Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Roundup of recent news and commentary

Perry case

The San Francisco Chronicle reports on a reenactment of the Perry trial. (Law professor John Culhane commented on the prospect of a film before it was announced.) Nathan Koppel, of Wall Street Journal Law Blog, says that he "dreams" of a Supreme Court sequel.

Chuck Donovan, of The Foundry (Heritage Foundation), claims that "[o]ne of the most significant issues concerns the argument made by opponents of Prop 8 that proof of moral or religious support for Prop 8 would make the measure constitutionally suspect or invalid." He refers to National Review’s Bench Memos by Ed Whelan.

Trial experts testified on how same-sex marriage would affect parenting. Psychology Today reports that "researchers found no evidence of gender-based parenting abilities." Maggie Gallagher, president of the National Organization for Marriage, contends that, in any case, marriage-equality advocates "are not doing this for the kids." She also claims that a new government study demonstrates that married biological parents are best suited to protect children from abuse - a claim that Alvin McEwen challenges at Huffington Post. Law professor John Culhane finds Gallagher's view on gay parenting "astonishing."

Domestic partnerships

In New Mexico today, the Senate Judiciary and Senate Public Affairs committees are holding a hearing on a domestic partnership bill (SB 183). According to the New Mexico Independent, Sen. Cisco McSorley told supporters that "the measure is only '1 or 3 votes short' of a possible vote before the full Senate." Governor Bill Richardson backs the bill, but the New Mexico Conference of Bishops opposes it. The New Mexico Independent features a live blog of the hearing, with a transcript to follow.

Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine has withdrawn "a proposed state regulatory change to allow government employees to add same-sex partners to their state health benefits." (PilotOnline.com) He did so at the recommendation of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II, who said that the state Department of Human Resource Management lacked statutory authority.

Straight Talk On Marriage links to an article about new domestic partnership benefits for employees of state courts in Pennsylvania.

Civil unions

Lambda Legal and the ACLU will pursue "legal action against the state of Hawai'i following last Friday's failure by the Hawai'i Legislature to enact a law [HB 444] providing broad legal rights and duties to the state's lesbian and gay couples." (Here is the Lambda Legal press release.) The Honolulu Advertiser reports that "[t]he lawsuit will be based on a 1993 Hawai'i Supreme Court ruling which held that denying same-sex couples the ability to marry was a violation of their equal-protection rights under the state Constitution." The case is Baehr v. Lewin, 74 Haw. 530, 852 P.2d 44 (1993).

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