Speed Read: Putin hugs lesbian medalist
LESBIAN WINS GOLD, HUGS PUTIN: Openly gay Dutch speed skater Ireen Wust won a gold medal in the 3,000 meter women’s speedskate Sunday, and Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated her at a nearby bar. Wust told a Dutch broadcaster, “He congratulated me and asked if everything was OK in Russia…. He was happy to see me, but then he had to leave again. But I cuddled him.” Reaction was mixed. ABC News commentators pondered whether Putin’s gesture indicates he’s more liberal than originally thought. Queer Nation New York issued a press release to say, “By embracing Vladimir Putin, a man who has trampled on the human rights of LGBT Russians, political dissidents, artists, undocumented immigrants, and others in Russia, Wust has endorsed his fascist agenda.” ABC News said Wust identifies as bisexual and is currently dating a man, but the Daily Mail newspaper of the U.K. quoted her as saying nobody would be asking about her relationship at the Olympics “if I would’ve had a relationship with a guy….”
NEVADA WITHDRAWS: The Nevada attorney general filed a motion Monday to withdraw the state’s brief defending its ban on same-sex marriage. Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto’s motion to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said the court’s January 21 decision in SmithKline v. Abbott “vitiated” both of the state’s arguments –that it needed only a rational reason to justify the law and that a 1972 case at the Supreme Court served as precedent by dismissing a challenge to a state ban on same-sex marriage. She also acknowledged, “There is little doubt that there is a broad, emerging judicial consensus since Windsor, not only in the Ninth Circuit but by other courts as well.” Republican Governor Brian Sandoval said he supports the move. The state did not withdraw as a defendant in Sevcik v. Sandoval but suggested the court could render a decision based on other briefs filed. The Coalition for the Protection of Marriage, which has been named intervenor in the case, will now carry the defense.
INDIANA SENATE PANEL STAYS THE COURSE: An Indiana senate committee voted 8 to 4 Monday to approve the same version of a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage that was approved by the House last month. The bill goes to the full senate on Thursday where an effort is expected to approve a different version of the bill –one that was approved by both chambers last session. That version also bans civil unions and domestic partnerships.
CERTIFYING PARENTHOOD: Three married lesbian couples who are expecting to give birth to children and a gay male couple seeking to adopt filed a lawsuit in federal court in Cincinnati Monday. They are seeking a court order to force the state to put the names of both parents on the birth certificates of their children-to-be. Long-time civil rights attorney Al Gerhardstein said the lawsuit, Henry et al v. Wymyslo, builds on a ruling last December in which a federal judge found the Ohio’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples was unconstitutional. The judge in that case ordered the state to put the name of a deceased plaintiff’s spouse on the man’s death certificate. “If they were in marriages with opposite-sex husbands,” said Gerhardstein, “they would apply for their birth certificates while in the hospital, and the Cincinnati registrar would place the names of both parents on the child’s birth certificate.”