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Friday Speed Read: ENDA, Utah, NOM, IRS, Puerto Rico, Patricia Todd, Uganda, Immigration

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

Finalvote_endaTWO MORE GROUPS DISS ENDA:

The National Center for Lesbian Rights and Equality Illinois issued separate statements Thursday, joining the chorus of those who say the current version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) “falls short.” Equality Illinois says that, while it supports ENDA, its members “strongly oppose including any exemptions that would give LGBT people less protection than other protected groups already enjoy under federal civil rights law.” NCLR said it is “confident the current discriminatory religious exemption in ENDA will not be part of the final legislation,” but added it would “not continue to support ENDA if it is not changed to be consistent with Title VII’s religious exemption."

UtahTENTH CIRCUIT STAYS RECOGNITION ORDER:

The Tenth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals agreed Thursday to a temporary stay of a federal district court judge’s ruling that Utah must recognize, for the purpose of state benefits, the 1,300 marriages performed for same-sex couples in the state prior to a U.S. Supreme Court stay of a decision striking the state ban. The appeals court is expected to decide by June 12 whether to grant a more permanent stay, in Evans v. Utah, until the Tenth Circuit can rule on the state’s ban, in Kitchen v. Herbert.

NOM-logoJUDGE DISMISSES MOST OF NOM-IRS LAWSUIT:

A federal district court judge in Virginia on June 3 dismissed most of a lawsuit by the National Organization for Marriage that claimed an employee of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service deliberately leaked a confidential tax document from NOM to the Human Rights Campaign. Judge James Cacheris said NOM failed to provide any evidence that the disclosure was deliberate and politically motivated; but, he said the IRS may bear some responsibility for the legal expenses NOM incurred as a result of that error and scheduled that issue for trial June 30. Story to follow later today.

RodriguezLESBIAN NOMINATED TO P.R. SUPREME COURT:

Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro García Padilla on Wednesday nominated lesbian attorney Maite Oronoz Rodríguez to serve on the Puerto Rico Supreme Court. Rodríguez is director of legal affairs for the city of San Juan, served as deputy solicitor general for PR and briefly as its acting solicitor general. Lambda Legal issued a statement applauding the nomination of the “first openly lesbian judge” to the Puerto Rico Supreme Court. The nomination now goes to the PR senate for confirmation.

ToddMORE ELECTION WINNERS:

Openly gay Alabama state Representative Patricia Todd beat out two Democratic challengers in a primary race Tuesday, seeking her third term to represent Birmingham. Todd, the state’s first and only openly gay elected official, took 64 percent of the vote. And Richard Garcia was elected mayor of Long Beach, California, becoming the city’s first openly gay mayor.

Chad_griffinHRC URGES OBAMA ACTION AGAINST UGANDA:

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin sent President Obama a letter June 2, urging him to take “immediate, concrete” action to “illustrate the United States’ commitment to protecting human rights in Uganda.” Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed the country’s Anti-Homosexuality Act in February. President Obama said at the time that the law would “complicate” U.S. relations with Uganda and the administration began an “internal review” of those relations.  “Delay is putting lives at risk,” wrote Griffin. “…The world is waiting for action….”

GROUPS URGE ACTION ON IMMIGRATION:

The Human Rights Campaign and 14 other groups signed onto a letter to President Obama June 3, urging him to take “swift executive action to suspend mass immigration detention and deportations.” The letter says Immigration and Custom Enforcement “has failed to take adequate steps to protect LGBT people from abuse and inhumane isolation in detention centers….”

© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Lesbian Couple Files Lawsuit Demanding Recognition of Marriage in Puerto Rico

Ada_ivonne

A lesbian couple has filed suit in Puerto Rico demanding recognition of their Massachusetts marriage, the Washington Blade reports:

“We wish to enjoy the same social privileges and contractual rights that are conferred by the commonwealth on individuals in opposite-sex marriages and not to be treated as we are being treated as second class citizens differentiated, alienated and discriminated in comparison to other U.S. citizens,” say Ada Conde Vidal and Ivonne Álvarez Velez in their lawsuit they filed in U.S. District Court of Puerto Rico in San Juan. “Puerto Rico law precluding recognition of lawful same-sex marriages denies us those rights in violation of the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”

Conde and Álvarez, who have been together for nearly 14 years, exchanged vows in Massachusetts in 2004 shortly after the state’s same-sex marriage law took effect.

Puerto Rican lawmakers in 1999 amended the U.S. commonwealth’s civil code to ban recognition of same-sex marriages – even those legally performed in other jurisdictions. Unions in which one person is transgender are also not recognized.

More at the Blade...

Wrote activist Pedro Julio Serrano on Facebook of the above photo:

They made history by being the first Puerto Rican couple of the same sex to marry in Massachusetts - the first State to legalize this right - a decade ago. They made history today by filing the first federal lawsuit so in Puerto Rico recognizes marriage between same-sex acts in other jurisdictions. They will make history when it declares legal the right to equal marriage in Puerto Rico. Thank you, yesterday, today and always... ADA and Ivonne!


Anti-Gay Puerto Rican GOP Senator Who Resigned Over Grindr Photos Comes Out of the Closet: VIDEO

Arango

Roberto Arango, a Puerto Rican Senator who vice chaired Bush's 2004 campaign there and cast several anti-gay votes before resigning in 2011 after revealing Grindr photos of him surfaced, has come out of the closet publicly in a radio interview with Noti UNO, Blabbeando reports:

2_arangoInitially Arango denied he was the man in the photos and then he acknowledged some of the photos were his but alleged he had taken them to document his weight-loss under a new diet but he never admitted whether the photos came from a personal profile on the popular gay men's hook up app or whether he was gay.

The news became tabloid fodder in the United States and Arango is still listed on several lists of the top sexual scandals to hit any politician but behind the scandal also laid the past of a man who had previously voted to deny rights to the LGBT community in Puerto Rico and sided with some of the most conservative factions in the island.

In 2004 he mocked a San Juan mayoral candidate during a political rally by implying he was gay and holding a plastic duck and making quacking noises when speaking against him ("pato" or duck in Spanish is a word often used as a slur against gays in Puerto Rico).

Arango also led failed efforts to pass a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage or any other union that was not between a man and woman.

Watch his interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Anti-Gay Puerto Rican GOP Senator Who Resigned Over Grindr Photos Comes Out of the Closet: VIDEO" »


NEWS: Circumcision, Nobel Prize, Puerto Rico, Colton Haynes

RoadEddie Redmayne is looking all kinds of geek chic on set of Stephen Hawkings bio-pic The Theory of Everything.

RoadSpeaking of physics, Francois Englert of Belgium and Peter Higgs of Britain won the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work in theorizing the existence of the so-called Higgs boson, also known as "The God Particle," the existence of which was finally proven earlier this year thanks to CERN's Large Hadron Collider. "Englert and Higgs theorized about the existence of the particle in the 1960s to provide an answer to a riddle: why matter has mass. The tiny particle, they believed, acts like molasses on snow — causing other basic building blocks of nature to stick together, slow down and form atoms."

RoadCan circumcision reduce the risk of acquiring HIV? "Major studies support circumcision as prevention in Africa but a small yet vocal group argues the science is flawed."

Vieques2 RoadTens of thousands turn out for jubilant week-long Pride celebrations in Orlando, Florida.

RoadIf these walls could talk: an oral history of New York's Chelsea Hotel.

RoadIs the Puerto Rican island of Vieques the new destination wedding spot for gay couples? The W Retreat & Spa - Vieques Island is now offering wedding packages for same-sex couples: "Aimed at couples in the East, the package includes a legal marriage ceremony in New York or Boston, followed by the resort event. Priced from $12,500, the arrangement includes 45 hours of planning, a personalized wedding Web site, a prewedding tasting with Ms. Coveney Smith and the resort’s culinary team and the wedding planner’s attendance at the resort rehearsal and ceremony."

RoadYou daily dose of Awwww.

Colton RoadApparently Liam Payne's underwear was stolen, hence the commando pajama pant balcony appearance.

RoadGeorge Takei reminds us of the silver lining to the government shutdown.

RoadOne gay father comes face to faces with the sexism inherent in toys: "The girls' section was a pink bubble. The themes: fashion, cooking and cleaning. The promotional words on the packages were fun and frivolous. In contrast, the toys that were meant for boys communicated, literally and figuratively, concepts such as leadership, command, speed, agility, skill, might and success. I got the message then and there. If you are a girl, your aspirations should be to play at elegance, nurture a baby doll, and practice cooking and cleaning. If you are a boy, you are to aspire to a persona of power. You are to build physically, train and excel."

RoadMarilyn Monroe as you may never have seen her.

RoadColton Haynes basking in the afternoon glow.


Puerto Rico Governor Signs Major LGBT Rights Bills into Law

LGBT rights in Puerto Rico took two big steps forward today thanks to the island territory's governor, the Washington Blade reports:
Padilla

Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro García Padilla on Wednesday signed two bills into law that ban anti-LGBT discrimination on the island and add sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to the U.S. commonwealth’s domestic violence laws.

“The dignity of being a human being is inviolable because we are all the same and we must be equal under the law,” the governor said in a tweet before he signed the measures at his official residence in San Juan. “Today is a great day for Puerto Rico. I feel that I have fulfilled my duty as a Christian to sign these laws.”

This Monday, the Puerto Rico Senate voted to approve a modified version of the non-discrimination bill that passed the Puerto Rico House last Friday.  The domestic violence law change was also approved on Monday.

According to the AP, the original version of the measure, which was advanced by the Senate earlier this month, went further than the newly minted law:

The original measure would have also banned discrimination in commercial transactions, property rentals, public transportation and other circumstances. Those clauses were removed after heavy opposition by religious groups.


Man Arrested for Bomb Threat Directed at Activist, Gay Rights Demonstration in Puerto Rico

SerranoA man has been arrested in Puerto Rico for a bomb threat directed at LGBT rights activist Pedro Julio Serrano and an upcoming LGBT rights demonstration, the AP reports:

Special Agent Moises Quniones says the suspect was taken into custody at home in San Juan on a cyberbullying charge. Joseph Morales Serrano is accused of using the micro-blogging site to post a threatening message directed at activist Pedro Julio Serrano ahead of gay rights demonstration. The two men aren't related.

The message in Spanish said "watch out during the demonstration, it can end like in Boston," an apparent reference to the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing.

The suspect is to appear before a judge today and faces up to five years behind bars.


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