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04/19/2007


Gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson Leads Prayer at White House Easter Breakfast

Robinson

Gay Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson received an unexpected surprise at the end of Monday's White House Easter prayer breakfast when President Obama unexpectedly chose him to close the meal with prayer.

 


Mike Huckabee Goes After Obama's 'Christian Convictions', Views on Gay Marriage: VIDEO

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As we reported earlier this week, Mike Huckabee is already back in Iowa banging his drum about marriage, and yesterday he brought his campaign to Laura Ingraham.

The hilarious part: Huckabee still seems to think he's running against Obama, and also still thinks marriage is going to be an issue.

Said Huckabee to Ingraham:

"The position that I hold is the position that Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden held in 2008. Barack Obama held it until 2012. And the question now that I'd love to pose to the President is this, 'Mr. President, please explain that when you said in 2008 at the Saddleback Church Forum that you stood for traditional marriage and you did so because you were a Christian and because it's what the Bible taught, please answer. Were you lying then, or are you lying now? Or did the Bible get rewritten. I'm just wanting somebody in the press to answer that honest question....He said it was because of his Christian convictions. Does he have them or does he not?"

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Mike Huckabee Goes After Obama's 'Christian Convictions', Views on Gay Marriage: VIDEO" »


Monday Morning Speed Read: Ohio, Michigan, 'ENDA' Executive Order, Hillary Clinton

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

T_blackOHIO ON THE CUSP:

A federal district court judge in Cincinnati surprised many in court Friday when he announced he will issue a ruling within 10 days declaring the Ohio ban on recognizing marriages of same-sex couples unconstitutional. Judge Timothy Black (an Obama appointee) heard arguments April 4 in Henry v. Wymyslo. The lawsuit was brought by three married lesbian couples expecting to give birth soon and a gay male couple seeking to adopt. The four couples were seeking a court order to force the state to put the names of both parents on the birth certificates of their children-to-be. Black, who previously ruled in favor of two married same-sex couples seeking the right to have a surviving spouse’s name listed on a death certificate, read a statement to the courtroom saying he would find the ban unconstitutional. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said the state will appeal, and he is expected to seek a stay.

SchuetteMICHIGAN SEEKS A LEAP ‘FORWARD’:

The Michigan attorney general on Friday filed a petition with the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, asking the court to bypass the usual three-judge panel hearing and go straight to a full appeals court review. "Advancing our case to a hearing before the entire panel of Sixth Circuit judges will move us forward more quickly, and minimize delays in ultimately reaching the U.S. Supreme Court,” explained Attorney General Bill Schuette in a press statement. “This move also offers the added benefit of conserving taxpayer resources by shortening the timeline of the litigation." Cases are moving quickly through two other circuits, both of which will be heard by three-judge panels in the coming days. If the Sixth Circuit grants Michigan’s request, it could make DeBoer v. Snyder the first to reach the U.S. Supreme Court, but that doesn’t guarantee that the Supreme Court would agree to hear that case.

CarneyREDUNDANT OR RETRACING HISTORY?

The Human Rights Campaign was unhappy Thursday with comments from White House Press Secretary Jay Carney about why President Obama won’t sign an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The White House has been sending mixed messages about the president’s willingness to sign an executive order but Carney has said in the past that an executive order is the “wrong approach” and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is the “right way to go.” Asked at a routine press briefing April 3 whether the president would sign an executive order if Congress passed ENDA, Carney said passage of ENDA would make an executive order “redundant.” HRC issued a statement Friday saying, “We couldn’t disagree more.” HRC pointed out that President Johnson signed an executive order prohibiting discrimination by federal contractors the year after signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

SOME REDUNDACY ALLOWED:

Just three days after White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said an LGBT-related executive order would be “redundant” to the pending Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the Associated Press reported that President Obama will sign an executive order Tuesday that “is similar to language in a Senate bill aimed at closing a pay gap between men and women.”

HillaryREADY FOR HILLARY:

There are two big LGBT fundraisers tonight for an independent political action committee raising money for an expected presidential bid by Hillary Clinton. One, in Manhattan, is hosted by gay philanthropist and politico Jon Stryker and features California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom. The other, at a gay bar in West Hollywood, is hosted by a group called Out & Ready for Hillary and will feature a number of actors and political figures.

© copyright 2014 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


White House Press Secretary Argues Against 'ENDA' Executive Order, Says It Would Be 'Redundant'

LGBT advocates have been pressing for President Obama to issue an executive order barring discrimination against LGBT workers as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act languishes in Congress, faced by a House Speaker who says there is no chance he'll bring it to a vote.

CarneyThus far, the Press Secretary Jay Carney has insisted Obama supports such workplace protections but has directed questions from reporters asking if Obama will issue such an order to what it has said in the past, that the President would like to see the law passed by Congress.

Yesterday, Carney took the explaining a bit further, the Washington Blade reports:

“I think if the law passed — and I’m not a lawyer — and I haven’t read every sentence of the law, but I think if a law passed that broadly banned this kind of employment discrimination, it would make redundant an executive order,” Carney said.

Carney articulated his belief that an executive order would be “redundant” in the event ENDA became law after emphasizing the broad-based protections under the bill, which applies not just to federal contractors, but to many public and private employers.

“I think the employment non-discrimination legislation, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, would broadly apply, and that’s one of the reasons why we support it,” Carney said. “Because it’s a broad solution to the problem, and it ought to be passed by Congress.”

HRC lashed out at Carney:

“We couldn’t disagree more,” Sainz said. “Even if ENDA passed tomorrow, we’d still want the EO. His assertion is completely out of step with over 60 years of social change strategy related to enduring legal protections for race and gender and more recently for hate crimes and non-discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. What he’s asserting is the equivalent of saying that if ENDA passed tomorrow, we wouldn’t need non-discrimination laws in the majority of states that still don’t have them. That’s absolutely not the case.”

195 lawmakers recently sent a letter to Obama urging him to issue the executive order. Vice President Joe Biden called on Congress to pass the bill in a recent speech to HRC in L.A. And DNC Treasurer Andy Tobias expressed frustration on a listserv about the President's unwillingness to issue it, calling it "frustrating and perplexing."

On a related note, the Blade, in a separate article wants to introduce you to the 8 House Dems who don't co-sponsor ENDA. They are Reps. Dan Lipinksi (Ill.), Jim Costa (Calif.), John Barrow (Ga.), Mike McIntyre (N.C.), Pete Gallego (Texas), Henry Cuellar (Texas), Gene Green (Texas) and Nick Rahall (W.Va.).

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White House Announces New Council On Beards As April Fools' Joke: VIDEO

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The White House Blog presents a delightfully furry April Fools joke:

TBeardsoday, President Obama announced the creation of the President's Council on Beards, a committee of volunteer citizens and officials dedicated to honoring our nation's history, and promoting men's health and wellness.

Finding inspiration from today's visit by the renowned beard enthusiasts from the 2013 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox, the President has pulled together an experienced, enthusiastic, and hairy team of council members to advise him on issues related to beard growth, health, and styles.

The post also has pictures of the president's many bearded advisors, which include a scruffy looking Jay Carney (White House Press Secretary), bearded woman Rachel Racusen (Associate Communications Director) and Bo the dog (First Canine).

They've even posted a video of a White House historian going over the history of presidential beards (and no, they're not talking about James Buchanan's wife).

Watch the video AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "White House Announces New Council On Beards As April Fools' Joke: VIDEO" »


Tuesday Morning Speed Read: Darrin Gayles, Staci Yandle, SCOTUS, Indiana, Uganda, Mike Michaud

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

NOMINEE HEARING TODAY:

President Obama’s openly gay African American nominee for the U.S. District Court in Miami goes before the Senate Judiciary Committee this morning. A Committee spokesperson said both of Florida’s senators have indicated they support state circuit court Judge Darrin Gayles.  President Obama dropped another openly gay African American nominee for Miami in January after Senator Marco Rubio objected to the nomination.

YandleLESBIAN NOMINEE GRILLED:

President Obama’s nomination of openly lesbian African American Staci Yandle for the U.S. District Court in southern Illinois was up for a Committee vote last Thursday. But the committee held over her nomination and that of four others in a group of 10. Her nomination is now slated for a committee vote this Thursday.

REWRITING WINDSOR?

Two Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee submitted questions in writing for federal court nominee Staci Yandle. Senator Charles Grassley grilled her over how she would interpret the Supreme Court’s ruling in U.S. v. Windsor, which overturned DOMA. Several LGBT legal activists said Grassley’s goal seemed to be to promote a narrow interpretation of Windsor. “They are trying to get her to say that the federalism discussion in Windsor means that the federal courts should not strike down state marriage bans – that they don’t have the authority to do so,” said GLAD Civil Rights Director Mary Bonauto.  Evan Wolfson, head of the national Freedom to Marry, noted that Grassley “chose not to ask about the explicit passages in the [Windsor] decision making clear that the ruling turned on equal protection, not federalism.” Lambda Legal’s Eric Lesh said Grassley has made the Windsor questions a routine line of inquiry for all federal court nominees now.

ElanephotographySUPREME BYPASS:

The U.S. Supreme Court, for two weeks in a row, has given no indication of whether it will hear a New Mexico dispute pitting New Mexico’s non-discrimination law against a commercial photographer’s claim that she has a First Amendment right to deny public accommodations to a same-sex couple based on her religious beliefs. The photographer filed Elane Photography v. Willock in November. The case was on the relatively short lists for the justices to discuss in private conference March 21 and 28. But on the subsequent Mondays, when the court announced which cases it would and would not take, Elane was not mentioned. The next conference is April 4.

IndianaSEEKING RELIEF IN INDIANA:

Lambda Legal on Monday filed an emergency motion in federal district court seeking an order that would allow a lesbian couple’s marriage to be recognized by Indiana. In the motion, Lambda adds couple Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler to the plaintiffs in its Baskin v. Bogan lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on same-sex couples marrying. Quasney and Sandler were married in Massachusetts last August. Quasney has late-stage ovarian cancer and is concerned that, without a court order to recognize their marriage, their children will be “denied important benefits” upon Quasney’s death and Sandler will be considered a legal stranger.

UGANDAN CHILDREN IN SONG:

Thousands of people turned out yesterday in the capital city of Uganda to stage a “thanksgiving” celebration for President Yoweri Museveni’s signing of the Anti-Homosexuality Act in February. According to an Associated Press report, many in the crowd were schoolchildren “who sang and danced to anti-gay tunes that also railed” against U.S. and European countries.

HRC STAFFER JOINS MICHAUD CAMPAIGN:

The Human Rights Campaign’s associate director of communications, Dan Rafter, left that organization to take over Monday as communications director for U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud’s gubernatorial campaign in Maine.


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