Speed Read: Tuesday 15 October 2013

1-    BIG NEWS COMING WEDNESDAY? Many eyes will be on Detroit this week as a federal judge is set to rule on the constitutionality of Michigan laws barring same-sex couples from marrying and adopting. DeBoer v. Snyder was brought by a private attorney, Dana Nessel, on behalf of a lesbian couple who have not been able to adopt each other’s children because of a law barring unmarried couples from adopting. Nessel said she expects a decision Wednesday and that, if the judge does strike down the laws, she expects Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s administration will seek a stay and appeal. The ACLU, Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, National Center for Lesbian Rights, and others joined in a brief supporting plaintiffs. They argue that the Supreme Court’s striking of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in June “confirms” that laws such as Michigan’s are unconstitutional.

2-   TODAY’S SUPREME COURT WATCH-LIST: Lambda Legal signed onto a friend-of-the-court brief in a case being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court today. The case, Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmation Action, involves a 2006 ballot measure in Michigan to amend the state constitution to prohibit the state from engaging in affirmative action with regard to sex and race in public education, public employment, and public contracting. The Sixth Circuit struck the ban as violating equal protection. Lambda Legal’s Jon Davidson says the Supreme Court’s decision could make it more difficult for minority groups such as gays to secure laws protecting them, as well as “potential future challenges to state constitutional amendments barring marriage equality for same-sex couples.”

3-   NJ SENATE CANDIDATE FIRES AIDE: Republican U.S. Senate candidate Steve Lonegan fired a top campaign aide Friday after the aide told TalkingPointsMemo.com that Democratic candidate Cary Booker sounded gay. The story started when a female stripper in Oregon posted a Twitter message to Booker, mayor of Newark, saying “the west coast loves” him, “especially me.” He Tweeted back that “the East Coast loves” her, “and by the East Coast, I mean me.” Lonegan aide Rick Shaftan told TPM that he thought what Booker Tweeted back was “what a gay guy would say to a stripper.” “It’s just too odd and people they just wonder, like, who does this guy really want to work for?” said Shaftan. “Who’s he representing?” Lonegan made clear that Shaftan is no longer representing his campaign. The special election is Wednesday.

4-   USOC AMENDS POLICY: The U.S. Olympic Committee board of directors voted October 10 to add sexual orientation to its non-discrimination policy. USOC CEO Scott Blackmun told an annual gathering of USOC affiliates in Colorado Springs Friday that, while the board does not think it is the USOC’s role to “advocate for a change in the Russian law” that threatens arrest for any form of “promotion” of things gay, that “does not mean that we support the law, and we do not.”

5-    CRUZ CRUISING: The right-wing Family Research Council’s “Value Voters” conference in Washington, D.C., gave 42 percent of its 762 votes to first-term Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex) in last weekend’s straw polling for the 2016 presidential election. Ben Carson, a newcomer and medical doctor offering commentary on Fox News, and former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Penn.), the 2012 hopeful, tied in second with 13 percent each (102 votes and 101 votes, respectively). Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) landed in fourth place with six percent, followed by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) with five percent. For full results, check FRC website.

One Response to Speed Read: Tuesday 15 October 2013

  1. ChuckGG says:

    On Ted Cruz’s presidential straw poll: How exactly does the ultra-right wing plan to address the fact that Cruz was born in Canada? If Obama’s citizenship was in question and he was born in Hawaii, it seems like a real stretch to believe the Tea Party can justify Cruz having been born in Canada.

    The arguments in the past have been that the candidate must have been born on US soil. McCain slipped by this requirement by having been born on a US military base in Panama.

    Now, the argument that one parent had to be a US citizen holds, but it held for Obama, as well, as his mother clearly was a US citizen. Neither Obama’s or Cruz’s fathers were US citizens, naturally born or otherwise.

    I’d like to see how the Tea Party addresses this.

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