In the News

Russia responds to Leno's stand over gay rights
source: SFGate/San Francisco Chronicle
posted: 9/1/13
The efforts of a San Francisco legislator to keep California's largest pension funds from investing millions of dollars in Russia is turning into an international affair - with a Russian diplomat claiming that a new law has been unfairly characterized by the media as antigay.

State Sen. Mark Leno, whose resolution would curb investments from the state's largest pension funds, said Russian officials' dismissive attitude toward the backlash over the law shows that they are in "deep denial."


Justice Ginsburg to officiate at same-sex wedding
source: SFGate/San Francisco Chronicle
posted: 8/31/13
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will officiate at a same-sex wedding this weekend in what is believed to be a first for a member of the nation's highest court.

Ginsburg will officiate Saturday at the marriage of Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser and John Roberts, a government economist.

"Michael Kaiser is a friend and someone I much admire," Ginsburg said in a written statement Friday. "That is why I am officiating at his wedding."

The private ceremony will take place at


Darren Manzella, gay soldier who challenged ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ killed in NY car accident
source: The Washington Post
posted: 8/30/13
Darren Manzella, a gay combat medic discharged from the Army after criticizing the military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy in a 2007 television interview, has died in a traffic accident in western New York. He was 36.

His aunt, Robin Mahoney, on Friday confirmed his death. Manzella lived in the Chautauqua County town of Portland; he and his partner were married in July.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said Manzella was driving on Interstate 490 in suburban Rochester about 8:30 p.m. Th


Gay marriage advocates shift focus in Illinois, turning to unions, immigrant rights movement
source: The Washington Post
posted: 8/30/13
After their efforts to legalize gay marriage fizzled in Illinois this year, advocates gave their campaign a serious makeover: They called on unions, focused longer-term and recalibrated their message by using personal stories instead of civil rights comparisons.

It’s a formula picked up from their fellow activists who made Chicago an influential player in the push for immigrant rights.

Proponents will try again this fall to push gay marriage legislation through the Illinois Legislature, wh


Walmart's same-sex partner benefits may tip scale
source: SFGate/San Francisco Chronicle
posted: 8/30/13
Walmart's decision to extend health care benefits to workers' same-sex partners has removed one of the biggest holdouts and added pressure on other resistant companies to follow suit.

"You can go to your board, and all of a sudden you're not swimming against the stream as much as you were yesterday," said Wallace Hopp, associate dean of faculty and research at the University of Michigan's Stephen M. Ross School of Business. "You can say, 'Jeez, Walmart does it.' "

Walmart, the largest U.S.


Demand for gay marriage licenses is steady in RI
source: SFGate/San Francisco Chronicle
posted: 8/30/13
The demand for marriage licenses for gay and lesbian couples in Rhode Island continues one month after the state's new marriage law took effect.

Clerks in Warwick, Cranston, Pawtucket and other cities told The Associated Press on Friday that they've issued dozens of licenses since Aug. 1, the first day same-sex couples could wed in Rhode Island.

Officials in Providence and East Providence are not counting how many licenses they've given to gay and lesbian couples. The new law eliminated ge


Federal Court Backs Calif. Ban On Conversion Therapy For Minors
source: NPR
posted: 8/29/13
California's pioneering law that prohibits treating young gay people with psychotherapy in an attempt to change their sexual orientation has cleared a constitutional challenge in federal appeals court. The in San Francisco ruled that the ban does not violate essential rights.

The law, which was to take effect in January, had been on hold after its opponents won an injunction last December. It bans mental health providers from treating minors with conversion therapy. The injunction against it


I.R.S. to Recognize All Gay Marriages, Regardless of State
source: The New York Times
posted: 8/29/13
All legally married same-sex couples will be recognized for federal tax purposes, regardless of whether the state where they live recognizes the marriage, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service said Thursday.

The federal rules change is one of many stemming from the landmark Supreme Court decision in June that struck down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. That ruling found that same-sex couples were entitled to federal benefits, but left open the question of how the federal


Judge orders clerk in New Mexico’s largest county to issue gay marriage licenses
source: The Washington Post
posted: 8/26/13
An Albuquerque judge on Monday ordered the clerk of New Mexico’s most populous county to join two other counties in the state in issuing marriage licenses for gay and lesbian couples.

The order from State District Judge Alan Malott came in a case involving a lesbian couple who sought an emergency ruling because one of them is dying.

In an unexpected turn, the couple was able to get married Friday after a judge in a separate case ordered the Santa Fe clerk to issue same-sex licenses. Also l


Divide Over Religious Exemptions On Gay Marriage
source: NPR
posted: 8/25/13
The battle over gay marriage is heating up in the states, energizing religious groups that oppose same-sex relationships — but also dividing them.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court gave married gays and heterosexuals equal status under federal law, but did not declare a nationwide right for gays to marry, setting the stage for state-by-state decisions. So faith leaders are forming new coalitions and preparing for the legislative and courtroom battles ahead.

Yet, traditional religious leaders