Weekly Political Roundup

Flags

  • Lawmakers in both houses of Congress reintroduced legislation to allow a foreign national’s domestic partner in the United States to sponsor their immigration to the country. The bill is now known as the Uniting American Families Act.
  • In celebration of Freedom to Marry Week, same-sex couples applied for marriage licenses around the country, including Dallas, Las Vegas, and New York, only to be turned away—although one resourceful lesbian couple managed to get one in Tucson, Arizona.
  • Former President Clinton is scheduled to give a paid speech at the Manchester Hyatt in San Diego to a major political action committee, but to do so, he will have to violate a union boycott and offend many LGBT Americans. The owner of the hotel, Doug Manchester, contributed $125,000 in early seed money to support Prop 8.
  • Phoenix’s domestic-partner registry opens on Monday “for couples wishing to make their relationships at least somewhat official.” Registration grants the right to visitation of a domestic partner at any healthcare facility in Phoenix, and could be used to demonstrate a domestic partnership to employers or others that offer benefits to partners of employees.
  • The Hawaii civil unions bill passed the House. On to the Senate.
  • Openly gay Illinois state Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) filed legislation that would allow same-sex couples to marry in the Land of Lincoln.
  • More than half the Massachusetts legislature has signed on as original co-sponsors of a transgender rights bill.
  • New York State Senate Majority Leader Malcolm A. Smith (D) said at HRC’s annual fundraising dinner in New York City that he doesn’t yet have the votes to ensure passage of a marriage equality bill, but that “we are committed to pursuing its passage.”
  • Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez has added sexual orientation and gender identity to anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies in the sheriff’s department. Valdez is the nation’s only lesbian Latina sheriff.
  • Utah (pdf) State Rep. Jackie Biskupski (D-Salt Lake City) pulled a measure that would have sought voter approval to repeal a portion of Utah’s marriage equality ban and clarify which protections are and aren’t the legal equivalent of marriage. She did so in order to avoid confusion with another bill supported by Equality Utah, which would create a legal mechanism for adults who live together and take responsibility for each other to have hospital visitation, medical decision, and inheritance rights. At the same time, Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R) is facing criticism from the usual suspects after stating that he would support civil unions for same-sex couples.
  • Wyoming’s House of Representatives voted down a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would have defined marriage between a man and a woman.

Around the world:

  • The Hungarian Government approved a new bill on registered partnerships for same-sex couples that also includes separate domestic partnership registration for both same- and opposite-sex couples. Confused? Lawyer Nan Hunter explains.
  • Pegah Emambakhsh, an Iranian lesbian, has been granted refugee status in the U.K. after three years of trying. She escaped from Iran after her partner was arrested, tortured, and sentenced to death by stoning.
    Her father was also arrested and tortured for information on her whereabouts. In Canada, an Iranian gay couple was also granted asylum.
  • The group LGBT Noise, which is advocating for full marriage equality in Ireland, will hold a “love carnival for equality” in Dublin tomorrow. The theme is Open Your Eyes: Love Is Blind. Great name!
  • The Catholic Church in Portugal not surprisingly said it would fight proposals by Prime Minister Jose Socrates to legalize marriage for same-sex couples.
  • The Spanish Ministry of Defense announced it will allow transgender people to serve in the armed forces.
  • A Russian LGBT rights group has filed suit against President Dmitry Medvedev in the European Court of Human Rights. They claim he violated the constitution by refusing to intervene in the continued refusal of Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov to grant a permit for a Pride celebration.