Weekly Political Roundup

Flags

  • News from late last week that didn’t make it into that roundup: The U.S. Senate confirmed two gay men and a lesbian to high-ranking roles in the administration. Douglas Wilson will be assistant secretary of defense for public affairs. As a civilian, he is not subject to the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Cynthia Atwood will sit on the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, and David Mills will be assistant secretary of commerce for export enforcement.
  • Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) said the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) is still on track for a House committee markup this month and a floor vote in March.
  • California Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) has introduced a bill to repeal a section of the California Welfare and Institutions code, which instructs the State Department of Mental Health to conduct research into the “causes and cures of homosexuality.” Equality California is sponsoring the bill.
  • Bil Browning casts a skeptical eye on the LGBT-rights voting record of Indiana Rep. Brad Ellsworth, a contender to replace Sen. Evan Bayh.
  • Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has asked the federal government for a summary judgment, without a trial, on her challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Coakley argues that marriage has traditionally been left to the states, and federal law now creates a two-tiered benefit system for same-sex married couples in Massachusetts.
  • The New Hampshire House defeated two measures that would have taken away the state’s recent marriage equality law.
  • The New Mexico Senate finance committee tabled a domestic partnership bill, effectively killing it for the year.
  • Providence, Rhode Island Mayor David Cicilline, the city’s first openly gay mayor, will run for the U.S. House seat of the retiring Rep. Patrick Kennedy.
  • A Texas judge ruled that two women who married in Massachusetts may get divorced in Texas. The Texas attorney general, Greg Abbott, has challenged the divorce order and said the couple can void their marriage, but can’t get a divorce.
  • Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell signed an executive order barring discrimination against state workers on the basis of race, sex, religion and age, but not sexual orientation, as his predecessors had done. He said they “overstepped their executive authority.”

Around the world:

  • A government decree in France confirmed that it has become the first country in the world to declassify transgenderism as a mental illness.
  • Five Mexican states are challenging Mexico City’s new marriage equality law, saying it may force them to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples.