Speed Read: Michigan trial begins today
MICHIGAN TRIAL STARTS TODAY: A federal judge in Detroit will begin hearing testimony today in a lesbian couple’s challenge to the state law banning same-sex couples from marrying. The case, DeBoer v. Michigan, started out as a lawsuit to challenge a state law barring unmarried couples from adopting. April DeBoer and longtime partner Jayne Rowse were seeking to adopt three children they had been raising together. But while hearing that case last year, U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman suggested the plaintiffs amend their lawsuit to challenge the law barring same-sex couples from marrying. A big issue in the case is expected to be how suitable gays are for parenting.
PRESSURE BUILDS FOR ARIZONA VETO: U.S. Senator John McCain, the CEO of American Airlines, even three state senators who voted for the religious bias bill in Arizona last week now urge Republican Governor Jan Brewer to veto it, reports the Fox News TV Phoenix. Those three state senators, added to the 13 Democrats who voted “No” when the bill was before the senate, would now ensure rejection of the measure which allows people to claim a religious belief to justify discriminating against others. The bill is aimed at allowing people and businesses to discriminate against gays. Brewer must either sign or veto the bill this week. Both McCain and junior U.S. Senator Jeff Flake posted messages on Twitter saying they hope Brewer vetoes the bill.
OBAMA NOMINEE OPPOSED: The Human Rights Campaign, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, National Center for Lesbian Rights, and others have signed onto a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee to oppose President Obama’s nominee to fill a U.S. district court seat for the Northern District of Georgia. The February 20 letter states that the groups have “grave concerns” about the record of nominee Michael Boggs on LGBT equality when he was a Georgia state legislator, specifically because he voted for a bill to ban marriage for same-sex couples. The letter is signed by a large number of other groups and also raises concerns about Boggs’ record on the rights of women and racial minorities. Boggs currently serves on the Georgia Court of Appeals.
U.S. BEGINS REVIEWING UGANDA RELATIONS: Secretary of State John Kerry said yesterday the U.S. is “beginning an internal review of our relationship with the Government of Uganda to ensure that all dimensions of our engagement, including assistance programs, uphold our anti-discrimination policies and principles and reflect our values.” Kerry issued the statement following news that Uganda President Yoweri Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Act Monday morning, making it a crime to be gay or “promote” homosexuality. The U.S. provides a reported $400 million in aid to Uganda.
SCHOOL PAYS UP FOR OUTING: A school district in Texas has agreed to pay a former lesbian high school student $77,000 for outing the girl to her mother. The Kilgore Independent School District announced last Friday that it had agreed to pay the amount in settlement of the lawsuit filed by Skye Wyatt, now 21. Wyatt filed suit after her softball coaches confronted her as a student in 2009 about being gay and then called her mother to tell her mother Wyatt was gay. Wyatt’s lawsuit said the actions violated Wyatt’s right to privacy under the state and federal constitution. The case was set to go to trial next month. The school district also agreed to hold a 30-minute training session annually for faculty about privacy and discrimination.
BIDEN SLATED FOR HRC DINNER: Vice President Joe Biden is slated to keynote the Human Rights Campaign fundraising dinner in Los Angeles March 22.