Weekly Political Roundup

Flags

  • What happened to the ENDA vote Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) said would happen this week? Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) now says she hopes it will happen in the next couple of weeks.
  • Defense Secretary Robert Gates told a House committee that Congress should not pass its own repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell before he can come up with his own plan that addresses the concerns of current servicemembers.
  • Five LGBT activists with the new group HERO staged a sit-in at the Phoenix office of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to protest his support of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
  • A framework for immigration reform, introduced this week by Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, includes provisions to recognize non-U.S. same-sex partners of U.S. citizens as permanent residents. Already the Conference of Catholic Bishops has come out against the proposal.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court heard a case to determine whether the names of those who signed a petition to put Washington’s domestic partnership referendum on the ballot could be kept secret.
  • The Georgia State Senate passed an anti-bullying bill that now goes to the governor. It does not enumerate specific categories of bullying that are prohibited, however, although such enumeration has been shown to make such legislation more effective.
  • The Hawaii legislature passed a bill legalizing civil unions for same-sex couples. It now goes to Gov. Linda Lingle, who has not said if she will sign it. The House vote was three short of the number needed to override a veto.
  • Illinois state Rep. Deb Mell took to the State House floor to announce her engagement. Several fellow legislators expressed their support for Mell and for marriage equality.
  • Republican Indiana congressional challenger Carlos May said he is in favor of civil unions for same-sex couples
  • The Massachusetts legislature approved an anti-bullying bill that the governor has said he will sign. Some commend it for being one of the toughest such laws in the country; others say it does not go far enough to make bullying a crime. Like the Georgia bill, it does not enumerate specific categories of bullying that are prohibited.
  • Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) signed a bill permitting Virginia companies to offer life insurance benefits to the same-sex partners of employees.

Around the world:

  • China dropped its ban on HIV-positive visitors.
  • Openly gay U.K. MEP Michael Cashman, responding to criticism of the the Labour Party’s record on LGBT rights in Iraq, said the party remains “concerned.”