Weekly Political Roundup


  • Can we compromise on marriage? David Blankenhorn and Jonathan Rauch think so. Pam disagrees. What about you?
  • The Obama administration named Jeffrey S. Crowley, an openly gay man, Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy.
  • The U.S. State Department’s annual Human Rights Report condemns Russia, Serbia, and Nigeria, for breaches of human rights for gay men and lesbians.
  • Republican Chair Michael Steele said that even civil unions for same-sex couples would be “backslid[ing] on a core, founding value of this country.” (Like fairness and equality, and the centrality of loving families?)
  • California’s Senate Judiciary Committee voted 3-2 to approve a resolution that says Prop 8 was a “constitutional revision,” and would have needed approval from the Legislature to reach last November’s ballot.
  • The Colorado House passed a domestic partnership bill that would cover medical decision making and inheritance for unmarried couples. On to the Senate, where sits Colorado Senator Scott Renfroe, who opined, “I’m not saying this [being gay] is the only sin that’s out there. We have murder. We have all sorts of sin. We have adultery. And we don’t make laws making those legal, and we would never think to make murder legal.” (Good thing, because that would seem to be the only thing protecting Sen. Renfroe from mobs of angry gay people.)
  • A city charter amendment has been drafted that would prohibit Gainesville, Florida from providing anti-discrimination protections not included in specific statutes of Florida law. It is in reaction to the passage of the 2008 Gender Identity Ordinance, which added a prohibition on discrimination based on gender identity or expression.
  • Hawaii’s state Senate Judiciary and Government Operations Committee deadlocked at 3-3 on a civil union bill, which still could advance to the Senate floor for a vote if nine of 25 state senators vote for recall. (Is it just me, or is this shaping up like an episode of The West Wing?)
  • New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine says he will be “a happy governor signing a marriage equality bill when it gets to my desk.”
  • The New Mexico Senate failed 17-25 to pass a domestic partnership bill. [See comment.]
  • Conservative lawmakers in North Carolina, led by State Sen. Jim Forrester and Rep. Paul Stam, introduced a state constitutional amendment that would ban all recognition of same-sex marriages, domestic partnerships, or other civil, domestic unions. (Apparently making only uncivil unions legal.)
  • Utah Sen. Chris Buttars, who was removed from two State Senate committees after being featured in a documentary saying that gays are “the greatest threat to America,” and comparing them to radical Muslims, stood by his words, writing, “In recent years, registering opposition to the homosexual agenda has become almost impossible.” (Perhaps because there isn’t a “homosexual agenda,” Sen. Buttars? Aside from that whole freedom and equality thing that our country is built on, I mean.)

Around the world:

  • Nan Hunter discusses the “lgbt rights revolution happening in Latin America,” and the article in Foreign Policy that backs her claim.
  • On a related note, U.K. Gay News has an interview with Marcela Sánchez, executive director of the gay and lesbian rights organization Colombia Diversa.
  • The Guardian reports on the increasing tolerance for gay men and lesbians in China.
  • A modern “underground railroad” network of safe houses and escape routes is saving gay Iraqis from execution by Islamist death squads.
  • A new poll from MarriagEquality in Ireland found 81 percent of those polled believe that all people living in Ireland should receive equal treatment from the state regardless of sexual orientation. Six out of ten people believed that denying marriage to same-sex couples is a form of discrimination.
  • Israeli President Shimon Peres swore in new members of the Knesset, including Nitzan Horowitz, the second openly gay member. Horovitz said he would introduce a measure to allow both opposite- and same-sex couples to have a civil marriage.
  • The New York Times reports on homophobic violence in Jamaica.
  • The owners of leading gay Internet portals and gay media publishers in Poland met for the first time and discussed common business and social policies as well as a policy for NGO organizations in Poland. (Question: Where are all the lesbians?)