Speed Read: Michigan parents on trial
MICHIGAN MARRIAGE TRIAL CONTINUES: A federal judge in Detroit heard testimony Thursday that the U.S. is becoming more accepting of same-sex couples but that “There is not complete acceptance by any means.” Williams Institute scholar Gary Gates was the only witness in day three of the trial challenging Michigan’s ban on same-sex couples marrying. Testimony has largely centered around the needs of children, as the plaintiff couple makes its case to adopt three children they have been raising together. The state has a law that bans unmarried couples from adopting children and a law that bans same-sex couples from marrying. The local LGBT paper PrideSource quoted Carol Stanyar, an attorney for April DeBoer and her partner Jayne Rowse, as saying she hopes this will be the “last trial in America where same-sex parents have to defend that they are good parents.” The trial is expected to continue another four days next week.
ARRESTS CONTINUE IN IDAHO: Forty-six LGBT demonstrators were arrested at the Idaho Statehouse Thursday for blocking legislators from meetings in protest of the legislature’s refusal to consider a non-discrimination bill. Associated Press quoted protest leader Nicole LeFavour, a former state senator, as saying the protests would continue until the House or Senate schedules a hearing on a bill to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the state non-discrimination law. Capitol police have arrested more than 120 LGBT protesters at the statehouse in Boise during the past month.
FORTY UTAH LAWMAKERS LISTEN: Forty Utah legislators and state officials met with more than 300 LGBT people Wednesday night in a Capitol meeting room just to listen. Utah’s openly gay State Senator Jim Dabakis organized the meeting to give LGBT people a forum in which to tell legislators about their lives and the discrimination they have faced. The Salt Lake City Tribune reported Utah Lt. Governor Spencer Cox applauded the courage of those sharing their stories. “The courage of people to come and share their stories and how difficult that is, the least I can do is give my time,” said Cox. “I think there’s a lot of soul searching going on among legislators and everyone in our community. People are asking hard questions.” The legislature put all gay-related bills on hold this session, while the state defends its ban on same-sex marriage in a federal appeals court.
KENTUCKY JUDGE ISSUES ORDER: A federal judge in Kentucky issued an order Thursday that requires the state to recognize marriage licenses obtained by same-sex couples in other states. U.S. District Court Judge John Heyburn (a nominee of George H.W. Bush) issued the order on a ruling ruled he made February 12 on one of two questions at issue in the Bourke v. Beshear case. Attorneys are now briefing the second issue: whether Kentucky can refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. If either or both questions are appealed, the case will go before the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Another case testing state bans –one from Ohio— is already petitioning the Sixth Circuit. Heyburn did not respond to Kentucky’s request that he stay his order. If the state appeals a higher court for a stay, Dan Conway, attorney for the plaintiff couples, has said he will oppose it.
WORLD BANK WITHHOLDS LOAN TO UGANDA: The World Bank, an international cooperative bank that provides low-interest loans and grants to developing countries, announced Thursday it is holding up a $90 million loan to Uganda for health-related activities. A spokesperson for the bank told Associated Press the bank was considering whether the recently signed Anti-Homosexuality Act could wreak havoc on the economy.