"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."
Hospitals now must recognize gay couples
Federal regulations that protect same-sex couples in hospital settings nationwide took effect Jan. 18.The rules, which apply to all hospitals receiving Medicaid or Medicare funds -- nearly every hospital -- require hospitals to recognize same-sex couples under visitation policies. They also prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.
HUD to ban LGBT discrimination
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development proposed regulations Jan. 20 to ensure that its programs do not discriminate against LGBT people.
"This is a fundamental issue of fairness," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. "With this proposed rule, we will make clear that a person's eligibility for federal housing programs is, and should be, based on their need and not on their sexual orientation or gender identity." The proposals now move to a "public comment" phase.
Connecticut men win birth-certificate case
The Connecticut Supreme Court on Jan. 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.
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."
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 Jan. 19.
The measure would have to pass the Legislature in two consecutive General Assemblies, then could appear on the ballot in 2013.