On the global scale, there has been two major developments within the past week regarding the civil rights struggle for gay and lesbian equality.
On the positive note, Portugal is the latest country that will be enacting marriage equality! The head of state’s decision to permit the enactment of a bill passed by Parliament in January makes Portugal the sixth European country allowing same-sex couples to wed. Yes, Portugal — a country that is 90% Catholic. Apparently they understand the separation of Church and State unlike some people (yes, looking at you Mr. President).
And on the negative side, a gay couple in Malawi has been sentenced by a judge to 14 years of hard labor, the maximum sentence, for committing “unnatural acts and gross decency.” The two men (pictured right), Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, both in their 20s, were found guilty earlier this week. They have been imprisoned since a December arrest following their attempt to hold an engagement ceremony. There has been a wide rebuke from the international community, but who knows if anything will change. Truly sad.
UPDATE: Due to international pressure, the Malawi President has pardoned the above mentioned couple.Read more
A BC Law student started a campaign the other day urging participants to ask the Attorney General candidates in Connecticut if they would be willing to defend state law — marriage equality — and legally support the lawsuit against the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which denies all 1,138 federal marriage benefits to same-sex married couples of Connecticut.
George Jepsen (pictured), a candidate for Attorney General, just emailed me yesterday after having researched the DOMA lawsuit. He now joins Cam Staples in stating he would legally support the federal DOMA lawsuit. Now we’re only waiting to hear from Democratic candidate Susan Bysiewicz for her final opinion.
[The responses thus far from the 3 Democratic AG candidates are below the fold.]Read more
Please join the Facebook Event and invite all your friends.
Massachusetts became the 1st state to sue the U.S. government on July 8, 2009 over the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denies married same-sex couples all 1,138 federal marriage benefits. Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley contends in the lawsuit that DOMA “constitutes an overreaching and discriminatory federal law.” You can view the full complaint here [pdf].
Marriage Equality has also been the law of the land in Connecticut since November 12, 2008. We ran a campaign in August of 2009 urging then Attorney General Richard Blumenthal to defend state law — marriage equality. AG Blumenthal promptly responded to our campaign, “We are monitoring Massachusetts’ action and listening to views and opinions expressed by advocates on all sides of the issue.” However, before AG Blumenthal could make a final decision he has decided to not run for reelection and is instead running for Senate. [Continue reading below about the 6 AG candidates, more about the campaign, and how you can get involved!]Read more
Lindsay Lohan brought suit against E*Trade Bank and E*Trade Securities LLC on Monday in the Supreme Court of the State of New York for violating her civil rights under New York law. Lohan has claimed that two E*trade commercials entitled “The E*Trade baby is back” and “E*Trade Baby Girlfriend” have used her name without her permission to promote their products to the detriment of Miss Lohan. The two commercials, which were first aired during the 2010 Superbowl and then again during the 2010 Winter Olympics, make brief mention of a third party named “Lindsay” and describe her as a “milk-a-holic”. It is this mention of a person named “Lindsay” during the commercial that allegedly infringes Miss Lohan’s civil rights under Section 51 of the Civil Rights Law of New York. The complaint requests injunctive relief preventing further transmission of the commercials, seizure of those commercials, and monetary and exemplary damages. The commercial itself and commentary appear after the jump.Read more
This Monday the bench trial on Perry v. Schwarzenegger began in District Court for the Northern District of California. Perry is the controversial case in which gay citizens of California brought action to challenge the California law, Proposition 8, which restricted marriage to one man and one woman in the state of California. The complaint in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, which was filed last May, claims that Proposition 8 violates the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment by depriving gay and lesbian citizens the right to marry one another. If Perry is carried all the way to the Supreme Court it has the potential to become the landmark civil rights case in deciding whether gay Americans have a right to marry in the United States.Read more