News items affecting gays,
lesbians, bisexuals & transsexuals
2010-January, February & March
In the following, "SSM" refers to "same-sex marriage."
See also events in 2010-JAN, FEB and
MAR that demonstrate a
cultural shift towards acceptance of sexual minorities.
News during 2010-JAN:
||2010-JAN-01: NH: Same-sex couples married on New Years Day: A New Hampshire law legalizing SSM was passed on 2009-JUN-03 and came into
effect on JAN-01. Dozens of same-sex couples with friends and families
appeared at the steps of the State Capital on New Years Eve waiting their turn
to be married after midnight. Jennifer Morton, 38, and Michelle Morrison, 38,
had waited for 13 years for this opportunity. Morton said: "It?s very
exciting. I'm really glad it happened in our lifetimes. I didn't know if it
would." Rev. Steve Edington officiated their marriage. He said: "Personally, I
feel honored to be able to be a part of what I think is a historical event for
same-sex couples in New Hampshire." 1
2010-JAN-07: NJ: New Jersey state Senate kills same-sex marriage
bill: By a vote of 14 to 20, the Senate rejected a bill that would
have made New Jersey the sixth state in the nation to allow SSM. More details.
||2010-JAN-11: CA: Testimony to challenge Prop. 8 and legalize SSM
begins: Testimony at the lawsuit Perry v. Schwarzenegger has begun
at federal court in San Francisco. A lesbian couple and a gay couple are
attempting to overturn Prop. 8 and to take their case to the U.S. Supreme
Court. This could conceivably be a near-repeat of the famous Loving v.
Virginia case that legalized interracial marriage across the US. in the
1960s, except that it would deal with sexual orientation instead of race. More info.
||2010-JAN-26: USA: eHarmony settles gay discrimination lawsuit: In a proposed settlement between the leading online dating service,
eHarmony, and some irate lesbian, gay, and possibly bisexual clients. The
company has allegedly agreed to pay about $500,000 to an estimated 150
Californians plus about $1.5 million in court and legal fees, but has not
admitted any wrongdoing. They also agreed to link its same-sex and
opposite-sex dating web sites and allow people to use both without paying
duplicate fees; this would have a major impact on costs for bisexuals. 2
News during 2010-FEB:
||2010-FEB-01: MD, TN, etc: College access to LGBT information prevented: "Teaching Tolerance" a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, tells of
an amusing problem where an employee of a college had problems sending and
receiving Emails. An IT administrator found out why: the employee's first
name was "Gay" and the school's Internet filters blocked any references to
sexual orientation or gender identity. The same problem has surfaced with
Internet access in some schools. At Hartford County Public Schools in Maryland, when students at Havre de Grace High School researched matters relating to
LGBT topics, they hit what Teaching Tolerance calls "The Great Wall of
Nitwittedness." Students received a message "LGBT Content. Access Denied."
Their censorship was relatively sophisticated. The school allowed access to
anti-LGBT sites, but not to civil rights or LGBT-positive sites. In
2009-JUN, Nashville and Knox County schools in Tennessee had the same "Great
Wall" in place. All were removed after the American Civil Liberties Union
got involved. ACLU staff attorney Catherine Crump said: "We’re pleased that
these schools are finally living up to the legal obligation to allow the
free and open exchange of ideas and information." 3
||2010-FEB-01: USA: Anti-discrimination law for students introduced: "House resolution H.R. 4530, the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA), has been introduced in Congress." It would prohibit discrimination against any public school student that is based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill was introduced by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), who has been a leading proponent of equality in education. 4 More details.
||2010-FEB-18: DC: Catholic Charities in Washington closes adoption & foster care agency: Catholic Charities cancelled their contract with the city to provide foster and adoption services. Their theology requires them to discriminate against otherwise qualified loving, committed same-sex couples in child placement. More information.
||2010-FEB-22: Malwai: Gay couple to be sentenced: A same-sex couple, Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, have been found guilty of gross indecency and will be sentenced in March. They are guilty of taking part in an unofficial marriage ceremony. They face up to 14 years in prison. 5
News during 2010-MAR:
- 2010-MAR-04: Washington DC: Same-sex couples register for marriage licenses: The District of Columbia became the sixth political jurisdiction in the U.S. and the 19th political jurisdiction in North America to legalize same-sex marriages. More
- 2010-MAR-04: MS: Student banned from attending prom: The Itawamba County School District in Northern Mississippi issued a memo on FEB-05 stating its criteria for students attending the Itawamba County Agricultural High School prom on APR-02. One of the requirements was that student's dates were to be of the opposite sex. The District subsequently banned one of their students, Constance McMillan, 18, from attending, because she wants to take her girlfriend. She was also told that she could not wear a tuxedo to the prom. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sent a letter to the District threatening a lawsuit.
Mat Staver of the fundamentalist Christian legal defense group Liberty Counsel said:
"Obviously individuals can come alone; they could even come with a friend. But when it becomes more sexual, as it relates to a prom -- and [when] it becomes same sex -- I think the school has the legitimate right, particularly within the law, that allows it to define the kind of event that it is going to sponsor."
On MAR-10, the District decided to cancel the high school prom:
"... due to the distractions to the educational process caused by recent events. ... It is our hope that private citizens will organize an event for the juniors and seniors. However, at this time, we feel that it is in the best interest of the Itawamba County School District, after taking into consideration the education, safety and well being of our students."
Kristy Bennett, legal director for the ACLU of Mississippi, said the district was trying to avoid the issue. She said:
"But that doesn't take away their legal obligations to treat all the students fairly. On Constance's behalf, this is unfair to her. All she's trying to do is assert her rights."
Constance fears retaliation from fellow students because of the District's decision.
One News Now conducted a poll of its web-site visitors asking "What is your reaction to this school district's decision. They offered three options:
- 70% "The district should be commended for sticking to its morality-based policy"
- 25% "The community should rally behind the district and host a private event."
- 5% "The ACLU should know better than to flex its muscle in the Bible Belt."
They didn't offer an option that was critical of homophobia or of the school district. 8,9
- 2010-MAR-04: Canada: Dispute over contents of citizenship guide: The Canadian Press reported that the federal government has removed a factual discussion of homosexual rights from the a new version of guide that it uses with new immigrants. The updated guide will be used in citizenship tests starting MAR-15. Allegedly, the initial draft of the new guide contained mention of at least two milestones in the trend towards equal treatment for LGBT persons: protections against discrimination of persons of all sexual orientations, and the legalization of marriage for all loving committed couples, whether they be of the same or opposite sex. These references were later removed from the guide. According to a memo from bureaucrats sent in 2009-JUN, the editing was done at the request of the immigration minister's office. However, Minister Jason Kenney said that: "I did not do such a thing. No, no, you are wrong." With the new version of the guide, new immigrants will not be made aware of the acceptance of sexual minorities in Canada; they might continue to exhibit homophobia that they picked up in their country of origin. 6
The present government of Canada is controlled by the Conservative Party of Canada, which is a merger of right wing parties
including the Reform Party which was profoundly homophobic. Since taking office, the Conservative Party has rolled back advances in laws and regulations involving sexual minorities, women, natives, and others.
- 2010-MAR-05: Mexico: Same-sex couples register for marriage licenses: Homosexual and bisexual couples registered for marriage licenses starting today. Latin Americas first same-sex marriage law took effect today. They will be able to use their licenses in a week to ten days after the paperwork is processed. 7
- 2010-MAR-28: USA: Pentagon makes a major change to its Don't Ask Don't Tell policy: The Pentagon will limit the use of third-party accusations when investigating service members. This will make it more difficult for the military to expel gay and lesbian troops who were outed by others. More details.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Cindy Adams, "New Years Day: Couples marry at midnight as gay marriage
becomes legal in New Hampshire," The Examiner, 2010-JAN-02, at: http://www.examiner.com/
- "eHarmony agrees to settle gay discrimination suit," Associated Press,
2010-JAN-26, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
- "LGBT: Content. Access Denied," Teaching Tolerance, 2010-FEB-02, at: http://www.tolerance.org/
- "H.R. 4530, the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA)," PlanetTransgender, 2010-JAN-28, at: http://planetransgender.blogspot.com/
- "Malawi launches operation against high-profile gay and lesbian people," White Ashes, 2010-MAR-04, at: http://whiteashes-buddhatn.blogspot.com/
- "Kenny denis removing gay rights from guide," The Toronto Star, 2010-MAR-04, Page A12.
- "Mexico: Homosexuals rush for marriage permit," The Toronto Star, 2010-MAR-05, Page A22.
- Allie Margin, "Bible belt school policy under attack," One News Now, 2010-MAR-04, at: http://www.onenewsnow.com/
- "Miss. school axes prom after lesbian date request," Associated Press, 2010-MAR-11, at: http://www.onenewsnow.com/
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Ontario Consultants for Religious Tolerance, Suite 128, 829 Norwest Rd., Kingston ON, Canada, K7P 2N3., and are intended to be available to anyone
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Copyright © 2010 by the Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2010-JAN-02
Latest update and review: 2010-APR-28
Compiler: B.A. Robinson