Weekly Political Update

Flags

  • Senator Barack Obama, in his speech to accept the Democratic nomination for president, said “I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination.” Yes, he’s not endorsing full equality, but in my view, it is a huge step even to mention the issue in such a forum. It shows Obama’s skill in finding the common ground. He’s right: Americans don’t all agree on whether same-sex couples should marry—but he’s identifying a bridgehead on which to build.
  • Sen. Barack Obama picked Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) as his running mate. Waymon at Bilerico has a quick rundown of Biden’s record on LGBT issues. Senator John McCain announced Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as his running mate. Alex has more at Bilerico about Palin’s none-too-stellar record on LGBT rights and Victor has more at Pam’s.
  • Bay Windows (among many other places) offers coverage of Days 3 and 4 of the Democratic National Convention.
  • Jim Burroway of Box Turtle Bulletin notes that the Arizona ballot describing Prop. 102, that state’s anti-marriage amendment, will remind voters that state law already bans marriage of same-sex couples.
  • The Arkansas Secretary of State certified that the Arkansas Family Council Action Committee had submitted enough valid signatures to place a measure on the November ballot that, if approved, would prevent unmarried couples from fostering or adopting children.
  • A poll by the Public Policy Institute of California found that Proposition 8, which would amend the state constitution to ban marriage of same-sex couples, continues to have limited appeal. Timothy Kincaid at Box Turtle Bulletin has his analysis at the link above.
  • Inmates in California state prisons and county jails who wish to marry same-sex partners will soon be able to do so, as long as their spouse is not also incarcerated. This gives them the same rights as inmates who marry opposite-sex spouses.
  • A new poll shows that a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in Florida might not have enough votes to pass, although it is likely to be close.
  • The Supervisor of Elections in Gainesville, Florida certified that enough valid signatures were collected by the conservative group Citizens for Good Public Policy, to include a measure on next spring’s ballot that would repeal civil rights protections for the city’s LGBT population.
  • The Massachusetts Attorney General approved a referendum petition on the recently repealed 1913 law that prevented most out-of-state same-sex couples from getting married in Massachusetts.
  • LGBT advocates in New Jersey report that six additional members of the legislature stated their support for full marriage equality.

Around the world:

  • Louise Pratt, Australia’s third openly gay member of parliament, and the first with a transgender partner, has broken from her Labor party’s policy and called for the legalization of marriage for same-sex couples.
  • Openly gay Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoe said he will seek the leadership of France’s Socialist Party, which means he will likely contend with current President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2012.
  • Newsweek reports on the persecution of gay men in Iraq.
  • Authorities in Senegal jailed two men who married legally in Belgium. They were sentenced for two years for “homosexual marriage and acts against nature.”
  • The U.K. Home Office has proposed that unmarried same- and opposite-set partners of police officers who die in the line of duty will be eligible for benefits.