Weekly Political Roundup

  • FlagsThe Pentagon’s top four leaders testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee in favor of repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. John McCain and some Republicans, however, weren’t convinced.
  • U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Reinhardt declined to recuse himself from the Prop 8 case. Opponents of marriage equality had asked him to withdraw because he is married to Ramona Ripston, head of the ACLU of Southern California, which has filed amicus briefs in the case.
  • A national task force dedicated to suicide prevention among LGBT youth will be part of the new National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, a public-private partnership supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (A piece I did for Keen News Service.)
  • The Illinois legislature passed a bill that would allow both same- and opposite-sex couples to enter into civil unions. Gov. Pat Quinn (D) has promised to sign it. Chicago mayor Richard Daley says the state should go beyond that and legalize marriage for same-sex couples. The best commentary I’ve read about the bill, however, comes from Chicago Tribune writer Eric Zorn, who addresses how it will affect children in the state.
  • New York Gov. David Patterson says that although he strongly supports marriage for same-sex couples, he feels lobbyists pushed too soon for action on a marriage equality bill, before the votes were there.

Around the world:

  • The European Parliament has said it “strongly supports plans to enable the mutual recognition of the effects of civil status documents”, which include marriage and partnership documents and “stresses the need to ensure mutual recognition” of them by EU countries. (Seems like a New York state of mind to me—EU countries will recognize same-sex unions from elsewhere, even if they don’t enact them themselves.)
  • The prime minister of Kenya, Raila Odinga, told constituents that “homosexuals should be arrested and taken to relevant authorities.” He apparently backpedaled later, saying that he only meant that the constitution bans marriage for same-sex couples — but his original words belie the explanation.
  • Poland now has its first openly gay elected official, Krystian Legierski, who won a seat on Warsaw city council.