Posts Tagged ‘’

Judge Walker Raises Thoughtful, Provocative Questions of Prop 8 Litigants

June 10th, 2010 No comments

In today’s column over at, I analyze a few of the many questions that federal judge Vaughn Walker has asked the litigants to address during next Wednesday’s closing arguments in the Prop 8 (marriage equality) case.

Here are a couple of other analysts. The casually brilliant Nan Hunter takes an optimistic, global view of the questions and what they might signal about how this judge is thinking about the case. This analysis by Paul Hogarth runs through many of the questions in detail.

It’s still unclear whether we’ll have broadcast access to the closing arguments. I’m participating in a conference call later today on the issue, and will provide any relevant updates then.

How DADT Supports Marriage Equality

June 3rd, 2010 No comments

I make the argument in this week’s column, just posted, over at

Understanding the Repeal of DADT

May 27th, 2010 No comments

Over on, I walk through the significance of the repeal on DADT, which may happen as soon as today. As you’ll see there, the repeal wouldn’t take effect until certain other steps and approvals take place. While these things might and probably will happen, there’s no guarantee they will.

Marriage Equality Completes Sweep of Iberian Peninsula

May 18th, 2010 No comments

Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva announces Parliament's decision to legalise gay marriage

The President of Portugal, Anibal Cavaco Silva, has just ratified a bill that brings marriage equality to that nation: the eighth in the world, and the sixth in Europe, to take this increasingly common step. And several other countries, like France and the U.K., permit “marriage in all but name” for same-sex couples.

Meanwhile, the Governor of Minnesota vetoes a bill that would simply have allowed surviving members of same-sex couples to decide what to do with their deceased partners’ remains, and permitted wrongful death lawsuits. The reasons? The bill was unnecessary and an affront to traditional marriage. (I’ll have more to say on the wrongful death part of this in Thursday’s column over at

This desperate propping up of “traditional marriage” against anything that might send any kind of indirect message is depressing. Compare the refreshingly practical approach of Silva, who personally opposes same-sex unions but has more important fights to wage:

Vetoing the bill would only send it back to Parliament where lawmakers would overturn his decision, [Silva] said, adding that the country needed to focus on overcoming an economic crisis that has increased unemployment and deepened poverty.

“Given that fact, I feel I should not contribute to a pointless extension of this debate, which would only serve to deepen the divisions between the Portuguese and divert the attention of politicians away from the grave problems affecting us,” Cavaco Silva said.

One day in the not-too-distant future, a leader of this country will make a similarly level-headed statement. Just don’t expect it to come from the current President.

A Conversation with Dan Choi

May 6th, 2010 No comments

Just posted over at is my take on the conversation with Lt. Dan Choi that highlighted Equality Forum this past weekend. The comments coming in reflect very different views of Choi, whose activism either excites, scares, or annoys people.

Here’s an excerpt, but it’s hard to capture the full measure of what he was expressing without reading the whole thing:

He understands that, at this moment, events like the passage of Prop 8 and the explosion of social networking have enabled his kind of activism to bloom in crazy proliferation. And there’s plenty to protest: More than once, Choi listed a mix of governmental and private discrimination against us, including the gay blood donation ban, bullying of gay youth, and the negation of our relationships by hospitals. These issues don’t go away with economic success.

But it’s Choi’s mention of these issues that leads me to a criticism: He overlooks that the Obama Administration is already addressing some of these issues, albeit not in a way that grabs headlines. Consider the recent memo directing HHS to issue rules respecting patients’ visitation wishes, or the DOJ’s motion to intervene in a gay bullying case based on a contested and progressive view of gender-based stereotyping. I guess a D- is better than an F, but I didn’t hear any acknowledgment of the positives.

It’s not Choi’s role to do that, though. In ways brilliant, blunt, and brave, Lt. Dan Choi is the kick in some clean, crisp pants that need some grass-roots stains.

How’m I Doing So Far?

April 22nd, 2010 No comments

Passably, Mr. President, but just. Here‘s my column over at 365 explaining my reasons. Obama gets credit for the administrative and judicial enforcement stuff he’s doing. As for legislation? Not so much.

Categories: 365gay column, Obama Tags: ,

Ending the Ban on Blood Donations from Gay Men

April 15th, 2010 No comments

In today’s column over at, I take on the absolute ban on blood donations by menwho have had sex with any other man — even once, since 1977. This may not be a story many are aware of, and there’s now — finally — some movement to get the FDA to relax the restriction, perhaps down to one year. (It would be even better if the new rule would specify risky behaviors instead of the generic “sex.” As we learned from former Prez Bill Clinton, the definition of sex isn’t so clear.)

Why We Need to Care About Marriage Equality

April 8th, 2010 No comments

Today’s column over at makes the case.

A Few Days’ Respite

March 31st, 2010 No comments

Starting tomorrow, I’ll be away from Internet access (OK, I’ll still have my iPhone) for a few days. So I’ve decided to take a few days off from blogging — for the first time since I’ve started, really. In my absence, several of my favorite posts from the past year-plus of blogging will re-run, with original posting dates at the bottom. The site has many more readers than it did at the start, so I thought I’d run a few of my favorites (not necessarily the ones that received the most comments).

I hope you enjoy them. Meanwhile, for something new, check out tomorrow’s column over at; the topic is a bullying case from upstate New York, and my take on the Obama Administration’s positive role in bringing about a settlement. It should post in the late morning or early afternoon. If I can, I’ll alert readers when it goes up.

May you all enjoy some time with friends and family during these few days that have religious significance for so many.

Categories: 365gay column, blogs Tags: , ,

The First Legally Married, Gay Dad in the U.S. Congress?

March 24th, 2010 No comments

Read Melanie Nathan’s short profile of Palm Springs Mayor and Democratic candidate for the US House of Representatives, Steve Pougnet. He’s running against Sonny Bono’s widow, Mary Bono Mack (now married to Florida Congressman Connie Mack). Bono Mack, of course, is the stepmother of the one and only Chaz (formerly Chastity) Bono, the offspring of the inexplicably famous Sonny and Cher. But I digress. Read Nathan’s account for a good sense of what having a legally married (before Prop 8 passed) father could do to the climate in the House. In sum: It would put another human face on the arguments for true equality, and the first of an otherwise mainstream, married parent. It’s going to be even harder for DOMA defenders to stand up and argue their position in front of this dad of three-year-old twins. As you might guess, I see a kindred spirit in Pougnet. (h/t Lee Dorsey)

BTW, my column tomorrow is on the legal treatment of gender complexity, especially in the context of marriage. I’ll expand on it here after it runs.

OK, I can’t resist doing this. Please, forgive me for bringing down the house (now you’re curious, admit it):