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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 15, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 28
National News
Section One
ALL STORIES
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National News

by Rex Wockner - SGN Contributing Writer

New marriage campaign launched in Maryland
Marylanders launched a new campaign July 12 to pass a same-sex-marriage law next year.

A bill to legalize same-sex marriage passed the Senate this year but crashed and burned in the House of Delegates at the last minute.

The new campaign, kicked off at Baltimore City Hall, will be run by a coalition called Marylanders for Marriage Equality.

House of Delegates member Heather Mizeur said the group is composed of advocacy organizations, congregations, businesses, unions, Democrats, Republicans, and independents.

Same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and Washington, D.C.

GLAAD backs off AT&T support
Following an extended controversy that led to the resignation of its president, Jarrett Barrios, and eight board members, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation sent a new letter to the Federal Communications Commission July 13 expressly withdrawing its previous support for positions favored by one of its donors, AT&T.

In the new letter, GLAAD repudiated a letter it had sent to the FCC endorsing the merger of AT&T and T-Mobile. The group also made crystal clear that it supports the concept of net neutrality, despite having sent contradictory letters to the FCC on that matter previously.

The FCC has proposed net neutrality rules to prevent internet service providers from blocking, slowing, or speeding up certain traffic as it moves through an ISP's pipes. If the rules were implemented, AT&T could not, for example, interfere with the traffic of a competitor, such as Skype, or accept money to speed up delivery of someone else's content. All content would be delivered to end users 'neutrally,' as is now the case.

'A rigorous review process considered GLAAD's unique mission and concluded that while AT&T has a strong record of support for the LGBT community, the explanation used to support this particular merger was not sufficiently consistent with GLAAD's work to advocate for positive and culture-changing LGBT stories and images in the media,' said acting President Mike Thompson.

In affirming GLAAD's support for net neutrality, Thompson wrote to the FCC: 'Net neutrality is one of the principles most responsible for the internet's emergence as the dominant platform for free expression. A nondiscriminatory and neutral internet has allowed new digital media initiatives and the blogosphere itself to flourish online. Net neutrality has cultivated the plethora of online resources available to otherwise isolated LGBT Americans seeking help with coming out, coping with and countering discrimination, suicide and HIV/AIDS prevention resources, community building and political organizing tools, and general self-expression. [sic] GLAAD's own work has been effective thanks in large part to net neutrality.'

GLAAD's latest move could serve to finally put the damaging AT&T/FCC incidents behind it, and allow the organization to move forward with battling anti-Gay defamation in the media and pushing for accurate and inclusive coverage and portrayals of LGBT people.

Polygamists, citing famous Gay case, sue for their rights
The polygamist family portrayed in the reality TV show Sister Wives is suing Utah and using the famous U.S. Supreme Court case that erased the United States' remaining sodomy laws to bolster the case.

Kody Brown and his four wives (only one of whom he is legally married to) hope to invalidate a Utah law that prevents residents from having more than one 'purport[ed]' spouse. The same law also bans married people from shacking up with a non-spouse.

It says: 'A person is guilty of bigamy when, knowing he has a husband or wife or knowing the other person has a husband or wife, the person purports to marry another person or cohabits with another person.'

According to the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah, 'The law, therefore, applies not just to individuals who have obtained multiple marriage licenses, but also to those who are legally married to only one person, while also engaging in other marriage-like relationships that are not recognized by the state.'

The lawsuit does not seek legalization of polygamous marriage, but only to erase the law that prohibits Utahans from referring to more than one person as their spouse.

The suit is built, in part, on the 2003 Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down several states' bans on Gay sex. In that ruling, the Supreme Court declared that it was unconstitutional for governments to intrude on consenting adults' 'intimate conduct.'

Kody argues that the Utah ban on multiple spiritual wives violates numerous parts of the U.S. Constitution in areas that include equal protection, due process, free speech, freedom of association, and free exercise of religion.

Brown and his family are currently under criminal investigation by the state of Utah. They have moved to Nevada as a result.

With assistance from Bill Kelley

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