last-ditch effort to undo
D.C. marriage law
The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 18 refused to hear an appeal by anti-Gays hoping to force a voter referendum on the law that legalized same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia.
"For almost two years, the National Organization for Marriage and the Alliance Defense Fund, along with Bishop Harry Jackson, have fought a losing battle to shamelessly harm Gay and Lesbian couples in D.C. who seek nothing more than to share in the rights and responsibilities of marriage," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "The D.C. Council and mayor courageously made marriage equality a reality last year, and the courts have since upheld the rights of D.C. residents to govern ourselves and take the necessary steps to eliminate discrimination in our community."
The appeal challenged a ruling by the D.C. Court of Appeals in which it upheld a D.C. law that bans ballot measures proposing any kind of discrimination already prohibited by the D.C. Human Rights Act. The Court of Appeals said putting the district's same-sex marriage law to a vote would discriminate against D.C. Gays and Lesbians.
"With today's decision from the Supreme Court, marriage equality opponents have reached the end of their legal wrangling," said HRC. "The D.C. Board of Elections, Superior Court, Court of Appeals and now the U.S. Supreme Court have rejected their meritless and tired arguments that they should be permitted to impose a discriminatory ballot measure on D.C. voters."
Same-sex marriage became legal in D.C. last March. It also is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont - and, internationally, in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and Mexico City.
Connecticut men win
The Connecticut Supreme Court on January 5 forced the state Department of Public Health to list a Gay male couple as parents on the birth certificates of their twin boys who were delivered by a gestational surrogate.
Shawn and Anthony Raftopol will receive corrected birth certificates for their kids.
"As a couple, we chose to create a family," said Anthony Raftopol. "We assumed the responsibility for bringing them into the world, with the understanding that we would love, support and nurture them in every way. In other words, to be what parents are supposed to be."
Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders Senior Staff Attorney Karen Loewy said the state Supreme Court's "historic decision honors the intentions of everyone involved in bringing these children into the world, and provides those children with the protection of having two legal parents from the moment of their birth."
"This ruling has special significance for same-sex couples using assisted reproductive technologies like gestational surrogacy, because there will always be one intended parent who is not a genetic parent. It is now clear that Connecticut law honors and protects those intended families," she said.
Bill seeks to end
same-sex marriage in Iowa
A bill to authorize a public vote on amending the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, domestic partnerships, civil unions and all other recognition of same-sex couples was introduced in the Iowa House of Representatives January 19.
The measure would have to pass the Legislature in two consecutive General Assemblies, then could appear on the ballot in 2013.
"This bill intends to forever strip basic protections from loving and committed Gay couples," said One Iowa Executive Director Carolyn Jenison. "Now is the time for Iowans to come together and send a clear message to their legislators that discrimination has no place in Iowa's Constitution."
The group is urging an immediate response from activists. See tinyurl.com/4sam5cf.
Iowa is one of five states, plus the District of Columbia, where same-sex marriage is legal.
Elton raises $3 million
Elton John raised $3 million for the American Foundation for Equal Rights on January 19 at a 90-minute private concert in Beverly Hills.
About 500 people attended the soirée in a tent at the estate of entrepreneur Ron Burkle.
AFER will use the money to continue its federal lawsuit against California's Proposition 8, the state constitutional amendment that re-banned same-sex marriage in 2008. AFER won the case at the District Court level and it now is on appeal at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
With assistance from Bill Kelley
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