Wednesday Speed Read: Mike Michaud, LBJ, Civil Rights Summit, Missouri, Michigan, Bruni

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service


Openly gay U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud is leading the polls in the three-way gubernatorial race in Maine. Public Policy Polling released survey results Tuesday showing 44 percent of 583 Maine voters said they were prepared to vote for Michaud, compared to 37 percent for current Republican incumbent Paul LePage, and 14 percent for independent Elito Cutler. Five percent were not sure how they’d vote. The survey was conducted April 1 and 2.


Same-sex marriage was a leading topic on the opening day of this week’s 50th anniversary event for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies, who led the legal team to overturn Proposition 8 in California and are leading the team to overturn Virginia’s ban on same-sex couples marrying, led a forum Tuesday to answer the question: Is same-sex marriage a civil right. On Thursday, openly lesbian tennis legend Billie Jean King will headline a forum entitled “Women: How High is the Glass Ceiling?” The three-day summit is in Austin, Texas,


On the 50th anniversary of President Johnson’s signing of the Civil Rights Act, his two daughters spoke forcefully and eloquently this week in support of allowing gay couples to marry. Lynda Robb and Luci Johnson said that, while gay issues weren’t on main stage during her father’s presidency, they believe his commitment to civil rights would have included allowing “everybody to live up to the best that God gave them.” Robb, who is married to former U.S. Senator Chuck Robb (D-Va.), said, “I certainly think that, if God made you a homosexual, that you should have love and affection with somebody. And I would not want to deny anybody that opportunity to be happy.”
Luci Johnson said she thinks it is “morally wrong and deeply tragic” to deny same-sex couples the right to marry. “And I don’t see how giving them the blessing of respect in any way hurts me,” said Johnson. “My father felt very strongly that when there was bigotry anywhere, prejudice anywhere, all of us lose out because it’s just one more expression of hate.” Former network anchor Katie Couric conducted the interview for Yahoo News.


A Missouri judge on April 4 denied a petition for a temporary restraining order to block Democratic Governor Jay Nixon’s directive that same-sex couples living in Missouri who were married in another state be able to file joint state tax returns. Associated Press reported that Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem denied the request in a lawsuit filed by three conservative groups challenging Nixon’s directive as violating the state’s ban on recognition of same-sex couples marrying. The judge will hold a hearing on the challenge May 2.


The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals asked attorneys for a lesbian couple in Michigan to respond by April 21 to a petition by Michigan to skip a three-judge panel and make its appeal to the full appeals court. A district court judge ruled for the couple in DeBoer v. Snyder last month, saying the state ban on allowing same-sex couples to marry is unconstitutional.


Frank Bruni in New York Times essay April 5: “…the debate is essentially over, in the sense that the trajectory is immutable and the conclusion foregone. Everybody knows it, even the people who still try to stand in the way. The legalization of same-sex marriage from north to south and coast to coast is merely a matter of time, probably not much of it at that.”

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