Speed Read: Thursday 10 October 2013

1-    ‘LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE’: During his October 8 debate with Democratic challenger Barbara Buono, New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie reiterated his position that the issue of allowing same-sex couples to marry should not be decided “by 121 politicians in Trenton or seven justices on the Supreme Court” but by “the people,” via ballot measure. “If they do decide to change the definition of marriage by referendum, then I’ll support that law,” he said, according to Fox News account. Ironically, it was Christie who appealed to the state supreme court to decide the issue after a lower court ruled the state must allow same-sex couples to marry. And it is “the people” who think that, instead, he should have let that decision stand. According to the latest polling, 62 percent of registered voters believe the state should end its appeal and allow same-sex couples to marry. That same poll also shows Christie leading Buono by 33 points.

2-   NEW CODE FOR OLYMPIC FAIRNESS: P6: New York Times columnist Frank Bruni reported Tuesday on a new idea for expressing opposition to Russia’s anti-gay laws during the Winter Games in Sochi without cruising for a bruising from Russian authorities. The idea, from the groups Athlete Ally and All Out, is to focus on “Principle 6” of the International Olympic Committee’s Fundamental Principles of Olympism. “The symbol and the syllables P6, perhaps worn as a sticker, perhaps woven into clothing, could evolve into something along the lines of a Livestrong bracelet,” wrote Bruni, “… a ubiquitous motif that doesn’t spell out a whole philosophy but has an unmistakable meaning and message.”

3-   OLYMPIC PROTEST TO CARNEGIE HALL: Queer Nation/New York is staging a protest tonight at 6:30 outside Carnegie Hall to criticize the institution’s silence on Russia’s anti-gay laws. The demonstration will take place the same night the Mariinsky Orchestra performs a bill of Russian folk music-inspired ballet scores, conducted by Valery Gergiev, who Queer Nation says is a “longtime friend and supporter” of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

4-    HOUSE LETTER ASKS USOC FOR ASSURANCES: A group of 39 members of the U.S. House sent a letter Monday to the U.S. Olympic Committee saying they are “deeply troubled” that the IOC has warned athletes about the potential consequences of speaking out against Russia’s anti-gay laws. The legislators called on the USOC to “ensure” that Americans are “afforded the right to show solidarity with” LGBT people without suffering harm. Openly gay Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) and Republican Rep. Illeana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida organized the letter. The 37 other signers included the other five openly LGBT members of the House.

5-    GAY CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE MARRIES: Massachusetts State Rep. Carl Sciortino, who is making a splash running for the U.S. House seat just vacated by now U.S. Senator Ed Markey, got married October 5 to campaign fundraiser Pem Brown of Washington, D.C. Sciortino is one of seven candidates in the Democratic primary slated for October 15. Polls showed him running third or fourth until he started getting traction for a television ad he did with his Tea Party supporting father.

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