Where to start? With the Texas judge OKing gay-divorce, says marriage ban is bull, an Illinois State Senator introducing a same-sex marriage bill, a Fed judge ruling pro-Prop8 group must turn over internal records, Nevada’s DP law taking effect today or the Fed Judge in Florida ruling that, even with a Medical Power of Attorney you don’t have the right to say goodbye to your lover? OK, we’ll do ’em all!
So, Dallas state district judge Tena Callahan ruled that two men married in Massachusetts could be divorced in Texas. Texas! Fraking Texas!
He went on to say that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage violated equal protection laws. Texas of course has a voter driven constitutional ban on same-sex marriages. This opens the door for advocates to start taking the idea of an appellate overturning of the ban a little more serious. Freedom to Marry Texas or maybe Marriage Equality Texas…anyone?
Of course the Texas AG, Greg Abbott, had to piss on everyone’s parade. Typical…. He says that since the state doesn’t recognize the union, a state court can’t dissolve it. Abbott is using the old ‘if I can’t see it… then it’s not really there‘ method of law. But, as much as it pains me to say it… his logic is correct. Bigoted, but correct. Narrow minded, but correct. Douche like, but …still. You can’t dissolve something that doesn’t exist. Just ask you local atheist. So, are objective here is to prove it exists. Maybe people should start petitioning to have Massachusetts say “Texas? Sorry, we don’t recognize ‘those’ unions”…hehe.
Abbott is already working on his “swift” appeal. Expect it to hit the court docket by…what time is it?
More at The Dallas Morning News
State Rep. Greg Harris has been trying, for some time now, to pass a same-sex marriage bill passed in the Illinois House. There have been many, many, way to many road blocks. His two current bills had stalled a little. One was being held, forever, in committee and the other one just couldn’t get the votes…
Enter State Senator Heather Steans. As a straight ally, Steans believes that same-sex couples are entitled to the same rights, protections and privileges afforded to hetero unions. So, she teamed up with Harris and introduced the Equal Marriage Act, SB-2468. I shit you not! That’s the bill’s number. Every gay blog needs to run with that name. The bill will offer FULL marriage rights to same-sex couples in Illinois.
The momentum for the Senate bill will hopefully resurrect Harris’s House bill. I think it will. Harris had this to say, “This is a mainstream position, this is a moderate position, and it’s the right position to have in the state of Illinois. We should get it done and we should get it done now.”
More at Progress Illinois
I’ve been getting pretty sick of all the bad news coming out of California, in regards to PropHate I mean Prop8. But today there was an amazing victory. U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker said the Protect Marriage campaign has to turn it’s records over to the lawyers of two same-sex couples that are suing to overturn Prop8.
Walker ruled that communications and memos between the campaign’s leaders and professional consultants had an evidentiary value to the plaintiffs, aka the couples. These memos, notes and emails will be used by the couples’ lawyers to show the true reasons behind these groups getting Prop8 on the ballot.
The lawyers are arguing that, if they can show that the measure was motivated and propped up by hostility and hatred for gays and lesbians, then it violates constitutional las and must be overturned. Can this really be? All they have to do is show that the people behind Prop8 fought for it because they don’t like gays… and then it’s null and void? Do need to spend more than 5 mins proving that?
So, it looks like things may be heating up in this, once thought to be a fool’s errand, case pitting conservative PACs and religious leaders against loving committed adults seeking only the right to marry. The trial is set for January 11th 2010.
More at KTVU News
Today, despite Governor Jim Gibbons’ best efforts, the Nevada Domestic Partnership laws went into effect. Start the cheering now. I like being able to report things like this on this tired old gay blog. The bill was past back in May…with a little…*cough*… resistance from the Governor.
Gibbons actually vetoed the bill, on May 25th, stating that voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2002 limiting marriage between one man and one woman… and “I believe that because the voters have determined that the rights of marriage should apply only to married couples, only voters should determine whether those rights should apply to domestic partners.”
Luckily, the legislation in Carson City overrode his veto just six days later. Go team!
So, now the laws go into effect. It’s not marriage… but it’s a step.
More at the Edge Boston
Now for the crap… The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida dismissed a lawsuit field by Lambda Legal on behalf of a widowed lesbian who was denied entry into her dieing partner’s hospital room.
In February 2007, 39 year old Lisa Pond was struck down by a brain aneurysm while on vacation with her partner, Janice Langbehn, and her three adopted children. While at the hospital nurses refused to talk with Langbehn about what was happening or to get Pond’s medical history. Well that’s nothing new. That happens to LGBTers everyday… But Langbehn and Pond had set up power of attorney for each other.
The staff at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami denied the family entry into the room for the 8 hours while Pond slipped into a coma. A social worker told Langbehn that her power of attorney didn’t matter. Telling her ‘You’re in an anti-gay city and state‘. A doctor eventually came and spoke with Langbehn, telling her that Pond would die and that she could have no input into Pond’s care. Pond passed shortly after that. The children didn’t get to say goodbye. Neither did Langbehn.
It went even further. Langbehn was denied copies of the death certificate. Which she needs, to get life insurance and to file for social security benefits for their children. Anti-gay city and state, indeed!
Back to the case. The judge ruled saying that the hospital has no obligation to allow their patients’ visitors or to allow those visitors into their trauma rooms. I could agree with this IF it was a policy that was applied to ALL visitors across the board. But as the staff stated… it’s because they are lesbians.
But what about her power of attorney. Doesn’t the hospital HAVE to consult with that entitled person when deciding the care for a protected patient? Doesn’t that advocate have the right to physically see the person they are making medical decisions for?
If the hospital can do this… then what the hell is the point of a power of attorney? But here’s an even scary question… Based on the judges ruling, even if they had been legally married and that marriage was recognized by the state, at least on paper, wouldn’t the hospital still be able to keep a LGBT family from seeing their loved one before they die…
More at Southern Voice
I hope that you are encouraged by all the landmark victories we had today… but moreover I hope you are inspired by our huge loss, in Florida, to keep the pressure not just on… but at the boil over point!