Speed Read: Speaking of Dred Scott
UTAH DRAWING BIG COMPARISONS: The three judges of the Tenth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals hearing a case challenging Utah’s ban on same-sex couples marrying asked about comparisons between the current conflict and those in such historic cases as Dred Scott, Loving, and Windsor. They challenged attorneys to define animus and marriage. And in the end, at least one LGBT legal activist in the Denver federal courtroom felt “things went extremely well” for marriage equality supporters. Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said the state’s hired counsel “was not really able to supply a satisfactory answer” when pressed to explain why the Supreme Court’s precedent in Loving v. Virginia would not apply in this case, Herbert v. Kitchen. The judges will hear one more lawsuit challenging a statewide ban –Smith v. Bishop from Oklahoma. In both cases the district court struck down state ban as unconstitutional. An audio recording of the one-hour proceeding in Kitchen is available on the Tenth Circuit’s website. The Bishop case will be heard April 17.
COURT RULES FOR INDIANA COUPLE: A federal judge in Indiana Thursday granted a motion by Lambda Legal to secure a temporary restraining order that will require the state to give recognition to the out-of-state marriage of one of their plaintiff couples. Lambda sought the emergency order on behalf of Niki Quasney and Amy Sandler to protect Sandler’s rights to care for and make decisions for Quasney who has late stage ovarian cancer. The couple, who were married in Massachusetts and have two children, is part of a pending lawsuit Lambda has filed on behalf of a number of same-sex couples in Indiana. Judge Richard Young (a Clinton appointee) is expected to consider a request for a preliminary injunction against the state ban and then to rule on the ban’s constitutionality.
MINIMUM WAGE IMPACT: The UCLA-based think tank and research center for LGBT issues released a report Thursday saying that an increase in the minimum wage could help more than 300,000 LGBT people. The Williams Institute analysis concludes that “at least 20,000 people in same-sex couples would no longer be poor” if the minimum wage were to be increased to $10.10, as President Obama has proposed.
TWO GAY HOUSE DEMS VOTE NO: Two of seven openly LGBT members of the U.S. House voted “No” on increasing the minimum wage. In the vote, taken Thursday, Reps. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Sean Maloney (D-NY) were among 31 Democrats to oppose the increase, included as part of an overall budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2015. All seven voted against a smaller Republican proposed budget, which passed.
OBAMA ADDRESSES CIVIL RIGHTS SUMMIT: Delivering the keynote address at the last day of the Civil Rights Summit celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, President Obama noted that the landmark 1964 law helped “Not just blacks and whites, but also women and Latinos; and Asians and Native Americans; and gay Americans and Americans with a disability.”
COMMENTATOR CRIES DOUBLE-STANDARD: Conservative pundit Charles Krauthammer had this to say in a column Thursday regarding the push by LGBT activists to oust Mozilla CEO Brenden Eich because he donated $1,000 in 2008 to support California’s Proposition 8: “…why stop with Brenden Eich….,Six million Californians joined Eich in the crime of ‘privileging’ traditional marriage. So did Barack Obama…. In that same year, he declared that his Christian beliefs made him oppose gay marriage… the man whom the left so ecstatically carried to the White House in 2008 was equally a bigot.”
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