December 15, 2011 | by Phil Reese
National news in brief: Dec. 16

Former-Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker (photo courtesy of Wikimedia)

Prop 8 arguments could set stage for early ruling

SAN FRANCISCO — Last week’s hearings over two pivotal issues in the Prop 8 federal appeal may be the last hearings before the 9th Circuit rules on whether or not to throw out Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision, according to National Center for Lesbian Rights’ Shannon Minter.

The 9th Circuit panel, according to Minter, seemed poised to uphold a lower court decision denying the Prop 8 proponents’ claim that Judge Walker should have recused himself from the trial because he was in a same-sex relationship. Minter, however, was less confident predicting the panel’s ruling on the second issue of releasing the original Perry v. Schwarzenegger videotapes from the trial that struck down the California law barring same-sex marriage.

“Today’s arguments should be the last court hearing before the Ninth Circuit panel issues its written decision on the two matters it considered today,” NCLR’s Minter wrote after the hearing, adding it will likely be the last hearing before the court decides to uphold Judge Walker’s decision. “While there is no set time for the court to rule, it is likely to issue its decisions on all of these matters relatively soon, possibly as early as January.”

NBA joins NFL, MLB in banning LGBT bias

NEW YORK — With the lockout ending just before the holidays, National Basketball Association players will return to work with a new contract that now includes protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation, according to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

The new contract adds the language to the players’ contracts only. The protections already exist for other employees of the league. Earlier this year the National Football League and Major League Baseball also barred sexual orientation discrimination in new contracts.

Mich. mayor defiant after anti-gay Facebook posts

TROY, Mich. — Though she refuses to give up her position as mayor of a bustling Detroit suburb, Troy mayor Janice Daniels has cut ties with her employer, Century 21, according to the Daily Tribune newspaper.

Managers of the office where Daniels worked part time denied she had been fired from her job, despite a controversial web posting last Wednesday, but did confirm that she was no longer employed at the office.

“She has not been let go,” Dan Kersten was quoted as saying. “She voluntarily put her license in escrow, so she’s not able to practice real estate.”

Though she has apologized, Daniels has resisted increasing calls for her resignation since a June 25 post to her Facebook resurfaced, reading, “I think I am going to throw away my I Love New York carrying bag now that queers can get married there.”

Anchorage to see equal rights initiative in 2012

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A group seeking a ballot initiative to approve adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the municipal code barring discrimination in employment, housing and other areas has gathered twice the number of signatures needed.

One Anchorage, which formed in September to push the initiative, collected 13,515 signatures for the April 2012 ballot, according to blog bentalaska.com. The number needed is 5,871. Also on the ballot will be Mayor Dan Sullivan, up for re-election, who vetoed city council’s attempt to add the language to the municipal code.

“Equality is a core value of our Christian faith,” said Rev. Michael Burke, pastor of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church and convener of Christians for Equality. “That’s why we firmly support the One Anchorage initiative, because it calls for equal treatment of one another and protects those in our community who have no legal rights against discrimination today.”

 

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