Sunday, February 28, 2010

Robert M. Cover Public Interest Retreat 2010: Turning Point

This weekend WNEC Law organized the 23rd annual Robert M. Cover Public Interest Law Retreat at Camp Sargent in New Hampshire. WNEC organizers Imran Siddiqui, Maren Law, and Erin Wilson worked extremely hard to put this all together. This year's retreat was dubbed "Turning Point" and it was a truly incredible experience. Students and practitioners came from all over to participate: North Carolina, California, Hawaii, New York, Connecticut, Georgia... the list goes on. WNEC sent around 20 students, several from OUTlaw and we were all buzzing with energy.

The trek to Camp Sargent on Friday was long and treacherous for some. As snow quickly blanketed the area, drivers were faced with zero visibility and unplowed roads. There were flights delayed, flights cancelled, and several cars that became stuck in the snow en route. Most people, however, were able to fight through the weather to get to the retreat with perseverance and a lot of patience (and some help from tow trucks and muscle power). Those who could not make it were sorely missed.

The weekend was a great balance of workshops and plenty of time for networking and socializing. Four to five workshop topics were available per session and offered a range of subjects from Guantanamo to Disability Rights, Native American Law to Governmental Accountability, and everywhere in between. Especially pertinent to members of OUTlaw was the LGBT session hosted by WNEC Law's very own Professor Taylor Flynn and Jennifer Pizer, Senior Counsel and Marriage Project Director at Lambda Legal. Jennifer Pizer was also the keynote speaker on Saturday evening. She flew in that afternoon from Hawaii, just for the day, to speak at the retreat and was on a plane back to the west coast in less than 24 hours. We were (and are) very grateful that she so literally went out of her way to come and speak to us. The LGBT discussions were centered around the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case challenging the passing of Proposition 8 in California. The topic was used as lens through which we could better understand the LGBT movement: its history, where it stands currently, and where we are headed in the future. Particularly interesting was the discussion regarding impact litigation and the importance of bringing a case at the right time: though there is a heated and immediate demand for equality, we must patiently persevere in order avoid devastating set-backs. The message overall, however, was that we will get there.

The energy in a room full of extraordinary people who are absolutely determined to change the world and are so focused on the human face of the law is an experience beyond words. We left with a renewed clarity of direction, feeling energized, inspired, and eager to get to work. It was our Turning Point and I feel so fortunate to have been a part of it.

-Erika Scibelli, 1L

If you would like to know more about the retreat, please feel free to contact me on Facebook or at

New arguments filed in Prop 8 case

The Associated Press reported that on Friday, counsel for Proposition 8 sponsors filed new arguments for Chief U.S Judge Vaughn Walker to consider. The new arguments claim that same-sex marriages would undermine heterosexual marriages by opening the door for polygamist marriages, among other things. Plaintiffs' counsel states that there is no evidence to support that claim.

Check back for updates on the scheduling of closing arguments in this case.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

New York State Senate passes Family Health Care Decisions Act

Empire State Pride Agenda reports in it's newsletter:
NYS Legislature Provides Medical Decision Making Authority to Same-Sex Partners
"After being stalled in the Legislature for 17 years, the New York State Senate has finally joined the Assembly in passing the Family Health Care Decisions Act that enables a loved one to made health care decisions when the patient is not able to do so. The bill places a same-sex or opposite-sex domestic partner, just like a spouse, ahead of a surviving child or parent in making these decisions. Governor Paterson has said he will sign the bill into law when it is sent to him.
New York has been one of just two states where without a health care proxy, no one—not a domestic partner, spouse, or family member—could make health care decisions when the patient lacked the ability to do so. This gap in state law has sometimes forced loved ones to seek medical decision-making authority from a judge at the very time they should be focusing all their attention on caring for their partner.
Now, loved ones including same-sex spouses who were married out-of-state or fit the domestic partnership definition will have the ability to make these decisions. The domestic partnership definition is expansive, and includes those who may not be able to formally record their relationship because there is no domestic partner registry where they live. The Pride Agenda was instrumental in the redrafting of this domestic partner language to make sure it was uniform with all other domestic partner definitions in state law, such as that found in the hospital visitation bill that became law in 2004 and the control of bodily remains bill that became law in 2006.
Since same-sex couples still do not have the legal right to get married in New York State, the Pride Agenda has worked hard over the past few years to make sure LGBT families have protections in state law covering important end-of-life situations. When the Governor signs this measure into the law, the three most common situations where blood relatives sometimes seek to exclude a LGBT partner—hospital visitation, medical decision-making and the ability to make decisions about the disposition of partner remains—can no longer occur in New York State.
“We thank the Assembly and Assemblymember Gottfried for leading this effort for so many years and are glad the Senate has finally passed this measure and the Governor will be signing it into law,” said Executive Director Alan van Capelle."

Civil rights attorney Helen Trainor to speak at WNEC Law

On Wed. March 3rd at 4:00 pm in Room C, civil rights attorney Helen Trainor will speak about her role in helping to close the so-called "butch wing" at Fluvanna Correctional Center, a prison designated for women in Virginia. For more than a year, prisoners who were gay or perceived to be gay were housed in a separate unit called the "butch wing" and taunted by guards. After the story was reported by the Associated Press, in part thanks to Helen's efforts, the practice was discontinued.

Thanks to Professor Shay for this information!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Maryland AG says the state will recognize same-sex marriages

Maryland's Attorney General, Douglas F. Gansler (D), says that the state will begin to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, effective immediately. The opinion given by the AG does not allow same-sex marriages to be performed in the state, nor is it the law. Instead, it is an instruction to the courts and state agencies about how to proceed in matters regarding same-sex couples married in other states. This opinion is especially important because of Maryland's proximity to Washington, D.C which will begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in March. Next month, the House Judiciary Committee in MD will consider a bill that would allow same-sex marriages to be performed in that state.
Equality Maryland & Freedom to Marry have both praised AG Gansler's opinion.

Guyanese group seeks to tackle transphobia

The New York Times reports via Reuters:
"GEORGETOWN (Reuters) - A group of transgender men in Guyana have asked the country's Supreme Court to strike down laws that leave them open to arrest following a police crackdown on male cross-dressers.
Police in the tiny South American country, where both homosexuality and transgender dress have been illegal for decades, detained and briefly held six transgender males in jail last February on charges of "cross-dressing."
"It was one of the most humiliating experiences of my life. I felt like I was less than human," Seon Clarke, who was among those detained last year, said in a statement from Guyana's Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) on Monday.
Clarke is also one of those who on Friday filed a motion for the Supreme Court to overturn the sexual orientation and dress laws. SASOD, which is representing the group, said it had assembled an international team of lawyers for the case.
The recent crackdown brought criticism from international rights groups, and drew attention to similar laws that make homosexual activity and transgender dress a crime in many of the Caribbean region's former British colonies.
The Supreme Court has not said whether it will hear the case.
Guyanese law prohibits men from appearing in public in female attire, and vice versa. The law appears in a section of Guyana's legal code that also makes homosexuality a crime.
An effort to overturn the laws has been opposed by Guyana's powerful Christian, Hindu and Muslim clergy and has gained little traction with the government.

(Reporting by Neil Marks in Georgetown. Writing by Joshua Schneyer; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Paul Simao)"

Arrest warrant issued for Lisa Miller in custody battle

The Advocate reports:
Arrest Warrant Issued in Lesbian Parent Custody Case
By Editors

In a high-profile same-sex parent custody case, an arrest warrant has been issued for a woman who refused to transfer custody of her 7-year-old daughter to her former partner in Vermont before disappearing.
In late January a judge in Vermont family court had given Lisa Miller of Forest, Va., 30 days to appear in court with her daughter after she had failed to turn the child over to her ex-partner, Janet Jenkins, who had been granted full custody.
In 2000 the couple joined in a civil union in the state and had a daughter, Isabella, via artificial insemination in 2002.
A year later, Miller and Jenkins ended their relationship. Miller moved to Virginia and became an evangelical Christian.
The custody dispute has attracted national attention, with Jenkins appearing on Nightline in January to tell her story. “My goal has never been to separate Isabella from her other mother, Lisa,” Jenkins said. “I just want what is best for our child, and that is to know both of her parents.”
Miller’s whereabouts have been unknown since November. In December she wrote on her Facebook page that the Vermont judge’s decision to award custody to her former partner was a “dark ruling.”

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Gay Immigration Bill Gains Key Cosponsor

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) signs on as cosponsor of the LGBT immigration bill that would extend immigration rights to same-sex couples and families. Follow the link below to the full article.

Gay Immigration Bill Gains Key Cosponsor News

Minnesota to consider same-sex marriage

Minnesota is set to hold a hearing regarding the Marriage & Family Protection Act which includes measures that would establish civil unions and recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages. Andy Birkey of The Minnesota Independent reports:
Same-sex marriage to get ‘historic’ hearing at Minnesota Capitol
"LGBT advocates are calling an upcoming Minnesota House committee hearing on same-sex marriage “historic.” The hearing, to be held Monday afternoon, will be the first time same-sex marriage will be discussed in a committee hearing without the specter of a constitutional ban on gay marriage — a measure Republicans have tried for years to pass.
The only hitch: It’s only for informational purposes, and no vote will be taken.
OutFront Minnesota, the state’s largest LGBT advocacy group, says that’s okay. It’s still progress
“Although no votes will be taken Monday, the hearing will be historic because it is the first time a committee in our state Legislature will be looking at what enacting marriage equality means for Minnesota,” the group wrote in an email on Thursday.
Three measures will be discussed: a bill to make marriage gender neutral (the Marriage and Family Protection Act), a bill to establish civil unions, and a bill to allow for the recognition of same-sex marriage performed outside Minnesota
Doug Benson, the citizen author of the Marriage and Family Protection Act, said the hearing seems to be more an effort to stifle gay marriage supporters during an election year.
“It’s basically a show hearing,” he said.
But OutFront believes it’s a good opportunity to let legislators know how important the issue is.
“Supporters of marriage equality will speak about what it would be like if our state no longer explicitly barred same-sex couples from legal protections. Legislators will hear from experts and their constituents that discrimination against people because of who they love or who they are is wrong.”

Monday, February 22, 2010

Flyers for sale: OUTlaw fundraiser for OUTnow at Diva's

Stop by the OUTlaw table outside the cafeteria on Tuesday or Wednesday to purchase your flyer for the fundraiser/social event. The flyer is $1 and will get you a reduced cover charge at Diva's on Thursday, February 25th (the cost of the flyer + the cost of discounted cover is STILL less expensive than Diva's usual cover!) All the proceeds made from the sale of the flyers will be donated to OUTnow, an LGBTQ youth organization in Springfield, MA.

Throw on your best cowboy attire and have a great time while supporting an even greater organization!

(If you're not from WNEC and would still like to support a great cause, please contact Erika Scibelli via Facebook or email at

Challenging Gender Stereotypes at the JMG, Smith College

At the John M. Greene Performing Arts Center- Smith College:
Save this date, and spread the word!

In an effort to raise awareness about the Ada Comstock program and to foster a general sense of connectedness throughout the campus, especially between the traditional students and Ada Comstock students, we are planning an event at 8PM on March 27th at JMG showcasing All The Kings Men (ATKM), an award winning, all female, physical theatre ensemble that has been performing original, cabaret style club shows and workshops for seven years, throughout the U.S. and Canada in schools, theaters and educational conferences.

All The Kings Men push boundaries and stereotypes of gender, and explore this identity through comedic and dramatic storytelling, set to music. Utilizing physical theatre, dance, comedy, lip-synchs and character based sketch work, ATKM puts on a comic and thought provoking show, where women play all the roles. Through creative storytelling, movement and elaborate costuming, All The Kings Men custom-create their scenes from each individual song choice. With a catalogue of over 100 sketches, no show is ever completely the same; as individual as the scenes that go into it. In any given night you can see an eclectic collaboration of dance, characters, impersonation, comedy and drama that is always abundant in entertainment, as well as educational value.
Please join us for an exciting night!

Tickets available anytime at Northampton Box Office:
Smith Students- $5
Other Students- $7
Everyone Else- $15
Tickets also available at Smith College Campus Center for students 11am-1pm: Feb 25-26; Mar 1, 4-5; Mar 8-9; Mar 22-24, 26

Thanks to Treasurer Emily Kagan for this information!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

2nd UPDATE: Fundraiser for OUTnow at Diva's Nightclub

2nd Update: The fundraiser is back on, and we will be selling flyers to get into the event for $1. You'll need one of these flyers to get the discounted cover charge at Diva's so stop by the table outside the cafeteria during the lunch hour. If you're not from WNEC but would like to donate and get a flyer, please contact Erika Scibelli via Facebook or email at

On Thursday February 25th at 9:30 p.m, WNEC OUTlaw and WNEC's undergrad GSA are hosting a fundraiser for OUTnow at Diva's Nightclub in Northampton, Mass. OUTnow is an LGBTQ youth organization here in Springfield. The cost will be $1 for those who are 21+ and $5 for those who are 18-20. (Please bring your flyer to get these prices at the door.) Come in your cowboy-themed gear and support a great cause! We hope to see you all there!
Directions to Diva's

photo from

Lunch with Professor Jennifer Levi

On Thursday February 25th at noon, Professor Jennifer Levi will be meeting with students in Room E to discuss her recent U.S Tax Court win. You can read more about the story here. Please join us!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Upcoming WNEC OUTlaw events

OUTlaw is planning a lunch with Professor Jennifer Levi at noon on Thursday, February 25th to discuss her recent U.S Tax Court win. We are also planning a fundraising event for OUTnow at Diva's in Northampton. The fundraiser is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, February 25th as well. Check back for more details on both events... they will be available soon!

Groundbreaking Dr. Oz Show on Transgender Children Airs Thursday, Feb 18

GLAAD Blog shares:
Groundbreaking Dr. Oz Show on Transgender Children Airs Thursday, Feb 18

Posted using ShareThis

The Advocate asks- "What can Brown do for you?"

The March issue of The Advocate has published an interesting read by Julie Bolcer.  What does the road ahead look like for LGBTQ equality following Senator Brown's election here in Massachusetts? Read Julie's article here.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lt. Dan Choi is asked to return to his unit

Here is a great article by Michelle Garcia of The Advocate regarding Lt. Dan Choi, "the face" of the DADT repeal movement.

New Mexico kills domestic partnership bill

With a vote of 7-4, the senate finance committee in NM ended the possibility that the domestic partnership bill would be passed this year. Senator Peter Wirth believes the bill will be back next year.

Texas AG intervenes in same-sex divorce case... again.

The Advocate's Julie Bolcer reports that Texas AG Greg Abbott has intervened in a second same-sex divorce case. The first case involved two men who filed for a divorce and it was granted by Judge Tena Callahan. Abbott said then, as he does now, that it is the wrong legal remedy because the couples were not legally married in Texas. Instead, Abbott says the marriage should be made legally void. The couple in the most recent case are two women who were married here in Massachusetts and now seek a divorce. More details about the couples and the interventions can be read in the full article on The Advocate's webiste.

Monday, February 15, 2010

WNEC OUTlaw Meeting- February 17th

Hi everyone-
OUTlaw will be meeting this Wednesday, February 17th at noon in room 4. Please mark it on your schedules and join us! New faces and ideas are always welcome :) Email with any questions.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Openly gay mayor of Providence, RI will run for Congress

The Advocate's Julie Bolcer reports:
"David Cicilline, the gay mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, announced Saturday that he will run for the congressional seat to be vacated by Rep. Patrick Kennedy.
According to, intense competition is expected to surround the race for the Democratic nomination.
”The two-term mayor began to consider running after U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) shocked political observers by announcing he would not run for reelection this year,” reports “Kennedy, son of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, was first elected to the seat in 1994. Cicilline will face state Democratic Party Chair William Lynch, who also announced his candidacy, and could face a number of other contenders.”
Cicilline, 49, was elected mayor in 2002. He would become the fourth openly gay member of the U.S. House of Representatives, if elected to the seat."

Thursday, February 11, 2010

"The Forgotten T"- WNEC Law Alumnus M. Dru Levasseur in ABA Journal

Below is an excerpt from an article in the most recent edition of the ABA Journal. WNEC Law alumnus M. Dru Levasseur talks about his transition during law school and the hiring process after graduation. The full article is called "Just Like Everyone. Inclusiveness efforts seek to make GLBT lawyers—and all others—feel at home." and it can be accessed here.
The Forgotten T

The T in GLBT represents transgender individuals, a minority within the minority facing a kind of discrimination and disrespect that few, even within the gay and lesbian community, have considered.
M. Dru Levasseur faced challenges few other students encounter when he transitioned during law school. “People met me as female and under a different name,” says the 2006 graduate of Western New England College School of Law, “and there was no way for me to have a different way to come out.”
One of Levasseur’s biggest challenges was how to address his gender identity during the hiring process.

“A lot of my jobs outed me, so I said on my cover letter that I was a transgender attorney,” he says. “During an interview, one person asked, ‘Do you really think it’s a good idea to tell people you’re a transgender attorney?’ I said, ‘Yes, I do. In fact, I think it’s a strength that I’ve gone through the challenge of transitioning, and I’m still a great attorney and have achieved in spite of all the extra stress.” He got a job offer there.

Levasseur also faced outright discrimination. “I was on a second interview [at a Northeastern office of a national firm], and the partner asked, ‘What’s transgender?’ ” he recounts. “I started telling him, and he interrupted and said, ‘There are no gay people at the firm. If you wanted to start a gay group, you’d be the only one in it.’ ”

Levasseur, now a staff attorney at the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund in New York City, believes his candor about being a transgender attorney dented his job prospects. “I felt like my choice to be an out transgender attorney limited my options,” he says. “Diversity is coming around and it’s a hot topic, but being a transgender attorney is still an issue.”

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Jenny Pizer, keynote speaker at Robert Cover Public Interest Retreat

Robert M. Cover Public Interest Law Retreat

February 26-28th in Peterborough, New Hampshire

This year Jenny Pizer of Lamda Legal is the keynote speaker at the Cover Retreat. She has done amazing work on LGBT issues including recent work on the Proposition 8 issue in California. She will also facilitate a discussion-based workshop along with Professor Flynn of WNEC. This is an amazing opportunity to meet someone who is doing frontline work for the LGBT community. There will also be plenty of chances to meet and speak with professors and other public interest practitioners in a relaxing, fun and casual setting. Please register here and join us in New Hampshire for this great event.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

National Gay & Lesbian Task Force gives State of the Movement address

Rea Carey, Executive Director of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force gave the State of the Movement address at the Creating Change conference this past weekend. Read the whole text of her speech here.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

New Orleans Saints linebacker speaks out for LGBTQ rights

It's Super Bowl Sunday and the Saints have just given New Orleans its first Super Bowl victory. Bourbon Street is undoubtedly rocking tonight.

The Advocate has posted an article that includes an interview with Scott Fujita, a linebacker for the Saints regarding his views on equal rights and same-sex marriage. It's a great read and refreshing to see a professional athlete boldly speak out for what he knows is right. Check out the article by The Advocate here.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Big "Thank You!" to 16 Acres Garden Center!

Many, many thanks to 16 Acres Garden Center in Springfield, MA for its donation to OUTlaw's Love for Haiti fundraiser! 16 Acres has agreed to donate carnations that can be purchased for $1 dollar and delivered to the student, faculty, or staff member of your choosing. ALL proceeds will be donated. Please stop by the OUTlaw table from 12-1 on Monday and Tuesday to make your purchase!
Again, we truly appreciate 16 Acres Garden Center's support for this project. We wouldn't be able to do it without them!

Congress asks Ugandan Parliament to reject anti-LGBT bill

Michelle Garcia of The Advocate reports that Congress has passed a bipartisan resolution asking the Ugandan parliament to reject an anti-LGBT bill. The bill was proposed by parliamentary member David Bahati and would criminalize homosexuality with punishments as severe as life in prison or death. Read the full article here.

NPR posts an article from The Nation which, among other things, lists a number of ways that Americans can fight this atrocity from home.

Transgender murder is unsolved in Houston, TX

Courtney Zubowski of KHOU News in Houston reports:
HOUSTON -- Mystery still surrounds the murder of Myra Ical, a transgender woman, who was found dead in a field in Montrose last week.
“She died struggling for her life,” said Cristan Williams, the Executive Director of the Transgender Foundation of America. “It’s personal. I feel it on a personal level.

The body of the 51-year-old was found in the 4300 block of Garrott near Richmond.

Police said her body was covered in bruises and showed signs that she tried to fight back.

Williams said she has been in constant contact with police.

“She went down fighting and she was literally beaten to death,” she said.

Police said Ical was previously known as Ruben Dario Ical.

Investigators are not calling this a hate crime, but they’re not ruling out anything at this time.

“It concerns me a lot,” said Lou Weaver, who is helping plan a vigil for Ical. “A lot of my friends live around here. I drive down this road constantly going to and from where I live.”

Weaver and Williams said it doesn’t appear as if Ical has family living in the Houston area. They’ve seen her at some of their transgender support group meetings and have taken on the task of putting up fliers throughout the neighborhood.

“We’re just interested in solving this crime,” said Williams.

Williams is hoping someone in the neighborhood saw or heard something that will lead to justice for Myra Ical."

Thursday, February 4, 2010

MD denies same-sex marriage ban; NM advances partnership bill

The Baltimore Sun reports an article from the AP:
"Members of a Maryland House committee on Wednesday shot down a bill that would prohibit Maryland from recognizing gay marriages validated by other states or countries.
The House of Delegates Judiciary Committee voted against the proposal from Baltimore County Del. Emmett C. Burns Jr.
The same committee has rejected similar measures introduced in other years. Its vote prevents the bill from going to the House floor for debate.

In neighboring Washington, D.C., gay couples will likely be able to apply soon for marriage licenses. The district's City Council passed a bill in December legalizing same-sex marriage.

Congress oversees the district's laws, however, and the bill must pass a period of 30-day review by Congress."
Meanwhile, The Advocate's Michelle Garcia says that New Mexico's domestic partnership bill has cleared one of several hurdles. Read more about New Mexico's bill here.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Professor Jennifer Levi part of transgender win in U.S Tax Court

WNEC Law's faculty has played an important role in LGBT equality issues. Most recently, Professor Jennifer Levi represented U.S taxpayer Rhiannon O'Donnabhain in U.S Tax Court. Ms. O'Donnabhain claimed her treatment for Gender Identity Disorder (GID) as tax deductible, but the IRS did not agree. This week, the court ruled in favor of Ms. O'Donnabhain and held that treatment for GID is indeed tax deductible as medical care.

GLAD (Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders) News posts:
February 02, 2010
"The U.S. Tax Court today issued a long-awaited decision in O’Donnabhain v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, ruling that treatment for gender identity disorder (GID) qualifies as medical care under the Internal Revenue Code, and is therefore deductible.
“This decision treats Rhiannon O’Donnabhain the way she deserves to be treated—like any hard-working American taxpayer with medical expenses,” said Karen Loewy, senior staff attorney with Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), which represented Ms. O’Donnabhain.
“From the start, this has been a no-brainer. Every mainstream medical authority from the American Psychiatric Association to the National Institutes of Health recognize the legitimacy of providing medical care for transgender people. Dismissing these medical expenses as illegitimate and not deductible was discrimination, pure and simple.”
In an opinion reviewed by the full bench, the United States Tax Court affirmed that medical treatments for GID, including surgery and hormone therapy, are deductible medical expenses. Moreover, the Court stated that the IRS’s position that such treatment is cosmetic in nature “is at best a superficial characterization of the circumstances that is thoroughly rebutted by the medical evidence.”
“I’m overjoyed, not only for me, but for other transgender people,” said Ms. O’Donnabhain. “We deserve respect, equal treatment for our medical care, and fair treatment by our government.”
Professor Levi was also cocounsel to the seven plaintiff couples in the Goodridge decision that made Massachusetts the first state to legalize same-sex marriage and she is the director of GLAD's Transgender Rights Project.

Congratulations to Professor Levi, GLAD, and Ms. O'Donnabhain!

Update DADT: Senate hearings held yesterday

Dana Milbank, Washington Sketch columnist for the Washington Post, writes about Congressional testimony given today by Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Admiral Mullen's testimony could mark a shift in the position of military officials in regard to the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy currently in place. (President Obama's administration is seeking to repeal that policy within the year.) Milbank's column offers an inside view of the hearings and can be read in its entirety here.

Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Utah legislators call a "truce" on LGBT rights bills

KCPW News reports:
02.01.2010 by Elizabeth Ziegler

(KCPW News) A bevy of bills on both sides of the gay rights issue have been put on hold for a year under a pact state lawmakers struck last week. Salt Lake City Democratic Representative Christine Johnson, one of two openly gay members of the Legislature, says the budget crisis has made it such a stressful session already that it makes sense to wait a year to rekindle the debate.
Get the full article HERE.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Prop 8: (Im)patiently w8ing

NYT reports that testimony in the Proposition 8 trial was wrapped up on Wednesday. (You can view live blogs of all 12 days here.) Final arguments are not expected until March and Chief Judge Walker has said he will study the evidence and testimony before those final arguments occur. (View the NYT article in its entirety.)

Fun Fact from Across the Pond

It's LGBT History Month in the U.K! The month of February was chosen to commemorate the month in which Section 28 of the Local Government Act (1988) was abolished by the whole country in 2003. Section 28 was a statute that stated: "shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality" or "promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship."

LGBT History Month in the U.S takes place in October.