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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.


Will New Hampshire Become the First State to Constitutionally Protect Gays?

New hampshireNumerous states (21 to be exact) protect their gay citizens from discrimination through statutory law, but a proposed amendment in New Hampshire would effectively make it the first state to single out gays for constitutional protection.

The proposed amendment, which passed the state Senate unanimously, has now moved to the House. On Wednesday, the House voted 234-95 to further study the proposal, which has divided LGBT activists because of its lack of protections for gender identity.

The AP reports:

David pierceThe measure would take a three-fifths vote by the House to place it on the November ballot. The state already prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation in statute, but supporters want to enshrine the protection in the Constitution.

But Sen. David Pierce (pictured), the measure’s prime sponsor, argued New Hampshire’s laws legalizing gay marriage and prohibiting discrimination could be repealed by lawmakers and need to be protected in the Constitution. The amendment would not grant special rights to gays as some critics contend, said Pierce, who is gay.

“Equal means what is common to everyone. No one is raised above anyone else,” said Pierce, a Hanover Democrat.

Gay House Commerce and Consumer Affairs Chairman Ed Butler, who is a co-sponsor of the bill, said questions about transgender protections from the LGBT community warrant further study before the bill should move forward:

Butler is a longtime activist for gay rights and a co-sponsor of New Hampshire’s gay marriage law, but he said he couldn’t support an amendment that referred to sexual orientation since that definition does not commonly include transgender individuals. He said New Hampshire’s anti-discrimination law does not protect transgender individuals either, and more work needed to be done to protect them statutorily.

The proposal received mixed support from witnesses testifying at a House hearing, with many arguing there is no clear definition of sexual orentation and that the proposal needs more study before being put before voters. 


Documentary on Gay Republican Presidential Candidate Fred Karger to Premiere: VIDEO

Fred

As you may recall, Fred Karger, who is also perhaps the most intrepid independent activist fighting to expose the Mormon Church's donations to Prop 8 and NOM's illegal financial activities, ran for President in 2012.

Karger was the first openly gay presidentital candidate to appear on the New Hampshire primary ballot and ran under the campaign slogan "Fred who?". He hoped to show people and the party that there is a different kind of Republican, and now there is a documentary about his campaign premiering tomorrow.

It's the opening night film at MONiff International Film Festival in Peterborough, New Hampshire before it begins a trip around the Granite State this week.

Check out the trailer, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Documentary on Gay Republican Presidential Candidate Fred Karger to Premiere: VIDEO" »


Anti-Gay Former Senator Bob Smith to Challenge Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire

Former Senator Bob Smith (R-NH) announced his intention to get his old job back and challenge Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Think Progess reports.

SmithAlong with Smith's opposition to abortion rights, background checks on gun purchases, and support for abolishing the U.S. Department of Education, Smith is also a virulent homophobe.

TP writes up his anti-gay history:

As a Senator, Smith opposed LGBT equality at every opportunity — voting to keep anti-gay employment discrimination legal, opposing hate crimes protections, and refusing to even institute a non-discrimination policy for his own employees. Worse, he joined with Helms to oppose any federal funding for schools that “encourage homosexuality,” by teaching about LGBT families in an inclusive way. Calling such messages “trash,” he asked his colleagues in 1994 why federal tax dollars would be spent to “advocate and encourage the homosexual lifestyle in the curriculae of public schools in this country?” He proposed that “if a public school decides and the parents in that school district decide that this is appropriate in their school system–I cannot imagine why they would–but if they did or they do, fine. You just do not get any federal dollars.”

He also joined with Helms to propose special protections for the Boy Scouts of America’s right to discriminate, warning “Rome died from a lot less than this. When you dilute your moral code to this extent, and if this keeps up, the obituary for America is going to be written.” He opposed confirmation of openly LGBT nominees, saying that sending Ambassador James Hormel to Luxembourg was “like sending Louis Farrakhan to Israel,” and that confirming Roberta Achtenberg as Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development could lead to America becoming “a society cast off from our moral underpinnings and set adrift.”


New Hampshire Congressional Seat - Democrat Incumbent Vs. Gay Republican: VIDEO

Dan Innis
This past Wednesday University of New Hampshire Dean of Business and Economics Dan Innis announced that he would be running for the congressional seat for the Republican party versus the incumbent Democrat, Carol Shea-Porter. Dan Innis also happens to be a gay man and makes mention of both his husband and their children in his announcement video. It's an encouraging sign of equality advancement when a gay man can be a viable Republican candidate without being completely disavowed by the howler monkeys on the right wing.

It's also a sign that doublespeak and falsehoods are not a monopoly owned by far right heterosexuals; Innis brings up how he was raised in a blue-collar family that learned the value of hard work and responsible financial management, but comes out pro big business and calls the Affordable Care Act a "disastrous takeover of health care that directly attacks families, small businesses, and seniors." He doesn't give specifics that could be fact-checked, but the small business claim is most likely of the three to be completely false from every angle.

So, gay or not, Dan Innis is still just another Republican. Dan's announcement video can be seen AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "New Hampshire Congressional Seat - Democrat Incumbent Vs. Gay Republican: VIDEO" »


News: Boehner's Potty Mouth, Shirtless Jude, Sci-Fi Faith, Shojo

1NewsIcon Stacie Laughton, the first transgender person elected to office in New Hampshire, will not run for the seat she resigned after it was revealed she was convicted of conspiracy to commit credit card fraud.

BoehnerReid1NewsIcon House Speaker John Boehner had some choice words for Sen. Harry Reid during the fiscal cliff negotiations at the White House: "Go f*ck yourself."

1NewsIcon Meanwhile, right-wing website Breitbart is starting to beat the "oust Boehner" drum.

1NewsIcon Here's a fun interactive graph about where the 50 United States stand on LGBT rights.

1NewsIcon Richard Socarides on the push for marriage equality in Illinois: "Illinois, being the President's home state and containing four per cent of the total U.S. population, would be a big win for marriage-equality advocates."

1NewsIcon Hillary Clinton has left New York Presbyterian as she continues to recover from a blood clot near her brain.

1NewsIcon Natural born smooth talker: "Just hours after they're born, babies seem to be able to tell the difference between sounds in their native tongue and a foreign one, according to a new study that suggests language learning begins in utero."

Judebeach1NewsIcon A shirtless Jude Law looks fit and fine vacationing in Maui.

1NewsIcon Anne Hathaway looks lovely on the cover of Harper's Bazaar UK.

1NewsIcon Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reportedly tied the knot on Christmas.

1NewsIcon NYE fireworks in reverse.

1NewsIcon Take some time to read my old friend Cord Jefferson's wonderful piece about depression, adventure and finding clarity in life.

1NewsIcon Katie Holmes and Jake Gyllenhaal are not a couple.

1NewsIcon New track from Azaelia Banks, "Bad Bitches Doin'."

1NewsIcon Lindsay Lohan has been evicted from her home in Hollywood. Hopefully this will inspire her to get the help she so desperately needs.

1NewsIcon "Whatever happened to comic books?"

1NewsIcon A completely sci-fi prediction about religion in 2060 from homophobic hate leader David Barton: "Conservative Christians will be treated as second class citizens, much like African Americans were prior to civil rights legislation in the 1960s. Family as we know it will be drastically changed with the state taking charge of the children beginning at birth. Marriage will include two, three, four or any number of participants. Marriage will not be important, with individuals moving in and out of a 'family' group at will. Church buildings will be little used, with many sold to secular buyers and the money received going to the government. Churches will not be allowed to discuss any political issues, even if it affects the church directly." Yeah, right.

Manga1NewsIcon A look at the wild popularity of shojo manga, a genre that focuses on teen boys' gay love, among straight women in Japan: "The genre of boys' love, in other words, allows [authors and] readers to place themselves in a position of power and aggrandizement that is rare for women—as the distanced, masterful position, letting his (or her) eyes roam across variegated objects of desire."

1NewsIcon "The Private War That Killed Spencer Cox."

1NewsIcon If you can, pick up this week's edition of The New Yorker to read Daniel Mendelsohn's incredible piece about how historical novelist Mary Renault's work helped him come to terms with his own sexuality. The magazine's abstract elaborates: "Reading her books, the writer felt a shock of recognition... After reading Renault’s The Charioteer, which is set during the Second World War and wrestles with the issue of 'Greek love,' the writer wrote in his diary, 'I know what I am. Now I must think what to do with it.'"

1NewsIcon From "The Catholic Church’s new gay insult:" "It would be unrealistic to expect the Catholic Church to make a sudden about-face on the issue of equality. It’s been doing the 'Homosexuality is an offense to God' shtick a really long time and that’s a hard habit to break. But the religion whose pope declared in 1866 that slavery wasn’t necessarily against 'natural' law does have a track record of sometimes evolving in light of compelling social change."


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