Weekly Political Roundup

  • FlagsPresident Obama included an openly gay man, Richard Sorian, in his list of recess appointments. Sorian would become Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs in the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Lanae Erickson and Jon Cowan have a thought-provoking piece in Politico on how to sway the “persuadable middle” on marriage equality.
  • Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach and the Servicemembers Legal Defense fund reached an agreement with the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho, U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Air Force, preventing the Air Force from discharging Lt. Col. Fehrenbach under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) until the Court can schedule a hearing on the Air Force’s request to dismiss him.
  • Marriage for same-sex couples in California will have to wait a little longer. The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals granted Yes on 8’s request for a stay of Judge Vaughn Walker’s ruling that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. The good news, such as it is, is that the Court also said it would expedite the process for Yes On 8’s appeal.
  • The California State Senate passed the Separation Equity Act, which would create a consolidated form and procedure to simultaneously dissolve a civil marriage and domestic partnership—helping couples who are both married and domestic partners. The State Assembly already approved the bill; it now heads to the governor.
  • “The risky political position to take is being opposed to marriage equality and gay rights,” said openly gay Connecticut State Rep. Michael P. Lawlor to the Fairfield Weekly, which reports on politics in the Nutmeg State.
  • Two Florida candidates could make history as the first openly gay member of the state legislature and first openly gay member of Congress from the state, depending on the results of next Tuesday’s election.
  • In a Massachusetts-based marriage equality case, Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, an amended judgment was entered that spells out federal district court Judge Joseph L. Tauro’s July decision in more detail—a decision in which he concluded that section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. A stay was also issued pending any appeal by the government to the First Circuit Court of Appeals. Any appeal must be filed within 60 days.
  • A new poll found that for the first time, a majority of Rhode Island voters support marriage equality in the state.

Around the world:

  • CNN reports on how gay rights are making progress around the world.
  • In Australia, the Labor candidate for the seat of Melbourne, Cath Bowtell, says she supports marriage for same-sex couples but won’t vote against her party (which opposes marriage equality) on the issue. Green candidate Adam Bandt, however, says that if elected, marriage equality is one of his top priorities.
  • Germany’s highest court ruled that same-sex couples in civil partnerships are entitled to benefit from the same favorable inheritance tax rules as married heterosexual couples.
  • A Hindu priest in Nepal performed the first wedding ceremony in the country for a foreign same-sex couple. The marriage has no legal standing, but the Canadian Press (via 365gay.com) reports that “marriages performed by priests are generally accepted by society.” The country is also considering a new constitution that might possibly include legal marriage for same-sex couples.
  • The U.K. government announced changes in how the new Equality Duty, part of the Equality Act, will be implemented when it comes into effect next April. The Duty requires all public institutions to actively promote equality on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, among other categories. Instead of the government determining priorities under the Act, however, public bodies will now have more freedom to do so themselves. They will still be required to publish data indicating how they are doing.