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  WINDY CITY TIMES

National News
by Rex Wockner
2011-03-16

This article shared 3647 times since Wed Mar 16, 2011
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No same-sex marriage this year for Maryland

Maryland was widely expected to become the next U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage but the plan crashed and burned March 11.

The bill to legalize gay marriage had passed the Senate and had the governor's support, but, at the last minute, after almost three hours of debate in the House of Delegates, supporters realized they did not have the votes there.

The bill then was returned to committee by a voice vote.

According to one report, key House opponents included African American legislators from Prince George's County and conservative Democrats from the Baltimore area and the southern part of the state.

"While we are disappointed the House did not vote to pass marriage equality today, we are confident we will win in the future," Equality Maryland said in a statement. "It is best to delay this historic vote until we are absolutely sure we have the votes to win."

Same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C. In addition, same-sex marriages from anywhere in the world are recognized as marriages in Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island and California (if the marriage took place before Proposition 8 passed) even though those states do not let same-sex couples marry.

Meanwhile, in the run-up to the House of Delegates debate, Delegate Peter Murphy told the Washington Blade on March 9 that he's gay. "I have never denied (being gay). I just presumed people knew," he said. There are six other openly gay members of the Maryland House, and one openly gay senator.

NY governor to push for same-sex marriage this year

The new national group Equality Matters met with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on March 10 and reported that he's eager to legalize same-sex marriage this year.

"While our specific discussion today is private, what's clear from our meeting with Gov. Cuomo is that he wants to get this done this year, as soon as possible, and that he is prepared to use his considerable power and influence to make it happen," said EM President Richard Socarides.

"What's not clear," Socarides added, "is how we get to the magic number of 32 in the Senate."

Equality Matters describes itself as a new campaign for full LGBT equality that utilizes strategic communications, research, training and media monitoring to strengthen efforts for full LGBT rights and to correct anti-gay misinformation.

Same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C. In addition, same-sex marriages from anywhere in the world are recognized as marriages in Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island and California (if the marriage took place before Proposition 8 passed) even though those states do not let same-sex couples marry.

DC sees doubling in marriage-license applications

Marriage-license applications in Washington, D.C., jumped from 3,100 in 12 months to 6,600 in 12 months in the year since same-sex marriage was legalized.

Though the district does not keep tallies of straight versus gay licenses, the number of applications per year usually varies very little, strongly suggesting that all of the increase since March 2010 can be attributed to gay people.

San Diego mayoral race has 3 gay/lesbian candidates

The June 2012 election for mayor of San Diego, America's eighth-largest city, could have three openly gay/lesbian candidates.

Republican District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and Republican City Councilman Carl DeMaio already have filed papers, and Democratic state Sen. Christine Kehoe is widely expected to file shortly.

Kehoe, as the only Democrat in the group, probably would garner the most support from the city's LGBT activists.

Dumanis took immediate fire from local Democratic gay leaders as she announced her candidacy March 10, with the predominantly gay San Diego Democratic Club accusing her of being more loyal to the GOP than to her fellow LGBTs.

The club said that in last year's statewide elections, Dumanis supported Republican candidates for governor and attorney general who vowed to reverse the state's policy of refusing to defend Proposition 8 in court. Those candidates lost, and Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris have continued the nondefense policy. (Six days later, the SDDC corrected its statement, saying that Dumanis had remained neutral in the attorney general race.)

"Although I consider Bonnie a friend and believe she has been an effective judge and district attorney, there are significant policy issues where progressives disagree with her," said SDDC President Doug Case. "Her loyalty appears to rest more with the Republican Party than the LGBT community as witnessed by some of her endorsements."

Prop 8, passed by voters in November 2008, amended the California Constitution to re-ban same-sex marriage. It was later struck down as unconstitutional by a federal judge in San Francisco. That decision is now on appeal at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

School to let gays meet

The board of trustees of Flour Bluff Independent School District in Corpus Christi, Tex., granted permission March 8 for students to form a campus Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) club after the American Civil Liberties Union intervened on behalf of Nikki Peet, a student who had been denied permission to start the club.

According to the ACLU, the school had threatened to prevent all extracurricular groups from meeting rather than allow the GSA to form.

"It shouldn't have taken this long and this much struggle to start a club whose purpose is to make our school a safer space for all students," said Peet. "We can't wait for the first meeting."

California Legislature may demand military stop fining gays

California state Sen. Christine Kehoe introduced a resolution sponsored by Equality California on March 9 calling on President Barack Obama, Congress and Defense Secretary Robert Gates to stop fining LGB servicemembers who were discharged under Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Said EQCA: "Although DADT has been found to be unconstitutional as a violation of the First and Fifth Amendments, and the U.S. Congress passed a repeal that was signed by the president, the military continues to demand that our brave soldiers who were unfairly discharged by this outrageous policy pay for their education because they were discharged."

EQCA Executive Director Geoff Kors called the demands for repayment, which have topped $75,000 in some cases, "beyond offensive."

Assistance: Bill Kelley


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