LGBT Fast Friday News 1/18/13

Fast Friday is a weekly feature in which I provide links to news items and other resources of interest to the LGBT community.

Check out my tongue-in-cheek DOMA Rap on the law office’s YouTube page. It was written the night before my guest lecture on same-sex marriage and LGBT rights to a group of family law paralegal students. Just for fun .. and hopefully to teach them something about DOMA.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel for informational videos on a variety of legal topics to be posted this year. http://www.youtube.com/user/IreneOlszewskiLawCT

Man Discharged Under DADT Named Co-Chair of Obama’s Inaugural Committee

Lawyers From LGBT Group to Join Supreme Court Bar

Mayor Emanuel signs Illinois marriage equality petition

CT LG Blog FB Image

For those who do not have access to Facebook or haven’t had the time to log recently, here is a sampling of the week’s posts from our Connecticut Lesbian and Gay Law Facebook page:

Smallest state becomes big battleground on same-sex marriage as RI House holds hearing

Vicco, Kentucky, called smallest town in America with gay-rights protections

French leaders unmoved by march against marriage equality

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Stay connected with our Social Media Pages:

Connecticut Lesbian and Gay Law blog on Facebook for all blog posts from this blog as well as additional stories and links of interest to the LGBT community. 

Attorney O’s Midnight Musings Blog on Facebook for all blog posts from that blog as well as other legal news.

Law Offices of Irene C. Olszewski, LLC on Facebook

Law Offices of Irene C. Olszewski, LLC on Google+

Law Offices of Irene C. Olszewski, LLC on Twitter

Be sure to LIKE our pages and become a follower!

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Disclaimer: The information, comments and links posted on the blog do not constitute legal advice. I will not respond to any specific legal questions in the comments section of this blog.  Read my entire disclaimer.

copyright 2013 Irene C. Olszewski, Esq.

Looking Back on 2012: A Banner Year for LGBT Rights

As 2012 comes to a close and I write my final post of the year. I can’t help but feel a sense of gratitude for all of the accomplishments realized by the LGBT community.  It has truly been a banner year.

Same-sex couples in Maine, Maryland and Washington won the right to marry at the ballot box this November while voters defeated a ban against gay marriage in Minnesota.   Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was repealedPresident Obama came out in support of same-sex marriage.

Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay member of the U.S. Senate, will be sworn in this January and an unprecedented number of LGB legislators won or kept seats in Congress.

More celebrities have joined the cause in support of gay rights, including Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman.

Court battles were won and more than one court held DOMA to be unconstitutional.  Best of all, the United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear the DOMA cases this term.

Professionally, I had a wonderful year as well.  As a result of this blog, I was invited to be a panelist at the Secrets of the Legal Bloggers event hosted by the Young Lawyers Section of the Connecticut Bar Association.   There, I met two aspiring bloggers with an interest in LGBT issues.  I was interviewed by the Connecticut Post in May about President Obama’s support of same-sex marriage.  This blog turned 3 in July (my Attorney O’s Midnight Musings blog turned 3 in June).  In September, I had the opportunity to be a guest lecturer at a family law paralegal class at Manchester Community College on the topic of same-sex marriage and LGBT rights.  For fun (and to hopefully engage the students), I wrote and performed a tongue-in-cheek rap song about DOMA that I hope to post on this blog sometime in 2013.

I was elected vice-president of the Collaborative Divorce Professionals, in September, which was quite exciting as I am such a firm believer in the collaborative divorce process.  I was contacted by the BBC in London to give an interview on the Boy Scouts’ discriminatory policy banning gays from the organization.  Although that interview never materialized due to a major world crisis that preempted the story, it was gratifying that my opinion had been sought by a reporter.  In October, I was privileged to attend the Diversity Award dinner for my mentor and colleague, Judge Maureen M. Murphy, a tireless advocate for LGBT rights who worked for marriage equality in Connecticut and was part of the groundbreaking Kerrigen case that ultimately won same-sex couples the right to marry in this state.   Finally, I ended 2012 with an interview for a piece on DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) that is supposed to run in the Hartford Courant.

All in all, it was an exciting year for me and for LGBT citizens in general.

To the wonderful clients who entrusted me with their legal matters this year, thank you for the opportunity to work with you and to learn from you.  Whether working with clients wishing to draft Wills and documents of protection, wanting to protect their families by going through the step-parent adoption process, seeking divorce or working with the Probate process for a loved one’s estate, it was a gratifying year to have met so many wonderful people.  I thank you for the many conversations, for your displays of courage and humor and tenacity in the face of adversity.  You are all to be admired.

As 2013 approaches, I am optimistic that we will continue to see advances in LGBT rights and protections.  There will be opposition, to be sure — but I choose to believe that the LGBT community will ultimately prevail.

Have a fabulous night as you celebrate the end of 2012 and the start of 2013.  Be safe in whatever you choose to do.

I wish you joy, love and prosperity in the coming year.  I also wish each of you great peace.

Happy New Year and thanks for reading.

Happy New Year 2013

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Stay connected with our Social Media Pages:

Connecticut Lesbian and Gay Law blog on Facebook for all blog posts from this blog as well as additional stories and links of interest to the LGBT community. 

Attorney O’s Midnight Musings Blog on Facebook for all blog posts from that blog as well as other legal news.

Law Offices of Irene C. Olszewski, LLC on Facebook

Law Offices of Irene C. Olszewski, LLC on Google+

Law Offices of Irene C. Olszewski, LLC on Twitter

Be sure to LIKE our pages and become a follower!

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Disclaimer: The information, comments and links posted on the blog do not constitute legal advice. I will not respond to any specific legal questions in the comments section of this blog.  Read my entire disclaimer.

copyright 2012 Irene C. Olszewski, Esq.

Pentagon Ready for End of Gay Military Ban

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) is finally going away. At one minute after midnight, the military will no longer ban gays from openly serving. It has been a long time coming but they day has finally arrived.

“No one should be left with the impression that we are unprepared. We are prepared for repeal,” said Pentagon press secretary George Little.

Read:  DADT Repeal: Pentagon Says It’s Ready For End Of Gay Military Ban

Read: On eve of DADT repeal, it’s business as usual for military

Read: HRC Applauds End of DADT

Read: ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ fades away Tuesday

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Disclaimer: The information, comments and links posted on the blog do not constitute legal advice. I will not respond to any specific legal questions in the comments section of this blog. Read my entire disclaimer.

copyright 2011 Irene C. Olszewski

Connecticut Lesbian and Gay Law Blog Celebrates 2nd Anniversary Today!

Two years ago today, I published my first post on this blog.  In the months since, I have marveled at how many people I have met as a result of my efforts.  I’ve spoken to numerous reporters about issues concerning the LGBT community, most of whom found me by way of this blog.  Some of the resulting articles appear here and here and here and here.  In January of this year, this blog became available for the Kindle device.  That was exciting.

I’ve enjoyed the thoughtful comments posted by my readers and the many e-mails I have received with feedback on specific posts.  It has been a rewarding journey.

In two years, so much has happened in the LGBT world that it almost makes my head spin.  Same-sex marriage became legal in a few more states (although California took the right away after the fact and Maine never allowed it to begin), and other states enacted civil union laws.   DOMA and DADT have been challenged.  Some states have added protections for LGBT citizens to their statutes and there have been numerous conflicts between the so-called family values groups and lawmakers over LGBT issues.  If you’re new here, I invite you to go back through the archives to see for yourself just how much has happened since I published that first post in 2009.  It’s been quite a ride for the LGBT community, to be sure.

As I embark on year three of this blog, I’m excited to know that the LGBT world will continue changing and growing for the better.  I’m thrilled that I will be able to post on the many triumphs that the community will celebrate — and a little sad that I’ll also have to post on some defeats.  I’m an eternal optimist, however, so I’m sure I will be posting far more often about triumphs!

Last month, I celebrated the second anniversary of my other legal blog, Attorney O’s Midnight Musings.  Two years really does go by quickly!

A heartfelt thank you to all of my loyal readers and a great big welcome to anyone reading today for the first time.  I look forward to another year of authoring the Connecticut Lesbian and Gay Law blog.

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Disclaimer: The information, comments and links posted on the blog do not constitute legal advice. I will not respond to any specific legal questions in the comments section of this blog. Read my entire disclaimer.

copyright 2011 Irene C. Olszewski

Obama Administration’s Position on DOMA and DADT Repeals

The White House released its Statement of Administrative Policy H.R. 1540 – National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2012 which supports the repeal of DOMA and condemns the DADT repeal delays.

With respect to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the statement reads:

“The Administration strongly objects to any legislative attempts (such as section 533) to directly or indirectly undermine, prevent, or delay the implementation of the repeal, as such efforts create uncertainty for servicemembers and their families.”

It’s position on DOMA:

“The Administration strongly objects to sections 534 and 535, believes that section 3 of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is discriminatory, and supports DOMA’s repeal.”

Read the entire Statement of Administrative Policy here.

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Disclaimer: The information, comments and links posted on the blog do not constitute legal advice. I will not respond to any specific legal questions in the comments section of this blog. Read my entire disclaimer.

copyright 2011 Irene C. Olszewski

House Votes to Repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell … Now It’s Up to the Senate

In a 250-175 vote today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to repeal the military’s discriminatory Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) policy. The next move belongs to the Senate. Unfortunately, although it is reported that there will be enough Senate votes in favor of the repeal, there may not be enough time to get the bill to the floor. According to the Hartford Courant:

No time has been set for a Senate vote on repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Failure to overturn the policy this year could relegate the issue to the back burner next year when Republicans, who are far less supportive of allowing openly gay individuals to serve in the military, take over the House and gain strength in the Senate.

The Washington Post reported that the House voted on the new bill first in order to allow the Senate to consider it faster given that it is now a privileged resolution that will require fewer days to debate.

According to the Huffington Post:

“The congressional debate comes as the head of the Marine Corps told reporters that lifting the ban during wartime could cost lives.

“I don’t want to lose any Marines to the distraction,” said Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos. “I don’t want to have any Marines that I’m visiting at Bethesda (Naval Medical Center) with no legs be the result of any type of distraction.”

Other senior military officials have countered that changing the law during wartime is preferable because troops are more focused on survival than a colleague’s sexual orientation.”

Watch the news conference by Steny Hoyer on MSNBC here (It takes a moment to load and there’s a short commercial first, sorry).

For specifics on the vote itself, I refer you to this post by the New York Times.

 

 

Disclaimer:  The information, comments and links posted on the blog do not constitute legal advice.   I will not respond to any specific legal questions in the comments section of this blog. Read my entire disclaimer.

copyright 2010 Irene C. Olszewski

Senate Republicans Blocked “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” Repeal

The Senate Republicans blocked the repeal of DADT today in a 57-40 vote. I’m disturbed and dismayed. I’m having a difficult time with the rationale for allowing the discriminatory DADT policy to remain in effect. Actually, I’m having a hard time understanding the rationales for all policies and legislation that blatantly discriminate against gay and lesbian citizens.

According to an article posted on AOL’s Politics Daily, “The vote coincided with the release of a new Gallup poll showing that two-thirds of Americans want the DADT law off the books.” The poll shows that 67 percent of Americans favor repeal of the military’s policy against gays and lesbians serving openly in the military. Not 1 percent or 2 percent, folks, but 67 percent! Yet Senate Republicans feel that those gay and lesbian service persons should just continue to serve our country and keep their mouths shut about their identity.

My biggest problem with DADT is that gays and lesbians have always served proudly in our military. I know several of those current and ex-service members personally. I had a discussion with an esteemed colleague about DADT the other day (a straight guy who served in the U.S. Army) and he mused that one’s sexuality should never be an issue. Never. Other than wanting to know who to contact in case of an emergency, why should the question of sexual orientation be asked of any service member, gay or straight?

The Christian Science Monitor reported that:

“Republicans such as Sen. John McCain of Arizona suggest that a repeal could cause problems among crucial infantry units – problems that could harm the military’s effectiveness at a time when it is at war in Afghanistan. The heads of the Marines, Army, and Air Force have said a repeal could be problematic and should be delayed until America is no longer on a war footing.”

Um, knock knock, Senator McCain. There are plenty of gay and lesbian service members fighting that war. They’re not asking for anything more than any other service member. Equality shouldn’t be a foreign concept to you or any other member of Congress.

According to AOL’s Politics Daily,

“[t]he Pentagon has prepared an 86-page plan to rewrite regulations and educate the troops before repeal of the law is implemented. Defense Department officials said the process would take months, in part because 97,000 military personnel currently serving in Afghanistan could not receive the training until they return home after their tours, which last from four to 12 months.”

I’m hearing “excuses” written all over that one. Between DADT and DOMA, well, this blatant discrimination is downright embarrassing.

CBS News reported that “[i]mmediately after the vote, Independent Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman and Republican Maine Sen. Susan Collins said they planned to introduce a freestanding bill to repeal the policy, providing a glimmer of hope to advocates of legislative repeal this year.”

Well folks, there’s not much I can say tonight to make gay and lesbian service personnel or their families and friends feel better. DADT remains alive and well. At least for now.

 

 

Disclaimer:  The information, comments and links posted on the blog do not constitute legal advice.   I will not respond to any specific legal questions in the comments section of this blog. Read my entire disclaimer.

copyright 2010 Irene C. Olszewski