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Wednesday Speed Read: Wisconsin, Eric Cantor, Adam Ebbin, Ryan Fecteau, Alabama, Obama

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

WisconsinSEVENTH CIRCUIT CONSIDERS WISCONSIN:

State officials and attorneys representing same-sex plaintiff couples have been given until 5 p.m. today to file briefs concerning the state’s request for an emergency stay of a federal district court decision last Friday, striking down Wisconsin’s ban on same-sex couples marrying. Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports the state office of vital records is not processing marriage licenses for same-sex couples until it gets a go-ahead from the state attorney general.

CantorERIC CANTOR LOSES PRIMARY:

In a surprise upset, U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) lost his primary Tuesday for an eighth term. According to various media in Virginia, winner Dave Brat, an economics professor at a small college, hammered Cantor on his willingness to raise the debt ceiling, end the government shutdown, and support some reform of immigration laws. Brat has rebuffed characterizations of himself as either a liberal or as a Tea Party member. His campaign website states that he believes “all individuals are entitled to equal rights,” but it also says, in bold letting, that Brat will “protect the rights of the unborn and the sanctity of marriage, and will oppose any governmental intrusion upon the conscience of people of faith.”

EbbinGAY CANDIDATE LOSES IN VIRGINIA:

Openly gay Virginia State Senator Adam Ebbin placed third in a 10-candidate field in the Democratic primary to replace U.S. House Rep. Jim Moran from northern Virginia. Ebbin garnered almost 14 percent of the vote compared to winner former Lieutenant Governor Don Beyer’s 46 percent. A former aide to Barney Frank, Mark Levine, took seven percent. Beyer is considered generally support of equal rights for LGBT people. His campaign website expresses support for “full equality.” Oddly, it also promises that Beyer would “work to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.”

GAY CANDIDATE WINS IN MAINE:

Openly gay Maine State Rep. Ryan Fecteau breezed to victory in his Democratic primary Tuesday, winning 65 percent of the vote to represent his district in the middle of the state.

Aaron-brushACLU FILES LAWSUIT IN ALABAMA:

The ACLU filed a lawsuit in federal court in Alabama Tuesday, challenging the state’s refusal to recognize marriage licenses obtained by same-sex couples in other states. The lawsuit, Aaron-Brush v. Bentley, is the third lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on same-sex couples marrying.

FUMBLING FOR AN ANSWER:

ObamaDuring a student-oriented Q & A on Tumblr Tuesday, President Obama seemed to struggle with a question about securing equal rights for transsexual students. The question posed to him –through the moderator, Tumblr President David Karp -- noted that, just last month, the U.S. Department of Education released guidelines to clarify for schools receiving federal aid that Title IX of the Civil Rights Act’s prohibition against sex discrimination “extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity.”

“What do you see as the next steps to ensure equal treatment of trans people in schools in America?”

The president began with a rambling recollection of his meeting Monday with the men’s and women’s basketball teams from the University of Connecticut, noting that Title IX has helped make college women athletes competitive and mentioning that the First Lady puts him to shame when they work out together, before eventually landing on one sentence: “The fact that we are applying [Title IX] to transgender students means that they are going to be in a position to assert their rights if and when they see that they are being discriminated on their college campuses, and that could manifest itself in a whole variety of ways.”

© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Virginia's House of Delegates Quashes Gay Marriage Ban Repeal Without Hearing

Virginia Chariman elegate Mark Cole today announced that the Privileges and Elections Committee would wait until next session to hear any constitutional amendments, according to a press release from Delegate Scott Surovell's office.

Said Surovell (pictured): Surovell

“Virginia Republican’s refusal to even consider same-sex marriage is backwards and proving increasingly archaic. Marriage is about loving, committed couples who want to make a lifelong promise to take care of and be responsible for each other, in good times and bad.”

Two bills, one in the Senate and one in the House, would repeal the Marshall-Newman Amendment passed in 2006 which banned same-sex marriage in Virginia's Constitution.

VirginiaAdded Ebbin:

“Virginians are ready to repeal the Marshall-Newman amendment. This unfair and discriminatory law denies loving couples the chance to build a life together, throwing up burdens that straight couples never have to face. People deserve to be judged by their actions, and laws that deny people fundamental rights because of their sexual orientation should have no place in Virginia. We have lost and will continue to lose hard-working citizens to other states.”


Virginia Lawmaker Introduces Legislation to Repeal Ban on Gay Marriage

Openly gay state senator Adam Ebbin (D-30th) has introduced legislation to repeal the state's ban on same-sex marriage, the Sun Gazette reports:

EbbinVoters statewide approved the amendment in 2006 by a 57-percent-to-43-percent majority, and while public support for gay marriage appears to have increased over the intervening seven years, any attempt to eliminate the constitutional amendment would face significant hurdles.

To repeal the 2006 amendment, legislation would have to pass the General Assembly two times with an intervening election, then would go on the ballot in the next succeeding general election. If it won first passage in the 2014 session, the measure would have to again pass the legislature in the 2016 session after the next state election, meaning the earliest the measure could go before voters would be November 2016.

The paper calls the bill's chances "a longshot".


Out Delegate Adam Ebbin Poised to Be Virginia's First Gay State Senator

Virginia Del. Adam Ebbin won his Democratic primary last night in the race for state senate, placing him in position to become that state's first openly gay state senator, the Victory Fund reports:

Ebbin Originally elected in 2003 and sworn into office in 2004, Adam Ebbin was the first openly LGBT person elected to the Virginia State Legislature. He went on to win reelection in 2005, 2007 and 2009 before deciding to run to bring his authentic voice to the State Senate.

Victory Fund President and CEO Chuck Wolfe said of this historic victory:

Given his heavily Democratic district, Adam Ebbin’s primary victory all but assures that he will become the first out Virginia State Senator. This is an incredible milestone for the LGBT community and is further proof that voters today see LGBT people as just as committed to their communities as any other public servant.

Ebbin is the only out member of the Virginia legislature.

MetroWeekly adds: "Ebbin secured the Democratic nomination -- winning (with one precinct not reporting) by just more than 300 votes out of more than 11,000 cast. Close behind Ebbin was Alexandria City Council member K. Rob Krupicka. Arlington School Board member Elizabeth Garvey came in third."


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