Weekly Political Roundup

FlagsLots of stuff on the Prop 8 hearing this week, of course. Even U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown has weighed in, saying, “This attempt to undo good that has been done is unacceptable.”

The New York Times called it “a bruising hearing.” Both the L.A. Times and the San Francisco Chronicle think the Court is leaning in favor of upholding Prop 8.

Dr. Maddow’s take on it, in which she breaks down the legal argument into snack-size pieces as only she can, is after the jump.


In other news:

  • Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) filed suit in the Federal District Court of Massachusetts, challenging provisions in section three of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). No word yet on the Justice Department’s response, but others are speculating on what it might be.
  • Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) introduced a bill to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law that bans gays and lesbians from serving openly in the armed forces.
  • U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) said she would file legislation this month to grant the same-sex partners of federal employees the same benefits that are available to the opposite-sex spouses of employees.
  • A civil union bill passed the Illinois House Youth and Family Committee by one vote. Its future in the full House is uncertain.
  • Out Minnesota Senator Scott Dibble has filed a bill to amend the state’s marriage law to make it gender neutral (a contract between “two persons”), remove the ban on the marriage of same-sex couples and the section preventing the state from recognizing same-sex couples married in another state or country. Republicans say Gov. Tim Pawlenty would likely veto the bill in any case. The bill specifies that it does not “mean the state of Minnesota condones homosexuality or bisexuality or any equivalent lifestyle,” or “allows it to be promoted as such in the state’s public schools.” Which means, of course, that children of lesbian or gay parents will continue to be told their families are less than others. Meanwhile, out Republican Senator Paul Koering does not support the bill, saying there are more pressing issues. CNN reports on both men.
  • Shane Cohn became the first openly gay alderman of St. Louis, Missouri.
  • New York Governor David A. Paterson appointed two openly lesbian judges, Rosalyn Richter and Elizabeth A. Garry, to the state’s Appellate Departments.
  • An estimated 3,000 people rallied in North Carolina for a constitutional amendment banning marriage of same-sex couples. Looks like the Democrat-controlled legislature won’t take action on it, though.
  • Pennsylvania Rep. Dan Frankel (D) introduced a bill to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in public accommodations, housing and employment.
  • Vermont television station WCAX is reporting that the legislative leadership will push a marriage equality bill through the legislature in the next few weeks. Cool. How many people want Ben & Jerry’s to cater their receptions?

Around the world:

  • Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding told Parliament he will not abolish prison sentences for sodomy.
  • The Philippines followed Argentina this week in ending the ban on gay and lesbian people in the military.
  • U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown held the first Downing Street reception for the LGBT community. LGBT leaders gathered at his official residence in honor of LGBT History Month.