ArchivesPolitics and Law Archives - Mombian

Next U.S. Attorney General Could Be a Lesbian Mom — or Father of a Lesbian Daughter

Jenny Durkan

Jenny Durkan, the U.S. attorney for Western Washington, is the first openly LGBT U.S. attorney and also a mom. She’s rumored to be a possible choice for the next U.S. attorney general now that Eric Holder is stepping down — but another likely nominee is the supportive father of a lesbian daughter.


Watch: Video Poem Celebrates Marriage Equality


I can think of no better way to start today than with this video of U.S. Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco’s new poem, “Until We Could.” It captures the spirit of the fight for marriage equality — but more than that, it captures the spirit of marriage.


Why Marriage Equality Does and Doesn’t Matter

Photo credit: Michael Prudhomme

My further thoughts on some of the latest marriage equality rulings, originally published in my Mombian newspaper column.


Texas Candidate Touts His Two Moms in Campaign Video


David Rosen is running for treasurer of the most populous county in Texas. In his latest campaign video, he explains how his two moms, retired public schoolteachers, inspired him to serve his community.


Lesbian Teacher Says Catholic School Fired Her for “Nontraditional” Pregnancy


A lesbian teacher at an all-girls Catholic school in Michigan says she was fired because her pregnancy is “nontraditional.” Thousands have rallied to her cause — but she is not the only lesbian teacher to be fired recently by the Catholic Church over a pregnancy. Funny for a church founded on a nontraditional pregnancy.


Judge Continues Acerbic Defense of Same-Sex Parents in Marriage Decision

Wisconsin State Seal

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that same-sex couples in Wisconsin and Indiana have the right to marry. My spouse and I met in Wisconsin (although we don’t live there anymore), so I’m especially pleased by this win. Making it even better was reading the ruling of Judge Richard Posner, who had grilled marriage equality opponents mercilessly during the hearing. Read on for highlights of his delightfully snarky decision.


Judge Is Scathing to Marriage Equality Opponents on Matter of Children


As a general rule of life, I try not to gloat. But yesterday’s arguments in the federal marriage equality case in Indiana and Wisconsin were so overwhelmingly on the side of same-sex couples and our children that I can’t help but feel a little smug. One judge was particularly scathing in his questions to marriage equality opponents.


Virginia Aunts Still Waiting to Become Moms


Two Virginia women who want to be moms are practicing by being awesome aunts. Why aren’t they taking steps to become parents? They’re waiting until both can be legal mothers to their child in their state. The U.S. Supreme Court is (so far) not helping.


The Power of Matthew Shepard’s Story — and All Our Stories


Most of you likely know the story of Matthew Shepard, the University of Wyoming student brutally murdered in 1998 for being gay. Cathy Renna was working for GLAAD at the time, and was asked by the LGBT student group at the University to help manage the overwhelming media attention in the wake of the attack. She recently gave a TEDx talk on her experience, the impact of Matthew’s death, and the power of stories.


Over 18,300 Children Could Feel Impact of Today’s Marriage Equality Hearings


It’s a big day for marriage equality cases as the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals hears arguments in five cases covering the constitutionality of bans on marriage for same-sex couples in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. Approximately 18,300 children of same-sex couples and nearly 52,400 same-sex couples could be impacted by the outcome, according to UCLA’s Williams Institute.


Bill to Allow Adoption Discrimination Introduced as Inclusive Bill Picks Up Steam


Republican lawmakers, with the urging of anti-LGBT groups the Family Research Council and the Heritage Foundation, have introduced a bill last week that would allow adoption providers and other child welfare service agencies to refuse to provide services that conflict with their “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions.” Think it’s a thinly veiled attempt to stop LGBT people from adopting or fostering? You’re right. But an opposing bill that would withhold federal funds from adoption providers that discriminate against LGBT people now has record support — although it is far from passage.


Degrees of Freedom


Reading the international headlines recently, I was reminded how LGBT rights around the world are at vastly different points of development.


Yes, Virginia, There Is an Equality Clause


Yesterday, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Virginia’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples violates the 14th Amendment’s Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses. That paves the way for Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina to allow same-sex couples to marry.


Australian Senate Opposition Leader (and a Lesbian Mom) Speaks Against Homophobia


Australian Senator for South Australia and Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Penny Wong, last week gave a pointed Senate speech against homophobia in sports, schools, and elsewhere.


Workplace Nondiscrimination Executive Order Brings Protections to More, But Not All


I didn’t want to let the day pass without an acknowledgment of the historic signing by President Obama of an executive order to ban federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The order also added “gender identity” to an executive order of President Clinton that banned discrimination against federal employees on the basis of sexual orientation. Today’s order will directly benefit many LGBTQ people and their families — but it isn’t enough.


Yes, Children Are Making their Mark on Marriage Equality


Last month, I wrote, “It used to be that ‘Think of the children!’ was an argument against marriage equality. Now that’s an argument for it,” as ruling after ruling after ruling for marriage equality has heavily weighed the interests of children. A Reuters article yesterday covered the same theme.


Watch: Lesbian Moms 1st Same-Sex Couple to Marry in Denver

The Simons testifying in support of civil unions in 2012 (Courtesy of One Colorado)

Here’s a bit of good news to start your week. Colorado lesbian moms Fran and Anna Simon, whom NPR called “the de facto face of the civil unions debate” back when the state was trying to pass civil unions, have now gotten married.


Judge Rejects “Procreation” Argument in Colorado Marriage Equality Ruling


Yesterday, Colorado became the latest in a string of states to rule in favor of marriage equality. As in every other state that has seen a marriage equality ruling lately, parents were among the plaintiffs, and once again, the judge rejected the argument that marriage should be limited to different-sex couples because they can procreate.


New Hampshire Mom Wins Legal Right to Her Daughter


A nonbiological mother is the legal parent of her daughter, the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled last week, in yet another unfortunate instance of a biological mother trying to claim otherwise.


Children Play Big Role in Indiana, Utah Marriage Equality Decisions


It just keeps getting better. Yesterday saw marriage equality victories in Indiana and Utah (and hopeful news out of Louisiana). Once again, the well-being of children played a large part in the rulings.


New Federal Benefits Extended to Same-Sex Couples, with Limits


A proposed new federal rule would extend protections under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to all eligible employees married to same-sex spouses, regardless of where they live. And announcements from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) extend other benefits to same-sex couples — up to a point.


Birth Certificates for Kids of Same-Sex Parents: All Over the Map


Three recent stories about same-sex parents trying to obtain accurate birth certificates for their children underscore the obstacles and confusion we often face in trying to protect our families.


Wisconsin Spice Company Celebrates Marriage Equality


Wisconsin-based spice company Penzeys is celebrating the state’s marriage equality win by sharing the stories of four of the plaintiff couples (several of whom have children), including “their lives, their cooking and their love.” Lest you think they’re just jumping on the bandwagon, they also reposted an article about gay dads Pat and Dennis and their four kids that ran in their newsletter way back in 2005. It lost them customers at the time — but they stuck with their beliefs.


From Coast to Coast, Changing Laws to Protect Our Families


A new law in Washington, D.C. is drawing lesbian couples from other jurisdictions to give birth there — and a bill making its way through the California legislature could simplify the paperwork and clarify parenting arrangements for same-sex couples in that state.


Two Days, Two States, To the Altar


Not one, but two states have gained marriage equality this week, as Pennsylvania today joined Oregon. And lest anyone feel that U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane’s ruling in the Oregon case was influenced by the fact that he is a gay dad, consider that straight U.S. District Court Judge John E. Jones III, who ruled in Pennsylvania, was appointed by President George W. Bush and backed by anti-LGBT Senator Rick Santorum (R).