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February 25, 2010

New edition of Lambda's 'Of Counsel' focuses on transgender work

The new edition of Of Counsel, Lambda Legal's newsletter for cooperating attorneys and others interested in LGBT rights work, is now available.  This issue focuses on Lambda's work in the area of transgender rights and provides updates on various cases Lambda is litigating around the country.

-SS

February 25, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hunter/Eskridge sexuality and law casebook scheduled for new edition in 2011

The pioneering Sexuality, Gender, and the Law casebook by professors Nan Hunter and William Eskridge -- popular but badly out of date, having been last updated in 2003 -- is scheduled for a new edition next year, Eskridge told me in a conversation last week at UCLA. Eskridge added that the book may be slimmed down and made a bit more focused than the previous edition.

-SS

February 25, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

2010 Transgender Law Institute at Lavender Law

The 2010 Transgender Law Institute will be held in Miami Beach on August 26th as part of the National LGBT Bar Association’s annual Lavender Law Career Fair and Conference.  According to its sponsors, the Institute will allow experienced practitioners and academics focusing on legal issues affecting the transgender community to share their collective wisdom and to discuss cutting-edge legal strategies. 

A few caveats:  "To create an environment that encourages the free flow of information, registration is limited.  The meeting will be closed, the proceedings will not be recorded, and the Institute does not qualify for continuing legal education (CLE) credit."  Interested participants must submit an application, available here.

-SS

February 25, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 24, 2010

MD will recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages

Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D) says effective immediately the state will recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, even though the state does not license same-sex marriages, the Washington Post is reporting.  The full text of the attorney general's opinion is available here.

-SS

February 24, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wisconsin symposium to consider law, gender, Indians, and immigrants

The Wisconsin Journal of Law, Gender, and Society devotes its annual symposium next Friday to the topic "Law, Gender & Citizenship: Contemporary Issues for American Indians and American Immigrants."  (Yours truly will be presenting one of the papers, discussing the relationship between adoption by same-sex couples and the federal Indian Child Welfare Act.) 

-SS

February 24, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

New gay GOP group's reception at conservative confab may signal moderation in the right's anti-gay agenda

An interesting, well-reported piece by Chris Geidner in Metro Weekly describes the attitudes toward gay issues among attendees at last weekend's Conservative Political Action Conference, particularly the reception received by a new gay group called GOProud.  As Geinder reports, "few of the participants seemed to be there to stop the 'homosexual agenda.'"

-SS

February 24, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Experience of other militaries shows US needs more decisiveness, less drama for successful repeal of DADT

Militaries in other countries that allow gays and lesbians to serve openly achieved success by implementing an inclusive policy quickly and under decisive leadership, concludes a new study released this week by the Palm Center at UC-Santa Barbara.  (Click here for the NYT story.)

By contrast, the Army and Air Force chiefs of staff made the case in congressional testimony yesterday for further hand-wringing, foot-dragging, and drama

Other key conclusions of the Palm Center study are that open gays do not disrupt military effectiveness; that successful transitions did not involve creating separate facilities or distinct rules for gays or straights; and that the U.S. has a long tradition of turning to foreign armed forces as relevant sources of information about effective military policy.

“This study helps us understand exactly what works when major militaries end discrimination against their gay troops,” said the report's author, Nathaniel Frank. “Decisive action is a must, while slow-rolling implementation carries risks of muddling the process, a point the U.S. military itself is now beginning to express.”

This week, two top U.S. generals, Gen. David Petraeus, Commander of U.S. Central Command, and Gen. Raymond Odierno, head of US forces in Iraq, added marked words of support to the government’s plans to scrap the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Gen. Petraeus supported further study, but noted that the change in Britain, Israel, the CIA, and the FBI was “uneventful.”  Asked if he believed soldiers on the ground cared if their peers were gay, he replied, "I'm not sure that they do," and suggested that service members are more concerned with the question of "how's this guy's shooting" than with who is gay or lesbian.  He also cited the evolution of the position of Gen. Colin Powell, who has reversed his opposition to openly gay service since 1993.

Gen. Odierno said, “My opinion is everyone should be allowed to serve, as long as we're still able to fight our wars and we're able to have forces that are capable of doing whatever we're asked to do.” He also supported the study process announced by the Pentagon earlier this month.

-SS

February 24, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 21, 2010

Service chiefs' testimony this week may be critical juncture for lifting DADT

Will the heads of the Army, Air Force, and Marines follow the lead of their commander in chief, defense secretary, and joint chiefs chairman on Don't Ask, Don't Tell, or will they feed Congress excuses for not ending the ban?  That question may be answered this week when the service chiefs testify on Capitol Hill, reports Yahoo News: 

President Barack Obama says the policy unfairly punishes patriots who want to serve their country. Defense Secretary Robert Gatesagrees and has begun a yearlong study on how to mitigate the impact of lifting the ban.

Providing much-needed political cover is the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, who has said he thinks the law unfairly forces gay troops to compromise their integrity by lying about who they are.

But lawmakers, who are divided on whether to end the ban, say they want to hear from the service chiefs. They are the ones who would be in charge of putting any changes in place and responding to any fallout.

-SS


February 21, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack