Weekly Political Roundup

FlagsU.S. National News

  • Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), sponsor of a bill to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) said it wouldn’t be repealed in this Congress and that efforts next year will focus on building support for the issue.
  • A Senate committee approved the nomination of openly lesbian law professor Chai Feldblum as a member of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The nomination now goes to the full Senate.

U.S. State News

  • The Democratic Caucus of the California State Assembly selected its first openly LGBT Speaker of the Assembly, John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles). The full Assembly is expected to take an official vote on the Speakership in January 2010.
  • Openly gay Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager will become president of the Board of Supervisors in January 2010.
  • Members of the Minnesota Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved the nomination of Minneapolis Assistant Police Chief Sharon Lubinski to be Minnesota’s next U.S. marshal—and the first openly gay U.S. marshal in the country.
  • A New Jersey Senate committee passed a marriage equality bill, but the expected full Senate vote was cancelled when Democratic sponsors said they first wanted a hearing in the General Assembly. The move was made with the approval of Garden State Equality, the state’s leading LGBT rights group. Among those who have come out in support of the bill are Mark Beckwith, Episcopal Bishop of Newark, and rock legend Bruce Springsteen.

Around the World

  • Austria’s parliament approved civil unions for same-sex couples, giving them some of the rights and benefits of opposite-sex couples. It maintains the ban on same-sex couples adopting children or using IVF and artificial insemination.
  • The President of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, said he will fire all gay and lesbian soldiers in the military.
  • Ireland’s civil unions bill looks set to pass, but some gay activists say it fails to address the rights of the children of partnered couples.
  • A federal lawmaker in the Philippines introduced a bill to criminalize marriage of same-sex people and to punish those who attempt to enter into such marriages.
  • While the sponsor of the Ugandan “kill gays” bill continues to defend his proposal, it now seems that the government is backing down on the death penalty and/or life imprisonment for those convicted of being gay, and will instead refer them to “gay cure” therapies.