Weekly Political Roundup

FlagsLots of stories this week. In U. S. federal news:

  • Colorado Republicans Sen. Wayne Allard and Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, who sponsored the failed Federal Marriage Amendment twice before, say they will not try a third time.
  • Vice President Dick Cheney called CNN newscaster Wolf Blitzer “out of line” for asking him to comment on a statement from Focus on the Family’s James Dobson regarding Mary Cheney’s pregnancy. Dobson said the pregnancy raised the question of whether conceiving a child outside of opposite-sex marriage was best for the child.
  • The National Stonewall Democrats called on the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), a non-profit coalition of centrist Democrats, to affirm its past opposition to anti-LGBT ballot measures. They also called on Congressman Harold Ford, Jr., the DLC’s new Chair, to affirm those positions. Ford was one of few Democrats who voted in favor of a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
  • Witeck-Combs Communications, a leader in LGBT consumer marketing research, estimates that by 2011, the buying power of gay men and lesbians in the U. S. will exceed $835 billion (PDF link), up from $660 billion in 2006. That’s not exactly political news—except that it could add up to a lot of campaign contributions (not to mention home furnishings, double lattes, IVF treatments, and subscriptions to Showtime).

Around the states:

  • LGBT-rights leaders in Connecticut have scheduled a press conference for Jan. 31 at the state Capitol to introduce the idea of civil marriage for any couple. Connecticut’s 2005 civil-union law included an amendment defining marriage as one man-one woman.
  • North Carolina State Senator Jim Forrester has for the second time introduced a bill to establish a same-sex marriage ban in the state Constitution. Pam’s House Blend has more.
  • The Washington State Senate Committee On Government Operations and Elections heard the first day of testimony on a bill to create civil unions in the state.
  • Legislators in Wyoming have introduced a bill that would allow the state to void same-sex marriages granted by other states. Wyoming is one of a few states that doesn’t already do so. Rep. Owen Petersen (R), a co-sponsor of the bill, said “In the past 30 years, most of the statistics support the fact that with the loss of marriage and a stable home environment there are more adverse impacts on society with crime and with various other things that cause a deterioration of our whole country.” Let me see if I understand: the loss of marriage causes adverse impacts on society, so you’re going to reduce the number of marriages?
  • In a striking counterpoint, Judy Shepard, Executive Director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, named in honor of her slain gay son who was a student at the University of Wyoming, was chosen as a finalist in the fifth “Volvo For Life” awards, honoring “heroes from across America.”

And around the world:

  • In the U. K., the Prime Minister has said he will decide next week whether Roman Catholic adoption agencies will be allowed to defy the Equality Act and refuse gay or lesbian couples as potential parents. The Archbishops of Canterbury and York, leaders of the Anglican Church, and the Muslim Council of Great Britain have announced their support for the Catholics. Last year in the U. S., both Boston Catholic Charities and San Francisco Catholic Charities shut down their adoption services so they didn’t have to place children with lesbian and gay couples.
  • A member of the French Parliament, Christian Vanneste, was fined almost $4,000 under a French hate-crime law for making disparaging remarks about homosexuality.
  • A Mexican congressman will propose legislation in March to grant legal protection for transgender people under the country’s constitution. He will also propose laws to allow trans people to legally change their gender and name.