Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Final Clason Speaker of the year: Professor Kimberly Mutcherson

Western New England College School of Law presents the final speaker in the Clason Speaker Series:

On Thursday April 8, 2010 at noon in the Law School Commons, Rutgers-Camden Associate Professor of Law Kimberly Mutcherson will deliver a talk entitled “Feel Like Makin’ Babies: Mapping the Borders of the Right to Procreate in a Post-Coital World.” Professor Mutcherson’s talk will address how to protect procreative rights that are not connected to sexual intercourse, such as in situations involving reproductive technologies. Professor Muterchson is an expert in family and health law, and she has served as a staff attorney at the HIV Law Project in New York. She currently serves on the Board of the Women’s Law Project in Philadelphia.

Thanks to Professor Shay for this info!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mullen & Gates condemn open letter regarding DADT

Michelle Garcia of The Advocate reports:
"A three-star general's opposition to repealing the military's ban on openly gay and lesbian troops may put his career in jeopardy.
Lt. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, in an open letter to Stars and Stripes newspaper on March 8, wrote that it was highly unlikely that a majority of service members are in favor of repealing "don't ask, don't tell."
"I suspect many service members, their families, veterans and citizens are wondering what to do to stop this ill-advised repeal of a policy that has achieved a balance between a citizen's desire to serve and acceptable conduct," he wrote on March 8.
Mixon is the commander of the U.S. Army Pacific.
Defense secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Adm. Michael Mullen said Thursday that Mixon's letter was "inappropriate" because of his influence on other military personnel, according to MSNBC.com.
Mullen said the Army has issued specific guidelines on speaking about "don't ask, don't tell" while the Defense Department is reviewing repeal of the policy. Mixon's case is "being addressed," he said.
An Army official told MSNBC that the directive to high-ranking military personnel was not pertaining to public statements on the ban and that the Army is likely not to fire Mixon. However, he may be forced to resign.
His three-star status (which he attained in February 2008) may also be under consideration for demotion to two stars by Congress.

The Army is expected to release a statement distancing itself from Mixon's letter."

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Lt.Dan Choi arrested for peacefully protesting DADT

On its website, the newly formed GetEQUAL has posted a video of Lt. Dan Choi's statement outside of the White House. View the video here on YouTube or watch it on GetEQUAL's website.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Lambda Legal brings same-sex marriage back to court in New Jersey

N.J. gay-marriage battle back in court
A sampling of posts from the last week:
Advocates for same-sex marriage are taking their case back to the New Jersey Supreme Court.
Lambda Legal filed a motion Thursday seeking a court ruling to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry.
"We are here today to ask the New Jersey Supreme Court to make equality real," said Hayley Gorenberg, Lambda Legal's deputy legal director. The civil-rights group filed a motion on behalf of six same-sex couples who first brought a lawsuit in 2002 seeking the right to marry.
The Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that same-sex couples are entitled to the same rights as heterosexual couples. The decision, however, left it up to the Legislature to decide how to provide equal rights. Lawmakers chose civil unions, but gay and lesbian advocates argue that civil unions provide unequal benefits, are misunderstood, especially out of the state, and amount to a separate and unequal right.
-Jonathan Tamari

The Advocate: What Health Care Means for LGBT Americans

Ryan McLendon writes for The Advocate about what LGBTQ Americans can expect from the recently passed health care bill. Access the article here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

PA Senators vote against bill proposing a same-sex marriage ban

Neal Broverman of the Advocate reports:
"Pennsylvania legislators on Tuesday voted against advancing a bill that could have constitutionally banned same-sex marriage.
The state's senate judiciary committee tabled senate bill 707 by an 8-6 bipartisan vote. The bill, sponsored by antigay Republican senator John Eichelberger, could be brought up again, but it's unlikely the bill will be considered before the end of the 2010 legislative session, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania.
“The efforts to embed discrimination against LGBT people into our constitution have failed for a third time,” Andy Hoover, legislative director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, said in a press release, referring to failed attempts to pass similar legislation in 2006 and 2008. “This committee today recognized that LGBT people are our neighbors, our co-workers, our friends, and our family members and that they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.”
Committee members who voted to table the bill included Republicans Pat Browne, Jane Earll, and Mary Jo White and Democrats Daylin Leach, Lisa Boscola, Wayne Fontana, Michael Stack, and Jay Costa."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Updated: Mississippi teen files suit for violation of free speech rights

 Constance McMillen has filed suit against the Itawamba County school district alleging a violation of her freedom of speech. McMillen, an open lesbian, requested permission to bring her girlfriend to the high school's prom as well as permission to wear a tux. Her requests were denied and on Wednesday, the ACLU informed the school district that denying McMillen entrance to the prom would violate her rights. The school district decided that it was better to cancel the entire prom for all students then to abide by the constitution.

McMillen says she's felt animosity from her fellow classmates over the ordeal, but that she returned to school today because she knows that her struggle will benefit others in the long run. [ABC News]

UPDATE: Mississippi Safe School Coalition is holding a "Second Chance Prom" for LGBTQ students and allies. Read more about it on MSSC's page.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Thanks again to 16 Acres Garden Center!

OUTlaw wanted to send another big thank you to 16 Acres Garden Center for donating carnations to our fundraiser for Haiti. 16 Acres increased its donation to about 50 carnations after OUTlaw received requests for flowers that exceeded the initial donation amount. Thanks again to the great people at 16 Acres for making the fundraiser a success! It would not have been possible without them!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

CA State Senator Roy Ashburn (R) comes out to local radio station

David Begnaud of CBS13 in Sacramento, CA reports that Republican state Senator Roy Ashburn admitted that he is gay on a local radio talk show this morning. The revelation comes after Senator Ashburn was arrested for an alleged DUI last week. It was rumored that he had been pulled over after leaving a gay nightclub in Sacramento. Interestingly, it has also been noted that the senator has voted against every pro-LGBTQ measure that has come before him.
" "Well, I am gay," said Senator Ashburn on KERN Radio to conservative talk show host Inga Barks. "Those are the words that have been so difficult for me for so long. But I am gay."
The 55-year-old father of four said he crossed the line and broke the law, putting people at risk, so he owes the public an explanation.
"The best way to handle that is to be truthful and to say to my constituents and all who care that I am gay," he said. "But I don't think it's something that has affected, nor will it affect, how I do my job."
Ashburn has been on leave since his arrest last Wednesday morning. But according to sources at the capitol, Ashburn was picked up at his home this morning by the Senate's Sergeant at Arms. He [was] expected to be back at the capitol when the Senate conven[ed] today at 2:00pm."
Read the full text of the article here.

First same-sex marriages in Washington D.C today

Though the law went into effect last week, today was the first day that same-sex couples could marry in our nation's capital. Below are a couple of articles related to the day's events.

OUTlaw congratulates all the newlyweds!

Time article

CNN article

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Study: LGBTQ people in anti-LGBTQ states are prone to depression

The Advocate's Michelle Garcia reported:

The American Journal of Public Health published a study this month that finds that LGBTQ people living in states that have bans on same-sex marriage and other such anti-LGBTQ laws are prone to depression. More specifically, the study concludes that LGBTQ people living in those states are more vulnerable to general anxiety, alcoholism, and mood disorders. The study has also pointed out that the anti-LGBTQ laws do not affect heterosexual people in the same way as they affect LGBTQ people. Read the full text of the article here at the American Journal of Public Health's website.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Wanted: Genius Ideas!

OUTlaw seeks to maintain a friendly, welcoming, and accepting community for all students at Western New England College School of Law. We'd like for you to be involved and share your ideas with us. Below are a few questions for you to answer that will help us stay on track and accomplish our goals.

-- We want you to be involved and to get to know OUTlaw better. Do you know what OUTlaw all about? If not, how can we fix that? Are the meetings sufficiently advertised? If not, how can we more effectively get the word out about our meetings?

-- OUTlaw is a focused, determined, and fun-loving group. Is there a social event or speaking event that you would like to see OUTlaw organize?

-- Contributing to the community outside of WNEC Law is also important to OUTlaw. Are there any LGBTQ related organizations in the area that you know of that could use some help from OUTlaw?

-- OUTlaw hopes to offer a modest scholarship to an incoming student in the fall. Do you have a brilliant idea as to how we could raise the funds?

Thank you-- Your input is appreciated! Please share your thoughts via comment or contact OUTlaw at outlaw.wnec@gmail.com.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Supreme Court refuses to stay D.C same-sex marriage law

Earlier today the Associated Press reported that court papers were filed by marriage equality opponents. The filings asked the Supreme Court to put a hold on D.C's new law that would allow same-sex couples to marry. The new law would take effect tomorrow. Opponents of the law argue that the people of D.C should have the opportunity to vote on the matter.

Moments ago, Reuters reported that Chief Justice Roberts rejected the request of marriage equality opponents to place a hold on the law. You can read more about the decision here.

Reminder: Attorney Helen Trainor to speak at WNEC Law tomorrow.

Tomorrow, 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.