Weekly Political Roundup

Roundup is early this week to leave tomorrow clear for Blogging for LGBT Families Day.

  • FlagsGallup’s annual Values and Beliefs survey found public tolerance for gay rights is at the highest point in three decades. 59 percent of Americans believe “homosexual relations between consenting adults” should be legal, 57 percent that it should be considered an acceptable alternative lifestyle, and 89 percent that “gays should have equal rights in terms of job opportunities.” Only 46 percent felt same-sex marriage should be legal, versus 53 percent against, but this reflects a long-term trend of increasing support.
  • Following his approval two weeks ago of second-parent adoptions for same-sex couples, Colorado Governor Bill Ritter signed a bill banning employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. (Gender identity was, however, not included.)
  • Susan Stanton, formerly Steve Stanton, came in third among candidates for the job of chief executive of Sarasota, Florida, in what seems to have been a fair evaluation. Stanton had been fired as city manager of Largo, Florida after she came out as transgender. She now says she may run as a Republican for Congress against Vern Buchanan, the far-right incumbent.
  • Many Georgia parents, led by PFLAG, are protesting the decision of the Boy Scouts of America to hold its annual meeting in Atlanta on May 30th and 31st. Matt Hill Comer, a former Scout, has more.
  • A US court in Maryland ruled a few weeks ago that surrogate mothers do not have to be named as mother on birth certificates. Potentially good news for gay dads who both want legal rights when the surrogate mother doesn’t. Much of the ruling, however, rested on the fact that the surrogate, using both donor egg and sperm, had no genetic relation to the child, bringing up that old equation of genetics and parenthood that non-bio lesbian moms have been fighting.
  • As expected, New Hampshire Governor John Lynch signed a bill legalizing civil unions for same-sex couples, starting in January 2008. The Associated Press notes “New Hampshire is the first state to embrace same-sex unions without a court order or the threat of one.”
  • Robyn Brody-Kaplan, a New Jersey high-school teacher, lost an appeal to keep her job after being denied tenure. She claims she was not rehired because some unspecified community members did not like her openness about being a lesbian. (Thanks, PageOneQ.)
  • Lambda Legal has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a lesbian couple in New York whose mortgage company, Countrywide, threatened foreclosure on their house after one woman sought to add the other to the deed. Countrywide justified its actions by saying it doesn’t recognize domestic partners as family.

Around the world:

  • A gay pride parade in Moscow, Russia was attacked by anti-gay nationalists. Police appeared complicit in the act, and then arrested a number of the marchers, while the attackers went free.
  • In the 1988, the UK government enacted the infamous Section 28, which said local authorities and schools could not “promote homosexuality.” Much has changed in 20 years, including the repeal of this law. Turning Section 28 on its head, the University and College Union backed a motion this week stating “All negative characterisations by teachers of lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender people, identity and lifestyle should be outlawed and classified as an act of discrimination and an incitement to hatred based on sexual orientation.” The UCU says it is attempting to bolster new government regulations that ban discrimination against LGBT people when providing goods and services, but which do not go far enough in helping to change attitudes. Whether such matters can be mandated is a subject of much debate; the mere fact that the UCU is considering it, however, is a sign of how much attitudes have changed.