March 12, 2010
New bill in Congress would prohibit states from discriminating against gays in adoption
US Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) has introduced the Every Child Deserves a Family Act (H.R. 4806). According to the ACLU, the legislation would aim to help reduce the number of children languishing in state-run facilities by restricting federal funding to states that discriminate in adoption and foster care placements based on the potential parents’ sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status.
According to the ACLU, it's estimated that at any given time, there are roughly 500,000 children in the child welfare system, with 125,000 waiting to be adopted. According to the Family Equality Council, there are approximately 1 million lesbian and gay parents raising about 2 million children across the United States.
March 11, 2010
Analyzing possible outcomes in the federal challenge to Prop 8
Matt Coles, director of the ACLU's LGBT rights project, analyzes the possible outcomes in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the federal challenge being litigated by Ted Olson and David Boies to California's Prop 8, which bars marriage equality for same-sex couples. Coles sees four possible scenarios: the Big Win, the Smaller Win, the Smaller Loss and the Big Loss.
Mexico City prepares for legalized same-sex marriage
Mexico City's law legalizing same-sex marriage took effect last week, and hundreds of gay and lesbian couples applied for marriage licenses at civil-registry offices, reports journalist Rex Wockner. The first weddings are expected as early as tomorrow when the couples' documents have been processed. A mass wedding is planned for this Sunday.
School prefers to cancel prom for everyone rather than allow lesbian to bring her girlfriend
A rural Mississippi school district has called off a high school prom rather than allow a lesbian student to escort her girlfriend and wear a tuxedo.
March 10, 2010
VA students organize online against attorney general's interference with university non-discrimination policies
Students in Virginia -- more than 660 at latest count -- are organizing online to protest a statement by the state's socially conservative Republican attorney general that anti-discrimination policies at the state's colleges and universities based on sexual orientation and gender identity are beyond the institutions' authority under state law. The students' Facebook page is here.
March 9, 2010
March Lesbigay Law Notes now available
The March issue of Professor Art Leonard's indispensable Lesbian/Gay Law Notes is now available. The lead story features coverage and analysis of the opinion by Maryland's Attorney General that there was no impediment under Maryland law to the state recognizing same-sex marriages that were contracted lawfully in other jurisdictions, and predicting that the Maryland courts would likely conclude that such marriages should be recognized.
March 8, 2010
Supreme Court to decide whether anti-gay funeral protests violate First Amendment
SCOTUSBlog reports that "[t]he Supreme Court, taking on the emotionally charged issue of picketing protests at the funerals of soldiers killed in wartime, agreed Monday to consider reinstating a $5 million damages verdict against a Kansas preacher and his anti-gay crusade."
At the center of the case is Fred Phelps, the cartoonish pastor of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., who runs the web site www.godhatesfags.com (which includes a schedule of upcoming pickets accompanied by a variety of incoherent rants about each target).
As SCOTUSBlog reports, Phelps preaches that "God hates America because it tolerates homosexuality, particularly in the military services." Four years ago at a military funeral in Maryland, Phelps and a few followers demonstrated with signs saying “God Hates the USA,” “America is doomed,” “Semper fi fags,” and “Thank God for dead soldiers.” The soldier's family won a $5 million judgment against Phelps for intentional infliction of emotional distress and other torts, but the Fourth Circuit US Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the picket was speech protected by the First Amendment. The Supreme Court will now review that holding.
SCOTUSBlog has a fuller report here.