Speed Read: Idaho up, Kansas down
IDAHO HIGH COURT RE ADOPTION: In a unanimous decision, the Idaho Supreme Court on Monday ruled that a magistrate judge violated the constitutional rights of lesbian Darcy Drake Simpson when the judge dismissed Simpson’s petition to adopt the children of her female spouse because the couple’s marriage was not recognized by Idaho. The state supreme court ruled that the magistrate denied Drake Simpson’s right to due process and erred in applying Idaho’s statutes governing adoption. “The Legislature has imposed no restrictions that would disqualify [Drake Simpson] from seeking to adopt [Rene Simpson’s] children,” stated the decision, “and the Court will not imply any such restrictions based upon Idaho’s marital statutes.” The couple, who live in Boise with their two children, have been together for 18 years and were married in California last year.
KANSAS VOTE TODAY: The Kansas House is expected to give final approval today to a bill that would allow any “individual or religious entity” to withhold “any services” and “accommodations,” including “counseling, adoption, foster care” and “employment” that is “related to” any same-sex “relationship.” All a person would have to do is claim to hold a “sincerely held religious belief” against that relationship. The House gave preliminary approval to the bill yesterday on a 72 to 42 vote.
NFL UNDER PRESSURE: University of Missouri football play Michael Sam said he came out as gay to his football team during a team-building exercise last August. Nobody spilled the beans until Sam himself decided to come out publicly before the National Football League draft. His decision to come out at such a critical moment in his career has drawn an enormous amount of attention from the media, which is prepped to scrutinize whether the NFL passes over a player who is widely acknowledged as a likely early-round pick. National Basketball Association player Jason Collins, who has not had his contract picked up since he came out last year, posted a Twitter message expressing his pride in Sam’s decision to come out, as did First Lady Michelle Obama.
FIRST OPENLY GAY EAGLE SCOUT: A high school senior from Maryland has become what many believe is the first scout to earn the Eagle Scout designation under the Boy Scouts of America’s new policy of allowing openly gay members. Pascal Tessier, 17, of Chevy Chase was awarded the designation Monday from Maryland Troop 52. At the ceremony Monday, his troop leader made note of Tessier’s efforts, and that of his brother, in lobbying to change the long-standing BSA policy of barring gays from the organization. “To be a leader,” said Scoutmaster Dan Beckham, according to a Washington Post account, “there are going to be situations where you are going to have to stand up for what you believe is right.”
‘NOT GOING TO MAKE ANY FUSS’: Canadian lesbian speed skater Anastasia Bucsis told the Toronto Star yesterday that she has found the Sochi games “incredibly hospitable,” despite Russia’s anti-gay laws. “I’ve never once felt unsafe here,” she told the Star. Although Bucsis has reportedly spoken against Russia’s anti-gay laws back home in Canada, she told Radio Free Europe she was “not going to make any fuss” about them at the Games. “I’m here to compete as a speed skater and represent my country the best way I know how.” Bucsis finished 28 out of 34 skaters in the 500 meter long-track event Tuesday but was upbeat, saying “I did the best I could.” She credited openly gay former Canadian Olympian and gold medalist Mark Tewksbury as one of most important mentors.
GAY GUESTS AT STATE DINNER: Among the guests at the White House’s State Dinner last night for French President Francois Hollande were DOMA plaintiff Edith Windsor, her attorney Roberta Kaplan, National Basketball Association player Jason Collins, and Democratic National Committee Treasurer Andy Tobias.