Weekly Political Update

Flags

  • President Obama, in his State of the Union speech, said he would work with Congress and the military to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell “this year.” The Advocate rounds up some of the reactions.
  • DC Agenda reports that “LGBT political insiders . . . believe the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is headed for almost certain defeat this year.”
  • Openly gay U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) has introduced a bill to make discrimination or harassment of LGBT students in public schools against federal law.
  • The Prop 8 trial concluded testimony this week, although Judge Vaughn Walker has asked for time to review the case before both sides make their closing arguments. You can’t swing a virtual cat in the LGBT blogosphere without seeing coverage of the trial. I’ll point out the same venues I did last week that have been covering the trial in detail: Bilerico, the Courage Campaign, Keen News Service, the San Jose Mercury News, Pam’s House Blend, and the New York Times through its Bay Area Blog.
  • The Indiana Senate approved a constitutional amendment to ban marriage or civil unions of same-sex couples, but it looks like the House will defeat the measure.
  • The Maine state ethics commission is moving ahead with its investigation into the finances of the National Organization for Marriage, which led the campaign to overturn marriage equality there.
  • The Pennsylvania court system will now offer same-sex partners of employees the same benefits as their heterosexual married counterparts.

Around the world:

  • A bill in the Irish parliament that would give same-sex couples the right to civil partnerships has passed its second stage of review and now goes to committee. LGBT activists said they are concerned, however, that the bill would not allow non-biological parents to do second-parent adoptions.
  • Mexican federal prosecutors are trying to overturn Mexico City’s recent law legalizing marriage and adoption for same-sex couples.
  • Nepal’s new constitution, set to be ratified in May, will legalize marriage for same-sex couples. Already a travel agency is offering wedding ceremonies on Mount Everest.