March 2, 2012 at 10:02 am EDT | by Phil Reese
National news in brief: March 2
Iowa Capitol Dome, gay news, gay politics DC

A Des Moines Register poll says a majority of Iowa voters would reject a constitutional amendment banning marriage rights for same-sex couples if the vote were held today.

Poll: Iowa voters oppose marriage ban

DES MOINES — If a vote were held today, 56 percent of Iowa voters would reject an amendment barring same-sex marriage in the state constitution, according to a Des Moines Register poll out this week.

Iowa became the third state to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples in 2009, after a unanimous Supreme Court decision the previous year, leading to immediate calls for a constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage. The Democratic-controlled Senate has been able to halt efforts by the Republican-controlled House to send a ballot measure to voters.

In November of 2010 Iowans voted out three of the Supreme Court justices whose ruling set marriage in motion. The voters, however, also rejected a constitutional convention that would have allowed the document to be amended to bar the nuptials.

Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York and the District of Columbia also have gender-neutral marriage laws; 29 states bar same-sex marriage rights constitutionally, and 10 by statute. Maryland and Washington states are facing referendums over recent legislative acts legalizing marriage in those states.

Navratilova tapped for next ‘DWTS’

HOLLYWOOD — Lesbian tennis legend Martina Navratilova will take to the dance floor in ABC’s next installment of ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ according to the network.

Czech-born Navratilova holds the world record for most Grand Slam women’s doubles titles at 31, and the record for most Wimbledon women’s singles wins at nine. She came out publicly in 1981 at the age of 20, shortly after becoming an American citizen.

Navratilova will join Motown legend Gladys Knight, ‘View’ co-host Sherri Shepherd, ‘Little House’ actress Melissa Gilbert — older sister of lesbian ‘Roseanne’ actress Sara Gilbert — and actor Jaleel White, who played Steve Urkel on ‘Family Matters’ in the 1990s.

Plummer wins Oscar for gay role

LOS ANGELES — ‘Sound of Music’ star Christopher Plummer has taken home his first Academy Award for his portrayal of a man coming out late in life in ‘Beginners.’ He is the oldest winner ever at 82.

“You’re only two years older than me darling, where have you been all of my life?” Plummer asked the golden statuette in his hand as he delivered his acceptance speech.

Plummer took to the Oscars stage before in 1966 with the cast of ‘Sound of Music,’ when the film won Best Picture that year.

Gay, trans candidates on ballots across U.S.

ORLANDO — If Gina Duncan wins her bid for Orange County Commission in Florida this fall, she will make history as Florida’s first transgender elected official.

“I understand the significance of it,” Duncan told the Orlando Sentinel. “But I haven’t found it to be a detriment or something we’re dwelling on.”

Duncan is among dozens of LGBT candidates on the ballot in Florida hoping to join the 26 openly gay elected officials in the Sunshine State, including two that are competing in a four-way race for the same seat on the Orlando City Council. They are among hundreds competing this year nationwide.

According to Denis Dison of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, there are currently 77 Victory Fund-endorsed candidates on ballots across the country, but by November, that number could be closer to 200. Pennsylvania is fielding three openly gay state House candidates alone with Brian Simms, Christopher Dietz and Kelly McEntee.

There are more than 530 LGBT elected officials nationwide according to the Victory Fund, including eight in the Maryland Legislature, which boasts the most openly gay members of any legislature in the country.


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