DOMA ruled unconstitutional by bankruptcy court

A federal bankruptcy court in California on Monday ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles ruled that it is discriminatory to prevent a legally married same-sex couple from filing for joint bankruptcy.

The couple, Gene Balas and Carlos Morales, filed a joint chapter 13 petition. They were married in 2008 in California and remain legally married.

In his ruling, the judge wrote: “This case is about equality, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, for two people who filed for protection under Title 11 of the United States Code (Bankruptcy Code).”

It is “undisputed that the Debtors are a lawfully married California couple,” the judge wrote, adding that the couple came to the court to restructure and repay their debt following extended illnesses and long periods of unemployment.

The U.S. trustee for the case filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that two men cannot file jointly for bankruptcy. The judge ruled the trustee did not ask for dismissal based on one of the 11 causes listed in bankruptcy law to dismiss, but simply because the couple are two men.

The judge said the trustee filed no relevant case law supporting his position and said the couple should not be singled out for discriminatory treatment. He cited the Obama administration’s position that DOMA is unconstitutional and ruled that, indeed it is.

—  David Taffet

CORRECTION: All major candidates for Dallas mayor vied for LGBT vote in 2002

In my cover story for this week’s paper, I made a minor mistake. Actually it was fairly major. The opening paragraph of the story, as originally written, stated that 2011 marks the first time in history that all major candidates for Dallas mayor have actively courted the LGBT vote.

As former DV staff writer David Webb pointed out in the comments to the story, that’s not true. In 2002, Laura Miller, Tom Dunning and Domingo Garcia — the three major candidates for mayor — all courted the LGBT vote.

From The Dallas Mornings News on Jan. 15, 2002:

Dallas gays and lesbians, who used to hope that they could just find a candidate who wouldn’t be hostile to their interests, find themselves for the first time being wooed from all directions in what boils down to a three-way citywide race – and disagreeing about whom to support.

“It’s the first time I haven’t had to go vote for the lesser of two evils,” said Deb Elder, a Laura Miller supporter and political organizer. “Nothing has piqued my passion like this mayoral vote.”

Put another way, with major candidates Ms. Miller, Tom Dunning, and Domingo Garcia all touting their support for including gays in a nondiscrimination ordinance, a sector of voters that was shunned not long ago can’t lose this time around.

“It’s historic. I knew it would happen, but I didn’t know it would be this soon,” said Michael Milliken, one of the city’s first publicly identified gay appointees. “The gay community is in a unique position this year.”

I had based my report on statements by openly gay former City Councilman Ed Oakley, who called the 2011 mayoral election “a watershed moment for the community” and “unprecedented.”

While that may be true in some other respects, this isn’t the first time all major mayoral candidates have sought the LGBT vote, and I apologize for the error.

—  John Wright

Cardinal: Catholic Church has no position on gays and lesbians openly serving in military

I wonder if there will be a public reaction or eruption by the fundie fringe, since it has spent a lot of time, energy and money trying to make DADT a moral issue. (AP):

Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl says the Roman Catholic church has no position on whether gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly in the military.

On Fox News Sunday, Wuerl was asked if he opposed Congress’s repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” — a repeal that President Barack Obama signed into law last week.

He said, “That’s a question that has to be worked out politically.”

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Salute the FL AG: McCollum adopts correct position

6A00D8341C503453Ef0133F5090C83970BBig news out of Florida: Attorney General Bill McCollum, a conservative who’s not exactly known for LGBT rights sympathies, has announced that he will not appeal the District Court’s ruling that finally ridded the state of its hideous, Anita Bryant era adoption ban:

BREAKING NEWS: End of Florida Adoption Ban will NOT BE Appealed [FL Equality]

Though it should be noted that McCollum didn’t do this out of interest in LGBT people: His statement expresses hope that “someday a more suitable case will give the Supreme Court the opportunity to uphold the constitutionality of this law.

But whatever. For now we’ll take a rhetorical “Harumph!” if it means protecting Florida families indefinitely!




Good As You

—  admin

Charlie Crist’s New Position Paper on LGBT Rights

Hot off the press courtesy of Equality Florida, Charlie Crist has issued a new position paper on LGBT rights. It’s not bad. It says that Crist is for civil unions, ENDA, the repeal of DADT and the UAFA, too. Here are some excerpts:

Civil Unions
I believe that the government should not make it harder for people to take care of their loved ones. I believe civil unions that provide the full range of legal protections should be available to gay couples. That includes access to a loved one in the hospital, inheritance rights, the fundamental things people need to take care of their families.

Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)
I support strong anti-discrimination laws including ENDA. Employment and advancement should be based on skill and merit, not hindered by prejudice of any kind.

Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
I’m a strong supporter of the men and women of our military. Those willing to risk their lives to defend our country should not be compelled to lie to do so. I support the current efforts by Congress and military leadership to end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and hold every member of the military to the same standard of professionalism that has made our military the greatest force for good in the world.

Uniting American Families Act
Family reunification has been the foundation of U.S. immigration law but U.S. citizens who are gay cannot sponsor their partners for family-based immigration. As a consequence, many same-sex, bi-national couples are kept apart or torn apart sometimes even separating parents from their children. This bill, which I support, humanely addresses a problem that disproportionately impacts Floridians.

It seems like Crist is engaging in some damage control and needle-threading after expressing support for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Carly Fiorina defends her bigoted position on marriage equality by quoting Obama

Got news for Jim Messina over at the White House, you have a problem. Your boss decided to conveniently flip-flop on marriage equality (he was for it in 1996, then gradually moved against it when running for federal office). And now every single Republican, and religious right leader, is quoting Barack Obama when they want to justify their bigotry on marriage. While the White House has dilly-dallied with how to repeal DADT without really repealing it, and while they’ve run from lifting a finger on either ENDA or DOMA, marriage has catapulted to the forefront of gay America’s demands for full participation in the American dream.

The White House – that would be you, Messina – needs to put a stop to the the right-wing’s use of President Obama as the new mascot for bigotry. It’s time the President came clean on where he really stands on marriage. If he’s truly against it, then gay voters and our allies deserve to know that he actually does stand with Carly Fiorina and the same bigots who wouldn’t let his own parents marry fifty years ago.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Obama Marriage Position a “Disgrace”?

BARACK OBAMA 20100416 X390 (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COMThe New Republic executive editor Richard Just writes that President Barack Obama is tarnishing his legacy with his opposition to marriage equality.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  John Wright