Monday, June 1, 2009

And in other news...

To round out the super-big gay news day, here are some bits you may have missed on the interweb this afternoon:
  • Illinois' civil union bill has died, left floundered and unvoted on as the session ended. It passed the House fairly easily, but the Senate let it sit along with a lot of other bills, including cigarette taxes, medical marijuana, and a helmet law. It can come back next session, however, as they have two sessions to bring it up again.
  • Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler is seeking a legal opinion about whether that state can acknowledge same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, despite laws defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Former Assistant AG Robert Zarnoch wrote an opinion that it would not be allowed under current law, but stated the issue was far from settled.
  • Maine's voter drive to repeal the same-sex marriage law there is taking shape. Rev. Bob Emrich has said that 5,000 petitions are being circulated to collect the requisite 55,000 signatures to put a referendum on the ballot to overturn a legislative action.
  • After the House in New Hampshire came to a compromise on the seemingly never-ending process that is their marriage equality bill, Gov. Lynch has said that he supports the new language and will vote for it. A vote is expected this week; we may have another state by Friday.
  • On June 3rd, the Uniting American Families Act, which would allow individuals to sponsor their same-sex partners from a different country for citizenship, is holding its first hearing this Wednesday. The House bill (HB 1024) currently has 102 cosponsors; the Senate bill (S. 424) has 17.
  • IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: The Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act (H. 2517) was introduced into the House by Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) to give certain benefits to the partners of federal employees on May 20. There are currently 64 co-sponsors, and it has been referred to three different committees for consideration.
And, finally and most important locally, the Equal Housing and Employment Act will hold its second hearing in the Government Committee of the Ohio legislature. Slated to speak: Lynne Bowman (Equality Ohio), Michael Payton (Ohio Civil Rights Commission), Bishop Ough (of the United Methodist Church), Mayor Warren Copeland (Springfield, OH), Jimmie Beall, Jim McCarthy (Miami Valley Fair Housing Coalition), and Ron Templin (on behalf of Cardinal Health, which will be the first time the Cardinal has ever made a political testimony on anything). Testimonies will be up at Do What's Right, Ohio by Thursday morning.

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