Speed Read: Friday 11 October 2013

1-    NJ JUDGE DENIES STAY: New Jersey Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson Thursday denied the state’s request for a stay of her ruling that New Jersey must allow same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses beginning October 21. The judge said any harm the state might suffer by allowing the ruling to go into effect is “largely abstract” and “pales in comparison to the concrete harm caused” to same-sex couples by their inability to obtain federal marital benefits. The state attorney general’s office has asked for an emergency appeal of the stay. The state has already asked for expedited appeal of the ruling.

2-   PA GUV SEEKS AN OUT: Both Republican Governor Tom Corbett and Democratic Attorney General Kathleen Kane are seeking to be removed as defendants in an ACLU lawsuit seeking to strike down the state’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples. Corbett supports the law; Kane doesn’t. In a motion filed Monday, Corbett’s attorney says the governor has immunity from being sued in federal court. Federal district court Judge John E. Jones III set November 1 as the deadline for final briefs on the motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

3-   RIGHT-WING STAR PARADE: The annual right-wing “Values Voters Summit” convenes in Washington, D.C., on this National Coming Out Day. The event will include a 2016 presidential straw poll and a long list of speakers who either have jostled or will jostle for position in the Republican presidential field for 2016. Other confirmed speakers include National Organization for Marriage (NOM) leader Brian Brown, new Fox News commentator Ben Carson, and many others working against marriage equality.

4-   KARGER ACCUSES NOM: California activist and unsuccessful Republican presidential candidate Fred Karger sent a letter to the U.S. State Department October 9, saying NOM leader Brian Brown “may have violated” a federal law on a recent trip to Russia. The Logan Act prohibits private citizens from negotiating with foreign governments on “any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States.” A State Department spokesperson has not yet returned a reporter’s call.

5-   NOM SUES IRS: Meanwhile, the National Organization for Marriage filed a lawsuit October 3 in federal court in Alexandria, Va., charging that Internal Revenue Service employees in March 2012 disclosed confidential tax return information about NOM to the Human Rights Campaign. The lawsuit notes that HRC and the Huffington Post published that confidential information on its website. NOM seeks a jury trial on its claims for damages.

6-   TRAGIC LOSS COMPOUNDED: An Oregon man who was on a cross-continent walk to educate people about the dangers of anti-gay bullying was struck by a truck and killed Wednesday night in Colorado. Joe Bell, 48, had been posting video about his efforts to increase awareness of anti-gay bullying on his “Joe’s Walk for Change” Facebook page. He began his trek in April two months after his 15-year-old son Jadin died from injuries sustained by hanging himself from a playground structure. Both the teen and his father had sought help from local school administrators about intense bullying being directed at Jadin because he was openly gay.

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