Speed Read: Tuesday 19 November 2013

1-    INDIANA CUES UP: The Indiana legislature is bucking the steady trend towards marriage equality. According to the Indiana Star, the Republican leaders of its house and senate said yesterday they would call for a vote on a bill to amend the state constitution to ban marriage and civil unions for same-sex couples. The measure passed in the 2011 session and if it passes in this session, it will be sent to voters for ratification in November 2014. The session begins January 7.

2-   PA. LAWSUIT ADVANCES: An ACLU-led lawsuit against Pennsylvania’s laws banning marriage for same-sex couples won a preliminary round November 15 when a U.S. federal judge denied motions to dismiss the suit. The state had argued the case, Whitewood v. Corbett, should be dismissed because the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed a case from Minnesota in 1972. But Judge John Jones said there has been a “sea change” in relevant law since then. He told lawyers to return to court November 22 to talk about a trial date.

3-   CHENEY SPAT EXPANDS: Former Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife issued a public statement Monday, defending their daughter Liz Cheney’s remarks opposing same-sex marriage. Liz, a candidate for the U.S. Senate from Wyoming, told Fox News Sunday she is opposed to a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage but that she supports traditional marriage. That prompted Heather Poe, the spouse to Liz’s sister Mary, to post a notice on Facebook saying that Liz expressed her happiness for Mary and Heather’s marriage. She called Liz’s remarks opposing same-sex marriage “offensive” and Mary called them “wrong.” The Cheney parents issued a statement Monday, saying “Liz has always believed in the traditional definition of marriage. She has also always treated her sister and her sister’s family with love and respect, exactly as she should have done. …Liz’s many kindnesses shouldn’t be used to distort her position” in the U.S. Senate contest.

4-   GUPPIES OF A BIGGER POND: The old stereotype of “gay” meaning gay, white, urban male professional” has taken another hit. A study out November 14 from the Movement Advancement Project and others says one-third of LGBT people are people of color and that about half of these 1.8 million people are immigrants. About a third of these LGBT immigrants still need documentation to be able to work in this country legally. And while 15 percent of all heterosexual men and 21 percent of all heterosexual women are living in poverty, for gay men the percentage is 21 and for lesbians 23.

5-   SINEMA FINISHES A FIRST: She didn’t win Sunday’s Ironman competition in Tempe, Arizona, but organizers say U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) has become the first active member of the U.S. Congress ever to complete an Ironman competition. Sinema, a first-term member representing the Tempe area, completed the 2.4-mile swim, the 112-mile bike ride, and then 26.2-mile run in 15 hours and 12 minutes. A local NBC station reported that Sinema did not know how to swim before she started training for the event a year ago.

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