Speed Read: Wednesday 30 October 2013

1-    HAWAII SENATE VOTE TODAY: The Hawaii senate is expected to approve a marriage equality bill late this morning (5:30 p.m. EDT) and send it over to the house, where a committee hearing is slated for Thursday. The full house could get the bill as early as Monday. If it passes there without amendment, it would go to the desk of pro-gay Governor Neil Abercrombie. The Honolulu StarAdvertiser reported that 400 people testified at the 12-hour-long senate committee hearing Monday. The senate committee advanced the bill to the floor on a 5 to 2 vote.

2-   ILLINOIS STILL IN PLAY: Despite some gloomy reports in the press, marriage equality supporters in Illinois are still hopeful they can get final passage of their bill next week. They’re down to the final three days of the special session –Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Equality Illinois leaders Bernard Cherkasov says he doesn’t know the tally himself but that they have picked up some more votes since the bill stalled in May. He also said he thinks supporters are willing to go with a delayed implementation (June, instead of immediately) if they need to. Delayed implementation requires only 60 votes to pass; immediate requires 71. Said Cherkasov Tuesday: “I believe we’re going to pass this bill.”

3-   A DELAY TO EXPEDITE: “We know that’s coming. And when it comes, the city of Richmond’s ready,” said Council President Charles Samuels, speaking about marriage equality. In an unusual move, the city council of Virginia’s capital city approved an ordinance Monday to provide spousal benefits to gay city employees if and when the state’s law banning recognition of same-sex relationships is overturned. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that the first citizen to speak at a public hearing on the measure said the Bible declares that all homosexuals “shall be put to death.”

4-   YES, VIRGINIA, THERE IS A CENSUS: Virginia Solicitor General Duncan Getchell told a federal judge Tuesday that a marriage equality lawsuit against the state should not be allowed to proceed as a class action suit because it is not possible to ascertain same-sex couples in Census data, noted a report from Reuters. 2010 Census data on same-sex couples in Virginia was released by the bureau in July 2011, and showed more than 20,000.

5-   WHAT A VENUE:  The Washington Post reported yesterday that two same-sex weddings have taken place in the U.S. Supreme Court building, one officiated by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the other by former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. The latest was for gay Democratic activist Jeff Trammel and Stuart Serkin, married in the lounge used by court lawyers on Tuesday.

6-    INVEST WITH INTENT: One of the world’s largest finance groups, Credit Suisse, announced this week that it has created an LGBT Equality Index to make it easier for the socially conscious to direct their investments into companies with good policies regarding LGBT people. The Index monitors the performance of stocks in 201 companies that have scored 80 or higher in the Human Rights Campaign’s annual Corporate Equality Index (rated zero to 100).


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