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Monday Speed Read: Wisconsin, North Dakota, Iowa, G-7 Commitment, Capital Pride

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

WisconsinWISCONSIN BAN STRUCK, APPEAL COMING:

A federal judge in Wisconsin Friday struck down the state’s ban on same-sex couples marrying and, while some clerks began issuing marriage licenses immediately, the state attorney general said he would seek an emergency stay. In Wolf v. Walker, U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb (a Carter appointee) said the ban violates the constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process. She said she would address the state’s motion for a stay after she receives briefs from both parties later this month as to how they think she should word an injunction against enforcement of the ban.

WHAT THIS IS NOT ABOUT: Crabb

In her 88-page decision in Wolf v. Walker, Judge Barbara Crabb addressed concerns of opponents head on: “This case is not about whether marriages between same-sex couples are consistent or inconsistent with the teachings of a particular religion, whether such marriages are moral or immoral or whether they are something that should be encouraged or discouraged…. Quite simply, this case is about liberty and equality, the two cornerstones of the rights protected by the United States Constitution.”

NOT ABOUT THE LAWS OF NATURE:

Judge Barbara Crabb also had this to say about conservative organizations’ argument that marriage is essentially about procreation: “Civil marriage is a legal construct, not a biological rule of nature, so it can be and has been changed over the years….”

NorthdakotaNORTH DAKOTA LAWSUIT FILED:

A private attorney filed a lawsuit in federal court in North Dakota Friday, making that state the last one whose ban on same-sex marriage is under challenge by a lawsuit. Joshua Newville of Minneapolis filed the lawsuit, Ramsay v Dalrymple, on behalf of seven couples in Fargo.

IOWA SUPREME COURT GETS PLEA: Iowa

The owner of a wedding business in Des Moines has appealed to the state supreme court to stop an investigation by the Iowa Civil Rights Commission of the business’s refusal to serve same-sex couples. Lambda Legal announced June 5 that it had filed a brief with the Iowa Supreme Court on behalf of a same-sex couple who had been refused service by the Gortz Haus Gallery. The group notes that the Iowa Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in public accommodations.

G-7 SUMMIT COMMITMENT: G7countries

The language was not part of the G-7 agenda going into the June 4-5 meeting, but the “Declaration” issued June 5 by the seven nations of the G-7 summit calls for the promotion of “all human rights.” The final statement says: “We reaffirm our commitment to the protection and promotion of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including religious freedom, for all persons. We recognize the need to show unprecedented resolve to promote gender equality, to end all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls, to end child, early and forced marriage and to promote full participation and empowerment of all women and girls.” The G-7 nations include Canada, France, German, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

OVER THE RAINBOW: Dc

Washington, D.C.’s Pride parade Saturday was sponsored by the Marriott Hotels, whose owner is from a devout Mormon family and contributor to the Mitt Romney campaign.  The parade was led by a U.S. military color guard. And in an address to celebrate Pride Month at the Pentagon June 5, DOD Deputy Secretary Robert Work singled out several people for recognition. Among them were Brigadier General Tammy Smith, the first openly gay general officer in the U.S. military; Amanda Simpson, the highest ranking transgendered civilian appointee to the DOD; and Eric Fanning, Under-Secretary of the Air Force.

© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


HIV 'Criminals' Cut Free of GPS Monitoring Devices After Iowa Removes Outdated Law: VIDEO

Hiv_iowa

At this week's HIV is Not a Crime conference at Grinnell College, Nick Rhoades and Donald Bogardus were cut free from their GPS monitoring devices on stage in a symbolic celebration of the legislature overturning Iowa's outdated HIV criminalization law.

GLAAD writes:

Nicholas Rhoades was sentenced to 25 years in prison and became a registered tier-one sex offender because he had sex, used a condom, and is HIV positive with an undetectable viral load. Donald Bogardus, who is also HIV positive with an undetectable viral load, faced similar sentencing and felony charges. Neither men transmitted HIV to their partners, but that was irrelevant, because Iowa is one of more than 30 states that criminalizes HIV.

That is, until last week, when Governor Terry Branstad (IA-R) signed into law updated, modernized HIV transmission legislation. This made Iowa the first state to repeal outdated HIV criminalization, replacing it with a transmission statute that is grounded in science, public health, and a commitment to reducing stigma.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "HIV 'Criminals' Cut Free of GPS Monitoring Devices After Iowa Removes Outdated Law: VIDEO" »


Iowa Paper Fires Editor For Blog Post Accusing 'Gaystapo' of 'Rewriting The Bible'

On Monday, The Newton Daily News of Jasper County, Iowa fired editor Bob Eschliman (pictured) after he published a blog post accusing “the LGBTQXYZ crowd and the Gaystapo” of trying to re-write the Bible “to make their sinful nature ‘right with God.’”

HelloIn a response from Newton Daily News’ owner and Shaw Media president John Rung, Rung said:

Last week, Mr. Eschliman expressed an opinion on his personal blog that in no way reflects the opinion of the Newton Daily News or Shaw Media…

There will be some who will criticize our action, and mistakenly cite Mr. Eschliman’s First Amendment rights as a reason he should continue on as editor of the Newton Daily News.

As previously stated, he has a right to voice his opinion. And we have a right to select an editor who we believe best represents our company and best serves the interests of our readers.

The Newton Daily News has also publsihed readers’ letter on the matter, most of them speaking against Eschliman’s screed.


Iowa Legislature Approves Update to 'Badly Outdated and Draconian' HIV Criminalization Law

Iowa's legislature has rewritten the law which criminalized transmission of HIV, the Des Moines Register reports:

HoggSenate File 2297 unanimously passed the Iowa House after going virtually unmentioned in the Legislature for more than a month.

The bill expands state laws against transmitting HIV to include other contagious and infectious diseases including hepatitis, tuberculosis and menningicocal disease and requires the transmission to be known for criminal charges to be filed. It's intended to revise a "badly outdated and draconian" law regarding the transmission of HIV, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Hogg (pictured), D-Cedar Rapids, and others have said.

Transmitting one of the diseases could be one of three classes of crimes depending on whether the diseased person passed the infection to another person intentionally or with reckless disregard or without informing the person of their status.

KWWL adds: "Iowa's current 709c law states a person has committed criminal transmission of HIV if that person knowingly engages in intimate contact without disclosing his or her positive status, whether infection occurs or not."

IowaOne Iowa applauds:

After a series of negotiations, a historic bill passed through the Iowa House early this morning that will modernize Iowa’s discriminatory HIV law. Iowa’s current law, 709c, is based on outdated science and beliefs that actually discourages testing and disclosure because of severe penalties associated with simply knowing one’s status. The new bill, Senate File 2297 (SF2297), will change the law so that it is no longer HIV specific, and converts sentencing into a tiered system instead of the “one size fits all” approach used in 709c. The bill unanimously passed the Iowa Senate in February, and moved to the House for debate this morning. The bill, which also passed unanimously in House chambers, will now head to Governor Terry Branstad’s desk for his signature.

The proposed changes to the law are supported by One Iowa, the state’s leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organization, and by Community HIV/Hepatitis Advocates of Iowa Network (CHAIN), an organization that has spent the last 5 years trying to reform Iowa’s HIV law. Iowa currently has one of the harshest laws in the nation that targets people living with HIV and AIDS.

“After 5 long years of fighting to change Iowa’s law, those of us living in Iowa with HIV and AIDS can finally breathe a sigh of relief,” said Tami Haught, Community Organizer with CHAIN. “We commend the leadership in the Senate and the House for understanding the importance of this bill and the need to modernize Iowa’s draconian 709c law. None of this would be possible without the bipartisan support of Senators Matt McCoy, Steve Sodders, Charles Schneider and Rob Hogg; in addition to Representatives Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, Chris Hagenow and Chip Baltimore. The changes in this new bill are a step in the right direction.


Iowa Adoptive Lesbian Couple Heartbroken After Baby Dies In Neglectful Care of Teen Father

Baby

An Ankeny, Iowa lesbian couple are heartbroken after the death of the 4-month-old child that they had hoped to adopt.

After taking him home from the hospital, Heidi McFarland and her partner Rachel were forced to return 4-month Gabriel to his birth mother a few days before signing the final adoption papers. Gabriel's 16-year-old biological mother left the child with his 17-year-old father Drew James Wheeler-Smith at 7:30 PM to go and run some errands.

When she returned at 8:20 PM, the father was gone and the baby was dead, still sitting in his glider chair with white foam around his mouth.

The father has been arrested and will be charged after the child’s autopsy is complete. The McFarland family released a statement that read:

“It took about 30 seconds to fall in love with him. Heidi and Rachel were the perfect parents and any love, happiness and security that Gabe had in his short life was given by them. They would have treasured him forever.”


Mike Huckabee Tells Iowa Crowd: 'I'm Not Homophobic', Just on 'the Right Side of the Bible' - VIDEO

Huckabee

Mike Huckabee spoke to the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition yesterday and blasted the "Extreme Court" for letting stand the decision by a lower court against a New Mexico photographer who refused to shoot the commitment ceremony for a gay couple.

Said Huckabee:

"Why is it that Christians stand back and take it in the teeth time and time and time again? But we cannot change this country if we do not rise up and vote with an informed mind and a committed spirit and if we're not willing to stand along."

Added Huckabee:

"I'm not against anybody. I'm really not. I'm not a hater. I'm not homophobic. I honestly don't care what people do personally in their individual lives...But … when people say, 'Why don't you just kind of get on the right side of history?' I said, 'You've got to understand, this for me is not about the right side or the wrong side of history, this is the right side of the Bible, and unless God rewrites it, edits it, sends it down with his signature on it, it's not my book to change.' Folks, that's why I stand where I stand."

Watch Huckabee's remarks, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Mike Huckabee Tells Iowa Crowd: 'I'm Not Homophobic', Just on 'the Right Side of the Bible' - VIDEO" »


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