May 12, 2012
By Scottie Thomaston
- UPDATE: Will Cuba be next? Raul Castro’s daughter suggests it’s possible.
- UPDATE AGAIN: Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) joins President Obama in support of marriage equality, though Clyburn says he would take the president’s announcement a step further and “go national.” (The president says it’s an issue the states will decide individually.)
- Ted Olson of Prop 8 fame and Evan Wolfson were on Hardball discussing the president’s announcement on marriage equality.
- President Obama, in Washington state, addressed the upcoming ballot initiative on marriage equality:
“Here in Washington you’ll have a chance to make your voice heard on the issue of making sure that everybody, regardless of sexual orientation is treated fairly,” he said to raucous cheers.
More on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s evolution on marriage equality and DOMA repeal:
Reid, who voted in favor of DOMA in 1996, said on Thursday that if a bill to repeal the legislation gets to the floor of the Senate, “we’ll be happy to take a look at it,” according to Politico. He called the repeal “an important piece of legislation,” but he also predicted Republicans would try to stop repeal from getting a vote.
- Mitt Romney may have a hard time capitalizing on the president’s announcement:
Mitt Romney’s campaign strategists are caught in between, left with a strategic dilemma. Using the issue of same-sex marriage to try to mess with Obama’s electorate base—blacks and Hispanics—will be incredibly tempting. But a strident anti-gay marriage campaign, while it may excite conservative interest groups, distracts from Romney’s preferred focus on the economy—and poses a major risk of alienating swing voters and independents.
- More on Romney’s social conservative views.
- Following the president’s announcement a secret memo from a GOP pollster was unearthed. Essentially it suggests LGBT rights are a losing issue for the GOP and they should back off. It contains poll numbers on issues like marriage and employment discrimination. You can read the whole thing here.
- A coalition of black civil rights leaders signed a letter agreeing with President Obama that gay and lesbian couples should be able to get married.
- Mitt Romney’s aide expressed “glee” when he outed a woman who is transgender and ruined her career.
- The EEOC has affirmed its earlier ruling on transgender employees, saying they are protected under the sex discrimination provisions of Title VII. The article does note, however:
A number of colleagues have asked me if this ruling is so monumental that it covers our goal of a federal law against gender identity discrimination. The quick answer to that is no. Although the ruling should be given at least some deference by federal courts, it is not the final say, and it cannot be guaranteed that this interpretation will ultimately be adopted by the Supreme Court. Secondly, and more importantly, a law would cause a cascade of cultural change that an EEOC ruling just cannot do by itself. If Congress would pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, it would cause employers throughout the country to update their non-discrimination policies with “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” conduct training for hiring officers and supervisors, and would mean that “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” would be listed with the other protected characteristics on the “Know Your Rights” posters in the break room. Yes, legal recourse and being able to go to the EEOC are important, but when 78 percent of transgender people are experiencing mistreatment, harassment, or discrimination in the workplace, we need change on a much higher order — the kind of change that will only come with passage of a federal law.
- DOMA news: Via Kathleen in Quick Hits:
Plaintiffs’ opposition to BLAG’s motion to intervene in McLaughlin v. Panetta (SLDN case challenging DOMA Sect 3 for military spouses). Also filed: unopposed motion to file oversized brief.
McLaughlin v Panetta is the DOMA challenge brought by SLDN on behalf of gay and lesbian servicemembers.