article placeholder

Ga. Supreme Court to hear case of gay man convicted of murder

The case of Samuel Mitchell Abernathy goes before the Supreme CourtThe case of a gay man convicted of killing a man who allegedly called him and his boyfriend “faggots” will go before the state Supreme Court on Monday.

The state is appealing a White County judge’s ruling granting a new trial to Samuel Mitchell Abernathy. Abernathy was convicted of stabbing and killing Darrin Ramey after Ramey called Mitchell and his partner at the time, John Geren, “faggots.” The incident occurred in the parking lot of the Southside Bar in Helen, Ga., in January 2008.

Mitchell was convicted in November 2008 of malice murder and sentenced to life in prison.

According to a press release from the state Supreme Court, Abernathy said he was jumped by Ramey and acted in self-defense. Abernathy and Geren were both charged with murder but the state dropped its charges against Geren after he agreed to testify against Abernathy.

article placeholder

D.C. gay marriage law survives legal challenge

The United States Supreme Court today refused to hear an appeal from opponents of marriage equality aiming to overturn the District of Columbia’s same-sex marriage law.

It was at least the second time in the last year that opponents have tried to overturn the Religious Freedom & Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act through the Supreme Court. A similar challenge also failed in 2010.

The most recent challenge stems from a lawsuit filed by Bishop Harry Jackson against the Washington D.C. Board of Elections & Ethics after the board refused to put the question of same-sex unions before the district’s voters. The board said that such an initiative would permit discrimination.

article placeholder

Supreme Court allows DADT to remain in place during appeal

The Associated Press is reporting that the United States Supreme Court blocked a request by the Log Cabin Republicans to suspend the military’s anti-gay “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy while a lower court considers an ongoing legal battle today.

Last month, a federal judge ruled DADT unconstitutional because it violated a soldier’s right to freedom of speech and due process but the policy remains in effect while the lower courts wait to hear an appeal of the ruling.

The Obama administration has been pushing for a repeal of the law, but is defending the lawsuit. Congressional repeal appears less likely in the coming session due to gains made by Republicans in the midterm elections.

article placeholder

Iowa voters oust justices who allowed gays to marry

Iowa voters removed three state Supreme Court justices who voted in 2009 to overturn the state’s ban on gay marriage. According to the Associated Press, it was the first time that Iowa voters had successfully voted to remove a Supreme Court justice.

The National Organization for Marriage, an anti-gay group that was formed in response to California’s Proposition 8 battle in 2008, lobbied on behalf of the removal of the justices. NOM, in partnership with Campaign for Working Families PAC and Iowa for Freedom, purchased ads in the state leading up to the election urging voters to remove the justices.

article placeholder

Senate confirms Elena Kagan

The U.S. Senate today confirmed the appointment of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court, but not without complaints from nearly every Republican opposing her nomination about her actions concerning Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

The vote was 63 to 37, with only five Republicans voting for Kagan and one Democrat voting against.

The Senate’s newest Republican member, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, voted against Kagan.