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Friday Speed Read: Louisiana, Maine, Texas, Jason Collins, Idaho, Mary Cheney, Health Benefits

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

Stgermain‘I MIGHT HAVE THREE VOTES’:

Here’s how much support there is in the Louisiana House for barring discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity: “I might have three votes,” State Rep. Karen St. Germain told the Baton Rouge Advocate. Germain announced Tuesday she was withdrawing her bill to seek such protections.

MICHAUD SLIPS IN MAINE POLLS:

Openly gay U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud had a small lead over incumbent Republican Governor Paul LePage at the top of April, but now, he appears to have fallen behind. The first poll, by a more liberal polling group, showed Michaud’s bid to unseat LePage supported by 44 percent of voters surveyed, compared to 37 percent for LePage, and 14 percent for independent candidate Eliot Cutler. But by mid-April, a survey conducted by a Portland-based firm found LePage at 38.6 percent to Michaud’s 37.2 percent, and Cutler at 20.3 percent.

TEXAS ‘CANNOT DISCRIMINATE’: Nellermoe

A state district court judge in San Antonio, Texas, ruled Tuesday that because the state grants a presumption of parenthood to the husband of a child’s birth mother, it must do the same for the same-sex spouse of a child’s birth mother. The ruling came in ALFL v. KLL, a divorce and custody proceeding involving a lesbian couple who married in Washington, D.C., in 2010, gave birth to a child using donor insemination in 2013, and is now seeking to divorce in their home state of Texas which bans recognition of same-sex marriages. Echoing U.S. v. Windsor and a recent federal court decision in San Antonio, as well as the “best interests of the child,” Judge Barbara Nellermoe wrote that the state “cannot discriminate against same-sex couples” and that the state’s ban against allowing same-sex couples to marry violates the child’s right to equal protection of the law. Two similar cases are currently awaiting a ruling from the state supreme court.

J_collinsNAMED TO PRESIDENT’S COUNCIL:

President Obama on Thursday named openly gay pro basketball player Jason Collins to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition. Collins entered the NBA in 2001 and played for a number of professional teams before coming out as gay last year. He currently plays for the Brooklyn Nets. The White House press release notes Collins is “a partner with the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), a national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students.”

A FINAL BATTLEGROUND: Madelynn_taylor

A state cemetery for military veterans in Idaho recently refused a lesbian veteran’s request that her same-sex spouse, who died two years ago, be buried with her when she dies. Madelynn Taylor, 74, said she knows the two could be buried together in a federal cemetery for veterans but that she has close, long-held ties to Idaho, according to KTVB-TV. A spokesman for the Idaho Division of Veterans Services told the station their hands are tied by the Idaho ban on recognizing same-sex marriages.

CheneyCHENEY BACK IN ACTION:

Lesbian political strategist Mary Cheney is one of several Washington Republican operatives launching a new firm this week. The outfit, according to politico.com, will be called [Voice of the People] Vox Populi Polling (aka Pop Polling, according to the new firm’s website.

THIRTY-TWO PERCENT PROBLEM: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday that, while 72 percent of all civilian workers get employer-sponsored health benefits for themselves and their spouses, only 32 percent of employees with same-sex domestic partners get benefits for their partners. The report was based on data collected a year ago.

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


Idaho Won't Allow 74-Year-Old Gay Navy Veteran to Be Buried with Her Wife: VIDEO

Madelynn_taylor

Madelynn Taylor, a 74-year-old U.S. Navy veteran from Boise, Idaho, is speaking out after the Idaho Veterans Cemetery refused her request to be buried with her wife Jean Mixner, who died in 2012, KBOI reports:

She went to the Idaho Veterans Cemetery and asked officials to reserve a spot for interment, along with her partner's ashes. The cemetery allows spouses of veterans to be buried or interred with them.

They said no.

"I'm not surprised." Taylor said. "I've been discriminated against for 70 years, and they might as well discriminate against me in death as well as life."

A spokesperson with the Division of Veterans Services told KBOI 2News that they "have to abide by the Idaho state constitution," which only recognizes marriage between a man and a woman.

"I don't see where the ashes of a couple old lesbians is going to hurt anyone," Taylor said.

Taylor, who served in the Navy for six years, says this is her home state and the only place she wants to be buried, next to her wife, whom she legally married in California in 2008.

Watch KBOI's interview with Taylor, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Hundreds Surround Idaho Statehouse in Support of LGBT Rights: VIDEO

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At the Idaho Statehouse in Boise on Monday, hundreds of demonstrators circled around the building to greet lawmakers and push for “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to be added to the Idaho Human Rights Act.

Idaho's Republican lawmakers have repeatedly declined to hold a hearing on possible changes to the state's human rights act for several years. Supporters of the “Add the Words” movement say updating the human rights act would protect LGBT people in Idaho from discrimination in housing and employment. 

Last month, police arrested 32 LGBT activists at the state Capitol who were protesting lawmakers' refusal to bring up the issue. 

Check out footage and a news report of the rally, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Hundreds Surround Idaho Statehouse in Support of LGBT Rights: VIDEO" »


21-Year-Old Gay 'Conservative Republican' Runs For Idaho State Legislature: VIDEO

GelsominoIdaho's District 18 has a first on its hands. Dom Gelsomino, a Republican candidate for the district's state legislature seat, also happens to be openly gay. However, he hopes that if elected, people will recognize that as a self-described "conservative Republican" he is in the legislature to do a job and to vote, not to tout his personal life.

ABC 6 reports:

With gay rights as one of the hottest issues at the Idaho Statehouse many have viewed the issue as partisan - that “adding the words” went down party lines. Gelsomino says not if he's elected.

“I would support 'Add The Words' where religious institutions, organizations and businesses would be exempt, as would be the federal and state-owned businesses, buildings or organizations," he says.

His opponent, Democrat Representative Phylis King is the co-sponsor of the current 'Add The Words' bill and she tells On Your Side she's not concerned with Gelsomino's sexual orientation.

“I think that's his business,” says King. “What I want him to do if he wins is to be a really good legislator and to work as hard as I do."

...

"Despite my personal life, it's how I will vote that's going to matter," he says.

What do you think about Gelsomino's ambitions? 

Check out news coverage (autoplay), AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "21-Year-Old Gay 'Conservative Republican' Runs For Idaho State Legislature: VIDEO" »


LGBT Rights Activists Arrested For Blocking Entrances To Idaho Governor's Office: VIDEO

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Over twenty LGBT rights activists sporting "Add the Words Idaho" t-shirts and covering their mouths with their hands were arrested for blocking all four entrances to Idaho governor C.L. "Butch" Otter's office today. The protestors, who have held demonstrations at the statehouse several times in the past month, want officials to add the terms "gender identity" and "sexual orientation" to Idaho's human rights act.

KTVB.com reports:

Police arrested 18 protesters for unlawful assembly, four protesers for trespassing, and one protester for resisting and obstructing, according to Idaho State Police.

That includes former Idaho State Senator Nicole LeFavour (above), who was led from the building in handcuffs. LeFavour was encouraging protesters not to move from the various entrances to the governor's office...

Idaho Republicans have blocked passage of the "Add the Words" proposal for eight years, and they have declined to give such a plan a hearing this year.

Watch news coverage of the protest, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Idaho is About to Throw $1 Million Away Defending the State's Gay Marriage Ban

OtterThe Idaho Legislature's Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee has approved a $1 million budget request to defend the state's gay marriage ban, KTVB reports:

The Moscow-Pullman Daily News reports that the committee endorsed a request by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter (pictured) to transfer the money from the general fund to the Constitutional Defense Fund in anticipation of a legal fight.

If there is a trial at all.

Earlier this month, four couples who filed suit in Idaho in November requested that the federal judge overseeing the lawsuit strike down the ban without a trial, saying the overwhelming rulings in other parts of the country make it clear that Idaho's ban violates the Constitution.

What a waste. To think the state could actually be making money with marriage equality. Taxpayers should be outraged.


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