The state Legislature is faced with a bill aimed at overturning the state’s 1977 ban on gay adoption, and Florida’s Third District Court of Appeals must resolve a lawsuit over the issue stemming from Gill’s case. The case is likely to move on to the Florida Supreme Court.
The court case will likely resolve questions posed by gay rights advocates before the bill does.
The legislation is expected to die without coming to a vote before the Legislature adjourns next week.
“This year the bill is not going to be going anywhere to be honest with you,” said the sponsor, Sen. Nan Rich, D-Sunrise. “The best chance to get a change in this state … will be with Gill.”
The high court will hold preliminary hearings soon on Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman’s ruling that allowed Gill to adopt the boys in November. Her ruling said the ban violates equal protection rights for the children and their prospective gay parents.
Southern York County was well represented Wednesday, April 22, among the proponents of a gay marriage bill who attended a public hearing at the Augusta Civic Center.
“It’s been incredibly moving,” said Kittery Point resident Lane Williamson, whose lesbian daughter was married in Massachusetts to her longtime partner. “There’s a huge pro-civil rights group here, from tiny babies to grandparents.”
Williamson, who also has a heterosexual married daughter, said she has long fought for women’s and civil rights.
“Marriage is a civil right and therefore each of my daughters has a right to be married,” she said. “If Vermont can do it (pass a gay marriage law) and Iowa can do it, for goodness sake, then Maine had better. I’m quite certain that the bill will pass.”
She and others in attendance at the hearing talked of seeing a “sea of red” among those in the audience — as the pro-bill organization Equality Maine asked proponents to wear red clothing. Of the estimated 4,000 to 5,000 in attendance, they said, it appeared from the clothing that about two-thirds of those attending favored the bill.
That was particularly gratifying for Mary Breen, who lives with her partner in South Berwick and owns a business in Ogunquit, as well as Marsha Clegg of Wells, who has been in a committed relationship with her partner for 14 years.
Breen said she was in Augusta because, “I feel if I don’t stand up for my civil rights, why should anyone else? There’s strength in numbers and I would feel badly if I wasn’t there to be counted.” She said she and her partner of almost four years “want to be married, but we want to be married in Maine, because that’s our home. We’re not asking anyone to change their religion. We just want a level playing field.”
Like others who attended, she said both sides had been very respectful and there had not been any violence or rowdiness. She said she has had to suck it up when hearing opponents call homosexuals “wrong and perverse” and using the Bible to make the point. But on the other hand, “it’s been very encouraging and empowering to hear people who are supportive. It makes all of us feel stronger.”
See Tears, resolve for gay marriage fight York Weekly
To snip or not to snip? That was the question facing new parent Danae Elon, who didn’t just wrestle with the controversies of circumcision — she made a documentary about it
A federal judge has awarded a former Army Special Forces commander nearly $500,000 because she was rejected from a job at the Library of Congress while undergoing a gender change from man to woman. Diane Schroer of Alexandria, Va., applied for the terrorism analyst job while still a man named David Schroer. He was offered the job, but the offer was pulled after he told a library official that he was having surgery to change his gender. U.S. District Judge James Robinson ruled Tuesday that Schroer was entitled to $491,190 in back pay and damages because of sex discrimination. Schroer said she was happy with the judgment but more importantly that the judge recognized her treatment as job discrimination. She said it’s a problem many transgendered people face. “They are hugely underemployed, at best,” Schroer said. “If they are fortunate enough to get something, it’s well below their capabilities. It’s not just about money, it’s about knowing you are a valuable person.” Schroer said she feels more fortunate than many transsexuals who face job discrimination because her friends have helped her get work as a national security and counterterrorism consultant.
A federal judge has awarded a former Army Special Forces commander nearly $500,000 because she was rejected from a job at the Library of Congress while undergoing a gender change from man to woman.
Diane Schroer of Alexandria, Va., applied for the terrorism analyst job while still a man named David Schroer. He was offered the job, but the offer was pulled after he told a library official that he was having surgery to change his gender.
U.S. District Judge James Robinson ruled Tuesday that Schroer was entitled to $491,190 in back pay and damages because of sex discrimination.
Schroer said she was happy with the judgment but more importantly that the judge recognized her treatment as job discrimination. She said it’s a problem many transgendered people face.
“They are hugely underemployed, at best,” Schroer said. “If they are fortunate enough to get something, it’s well below their capabilities. It’s not just about money, it’s about knowing you are a valuable person.”
Schroer said she feels more fortunate than many transsexuals who face job discrimination because her friends have helped her get work as a national security and counterterrorism consultant.See Transsexual wins $500,000 lawsuit
The state Supreme Court left intact Wednesday a lower-court ruling that said a private religious high school wasn’t covered by California civil rights law and could expel students it believed were lesbians.
Over Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar’s dissent, the court denied review of an appeal by parents of two girls who were expelled from a high school in Riverside County. A lawyer for the parents said the ruling, which is binding on trial courts statewide, would allow private schools to discriminate against students on any basis they chose, including sex and religion.
The girls were juniors at California Lutheran High School in the town of Wildomar when the principal, Gregory Bork, called them to his office in September 2005 and questioned them separately about their sexual orientation, after another student reported postings on their MySpace pages.
Bork suspended the girls based on their answers, and the school’s directors expelled them a month later. The girls, who later graduated from another high school, have not been identified and have not discussed their sexual orientation, said their parents’ attorney, Kirk Hanson.
The parents sued under the Unruh Act, a 1959 state law that forbids discrimination by businesses. It was amended in 2005 to include bias based on sexual orientation and someone else’s perception of sexual orientation. State education law also prohibits anti-gay bias, but that applies only to public schools.
In January, the Fourth District Court of Appeal in San Bernardino said the school is not a business but instead a social organization entitled to follow its principles.
Although California courts have defined such organizations as a Boys Club and the Rotary Club as businesses covered by the Unruh Act, the appeals court cited a 1998 state Supreme Court ruling that allowed the Boy Scouts to exclude gays and atheists. Like the Boy Scouts, the appellate panel said, a private religious school exists mainly to instill its values in young people.
The joint judiciary committee of the Legislature approved a bill to allow same-sex marriage in the state, setting the stage for the House and Senate to vote on it as soon as next week. Eleven of the 14 committee members voted in favor of the bill, two voted against it and one proposed letting voters decide the matter in a referendum. Gov. John Baldacci, a Democrat, has not said whether he will sign the bill. The New Hampshire House of Representatives approved a same-sex marriage bill last month, and the Senate is scheduled to take it up Wednesday.
- Maine: Vote on Gay Marriage Expected @ New York Times -
Gay marriage bill moves on: Judiciary Committee votes 11-2-1 in favor Brunswick Times Record
Tears, resolve for gay marriage fight York Weekly
New Hampshire’s Senate passed a bill on Wednesday that would legalize same-sex marriage after an amendment was added that prohibits polygamy and marriage of family members, among other measures.
Governor John Lynch has not indicated whether he will veto the bill, which passed in a 13-11 vote and would would make New Hampshire the nation’s fifth state where gay marriage is legal. But the Democrat has expressed opposition to the measure.
When Miss California appeared Friday night on CNN (above), she insisted she wasn’t a poster girl for the movement against gay marriage—just a beauty pageant contestant answering a tough question.
that focuses on her Miss USA experience.
The National Organization for Marriage describes the ad this way:
“No Offense,” the next ad in NOM’s $1.5 million national ad campaign, will be previewed for the media. What happens when a young California beauty pageant contestant is asked “do you support same-sex marriage?” She is attacked viciously for having the courage to speak up for her truth and her values. But Carrie’s courage inspired a whole nation and a whole generation of young people because she chose to risk the Miss USA crown rather than be silent about her deepest moral values. “No Offense” calls gay marriage advocates to account for their unwillingness to debate the real issue: gay marriage has consequences.
The National Organization for Marriage’s first ad has gotten a lot of news attention: See California’s Carrie Prejean Joins Movement Against Gay Marriage
As the House of Representatives debates an expansion of hate crimes legislation, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) has taken the rhetoric to a new level, claiming that those who say Matthew Shepard was murdered in Wyoming for being gay are perpetrating a “hoax” on the American people.
“I also would like to point out that there was a bill — the hate crimes bill that’s called the Matthew Shepard bill is named after a very unfortunate incident that happened where a young man was killed, but we know that that young man was killed in the commitment of a robbery. It wasn’t because he was gay. This — the bill was named for him, hate crimes bill was named for him, but it’s really a hoax that that continues to be used as an excuse for passing these bills,” said Foxx.
A Foxx spokesman didn’t immediately return a call. The Matthew Shepard “hoax” notion is a popular meme on right-wing blogs.
The Matthew Shepard Foundation is dedicated to reducing hate crimes.
The New York Times reported in 1998: “According to the local police and prosecutors, the two men lured Mr. Shepard out of a bar by saying they were gay. Then, the Laramie police say, the pair kidnapped Mr. Shepard, pistol-whipped him with a .357 Magnum, and left him tied to a ranch fence for 18 hours until a passing bicyclist spotted Mr. Shepard, who was unconscious.”
“She should be ashamed,” said Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), himself a victim of a hate crime during the struggle for civil rights. “That is unreal, unbelievable. The law enforcement people and almost every reasonable person I know believes he was murdered because he was gay.”
NY Times: Signs GOP is rethinking stance on gay marriage