National

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Appeals court: Same-sex marriage ban ‘serves no purpose’ except bias

Atlanta rallies for Prop 8

Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that ended same-sex marriage in California, is unconstitutional, a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 7.

“We consider whether that amendment violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution,” the ruling states. “We conclude that it does.”

The ruling goes on to note that, contrary to the arguments of Proposition 8 defenders, the measure “could not have been enacted to advance California’s interests in childrearing or responsible procreation, for it had no effect on the rights of same-sex couples to raise children or on the procreative practices of other couples.”

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Washington becomes seventh state to recognize same-sex marriages

Washington State's Gov. Christine Gregoire

Washington became the seventh state to allow same-sex marriage today after Gov. Christine Gregoire signed into law a bill that will allow full marriage rights to same-sex couples. New Hampshire, Iowa, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Vermont and the District of Columbia also allow same-sex marriage.

Gregoire called the law's passage “historic.”

“I commend our House members and thank Rep. Jamie Pedersen for sponsoring this bill,” Gregoire said last week. “Our legislators showed courage, respect, and professionalism. I look forward to signing this piece of legislation, and putting into law an end to an era of discrimination.”

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[Breaking] California’s Proposition 8 ruled unconstitutional

Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that ended same-sex marriage in California, is unconstitutional, a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today.

"We consider whether that amendment violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution," the ruling states. "We conclude that it does."

The ruling goes on to note that, contrary to the arguments of Proposition 8 defenders, the measure "could not have been enacted to advance California's interests in childrearing or responsible procreation, for it had no effect on the rights of same-sex couples to raise children or on the procreative practices of other couples."

Noted the court, "Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California."

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Karen Handel resigns from Susan G. Komen

https://cdn.thegavoice.com/images/stories/6-11-10/karen-hanel-insert-6-11-10.jpgKaren Handel has resigned her post with Susan G. Komen for the Cure following the national uproar over the breast cancer non-profit's decision to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood, according to a story by the Associated Press.

The AP, which obtained a copy of the resignation letter, said Handel "supported cutting off funding for Planned Parenthood" but said politics played no role. She announced her resignation Tuesday.

Handel joined SGK in April 2011 as the senior vice president of public policy.

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New rule to ban anti-LGBT bias in federal housing programs

Shaun DonovanSecretary of Housing & Urban Development Shaun Donovan announced Jan. 28 a new regulation to protect LGBT people against discrimination in federal housing programs.

“I am proud to announce a new Equal Access to Housing Rule that says clearly and unequivocally that LGBT individuals and couples have the right to live where they choose,” Donovan said. “This is an idea whose time has come.”

The secretary made the announcement during his speech at the 24th annual Creating Change conference at the Hilton Baltimore. He’s the first Cabinet secretary to speak at Creating Change, the annual LGBT gathering hosted by the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force.

The measure is expected to go into effect starting in March, according to HUD officials.

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Marriage equality: New Jersey, Washington, Maryland next?

Washington's Gov. Chris Gregoire

Proactive efforts got underway this month to allow gay couples to marry in at least three more states.

Democratic leaders in the New Jersey legislature announced Jan. 9 their intent to introduce a marriage equality bill. Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire (D), a long-time supporter of rights for same-sex couples, announced Jan. 4 that she would introduce such a bill in her state.

And in Maryland, where a marriage equality bill passed the state Senate but not the House in March 2011, Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) has said he will sponsor marriage legislation in 2012 and will take an active role in moving the bill forward this year. And Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) has indicated his chamber will shortly take action on such a measure.

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Romney cements status as front-runner in New Hampshire

Former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney claimed nearly 40 percent of yesterday's vote in the country's first primary of the 2012 general election season, according to the Associated Press.

Last night's victory in New Hampshire only solidified Romney's status as the GOP front-runner, but after two contests, Romney still faces an uphill battle to win over more than half of the GOP voters who still prefer another of the party's candidates. Romney finished last week's Iowa caucuses with a narrow margin of victory over former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn).

Romney, one of the more “moderate” candidates in the race, doesn't support allowing gay couples to marry, but he does support some kind of partnership agreement between consenting adults.

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From marriage to the ballot box, LGBT issues likely to be big news in the new year

Tammy Baldwin

Significant events are crowding the national calendar for 2012, and each promises considerable drama and suspense for the LGBT community. Here are the 10 most important to watch:

1. The fight for the White House

The difference for LGBT people between having President Barack Obama in the White House and President George W. Bush has been stark. So the consequences of November’s presidential election will also be profound.

Either Obama stays, and things continue to improve, in law and in society’s attitudes, or a new president is elected from a field of Republicans who seem, at times, to be vying for the mantle of most gay hostile candidate.

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Top national story of 2011: ‘Don’t Ask’ is history

President Barack Obama signs the repeal for the military's

The anti-gay law known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” finally came to an end on Sept. 20 after prohibiting open gays from serving in the U.S. military for 18 years.

No other news event had as much impact on the LGBT community as the lifting of the ban — allowing an estimated 66,000 gay people to begin serving openly — which is why we’re naming the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” as the story of the year for 2011.

The law came to an end thanks to repeal legislation that President Obama signed into law in December 2010. The bill provided for an end to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” after 60 days passed following certification from the president, the defense secretary and the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.