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This and That – open thread

With all the hubbub last night (two threads still have comments going strong — Open thread – oh yes, he can and Jim Neal backs Obama/Clinton ticket), some items piled up in the mailbag…

* New York State Assembly Passes Bill Banning Transgender Discrimination. Today the New York State Assembly voted 102-33 to amend the state’s human rights law to include anti-discrimination protections based upon gender identity and expression.  The bill (A.6584a), known as the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) bans discrimination against transgender people in housing, employment, credit, public accommodations, and other areas of everyday life.

* Pittsburgh City Council to vote on “Mutual Commitment Registry.” (h/t, Sue Kerr):

The legislation, which was to be introduced as this issue goes to press, notes that Pittsburgh “is made up of a diversity of households” that include “committed, unmarried couples in either same or opposite sex relationships.” And in order to provide “efficient and streamlined disposition of health care … or other benefits that the City or businesses within the City might offer,” the legislation would allow “any two adults in a committed relationship … to obtain a certificate attesting to their status.”

While the certificate would not be legally binding as a marriage license is, it could be used by private employers to determine which employees qualify for domestic-partner benefits.

* Deb Price discusses the lasting impact of Lawrence v. Texas, the pro-privacy ruling that has enabled advancement of civil equality.

* The jackass busybodies at the Alliance Defense Fund are suing to stop NY from recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages.

“The separation-of-powers doctrine prohibits executive agencies and officials – like Paterson – from exceeding, altering or acting in conflict with legislative policy determinations,” lawyers for the Christian group argued in court papers.

Governor Paterson, they contended, has “seized the Legislature’s authority, and overridden the will of the people.”

More below the fold, including a rural Pride held in Minnesota.* Andy Birkey of the Minnesota Monitor reports on Pine City Minnesota’s GLBT Pride — what he says is the nation’s only truly rural GLBT Pride festival — held last weekend.  Take a look:

* Robin Tyler, one of the original plaintiffs in the California Supreme Court marriage equality lawsuit, Tyler v. County of LA has a regular column at The Huffington Post. Check out “My Reaction to the California Marriage Ruling — As the Plaintiff“.

* Kentucky Gov. restores protections for LGBT state employees. Steve Beshear (D) has signed an executive order prohibiting discrimination against LGBT state employees. Beshear’s order restores the protection that former Gov. Ernie Fletcher (R) stripped from state policy in 2006.

* Al Hunt: Gay-Marriage Opponents Divorced From Reality. This nail-on-the-head piece strikes hard at the GOP’s reliance on homo fear and smear.

[T]he arguments against gay marriage are eroding. While critics say it destroys the institution of marriage, there’s no evidence of that. Massachusetts sanctioned gay marriages four years ago, and there have been no reported incidents of straight couples splitting because of it; indeed, the initial furor has died down as people realize this doesn’t threaten anyone.

Far more insidious is the 50 percent divorce rate in the U.S. and that a third of all children are born to a single mother; that’s three times the rate of four decades ago.

*  The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center’s Learning Curve Program welcomes Right Reverend V. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop to serve in the Anglican Communion, for an evening of inter-faith and political conversation. The Right Reverend will discuss his new book, In The Eye of the Storm (Seabury Books), his role in the award-winning documentary For The Bible Tells Me So, his upcoming domestic partnership ceremony with his partner of 20 years, and his plan to attend next month’s Lambeth Conference in Canterbury, England.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding