Plaintiff couples appeal same-sex marriage case to California Supreme Court
Attorneys representing same-sex couples, Equality California and Our Family Coalition on Monday asked the California Supreme Court to hear an appeal of a lower-court ruling on the constitutionality of laws barring gay couples for being legally married in the state.
The plaintiffs are represented by lawyers from the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, the American Civil Liberties Union, Heller Ehrman LLP and the Law Office of David C. Codell.
San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard A. Kramer ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in April 2005, saying that banning same-sex marriages unconstitutionally discriminates on the basis of sex and violates the fundamental right to marry. However, the California Court of Appeals overturned Kramer’s ruling in a 2-1 decision issued in October.
The appeals court ruling came after the California Legislature in 2005 passed the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act, becoming the first state legislature to approve a measure allowing same-sex marriage. But Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the measure, saying the question should be left up to the courts to decide.
Students in Virginia protest in favor of school policy expanding non-discrimination
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. About 150 Christopher Newport University students covered their mouths with electrical tape and staged a protest in hopes the school will expand its discrimination policy to include protection for gay students and employees.
Prompted by the Nov. 10 protest, the university’s governing board agreed to vote on the issue in February. The school’s policy currently bans discrimination in admissions, employment or other activities based on race, sex, color, religion, national origin, disability or political affiliation. Since 2002, some students have been pushing the school to add sexual orientation to that list and about 100 faculty members have signed a petition in support of expanding the policy.
In 2004, the Board of Visitors postponed a vote on the issue for an indefinite period, citing a need to gather more information.
The board plans to vote on the proposal during their Feb. 23 meeting.
Male firefighter is latest to sue Minneapolis’ lesbian fire chief
MINNEAPOLIS A male firefighter is the latest person to sue the Minneapolis fire chief, who is lesbian, claiming that she discriminated against him because he is a heterosexual man.
Elondo Wright alleges that Bonnie Bleskachek, the city’s first female fire chief, and her partner, a fire department captain, gave him bad reviews, harassed him and denied him advancement opportunities.
Bleskachek “adamantly” denied the allegations. She told The Associated Press on Sunday the claims are based on rumors. “I find it troubling,” she said. “This is all based on hurt feelings and conjecture.”
Wright’s lawsuit, filed Nov. 9 in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, is the fourth against the chief this year, alleging various acts of discrimination or harassment. The lawsuits, two of which have been settled, depict a woman who let her personal life interfere with work decisions.
Wright had filed a complaint with the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights, and probable cause was found. But a settlement with the city was not reached so he sued.
Bleskachek said she wants a resolution, but also wants the facts to come out. “I just want this all to be over. I just want to be free,” she said.
N.C. Baptists poised to approve strict policy on homosexuality
GREENSBORO, N.C. Delegates gathering this week at the Baptist State Convention were expected to approve a policy that would prohibit membership for churches or affiliate groups that endorse homosexuality.
The policy, proposed by the convention’s board of directors earlier this year, would forbid churches from ordaining gay clergy, making public statements supporting homosexuality or accepting openly gay churchgoers as members.
“We seem to agree on this issue,” said the Rev. Stan Welch, president of the 1.2-million-member group, whose 4,080 churches fund the convention’s $38 million mission-focused budget. “It’s an overwhelming majority time after time. We view it as a biblical precedence of right and wrong.”
The measure, to be voted on during the convention’s three-day meeting that started Monday, required a two-thirds majority to pass.
Opponents of the policy aren’t optimistic.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, November 17, 2006.