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Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick Nominates Out Lesbian Barbara Lenk to Supreme Judicial Court

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has nominated Barbara Lenk, an openly gay associate justice of the state Appeals Court, to a seat on the state's Supreme Judicial Court, the Boston Globe reports:

Lenk If confirmed by the Governor’s Council, Lenk would be the first openly gay judge on the state’s highest court, which issued the landmark 2003 ruling that made Massachusetts the first state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004.

The nomination of Lenk comes after the governor named Roderick Ireland to be the first African-American chief justice of the SJC, and Fernande R.V. Duffly to be the first Asian-American judge on the state’s high court. Patrick has spoken of his desire to make the judiciary and other branches of government more reflective of the state's diversity.

A specialist in civil litigation and First Amendment issues, Lenk holds a doctorate in political philosophy from Yale University and a law degree from Harvard Law School.

Lenk would fill the seat vacated by Justice Judith A. Cowin, who is stepping down in April

Recently...
Pro-Equality Justice Roderick Ireland Set to Become Chief of MA Supreme Court [tr]


Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick Protects Transgender State Workers from Discrimination

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed an executive order yesterday protecting transgender state workers from discrimination, the Boston Globe reports:

PatrickPatrick signed the order in a private ceremony in his office attended by advocates and several transgender state employees. He did not list the event on his public schedule or send out a press release afterward.

The order expands the state’s current civil rights policy by forbidding state government and its contractors from discriminating on the basis of “gender identity or expression.’’ The state already forbids discrimination based on a host of other characteristics, including race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, and religion.

Patrick said he signed the order after being asked to do so by advocates.

Said MassEquality Executive Director Kara Suffredini in a statement released by The Transgender Equal Rights Coalition: "Governor Patrick is a true champion for the LGBT community, and we applaud the critical first step he has taken with this order toward creating a Commonwealth where all hardworking people, including transgender people, have the opportunity to make a living and provide for themselves and their families." 

More reactions at Bay Windows...


Pro-Equality Justice Set to Become Chief of MA Supreme Court

Pro-equality Massachusetts Supreme Court Associate Justice Roderick Ireland is poised to become the first Black man to lead Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court after nomination yesterday by Deval Patrick.

Via MassLive: Ireland

Ireland was with the majority when the state Supreme Judicial Court in a 4-3 landmark decision legalized gay marriage in 2003. 

Of all the court members, Ireland may be the strongest on gay rights. In 2006, he broke with other members on the SJC when it upheld former Gov. W. Mitt Romney’s use of a 1913 law to ban same-sex couples from other states from marrying in Massachusetts. 

Under the 1913 law, Romney had said, nonresidents could not marry here if their union would be banned in their home state and they have no intention of moving to Massachusetts. 

As the lone dissenter in the ruling, Ireland said that it was “fundamentally unfair” for the state to resurrect and selectively enforce “a moribund statute” that was dormant for almost a century. Critics said the 1913 law was originally enacted to block interracial marriages. 

Patrick and state legislators in 2008 repealed the old law. 

Ireland is expected to be confirmed in December following a public interview with the Governor's Council.


Watch: Activists Protest Obama With Chants At Boston Rally

Obama
During a rally in Boston yesterday, a group of gay rights activists and AIDS research supporters interrupted a speech from President Obama while he was stumping for Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. Reportedly chants included "Mr. President, stop the bigotry! Support marriage equality!," "Do you also oppose Atheist Marriage?," and "Would
you want a Civil Union?"

Mediaite reports on the incident, which seemed to noticeably agitate the president:

"The President appeared uncharacteristically upset as, mid-sentence, a group of folks in the crowd began to loudly object to his speech as he described the work his administration had done for AIDS research. As the crowd turned their heads up to look at the hecklers, President Obama followed as well, and modified his speech for them, menacingly pointing his finger up at them as he warned that a Republican leadership would be extremely destructive to their cause. After raising his voice mid-sentence in response to them, President Obama continued: “One of the great things about being a Democrat is, we like arguing with each other. But to the folks concerned about AIDS funding, I would say ‘take a look at what the Republican leadership has to say about AIDS funding.’”

Watch a clip of the incident from MSNBC as well as a POV clip from the crowd, AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "Watch: Activists Protest Obama With Chants At Boston Rally" »


News: The Tonys, Aaron Schock, Sharon & Kelly Osbourne, Disney

 road The compound pyrophosphite could have been what started all life.

 road Illinois state treasurer signs executive order: "Gay and lesbian employees of the Illinois Treasurer's office with domestic partners will have the same benefits as married employees."

Aaron

 road GOP Rep Aaron Schock, he with the perfect abs who is not gay, in his daytime party outfit which is a tad bit loud

 road A quick prep for tonight's broadcast of the Tony Awards.

 road Obama gets more aggressive with BP.

 road Serbia hopes to see its first Pride march in 10 years sometime in 2011.

 road The power of the gay vote: "Gay rights leaders, many of whom are celebrating at Capital Pride events this weekend, said their immediate focus will be the mayor's race between incumbent Adrian M. Fenty and Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray, two Democrats who played pivotal role in approving same-sex marriage and who marched in Saturday's parade. In what's expected to be a tight mayoral contest, whoever succeeds in locking in the support of the gay and lesbian community may have the advantage on primary day."

 road Ant-gay protesters in West Hollywood get shouted down by Sharon and Kelly Osbourne.

 road Americans for Truth About Homosexuality has put together a so-called "Truth Academy" which I'm sure is anything but.

 road Refused: "Following Israel's interception of a Gaza-bound flotilla, Spain's Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Transsexuals and Bisexuals decided that their Israeli counterparts in Tel Aviv would not be invited to the event, which took place late last week."

Lgay_0621

 road MassEquality gives the thumbs up to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.

 road Man who had a "crush" on Sally Ride stole one of her space suits

 road Katy Perry wrapped herself in both the Union Jack and Old Glory.

 road Maybe some other time: Christina Aguilera and Cher will not record a duet.

 road Time magazine piece on Disney's Gay Days: "A former Disney employee who was at the park on June 5 told me that every year, Disney issues refunds or free next-day tickets to angry moms and dads who don't want their kids exposed to gay couples or gay-themed shirts. Some families don't get past Main Street U.S.A. before turning around and taking the monorail back to the parking lots."


Massachusetts Governor Picks Paul Kirk to Fill Kennedy Seat

Former DNC Chairman Paul Kirk will fill Ted Kennedy's vacant U.S. Senate seat until a special election is held in January, the Boston Globe reports:

Kirk

"Governor Deval Patrick has selected Paul G. Kirk Jr. to serve as interim US senator, a choice that comes with the strong backing of the immediate family of the late Edward M. Kennedy, according to a person with knowledge of the selection process. Patrick has remained mum about his selection, but is scheduled to announce the appointment at a press conference this morning today at the State House. Kirk, 71, is a longtime Kennedy friend and former staff member, a man so close to the family he was chosen as master of ceremonies at Kennedy’s memorial service the night before the funeral last month. An attorney who now lives on Cape Cod, Kirk worked as a special assistant to Senator Kennedy from 1969 to 1977, and is currently the chairman of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. He is familiar with many on Kennedy’s former staff and could help smooth the transition. Kirk was registered as a lobbyist a decade ago. He was paid $35,000 to represent the pharmaceutical company Hoechst Marion Roussel on legislation before the US Senate in 1999, according to federal disclosure records. He is currently on the board of directors of the Hartford Insurance Group."

The special election is set for January 19.

"The interim senator could be sworn in within days after the secretary of the US Senate receives a certification of appointment from the governor, according to Beth Provenzano, a spokeswoman for the secretary’s office. The new senator could begin assembling a staff almost immediately, she said."


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