• Amanda Simpson started work as as Senior Technical Advisor in the Bureau of Industry and Security, becoming one of the first transgender people to receive a presidential appointment to an executive branch post. Dylan Orr, who began work in December as Special Assistant to Assistant Secretary of Labor Kathleen Martinez, was the first.
  • California Assemblyman John Pérez (D-Los Angeles) received the Assembly’s official vote to become its next speaker and the body’s first openly gay leader.
  • Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker approved the video recording of California’s Prop 8 trial that will begin Monday, but only for delayed release on YouTube, not live broadcast. Proposition 8 supporters then asked him to put the trial on hold while they appeal the order to allow the broadcast.
  • New Hampshire began allowing same-sex couples to marry on January 1. Not surprisingly, the right-wing is already starting up efforts to repeal marriage equality there and in Iowa.
  • The New Jersey state Senate voted down a bill to legalize marriage for same-sex couples. Garden State Equality immediately said they would go back to the courts to fight for it.
  • The Rhode Island House and Senate voted to override Gov. Donald Carcieri’s veto of a bill giving domestic partners the right to claim the bodies of and make funeral arrangements for their partners.

Around the World:

  • The Iranian military will no longer classify transgender people as “people with mental disorders.” Under the new regulations, however, they will be classified either as “people with hormonal imbalance” or “diabetics.”
  • Two Malawian men who married in a non-legal wedding were arrested on charges of gross public indecency.
  • Portugal’s parliament passed a law to legalize marriage for same-sex couples, but shied away from allowing same-sex couples to adopt.
  • Although the Ugandan government was apparently looking for a way of withdrawing a virulently anti-gay bill, but the lawmaker who proposed it says he will refuse any request to do so.