MD recognizes out-of-state marriages
On May 18, the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that the state recognize same-sex couples who lawfully wed in other states. In a 7-0 decision, the court said recognition is required under the legal doctrine of “comity” because same-sex marriage is neither “repugnant” to the state’s public policy nor expressly prohibited by state law. The case granted a divorce to a same-sex couple who were married outside of Maryland. The ruling declares that married same-sex couples are entitled to divorce under Maryland law. The court’s decision will stand even if a November ballot defeats the Civil Marriage Protection Act slated to go into effect January 2013.
No negative impact from repeal of DADT
After much debate about the impact of repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT), the Pentagon reported on May 10 there has been no impact on morale, readiness, or unit cohesion in the eight months since the ban on homosexuals was lifted. According to Reuters, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta credited the military’s “gradual preparation” for the appeal, which included sensitivity training.
Anti-bullying group barred from Catholic school ceremony
The Diocese of Davenport Iowa is refusing to allow The Eychaner Foundation, an anti-bullying group, to present a scholarship at one of Dioceses’ schools. Keaton Fuller, a senior at the Prince of Peace Catholic School was awarded a $40,000 scholarship—named after Matthew Shepard—by the foundation. The school reportedly agreed to allow a representative from the Eychaner Foundation to present Fuller with the award during his May 20 commencement ceremony, but the school reneged, apparently after the Diocese intervened saying, “the foundation’s mission is ‘contrary’ to the teachings of the Catholic Church.”
Same-sex marriage ban added to NC constitution
Controversial Amendment 1 was approved in North Carolina, May 8. The constitutional amendment defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman, effectively prohibiting same-sex marriage. The amendment also bans civil unions. According to The Associated Press, 61 percent of North Carolina voters supported the amendment.
Obama supports gay marriage
On May 9, in an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts, President Barack Obama said he believes that same-sex couples should have the right to marry. The president credited his daughters with helping him come to this conclusion. The reactions to Obama’s announcement have been mixed. The Washington Post reports a flood of donations to both the Obama campaign and the Democratic Party, but others have chastised him for not going far enough by not announcing that he will sign and executive order sanctioning same-sex marriage.
Protests in NC, petition to move DNC
Just two days after North Carolina became the 30th state to limit marriage to heterosexual couples, nine gay and lesbian couples sought marriage certificates at a Register of Deeds office in Winston-Salem, N.C., according to The Associated Press. After they were refused, one woman, Mary Jamis refused to leave the office. She and a friend, who was there for moral support, were arrested and charged with second-degree trespassing—a low-level misdemeanor—and released without bond.
Additionally, Gay Marriage USA launched a petition on Change.org calling on the Democratic National Convention to be moved “to a state that upholds values of equality and liberty, and which treats ALL citizens equally.” The convention is set for September 3 and will take place in Charlotte, N.C., one of the few cities in which voters opposed the amendment. Though the petition has gathered more than 50,000 signatures, it is unlikely that there will be a venue change.
Kerry, senators urge protections on same sex deportation
On the heels of the president’s announcement supporting marriage equality, Sen. John Kerry, along with 16 of his senate colleagues, renewed their call for the Obama Administration to protect married gay and lesbian couples facing possible deportation. In a letter sent to the U.S. Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security, Kerry renewed his request to “hold green card applications in abeyance” for dual-national gay couples while the Defense of Marriage Act is being challenged in the courts and legislation is pending in Congress to overturn it.
Gay men face high rates of hate-motivated physical violence
According to a new study from the Williams Institute, gay men face higher rates of hate-motivated physical violence than lesbians, bisexuals, or other federally protected groups with high rates of hate crimes. This new study deviates from previous FBI data that indicated lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals, Jews, and African-Americans experience similar levels of overall victimization. The results also indicate that gay men are also the second highest at risk for being victims of hate-motivated property crime.
CO Legislature rejects civil union bill
A Colorado bill that would have let same sex couples enter into civil unions was shot down by the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature. In a special session on May 14, lawmakers voted against the bill, which passed the State Senate and has support of Gov. John W. Hickenlooper, who ordered the special session in hopes the Legislature would reconsider.