Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Morning Sweep

Numbers are still close in Maine, but polls are showing that marriage supporters may be gaining ground.

A U.S. district court has rejected a lawsuit filed against Jackson Memorial Hospital on behalf of Janice Langbehn, the Estate of Lisa Pond and their three adopted children who were kept apart by hospital staff for eight hours as Lisa slipped into a coma and died.

A discrimination lawsuit has been settled in CA against a lesbian's former doctors who denied her artificial insemination based on her sexual orientation.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Morning Sweep

As the momentum to pass marriage grows in the New Jersey legislature, Republican legislators have expressed a desire to put a constitutional amendment to limit marriage to one man and one woman on the 2010 ballot.

Yesterday was "Family Day" 2009, and Obama's proclamation included praise for all families, "whether children are raised by two parents, a single parent, grandparents, a same-sex couple, or a guardian."

A decade after "The Laramie Project" premiered, a sequel will debut at theaters nationwide on Oct. 12. The epilogue includes a prison interview with one of Matthew Shepard's killers, depicting him as candid but not remorseful over the murder.

The Washington Post highlights the important research done by the Multicenter AIDS Study, a 25-year-long project studying AIDS/HIV and prevention practices among over 7,000 gay participants.

Openly gay German leader Guido Westerwelle is expected to be named foreign minister in the new German government.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Morning Sweep

NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn released a statement in response to an anti-gay attack in Hell's Kitchen this past weekend.

The AP provides a summary of the issues facing voters in the three places that have the option to protect or reverse LGBT-inclusive laws on an upcoming ballot: an inclusive non-discrimination ordinance in Kalamazoo, Mich., domestic partnership protections in Washington, and marriage equality in Maine.

President Clinton explains his reasoning for changing his mind in support of marriage for same-sex couples.

Conservative members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America voted Saturday to spend the next year deciding whether to split from the church after it voted to allow gays and lesbians in committed relationships to serve as clergy.

A new study provides evidence to back up what to many is a no-brainer: that the sexual orientation of adoptive parents does not have an impact on the emotional development of their children.

The Virginian-Pilot has interesting short profiles of three gay and lesbian members of the military who have been forced to keep their sexual orientation a secret in order to avoid being discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

The L.A. Times profiles Carlos Moreno, the lone CA Supreme Court justice who voted in favor of overturning Prop. 8 because he was "legally and morally" opposed -- a controversial decision which may have cost his the chance at being appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Morning Sweep

LGBT leaders and legislators remain optimistic that marriage equality will come to a vote this year in New York, despite Bloomberg's recent discouraging comments.

Five anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church protesters were outnumbered by nearly 200 Brooklyn Tech High School students yesterday in a counter-protest. Local leaders denounced the protest...

...but affirmed that the church has the right to free speech. A federal appeals court agrees, and has overturned a judgement against Westboro Baptist Church in the case of their picketing of a soldier's funeral, stating that even their "distasteful and repugnant" speech is protected by the First Amendment.

Some groups are moving forward to get a repeal of Prop. 8 on the 2010 ballot in CA, despite other groups' preference to wait until 2012.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Morning Sweep

The House Education and Labor Committee had its first full committee hearing on ENDA yesterday. A House vote is expected later this year, but the Senate is not expected to consider it until 2010.

The Bilerico Project has a great summary of the statements made at the hearing.

If you've lost track of what's happening in the marriage equality fight in Maine, here's an update.
The U.S. Customs and Immigration Service is one step closer to lifting the ban on HIV-positive immigrants and travelers.

This upcoming weekend's New York Times Magazine features a great in-depth on youth coming out in middle school.

The Equality Federation explains why a state-level strategy for winning LGBT equality is necessary in addition to efforts on the national level.

Freshman Rep. Jared Polis from Colorado provides commentary for CNN on some of the current issues facing Congress, including the Respect for Marriage Act.

Pam Spaulding guest blogs for the Huffington Post on the important role that technology now plays in the movement for LGBT rights.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Morning Sweep

Lambda Legal hopes to step in on behalf of same-sex families in the current challenge to Wisconsin's new domestic partnership registry, which was established in July.

A HRC survey found that half of LGBT employees are still not comfortable enough to be out at work.

A study done by a liberal grassroots group found that conservatives shown an inspirational commercial about a same-sex family had predictably mixed reactions, but that they were in general more positive than might be expected.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Morning Sweep

The attacker in a vicious 2006 anti-gay assault in Brooklyn has finally admitted his guilt and will be sentenced to nine years in prison.

New Census numbers show that nearly 150,000 same-sex couples - 27% of the total number of estimated same-sex couples in the U.S. - reported being married last year. Since the actual number of official marriage of same-sex couples in states where it is legal was lower than that, experts are predicting that in the upcoming 2010 Census, many committed couples whose unions are not legally recognized will still report themselves to be married. This could provide valuable information on the actual number of same-sex families that exist in the U.S.

The Atlanta LGBT community is furious over the Sept. 10 undercover raid of a local gay bar.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Morning Sweep

Last week's Out to Work LGBT career fair in NYC saw more attendees than ever before.

The Justice Department has asked a federal judge in Boston to dismiss GLAD's challenge to DOMA, calling the law "constitutionally permissible" but noting that the Obama administration desires the law's repeal.

This past weekend marked the 30th annual conference of Affirmation, a group for LGBT Mormons, in Salt Lake City.

The Values Voter Summit, a gathering of conservatives in D.C. with many anti-marriage speakers, also took place this past weekend.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Morning Sweep

Poll numbers are close on marriage in Maine: voters are basically currently split in support of and against the Nov. ballot measure that would repeal the state's marriage equality law.

Pride Agenda Board of Directors Co-Chair Frank Selvaggi writes on David Mixner's blog on the frustration many LGBT New Yorkers and allies are currently feeling and the need to keep fighting.

Salon has a disturbing story on the rise of homophobic violence in many Islamic countries.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Morning Sweep

Daniel Dromm, the openly gay trailblazer who ousted two-term incumbent Helen Sears and won the Democratic Primary for NYC's 25th Council District in Queens, will now face off against Republican candidate Mujib Rahman in the Nov. 3 general election.

The Advocate writes on Dromm and James Van Bramer, another openly gay Queens candidate who won his bid for election in the primary. If elected in November, these two will be the first gay councilmembers from outside of Manhattan.

This open letter by Equality Federation Executive Director Toni Broaddus does an excellent job of explaining why working to win LGBT rights on the state level is so important. The Equality Federation is the national alliance of state-based LGBT advocacy organizations, of which the Pride Agenda is a member.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Morning Sweep

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn won her primary yesterday for the 3rd District. Quinn was endorsed by the Pride Agenda.

The Ohio House has passed legislation barring employment and housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. It now goes to the Senate, where it faces more opposition.

A new Associated Press/National Constitution Center poll found that while the majority of those surveyed believe that same-sex couples should have the same benefits as opposite-sex spouses, a slim majority also believed that the state and federal governments shouldn't recognize these unions as marriages.

The New York Times does a video feature on the first same-sex couple to appear in the paper's wedding announcements back in 2002. Even with a civil union and years together, they still struggle for equal rights.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Morning Sweep

It’s Primary Election Day! The Pride Agenda has endorsed Christine Quinn for reelection to the New York City Council.

Find out more about how and where to vote today

Today, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan) will introduce his “Respect for Marriage Act,” which would fully repeal the discriminatory thirteen-year old Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). DOMA currently forbids same-sex couples who have been legally married in their home state (in the states that allow/recognize same-sex marriages) from receiving any of the 1,138 federal rights and protections that come with a marriage license.

Another issue championed by Rep. Nadler—inclusion of LGBT families in comprehensive immigration reform—got a boost today with support from the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

The anti-marriage equality forces in Maine have released their first TV ad. Kinda boring, and chock full of the same lies that we’ve seen in many other states.

The AP released a fascinating story yesterday about an unlikely group of marriage equality supporters: straight men and women who have been married to or are currently married to LGBT people.

Rochester’s Democrat & Chronicle noted that some of its local corporations received scores of 100 on HRC’s recently released Corporate Equality Index. Among the perfect scoring Rochester-area companies were Bausch & Lomb, Corning, Inc., Eastman Kodak Co., Nixon Peabody LLP and Xerox Corp.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Morning Sweep

Legislation to repeal DOMA will be introduced tomorrow by Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO).

The New York Times editorial board urges Congressional leaders to make passing ENDA a top priority, stating "it is unacceptable that in a nation committed to equality, people can still be fired in more than half the states for being gay."

The Washington Post reports on how both LGBT equality advocates and anti-gay opponents are gearing up for the 2010 Census, which will be the first to publicly report the number of same-sex couples who identify as married.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Morning Sweep

A federal judge has ordered the state of Washington to continue to shield the identities of people who signed petitions to force a vote on Referendum 71, which would block an expansion of benefits through civil unions for same-sex couples.

A Washington D.C. Council member has drafted a marriage equality bill that is expected to be introduced in the coming weeks and voted on by year's end.

A proposal in the Ohio Legislature to prohibit employment and housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is making progress for the first time, after years of languishing in committee.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Morning Sweep

There won't be an appeal to the Washington State Supreme Court to block placement of Referendum 71 on the November ballot.

A legal analysis of proposed legislation to overturn "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" by the Congressional Research Service concludes that conflicting Supreme Court rulings make it difficult to predict whether any new law protecting gays serving openly in the military would be upheld.

Pride at Work's national convention begins tomorrow. The group within the AFL-CIO a represents LGBT members of the labor community.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Morning Sweep

A Washington State judge has rejected a lawsuit seeking to block Referendum 71 -- the measure to block domestic partnership benefits for same-sex couples -- from the Nov. ballot. An appeal is considered likely.

As part of the state's new, finally-approved budget, Arizona is taking away domestic partnership benefits for the partners of state employees, leaving nearly 800 people without insurance coverage.

But chin up...despite news like this, a recent poll found that LGBT people were more optimistic about the direction the country was taking than their straight counterparts.

CNN covers the growing acceptance of the gay Latino community.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Morning Sweep

Gov. Paterson has declared his intention to put marriage equality on the agenda in special sessions of the Senate that he will soon call to deal with the state's budget deficit.

The chances of repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" anytime soon seem bleak, according to Politico.

California activists are flooding Gov. Schwarzenegger's phone lines with calls in support of and against establishing a holiday on Harvey Milk's birthday.

USA Today profiles Judy Shepard, who has been lobbying for a decade for the passage of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

A new study finds that Massachusetts, which became the first state to marry same-sex couples in 2004, has the lowest divorce rate.

The New York Times' travel section profiles Campillo de Ranas, a small town in Spain that has become popular because its mayor will perform same-sex marriages, unlike other areas where officials are less LGBT-friendly despite the country's marriage equality law.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Morning Sweep

Gay City News endorses Christine Quinn for the 3rd New York City Council District, highlighting her solid record of leadership supporting the LGBT community.

The New York Court of Appeals has announced that it will hear a challenge to a former ruling that denied a lesbian parent’s right to bring a suit seeking joint custody or visitation with a child she had been raising with her former Vermont civil union partner.

Election officials in Maine have officially announced that a referendum to overturn marriage for same-sex couples will be on the November ballot, setting the stage for furious two-month campaigns for and against the measure.

A New York Times op-ed discusses the controversy over South African runner Caster Semenya's gender testing, and the dichotomy between progressive laws protecting LGBT people in South Africa and social attitudes in the country.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Morning Sweep

The New York Times editorializes that if a federal hate crimes law is passed, the Justice Department "should use it aggressively" to protect LGBT Americans.

The National Organization for Marriage is facing several ethics probes into its political fundraising activities, including raising $86,000 to support an anti-marriage candidate in a special election in Iowa. That candidate, Stephen Burgmeier, was narrowly defeated yesterday.

Opponents of marriage for same-sex couples in DC are attempting to put a marriage ban referendum to a vote sometime next year.

NPR examines progress made on LGBT issues on a national scale.

Maine's governor stands on the side of equality, and will help raise funds to defeat the state's referendum against marriage.

The government of India has announced that it will not oppose the Delhi high court decision that decriminalized consensual gay sex.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Morning Sweep

The New York Times profiles a lesbian rabbi at the Beth Am Temple in Inwood.

Marriage for same-sex couples officially became legal at midnight last night in Vermont.

Apparently, getting married in Vermont isn't the only way to experience the sweet taste of victory.

In Washington, the news isn't so sweet: a referendum to reject the "everything but marriage" domestic partner benefits that were passed this summer has made it on to the Nov. ballot.

The National Marriage Boycott, a group of college campus organizations, is encouraging straight allies to go the Jolie-Pitt route and foreswear marriage until DOMA is repealed.