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National News
National News
by Rex Wockner - SGN Contributing Writer

Same-sex marriage bill to be introduced in New Hampshire
New Hampshire state Rep. Jim Splaine plans to introduce a bill next year to legalize same-sex marriage.

New Hampshire already has a comprehensive same-sex civil-union law, and nearby Connecticut and Massachusetts allow Gay couples to marry.

Splaine told the Concord Monitor newspaper that the civil-union law bestows only about 90 percent of the state-level benefits and obligations of marriage, which leaves same-sex couples without full equality under the law.

Some 600 same-sex couples have entered into a civil union in New Hampshire.



California legislators introduce resolutions opposing Prop 8
Resolutions were introduced in both houses of the California Legislature on December 2 opposing Proposition 8, the voter-passed initiative that amended the state constitution November 4 to re-ban same-sex marriage, which had been legal since June 16, following a state Supreme Court ruling.

The resolutions, put forth by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, and Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, claim that Prop 8 was an illegal "revision" of the California Constitution rather than a mere "amendment."

Fundamental or far-reaching changes (revisions) to the document require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature, followed by voter ratification, or a constitutional convention, followed by voter ratification. Amendments, on the other hand, can be passed by 50 percent of voters after being placed on the ballot via a signature-gathering drive, as was the case with Prop 8.

"Proposition 8's revision to the California Constitution violates key structural checks and balances built into our legal system," Leno said. "Overnight, the constitutional protections of thousands of taxpaying, law-abiding California citizens were stripped from them by a simple majority vote, without a prior two-thirds vote by both houses of the Legislature, thereby trampling on their fundamental right to equal protection."



Prop 8 passed November 4 by a margin of 52.3 percent to 47.7 percent
Gay-rights lawyers also have put forth the "revision" argument, as well as other arguments, in lawsuits accepted by and awaiting action from the California Supreme Court.

The cases likely will be heard in March and decided by June.

California stopped issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on November 5, a move that was formalized by the state Supreme Court on November 19 when it agreed to hear the new lawsuits.

By that time, an estimated 18,000 same-sex couples had married in the state.

Forty-four California legislators already have taken a position against Prop 8, filing a brief with the state Supreme Court on November 10 urging that it be overturned.

Signers included Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata and Assembly Speaker Karen Bass.



Woman sues after being fired for writing column
The University of Toledo's former associate vice president for human resources, Crystal Dixon, filed a federal lawsuit December 1 over being fired after writing a newspaper column that suggested "the homosexual lifestyle" is a choice that violates God's divine order.

Dixon claims her dismissal violated the First Amendment and 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which cover free speech and equal protection under the law. The suit says other university employees have expressed their opinions in the media without suffering retribution from the school.

Dixon is demanding reinstatement or back pay, some future pay, court costs and punitive damages.

Larry Burns, the university's vice president for external affairs, issued a statement saying, "Ms. Dixon was in a position of special sensitivity as associate vice president for human resources and this issue is not about freedom of speech, but about her ability to perform that job given her statements in the Toledo Free Press."

The column appeared on the newspaper's website on April 18. See tinyurl.com/6rkb2l.

With assistance from Bill Kelley
picture top: Mark Leno
below: Tom Ammiano
 

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