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Monday Speed Read: Mary Yu, Gene Robinson, Indiana, Wisconsin, HUD Discrimination, Akie Abe, Russia

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

LESBIAN TO WASHINGTON SUPREME COURT: Yu

Washington State’s Democratic Governor Jay Inslee appointed openly lesbian Judge Mary Yu to the state supreme court May 1. In making the announcement, Inslee noted that Yu, 56, a native of Chicago, becomes the first openly gay, the first Asian-American, and the first Latina on the state supreme court. She will be sworn in next month and must run for election this fall in order to serve out the two years remaining in the six-year term of the retiring justice she is replacing. Yu has been reelected four times for her current seat on the King County Superior Court.

RobinsonGAY BISHOP ANNOUNCES DIVORCE:

The Episcopal Church’s first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson, announced in an email to his diocese and a column in the DailyBeast.com Sunday that he and his husband, whose civil union automatically became marriage under New Hampshire law in 2010, are divorcing. Robinson offered no details for why the couple is splitting after 25 years together, except to say “gay and lesbian couples are subject to the same complications and hardships that afflict marriages between heterosexual couples.” The Episcopal denomination’s General Convention affirmed Robinson’s election as bishop in 2003.

INDIANA DECISION COMING ‘SOON’:

A federal judge in Indiana heard oral arguments for two hours May 2 in Baskin v. Bogan, a case brought by Lambda Legal on behalf of three lesbian couples in Evansville. U.S. District Court Chief Judge Richard Young (a Clinton appointee) said he would rule soon on a motion for summary judgment in the case, reports the Indianapolis Star, but both sides intend to appeal if they lose at this level. Such an appeal will be the first marriage ban lawsuit to reach the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which covers Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. The Baskin case is one of five currently pending in federal court in Indiana.

ON WISCONSIN, ON WISCONSIN: Crabb

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb (a Carter appointee) last week denied Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s request to dismiss an ACLU-led lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on marriage licenses. The lawsuit, Wolf v. Walker, also challenges the state’s ban on civil unions and its prohibition against same-sex couples obtaining marriage licenses from other states.

COMMENT ON HOUSING SEARCH:

The Federal Register today announces the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is extending by another 30 days its public comment period on housing discrimination against LGBT people. The notice, originally published in January, says HUD is preparing to do focus group studies and is “interested in the manner in which people identify themselves as lesbian, gay, or transgender when searching for rental housing.”

JAPAN’S FIRST LADY JOINS PRIDE EVENT:

First Lady Akie Abe, wife of conservative Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, participated in the annual Tokyo Rainbow Pride parade April 27, according to Japan Daily Press. At a speech before the UNAIDS-Lancet Commission in London last February, the First Lady said, “I have made up my mind that throughout the rest of my life, I should work as a self- appointed, public amplifier, amplifying the voice of the voiceless, and the cause that in our life time we must work to end AIDS.”

RUSSIAN LGBT MARCH ALLOWED:

Russian authorities took no action May 1 to stop a contingent of 300 people marching behind a rainbow banner that said “Love is Stronger than Hate.” A report in GayStarNews.com said the march took place in St. Petersburg during a May Day parade in which many groups participated. Laws passed by Russia last year prohibit any public expression of support for LGBT people and authorities stopped similar demonstrations previously.

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


Judge Mary Yu Makes History as First Asian, and First Gay Member of Washington State Supreme Court

Yu

King County Superior Court Judge Mary Yu made history today when she was appointed to the Washington State Supreme Court. She is the Court's first Asian-American, and first out gay justice, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports:

Yu was appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee to replace retiring Justice Jim Johnson, a conservative defender of property rights who once joined in a majority ruling against gay marriage.

“Her appointment today is a moment that all Washingtonians can be proud of,” Inslee said.

Yu is best known for having performed the state’s first same-sex marriage at 12:01 a.m. in December 2012 when marriage equality took effect in Washington State.  She spent seven hours in black robes pronouncing vows that day.

Watch Yu marry one of the first couples, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Judge Mary Yu Makes History as First Asian, and First Gay Member of Washington State Supreme Court" »


Gay Former Vice Principal Mark Zmuda Suing School That Fired Him: VIDEO

Mark Zmuda files lawsuit

Late last year Eastside Catholic High School vice principal Mark Zmuda was given a choice: divorce his husband or be fired. Zmuda refused to sacrifice his marriage for his job and was let go. Rather than being some incident kept quiet and swept under the rug, students and faculty of ECH loudly protested the unjust treatment, protests which kept going even into the new year and ultimately drove the school president Sister Mary Tracy to resign.

The school's problems with the incident are far from over as Zmuda is now filing a lawsuit against the school and the Seattle Archdiocese for discrimination and wrongful termination. The Archdiocese has already drafted a motion for dismissal, claiming that Zmuda knew his marriage - much like the divorce, which Jesus condemns in Matthew 19:3-6, that they tried to force him to get - went against the teachings of the church. However, prior to Zmuda's termination the ECH website stated explicitly that (bolding mine),

Eastside Catholic School does not discriminate on the basis of an employee’s or applicant’s race, religion, creed, color, sex, age, national origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or any other status or condition protected by local, state or federal law.

The statement has since been removed from the school's live website, but everything lives forever on the internet.

The lawsuit was filed today, and you can see King 5's news report on the story
AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay Former Vice Principal Mark Zmuda Suing School That Fired Him: VIDEO" »


Washington State Will Convert All Domestic Partnerships to Marriages on June 30

Washington state plans to convert thousands of domestic partnerships to marriages on June 30, the Seattle Times reports:

WashingtonIt’s the final piece of the state’s same-sex marriage law — a provision about which many couples are apparently unaware and one sure to trigger some uncomfortable conversations.

Although domestic partnerships are essentially marriage by a different name, “people don’t think of them as the same thing ...” said Jason Holloway, president of QLaw Association, the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender bar association.

Those being plunged into matrimony will no doubt include couples who simply hadn’t given it much thought.

Or there will be those who broke up in the years since they registered as domestic partners, some of them now married — illegally — to other people. Some may be former Washington residents now living in other states — some in states where their partnerships aren’t recognized and where dissolution isn’t possible.

The Secretary of State plans to notify all those in the domestic partner registry by the end of March, approximately 6,500 couples.


Bill Banning Gay Conversion Therapy for Minors Passes Washington House in 94-4 Vote

Washington's House of Representatives has passed a bill that would ban 'gay conversion therapy' for minors, the AP reports:

WashingtonHouse Bill 2451, which passed on a 94-4 vote, would make it an act of unprofessional conduct to try to change the sexual orientation of a patient under 18. That would include efforts to change behaviors, gender expressions or to reduce sexual or romantic attractions toward people of the same sex. The lawmakers who opposed the measure were: Reps. Mark Hargrove, R-Covington; Brad Klippert, R-Kennewick; Jason Overstreet, R-Lynden; and Elizabeth Scott, R-Monroe.


Eastside Catholic School President Resigns Following Outcry Over Firing of Gay Vice Principal: VIDEO

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 1.25.27 PM

Mary Tracy, the Eastside Catholic School president whose decision to dismiss her school’s gay vice principal for marrying his partner sparked widespread backlash from students and faculty, has resigned from her position at the Sammamish, Washington school. KING5 reports:

Sister Mary Tracy submitted her resignation to school trustees Sunday, effective immediately. In an email sent to parents and staff Tuesday night, the school said a search for her replacement will begin shortly.

"For Sister Mary it was a difficult but necessary decision so that a new leader can be brought in to ensure the entire Eastside Catholic community is on a positive path forward," the email said.

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 1.25.08 PMThe news was a welcome change for critic’s of the school’s decision to remove Vice Principal Mark Zmuda (pictured right), who lost his job when administrators learned he had married another man. Zmuda was told that he could keep his job if he dissolved his marriage, but refused the offer.

Zmuda’s termination was not well-received by the students and faculty at the school. Protests were organized on campus and a ‘Z Day’ protest event was planned for later this month. While there is no word yet on whether Zmuda will be reinstated to his position, supportive parents see Tracy's resignation as a positive first step.

"This opens the door for us being able to have an open communication with the board about other issues that need to be resolved," said Eastside Catholic parent Florence Colburn.

Colburn and more than twenty other parents met Tuesday night to discuss a petition for the community and for school board members, asking for changes beyond a new president.  That includes alterations to campus policy on who can teach, to Catholic law on gay marriage and for Zmuda to be reinstated.

"I don't know if fair is the right word," said Colburn of Sr. Tracy's resignation, "But it is the correct outcome.  There just have been too many misrepresentations."

Watch KING5's report on the resignation and other campus developments, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Eastside Catholic School President Resigns Following Outcry Over Firing of Gay Vice Principal: VIDEO" »


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