Weekly Political Roundup

Flags

  • The State Department announced it will now allow transgender people to receive a passport reflecting their new legal gender without requiring gender reassignment surgery. Certification from an attending medical physician that the person has undergone appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition is sufficient.
  • The State Department also issued a proclamation in honor of LGBT Pride Month.
  • The Justice Department has said that federal prosecutors may use the Violence Against Women Act in cases of interstate stalking and domestic violence involving same-sex couples.
  • The Health and Human Services (HHS) Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability has voted against recommending lifting the FDA ban on blood donation by men who have had sex with men.
  • U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Congress wouldn’t vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) until after action on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
  • Clarknt67 at Pam’s points out some serious concerns with the methodology used by the Pentagon’s Working Group on DADT to collect feedback from servicemembers.
  • The IRS has issued new rulings stating that domestic partners in California must be treated the same as opposite-sex married couples, and each report half their combined income on their individual federal tax returns. California has community property laws, and treat couples this way for state tax purposes. Nevada and Washington do as well, although it remains to be seen if the IRS rulings will apply there as well.
  • Next week’s closing arguments in California’s Prop 8 trial could lead to a “blockbuster” decision. Lisa Keen looks at the questions Judge Vaughn Walker has said he will ask.
  • The New York State Senate Judiciary Committee rejected the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), which would have made it a crime to to discriminate against transgendered people in the areas of housing, employment, and service.

Around the world:

  • In Australia, the Red Cross Blood Service refused to change a 12 month ban on blood donation by men after engaging in intercourse with other men. The new guidelines mean people who receive a tattoo, piercing or acupuncture can now donate blood after six months, down from the previous waiting period of 12 months.
  • Iceland’s parliament unanimously passed a law allowing same-sex couples to marry. I suppose it helps to have a lesbian head of state. Or an ash-spewing volcano that means tourism is down. Either way, it’s a step in the right direction.
  • Conservative U.K. prime minister David Cameron will hold a reception for the LGBT community before London Pride.