Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Roundup of recent news and commentary

Perry case

Debate continues on the manufactured non-issue of Judge Vaugn Walker's sexual orientation. Readers who have more patience than I do for such debates can read the statement by the National Organization for Marriage, as reproduced by journalist Karen Ocamb. Law professor Arthur Leonard explains why Walker's sexual orientation is irrelevant.

Constitutional amendments - Iowa and New Hampshire

Republican legislators in Iowa failed in a procedural maneuver to force a vote on a proposed super-DOMA amendment (Iowa S.J.R. 2001 / Iowa H.J.R. 2001). They seek legislative approval so that voters have opportunity to invalidate Varnum v. Brien, 763 N.W.2d 862 (Iowa 2009). For more on this effort, see the Daily Iowan.

The New Hampshire House Judiciary Committee recommends that the House reject CACR 28, a resolution for a constitutional amendment that would invalidate the state's marriage-equality law. (WMUR New Hampshire / AP)

Marriage equality - D.C. and Pennsylvania

Last week, the D.C. Elections and Ethics Board ruled that a proposed referendum on the District's marriage equality law [engrossed version] violates the Human Rights Act (HRA). The Alliance Defense Fund announces that it has appealed the ruling in D.C. Superior Court, despite two prior Court decisions upholding the Board's determination that initiatives on marriage equality violate the HRA. OneNewsNow.com reports on this latest lawsuit, and law professor Howard Friedman discusses it at Religion Clause. ADF attorney Tim Tracey explains that it "is yet another appeal to the DC Superior Court in the hopes of vindicating the people's right to vote."

In Pennsylvania, state Senator Daylin Leach addressed a rally of marriage-equality supporters at the state capitol. (Post-Gazette Harrisburg) Last year, he became the first state legislator to introduce marriage-equality legislation (SB 935) His colleague, state Senator John Eichelberger, opposes same-sex marriage, and has recently introduced a resolution calling for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

Domestic parternships - New Mexico and President Obama

A domestic partnership bill (SB 183) in New Mexico remains on hold in the state Senate Finance Committee until the legislature can pass a budget. (New Mexico Independent),

Law student Gideon Alpers discusses President Obama's executive order granting limited domestic partnership benefits to federal employees.

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