The Defense of Marriage Act faces a federal appeals court; a pro-marriage equality initiative advances in Ohio; Chile passes an antidiscrimination measure, and more.

  • A U.S. federal appeals court heard arguments this week in a case that challenges part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
  • Seventy-two members of the U.S. House called on President Obama to sign an executive order prohibiting companies that do business with the U.S. government from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), also called on him to do so.
  • Maryland’s highest court heard arguments in a case involving two women who married in California and tried unsuccessfully to divorce in Maryland, which does not allow same-sex couples to marry (although it is set to do so starting in 2013).
  • A federal judge in Minnesota ruled that a marriage between a man and a transgender woman was legal under state law, and the man’s health care plan has to cover his wife. The state prohibits same-sex couples from marrying—but the judge ruled that it also recognizes the transgender woman’s sex as female, a fact the health care plan had contested.
  • The state Ballot Board in Ohio said supporters of a state constitutional amendment to allow marriage for same-sex couples could proceed to gather the signatures needed to put the measure on the ballot.

Around the world:

  • Three weeks after the apparently hate-motivated killing of a gay man, Chile’s House of Deputies accelerated approval of an antidiscrimination law. The Senate had passed it in November.
  • An anti-gay group in Liberia distributed fliers over the weekend threatening punishments or death for specific people who support gay equality.
  • The Malaysian government has banned TV shows that feature gay characters.