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Senate Approves Gay Judicial Nominee

Senate Approves Gay Judicial Nominee | Coffee Party Equality | Scoop.it

By ANDREW HARMON, The Advocate


WASHINGTON — In a vote described by California senator Barbara Boxer as “long overdue,” the U.S. Senate on Thursday approved the judicial nomination of Michael W. Fitzgerald, a gay Obama administration nominee for the federal bench.


A former assistant U.S. attorney and current partner in a Los Angeles law firm specializing in white collar criminal defense, Fitzgerald had been targeted in recent months by antigay groups.


But his nomination, Senator Boxer noted in brief floor remarks prior to the vote, had passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee in a unanimous vote more than four months ago. Confirmed today in a 91-6 floor vote, Fitzgerald will fill a vacancy in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. [MORE]

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Become a Coffee Party member

Become a Coffee Party member | Coffee Party Equality | Scoop.it
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Guys I'm lovin' the class of 2012! What a great concept!
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Lawsuit could make DOMA apply to private companies | The Raw Story

Lawsuit could make DOMA apply to private companies | The Raw Story | Coffee Party Equality | Scoop.it

by STEPHEN WEBSTER, rawstory.com


A lawsuit being heard this week in Pennsylvania could rewrite how the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is applied across civil society, and potentially spark a dramatic expansion of the law’s terms that would force private companies to not recognize same sex spouses.


The lawsuit boils down to benefits due to the spouse of Sarah Ellyn Farley, who died shortly after a legal same sex marriage to her wife, Jennifer Tobits, in Canada. Because the woman’s parents refused to acknowledge their daughter’s relationship with her wife, they claimed that DOMA requires death benefits accrued by their daughter at the Cozen O’Connor law firm be paid to them, instead of her spouse.


Responding to the suit, Cozen claimed something unique: that DOMA actually applies to private companies along with the federal government. In a counterclaim, Cozen asked the court to determine who should receive the payouts. [MORE]

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Donors Split With Mitt Romney On Gay Marriage

Donors Split With Mitt Romney On Gay Marriage | Coffee Party Equality | Scoop.it

by MAGGIE HABERMAN and EMILY SCHULTHEIS, Politico


Mitt Romney’s opposition to gay marriage, which helped endear him to conservative activists during the dog days of the presidential primary, puts him at odds with three of his most prominent donors, all of whom helped fund a successful effort to legalize same-sex nuptials in New York last year.


Paul Singer, Dan Loeb and Cliff Asness — three hedge fund managers and major players in donor circles — each cut six-figure checks toward the landmark effort to legalize gay marriage in New York.


Singer, the intensely-private head of Elliott Associates, has been especially active in donating to groups aimed at legalizing gay marriage in different states over the last five years, concurrent with his rise as one of the Republican party’s mot prominent bundlers and donors to party committees. According to a recent New York Times story, Singerhas donated $8 million to pro-gay marriage efforts since 2007.  [MORE]

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L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Backs Gay Marriage Plank for DNC

L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Backs Gay Marriage Plank for DNC | Coffee Party Equality | Scoop.it

by MACKENZIE WEINGER, Politico


Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa — the chairman of the 2012 Democratic National Convention — said on Wednesday that he favors a gay marriage legalization plank in his party’s platform.


Villaraigosa publicly announced he backs the national party taking a stance on marriage equality, an issue he has long supported, at Wednesday’s POLITICO Playbook Breakfast. President Barack Obama doesn’t support legalization but has said his position is evolving. [MORE]

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White House conference in Detroit focuses on homelessness in the LGBT community

By MEGHA SATYANARAYANA, Detroit Free Press


When she was 15, Krystina Edwards said she was kicked out of her grandfather’s Detroit apartment building because she was transgender. She was attending an all-boys school and was beginning the transition from male to female.


“The building management said they didn’t like the way I was living my life,” she said.


Edwards -- now 18 and studying for her GED while working at the Ruth Ellis Center for homeless and runaway LGBT teens -- was subject to the kind of discrimination a new federal rule is trying to fight.


Enacted earlier this week, the U.S. Housing and Urban Development rule on Equal Access intends to stop discrimination in federally-funded housing based on gender identity or sexual orientation. It was a hot topic of conversation at the morning sessions of the White House LGBT Conference on Housing & Homelessness, held Friday at Wayne State University.


“It is absolutely historic,” Laura Hughes, executive director of the Ruth Ellis Center in Highland Park, said of the new rule.


Hughes said the safety of LGBT youth is of utmost concern in the light of the recent killing of Shelley Hilliard, a transgender teen who was found dismembered near I-94 on Detroit's east side in late October. The rest of her remains were found last week.


During his keynote address, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBT. Of those, about half said they were forced to leave home after coming out.


Rather than wait for Congress to amend the Fair Housing Act to include anti-discrimination measures against gays and lesbians, Donovan said, the agency pushed through the rule as part of the White House’s commitment to lesbian and gay equality. The rule follows changes to the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy and the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act.


“No housing challenge is as profound as homelessness,” Donovan said. “All of us deserve a place to call home.”


At the conference, HUD officials revealed preliminary findings of their first housing survey on LGBT housing discrimination. It found same-sex male couples were less likely to receive a response to an inquiry than heterosexual and same-sex female couples who answered Craigslist ads for available housing. The findings helped fuel the development of the equal access rule, HUD officials said.


As part of enforcement, Donovan said local HUD officials will be trained to spot LGBT discrimination and to react appropriately.


Locally, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said her agency’s civil rights hotline, which has been in operation for a year, fields numerous calls regarding LGBT discrimination. Assistant U.S. Attorney Judy Levy, who runs the hotline, said many of the calls are related to school bullying and HIV-status discrimination.


Donovan lauded Hughes’ efforts as one of four homeless shelters in the country that specialize in LGBT youth. Such youth tend to be traumatized in regular shelters and need community to replace the families who have often forced them out because of gender identity or sexual orientation.


Edwards said she had been homeless and hadn’t eaten for two days when someone she knew took her to the Ruth Ellis Center. It was a cloudy day in October 2010, and when she arrived, the clouds parted and the sun came out.


“It was a sigh of relief,” she said, “that someone cared about me and that someone was worried about me.”

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Michigan City Celebrates Oldest Gay Rights Ordinance in U.S.

by NEAL BROVERMAN, The Advocate


Even though the state it’s in still allows people to be fired for being gay or transgender, East Lansing, Mich. just celebrated the 40th anniversary of its pro-gay ordinance, the nation's first.


On March 7, 1972, the East Lansing city council voted 4-1 to protect city workers from termination related to their gender or sexual orientation (though an ultimately unsuccessful effort was launched to make “homosexual solicitation” a fireable offense). A gay rights group at Michigan State University pushed the historic action at city hall. Now, a city councilman is sponsoring a resolution to honor East Lansing’s role in gay rights.


“Outside of East Lansing and the 17 cities that have passed similar ordinances in Michigan, it’s still legal in our state to fire someone for being gay,” East Lansing city council member and mayor pro tem Nathan Triplett, who’s sponsoring the anniversary resolution, told The American Independent.


East Lansing paved the way for thousands of municipalities to formally protect LGBT people from discrimination.

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Belief Alone Is No Basis for Public Policy

Belief Alone Is No Basis for Public Policy | Coffee Party Equality | Scoop.it

by NATHANIEL FRANK, Huffington Post


The Blunt amendment, the bill that would have allowed employers and insurers to deny health care coverage for services that are contrary to their "religious beliefs or moral convictions," has created a predictable rift between the left and the right, with each side trading election year sound bites. But the bill, which narrowly failed in the Senate last week, raises a harder -- and more interesting -- question than whether special health care exemptions are a "war on women" or a "war on religion": What constitutes a "belief" or a "moral conviction" and when should the assertion of such a belief be considered the proper basis for the giving or taking away of rights?


Conservatives have spent generations accusing liberals of moral relativism and "anything goes" indulgence in their feelings or whims. But is a belief -- no matter how ennobled by the protective mantle of institutional religion, historical longevity or broad popularity -- any less arbitrary of a foundation for the giving or taking away of people's rights? In order to be a legitimate basis for public policy, does the assertion of a belief need to be paired with an empirical argument about the impact of the proposed policy that the belief is being cited to justify?


With the Blunt amendment, as with religious exemptions that let people avoid LGBT non-discrimination laws, we're not talking about just leaving someone alone to revel or wallow in their beliefs; we're talking, sound bites notwithstanding, about citing a personal belief -- absent any other argument for the utility, wisdom, soundness, fairness, benefit or value of a proposed policy -- to justify a law that's binding against others. After all, an exemption from a law that requires or prevents action from everybody else is not simply a matter of getting the government off our backs, any more than if I were to demand an exemption from the speed limit because I believed such constraints were morally wrong; rather, it's an invitation for individuals to ignore laws that apply to everyone else. [MORE]

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Houston Mayor getting political pushback on gay marriage support

by CHRIS MORAN, Houston Chronicle


Mayor Annise Parker's determination to be known as a competent leader who happens to be lesbian is being challenged by political opponents promulgating the idea that she's becoming a gay activist to the detriment of the city.


In the first two months of her second term, Parker helped deliver a call by mayors nationwide for the legalization of same-sex marriage, proclaimed Valentine's Day as Freedom to Marry Day in Houston and said on cable radio that President Barack Obama needs to "evolve" toward support of marriage equality.


Emboldened by Parker's poor showing in November in which she barely avoided a runoff and by the victories by two opponents of gay marriage who became the first challengers to unseat City Council incumbents in 12 years, social conservatives have gone on the attack. They accuse Parker of reneging on a campaign promise to put the city first and social issues advocacy second, and they charge her with violating the Texas Constitution by advocating for a change to it.


"What they're saying is, 'We smell blood,'" said Rice University political science professor Bob Stein, whose wife previously served as Parker's agenda director.

Pastor Steve Riggle of Grace Community Church, site of next month's county Republican Party convention, sent a letter to Parker late last month calling for her to resign if she will not stand down on gay marriage. He spent nearly an hour Sunday expounding on his feelings during his 10 a.m. sermon to roughly 3,000 congregants. [MORE]

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DOJ Investigation Leads To Extensive Settlement With Bullying-Riddled Anoka-Hennepin School District

DOJ Investigation Leads To Extensive Settlement With Bullying-Riddled Anoka-Hennepin School District | Coffee Party Equality | Scoop.it

By ZACK FORD, ThinkProgress.com


Anoka-Hennepin, the largest school district in Minnesota, has come under criticism for its history of anti-LGBT policies that likely contributed to the suicides of eight students over just two years, and now a Department of Justice investigation has concluded that the district was indeed negligent in its handling of student harassment. With the release of its findings, the DOJ filed a complaint against the district, joining two private student harassment lawsuits so it could help facilitate the consent decree settlement agreed to last night. After interviews with over 60 individuals, the DOJ found that the district failed to properly intervene to protect students and prevent further harassment:


In sum, students in the District experienced and reported verbal and physical sex-based harassment because of their gender nonconformity. Male students in the District report that they are called pejorative words such as “girl,” “he-she,” “fag,” or “gay” on a daily basis because of their failure to conform to male stereotypes. Likewise, female students report being called pejorative words such as “manly,” “guy,” or “he-she” regularly because of their failure to conform to female stereotypes. In addition, District students have faced death threats and other threats to their physical safety because of their gender nonconformity. Furthermore, students have also regularly experienced physical, verbal, and non-verbal conduct that constitutes sexual harassment. The District knew or should have known about the sex-based harassment and either failed to respond at all or failed to respond appropriately and adequately to the harassment and prevent its recurrence.


Last month, the district took its first step in the right direction, by replacing its gay-censoring “neutrality” curriculum policy with language geared toward respecting students’ identities. Per the consent decree, the district has agreed to a five-year rehabilitation plan with the DOJ and Department of Education to truly create a safer environment for students. [MORE]

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Kirk Cameron: 'I spoke as honestly as I could'

Kirk Cameron: 'I spoke as honestly as I could' | Coffee Party Equality | Scoop.it

by ANN OLDENBURG, USA Today


The firestorm that born-again Kirk Cameron caused with his remarks to Piers Morgan -- saying gay marriage is "unnatural" -- is still smoldering.Update, 2:45 p.m.ET: Cameron issued a statement to ABCNews.com responding to the outpouring of hate he's received.


"I spoke as honestly as I could, but some people believe my responses were not loving toward those in the gay community. That is not true. I can assuredly say that it's my life's mission to love all people."


"I should be able to express moral views on social issues," he said, "especially those that have been the underpinning of Western civilization for 2,000 years — without being slandered, accused of hate speech, and told from those who preach 'tolerance' that I need to either bend my beliefs to their moral standards or be silent when I'm in the public square."


He concluded, "I believe we need to learn how to debate these things with greater love and respect," and added, "I've been encouraged by the support of many friends (including gay friends, incidentally)."


Stephen Baldwin appeared on HLN's Showbiz Tonight Monday night "to support" Cameron. "He has the right to stand up and say what he believes in," said Baldwin, known for his evangelical Christian faith. "What he means is the nuclear family is the origin of what this country was founded on. ... So there is marriage between a man and a woman ... and that's obviously changing."

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NJ Governor Chris Christie supports gay rights, just not gay marriage

NJ Governor Chris Christie supports gay rights, just not gay marriage | Coffee Party Equality | Scoop.it

by LUCAS GRINDLEY, The Advocate


New Jersey governor Chris Christie made a careful distinction today by separating "gay marriage" from "gay rights," which he says he supports.


Christie vetoed a marriage equality bill passed by the legislature last month and during a forum with students on MSNBC's Morning Joe today he was asked to explain why he opposes "a bill to allow gay rights in the state of New Jersey."


"I did veto a bill on gay marriage, not on gay rights," Christie said. "And gay rights are protected and protected aggressively in New Jersey."

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Santorum would nullify 131,000 marriages

Santorum would nullify 131,000 marriages | Coffee Party Equality | Scoop.it

by BOB EGELKO, The San Francisco Chronicle


There are 18,000 married gay and lesbian couples in California and at least 131,000 nationwide according to the 2010 census, conducted before New York state legalized same-sex marriage in July.


Rick Santorum says he'll try to unmarry all of them if he's elected president.

Once the U.S. Constitution is amended to prohibit same-gender marriages, "their marriage would be invalid," the former Pennsylvania senator said Dec. 30 in an NBC News interview.


"We can't have 50 different marriage laws in this country," he said. "You have to have one marriage law."


The comments didn't attract nearly as much attention as Santorum's recent invocation of his Catholic faith to denounce government support for birth control, prenatal testing and resource conservation - which, in the last case, he attributed to President Obama's "phony theology." [MORE]

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First Gay Binational Married Couple Saved from Deportation in Texas

First Gay Binational Married Couple Saved from Deportation in Texas | Coffee Party Equality | Scoop.it

From Immigration Direct:


On March 8, Texas gave LGBTQ and immigrationrights advocates one of the biggest case victories in the state. According to the Houston Chronicle, Costa Rican undocumented immigrant David Gonzales was spared by a judge from deportation due to his marriage to a male U.S. citizen. The court decision was an especially large victory due to the fact that same-sex marriage is not legal in the state of Texas.


According to the Chronicle, Gonzales left Costa Rica in 2000 on a U.S. tourist visa to escape an abusive relationship. While here, Gonzales met his now-husband Mario Ramirez in 2006, and the couple was married in Los Angeles in 2008. The couple has recently begun discussions about adopting children. [MORE]

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UCLA Considers Asking Incoming Students Their Sexual Orientation

UCLA Considers Asking Incoming Students Their Sexual Orientation | Coffee Party Equality | Scoop.it

via HuffingtonPost.com


Should UCLA ask incoming students about their sexual orientation?An op-ed from UCLA's student-run Daily Bruin newspaper says that despite the potential intrusion into a student's personal life, gathering figures about how many students identify with the LGBT community could allow the university to better serve and support members of the community.


The proposal, which was recommended by the Academic Senate, would be an optional question and would only be asked of students once they've already been accepted, CBS reports. [MORE]

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Police unable to prevent rising violence against gays in Iraq

Police unable to prevent rising violence against gays in Iraq | Coffee Party Equality | Scoop.it

by Associated Press


BAGHDAD — Young people who identify themselves as so-called Emos are being brutally killed at an alarming rate in Iraq, where militias have distributed hit lists of victims and security forces say they are unable to stop crimes against the subculture that is widely perceived in Iraq as being gay.


Officials and human rights groups estimated as many as 58 Iraqis who are either gay or believed to be gay have been killed in the last six weeks alone — forecasting what experts fear is a return to the rampant hate crimes against homosexuals in 2009. This year, eyewitnesses and human rights groups say some of the victims have been bludgeoned to death by militiamen smashing in their skulls with heavy cement blocks.


A recent list distributed by militants in Baghdad’s Shiite Sadr City neighborhood gives the names or nicknames of 33 people and their home addresses. At the top of the paper are a drawing of two handguns flanking a Quranic greeting that extolls God as merciful and compassionate.


Then follows a chilling warning. [MORE]

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Ella Dullard's curator insight, November 11, 2013 9:25 PM

Victims of discrimination

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Blair defies Pope by backing gay marriage

Blair defies Pope by backing gay marriage | Coffee Party Equality | Scoop.it

The ex-PM, a Catholic convert who introduced same-sex civil unions, intervenes over issue that has split the church.


by JANE MERRICK, The Independent


Tony Blair has defied the Pope by making clear he "strongly supports" plans for gay marriage, The Independent on Sunday has learnt. The former prime minister, a Catholic since 2007, backs proposals by David Cameron for a new law allowing homosexuals to marry.


A consultation on gay marriage to be launched later this month has met fierce opposition from senior figures in the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England.


On Friday, Pope Benedict XVI urged Catholics to block the "powerful political and cultural currents seeking to alter the legal definition of marriage."  It followed an attack last week by Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, who said allowing same-sex marriage was "madness" and a "grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right."  [MORE]

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Student Delivers 200,000 Signatures to Protest "Bully" Rating

Student Delivers 200,000 Signatures to Protest "Bully" Rating | Coffee Party Equality | Scoop.it

by NICK VISSER, The Advocate


Katy Butler, a Michigan high school student who identifies as lesbian and who launched a Change.org petition to overturn the antibullying documentary Bully’s R rating, personally delivered 200,000 signatures to the Motion Picture Association of America. [MORE]

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Meet Fred Karger, Gay GOP Presidential Candidate

Meet Fred Karger, Gay GOP Presidential Candidate | Coffee Party Equality | Scoop.it

by CHARLOTTE ROBINSON, Huffington Post


Fred Karger is one of the bravest activists that our LGBT community has. He is the first openly gay presidential candidate from a major political party in American history, in the most homophobic presidential race this country has ever seen. He was on the GOP ballot in New Hampshire and Michigan and has received confirmation that his name will appear on the ballot in California, New York, Maryland, North Carolina, and Puerto Rico. Fred was the first to announce his candidacy for the Republican nomination for President of the United States, on March 23, 2011. Karger says he'll stick around through the Republican National Convention in Tampa in August. Throughout his career, Karger has worked on nine presidential campaigns and served as a senior consultant on campaigns for Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Gerald Ford. He retired after 27 years and has since become an activist for gay rights, especially through his organization, Californians Against Hate (now Rights Equal Rights), which investigates the campaigns of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) against marriage equality in California and Maine, respectively.

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Abstinence-Only Sex Ed Bill In Utah Passes Senate, Prohibits Talk Of Homosexuality In Class

Abstinence-Only Sex Ed Bill In Utah Passes Senate, Prohibits Talk Of Homosexuality In Class | Coffee Party Equality | Scoop.it

by LAURA HIBBARD Huffington Post


The Utah state Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would allow schools to drop sex education, prohibit instruction on how to use contraception, and prohibit discussion of homosexuality in class,The Salt Lake Tribune reports.


Legislators passed Senate bill HB363 19-10 after a short debate during which many senators expressed their belief that sex education is meant for the home, not school.

"To replace the parent in the school setting, among people who we have no idea what their morals are, we have no ideas what their values are, yet we turn our children over to them to instruct them in the most sensitive sexual activities in their lives, I think is wrongheaded," Republican state Sen. Stuart Reid said, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.


The bill lifts the current requirement that all public schools must teach sex ed in grades 8 through 12. Districts would decide whether to offer sex ed classes that teach an abstinence-only curriculum, or not offer the course at all. [MORE]

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Maryland Governor: Why I Signed Same-Sex Marriage into Maryland Law

Maryland Governor: Why I Signed Same-Sex Marriage into Maryland Law | Coffee Party Equality | Scoop.it

by GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY via Huffington Post


During the debate in Maryland's House, I joined same-sex marriage supporters outside of the chambers who were anxiously awaiting the vote. I met two moms and their 4-year-old son Will. After standing for hours, Will was tired and seemed a bit uninterested. I could only imagine how hard it would be to understand the complex discussions as a 4-year-old.But the next day I saw a photo of Will and his family taken right after the House voted in support of marriage equality. His little face was lit up with joy, and he was cheering as his moms hugged him with the love that only a mother can provide. Will may not have understood the debates, but his smile after the vote proved one very important thing: even a 4-year-old knows the value of human dignity.


Yesterday was a day for Maryland's children. It was a day for human dignity. After years of hard work, we signed a bill into law that protects individual civil marriage rights and religious freedom equally. Yesterday, we came together as One Maryland and showed that there is more that unites us than divides us. [MORE]

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Karen Golinski Wins Health Care Benefits As Court Declares Defense Of Marriage Act Unconstitutional

Karen Golinski Wins Health Care Benefits As Court Declares Defense Of Marriage Act Unconstitutional | Coffee Party Equality | Scoop.it

by LISA LEFF, AP


SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in San Francisco ruled Wednesday that the U.S. government cannot deny health benefits to the wife of a lesbian court employee by relying on the 1996 law that bars government recognition of same-sex unions.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White said that because the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutionally discriminates against same-sex married couples, the government's refusal to furnish health insurance to Karen Golinski's wife is unjustified.


"The Court finds that DOMA, as applied to Ms. Golinski, violates her right to equal protection of the law ... by, without substantial justification or rational basis, refusing to recognize her lawful marriage to prevent provision of health insurance coverage to her spouse," White wrote in a 43-page decision that marks the third time in less than two years a federal court has declared the act unconstitutional.


Golinski, a staff lawyer for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, has been trying to secure spousal benefits for her wife, Amy Cunninghis, since shortly after the couple got married during the brief window in 2008 when same-sex marriages were legal in California. Her boss, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, approved her request, but the Office of Personnel Management ordered Golinski's insurer not to process her application.


After Golinski sued, the Department of Justice originally opposed her in court but changed course last year after President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder said they would no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act. [MORE]

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Iraqi death squads once again targeting gays and lesbians

Iraqi death squads once again targeting gays and lesbians | Coffee Party Equality | Scoop.it

by SDGLN Staff


BAGHDAD, Iraq – International human rights officials said late Monday that they have received alarming reports out of Iraq about another wave of targeting killings of people who are perceived to be gay or lesbian.


An unidentified group posted death threats against “adulterous individuals” in the predominately Shiite neighborhoods in Baghdad and Basra, two of Iraq’s major cities. The postings listed the names and ages of the targeted people, told them that they had four days to stop their behavior, or face the wrath of God in a punishment to be carried out by the Mujahedin.


Nearly 40 Iraqis perceived to be gay or lesbian have been kidnapped, tortured and murdered since early February when the postings went up, according to the reports.

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) condemned the anti-gay violence and called upon the Iraqi government to intervene.


“The Iraqi government is responsible for the protection of all Iraqi citizens, including the members of the gay and lesbian community,” said Hossein Alizadeah, Middle East and North Africa program coordinator for IGLHRC. [MORE]

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Lesbian judge refuses to marry heterosexual couples

Lesbian judge refuses to marry heterosexual couples | Coffee Party Equality | Scoop.it

by CHRISTINE DHANAGOM, LifeSiteNews.com


DALLAS, February 28, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A lesbian judge in Texas says she will not perform wedding ceremonies for heterosexuals until the state allows homosexuals to “marry” as well.


Dallas County Judge Tonya Parker told the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas at a meeting last Tuesday that it would be “oxymoronic” for her to perform wedding ceremonies that can’t be performed for her.


She said that when couples appear in her courtroom, she directs them to another judge, but not before using the opportunity to “give them a lesson about marriage equality.”


“I usually will offer them something along the lines of, ‘I’m sorry. I don’t perform marriage ceremonies because we are in a state that does not have marriage equality, and until it does, I am not going to partially apply the law to one group of people that doesn’t apply to another group of people,’” she said. [MORE]


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More of Obama’s Campaign Team Backs Marriage Equality

More of Obama’s Campaign Team Backs Marriage Equality | Coffee Party Equality | Scoop.it

by ANDREW HARMON & NICK VISSER, The Advocate


WASHINGTON — Three congressional Democrats and California’s attorney general have joined a growing group of President Obama’s campaign national cochairs who support a pro–marriage equality plank in the 2012 Democratic platform.


In responses to The Advocate, U.S. senator Michael Bennet of Colorado joined California attorney general Kamala Harris and U.S. representatives Jan Schakowsky of Illinois and Charles Gonzalez of Texas in favoring Democratic platform language that affirms marriage rights for same-sex couples.


Organized labor's representation on the committee — the AFL-CIO's Maria Elena Durazo of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor — has also indicated her support for adding to the platform. All five are among the 35 national cochairs tasked with on-the-ground outreach and advising the campaign on key issues. “They each share the president’s vision for a future where every American can have a fair shot at success, where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded,” Obama for America campaign manager Jim Messina said in a statement last week.

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