Speed Read: ‘We will kick them out’

ARKANSAS AWAITS MARRIAGE BAN RULING: An Arkansas circuit court judge said last Thursday that he would rule in two weeks on a challenge to that state’s ban on same-sex couples marrying. Judge Chris Piazza, who is up for re-election this November, heard arguments April 17 in Jerrigan v. Crane, which says the ban violates the state constitution’s “Declaration of Rights.” The state’s attorney noted that the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which includes Arkansas, upheld a similar ban in Nebraska in 2006. That was, however, in 2006 –seven years before the U.S. Supreme Court that the federal government had to recognize marriage licenses granted to same-sex couples by states that issue them. More than a dozen federal judges have cited that ruling, in U.S. v. Windsor, in declaring other states’ bans unconstitutional. Piazza said he expects his decision will be appealed to the state and U.S. supreme courts.

SHORT LIST ADVOCATES FOR OLYMPICS VALUES: Only four of seven openly LGBT members of the U.S. House signed onto a letter to the International Olympics Committee April 15, urging it to amend Principle 6 in the Olympic Chart to explicitly ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. “We respectfully ask the IOC to follow the example set by the United States Olympic Committee and explicitly include the LGBT community,” stated the letter. Reps. David Cicilline, Mike Michaud, Mark Takano, and Mark Pocan signed on, along with 15 colleagues. The IOC had invited input by April 15 from people interested in “Olympic values,” apparently in response to criticism of the IOC for not taking a stronger stand against Russia’s anti-gay laws.

MALONEY PRO INCREASE IN MINIMUM WAGE: A spokesperson for U.S. Rep. Sean Maloney (D-NY), one of two openly LGBT members of the House to vote against a Democratic budget proposal that would have increased the minimum wage, said Maloney is for increasing the minimum wage. She pointed to an announcement by Maloney in February saying he signed a petition seeking to force the minimum wage issue to the floor. She did not respond to a question of why Maloney voted against the Democratic budget proposal. Maloney also voted against the Republican budget proposal, which passed.

SHOOTER AT JEWISH CENTER HAS HISTORY: The man arrested for killing three people at a Jewish community center and retirement home in Kansas City earlier this month was a suspect in a deadly attack on an adult bookstore popular with gay men in North Carolina in 1987. According to rawstory.com, Frazier Glenn Miller signed and widely distributed a “Declaration of War” on “Niggers, Jews, Queers” and others just a few months after the deadly shooting in Shelby and was arrested by federal authorities. No one was convicted for the bookstore attack, but two attorneys who defended two of Miller’s compatriots said they believe Miller was responsible.

MUGABE SWAGGERS A WARNING: Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe proclaimed Friday that he would expel any foreign diplomats that attempted, in his country, to support the rights of gay people.  Mugabe made his remarks during a public celebration of the anniversary of country’s independence from the British government. “We did not fight for this Zimbabwe so it can be a homosexual territory,” said Mugabe. “We will never have that here and if there are any diplomats who will talk of any homosexuality, just tell me. We will kick them out….” One day earlier, President Obama sent a congratulatory message, promising the U.S. “will continue to support [the people of Zimbabwe] as they work to build a society that responds to their needs and honors their democratic choices.”

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