Filed under: Right-wing
By Scottie Thomaston
The Illinois marriage equality bill is reportedly 12 votes short of passage in the House. The bill passed the Illinois state Senate and then passed a House committee. As EqualityOnTrial has previously reported, the bill faces an uphill battle in the House. Marriage equality advocates need 60 votes for the measure to pass and there was speculation all along that they were at least 17 votes short of that goal.
But House Speaker Michael Madigan has told reporters today that 12 additional votes are needed, and he said the effort is very difficult:
Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan says passing a gay marriage bill out of the state House will be “very difficult.”
Madigan told reporters Wednesday that he backs the measure allowing same-sex couples to marry. The Senate approved it last month and it awaits a House floor vote. Lawmakers aren’t sure when they’ll call it.
Marriage equality advocates are saying the bill will eventually pass.
UPDATE 450PM ET: Rep. Greg Harris has said that the vote tally is “closer than” what the Speaker has suggested, but he didn’t say a number.
By Scottie Thomaston
Yesterday, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its 2-1 decision in a case styled MacDonald v. Moose, striking down the state of Virginia’s “crimes against nature” law. Ten years ago in Lawrence v. Texas, the United States Supreme Court struck down laws like Virginia’s in for violating due process by criminalizing same-sex intimacy. But many states kept their laws on the books even after that decision, and some states continued to arrest gay men and lesbians long after the Supreme Court denied them the authority to do so.
This case involved a 47 year old man and an underage girl, however. He was convicted of “crimes against nature” in 2005. The courts below upheld his conviction, but the Fourth Circuit held that under Lawrence, the law is invalid:
In Lawrence, the Supreme Court plainly held that statutes criminalizing private acts of consensual sodomy between adults are inconsistent with the protections of liberty assured by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
In these circumstances, a judicial reformation of the anti-sodomy provision to criminalize MacDonald’s conduct in this case, and to do so in harmony with Lawrence, requires a drastic action…[rewriting the statute]
The dissenting opinion suggests that the reach of Lawrence is “not beyond doubt” because it may only apply to private consensual activity:
In concluding that Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003), invalidated sodomy laws only as applied to private consenting adults, the Virginia Court of Appeals did not reach a decision that “was so lacking in justification that there was an error well understood and comprehended in existing law beyond any possibility for fair minded disagreement.”
The Washington Blade has comments from the ACLU of Virginia:
“It is shameful that Virginia continued to prosecute individuals under the sodomy statute for ten years after the Supreme Court held that such laws are unconstitutional,” said Rebecca Glenberg in a statement on behalf of the ACLU of Virginia. The ACLU filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting MacDonald’s appeal.
“This ruling brings an end to such prosecutions,” she said.
The Blade sought comments from Lambda Legal, who led the challenge in Lawrence v. Texas and had filed a brief in this case, but didn’t obtain a statement.
In two weeks, the Supreme Court hears two gay rights cases. The arguments will take place ten years to the day arguments were heard in Lawrence.
By Scottie Thomaston
Yesterday, EqualityOnTrial covered the LGBT anti-discrimination bill in Utah that was reportedly backed by the Mormon church. That bill died in the legislature yesterday, before it even reached the floor:
on sexual orientation and gender identity died before it even hit the Senate floor.
Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, announced Monday he would not bring SB 262 to the Senate floor for debate because there was not enough support in the chamber for it to be considered.
“Why, if we don’t have the votes, do we want to spend the time?” he told reporters.
SB 262, sponsored by Sen. Steve Urquhart, R-St. George, has gone the farthest in the six years non-discrimination bills have been run through the Utah State Legislature. At a news conference late Monday, the bill’s sponsors were frustrated it died so quickly.
“I’m disappointed there won’t be a roll call vote,” said Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, the only openly gay lawmaker in the legislature. “But that’s the way it goes in politics.”
The bill had passed out of the Senate committee but it appears legislators counted the votes and found there was a significant gap between the yes and no votes.
In other news, three bills affecting LGBT rights will be taken up in the judiciary committee in Nebraska on Thursday. There’s a bill banning discrimination based on sexual orientation, and two related to anti-gay discrimination in adoption practices. More information on those bills, including the text of the bills, is here.
On Friday, an inclusive anti-discrimination bill was introduced in the West Virginia Senate. The bill bans discrimination against LGBT people in housing, and it also bans employment discrimination. The bill will reportedly be introduced in the House of Delegates in West Virginia soon.
By Scottie Thomaston
UPDATE 1:40PM ET: Another report says the language was finalized and the bill passed out of a Senate committee.
The Mormon Church is reportedly working on language for a statewide LGBT non-discrimination bill in Utah. The church supported a similar bill in 2009, according to a report:
The church actually endorsed a similar ordinance in 2009 in Salt Lake City.
This is momentous, surely, but the Mormon faith, whether real or done for politics, is changing. In December, Mormon leaders launched a website called mormonsandgays.org, and the church stressed that homosexuality is not a choice, that all the brothers and sisters need to be treated with compassion, that we all “need to love one another.”
The church is well-known for its efforts to pass Prop 8 banning marriage equality in California.
The Salt Lake Tribune first broke the news on Thursday. According to their story:
Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, opened a bill file on Thursday — the last day to request attorneys draft legislation — titled Housing and Employment Amendments and will sponsor the legislation should an agreement be reached.
The newspaper notes that talks have been ongoing for the past eight months and there is not a bill yet, though other sources suggest that all the parties to the negotiations are close to final language. The report suggests that if the LDS church signs on to the bill’s language, it’s likely to pass.
By Scottie Thomaston
- We have a lot of coverage here at Prop 8 Trial Tracker of the latest DOMA petition to the Supreme Court in Windsor v. USA. Here’s our initial news post, here’s some analysis, and this morning Jacob tells us what it all means.
- The Scottish Government has postponed its decision on marriage equality.
- The Boy Scouts re-affirmed their gay ban.
- The attempt to undo California’s law to allow the teaching of gay history in schools has failed.
- An update on the battle over the language in Minnesota’s proposed anti-gay amendment.
By Scottie Thomaston
The targeting of minorities by law enforcement is prevalent no matter which minority is the subject of police harassment. Often the harassment of even white LGBT people is based on tactics perfected by their decades of use against nonwhites. Institutional bigotry against one group can and will be easily forced onto others. In New York, there’s rampant use of a “stop-and-frisk” policy, to stop and question ‘suspicious’ people, and likely search them. A report from the New York Civil Liberties Union recently showed that people who have been subjected to this policy are disproportionately nonwhite.
Now, LGBT rights organizations are joining the NAACP and other civil rights groups in protest against this policy:
In a news conference to take place at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar where in 1969 riots set off by a police raid became a watershed for the national gay rights movement, leaders of national rights groups for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people will draw a connection between the gay rights movement and the current campaign against stop-and-frisk.
“We are all standing together against police harassment on the basis of a person’s identity,” Rea Carey, the executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said in an interview.
“There was no rational reason to raid the Stonewall Inn in 1969, and there is no rational reason to stop black and Latino men in 2012 and frisk them simply for being who they are,” she said.
The gay rights groups, including the Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal and the Empire State Pride Agenda, also plan to participate in a march on June 17 to protest the stop-and-frisk practice. The march is being organized by the N.A.A.C.P., the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, and 1199 S.E.I.U., a union of health care workers.
Discussing the National Organization for Marriage’s attempts to “drive a wedge” between gays and blacks, and the long-term right-wing strategy to divide and conquer us, NAACP President Ben Jealous suggests we need efforts like this to continue in the future and we need to stand up together against this cynical strategy:
“It just feels very hopeful to see the L.G.B.T. and civil rights communities repeatedly coming together these days.”
“It’s a very cynical game that the far right wing is playing,” Mr. Jealous said, adding, “that’s why it’s important for us to stand up in ways that are visible to take the stands that we have.”
It’s a great idea to have this press conference at the site of one of the riots that launched the LGBT rights movement. From the Compton’s Cafeteria Riots to the Stonewall Riots in 1969, our movement began in a way that matches what people in the civil rights movement are still dealing with even today. Where we can find similarities and build bridges, it’s important to try. No groups will ever have everything in common but we’re fighting for the same thing in the end. We all realize there are people trying to divide us in cynical and desperate ways and so it’s important to stand together.