1563 posts categorized "Legal"

June 19, 2014

Huelskamp: Real Men Oppose Gay Rights

RWW reports:

Tim Huelskamp, the chief sponsor of the Federal Marriage Amendment, had a message for “every man in America” at today today’s March for Marriage: “Your woman, your wife, she needs you, it’s time you become a real man and stand up.”

Possibly under the impression that the legalization of same-sex marriage will break up opposite-sex unions, the Kansas Republican congressman emphasized that he loves his wife and believes that men who love their wives must join the fight to stop marriage equality.

The level of incoherence here can hardly be overstated. Perhaps President Obama should send a few drones to knock out the idiot factory, once we locate it.

As to the march: as usual with NOM's events, the crowd was paltry and its significance nil. I celebrated Juneteenth by staying home.

When Rights Collide

US_Supreme_Court

Happy Juneteenth. Here's my latest column at Metro Weekly. I'll talk with Mark Thompson about it this evening at 7 pm EDT on Make It Plain on SiriusXM Progress, Channel 127.

Here's an excerpt:

On April 7, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) declined to hear the Elane Photography case, in which an Albuquerque studio refused to take commitment ceremony photos of Vanessa Willock and her same-sex partner, Misti Collinsworth. This left in place the New Mexico Supreme Court ruling that Elane Photography's claimed free speech right "directly conflicts with Willock's right ... to obtain goods and services from a public accommodation."

If you think this pleased all gay rights advocates, you are wrong. An amicus brief supporting the photographer was filed on behalf of the Cato Institute, Eugene Volokh, and Dale Carpenter, all marriage equality supporters. Volokh explained that "wedding photographers ... have a First Amendment right to choose what expression they create, including by choosing not to photograph same-sex commitment ceremonies."

SCOTUS will rule this month in the Hobby Lobby case, concerning a company's right to deny employees contraceptive coverage based on the owners' religious objections. In contrasting briefs, Cato defended Hobby Lobby's free exercise rights, while Lambda Legal wrote that ruling for Hobby Lobby "would transform our equal opportunity marketplace into segregated dominions within which each business owner with religious convictions 'becomes a law unto himself.'"

Meanwhile, LGBT groups differ over the religious exemption in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. DC's Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, which I lead, is among those that support ENDA but favor a narrower exemption. Religious groups are protected in their core religious function; outside it is another matter. Why should anti-LGBT discrimination enjoy exemptions beyond those applying to discrimination under Title VII?

LGBT people are not the only historically oppressed group asked to subordinate their interests....

Click on the above link for the whole thing.

June 18, 2014

Openly gay, lesbian federal judges confirmed

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Examiner.com reports:

The United States Senate made history on Tuesday by approving the nation’s first openly gay black federal judge with a vote of 98-0. With the vote, Darrin Gayles became a district court judge in Florida and was one of three judges nominated by President Barack Obama to be approved on Tuesday.

By a vote of 52-44, senators also endorsed Staci Yandle as a federal court judge in Illinois. Yandle, who is an openly black woman, became one of 112 female federal judges appointed by Obama in his presidency. It is a feat that is more than any previous president. The diversity did not stop there. The Senate also voted to make Salvador Mendoza a federal district judge in Washington State by a vote of 92-4 bringing the total number of Hispanics nominated by Obama to 31.

Staci Michelle Yandle

Good news. We can forget this sort of thing if the GOP takes control of the Senate.

June 17, 2014

Marriage News Watch

AFER's Matt Baume is on the road, and reports this week from Nevada.

June 14, 2014

State LGBT groups split on ENDA’s religious exemption

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Chris Johnson of the Blade reports:

The Washington Blade polled more than 50 state LGBT groups this week on their position regarding ENDA with its current religious exemption. The language would continue to allow religious institutions, like churches or religious hospitals and schools, to discriminate against LGBT workers in ministerial and non-ministerial positions even if the bill were to become law.

The religious exemption in ENDA is broader than similar exemptions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for categories of race, gender, religion and national origin.

The most common response from statewide LGBT groups — including Equality Illinois and Equality California — was that they continue to support ENDA, but oppose or have concerns about the bill’s religious exemption.

GLAA is in the latter group. Here is the statement I gave Johnson:

GLAA has long supported ENDA. Our position was to support the best achievable bill, because we understood the value of strategic compromise--not as an end point but as a way station in the ongoing struggle for equality.

But here in DC, as in the marriage equality fight, we have successfully fought against overbroad religious exemptions. Of course religious groups enjoy protections in their core religious functions; outside that sphere is another matter. For example, Catholic Charities demanded to be able to discriminate against same-sex couples as a government contractor providing adoption services. We and the DC Council said absolutely not. Catholic Charities then chose to stop delivering those services, which were taken over by another organization that was prepared to obey the law.

It is time to push back against the religious bullies. Religious exemptions beyond those applying to discrimination under Title VII should not be accepted in ENDA.

June 12, 2014

Anderson debates Texas GOPer on reparative therapy

Chief Lanier addresses town hall on police-trans issues

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The Blade reports:

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier told a transgender community town hall meeting Tuesday night that her department is moving quickly to implement recommendations by an independent task force on ways to improve police response to crimes targeting the transgender community.

Lanier, who was joined by nearly a dozen high-level police officials, including a captain and sergeant in charge of the police Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit, said the overwhelming majority of officers are sensitive to the needs and concerns of transgender citizens.

Rev. Barry Lynn vs. Rep. Louie Gohmert

Texas congressman Louie Gohmert, at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, conducted an impromptu inquisition on the religious beliefs of Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. I think Rev. Lynn did quite well.

June 21 - FREE HER rally

The untold, real-life story of the prison in "Orange is the New Black." Excerpt:

Now, Families for Justice as Healing is looking beyond Massachusetts to the mass incarceration of women nationwide. On June 21, the group is organizing a FREE HER rally in Washington, D.C., an idea that emerged during those very first meetings in the prison yard at Danbury.
Freeher_timeaddfull

Today in history - Loving v. Virginia

On this day in 1967, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Loving v Virginia that state anti- miscegenation laws were unconstitutional. Responding decades later to discrimination against gay couples, Mildred Loving expressed support for marriage equality. Here's to the memory of her and her husband, and those who helped them fight for equality.

June 07, 2014

Same-sex marriages begin in Wisconsin

AP reports:

When a federal judge struck down Wisconsin's gay marriage ban, pastor Andrew Warner was among those who headed to the courthouse to get a license so he could legally wed his longtime partner.

Then he turned to perform a wedding for two members of his Milwaukee church.

"I always felt like we were second-class citizens in not being able to get married," Warner said after marrying Jay Edmundson on Friday evening, despite confusion over the effect of a federal judge's ruling that declared Wisconsin's gay marriage ban unconstitutional. "And now I feel good about my state in a way I haven't before."

Clerks in Madison and Milwaukee began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples shortly after 5 p.m. Friday, a little over an hour after the judge released her ruling. More marriage licenses could be issued over the weekend, even though Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said the ruling did not clear the way for weddings to begin. Van Hollen has sought an emergency order in federal court to stop more marriage licenses from being issued.

June 05, 2014

Supreme Court Denies Attempt To Stop Oregon Same-Sex Marriages

Chris Geidner at BuzzFeed reports:

The Supreme Court denied the National Organization for Marriage’s attempt to stop same-sex couples from marrying in Oregon.

NOM has appealed the trial judge’s decision not to let the group, which is opposed to same-sex couples’ marriage rights, to intervene in the lawsuit challenging Oregon’s ban on such marriages.

The appeal of the intervention denial now continues at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, but same-sex couples will continue to be able to marry during the time that is happening.

The 9th Circuit, which is hearing that appeal, denied NOM’s request to stop the trial court decision striking down the ban from going into effect during the appeal. NOM then went to Justice Anthony Kennedy to ask him to stop the marriages while that appeal is pending before the 9th Circuit.

Kennedy, who hears procedural matters brought to the court from the 9th Circuit, referred the request to the full court, which denied the request without comment on Tuesday.

The momentum grows. I will spare you another pic of NOM's Brian Brown crying.

May 29, 2014

Sen. Hatch concedes nationwide marriage equality is almost inevitable

Orrin_hatch

The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch says legal gay marriage is almost certain to become a reality throughout the United States.

"Let’s face it, anybody who does not believe that gay marriage is going to be the law of the land just hasn’t been observing what’s going on," Hatch said Wednesday on KSL Radio’s "Doug Wright Show." "There is a question whether [the courts] should be able to tell the states what they can or cannot do with something as important as marriage, but the trend right now in the courts is to permit gay marriage and anybody who doesn’t admit that just isn’t living in the real world."

The usual crazies will denounce him for saying the obvious. Somewhere Ted Kennedy is smiling.

Houston passes LGBT non-discrimination bill

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(Photo: Twitter/@equalitytexas)

Think Progress reports:

After many hours of testimony from over 200 speakers, the Houston City Council voted 11-6 to approve the Equal Rights Ordinance, which creates nondiscrimination protections for many classes, including sexual orientation and gender identity. Houston was one of the only large cities in the country that had no municipal nondiscrimination policy.

During the debate, supporters of the bill spoke to alliances across groups, noting how the ordinance would protect following identity classifications: sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, military status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity, and pregnancy. Opponents argued that the protections would impose on religious beliefs, forcing individuals to violate their own religious beliefs by serving, as an example, a marrying same-sex couple. They also asked that the ordinance be put to a city-wide vote instead of being approved by the Council.

The ordinance’s protections will extend to employment, housing, and public accommodations.

Congrats to Mayor Annise Parker and all who worked on the bill. Opponents yesterday pounded repeatedly on the notion that transgender protections would promote voyeurs in bathrooms, despite there being no evidence whatsoever of that ever happening. Thank goodness rationality and fairness prevailed. An anti-gay official is threatening a recall effort against Mayor Parker; so stay tuned.

May 28, 2014

A wedge that won't be driven

Jeremy Hooper at Good As You reports:

The Coalition of African-American Pastors is intimately aligned with the National Organization For Marriage (CAAP head William Owens is listed as NOM's religious liaison) and is one of the co-sponsors of NOM's upcoming March For Marriage. Now look on as this organization helps NOM in its stated goal to "drive a wedge between gays and blacks" with a video that promotes the upcoming NOM march by directly comparing "the same-sex marriage agenda" with the KKK, segregation, slavery, racism, and the destruction of the black family. It is beyond disturbing and should disgust many.

Indeed. And it won't work, as LGBT-affirming clergy proved in D.C., and as others, including Rev. Delman Coates, proved in Maryland.

May 27, 2014

Harry Jackson: Lost but not leaving

Right Wing Watch shares the latest from Bishop Harry "Daddy Bear" Jackson *, the carpetbagging minister from P-Town Maryland who led the fight against marriage equality in DC:

In this video, Harry Jackson urges the pastors at the Family Research Council's Watchmen on the Wall to fight the "radical homosexual agenda" and teach lay leaders why "God didn't make anyone that way."

* I am just teasing with my reference to bears and P-Town. When I stand close to Bishop Jackson, his ministerial charisma momentarily envelops me in the healing grace of Jesus.

May 24, 2014

D.C. adoption law draws lesbians from other states to give birth here

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(Photo by Melina Mara / The Washington Post)

WaPo reports.

Bob Summersgill comments:

This wasn't by accident. Thank Phil Mendelson for getting all the pieces in place. Tommy Wells is working on the surrogacy piece.

Yep. This legal option for lesbian couples is the result of efforts by legislators and activists. As Bob indicates, the legalization and regulation of surrogacy agreements is a big remaining piece of the puzzle that we hope to put in place this year.

A huge win for marriage equality

Ronan Farrow interviews Evan Wolfson and Richard Socarides on recent strides for marriage equality. Wolfson avoids commenting on Jo Becker's much-maligned book on the Prop 8 litigation, Forcing the Spring.

May 23, 2014

South Dakota Couples Challenge Gay Marriage Ban

AP reports:

Six couples filed a federal lawsuit Thursday seeking to block South Dakota's gay marriage ban, leaving North Dakota as the only state in the country with an unchallenged law prohibiting same-sex weddings.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Sioux Falls, challenges a 1996 law passed by the Legislature and a voter-approved 2006 constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, which means such cases are now pending in 30 states with gay marriage bans. The lawsuit also challenges a U.S. provision allowing states not to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.

The day gets closer and closer when marriage equality will extend from sea to shining sea.

May 21, 2014

1974 video: Kameny defends gay marriage on PBS

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Please follow this link to the "OpenVault" page at WGBH Boston, since I cannot embed the video.

Our friend Michael Bedwell brings to our attention an archival video of a televised debate from May 1974 on what we now call marriage equality. It was done in the form of a mock trial. The witnesses included Elaine Noble (for) and Dr. Charles Socarides (against). It is a bracing hour of debate from long before marriage equality was on the minds of many LGBT activists (though GLAA first testified on the subject before the D.C. Council the following year).

I told Frank that I had seen this back in the 1970s, and that he was brilliant, and it had had a great effect on me. He said he had no recollection of having done it. He forgot more accomplishments than other people had accomplishments.

May 20, 2014

Judge Overturns Pennsylvania Gay Marriage Ban

NYT reports:

Continuing a rush of rulings that have struck down marriage limits across the country, a federal judge in Pennsylvania on Tuesday declared the state’s ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional....

Pennsylvania is the last of the Northeast states with a ban on same-sex marriage, and if Tuesday’s ruling is not successfully challenged, it will become the 19th state to permit gay and lesbian couples to marry.

Judge Jones did not issue a stay.... Even as Gov. Tom Corbett said he was studying the decision and considering whether to appeal it, state officials began issuing marriage licenses on Tuesday afternoon to overjoyed gay couples.

Hooray.

Marriage News Watch

The latest (as of May 19) from Matt Baume of AFER. The summary:

The National Organization for Marriage screws up again in Oregon. Judges in Idaho and Arkansas rule that marriage bans violate the US Constitution. Following another round of hearings, rulings are due any day now in Virginia and Pennsylvania. And a new lawsuit in Alaska leaves just three states with an unchallenged marriage ban.

Court orders Utah to recognize in-state same-sex marriages

The Blade reports.

Next up (after 2 pm today): Pennsylvania!

Federal Judge Strikes Down Oregon's Gay Marriage Ban

AP reports (and I apologize for the delay caused by another Distributed Denial of Service attack against TypePad, our blog service):

A federal judge on Monday struck down Oregon's voter-approved ban on gay marriage, saying it is unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Michael McShane said the ban unconstitutionally discriminates against same-sex couples and ordered the state not to enforce it. State officials earlier refused to defend the constitutional ban in court.

McShane joined judges in seven other states who have struck down gay marriage bans, though appeals are underway.

Oregon state officials have said they'd be prepared to carry out same-sex marriages almost immediately, and couples lined up outside the county clerk's office in Portland in anticipation of the McShane's decision.

May 17, 2014

Today is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

From the United Nations, on the above video:

The United Nations Free & Equal campaign presents a message on this International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT). Share your story and change hearts and minds -- we are all the foundation for this movement for equality.

Click here for more information.

President Barack Obama issued the following statement yesterday:

Continue reading "Today is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia" »

May 15, 2014

O'Malley signs transgender rights bill

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(Photo by Michael Key / Washington Blade)

The Blade reports:

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley on Thursday signed into law a bill that bans discrimination against transgender Marylanders.

“We are closer today to creating an open, respectful, inclusive world that we want for all of our children,” said O’Malley before signing Senate Bill 212 — the Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014 — into law. “This bill gives us another step closer to that vision and to that reality.”

Congrats to our Maryland colleagues for this achievement.

NOM barred from intervening in Oregon marriage case

Brian-Brown-AP-File
(AP photo of Brian Brown)

The Blade reports:

The anti-gay group seeking to take part in a case challenging Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage was denied status Wednesday as an intervenor in the lawsuit, clearing the way for a final ruling on marriage equality in the state at any time.

U.S. District Judge Michael McShane, who’s hearing the consolidated cases of Rummell vs. Kitzhaber and Geiger vs. Kitzhaber, ruled from the bench immediately following a hearing on the issue that the National Organization for Marriage couldn’t take part in the litigation....

In a first for any marriage equality case, no party in the lawsuit contended Oregon’s ban was constitutional. Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced in February the law, Measure 36, was indefensible, and Multnomah County, also named as a defendant in the lawsuit, had pledged to hand out licenses to same-sex couples as soon as law is struck down.

May 14, 2014

Judge Strikes Down Idaho's Gay Marriage Ban

AP reports:

A federal judge has struck down Idaho's gay marriage ban and ordered the state to begin giving marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Friday.

May 11, 2014

Arkansas has its first same-sex weddings

HuffPo and AP report:

Carroll County Deputy Clerk Jane Osborn issued a license Saturday morning to Kristin Seaton, 27, and Jennifer Rambo, 26, of Fort Smith. They had slept in a Ford Focus after arriving in Eureka Springs at 2 a.m. Saturday and were the first of about 10 couples to line up outside of the courthouse before it opened.

When the license was issued, Rambo said, "Thank God." Seaton and Rambo, who have been together four years, then held a marriage ceremony on the courthouse steps. A woman in a rainbow dress officiated.

Congrats to the happy couples. The fight is not over, of course, but when marriage equality breaks out in Dixie, we know it's a changed world.

May 07, 2014

Why Are So Many LGBT People and People Living with HIV Behind Bars?

CrimJustSystem-graphic

From the Center for American Progress, an interesting infographic and report that were the subject of a lunchtime panel today.

May 06, 2014

Tobias Wolff nails Forcing the Spring

In case you missed it: One of the smartest analyses I've seen on NYT reporter Jo Becker's book on the Prop 8 case is this Tobias Wolff piece in The New Republic. A taste:

Or there is the passage in which Becker describes the decision by lawyer Ted Olson to take on the case. Olson proclaims, “I will not just be some hired gun. I would be honored to be the voice for this cause,” only to explain three sentences later that the cost of this not-a-hired-gun honor will be a discounted fee of $2.9 million plus expenses. David Boies, too, agrees to sign on for the “deeply discounted fee” of $250,000 plus expenses. (Public records indicate that the totals ran north of $6 million.) Becker must be lampooning these rich mega-lawyers for their capitalist rendition of pro bono legal representation, and she is not gentle.

SPLC: Man Who Tried to Kill Hundreds at Gay Bar Pleads Guilty to Arson Only

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(Seattle police photo)

David Neiwert at Southern Poverty Law Center reports:

The man who tried to kill a crowd of 750 people packed inside a popular Seattle gay bar by setting it afire on New Year’s Eve has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of arson. Despite some evidence that he was motivated by hatred of LGBT people, Musab Mohammad Masmari will not face federal hate crime charges....

The plea agreement specifies that prosecutors will only seek a five-year prison sentence for the crime. However, prosecutors told KOMO-TV that the judge was free to ignore their recommendations and sentence Masmari to a prison term ranging up to 20 years.

ACLU opposes DOMA lawyer’s intervention in marriage case

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(Edith Windsor at SCOTUS with Attorney Roberta Kaplan. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The Blade reports:

The national group that teamed up with a lesbian attorney to litigate successfully against the Defense of Marriage Act is now arguing against her participation in a lawsuit against a ban on same-sex marriage in her home state.

In a filing Friday before the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the American Civil Liberties Union — along with private attorneys at Gerhardstein & Branch — expressed opposition to Roberta Kaplan’s intervention in a case seeking recognition of same-sex marriages in Ohio for the purposes of death certificates.

It is so uplifting watching attorneys on the same side squabbling.

May 02, 2014

Judge expects to rule on Arkansas marriage by May 9

Chris Johnson at the Blade reports.

Barton: Not Allowing Women To Vote Was Designed 'To Keep The Family Together'

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Right Wing Watch reports:

On today's episode of "WallBuilders Live," David Barton explained that women were not given the right to vote when the Constitution was written because the Founding Fathers were trying to protect the institution of the family by giving every "family" a right to vote through the male head of the household.

Responding to a question from a listener who argued that the Founding Fathers denied women the right to vote not out of sexism but rather based on the biblical principle that a house divided against itself cannot stand, Barton said that this interpretation was exactly right because not allowing women to vote was designed "to keep the family together":

Those who think Mr. Jefferson did not entertain the idea of a "wall of separation" should try reading Mr. Jefferson. His January 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists includes this:

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.

April 25, 2014

Rand Paul and other Republican leaders back away from Bundy

WaPo reports.

Cliven Bundy's "they were better off as slaves" idea, loony as it is, has a very long provenance. The longtime Virginia and Kentucky state songs, for example, evoked nostalgia for antebellum times when slaves were happy on the plantation. Clearly some people still cling to this. As it happens, many plantations have been preserved. Why not offer these nostalgic white folks the experience of what it was like? And I don't mean for a weekend.

Meanwhile, Alan Keyes explains that Bundy is not racist, you are.

April 23, 2014

Geidner: The New Book About The Marriage Equality Movement Gets The Big Things Wrong

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(Photo by Win McNamee / Getty Images)

Chris Geidner at BuzzFeed critiques Jo Becker's book on the court fight over Proposition 8, which is being widely criticized. As Chris says, "A 434-page book about a lawsuit that promised to bring marriage equality to all Americans, but only resulted in restoring marriage equality in California, is a tough sell."

Regarding the above photo of the plaintiffs and legal team, my first question was, "Which one of those guys is Tom Cruise?"

April 17, 2014

No, Chad Griffin is not Rosa Parks

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NYT reporter Jo Becker's new book, Forcing the Spring: Inside the Fight for Marriage Equality, includes this preposterous statement:

This is how a revolution begins. It begins when someone grows tired of standing idly by, waiting for history’s arc to bend toward justice, and instead decides to give it a swift shove. It begins when a black seamstress named Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on a bus to a white man in the segregated South. And in this story, it begins with a handsome, bespectacled thirty-five-year-old political consultant named Chad Griffin, in a spacious suite at the Westin St. Francis hotel in San Francisco on election night 2008.

What pretentious, ahistorical rubbish. The marriage equality movement was a reform movement, not a revolution, and did not begin in 2008. A lot of people were working for marriage equality long before then. We were not standing idly by but laying the groundwork in a variety of ways: strategizing, researching, organizing, educating, lobbying, fundraising, litigating, debating, testifying, writing and advocating in cities and states across the country. We were building support among lawyers, legislators, and opinion makers. We were developing talking points and winning people over in countless difficult conversations and sustained efforts over many years in our families and neighborhoods and faith communities. The assertion that Chad Griffin started it is ridiculous and insulting and discredits Becker's entire book. I hope Griffin has the sense and perspective and respect to distance himself from this hyper-inflated nonsense.

Andrew Sullivan, who was advocating for marriage equality two decades before Griffin came along, offers a bracing take-down to Becker's "jaw-dropping distortion."

I remember Evan Wolfson being viciously attacked in the 90s by gay people for his marriage advocacy. I remember the vitriol Sullivan endured back then as well. How lovely it must be for them, after so many years of trenchant advocacy on the front lines and taking the debate to places others didn't dare go (and would have been unprepared to handle), to be treated like fluffers by people who arrived fairly late in the struggle and stood on the shoulders of those who came before.

For D.C.'s part in the struggle, you can look at the timeline that Bob Summersgill and I prepared, at my oral history shot by students at Cesar Chavez Public Charter High Schools, and at my December 2013 article on the lessons from our victory.

(Photo of Chad Griffin by Rex Wockner)

SCOTUSblog denied press credentials

Supreme-court
(Photo courtesy Brittanica.com)

Politico reports:

SCOTUSblog, the Peabody Award-winning blog that covers the Supreme Court "gavel-to-gavel," has been denied a Senate press pass, which in turn means it cannot be issued a press credential for the Supreme Court. The site's publisher said in a post it will appeal the decision and may litigate the issue if necessary.

It is disgraceful that the go-to source for reporting and analysis on SCOTUS is treated this way. The powers that be need to get with the times.

April 13, 2014

Walking While Trans

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(Photo by John Riley for Metro Weekly)

Planet Transgender reports:

Just days after Monica Jones was seen in this CBS video (embedded below) protesting the failed religious discriminatory law in Phoenix, she was offered a ride while walking to a bar. The driver turned out to be an undercover police officer who then arrested her for "manifestation of prostitution'.

This law is a vague statue which enables officers to arrest woman for no other reason than asking if they are police. The law is used to feed people to "Project Rose" as the city conducts massive drag nets hauling in dozens of individuals at a time. This profiling of woman by police is contested by the Arizona ACLU which notes that "The difference between 'innocent' and 'criminal' behavior often comes down to how a person looks.

A 2011 study in NYC found that 59% of transgender respondents said that they had been stopped by police. So over half of our sisters in NYC had they lived in Phoenix would have faced the prospect of "Project Rose".

In short, a transgender woman of color is simply assumed to be guilty. This makes things more convenient, except of course for the woman criminalized essentially for existing. The Monica Jones case illustrates why we are not done in our battle for equality and justice. Those of us who do not fit the police profile owe it to our trans sisters of color to stand up against this relentless legal assault on their existence.

On Friday, April 11, I participated in a rally outside the Wilson Building here in D.C. at which we expressed support for Monica Jones and called for repeal of the District's so-called Prostitution Free Zones law, which discriminates against transgender women and solves nothing. GLAA's views on PFZs are expressed here.

Metro Weekly reports. I am quoted at some length in the article.