It’s official: DOJ wants stay of Log Cabin DADT injunction and will appeal the decision

The Department of Justice has asked Judge Phillips to issue a stay of her DADT injunction and indicated that it will appeal the decision. This was not unexpected, but it is certainly disappointing. Here’s an excerpt from the introduction:

Defendants request that the Court issue an order to stay pending appeal of its Order, dated October 12, 2010 (Doc. 252), permanently enjoining enforcement of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) statute, 10 U.S.C. § 654, and implementing regulations.1 Defendants also request that the Court issue an immediate administrative stay of its October 12, 2010 Order to allow time for the orderly litigation of that request for a stay pending appeal both before this Court and, if this Court were to deny the stay request, before the Court of Appeals. At a minimum, if this Court declines to enter a stay pending appeal or any administrative stay to allow its own consideration of the request, defendants request that the Court enter an immediate administrative stay to afford time for filing a request for a stay pending appeal in the Court of Appeals and an opportunity for that Court to consider that request in a meaningful and orderly manner. Given the urgency and gravity of the issues, defendants respectfully request that the Court rule on this ex parte application no later than noon PDT on Monday, October 18, 2010. If an administrative stay is not entered by that time, defendants intend to seek a stay pending appeal from the Court of Appeals and will request an immediate administrative stay from that Court to allow the orderly litigation of the stay request before that Court.

And, DOJ invoked the Pentagon Working Group as a reason for needing the delay:

In support of the President’s decision to seek a congressional repeal of the law, and as directed by the Secretary of Defense, the Department of Defense has established a high-level Working Group that is currently conducting a comprehensive review of the statute and how best to implement a change in policy in a prudent manner. The Working Group is nearing completion of its report to the Secretary, which is due on December 1. The immediate implementation of the injunction would disrupt this review and frustrate the Secretary’s ability to recommend and implement policies that would ensure that any repeal of DADT does not irreparably harm the government’s critical interests in military readiness, combat effectiveness, unit cohesion, morale, good order, discipline, and recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces.

In the first sentence above, you’ll notice a footnote. This is what it states:

1 As the President has stated previously, the Administration does not support the DADT statute as a matter of policy and strongly supports its repeal. However, the Department of Justice has long followed the practice of defending federal statutes as long as reasonable arguments can be made in support of their constitutionality, even if the Administration disagrees with a particular statute as a policy matter, as it does here.

Got that? Remember, DOJ does not have to appeal this decision. But it is going to do just that.

The Courage Campaign posted the DOJ application for the Emergency Stay here.

From here, Judge Phillips will probably issue her decision in the next couple days. She could order a stay pending the appeal — or not. She could do any number of things, including denying DOJ’s application. Whatever she does will lead to DOJ’s next step. This could mean that DOJ may have to ask the Ninth Circuit for a stay, too. What is clear is that the DOJ has every intention of appealing this ruling and dragging out this process. DOJ has 60 days to file its notice of appeal.

We’ll have more on this, as you can imagine.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Tell Mormon Church Official to Make It Right

Mormon Elder Boyd K. Packer still hasn’t corrected his inaccurate and dangerous statements. Five days ago, in the wake of multiple suicides of gay teens who were “bullied to death,” the second highest-ranking official in the Mormon Church told an audience of millions that same-sex attraction was “immoral and impure” and can be “overcome” – something the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association both say is harmful.

One hundred thousand people have signed our open letter to Elder Packer asking him to make it right. But he still hasn’t expressed the truth, love and encouragement our kids need to hear. Sign onto our open letter today and then share this important action with your friends and family. Next Tuesday, HRC will present the Church with over 100,000 petition signatures calling on them to correct the record.


Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  John Wright

NOM’s official Facebook page: ‘If [Hitler's] shoe fits’

This comes from NOM’s newly adopted Facebook wall. Followed the highlighted chain:

201009281657-1

[SOURCE]

“If the shoe fits,” says the moderator in flippant reference to a comment that compared the president to Hitler?

“If the Facebook wall admits,” says the gay blogger who thinks this latest official Facebook adoption might become the best gift the National Organization ever gave to their opposition!




Good As You

—  John Wright

Adoption now official: NOM the proud parent of one over-the-top Facebook wall

For months now we’ve been telling you how the National Organization For Marriage has been slowly incorporating Louis “gays want pedophilia, polygamy, and prostitution” Marinelli‘s online initiatives into their strategy. Now they have made it even more official, declaring that Louis’ often incendiary “Protect Man One Woman” Facebook page is now NOM’s organizational home:

Screen Shot 2010-09-28 At 9.55.25 Am

[NOM's official Facebook wall]

So it’s now one billion percent official, folks: The incredibly eye-opening, “ex-gay”-backing “Protect Marriage: One Man, One Woman” Facebook page that was created by newfound NOM strategist (and bus driver) Louis Marinelli is NOM’s “new home on Facebook.” Just a reminder: This is the same Louis J. Marinelli who has used Paul Cameron’s research to say that “gays have shorter life spans,” who thinks that all gays are single even if they are married or in a committed relationship, who thinks that Peter LaBarbera and his fringe “Americans For Truth” group is merely “tell[ing] the truth about homosexuality,” who says that marriage equality is “a mockery and a hijacking of the civil rights movement,” who flat-out calls gays an abomination, who says that “Deviance” describes actions or behaviours that violate cultural norms – homosexuality is far from a cultural norm. Therefore, it is deviant,” who claims that “Homosexuality and gay marriage are wrong and harmful to society,” who thinks that “there shouldn’t be any recognition of homosexual relationships because that is saying that homosexuality is OK,” who says that “what they do is blantantly [sic] immoral. :) [smile his own], ” who has compared our unions to that which might exist between a sterile brother and sister, who resorts to blanket character assassination in saying that one should “#nevertrust activists of the homosexual agenda – they are deceitful people who care only about themselves and not what’s best for society,” and who has made an egregious video declaring that modern LGBT rights activists want the “3 P’s: Prostitution, pedophilia, and polygamy“:

This is the same Marinelli who has also hit up this site’s comment threads, continuing his attempts to link gays to pedophilia and polygamy. And also remember: This Marinelli-crafted Facebook wall is the same one where a commenter recently suggested that California should be “glassed with nuclear warheads,” one where gays have been called “victims of mental illness,” where commenters pose questions about whether or not “gays are heterosexuals misguided by satan,” and where jaw-drops are a daily occurrence. All adopted by NOM.

We remain shocked that folks as politically savvy as Maggie Gallagher and Robert George would allow this to happen. But whatever — they have. So use it. And spread it widely.

**

**UPDATE: Among the pages that this newly official NOM Facebook page counts as a favorite? Regina Griggs’ incredibly fringe “ex-gay” advocacy group:

Screen Shot 2010-07-13 At 5.05.07 Pm-1

***

**EARLIER: Reliably volatile messaging’s on the wall, but NOM doesn’t seem to care. Seems to like it, even. [G-A-Y]

Who needs a militant agenda? NOM has allowed selves (and message) to be hijacked [G-A-Y]




Good As You

—  John Wright

Straight City Official Boycotts New York, Gets Married in Connecticut 

Scott Stringer Elyse Buxbaum x390 (fair) | ADVOCATE.COMA New York City official and a museum administrator have tied the knot
in Connecticut in a show of solidarity with their gay and lesbian
friends who can’t get married in New York.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  John Wright

Partner denied sick leave by AT&T

Bryan Dickenson, left, and Bill Sugg hold hands in Sugg’s room at a rehabilitation facility in Richardson on Wednesday, Jan. 27. (Source:John Wright/Dallas Voice)

Despite 100% rating from HRC, company won’t allow gay man time off to care for ailing spouse

JOHN WRIGHT  |  News Editor
wright@dallasvoice.com

Bryan Dickenson and Bill Sugg have been together for 30 years.

For the last 12 of those years, Dickenson has worked as a communications technician for Dallas-based AT&T.

After Sugg suffered a debilitating stroke in September, Dickinson requested time off under the federal Family Medical Leave Act to care for his partner.

But AT&T is refusing to grant Dickenson the 12 weeks of leave that would be afforded to a heterosexual spouse under the act.

As a result, Dickenson is using vacation time so he can spend one afternoon a week at Sugg’s bedside at a rehabilitation facility in Richardson. But Dickenson fears that when his vacation runs out, he’ll end up being fired for requesting additional time off to care for Sugg. Dickenson’s attorney, Rob Wiley of Dallas, said he initially thought AT&T’s refusal to grant his client leave under FMLA was just a mistake on the part of the company. Wiley said he expected AT&T to quickly rectify the situation after he sent the company a friendly letter.

After all, AT&T maintains the highest score of 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, which ranks companies according to their treatment of LGBT employees. And just this week, HRC listed AT&T as one of its “Best Places to Work.”

But AT&T has stood its ground, confirming in a statement to Dallas Voice this week that the company isn’t granting Dickenson leave under FMLA because neither federal nor state law recognizes Sugg as his domestic partner.

“I really couldn’t be more disappointed with AT&T’s response,” Wiley said. “When you scratch the surface, they clearly don’t value diversity. I just think it’s an outright lie for AT&T to claim they’re a good place for gays and lesbians to work.”

Wiley added that he’s disappointed in HRC for giving AT&T its highest score. Eric Bloem, deputy director of HRC’s workplace project, said Thursday, Jan. 28 that he was looking into the matter. Bloem said a survey for the Corporate Equality Index asks companies whether they grant FMLA leave to same-sex couples, and AT&T replied affirmatively.

“I’m not exactly sure what’s going on, so I don’t really want to make an official comment on it,” Bloem said.

Walt Sharp, a spokesman for AT&T, said the company has “a long history of inclusiveness in the workplace.”

“There are circumstances under which our administration of our benefits plans must conform with state law, and this is one of those circumstances,” Sharp said in a written statement. “In this case, neither federal nor state law recognizes Mr. Dickenson’s domestic partner with legal status as a qualifying family member for a federal benefit program. There is no basis for this lawsuit or the allegations contained in it and we will seek its dismissal.”

Sharp didn’t respond to a request for further comment.

Wiley said Sharp’s statement doesn’t make sense. No law prohibits the company from granting Dickenson an unpaid leave of absence, which is what he’s requesting. Wiley also noted that no lawsuit has been filed, because there isn’t grounds for one.

The federal FMLA applies only to heterosexual married couples, Wiley said. Some states have enacted their own versions of the FMLA, requiring companies to grant leave to gay and lesbian couples, but Texas isn’t one of them.

Wiley said the couple’s only hope is to somehow convince the company to do the right thing, which is why he contacted the media.

“At some point in time this just becomes really hateful that they wouldn’t have any compassion,” Wiley said of the company. “I think the recourse is to tell their story and let people know how AT&T really treats their employees.”

Through thick and thin

This isn’t the first time Dickenson and Sugg have endured a medical crisis.

Sugg, who’s 69 and suffers from congenital heart problems, nearly died from cardiac arrest shortly after the couple met in 1980.

At the time, Dickenson was a full-time student and didn’t have car. So he rode his bicycle from Garland to Parkland Hospital in Dallas every day to visit Sugg in the intensive care unit.

In an interview this week at the rehab facility, Sugg’s eyes welled up with tears as he recalled what a Parkland nurse said at the time – “If that isn’t love, then I don’t know what the hell love is.”

“And sure enough, it was,” Sugg said over the whirr of his oxygen machine, turning to Dickenson. “As long as I have you, I can get through anything.”

Dickenson said in addition to visiting Sugg each Wednesday afternoon, he wakes up at 7:30 on Saturday and Sunday mornings so he can spend the day with Sugg at the rehab facility.

This past Christmas, Dickenson spent the night on the floor of Sugg’s room.
“That would have been our first Christmas separated, and I just couldn’t bear that, him being alone on Christmas,” Dickenson said.

The worst part of the whole ordeal was when he had to return to work after taking 13 days off following Sugg’s stroke, Dickenson said. Sugg didn’t understand and thought his partner had abandoned him for good.

“He called me over and over every night, begging me to please come see him,” Dickenson said. “And I said, ’Honey, you don’t understand, I had to go back to work to save my job.’

“That’s what really hurts about what they’ve put me through, not my pain and anguish, but his,” Dickenson said.

Dickenson said it was 3 a.m. on Sept. 22 when he rushed Sugg to the hospital. Doctors initially said it was “the worst sinus infection they’d ever seen,” but within 48 hours Sugg had suffered a stroke affecting his cerebellum.

Sugg lost the ability to swallow and his sense of balance. He’s still unable to walk and suffers from double vision.

Because he wasn’t out as gay at work, Dickenson initially told supervisors that his father was sick.

When he returned to work after 13 days at the hospital, Dickenson explained that his domestic partner was ill and he needed more time off. His supervisor managed to get him an additional 30 days of unpaid leave.

In the meantime, Dickenson phoned the company’s human resources department and asked whether he’d be eligible for leave under FMLA, which allows 12 weeks (or about 90 days) per year. Dickenson said he was told that since he lives in Texas, he wouldn’t be eligible.

Dickenson filled out the FMLA forms anyway and sent them to the company, but he never got any response.

When Dickenson returned to work, he asked to be reclassified as part-time employee, so he could spend more time with Sugg. His supervisor refused and told him his best bet was FMLA leave, even though he’d already been denied.

That’s when Dickenson contacted Wiley.

Sugg is scheduled return to the couple’s Garland home from rehab in about a week, but he’s still on a feeding tube and will require nursing care. With any luck, he’ll someday be able to walk again.

Sugg bragged that he was able to drink his first cup of coffee last week, and he’s looking forward to getting back to his hobby of raising African violets.

Dickenson said he knows of at least seven medical appointments he’ll have to arrange for Sugg once he returns home. He said his vacation time likely will run out by April, and he fears that if he loses his job, the medical expenses will eventually cause him to go broke.

But Dickenson, who’s 51, said he’s committed to taking care of Sugg, even if it means living on the street someday.

“When it runs out, I’ll be fired, and it really hurts to be in a situation like that, because I’ve worked very hard for AT&T,” Dickenson said. “We suffer now, but maybe other people in our shoes in the future, if they work for AT&T, they won’t suffer like we do.”

—  John Wright

Dallas could elect 1st gay judge

Judicial candidates John Loza, Tonya Parker among 4 LGBTs running in local races in 2010

By John Wright | News Editor wright@dallasvoice.com
IN THE RUNNING | Dallas County District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons, clockwise from top left, County Judge Jim Foster, attorney Tonya Parker and former Councilman John Loza are LGBT candidates who plan to run in Dallas County elections in 2010. The filing period ends Jan. 4.

Dallas County has had its share of openly gay elected officials, from Sheriff Lupe Valdez to District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons to County Judge Jim Foster.
But while Foster, who chairs the Commissioners Court, is called a “judge,” he’s not a member of the judiciary, to which the county’s voters have never elected an out LGBT person.

Two Democrats running in 2010 — John Loza and Tonya Parker — are hoping to change that.

“This is the first election cycle that I can remember where we’ve had openly gay candidates for the judiciary,” said Loza, a former Dallas City Councilman who’s been involved in local LGBT politics for decades. “It’s probably long overdue, to be honest with you.”

Dallas County’s Jerry Birdwell became the first openly gay judge in Texas when he was appointed by Gov. Ann Richards in 1992. But after coming under attack for his sexual orientation by the local Republican Party, Birdwell, a Democrat, lost his bid for re-election later that year.

Also in the November 1992 election, Democrat Barbara Rosenberg defeated anti-gay Republican Judge Jack Hampton.

But Rosenberg, who’s a lesbian, wasn’t out at the time and didn’t run as an openly LGBT candidate.

Loza, who’s been practicing criminal law in Dallas for the last 20 years, is running for the County Criminal Court No. 5 seat. Incumbent Tom Fuller is retiring. Loza said he expects to face three other Democrats in the March primary, meaning a runoff is likely. In addition to groups like Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, he said he’ll seek an endorsement from the Washington, D.C.-based Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, which provides financial backing to LGBT candidates nationwide.

Parker, who’s running for the 116th Civil District Court seat, declined to be interviewed for this story. Incumbent Bruce Priddy isn’t expected to seek re-election, and Parker appears to be the favorite for the Democratic nomination.

If she wins in November, Parker would become the first LGBT African-American elected official in Dallas County.

Loza and Parker are among four known local LGBT candidates in 2010.
They join fellow Democrats Fitzsimmons and Foster, who are each seeking a second four-year term.

While Foster is vulnerable and faces two strong challengers in the primary, Fitzsimmons is extremely popular and said he’s confident he’ll be re-elected.

“I think pretty much everybody knows that the District Clerk’s Office is probably the best-run office in Dallas County government,” Fitzsimmons said. “I think this county is a Democratic County, and I think I’ve proved myself to be an outstanding county administrator, and I think the people will see that.”

Randall Terrell, political director for Equality Texas, said this week he wasn’t aware of any openly LGBT candidates who’ve filed to run in state races in 2010.

Although Texas made headlines recently for electing the nation’s first gay big-city mayor, the state remains one of 20 that lack an out legislator.

Denis Dison, a spokesman for the Victory Fund, said he’s hoping Annise Parker’s victory in Houston last week will inspire more qualified LGBT people to run for office.

“It gives other people permission really to think of themselves as leaders,” Dison said.

The filing period for March primaries ends Jan. 4.


This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 18, 2009.

—  admin