The Republican National Convention began this week in New York City. An estimated 100,000 protesters marched last weekend for causes ranging from women's rights to gay rights but all had one common goal: to unseat President George W. Bush. The Log Cabin Republicans, the largest organized group of lesbian and gay Republicans, organized a 'Big Tent Event' to highlight the idea that the Republican Party can accommodate multiple ideas under one umbrella. LCR criticized the party platform that includes language seeming to target not only marriage, but parenting rights of homosexuals.
The Justice Department is directly defending, for the first time in court, the Constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), according to AP. The Act, signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996, has been used to deny federal benefits to same-sex spouses, deny benefits to the same-sex partners of 9/11 survivors, and deny recognition of marriages and civil unions legally performed in Vermont and Massachusetts. The government used a procedural argument saying that none of the four couples who are challenging the law in federal court in Florida are married and therefore have no standing to challenge the law.
The California legislature passed three bills and two resolutions seen as positive movements for the LGBT community in that state, according to a news release from Equality California. The bills, if signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, would ban insurance companies from discriminating against domestic partners, enhance training and consistency in the way hate crimes are handled, and align various labor laws with the employment non-discrimination code that includes protections for LGBT individuals.
In New Jersey news, gay Gov. James McGreevey helped a minor league baseball announcer get his job back after the announcer made a joke about McGreevey's sexuality, reports AP. The announcer dedicated the song 'YMCA' by the Village People to the governor. McGreevey resigned last month after rumors of a gay affair with an aide surfaced. The former aide now says he may avoid filing a lawsuit against McGreevey if the governor apologizes.
Reggae singer Beenie Man was removed from last weekend's MTV Video Music Awards (VMA) in Miami, reports AP. The singer's anti-gay lyrics caused a stir first in Europe as part of his concert tour was cancelled amidst protests. Prior to this latest boot, he was removed from several U.S. appearances as well.
A woman who agreed to have a child with her lesbian partner but left before the child was born will not be forced to pay child support, according to CNN. The Massachusetts lesbian couple agreed to have a child by artificial insemination but after one partner was pregnant, the other decided to leave. The split ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court said that the informal agreement between the two women was not an enforceable contract.
And the team that spearheaded wins for same-sex couple recognition in Vermont and Massachusetts is at it again in Connecticut. The Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) filed Kerrigan & Mock v. Connecticut Department of Public Health in Connecticut challenging the state's ban on gay marriage. The four couples represented in the case have been together at least 10 years and as long as 28 years.
Pastor Rich Henricks from the Metropolitan Community Church in Oak Park, Ill., went downstate to officiate at the weddings of 15 same-sex couples in Rock Island, Ill., reports the Quad City Times. The couples made symbolic requests for marriage licenses that were denied.
A group of parents in Bristol, Va. says they were deceived into letting their children attend a youth summit at a nearby college that, the parents say, discussed homosexuality, according to the Virginia Tennessean. Students attended a conference in which they were asked to view images and discuss them. One of the images depicted a group of teens chasing a gay man and yelling derogatory names. A disturbed school board member said, 'In this community here, it has traditional values, and it doesn't include homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle.'
Meanwhile, a Virginia court ruled that it would take jurisdiction over a child custody case it previously deferred. Virginia law requires that state courts will not take jurisdiction in a case that is already being heard in another state. The case in question involves a lesbian couple who are part of a Vermont civil union. The Virginia judge ruled that because Virginia does not recognize such unions, the pending Vermont custody hearings are irrelevant.