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Conference set Monday for ACLU lawsuit against DOMA

Plaintiff Edie Windsor to make an appearance in courtroom



Gay News, Washington Blade, Edith Windsor

Edie Windsor (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

A schedule could be established on Monday for federal litigation challenging the Defense of Marriage Act during a status conference before a New York federal district court.

The status conference concerns the case of Windsor v. United States, which was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, and will take place before Magistrate Judge James Francis at the Southern District of New York Courthouse. The lawsuit contends that DOMA is unconstitutional because it violates the equal protection principles of the Fifth Amendment.

Robyn Shepard, an ACLU spokesperson, said the judge will hear proposals from the parties about the schedule for briefing and discovery for the case, and he may decide on a schedule.

Edie Windsor, the plaintiff in the lawsuit, is set to appear before the judge. Because of DOMA, Windsor had to pay $350,000 in taxes to inherit the estate of her spouse, Thea Spyer, upon her death in 2009. The two had been couple for 44 years and were legally married in Canada in 2007.

In addition to Windsor, representatives of the Justice Department and the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the U.S. House are also set to appear.

The Justice Department announced in February that President Obama determined the law was unconstitutional and it would no longer defend DOMA against in the court. After a party-line vote in March by the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) directed House General Counsel Kerry Kircher to defend DOMA and hired Paul Clement, a former U.S. solicitor general, to assist with defending the anti-gay law.

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  1. FlexSF

    May 7, 2011 at 12:52 am

    John, the drunk, Boehner, Republican leader, is a scumbag. Does he genuinely believe this woman should pay $350,000 in taxes, that no opposite sex married couple would have to pay? These anti-gay bigots deserve a punch in the face. Anti-gay marriage bans have a real, tangible, negative impact on the private lives of the gays. The supporters of these bans are absolutely disgusting, and I would like to treat them to a similar treatment. With fellow bigot Americans like these, who needs enemies?

  2. blue-heron

    May 7, 2011 at 10:10 am

    REPUBLICAN Politicians who play a game with the real lives of married citizens for their own Political Gain must be removed from their positions.

    I recall the Tea Party candidates campaigning on Fiscal Issues, leaving Social Issues alone,…But Now they have aligned themselves with Republicans to deny Constitutional Rights to Citizens.

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Victory Fund honors Maine House speaker at D.C. conference

Ryan Fecteau is gay Catholic University alum



Maine House Speaker Ryan Fecteau accepts the Tammy Baldwin Breakthrough Award at the Victory Fund International LGBTQ Leaders Conference in D.C. on Dec. 4, 2021. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

The Victory Fund on Saturday honored Maine House Speaker Ryan Fecteau on the last day of its International LGBTQ Leaders Conference in D.C.

Fecteau — an openly gay Catholic University of America alum — won a seat in the Maine House of Representatives in 2014. He became the chamber’s speaker in 2018.

“Hate and intolerance will not derail us,” said Fecteau after Florida state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith presented him with the Tammy Baldwin Breakthrough Award, which is named after U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.). “Our community will not be intimidated.”

The Victory Fund on Friday honored Guatemalan Congressman Aldo Dávila, a gay man who is living with HIV.

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Rachel Levine: Efforts to deny health care to trans youth are ‘politics’

Former Pa. health secretary opened Victory Fund conference



Assistant Health Secretary Rachel Levine speaks at the Victory Fund's 2021 International LGBTQ Leaders Conference in D.C. on Dec. 2, 2021. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Assistant Health Secretary Rachel Levine on Thursday criticized efforts to prevent transgender youth from accessing health care.

“Unfortunately, some have fought to prevent transgender youth from accessing the health care that they need,” she said in a speech she delivered at the opening of the Victory Fund’s 2021 International LGBTQ Leaders Conference that took place in-person at the JW Marriott in downtown D.C. “This is politics and this politics has no place in health care and public health and they defy the established standards of care written by medical experts.”

Levine was Pennsylvania’s Health Secretary until President Biden nominated her to become assistant secretary of health.

She became the first openly trans person confirmed by the U.S. Senate in March. Levine in October became a four-star admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service.

The conference will take place in-person and virtually through Sunday.

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VIDEO: Biden addresses advocates on World AIDS Day

President says end to transmission ‘within striking distance’



President Biden addressed advocates on World AIDS Day.

President Biden, in remarks delivered Wednesday at the White House in recognition of World AIDS Day, said to advocates in the fight against HIV/AIDS the end to HIV transmission was near.

“It’s because of you and it’s not hyperbole to suggest that we are within striking distance of eliminating HIV transmission, within striking distance,” Biden told attendees in the East Room.

Joining Biden in the East Room were Secretary of Health & Human Services Xavier Becerra and Gabriel Maldonado, an HIV/AIDS Advocate and founder of TruEvolution, a Riverside, Calif.-based LGBTQ group.

Biden also during his remarks touted having made the appointment of Harold Phillips to lead the White House Office of National AIDS Policy — a position that had gone vacant throughout the entirety of the Trump administration.

Notably, Biden talked about the Ending the HIV Epidemic plan, an initiate health officials started in the Trump administration, by saying was to beat HIV domestically by 2030. That was initial target date when the initiative, but Biden had campaigned on defeating by HIV by 2025 to the skepticism off observers.

Watch Biden full remarks below:

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