Thursday, February 4, 2010

Roundup of recent news and commentary

Perry case

Elizabeth Marquardt is vice president for family studies and director of the Center for Marriage and Families at the Institute for American Values. She discusses media coverage of last week's testimony by her colleague, David Blankenhorn.

According to Straight Talk on Marriage, you can watch the first day of a trial reenactment.

AP has a brief report of amici briefs. I see no reference to the brief filed yesterday by the ACLU, Lambda Legal, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Marriage equality

U.S. Senator Robert Bennett has introduced the District of Columbia Referendum on Marriage Act, S.2980. It would require D.C. to hold an election on its marriage equality law before marriage licenses are issued to same-sex couples next month. Rep. Jason Chaffetz has already introduced companion legislation in the House, H.R. 4430. As the Washington Post reports, the D.C. Elections Board today ruled, "for the third time this year, that a proposed referendum on whether the city should legalize same-sex marriage cannot move forward." [permanent link for ruling]

Domestic partnerships

Daryl Hannah of GLAAD writes about the domestic benefits policy that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court approved for state judiciary employees.

A domestic partnership bill in New Mexico, SB 183, awaits action by the state Senate Finance Committee. The Senate defeated it last year when it reached the floor. Governor Bill Richardson said that "[i]t's not same-sex marriage, its totally different ... my view is that the full Senate should vote on it." has a video clip of the Governor's comment.


Mary Banauto is the Civil Rights Project Director at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders. She is counsel for plaintiffs in Gill v. OPM, a lawsuit challenging section 3 of the Defense of Mariage Act. See her latest article, DOMA Damages Same-Sex Families and Their Children, ABA Fam. Advoc., Wint. 2010, at 10.

Gay People's Chronicle has a profile of Golinski v. OPM, No. 10-0257 (N.D.Cal.) The author carefully points out that Golinski "asks the court to make the personnel office change its position. [She] does not ask the court to find DOMA unconstitutional."On this point, see the insightful comment by California attorney Rick Xiao.

Constitutional amendments continues to pressure the New Hampshire legislature to repeal its marriage-equality law by constitutional amendment (CACR 28). The campaign has targeted townships throughout the state to adopt this petition: "The citizens of New Hampshire should be allowed to vote on an amendment to the New Hampshire Constitution that defines ‘marriage.'" covers a recent session of the Alstead township, which considered this petition, among other "articles" that the township's citizens will vote on in March. Selectman Matthew D. Saxton, who is gay, said that the article would "diminish rights for human beings ... And that’s wrong and I don’t think it’s anybody else’s business."

Out-of-state recognition

According to The Maryland Reporter, "[w]ithout debate or discussion, the House Judiciary Committee killed a bill that would have invalidated in Maryland same-sex marriage performed in other states."


AP reports that North Carolina's Supreme Court "will hear arguments in the custody dispute between state Sen. Julia Boseman and Melissa Jarrell. The two had agreed to allow Boseman to adopt Jarrell's biological child in 2005 - seeking "two legal parents" for the boy - but Jarrell now contends that the pact shouldn't have been approved in part because the state does not allow same-sex adoptions in which one partner is the biological parent. " The case is Boseman v. Jarrell, No. 416PA08-2 (cert. granted 01/29/10)

Other News

The National Conference on LGBT Equality is meeting in Dallas this week. According to this schedule, Thomas A. Saenz will give the opening address. He is President General Counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund.

Later this month, Equality California will honor California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno. He was the only Justice of the Court to dissent in Strauss v. Horton, 49 Cal. 4th 364 (2009).

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