2398 posts categorized "Legal"

December 07, 2016

D.C. surrogacy bill passes first reading

DC_Council_6Dec2016
(Photo by Tina Reed, Washington Business Journal)

The Collaborative Reproduction Amendment Act of 2016 passed its first reading as part of the consent agenda at the D.C. Council Legislative Meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 6. That means it was supported unanimously.

The bill will have its second and final reading at an additional legislative meeting (probably December 20), then it will go to Mayor Bowser for her signature.

This carefully written bill legalizes and regulates both traditional and gestational (in vitro fertilization based) surrogacies. It will give District couples, both gay and straight, a parenting option commonly practiced elsewhere. No longer will they have to travel outside the District for this purpose. Many couples' dreams of having families will be made easier and less stressful.

This comes after a four-year effort by a coalition of groups including GLAA that worked with the Council's Judiciary Committee staff, medical experts, and family advocates. Thanks to all the activists, families, experts, and affirming clergy who helped. It was opposed by the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, but they've pretty much opposed everything we've done for the past three-plus decades.

After it is signed, the bill will be transmitted to Congress for the congressional review period that all D.C. legislation must undergo. There may be challenges there; stay tuned.

December 04, 2016

D.C. surrogacy bill passes Judiciary, heads to full Council on Dec. 6

On Wednesday, November 30, the surrogacy parenting bill (currently known as the Collaborative Reproduction Amendment Act of 2016), which has been knocking around the Council since January 2013, passed the DC Council Committee on the Judiciary by voice vote.

The Committee of the Whole will consider the bill on Tuesday, December 6. The bill will then get its first reading and vote by the full Council at the Legislative Meeting that follows the COW meeting. Second reading will occur later in December, then the bill goes to Mayor Bowser for signature.

This bill was the work of a broad coalition of advocates coordinated by past GLAA honoree Alison Gill, including extensive work by Judiciary staff under previous Judiciary Chair Tommy Wells and current chair Kenyan McDuffie. Particular thanks to current committee director Kate Mitchell.

Legalizing and regulating surrogacy is the last major piece of family-related law on GLAA's policy agenda. We testified in support of it in June 2013. I will conclude my term as GLAA president at the end of this month. I will be very glad to leave office on this note. We and our allies may have to battle to defend it during its congressional review period on Capitol Hill; but first things first.

No justice even when it's caught on tape

November 26, 2016

Serial Killer Who Drugged, Raped, and Murdered Four Gay Men He Met on Grindr, Gets Life Sentence

November 19, 2016

Oscar Wilde, a Refugee of His Time

Mom sues her own daughter for starting trans hormones without her permission

Gee, why would anyone want to get away from such a loving mother?

Which LGBT rights are on the chopping block?

The dark chapter of America’s history a Trump backer just called "precedent" for registering Muslims

November 17, 2016

Congresswoman Norton pledges to defend Death with Dignity Act from congressional interference

November 09, 2016

A savage attack on our homeland from within

Trump with fist
(Photo: Getty Images)

Stunning, frightening, heartbreaking.

A country that can make such a destructive decision is not one that I recognize or to which I can be loyal. To go from the best president of my lifetime to the worst in history is such a betrayal, such an act of contempt, that it calls for resistance. Do we accept the disenfranchisement of black voters about which officials openly boasted? Do we accept the staggering misogyny that prefers dynamiting the country's foundations to choosing a highly qualified woman over an ignorant bully? Do we forgive our neighbors and family members for taking part in something this despicable? Do we sit politely and talk of healing as our beloved nation slits its own throat?

This cannot be accepted. We must not accept it. Our nation has been savagely attacked from within, far worse than the attacks of 9/11. Shall we respond placidly to an act of war? I cannot.

I have worked within the system for nearly four decades for change. This morning all of that for which generations have worked faces reversal. I and those I love face erasure. My conscience and my soul cry out for rebellion and resistance. We cannot plaster this over. The rain and storm will come, and down will come the wall. Prepare for the fight of our lives.

November 06, 2016

Couples look to county clerk Kim Davis to pay legal bill

Melania Trump Could Have Been Deported Under Husband's Immigration Policy

November 02, 2016

Vincent Gray: "I know what it’s like when law enforcement intervenes in an election. It happened to me."

November 01, 2016

America Nears the Women's Hour

My last column before the election is now up at the Blade.

Death with Dignity Act passes first reading at DC Council

(That's me, Rick Rosendall, in the yellow shirt at center left in above pic.)

On Tuesday afternoon (Nov. 1) the Death with Dignity Act passed first reading at the DC Council by a vote of 11-2. (Dissenting were CMs Alexander and Nadeau.) Most advocates on both sides (I have testified and lobbied in favor on behalf of GLAA) have been civil toward one another during the process leading up to today's vote. Health Committee Chair Yvette Alexander, for example, held a committee markup on the bill despite her personal opposition.

But one opponent was quite exercised as today's meeting was about to begin, threatening to defeat every Councilmember who supported the bill. (Good luck with that, lady, since most Washingtonians disagree with you.) She even gave a dressing down to bill supporter Romaine Thomas, a beloved local figure who is widow and mother of past council members and a longtime public servant in her own right. The angry woman refused even to shake Romaine's hand; I, as usual, had embraced Mrs. Thomas, asked after her family (her grandson is in college), and said I was glad we were on the same side.

Continue reading "Death with Dignity Act passes first reading at DC Council" »

October 30, 2016

FBI Director Comey Defied Attorney General Loretta Lynch in Possibly Illegal Email Disclosure

Anti-gay maneuver by Republicans called 'ridiculous' by White House

October 22, 2016

Turing's Law 'still on track' as government scuppers rival bill in Parliament

October 11, 2016

Judge Overrules Gov. Scott, Extends Florida Voter Registration

Australia national marriage vote blocked

Good. Your right to marry should not be subject to approval by your neighbors.

John Oliver on Guantánamo, Trump

John Oliver on Last Week Tonight, among other things, points out that the would-be strongman who is the Republican nominee for president wants to fill Guantánamo with prisoners and doesn't care about questions of constitutionality.

October 09, 2016

Ben Carson: Same-Sex Marriage Will Bring "Mass Killings"

In case you hadn't seen enough craziness today.

Rentboy.com founder pleads guilty to promoting prostitution, faces prison

October 05, 2016

Health Committee sends Death with Dignity Act to full D.C. Council

B21-38markup1004
(Photo by Rick Rosendall)

The D.C. Council Committee on Health and Human Services held a markup of Bill 21-38, the Death with Dignity Act, on Wednesday, October 5 at 2 pm. I was there with fellow supporters of the bill.

Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7), the committee chair, spoke against the bill. She insisted that the matter should be decided by voter initiative. No. We elect representatives to deal with difficult matters. But to give her due credit, she did bring the bill up for a vote, keeping her word. That was honorable.

Committee members David Grosso (I-At-Large) and LaRuby May (D-Ward 8) spoke in support, as did the bill's author, Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3). Brianne Nadeau (D-Ward 1) joined Alexander in speaking against. The bill was then passed by the committee without amendments. It is expected to get its first reading by the full Council at an additional legislative meeting later in October.

After the vote, one woman who opposed the bill, gave a dressing down to May, saying that she had no right to vote for the bill, she had overstepped her authority, and that such a controversial measure should be put before the voters. May, the duly elected legislator representing Ward 8 (though she was defeated in the June 14 primary by Trayon White), stood her ground. She had said that poor residents of her ward could not afford to move to Oregon to take advantage of that state's Death with Dignity statute, which was passed twenty years ago and was the model for the District bill.

The same demand for a plebiscite was made in 2009 and 2010 by opponents of civil marriage equality. They lost before the Board of Elections and Ethics, in the Court of Appeals, and were denied cert by the Supreme Court. If B21-38 passes, opponents can try to do a referendum. Such a course is unlikely to succeed. The opponents inadvertently helped the bill by making eye-stretching arguments. Stating that council members had no right to vote for the bill, preposterous as it was, nicely demonstrated the failure by opponents to grasp the separation of church and state.

Thanks to Councilmembers Cheh, Grosso, and May for voting for the bill, and to committee chair Alexander for bringing it up for a vote.

September 29, 2016

Gov. Brown signs most inclusive restroom access law in U.S.

Judge dismisses part of gay D.C. cop’s bias lawsuit

Report: Trump violated U.S. trade embargo against Cuba

September 23, 2016

Obama vetoes bill allowing 9/11 families to sue Saudi Arabia

The world can be cruel, and the presidency carries many thankless tasks. President Obama performed one of them today. It is not popular to consider our strategic interests in such an instance, but the man responsible for sending our children off to war, including the special ops forces he sent to raid bin Laden's compound in 2011, must consider them. Before condemning him, let us imagine the weight of it that he must bear and we do not. Remember Churchill, who could not warn the people of Coventry of the Nazi bombing raid that he knew was coming because it would have tipped off the Germans that Britain had broken the Enigma code. Giving away that secret would almost certainly have led to many more deaths. Even when they do not have my agreement or understanding, those who take on that burden have my respect. And on November 8, we must not confer its terrible responsibility on an ignorant and reckless man.

White Tulsa officer charged with manslaughter in death of unarmed black man

Eugene Robinson: In America, gun rights are for whites only

Eugene Robinson is right. This is intolerable and insane.

American Skin

No other songwriter has equaled the power of Bruce Springsteen's searing ballad of a black mother giving her son The Talk. As timely as when it was written after the police killing of Amadou Diallo, it ends on the plaintive notes of a saxophone played by Bruce's dear friend, the late, great Clarence Clemons. Sadly, those who most needed to receive its message reflexively hardened themselves against it. I ask forgiveness for the hatred their cold and heartless reaction stirs in me still. #BlackLivesMatter

September 21, 2016

HUD makes rule final barring anti-trans bias in homeless shelters

Judge rules for Wisconsin trans student in battle over bathroom access

Trump Jr. stole photo of Skittles to denigrate refugees – from a refugee

Obama at UN Refugee Summit

September 19, 2016

McCrory staged fake Q&A to avoid questions on HB2

September 16, 2016

Steph Curry Says North Carolina's Anti-LGBT Law Needs to be Changed

Thanks, Steph.

Robert White takes his seat as D.C. Councilmember At-Large

Congrats to freshly minted D.C. Councilmember Robert White (D-At-Large), who was sworn in today after being chosen by the D.C. Democratic State Committee to fill the unexpired term of recently resigned Councilmember Vincent Orange. In the picture below, CM White is joined by infant daughter Madison. Robert earned the highest GLAA rating in the At-Large primary race, which he won in June. He stands for a full term on November 8.

September 15, 2016

Ivanka Trump Suggests Gay Male Couples Are Out of Luck in Donald Trump's Family Leave Plan

Trans activist’s murder trial postponed