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Friday Speed Read: Ninth Circuit, Michelle Friedland, Idaho Veteran, New Hampshire

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

SENATE CONFIRMS PRO-GAY JUDGE:

FriedlandThe U.S. Senate voted 51 to 40 on Wednesday to confirm the nomination of a pro-gay judge to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Judge Michelle Friedland of San Francisco served as research assistant for openly gay Professor Kathleen Sullivan from 1999 to 2000 and then as law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor from 2001 to 2002. She won an LGBT Award from the ACLU of California in 2009 for her work challenging Proposition 8. She played a substantial role in drafting briefs in support of same-sex couples before the California Supreme Court. She wrote an amicus brief against Proposition 8 in the Hollingsworth v. Perry appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court last year on behalf of Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom and others. In questions submitted in writing, Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) asked Friedland whether there is an “equivalency” between marriage equality and racial equality. Friedland noted that most cases involving racial discrimination have been decided based on equal protection. In contrast, she said, the Supreme Court ruling in U.S. v. Windsor used due process and equal protection grounds. She noted that the issue with regard to state bans is still “being litigated actively.”

NOMINEE’S VOTE ‘HELD OVER’:

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee was set to vote Thursday morning on the nomination of openly gay federal district court nominee Darrin Gayles. But it didn’t happen. Republicans on the committee asked that the Gayles nomination and three others be “held over” until next week.

Madelynn_taylorRETIRED VET TO THE RESCUE:

Retired U.S. Army Colonel Barry Johnson offered, in a political commentary published by the Idaho Statesman Wednesday, to give his plot in the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery to a lesbian former Navy veteran so she may be buried with her same-sex spouse. “As a lifelong Idahoan and a 27-year Army veteran of two wars, I've worked beside heterosexuals, gays, lesbians and bisexuals,” wrote Johnson. He said the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” had little effect on most military personnel and he feels Madelynn Taylor deserves the right to have a plot in the state veterans cemetery next to her spouse. A state cemetery for military veterans in Idaho recently refused her request because Idaho bans recognition of same-sex marriages. “Like Madelynn, I love this state and I respect the views of all my neighbors, whether I agree with those views or not,” wrote Johnson, who acknowledged he was uncertain whether the state would allow Taylor to take him up on the offer. “…But let's not pick on people who aren't hurting anybody and simply minding their own business.”

NhA LOSS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE:

The New Hampshire House on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to table a bill seeking to amend the state constitution to add sexual orientation to the state’s non-discrimination policy. Having passed the state senate unanimously in March, the House vote –to send the bill to an “interim study” committee—marked a tough blow.

AND A WIN IN NEW HAMPSHIRE: 

On the same day it rejected a prohibition on sexual orientation discrimination, the New Hampshire House voted 217 to 119 for a bill to clarify that the state would recognize marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples from other states and would recognize as marriages any civil union recognition granted to a same-sex couple from another state. The senate passed the bill in March. Democratic Governor Maggie Hassan is expected to sign the legislation.

© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


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...

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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

Idahoaddthewords1

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...

Idahoaddthewords2

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