June 23, 2011 | by Phil Reese
National news in brief: June 24

Tracy Morgan meets with GLAAD in Tennessee

NASHVILLE — LGBT media watchdog group the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation met with “30 Rock” star Tracy Morgan, Tuesday in Tennessee to discuss homophobia. Morgan addressed the media at the Nashville Convention Center, speaking out in support of LGBT advocacy.

“I apologize to Kevin and people that were at the show. I want to apologize to my friends, and my family and my fans … I don’t really see gay or straight, I just see human beings now.” Morgan said. Tracy also met with Kevin Rogers, the Tennessee man who first reported the incident on Facebook.

“Tracy was sincere and spoke from his heart today,” Rogers was quoted as saying in a statement by GLAAD. “I decided to speak out and use my voice to inspire others. The best thing that has come from this is a national conversation that anti-gay violence is unacceptable and that homophobia is outdated.”

Michigan lawmaker wants to ban partnership benefits

LANSING, Mich — A Michigan Republican who previously attempted to push a bill that stripped HIV/AIDS funding in favor of airport maintenance, has introduced legislation to prevent public institutions from offering domestic partnership benefits for the same-sex partners of lesbian, gay or bisexual employees.

Rep. David Agema of Grandville introduced into the House Oversight Reforms and Ethics committee two bills that would bar universities and other state-funded public institutions from offering the benefits that some advocates argue attract top talent to these institutions. Both bills passed out of the committee on Tuesday and now head for a full vote on the House floor.

According to the Michigan Messenger, HB 4770 would prohibit public employers from providing domestic partner benefits and HB 4771 would prohibit such benefits from being a part of union negotiations. Lawmakers are reacting to a move by the Michigan Civil Service Commission to uphold same-sex partner benefits.

Lesbian in running to replace Rep. Weiner

NEW YORK — A former New York City Council candidate, attorney Lynn Schulman, says she’s been asked to enter the special election race to fill Anthony Weiner’s seat.

According to the New York statewide politics show, “Capital Tonight,” a Time Warner Cable property, Schulman, a lesbian, took the second spot in a six-way 2009 race for term-limited Councilwoman Melinda Katz’s seat.

“Some people from the county organization asked me if I would be interested, and I said I would,” Schulman told ‘Capital Tonight.’ “So, my name is now in the mix. I’m very humbled about being asked in the first place because clearly there was a thought that I had the credentials to do this.”

Schulman may be joined by a familiar face in the race, as Melinda Katz has been proposed as another possible candidate.

N.J. Senate boss sorry for opposition to marriage

TRENTON — New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) on Monday announced his official support for same-sex marriage, and expressed regret for failing to support same-sex marriage in 2009, the last time the measure was up for a vote in that chamber during the tenure of pro-marriage former Gov. John S. Corzine.

“Seventeen months ago, I stood up here and made the biggest mistake of my legislative career,” Sweeney said in a statement on the Senate floor of his abstention on the same-sex marriage vote. “I made a decision based purely on political calculations not to vote in support of marriage equality.”

New Jersey became the third state in 2006 to offer civil unions to same-sex couples, but many of that state’s LGBT advocates have argued the two-tiered unions have created “confusion,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Meanwhile, last Thursday, the state’s only openly gay legislator, Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer), re-introduced a bill to legalize same-sex marriage. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has vowed to veto a same-sex marriage bill.

 

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