Weekly Political Roundup

FlagsLet’s start right in with the breaking news: U.S. Federal District Court Judge Ronald Leighton ruled that the U.S. Air Force should reinstate Major Margaret Witt, a decorated U.S. Air Force flight nurse who had been dismissed under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT).

Other DADT news this week was more mixed:

  • The Senate failed to break a Republican-led filibuster of the defense spending bill that includes a provision to end the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. But Jim Messina, White House deputy chief of staff, told students at the University of Montana, “We’re going to get that done this year”—and David Plouffe, President Obama’s 2008 campaign manager, claimed Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has told senators, “we’ll do it in December,” so as not to hurt Republican turnout in the November elections.
  • Meanwhile, progressive members of the U.S. House of Representatives, led by openly gay Reps Jared Polis (D-CO), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Barney Frank (D-MA) sent a letter to President Obama asking him not to appeal the ruling in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States that says Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is unconstitutional.

And in non-DADT news:

  • The House version of the Uniting American Families Act, which would allow gay and lesbian Americans to sponsor their foreign-born partners to become citizens, now has 132 cosponsors, more than in any previous iteration of the bill.
  • The New York Times explores whether “federal judges are increasingly willing to strike down what they see as antigay bias embodied in legislation.”
  • Openly gay Hawaii state representative Blake Oshiro, the lead sponsor of the state’s (now-defunct) civil unions bill, won his primary.
  • New Hampshire State Representative Jim Splaine, the chief backer of the state’s marriage equality bill, said opponents have already filed three bills to repeal the law.
  • The Dallas Voice has a nice interview with openly lesbian Houston mayor Annise Parker.

Around the world:

  • Will Fidel Castro’s apology about how Cuba treated LGBT people in the 1960s and 70s help heal old wounds, or is it just opening them up again?
  • The U.K.’s Liberal Democrats announced support for marriage rights for same-sex couples, along with civil partnerships for opposite-sex ones.