigating, penalizing, or discharging anyone from the military pursuant to the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy." Responding to ... [Read]

Responding to the two filings on Thursday evening, July 14, by the Department of Justice in the Log Cabin Republicans v. United States challenge to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" -- filings that asked for the stay on the injunction of DADT enforcement to be reinstated by "close of business" today -- lawyers for LCR today filed a motion before the ... [Read]

[Photo: Alison Nathan, Edward DuMont and J. Paul Oetken -- all out LGBT attorneys -- have been nominated for federal judgeships by President Obama.] For President Barack Obama's out LGBT judicial nominees, two of the three -- both of whom formerly worked in the White House under a Democratic administration -- have seen their nominations move forward with relative ease ... [Read]

Following months of turbulence at Equality Maryland, from board member resignations to the departure of the organization's executive director in April, the organization announced today that it is taking one of its planned steps to help stabilize and reinvigorate the group. Equality Maryland announced it is accepting applications through July 31 for volunteers to join the organization's board of directors. ... [Read]

The Department of Justice filed a motion in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Ciruit in the Log Cabin Republicans v. United States case today, asking the court for "emergency" reconsideration of its July 6 decision to lift the stay of the worldwide injunction of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law -- a motion that asks for the ... [Read]

In today's White House briefing both Metro Weekly and Kerry Eleveld with Equality Matters got in questions about LGBT issues, with Eleveld following up on her column regarding Brian Bond's departure from the White House and Metro Weekly asking about this past week's developments regarding DOJ's new policy not to oppose joint bankruptcy filings by same-sex married couples. Neither question ... [Read]

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) today submitted a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) withdrawing its support for AT&T's proposed merger with T-Mobile. In the letter, GLAAD also stated its strong support for, as the organization put it in a news release, "the tenets of net neutrality." Mike Thompson, GLAAD's acting president, filed today's letter after ... [Read]

Since mid-February, the government's approach to laws or government practices that classify people based on their sexual orientation has changed significantly. The impact of that change is no more clear than is seen by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit's response to a government brief -- about jury selection -- filed with the court on Feb. 17. ... [Read]

Equal rights organizations are joining forces today at 11 a.m. at Baltimore City Hall to launch a coalition that seeks to secure marriage equality in Maryland during the 2012 legislative session. The organizations comprising Marylanders for Marriage Equality are Equality Maryland, Progressive Maryland, the American Civil Liberties Union, Communication Workers of America, Service Employees International Union, the Human Rights Campaign, ... [Read]

In an order from the clerk of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit today, the court followed up on the three-judge panel's order from this past week in the Log Cabin Republicans v. United States case by questioning who -- if anyone -- is left actually defending the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law -- 10 U.S.C. 654. ... [Read]

Today, in a bankruptcy court filing in Los Angeles, lawyers for a married gay couple seeking to file a joint bankruptcy petition claimed victory, following several days of moves by the government suggesting -- and then announcing -- that it would no longer challenge such filings in court. The move appears to be the first time that the federal government ... [Read]

The Pentagon has stopped all enforcement of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in a memorandum issued to military branch secretaries dated today, following a July 6 order from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reinstating an injunction ordering the military to do so. According to a memorandum from Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Clifford Stanley, "On ... [Read]

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced today -- in his role as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee -- that, "in the coming weeks, the Committee will hold the first congressional hearing on proposals to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)," according to a news release issued by the senator's office. Leahy supports the repeal of DOMA. According to the ... [Read]

Following consultation with the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), the U.S. Trustee asked to withdraw its appeal in its challenge to the attempted joint bankruptcy petition filed by Gene Douglas Balas and Carlos Morales, a married gay couple who live in California -- a move a Department of Justice spokeswoman says represents the DOJ's new policy on all such ... [Read]

In an order issued by a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips's judgment halting the worldwide enforcement of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" as a result of her decision in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States has been put back in effect. DADT cannot be enforced, per the ... [Read]

A Maryland immigration judge issued an order on June 24 reopening Rodrigo Martinez's immigration case "in the interest of justice." The unusual move -- or at least a footnote in the order -- reflects the uncertain nature of immigration cases for bi-national, same-sex couples in the wake of rapid changes regarding the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. The ... [Read]

Today, the Department of Justice filed a brief in federal court employee Karen Golinski's federal court challenge, supporting her lawsuit seeking access to equal health benefits for her wife and arguing strongly that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional in terms unparalleled in previous administration statements. In a brief filed on behalf of the Office of Personnel Management and ... [Read]

News from the White House today in advance of next week's planned "Twitter Town Hall." From the advisory: WASHINGTON, DC – President Obama will participate in the first ever Twitter Town Hall at the White House on Wednesday, July 6 in the East Room. Twitter co-founder and Executive Chairman Jack Dorsey will moderate a conversation between President Obama and ... [Read]