NewsBriefs - February 29
March 1, 2008
by Bradley Osborn
Indiana House, But?
On February 15, Indiana State Rep. Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City) refused to hear Senate Joint Resolution 7 ? the legislation that includes the constitutional opposite-sex-couple-only definition of marriage ? in his Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedures. This inaction should have killed the measure. However, Reps. Bill Davis, (R-Portland) and Jack Lutz (R-Anderson) are two leaders of the sixty House members who have signed a petition calling on House Speaker B. Patrick Bauer to bring the measure to the fore.
To amend the Indiana Constitution, two consecutively elected legislatures must approve the measure, and then voters must concur in a general election.
New Jersey May See
Full Marriage Equality
Following the release of a report that shows New Jersey?s year-old civil unions create a second-class status for same-sex couples, Garden State LGBT activists are calling for full marriage in both name and deed. Governor Jon Corzine has said he would sign a same-sex marriage bill were it presented to him, but not until after the November election.
Maryland Attorney General
Backs Same-Sex Marriage
The attorney general of Maryland, Douglas F. Gansler, told a State Senate committee that same-sex marriage is ?a basic matter of fairness.? Gansler made the characterization while testifying in favor of a Senate bill that would remove gender language from Maryland?s marriage law.
?In five, ten, fifteen years, there is no question in my mind we will have gay marriage in the state of Maryland and across the United States,? said Gansler. ?It would be wrong for me to have this job knowing there?s something so wrong in our society, and just ignore it.?
Book by Texas Governor a Defense of Discrimination in Scouting
In his new book, On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts are Worth Fighting For, Texas Gov. Rick Perry attempts a defense of the discriminatory practices of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). In addition to other peccadilloes, the BSA rejects gay men and boys as scoutmasters and scouts.
In 1997, the three-year-old organization Scouting for All got a kick in the khaki pants when straight teen Steven Cozza championed the virtues of gay men and boys, and advocated for their inclusion in BSA as full members.
The founder of the modern Scout Movement, British Army Lieutenant General Robert Baden-Powell never enshrined such discrimination in his organization?s membership requirements. In fact, Baden-Powell has been characterized as ?not exclusively heterosexual? by some modern biographers.
Arizona G.O.P. Desirous
of New Marriage Ban
The only electorate to reject (2006) an anti-gay constitutional ban of same-sex marriage, the voters of Arizona may again face a ballot measure singling out one group for civil rights restrictions. If Republican Party legislators of the Grand Canyon State have their way, a new bar to marriage equality will appear on November ballots in the southwest domain.
State Dept. Changes Policy on HIV-Positive Foreign Service Officers
The U.S. Department of State will no longer prohibit the installation of Foreign Service officers simply because they are HIV-positive. The February 15 policy alteration comes five years after Lorenzo Taylor originally filed a lawsuit (Taylor v. Rice) seeking its change. Taylor, a graduate of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service who is fluent in three languages, and had passed all of the requisite exams to enter Foreign Service, was denied a job opportunity after a 2001 medical review showed him to be HIV-positive.
?At long last, the State Department is taking down its sign that read ?People with HIV need not apply,?? said Bebe Anderson, HIV Project Director with Lambda Legal.
Laura Ingraham: Transgender Conference is Killing Our Culture
While guest hosting February 8 on Fox News Channel?s The O?Reilly Factor, talk radio host Laura Ingraham spoke with Code Pink?s Medea Benjamin. While discussing the military recruitment stations in Berkeley, Calif., Ingraham tried to compare hypothetical opposition to a transgender conference scheduled in the area to the American distaste for the Iraq occupation. During the exchange, Ingraham intimated that such a conference is ?killing our culture.?
In January, Stonewall UK named Lothian and Borders Police in Edinburgh as Scotland?s best employer for lesbian, gay and bisexual people. Chief Inspector David Lyle said, ?The contribution of LGBT people is often forgotten or ignored. It?s great the police is (sic) able to recognize those efforts.?
Israeli Attorney General Menahem Mazuz handed down a legal opinion on February 10 stating that same-sex couples may adopt children ?in the proper circumstances and when it is in the best interest of the child.?
The People?s Republic of China admitted that HIV/AIDS cases have risen 45 per cent, saying it will launch its first anti-AIDS program focused on gay men. ?By learning more about gay people, we can better protect them against this incurable disease,? said Wang Weizhen, a senior HIV/AIDS prevention official.
The United Nations NGO Committee has denied observer
status to LGBT groups from Spain, the Netherlands and Brazil. Observer status allows non-governmental
organizations (NGOs) to participate in United Nations business.
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