Montana Attorney General Requests Dismissal of Gay Rights Lawsuit

Montana Back in July I posted about a lawsuit brought by the ACLU and seven same-sex couples in Montana, seeking the same rights as heterosexual married couples in the state. 

The state's attorney general today filed a motion for dismissal:

"Spousal benefits are limited by definition to married couples, and the Montana constitution defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, Attorney General Steve Bullock said. The court does not have the jurisdiction to require the state to extend spousal benefits beyond that definition, Bullock said in a motion to dismiss the case. "Courts may not exercise the power to enact laws and revise, alter or amend the constitution," Bullock said. Such policymaking power belongs to the Legislature and the people of the state, he added. District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock has set a Jan. 25 hearing on Bullock's motion to dismiss the case."


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

Bishop Long Stepping Down In Wake Of Fourth Lawsuit?

Eddielong

Homophobic Pastor Eddie Long's problems grow by the day.

Various sites, including AOL's Black Voices, are reporting that Long, who has already been accused of severely inappropriate contact with three male congregants, will be stepping down from the pulpit at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church after Sunday's sermon.

The news comes after a fourth young man leveled still more allegations against Long. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution provides the details of this latest lawsuit.

"Spencer LeGrande, named in a civil lawsuit filed Friday, claims he
was 17 the first time the two had a sexual relationship while
vacationing in Nairobi, Kenya.

LeGrande, of Charlotte, N.C., alleges that the New Birth Missionary
Baptist Church pastor  gave him an Ambien, a popular prescription sleep
aid, followed by a "prolonged hug," kissing and rubbing, according to
the suit.

The suit claims the two shared a bed for the remainder of their trip."

Long and his attorneys continue to deny the numerous claims, and his defense today declared, "We believe that it is unfortunate the young men have chosen to take this course of action. The defense team will review the complaints and respond accordingly at the appropriate time and in the appropriate forum."

Even if he's not stepping down, this weekend won't be very relaxing for Long.


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

NOM Files Yet Another Lawsuit Challenging Disclosure Laws

As part of its radical nationwide efforts to dismantle state laws that provide transparency about who is funding political campaigns, the National Organization for Marriage this week filed suit in Rhode Island seeking to have their disclosure laws ruled unconstitutional.  The suit comes the same week as NOM lost in federal court in Minnesota on a similar case.

The case – National Organization for Marriage v. John Daluz – was filed in U.S. District Court in Rhode Island on September 21.  Daluz is the named defendant in his official capacity as Vice Chairman of the state board of elections.

This new lawsuit brought by NOM’s lawyers is similar to other public disclosure challenges they have made across the country including in Minnesota and New York.  In Maine NOM remains under investigation by the Maine Ethics Commission for failing to register with the state as a ballot question committee and disclose the donors to its campaign to overturn Maine’s marriage equality law in 2009.  In Washington State, NOM’s lawyers fought the state’s public records law all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court – and lost.  A federal court in California has similarly rejected NOM’s efforts to hide its donors in the wake of Proposition 8.

Human Rights Campaign Vice President of Communications and Marketing Fred Sainz remarked in a release: “One thing’s for sure – NOM feels like they have something to hide. In yet another state, NOM is trying to eviscerate the fair and open process that governs election spending in this country.  What lengths won’t they go to in order to shield themselves from public scrutiny?”


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

Antigay Speech Lawsuit Dismissed

LA CITY COLLEGE X390A lawsuit filed by a L.A. City College student who claimed his professor
violated his free speech rights by interrupting his speech against gay
marriage was dismissed Friday.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  John Wright

Second ‘I don’t want to counsel gays’ lawsuit struck down by the courts

crossposted on Holy Bullies and Headless Monsters

 

keeton How did I miss this one:

 

Augusta State University's requirement that a graduate student read material about counseling gays and increase her exposure to that community after she objected to counseling homosexual clients was “academically legitimate,” a federal court judge ruled Friday.

U.S. District Judge Randal Hall's decision enables university officials to expel Jennifer Keeton if she does not follow the remediation plan, which professors designed to “address issues of multicultural competence and develop understanding and empathy.”

Hall said the case is not about “pitting Christianity against homosexuality,” but rather the constitutionality of the school's requirement.

This denunciation comes at the heels of another case in which a student claimed that she was “forced” to choose between her religious beliefs and her vocation. Last month, the courts ruled against Julea Ward, a student at Eastern Michigan University who claimed that she was removed from the school's counseling program because of her strong religious views against homosexuality.

 

Ward has refused to counsel lgbt clients because of her beliefs. In the ruling, U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh said:

” . . .the university had a rational basis for requiring its students to counsel clients without imposing their personal values.

In the case of Ms. Ward, the university determined that she would never change her behavior and would consistently refuse to counsel clients on matters with which she was personally opposed due to her religious beliefs — including homosexual relationships.”

Keeton and Ward were both made as cause celebres by the religious right as victims of a so-called “gay agenda” which would punish Christians for expressing their beliefs.

However many others, myself included, disagree.

My feeling is that if you can't do the job completely and for everyone then we have a serious problem, especially if you are seeking to be a healthcare worker.

And those who seek to make Keeton and Ward into martyrs would be advised to remember that this sort of thing has a habit of coming back in a nasty way.

If people are allowed exemptions in the counseling of the lgbt community today, who's to say that tomorrow exemptions won't be given in the counseling of the African-American or Latino communities?

Or even the Christian community?

UDPATE:  The article also going on to say something which should be remembered should Keeton's name come up in religious right talking points (and it will) – the university presented three professors as witnesses but Keeton presented no witnesses. And she didn't even testify.

Hat tip to Daily Kos.

Related post:

Court knocks down latest religious right cause celebre
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

NOM Fails in Lawsuit to Hide Maine Election Activities

Yesterday, a federal judge in Portland, Maine ruled against NOM by upholding laws requiring organizations engaged in Maine elections to register as political action committees, disclose their independent expenditures and provide disclaimers on campaign advertisements. The court found two lesser legal provisions defective but noted that they could likely be cured by new legislation. 

In rejecting most of NOM’s lawsuit, Judge D. Brock Hornby ruled that “Maine… has a compelling reason for compiling information about PACs – the goal of providing information to Maine voters about the interest groups that spend money referring to candidates in an election – and indeed Maine has polling data demonstrating the public’s interest in such information.” The judge found that “NOM’s desire to limit campaign finance disclosures … would yield perverse results, totally at odds with the interest in ‘transparency’ recognized in Citizens United,” the recent Supreme Court decision that allowed for unlimited corporate spending in elections but accepted the government’s compelling interest in requiring public disclosure.

NOM’s lawsuit is part of escalating tensions between the group and ethics officials in Maine. NOM remains under investigation by the Maine Ethics Commission for failing to register with the state as a ballot question committee and disclose the donors to its campaign to overturn Maine’s marriage equality law in 2009. NOM provided more than .9 million of the million spent by opponents of marriage equality to pass Question 1 – but it failed to disclose where the money came from. The organization has stonewalled the ethics investigation over its Question 1 involvement, which is the subject of a separate ongoing lawsuit. 

Today’s decision follows similar defeats in Washington state, where NOM’s lawyers fought the state’s public records law all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court – and lost. A federal court in California similarly rejected NOM’s efforts to hide its donors in the wake of Proposition 8.

HRC called on the National Organization for Marriage to stop its radical national strategy of hiding its election activities and eviscerating public disclosure laws.  HRC Vice President of Communication & Marketing Fred Sainz said:

“Time and again NOM has tried to evade or eviscerate popular disclosure laws that provide the public with critical information about who spends money on campaigns, and as usual they’ve come up short. It begs the questions: what does NOM want to hide about their efforts to strip millions of Americans of their basic civil rights, and why are they fighting so hard to hide it?

“NOM’s agenda of hiding their political activities from legitimate scrutiny and accountability has gone on long enough. The public has a right to know who is behind their efforts to take away the fundamental rights of people living in Maine, California, Washington and elsewhere across the country. It’s time for NOM to own up and play by rules that serve the public interest.”


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

Lawsuit Filed Challenging Domestic Partner Registry in Wisconsin

Less than two months after the Wisconsin Supreme Court voted unanimously to uphold the state's ban on same-sex marriage, a conservative group has filed suit challenging the state's domestic partner registry, saying it violates that ban.

Wisconsin The AP reports:

"The lawsuit filed in Dane County Circuit Court by members of Wisconsin Family Action contends the registry creates a legal status substantially similar to that of marriage.
Gov. Jim Doyle, a Democrat, proposed the registry as a means of granting same-sex couples more legal rights, such as the right to visit each other in hospitals, make end-of-life decisions and inherit each other’s property. The Democratic-controlled Legislature approved the registry and it went into effect in August 2009. By the end of the year 1,329 couples had signed up.
The same-sex marriage ban, actively pushed by the same group bringing the lawsuit against the registry, was added to the constitution by voters in 2006."

Fair Wisconsin executive director Katie Belanger says that while 200 benefits are guaranteed to heterosexual couples through marriage, same-sex couples only get 43 of those benefits through domestic partner registry:

"These are the most basic, critical things that couples need to have to take care of one another."


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

Rachel on Fehrenbach lawsuit to stop DADT discharge




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Is D.C. Rag Metro Weekly Facing Closure Over a $1 Million Fraud Lawsuit?

It's not just the advertising downturn in print that's hurting gay print publications large and small. A lawsuit slapped against Metro Weekly owner Jansi LLC is asking for over million — almost certainly more than they've got on hand.

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Queerty

—  John Wright

Remember When HRC + ACLU Bashed the Perry Prop 8 Lawsuit?

In May 2009, when we learned Chad Griffin had lined up Ted Olson and David Boies to argue the shit out of Prop 8's unconstitutionality, America and California's Gay Inc. groups were furious. Now they're so happy!

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Queerty

—  John Wright