Speed Read: Wednesday 16 October 2013

1- MARRIAGE WATCH IN MICHIGAN: Equality Michigan says it hopes a federal judge in Detroit will issue a ruling today that will enable same-sex couples to obtain marriage licenses in Michigan in a matter of days. A ruling expected sometime after 2:30 Central. MLive Media Group in Michigan reported yesterday that “Clerks in at least ten of Michigan’s 83 counties are prepared to issue marriage licenses this week” if the judge strikes down the ban.
2- GAY CAUCUS SPLIT IN CONGRESS: Three of the six openly LGBT members of the U.S. House have voted with Republicans on many of the bills the GOP-led House has put forward to delay and defund the Affordable Care Act and to fund various federal agencies through piecemeal resolutions. Reps. Sean Maloney of New York and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have voted with Republicans 10 out of 33 times just this month, and Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado has done so six times. Spokesperson for Polis and Maloney said their votes were critical to their districts; Sinema said some states have yet to create the necessary “marketplaces” where individuals can obtain coverage. For more details, see full story on this page.
3- ELECTION WATCH NEW JERSEY: Voting takes place today in New Jersey for a U.S. Senate seat. Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a Democrat, leads the polls going into the Senate race. In a profile by the Washington Post in August, Booker displayed a level of comfort with keeping his personal relationships life private. After first indicating that he thought it would be “unfair … to a young lady to put them in the spotlight if they haven’t signed up for that yet,” he brought up the rumors that some think he’s gay. “And people who think I’m gay, some part of me thinks it’s wonderful. Because I want to challenge people on their homophobia. I love seeing on Twitter when someone says I’m gay, and I say, ‘So what does it matter if I am? So be it. I hope you are not voting for me because you are making the presumption that I’m straight.” If Booker wins, the U.S. Senate will include 53 Democrats, two independents, and 45 Republicans.
4- GAY CANDIDATE LOSES BID: Massachusetts State Rep. Carl Sciortino came in third out of seven candidates Tuesday in a Democratic primary to fill the seat made vacant by now U.S. Senator Ed Markey. Sciortino won 16 percent of the vote, behind winner Katherine Clark who won 32 percent, according to the Boston Globe. Sciortino’s campaign picked up energy with the popularity of his television campaign ad, showing him in disagreement with his Tea Party supporting father over issues and mock horror that Carl came out as a “Massachusetts liberal.”
5- OUTSERVE CASE FINALIZED: A federal judge in Massachusetts issued a final judgment October 2 in McLaughlin v Hagel (formerly McLaughlin v Panetta), a case in which eight members of the armed services were being denied spousal benefits under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Citing the Supreme Court’s June 26 decision in US v Windsor, Judge Richard Stearns (a Clinton appointee) ruled the benefits should be granted “without regard to being a couple of the same gender” in three separate sections of law governing DOD benefits. Abbe Lowell, one of the attorneys, along with OutServe-SLDN, representing the couples, said that, while the Obama administration voluntarily extended the benefits after the Windsor decision, that action was not binding on future administrations. “So, the judicial order was “necessary to provide certainty to our clients that their benefits will remain in place and there will be no need to litigate this issue again in the future.”

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