‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’—Don’t Call Home?

December 23, 2009

by Ed Hornick | CNN

There’s a constant fear that hangs over some service members deployed to a war zone — and it’s not necessarily the threat from insurgents or roadside bombs.

One Marine serving in Afghanistan said suppressing the truth about his sexual orientation is gut-wrenching.

read more

Mexico City 1st in Region to Approve Gay Marriage

December 21, 2009

from the Associated Press

Mexico City lawmakers have become the first in Latin America to legalize gay marriage.

City legislators passed the bill 39-20 on Monday with five lawmakers absent.

Gay marriage is currently allowed in only seven countries and some parts of the United States.

Leftist Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard is widely expected to sign the decision into law.

The bill calls for changing the definition of marriage in the city’s civic code. Marriage is currently defined as the union of a man and a woman. The new definition will be “the free uniting of two people.”

read more

Obama Decision to Deny Benefits to Lesbian Employee Latest in String of Insults to LGBT Community

December 18, 2009

A statement from NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell

(San Francisco, California, December 18, 2009) — Today President Obama’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced that it will not provide equal health benefits to the spouse of federal employee Karen Golinski, defying a decision by Ninth Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski concluding that the benefits must be provided pursuant to the Court’s nondiscrimination policy. Karen Golinski is represented by Lambda Legal in this matter. The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) issued the following statement:

A statement from NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell, Esq.

“Today’s decision fails our families and the legitimate expectations of our community. It is based on an overly expansive reading of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and an unnecessarily narrow view of the law on federal employee benefits.  We call on the Obama Administration to end government-sanctioned discrimination against same-sex couples and their families and to do everything in the President’s power to ensure equal treatment under the law.

Respectfully, we say that President Obama must do more to lead on these issues.  He should instruct his administration to stop offering offensive and ludicrous arguments defending DOMA, to stop interpreting DOMA as broadly as possible to block protections that families need, and to endorse the federal Respect for Marriage Act.  The Respect for Marriage Act is federal legislation to repeal DOMA and ensure that married same-sex couples are treated equally under the law.  While NCLR supports the federal Domestic Partners and Obligations Act, only ridding the country of DOMA once and for all will end this invidious discrimination.

Today’s decision stokes the growing criticism that the Administration is not delivering on the President’s promises to this nation’s LGBT families.”

Federal Agency Denies Spousal Benefits Claim

December 18, 2009

by Kerry Eleveld | The Advocate

The Office of Personnel Management has concluded that it does not have the legal authority to provide benefits to the spouse of Karen Golinski, a staff attorney who works at the U.S. court of appeals for the ninth circuit in San Francisco.

read more

Shreveport, Louisiana Mayor Signs Executive Order to Extend City’s Nondiscrimination Policy

December 18, 2009

from KSLA News

Flanked by a broad-based group of diverse citizens, community leaders and employees, Shreveport Mayor Cedric B. Glover signed an Executive Order that broadens the City’s policy on discrimination, its applicability, and procedure of how complaints of discrimination are reported and resolved.

“The City of Shreveport is committed to ensuring that the principles of fair and equal treatment in all respects of government are understood, respected, and practiced throughout City government,” said Mayor Glover.  “Discrimination is unacceptable and from this day forward, it is the policy of the City of Shreveport that no person employed by the City, or who is an applicant for a position, shall be favored or discriminated against because of race, sex, disability, age, ancestry, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or political or religious affiliations.”

read more

Minneapolis City Council Passes Resolution Opposing Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda

December 18, 2009

The city of Minneapolis, Minn., a sister city of Kampala, Uganda, passed a resolution on Friday, Dec. 18 condemning Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Councilmembers Scott Benson and Cam Gordon co-authored the resolution in light of the negative impact the law would have on all citizens of Kampala, pointing out that the bill “targets lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Ugandans, their advocates and defenders and anyone who fails to report them to the authorities.”

The resolution amended the Policy Initiatives section of the Fiscal Year 2010 Federal Agenda for the City of Minneapolis to insert a section entitled “Human Rights Restrictions in Uganda.” Noting that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill “[w]ould criminalize such activities as funding LGBT organizations, publishing or broadcasting or marketing materials on homosexuality,” the Resolution affirms that, “[t]he City of Minneapolis opposes this legislation.”

read the resolution (pdf)

Fenty Signs Bill Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage in D.C.

December 18, 2009

by Tim Craig and Nikita Stewart | Washington Post

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty on Friday signed the bill legalizing same-sex marriage in the District, clearing the way for the law to take effect in mid-spring after a congressional review period.

Fenty signed in front of 150 activists and same-sex couples — many of whom say they plan to marry — in the sanctuary of All Souls Unitarian in Mount Pleasant.

“We knew this day would come,” Fenty said. “I say to the world: An era of struggle ends for thousands in Washington, D.C. . . . Our city is taking a leap forward.”

read more