gay rights

Lesbians expelled the most under "don't ask, don't tell"

University of California researchers have obtained Pentagon statistics that show a disproportionate number of lesbians expelled from the U.S. military using its "don't ask, don't tell policy."

The Palm Center at the University of California-Santa Barbara found the trend holds true across the board for the military, but the Air Force was the worst offender.

The Air Force Academy even cracked down on a professor who, with permission from her superiors and acceptance from her students, invited alumni to the classroom to discuss the military's sexual minorities.

Anchorage mayor vetoes anti-discrimination ban

Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan had one week to decide whether to support an ordinance approved by the Anchorage Assembly banning discrimination based on sexual orientation. After seven days of receiving thousands of phone calls, e-mails and other messages and listening to heated public hearings, he vetoed the ordinance. His reasoning? Sullivan doesn't believe discrimination by sexual orientation exists in Anchorage, reports Don Hunter in the Anchorage Daily News.

The veto frustrated supporters, who have been pushing for gay rights in Anchorage since the 1970s. Many waved rainbow flags outside City Hall Monday in protest of the mayor's decision.

Assembly Chairwoman Debbie Ossiander voted against the ordinance, worrying it would force businesses to create unisex bathrooms and alter their facilities in other ways.

But Spokeswoman Jackie Buckley of Equality Works, a coalition supporting the ordinance, said the mayor could have used the ordinance to stimulate business:

“This was an opportunity. It was good for business, so Anchorage could attract and retain the best employees and customers. This is a giant step backwards by the mayor, not seeing that.”

Obama plays twister with gay marriage stance

With a waving campaign hand, President Barack Obama beckoned to gay voters.  He promised to undo a Clinton-era law blinding the federal government to gay marriage and allowing states to ignore same-sex marriages sanctioned by their peer governments.

But with a presidential gesture, Obama has supported his Justice Department's efforts to throw out a gay couple's lawsuit challenging the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.

His administration's lawyers argue that the Constitution sanctions preventing gay couples from securing the benefits usually accorded to married people, such as Social Security spousal benefits and filing joint taxes.  Doing otherwise wouldn't be fair to taxpayers of the 30 states that specifically prohibit same-sex marriages, they say.

The San Francisco Chronicle published the article by Devlin Barrett of the Associated Press which quotes Obama's statement and the papers his administration filed in a California court.

In them, Obama walks a tightrope between defending the law and offending his gay constituency.

The president said his administration's stance in a California court case is not about defending traditional marriage, but is instead about defending traditional legal practice.

Department lawyers are defending the law "as it traditionally does when acts of Congress are challenged," Obama said in a statement.

"The United States does not believe that DOMA is rationally related to any legitimate government interests in procreation and child-rearing and is therefore not relying upon any such interests to defend DOMA's constitutionality," lawyers argued in the filing.

Carol Smith's picture

Salt Lake Prosecutor kisses off trespassing charges

The Salt Lake City Prosecutor has dropped charges aginst a gay couple cited for trespassing after two men allegedly kissed on a plaza owned by the LDS Church. The incident sparked widespread "kissing" protests in support of same-sex couples. The Mormon Church has said its security guards took the same action they would have had the incident involved any other couple. Rosemary Winters and Melinda Rogers of the Salt Lake Tribune have been following the story.

Rita Hibbard's picture

Anti-gay rights group can keep ids secret

Those who signed petitions to overturn Washington's same-sex domestic partner law will be able to keep their identities secret - for now, a Washington judge has ruled in a temporary restraining order. The spat over release of the names comes down to this  - the names of everyone who signed the petitions are publicly available under Washington's open-government laws, reports. A gay rights group wants to post the names online, but the anti-gay rights group has fought the move in court, saying it could lead to harassment. A full hearing has been set for Sept. 3.