Speed Read: Thursday 17 October 2013

1- MICHIGAN JUSTICE DELAYED: A U.S. District Court judge said yesterday he was “a little nervous” and “in the middle” on the legal issues surrounding a marriage equality lawsuit, and he delayed a ruling on Michigan’s ban on same-sex couples marrying. Judge Bernard Friedman (a Reagan appointee) heard arguments in DeBoer v Snyder then set February 25 for a trial and said he would not issue his ruling until then. The postponement was a disappointment to many people who anticipated Friedman would issue his ruling Wednesday. The Detroit Free Press reported that 66 couples showed up at the Ann Arbor clerk’s office and took numbers to await their turn to apply for a license.
2- ALASKA SUIT SEEKS DEATH BENEFIT: Lambda Legal filed papers with the Alaska Supreme Court Monday in a lawsuit seeking to strike down a state law barring recognition of marriages for same-sex couples. In Harris v. Millennium Hotel, Deborah Harris sought a death benefit available through the state’s Workers Compensation Act to spouses of employees killed at work. A disgruntled hotel employee killed Harris’ same-sex partner of 10 years at work, but the Millennium Hotel chain opposed the claim, saying Harris and her partner were not married. The state worker’s comp board then denied Harris’ claim. Lambda is appealing that decision, saying it violates both the state and U.S. constitutions.
3- BOOKER WINS SENATE SEAT: Newark’s unconventional mayor, Democrat Cory Booker, has won the U.S. Senate seat representing New Jersey. Booker, who is private about his personal life, has said it doesn’t bother him if people speculate that he’s gay. “I want to challenge people on their homophobia,” he has said. Booker finishes out the term of Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg, a strong supporter of equal rights for LGBT people, who died in June.
4- CHRISTIE ASKED ABOUT GAY KIDS: During a final debate Tuesday with his Democratic challenger, New Jersey’s Republican Governor Chris Christie was asked how he would react if one of his four kids came out as gay. According to the NJ.com news website, he said he would “grab them and hug them and tell them I love them” and that he would also tell that that he believes marriage is between one man and one woman. Democrat Barbara Buono has a gay daughter. Christie is appealing a state court ruling that the state must grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The state supreme court is likely to rule today or Friday on a Christie motion for a stay on a lower court ruling saying marriage licenses must be issued to same-sex couples beginning October 21.
5- CHRISTIE: ‘I HAVE RELATIVES WHO ARE GAY’: During a campaign stop at a diner in Highland Park October 8, Christie was grilled about his opposition to marriage equality. According to NJ.com, a straight woman strongly questions the governor for four minutes, and Christie stuck to his “let the people vote” mantra. But as Christie was about to leave, the woman asked him if he’d be willing to sit down with a group of gay and lesbian people “to really see how this is affecting them.” “I have relatives who are gay, I have friends who are gay. I think I have an understanding,” said Christie. “…I’m open to having conversations with anybody, but I don’t think it’s going to change my point of view.”

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