Supreme Court to Decide Whether Washington Can Release Names of Anti-Gay Rights Petition Signers

January 17, 2010

by Jesse J. Holland | Associated Press

The Supreme Court on Friday got involved for the second time this week in a case in which opponents of gay rights fear they will be harassed if their views are made public.

The high court will consider whether Washington state officials can release more than 138,500 names on a petition seeking a vote on overturning the state’s domestic partnership rights.

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California Couples Tell of Gay Marriage Ban’s Toll

January 11, 2010

by Lisa Leff and Paul Elias | Associated Press

Two same-sex couples gave intimate accounts of their private and public lives Monday during the opening day of a highly anticipated federal trial to decide the constitutionality of state bans on gay marriage, at times tearfully testifying about moments of awkwardness, disappointment and shame that they said resulted from their inability to legally wed.

“I’ve been in love with a woman for 10 years, and I don’t have access to a word for it,” said Kristin Perry, 45, the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit seeking to overturn the voter initiative that outlawed gay marriage in California. “You chose them over everybody else, and you want to feel that it is going to stick and that you are going to have the protection and support and inclusion that comes from letting people know you feel that way.”

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Uganda Lawmaker Refuses to Withdraw Anti-Gay Bill

January 8, 2010

from the Associated Press

A Ugandan lawmaker on Friday refused to withdraw proposed legislation that would impose the death penalty for some gays and lesbians despite international condemnation and presidential opposition to a measure that could scare off foreign investors.

Lawmaker David Bahati said he will not heed a call late Thursday from the government to drop the proposed bill, as he feels such a measure is necessary in the conservative East African country.

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Houston Mayor Calls Swearing-In Milestone for Gays

January 5, 2010

By Michael Graczyk | Associated Press

Houston Mayor Annise Parker said Monday her election to lead the nation’s fourth-largest city marked a milestone for gay Americans but was just “one step toward a tomorrow of greater justice.”

Parker was sworn in over the weekend in a private ceremony and repeated her oath during a public ceremony Monday. Her partner, Kathy Hubbard, held a Bible that belonged to Parker’s grandparents for the swearing-in by U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore.

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Legal Fight in Lesbian Custody Dispute Ratchets Up

January 5, 2010

by John Curran | Associated Press

A Vermont woman locked in a child custody battle with a former partner who has since renounced homosexuality asked a judge Monday to hold her ex in contempt and help find her and their 7-year-old daughter.

A lawyer for Janet Jenkins filed an emergency motion for contempt for not surrendering the couple’s daughter, Isabella Miller-Jenkins, on Friday.

The motion seeks court sanctions and the assistance of law enforcement in locating Lisa Miller, whose last known address was Forest, Va., but whose whereabouts are now unknown.

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Gay House Members Say Gay-Friendly Bills Are Near

December 7, 2009

by Lisa Leff | Associated Press

Two of Congress’s three openly gay members said Saturday that the U.S. House is poised to pass bills to provide health coverage for the same-sex partners of gay federal workers and to protect all gay and transgender employees from job discrimination.

Speaking to an international conference of gay politicians in San Francisco, U.S. Reps. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and Jared Polis, D-Colo., said they expect a domestic partner benefits bill to come up for a vote by the end of the year and the employment bill to reach the floor early in 2010.

The lawmakers said they are also confident that the House will include in the annual military spending bill next year a provision to repeal the law that bans gays from serving in the U.S. military. All the measures face a harder time in the Senate following the death of longtime ally Sen. Edward Kennedy, but Baldwin and Polis said they remained optimistic.

“I’m hopeful we will see those three pieces of legislation make it all the way, or damn close,” said Baldwin, who is sponsoring the federal worker domestic partner bill.

Office of Personnel Management director John Berry, the Obama administration’s highest ranking gay appointee, told the conference that the president strongly supports the trio of gay rights measures.

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5 Years Later, Gay Marriage Accepted in Massachusetts

May 11, 2009

by David Crary | The Associated Press

WHITINSVILLE, Mass., (AP) — Twenty years after he met the love of his life, nearly five years after their wedding helped make history, it took a nasty bout of pneumonia for Gary Chalmers to fully appreciate the blessings of marriage.

“I was out of work for eight weeks, spent a week in the hospital,” Chalmers said. “That was the first time I really felt thankful for the sense of the security we had, with Rich there, talking with the physicians, helping make decisions. … It really made a difference.”

At stake was the most basic recognition of marital bonds — something most spouses take for granted. But until May 17, 2004, when Chalmers and Richard Linnell were among a surge of same-sex couples marrying in Massachusetts, it was legally unavailable to American gays and lesbians.

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