Weekly Political Roundup

FlagsA few little things happened in LGBT-related politics this week, hmm?

  • The Department of Justice announced that it has concluded that the part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) preventing the federal government from recognizing legal marriages of same-sex couples is unconstitutional. The DOJ will therefore not defend it in two pending cases in the Second Circuit or two consolidated DOMA cases in the First Circuit. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) have said they will file bills to repeal DOMA. Republicans, at least so far, have been fairly silent, according to the New York Times.
  • Ted Olson, lead attorney in California’s Proposition 8 case, announced that he is asking the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to lift a stay on a district court ruling that found Prop 8 unconstitutional. If the court agrees, same-sex couples could again marry in California.
  • The Governor of Hawaii, Neil Abercrombie (D), signed the state’s civil union law. Couples can be united, civilized, unionized, or whatever the verb is starting next January 1.
  • The Maryland Senate passed a marriage equality bill, 25-22. The House began debate on the measure today.
  • The Montana Senate passed a bill repealing the state’s sodomy laws. At the same time, the House passed a bill that would repeal sexual orientation- and gender identity-inclusive antidiscrimination laws in Missoula.
  • North Carolina state Senator James Forrester (R-Gaston) filed a bill to ask voters to approve a constitutional ban on recognition of marriage or other legal relationships for same-sex couples. Republicans won control of the legislature last November for the first time in over a century.

Around the world:

  • The first civil partnerships in Ireland have already taken place—the waiting period was waived in two cases because of the serious illnesses of two of the applicants.