Larabee: DOMA ruling grounded in Constitution | The Salt Lake Tribune

“The liberty protected by the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause contains within it the prohibition against denying to any person the equal protection of the laws. While the Fifth Amendment itself withdraws from Government the power to degrade or demean in the way this law does, the equal protection guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment makes that Fifth Amendment right all the more specific and all the better understood and preserved.” — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

via Larabee: DOMA ruling grounded in Constitution | The Salt Lake Tribune.

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DOMA’s Demise: A Wake-Up Call for Employers – Businessweek

We don’t have to peg our wages and benefits to prevailing legal standards in every city, state, and country in which we operate. Would we peg our customer-service policies to merely what local laws require? Not likely. We’re used to dealing with customers and suppliers as though they are valued partners in our businesses. Our relationships with them are governed less by minimum legal requirements and more by our desire to work collaboratively for the benefit of all parties.

Not so with employees, for far too many employers. Organizations that merely complied with the old DOMA-era laws are scrambling to rewrite policies, employee communication materials, and training programs, and they’ll be at the task for months.

To avoid the tedious rewrites and expensive reprinting headaches in the future, corporate leaders can get ahead of all that by setting their sights higher than “Our Employee Relations goal is to not break the law.” They can establish a human workplace that attracts the best talent in their industries.

When you shift your human resources lens away from “What does the law require?” toward “What will it take to hire awesome people and keep them excited?” everybody’s job gets easier. If we could get away from the prevailing compliance mind-set in HR and teach human resources people to build trust, collaboration, and creativity among their co-workers, the vast majority of our HR-related regulatory headaches would go away.

via DOMA’s Demise: A Wake-Up Call for Employers – Businessweek.

60 Florida Counties That Don’t Recognize Domestic Partnerships

In 2007, Janice Langbehn, her wife Lisa, and their four kids traveled from Washington state to Miami to take a cruise to escape the winter. But before they even boarded the ship, Lisa collapsed, suffering a brain aneurysm.

She was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center where a social worker told Janice that she was in “an anti-gay city and state” and would not be able to see Lisa or learn about her condition without a healthcare proxy.

That’s because at the time, Miami-Dade County and Florida did not formally recognize domestic partnerships.

As Lisa’s conditioned worsened over the day and night and she was moved to Neuro ICU, Janice says she was kept in the dark although she and Lisa had a living will and power of attorney for health care decisions.

Janice and her kids were finally able to see Lisa for ten minutes before she died. Read more of her story here.

In 2008, Miami-Dade created a domestic partnership registry, granting hospital and jail visitation rights to couples like Janice and Lisa.

60 Florida Counties That Don’t Recognize Domestic Partnerships.

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Lake County School Board May Slash All Student Clubs To Blockade Gay-Straight Alliance UPDATE

A central Florida school district may ban extracurricular student clubs in an attempt to prevent the formation of a Gay-Straight Alliance at a local middle school.

The Lake County School District discussed amending the rules regarding student clubs in order to blockade a Gay-Straight Alliance at Carver Middle School in Leesburg, according to the Miami Herald. A group of students attempted to form the Gay-Straight Alliance during the 2011-2012 school year, but were turned down. One eighth-grade student, Bayli Silberstein, persisted and reapplied for permission in November.

Silberstein’s push for a GSA is in response to anti-gay bullying at the school, according to WFTV. She claims she and her friends were tormented by others for their sexual orientation. “It hurt, and that is something that I did not want to see continuing,” she told central Florida’s ABC local affiliate WFTV.

After Silberstein’s application was previously denied, the American Civil Liberties Union got involved, according to WFTV. The ACLU sent a letter to the school district saying that if school officials continued to obstruct the formation of the group, taxpayers may have to foot the bill for a very expensive lawsuit.

The Florida School district is legally obligated to permit a Gay-Straight Alliance, per the federal Equal Access Act. The legislation states that it is unlawful for a school receiving federal funding “to deny equal access or a fair opportunity to, or discriminate against, any students who wish to conduct a meeting… on the basis of the religious, political, philosophical, or other content of the speech.”

So now, Lake County may sacrifice all to thwart one.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, school board members mulled over the issue on Monday. Chairwoman Kyleen Fischer reasoned that the school is not responsible for “social engineering.” Board member Tod Howard expressed worry over losing the more valuable clubs, remarking during the meeting, “I am very concerned that one club would push out the remainder of the clubs that are doing good things.”

via Lake County School Board May Slash All Student Clubs To Blockade Gay-Straight Alliance UPDATE.

Age of the ‘gayby’ arrives in South Florida, finally – South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com

Couples pushing strollers. Play dates at the park. Daddy get-togethers for Sunday brunch.

South Florida’s gay community has taken on a distinctly family-oriented feel these days — two years after a landmark state appeals court ruling threw out Florida’s 33-year-old ban on gay adoption. And rushing in to offer resources and support is a growing crop of parenting blogs, family-fun events and grow-your-family seminars.

Welcome to the age of the “gayby,” South Florida.

It’s an age of discovery for new dads like Fort Lauderdale hairstylist Henry Amador. In January, he started DADsquared, a blog, Facebook page and Twitter site for gay fathers. He’s watched his blog readership grow to more than 700 since — a testament, he says, to the hunger for gay parenting content.

“I was looking for gay parent resources and, quite frankly, couldn’t find much after [the blog’s] conception, so many families like ours started to reach out,” said Amador, who adopted infant son, Ben, with his husband in October 2011. “It’s been remarkable.”

via Age of the ‘gayby’ arrives in South Florida, finally – South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com.

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At Long Last, Dignity? – NYTimes.com

If you live for 80 years, Chuck Bennett told me, you see things you never imagined. Crazy, fantastical stuff.

A man on the moon. “Amazing,” he said.

The Soviet Union’s disintegration. “Also amazing.”

And on Nov. 6, if the polls are right and his hope is fulfilled, the people of Maine may pass a referendum for same-sex marriage, which no state has adopted by popular vote before.

“That’s equally amazing to me,” he said. Ten minutes later, he circled back to say it again. “I would like to reiterate how amazing it is.”

Bennett was born in 1932 and grew up in Brooklyn without anything but slurs and clinical terms to describe his attraction to other men. In the late 1950s, he was forced out of the Navy for being gay.

He never found a long-term romantic partner, thwarted in part by a disapproving society with no obvious role models for him, and he bought his dream house on the ocean here 15 years ago with two close friends, because he didn’t want to grow old alone and didn’t expect to meet anyone special, not so late in the game.

“You know that old saying, Born 50 years too soon?” he asked me. “I think I do feel something of that.”

via At Long Last, Dignity? – NYTimes.com.

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Gay teen denied Eagle Scout: ‘Change is happening’ over Boy Scouts anti-gay policy – U.S. News

NEW YORK — On his 18th birthday, Ryan Andresen received a symbol of the Boy Scouts’ highest honor, which the national organization had denied him because he is gay: an Eagle Scout pin.
He got it on Monday from another Eagle Scout, Matthew Kimball, 30, who was also in his troop years ago and publicly came out as gay after learning about his fellow Scout’s plight.

“I look at it; it just gives me hope,” Andresen, of Moraga, Calif., told NBC News on Friday during a visit to New York. “I see it as there’s people out there that support me and care about me and believe that I earned it. And it also shows me that things are happening, change is happening, there’s hope in the Boy Scouts to change this policy.”

Andresen learned more than a week ago from his father, Eric, that the Scoutmaster of Troop 212 would not be signing off on his Eagle application even though he’d completed the requirements. The father said the Scoutmaster told him he was grappling with the conflict between Ryan’s sexual orientation and the policy set by the national organization that bans Gay Scouts and leaders.

via Gay teen denied Eagle Scout: ‘Change is happening’ over Boy Scouts anti-gay policy – U.S. News.

Boy Scouts Deny Gay Member Eagle Scout Rank – Poliglot

A Boy Scout just days away from his 18th birthday has been denied the organization’s highest award after revealing he is gay.

The Boy Scouts of America kicked Ryan Andresen, who has been involved in the Scouts for 12 years, out of the organization after he came out to his friends and family as gay. Andresen had met all the requirements for receiving the prestigious Eagle Award, but the scoutmaster of San Francisco-area Troop 212 refused to sign off on the paperwork designating Andresen an Eagle Scout because of his sexual orientation.

via Boy Scouts Deny Gay Member Eagle Scout Rank – Poliglot.

Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy Assures Mike Huckabee That Nothing Has Changed | Advocate.com

Chick-fil-A COO Dan Cathy spoke with Mike Huckabee on Friday to assure him that nothing has changed about his restaurant chain’s antigay ways.

Huckabee is the organizer of the “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” that supposedly set a sales record for the fast-food company. The Fox News host and failed presidential candidate rallied thousands to defend a series of comments Cathy made, in which he called same-sex marriage “twisted” and seemed to cop to his company foundation’s history of more than $5 million in donations to antigay groups by declaring cavalierly “guilty as charged.”

Then a Chicago alderman named Proco “Joe” Moreno claimed he was finally going to relent and allow Chick-fil-A to expand to his ward because company officials had agreed to end donations to antigay groups and drafted an anti-discrimination statement that was sent to local operators. That statement, titled “Chick-fil-A: Who We Are,” was posted on the company’s website this week and set off backlash from those hordes of “Appreciation Day” believers. Now Cathy wants to clarify that, no, the company doesn’t have any such agreement.

via Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy Assures Mike Huckabee That Nothing Has Changed | Advocate.com.

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