April 7, 2011 at 5:49 pm EDT | by Staff reports
National news in brief: April 8

McDonnell opposes adoption by gays in Va.

WASHINGTON — Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said this week that he opposes proposed regulations his predecessor devised that would allow same-sex couples to adopt children in the state, the Washington Post reported. Only married couples and single men and women can adopt in Virginia now. The proposed legislation would mandate that gay and unmarried couples be able to access faith-based groups to adopt, the Post said. “I don’t think we ought to force Catholic Charities to make that part of their policy or other similar situated groups,’’ the Post quoted McDonnell as saying. He has until April 16 to make a recommendation to the State Board of Social Services. Former governor Tim Kaine, who announced Tuesday that he is running for U.S. Senate in 2012, proposed the change to the regulations in November 2009.

Montana Senate abandons anti-LGBT bill

HELENA, Mont. — A Montana bill that would have made it unlawful for any city, town or county in the state to pass a law protecting LGBT residents from discrimination has been abandoned, according to a report from the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund. The state Senate sent the bill back to committee last week where it’s doubtful anything will be done with it prior to April 29, when the legislature’s session ends. The bill had passed in the House. A pro-gay Council ordinance last year in Missoula, Mont., inspired the proposed legislation.

Patrick nominates first out gay justice to high court

BOSTON — Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick is making history again with one of his judicial selections, nominating Barbara A. Lenk, an associate justice of the state Appeals Court who is married to a same-sex partner, to a seat on the Supreme Judicial Court, the Boston Globe reported this week. If confirmed by the Governor’s Council, Lenk would be the first openly gay judge on the state’s highest court. She would also be the only justice who was married as a result of the court’s landmark 2003 ruling that made Massachusetts the first state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004, the Globe said.

Swarthmore student and friend gay bashed

PHILADELPHIA — A Swarthmore College student and his friend were attacked on campus Sunday by a group of teens in what may have been a gay-bashing assault, a college official told the Philadelphia Inquirer. The attack occurred on Mertz Field on the Delaware County campus, Elizabeth Braun, dean of students, wrote to the college community Tuesday. Neither the student nor his friend was identified. The student reported that he and his friend were punched and knocked to the ground, and then were repeatedly kicked and stomped by at least five boys and one girl, Braun said. They were not seriously injured.

Rep. Holt pushes for end to spouse deportation

HADDONFIELD, N.J. — U.S. Rep. Rush Holt is pushing the Obama administration to halt deportation proceedings against the same-sex spouses of U.S. citizens, the Associated Press reported this week. The Democrat wrote a letter to the federal Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday to make the request on behalf of a couple who live in his central New Jersey district. An estimated 36,000 bi-national same-sex couples are in the U.S., and all have reason to be worried if deportations are not stopped, the couple’s lawyer said according to the AP. Homeland Security did not immediately comment on Holt’s request.

R.I. lawmakers consider alternatives to marriage

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Rhode Island lawmakers will consider a proposal to allow gay couples and others who can’t legally marry, such as siblings, to enter into an agreement providing many of the benefits of marriage, the AP reported this week. A House committee will review legislation Tuesday that would extend benefits and rights associated with insurance, health care decisions, inheritance and property ownership to so-called “reciprocal beneficiaries.” The legal relationships would be restricted to anyone older than 18 who cannot legally marry their partner. Committees in the House and Senate have held hearings on legislation allowing gay marriage, but neither chamber has scheduled a vote on the bill.

Nashville Council approves non-discrimination law

NASHVILLE — Nashville made a significant move Tuesday to limit discrimination against LGBT residents as the Metro Council approved new rules for city contractors, joining more than 100 communities across the United States the Tennessean reported. The Council voted 21-15 — which was, despite appearances, the narrowest of margins — to require firms doing business with the city to promise not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Those companies will have to sign affidavits to that effect. The legislation needed approval from at least 21 of the 40 council members to pass on the third and final vote, the Tennessean said.

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