Speed Read: Monday 16 December 2013

CHENEY ‘REALLY CONSERVATIVE’: Gay Republican Mary Cheney made an appearance at a fundraiser last week for Freedom Indiana, a group organizing opposition to a proposed ban on marriage for same-sex couples in that state.  The Indianapolis Star reported that Cheney told the audience of about 100, “I’m pretty conservative. Actually, I’m really conservative.” Federal Elections Commission records show just how conservative: She’s given money only to Republican candidates, including some who have opposed allowing same-sex couples to marry: Mitt Romney, George Allen, Marco Rubio, George W. Bush, and others. Which begs the question: Why did she raise such a fuss last month when her sister –a candidate for U.S. Senate in Wyoming—said she disagrees with Mary on same-sex marriage? FEC records have no indication she has contributed to Liz Cheney’s campaign.

NEW MAYOR, NEW ERA: Boston’s Mayor-elect Marty Walsh has set his mind on resolving a 18-year-old-long dispute between the LGBT community and a group of veterans who organize the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in Boston. It’s a dispute that, in 1995, went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled that the First Amendment gave the “private” organizing group, the Allied War Veterans Council, a right to exclude a contingent of Irish-American gays. The Boston Globe reported Sunday that Walsh, in response to a question at a town hall meeting on Saturday, did not support the idea of the city taking over organization of the parade. But, he added, “I want to sit down and have a conversation with the organizers of the parade and really talk about how do we make the parade one where groups who want to march in the parade can march in the parade.”

NEW MAYOR, NEW ALLIES: Seattle’s new openly gay Mayor-elect Ed Murray was among 16 newly elected big city mayors invited to the White House Friday. According to a White House press release, both President Obama and Vice President Biden met with the group to discuss ways to actively partner with cities on “job creation and ensuring middle class families have a pathway to opportunity.”

HAGEL SAYS GUARD ONBOARD: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel issued a statement Friday saying National Guard members with same-sex spouses are now able to access military benefits for spouses in “every state.” Guards in nine states were refusing to register same-sex spouses for benefits when, on October 31, Hagel announced he was directing the chief of the National Guard Bureau to take “immediate action” to force the units in those 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 some cases, the states have agreed to provide the benefits as long as the spouses –of both straight and gay servicemembers—apply for their benefits at a federal military base. The Guards in those states have claimed that state constitutional bans on the marriages of same-sex couples prevent the state-run Guards from registering them.

EEOC MEMBER RE-CONFIRMED: The U.S. Senate on December 12 voted 54 to 41 to re-confirm the appointment of lesbian attorney Chai Feldblum as a member of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The vote came after a 57 to 39 procedural vote to force the nomination to the floor. President Obama initially put Feldblum on the EEOC using a “recess appointment,” that does not require Senate approval immediately. But Feldblum’s later confirmation vote, which was held up by a Republican, was eventually approved on a unanimous consent calendar (via voice vote). This latest vote puts Feldblum on the Commission until July 2018.

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