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Neil Abercrombie, Hawaiian Governor Who Led State's Marriage Equality Push, Loses Reelection Bid

AbercrombieNeil Abercrombie, the Hawaiian governor who successfully led his state's efforts to pass marriage equality legislation last year, has lost his bid for a second term, the AP reports.

State Sen. David Ige, once seen as an underdog, cruised to a decisive 35 percentage point win in Saturday's primary after being dramatically outspent by Abercrombie, who also had high-profile endorsements including President Barack Obama. Ige said his win "proves that people power can be money power, especially in Hawaii." [...]

Abercrombie is the first Hawaii governor to lose to a primary challenger and only the second not to win re-election. His defeat comes after Obama last month cut a radio ad for Abercrombie, invoking the Hawaiian word for family to tell voters in his native state that Abercrombie is "like ohana to me."

The AP adds that Abercrombie's confrontational style and proposal to raise taxes last year contributed to his defeat.

Ige voted in favor of the marriage equality bill last year. 


9th Circuit Court of Appeals to Hear 3 Marriage Equality Cases in September

NincriSeptember is shaping up to be a busy month for the fight for marriage equality. Challenges to Nevada, Idaho, and Hawaii’s bans on same-sex marriage are slated to be heard to be heard by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals back to back to back on the same date.

The court’s official argument calendar now lists Jackson v. Abercrombie, Sevcik v. Sandoval, and Latta v. Otter as being heard on September 8th in the San Francisco court. Percentage wise, the 9th Circuit is comprised of the largest percentage (69%) of sitting judges appointed by Democratic presidents, making it a comparatively liberal circuit. The panel of judges presiding over these cases has not yet been made public, but it is safe to assume that the panel, as a group, will hear all three cases.


Friday Speed Read: LGBT History, GetEQUAL, Wisconsin, Mark Herring, Hawaii, HIV, Trans Soldiers

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

StonewallPRESERVING HISTORY:

Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is scheduled to announce this morning a new National Park Service study to identify places and events associated with the LGBT civil rights struggle movement “and ensure that the agency is telling a complete story of America’s heritage and history.” Currently, only New York City’s Stonewall Inn, the site of the 1969 riots against police harassment, has the designation as a national historic landmark by the National Park Service. Jewell will make the announcement at the Stonewall Inn, accompanied by gay philanthropist Tim Gill and New York City Councilman Corey Johnson.

DEMANDING MORE:

The LGBT activist group GetEQUAL said it will stage a demonstration outside today’s event at the Stonewall “to demand more from the White House than simply a study of our history.”

HATE VIOLENCE STEADY:

An annual report on LGBT-related hate violence, released Thursday, indicates the number of incidents reported in 2013 “stayed relatively consistent” with the number reported in 2012. Only 45 percent of survivors reported the attacks to police, notes the report, published by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs.

WisconsinDEMANDING SHORTCUT FAILS:

A lesbian couple who took their challenge to Wisconsin’s ban on same-sex couples marrying directly to the state supreme court, without first going through lower courts, got an answer last week: The court won’t take the case.

IMPEACH HERRING EFFORT OFF:

A resolution seeking to impeach Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring because he refused to defend the state’s ban on same-sex couples marrying was killed within minutes of its introduction, according to an NBC affiliate in Richmond. According to the station, a spokesperson for House Speaker Bill Howell said late last week that Howell “does not believe impeachment is an appropriate or practical recourse at the moment.”

AbercrombieHAWAII FIGHT HANGS ON:

The Hawaii Family Forum filed a brief with the Ninth Circuit on Tuesday seeking to keep alive a case, Jackson v. Abercrombie, testing the constitutionality of that state’s former ban on same-sex couples marrying. Democratic Governor Neil Abercrombie and same-sex couple plaintiffs have argued the Ninth Circuit should dismiss the appeal because the Hawaiian legislature passed a law last year allowing same-sex couples to marry. The Forum, represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, says new lawsuits challenging the new marriage equality law could succeed. If they do, says the Forum, then the plaintiffs in Jackson would almost certainly want to re-litigate the issue.

15,500 TRANS SOLDIERS:

The Williams Institute, an LGBT-oriented think tank, issued a report this month estimating there are 15,500 transgender or non-gender conforming people serving in active duty and another 134,300 retired from the U.S. military.  Current military medical policy prohibits transgender people from serving in the military. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told ABC’s This Week program Sunday that he is open to having DOD review its policy banning transgender people from the military, but that it’s a “bit more complicated” than gays because of special medical needs.

TalkingGETTING BEYOND ‘AWKWARD’:

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched a new website last week to give gay men some tips on how and when to talk with their sexual partners about their HIV status. Among other things, the campaign suggests it’s better to talk “early” –early in the relationship and early in the evening. The talk about HIV status doesn’t have to be face to face; it can also take place through texting or email. The bottom line is to talk about HIV status so both parties can take precautions to avoid the spread of the virus.

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


Hawaii Catholic Schools Implement New Contract: Gay Teachers Can Be Fired

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A new teaching contract approved by the Hawaii Catholic schools office states that any educator can be fired if they engage in “homosexual activity” or marry someone of the same sex. The Huffington Post reports:

“The school expressly reserves the right to terminate the employment of any Teacher, who by word or example, denies the teachings or authority of the Church, or whose personal life or conduct is, based on Catholic teaching, immoral,” says a portion of the contract that was obtained by Honolulu Civil Beat.

The contract, which is called the "Standard Teacher Employment Agreement," is for full- and part-time teachers who must sign it every year they work.

HCS-StampThe contract, which is slated to go into effect for the 2014-2015 school year, explicitly says “homosexual activity” and “same-sex unions” are not permitted. The contract also lists other acts that could justify firing, including abortion, in vitro fertilization, or “unmarried cohabitation.”

Michael Rockers, the superintendent of all Hawaii Roman Catholic schools, said that while the provision is new, the expectations outlined in it are not.

He said the ultimate goal is to provide positive role models for students and that if a teacher's homosexuality were made public it would negatively affect the children.

“We want to be authentic about what our moral teaching is,” he said. “We’re trying to be pastoral about this and centered on what’s best for the students.”

Rockers said the written provision was not a response to last year’s legalization of same-sex marriage in Hawaii. 


Court Challenge to Hawaii's Marriage Equality Law Fails

Mcdermott

A challenge to Hawaii's marriage equality law from leading bigot Rep. Bob McDermott has failed, Big Island Now reports:

LouieFirst Circuit Judge Karl Sakamoto ruled Wednesday that the Hawaii Marriage Equality Act of 2013 is constitutional under both the state and federal constitutions.

Hawaii Attorney General David M. Louie (right) issued a statement saying the ruling “unequivocally affirmed the right of people to marry the person they love without regard to gender.”

“This is a very good day for the people of Hawaii,” Louie said.

...

Sakamoto twice previously declined to issue injunctions requested by McDermott, the first to block the governor from signing the bill and the second stopping the state fromissuing same-gender marriage licenses.

Sakamoto’s ruling Wednesday was in response to a motion filed by Louie for a summary judgment.

McDermott says he plans to appeal.


46 Gay Couples Marry in Hawaii on First Day of Marriage Equality: VIDEO

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The Honolulu Star Advertiser and Hawaii News Now both report that 46 gay couples exchanged vows on the first day marriage equality was legal in the Aloha state.

HNN reports:

HawaiiA total of 37 couples got married at Sheraton Waikiki's Leahi Club Lounge, which hosted mass ceremonies for anyone wanting to sign up.

Department of Health officials say the success of the event, and others like it, lead to a much quieter morning at the state's marriage license office than expected.

"A lot of people who were anxious to get their license at midnight as soon as they could – wanting to be first – actually did that at the Sheraton and other venues, so this morning we didn't have a long line," explained Keith Yamamoto, Deputy Director of the state's Dept. of Health....

...In a statement from the Department of Health: "As of 3 p.m. Monday, the Hawai'i State Department of Health had received 179 online applications for marriage licenses for same-sex couples.  Of the 179 licenses, 46 of the couples were married today and had their marriages registered by the department.  Of the 179 marriage license applications, 49 of the couples identified one or both people as non-residents, and 130 of the couples were both residents of Hawaii."

Watch a report from Hawaii News Now, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "46 Gay Couples Marry in Hawaii on First Day of Marriage Equality: VIDEO" »


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