July 28, 2011 | by Staff reports
National News in Brief: July 28
Edith Windsor

A lawsuit was brought against the government by the ACLU on behalf of Edie Windsor, whose partner died in 2009. (Washington Blade Photo by Michael Key)

N.Y. weighs in on federal DOMA challenge

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a brief in a New York federal court in Windsor v. United States, which is seeking to overturn the third section of the Defense of Marriage Act.

DOMA prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages performed in the states where such marriages are legal.

The Windsor case was brought against the government by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Edie Windsor. When her wife and partner of 44 years, Thea, passed away in 2009, DOMA forced Edie to pay excessive penalties because her marriage was not recognized.

In filing, Schneiderman called DOMA “an unprecedented intrusion into the power of the state to define marriage.” Schneiderman’s position is similar to that of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama who earlier this year announced the Justice Department would no longer defend DOMA in court.

SLDN seeks exec order barring discrimination

WASHINGTON — Servicemembers Legal Defense Network is calling on President Obama to sign an executive order barring all discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the armed forces.

“Signing legislation that allows for repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ was an historic milestone, and we appreciate the president’s leadership and commitment in making that happen,” SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis said. “Every service member deserves equal respect in the work environment, and it’s critical that gay and lesbian service members have the same avenues for recourse as their straight counterparts when it comes to discrimination and harassment.”

Using the Change.org petition platform, the organization is calling for an executive order to give LGBT personnel avenues besides the chain of command to pursue resolution of bias claims.

Effort to undo LGBT history bill in Calif.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — After passing two weeks ago a historic law in California requiring school curriculum to include the contributions of the disabled and LGBT people, a group received the secretary of state’s permission to begin collecting signatures for a ballot measure repealing the law.

 

The Capitol Resource Institute has launched a new website, stopsb48.com, in an effort to assist in gathering the 504,000 signatures needed to repeal the FAIR Education Act via ballot referendum, which would reverse the rule requiring schools to include the achievements of disabled Americans and LGBT people like Harvey Milk, Mark Bingham and Bayard Rustin, which some experts say may have a positive effect on the self-esteem of young people in these groups.

Equality California has launched its own campaign in support of defending the law in order to promote the well-being of young LGBT people, whose suicide rates are four times those of their straight counterparts.

Lesbian’s T-shirt deemed offensive at Dollywood

NASHVILLE — A woman visiting Dollywood with her partner was confronted by an

employee and asked to turn her shirt inside out, claiming the “Marriage is so gay” slogan might offend other visitors.

Olivier Odom initially complied with the request during a July 9 visit, according to the Associated Press, but now wants Dollywood to take steps to be more inclusive of LGBT visitors. Dollywood staff contend the park does not discriminate but often asks visitors to cover tattoos or clothing that could offend others.

“The park is open every day to everybody,” Park spokesman Pete Owens told the AP. “We try to provide an environment for families of all shapes and sizes to enjoy themselves.”

Apple ends partnership with ‘Christian Values Network’

SAN FRANCISCO — Following the lead of Microsoft, Macy’s, Delta Airlines and others, Apple this week removed its iTunes store from the “Christian Values Network,” following allegations the site is linked to controversial anti-gay organizations like the Family Research Council deemed ‘hate groups’ by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

A total of 35,000 people signed petitions at Change.org and AllOut.org demanding Apple cut ties with the website in only a few short weeks.

“Apple is a fair-minded business,” said the petition’s author, Ben Crowther. “I’m glad this petition helped make Apple aware of this issue, and I am thrilled that they removed iTunes from CVN.”

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