Weekly Political Roundup

Flags

  • Gen. Colin Powell told CNN “We definitely should reevaluate [Don't Ask, Don't Tell],” in his strongest statement yet against the policy.
  • In related news, a federal appeals court refused to reconsider a ruling that raised doubts about the constitutionality of DADT. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco denied the Air Force’s request for a rehearing of a decision that allows a challenge filed by Maj. Margaret Witt, who claims she was unfairly dismissed because she is a lesbian. The San Francisco Chronicle reports, “The Air Force has 90 days to appeal to the Supreme Court. . . . Even if the Bush administration appeals before leaving office, Obama could withdraw the appeal.
  • Barack Obama has chosen Nancy Sutley, a deputy mayor of Los Angeles and an open lesbian, to head the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
  • Brandon McInerney, the California 14-year-old accused of killing gay classmate Larry King, was found competent to stand trial. McInerney is charged with murder as a hate crime and is being tried as an adult. If convicted, he could serve 51 years to life.
  • David Campos, who is openly gay, was sworn in as a San Francisco supervisor a month early because former Supervisor Tom Ammiano left for his new job as a state assemblyman. Campos came to the United States as a 14-year-old undocumented immigrant from Guatemala.
  • The city commission of Miami Beach, Florida, tabled a proposal to reaffirm the city’s domestic partner ordinance, after some LGBT activists claimed it did not go far enough in condemning lack of marriage equality.
  • Impact Florida, a chapter of Join the Impact, plans to protest at the wedding of Gov. Charlie Crist today.
  • Illinois legislation to allow civil unions for same-sex couples has little chance of coming to a vote as the state deals with the economy and the scandal involving Gov. Rod Blagojevich, reports 365gay.com.
  • The Iowa Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case that could legalize marriage in the state for same-sex couples.
  • The American Family Association of Michigan has been backing efforts to distribute petitions aimed at rescinding a new city ordinance banning discrimination against LGBT individuals in housing, public accommodations and employment. The petitions are being circulated in local churches.
  • Conservative activists in Michigan have suggested the Big 3 automakers could save money by eliminating benefits for same-sex partners. Dubious economics, and even more dubious morals.
  • New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine responded to the final report of the state’s Civil Union Review Commission, saying that the civil union law “hasn’t done enough to narrow the gap” and same-sex couples should be allowed to marry in New Jersey “sooner rather than later.” Some other politicians fear that next year’s state elections for the governorship and Assembly may interfere with action here.
  • Cleveland’s city council voted in favor of a domestic partnership registry. Mayor Frank Jackson has said he will sign it.
  • In perhaps the most depressing news of the week, a West Virginia lesbian couple has brought a case to the state Supreme Court, after a lower-court judge ordered that the girl they have been fostering and were about to adopt should be placed with a married, man-woman family instead.
  • The Wisconsin State Journal has a nice profile of Jim Yeadon, elected to the Madison City Council in April 1977, the fourth openly gay man to hold elected office in the U.S. (Harvey Milk was fifth.)

Around the world:

  • The city council of Hobart, Australia, apologized for a 1988 ban on a stall that was distributing information about decriminalising homosexuality. The ban led arrests and to “arguably the largest act of gay civil disobedience in Australian history.”
  • Durham Regional Police in Canada say a hate crime charge won’t be filed in connection with an alleged assault on two lesbian moms at their son’s school in Oshawa last month, as they do not meet the narrow definition of such a crime. The women have admitted to having some history with the man; it is unclear to what extent this impacted the hate-crime decision.
  • The Prime Minister of Nepal has told his country’s UN Ambassador to support a statement on the universal rights of all people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, which will be read at the UN General Assembly next week.