September 17, 2009
Census to count same-sex marriages, laying groundwork for new policy debates
The Washington Post assesses the impact of more accurately and realistically counting the population:
Gay advocates say they plan to use "A Census that Reflects America's Population," as the Census Bureau calls its plan to report same-sex marriage statistics, to push for legislative and policy initiatives, while groups opposed to same-sex marriage weigh a counteroffensive.
Particularly at the state and local levels, gay advocacy groups say census data on income for same-sex couples will show the need for more protections against job discrimination. Statistics on households with children will help them challenge laws limiting gay adoptions and legal guardianship. With raw numbers to illustrate the need, it will be easier to demand services, they say.
Chai Feldblum to be nominated to EEOC
Georgetown law professor Chai Feldblum, an expert on disability law and gay rights, will be nominated by the Obama administration to the EEOC, the Washington Post reports.
September 15, 2009
Call for syllabi on sexuality and law
If you have taught or are teaching a law-school course or seminar on sexuality and the law, sexual orientation and the law, or something similar and would be willing to share your syllabus, please email it to me. (I'll be teaching such a course at Michigan starting in January.) I'll make any syllabi I receive available on the web for others to review and download. Thanks!
Near-term outlook for repealing DADT called "bleak"
With the Senate and White House swamped by deal-making, posturing, and confusion over health-care reform, there is little prospect for repealing DADT anytime soon, reports Politico:
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says the Senate is swamped and has little time on the schedule for this fight. The Pentagon brass is reticent and wants a go-slow strategy, while one poll suggests that there is still some resistance within the rank and file of the military to change the“don’t ask, don’t tell” law. With no Republican co-sponsors for a repeal, key moderate Democrats such as Sens. Jim Webb of Virginia and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas remain uncommitted.
And the Senate’s patron saint of this cause, Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), died before being able to introduce long-promised bipartisan legislation to overturn "don’t ask, don’t tell."
. . .
None of this is promising for a gay rights movement that raised a ton of money for President Barack Obama and believed that their moment was now.
September 14, 2009
NYT gives strong endorsement to employment non-discrimination
"People who believe in workplace fairness should lobby senators to get on board" with ENDA, the NYT editorialized this weekend. "It is unacceptable that in a nation committed to equality people can still be fired in more than half the states for being gay. Congressional leaders should make passing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act a top priority."
D.C. moves closer to marriage equality; will Democrats in Congress show backbone?
A measure that would legalize same-sex marriage in Washington, D.C., likely has enough support to pass the District council, according to its author, D.C. council member David Catania.
The measure would have to be reviewed by Congress. As The Advocate reports:
Peter Rosenstein, a D.C. gay rights activist, told the [Washington] Post he thinks Democrats in Congress are likely to protect the legislation from a vote of disapproval. "Do we have a guarantee?" he said. "No. But we are fairly confident at this point."
Antigay activists, though, are lobbying Congress too, and if the marriage equality law passes, they could mount an effort to repeal it by popular vote. D.C. law prohibits referendums on matters covered by the District’s Human Rights Act, which outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation, but some antigay ministers and other conservative leaders have asked the local board of elections to authorize a vote in this case.
Bill to repeal DOMA splits gay pols in Congress
Openly gay Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank is brushing off as unrealistic a bill that will be introduced by New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. "I think getting [the Employment Non-Discrimination Act], a repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' and full domestic partner benefits for federal employees will take up all of what we can do and maybe more in this Congress," Frank tells Politico. Openly gay Reps. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Jared Polis of Colorado support Nadler's approach.