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Friday, May 27, 2005

SJC: No Halt to Marriage 

C.J. Doyle last year sought that the stay on the judgment in Goodridge (scheduled to go into effect in May of last year) be extended until such time as a possible constitutional amendment could be brought to the voters. His request was rejected by the single justice to whom he brought his request, and same sex marriage became a fact as of last May.

Doyle brought his appeal to the full court, asking that the now entered Goodridge judgment be recalled and a new, indefinite stay put on its enforcement. Today the full court affirmed the decision by the single justice.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Special Counsel: No Protection for Gay Federal Employees 

Special Counsel Scott J. Bloch is again receiving harsh criticism, this time for his statements to the Senate Homeland Security and Government affairs subcommittee on oversight of government management, the federal workforce and the District of Columbia. During his testimony, he stated that despite the executive order mandating that gay federal employees would be protected from discrimination signed by President Clinton, despite President Bush having pledged to honor that order, and despite the House of Representatives having affirmed support of the order when it was challenged early on (voting 252 to 176), gay federal workers have no protection from workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The White House last year stated:
"Longstanding federal policy prohibits discrimination against federal employees based on sexual orientation. President Bush expects federal agencies to enforce this policy and to ensure that all federal employees are protected from unfair discrimination at work."

When asked if this statement applies to his office, he replied:
"It is binding on me," Bloch said, "but it is not something I can prosecute in my agency. . . . I am limited by the enforcement statutes that you give me."

Bloch's statements are being criticized by Log Cabin Republicans, Human Rights Campaign, and Federal GLOBE, and a number of Members of Congress, among others.

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Friday, May 06, 2005

New FDA Rule On Sperm Donation 

365gay.com reports that the FDA's new rules that become live May 25 include a ban on anonymous sperm donation by any man who has had sex with another man in the last five years. There is no screening process on that addresses whether the prospective donor has engaged in high risk sexual activity, whether it is unprotected sex, encounters with prostitutes, straight or gay.

The FDA rejected criticism that screening procedures would be more effective, that routine procedures such as freezing donations for 6 months until a follow up HIV test comes back negative for the donor, and that HIV transission in the heterosexual population is rising. Instead the rules focus on a blanket ban on sexually active gay men. Lambda Legal has protested the rule change as "policy based on bigotry." Lambda Legal submitted a response to the FDA regarding the then-proposed changes.

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Thursday, May 05, 2005

Boston.com poll 

Subject: Boston.com Poll on Marriage, Please Vote!
Sent: Wednesday, May 4, 2005 8:10 AM

Boston.com has a story today about the state Democratic Party, which is expected to add support for same-sex marriage to the party platform when it meets at its convention next weekend.

Boston.com is running a poll:

The party is poised to add official support for gay marriage to its platform, despite a nationwide backlash.

Is this a good idea?

Please vote!

The choices are:

Yes, It's the law in Massachusetts and it's the right thing to do
No, Gay marriage is wrong
No, Politically, this is a bad idea

So far, YES is winning, let's keep it that way!

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Monday, May 02, 2005

Solomon Amendment On the Docket 

The Supreme Court announced today that it will hear the government's appeal of the 3rd Circuit decision that invalidated the Solomon Amendment. The law was challenged by a group of 25 law schools who opposed the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell restrictions on gay service members. Solomon would pull federal funding from any school which restricts military recruiters on campus. Interestingly, the 3rd Circuit's decision cited the Supreme Court's decision that allowed the Boy Scouts to bar gay scoutmasters based on the group's right of free expression, and extended that right to law schools, which the court held have the right to bar discriminatory groups such as the military. The schools have specific policies barring discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The case is Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights (docket 04-1152). The original case has not yet been tried. The challenge is to an injunction barring enforcement of the Amendment until the completion of the lower court trial. The lower court denied the injunction, but the 3rd Circuit found it likely that the plaintiffs (Forum) would win their case on the First Amendment claims. The 3rd Circuit's decision has been stayed until the case is heard at the Supreme Court next term.

The District Court's denial of preliminary injunction (and of the government's motion to dismiss) can be found at ACLU-NJ. The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal's reversal can be found at the 3rd Circuit's website. The government's petition for cert. can be found at the Dept. of Justice.

In February, a US District Court in Connecticut found the Solomon Amendment to be constitutional, in a case brought by faculty members at Yale Law School.

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