Weekly Political Roundup

Marriage equality took center stage again this week, but that’s not all that’s happening.

  • A federal district court ruled that a key section of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)—the part that denies federal recognition to same-sex couples—is unconstitutional. But the the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group said it will appeal the ruling.
  • Opponents of marriage equality have asked the full U.S. 9th Circuit court to review the recent decision of a three-judge court panel that ruled California’s Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.
  • Leaders in Orange County, Florida agreed to support a law that would expand Orlando’s domestic-partner registry county-wide.
  • Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie said he believes the state ban on marriage for same-sex couples is unconstitutional, and he will not defend it, although state Health Director Loretta Fuddy has said she will defend it against a lawsuit filed by several same-sex couples.
  • Maine’s secretary of state has confirmed that advocates for marriage equality have collected enough signatures to place a measure on the November ballot to enact marriage for same-sex couples in the state. (Fresh lobster at the reception. Seriously, how good would that be?)
  • The Maryland Senate followed the House in approving a marriage equality bill. Governor Martin O’Malley has said he will sign it, although opponents of the bill are hoping to bring it before voters in a referendum.
  • A New Jersey Superior Court reinstated a federal equal protection claim—in addition to a state constitutional claim—in Lambda Legal’s case seeking marriage equality on behalf of seven same-sex couples and their children.
  • An Oklahoma bill that would have reinstated “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and prevented gay members of the Oklahoma National Guard from serving openly has died in committee.
  • Judge Tonya Parker, the first openly lesbian African-American elected official in Texas, has said she will no longer perform marriages for any couple until same-sex couples can legally wed.

Around the world:

  • Marriage equality in Australia could boost the country’s economy by $161 million over three years, according to a new report by the Williams Institute at UCLA.
  • The Liberian Senate is expected to debate today a bill which would make homosexuality a first-degree felony, which would provide a penalty of between ten years and life in prison, or the death penalty at the discretion of the judge.
  • PBS’ “Religion & Ethics Newsweekly” looks at “Gay Rights in Uganda.”