Weekly Political Roundup

FlagsThe big news of the week is the resounding victory for marriage equality in Massachusetts. Legislators voted 45 to 151 against sending a proposed amendment banning same-sex marriage to voters in November. This kills the matter until, at a very minimum, 2012; given Democratic Governor Deval Patrick’s support for LGBT rights and general sentiment in the state, it is unlikely the matter will be reopened even then. BlueMassGroup has more, as do most other LGBT news outlets. Among other pieces, I enjoyed the first-hand account by Marty Rouse, HRC’s National Field Director (and dad) at AmericaBLOG, and Keith Boykin’s piece on Governor Patrick.

News didn’t stand still elsewhere, though:

  • Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher (D-CA), Chair of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee, will succeed Congressman Marty Meehan (D-MA) as the lead sponsor of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, a bill to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” when Mr. Meehan leaves the House of Representatives later this summer.
  • The Arkansas Family Council has announced it will push for a ballot measure to ban adoption and fostering by same- and opposite-sex unmarried couples.
  • A bill to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (but not gender identity) may get a committee hearing in the Delaware Senate, after several previous versions never came to a vote.
  • City commissioners in Gainesville, Florida gave initial approval for a domestic partner registry for both same- and opposite-sex couples most of the same rights as married couples. Once drafted, it will require two more commission votes to become law.
  • The Ann Arbor Public School district in Michigan is working with the ACLU to find a legal way around an Appeals Court ruling that forbids public employers from providing domestic partner benefits to employees. (Thanks, PageOneQ.)
  • A legislator in Pennsylvania has introduced a bill to ban discrimination in employment or housing based on sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. I’ll note that all of the major media pieces I’ve seen have said the bill will ban discrimination for “being gay” or “based on sexual orientation,” even though the text of the bill clearly adds “gender identity or expression.” Philly.com even quotes the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Dan Frankel, as saying “being gay or transgendered has nothing to do with your ability to . . . do a good day’s work,” but still only speaks of sexual orientation.

Around the world:

  • Two gay men in Western Australia became the first same-sex couple in the state’s history to adopt a child. Despite the expected controversy about the decision, the child’s biological grandmother has said “You know, it’s not a matter of being gay or not. It’s a matter of being in the best place and the best parents. And that’s what these guys are.”
  • Officials in Victoria, Australia, however, refused to grant same-sex couples equality in a new pension scheme. Opposite-sex couples may split contributions between themselves and their spouses, which brings certain tax benefits. (Thanks, PageOneQ.)
  • A new poll in the Czech Republic shows that 69 percent of adults believe same-sex couples should be allowed to form registered partnerships, although 57 percent are still opposed to allowing them to marry, and 67 percent are against letting them adopt children.
  • Police in Jerusalem, Israel have allowed both a Pride march next Thursday and a counter-demonstration by orthodox Jews on the same day.
  • Activists in the U.S. are calling on vodka company Stolichnaya to back up its LGBT-community marketing with a serious effort to end anti-LGBT violence in Russia, its country of manufacture.