Speed Read: Friday 1 November 2013

1-    ‘THIS IS WRONG’: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced last night that he is directing the chief of the National Guard Bureau to take “immediate action” to force the National Guard units in nine states to comply with a post-DOMA directive that all spouses of married military personnel receive identification cards that enable them to use base facilities. In a speech before the Anti-Defamation League in New York, Hagel said the state Guards’ refusal to issue cards to the same-sex spouses is “wrong.” Gay military personnel “and their families,” said Hagel, “are entitled to all the benefits and respect accorded to all of our military men and women.” The nine states are Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia.

2-   ENDA VOTES ON MONDAY: The Hill newspaper reported last night that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had just filed a motion that will put the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) on the floor Monday evening. Before the Senate can debate and vote on ENDA, Reid’s motion for cloture must secure 60 votes. Sixty senators have indicated they will –or are inclined to—vote for ENDA, but it is not clear whether 60 will vote to break any Republican-led filibuster.

3-   McCAIN HINTS AT AMENDMENTS: In an interview last night with Fusion TV’s America with Jorge Ramos, prominent Republican Senator John McCain said he is “leaning against passage” of ENDA because of his worries about its impact on “religious-oriented organizations.” “We might have some amendments to it to clarify that,” he said, adding that he also objects to language in the bill that prohibits discrimination based on “perception” of someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity. “That is too broad,” said McCain.

4-   HAWAII CROWDS MORE THAN DOUBLE: The Honolulu Star Advertiser reported last night that more than 4,000 people signed up to testify about the marriage equality bill pending before the state House Judiciary Committee. That’s more than double the 1,800 who signed up when the Senate Judiciary Committee held its hearing Monday. The chair of the House committee said his panel would hear from citizens until midnight Thursday and then decide whether to take a break and resume testimony on Friday. Meanwhile, one state representative who opposes the bill said Thursday he will file for an injunction to stop the special legislative session in which the bill is being considered.

5-   OHIO JUDGE PONDERS: U.S. district court Judge Timothy Black heard arguments Wednesday in the lawsuit filed by two gay couples seeking to have their out-of-state marriages recognized in Ohio. The hearing addressed whether a funeral director has standing to join the lawsuit. If the answer is no, said attorney Al Gerhardstein, who is representing the couples, then “each same-sex couple must file a separate lawsuit to get a death certificate that reflects their marriage.” Judge Black issued an order in July in one couple’s case, saying Ohio violated the U.S. constitution by refusing to recognize the marriage license John Arthur and James Obergefell obtained in Maryland.

6-   INSANE MARRIAGES: Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s brief to a federal court, opposing same-sex marriages, spends 10 pages recounting the definition and laws surrounding marriage from England to Virginia between 1559 and 1950. As late as 1950, says the brief, the law stated “Insane men or women could not marry unless the woman was ‘over the age of forty-five years’.”

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