James Withers | Gay Star News | March 2, 2015
Nebraska is silently stepping away from a policy that prohibits LGBTI adults from being foster parents.
A spokesman for Governor Pete Ricketts made the announcement on Friday (February 27).
According to Omaha.com, the regulation has been on the books for 20 years.
Huffington Post | March 2, 2015
Transgender former U.S. Navy nurse Paula Neira speaks during a conference entitled ‘Perspectives on Transgender Military Service from Around the Globe’ organized by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Palm Center in Washington, D.C.
WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Ashton Carter made a splash last week by saying he’s “very open-minded” about transgender people serving in the U.S. military.
But if Carter is serious about revisiting the ban on transgender troops, he also needs to turn his attention to another issue: how the Defense Department responds to transgender veterans who need to update official military records to reflect their new gender.
There are more than 134,000 transgender veterans or retirees from Guard or Reserve service, according to a 2014 Williams Institute report. What’s at stake for each of them is the ability to change their name on the military form known as a DD-214, a lifelong document that military personnel receive when they retire or are discharged. Veterans use it to apply for college, to take a bar exam and to apply for jobs. Retirees use it to provide dependents with medical benefits and access to privileges they had while on active duty, like shopping on military bases.
Michelangelo Signorile | Huffington Post | March 2, 2015
Amid battles that have erupted over states banning local anti-discrimination ordinances and moving forward on “religious liberties” laws targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people — seemingly catching some LGBT activists off-guard — Phyllis Schlafly has a message for the LGBT community: Don’t believe for a minute that the Supreme Court’s decision in June on marriage equality, no matter how positive, will diminish the crusade against LGBT equality. In fact, she says, it will only serve to reinvigorate the anti-gay movement.
The Eagle Forum founder and leader, often referred to as the founding mother of the Christian conservative movement, speaks from experience. As an anti-feminist crusader, she is often credited with almost single-handedly stopping the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), which initially had enormous momentum in the states in the ’70s, all but guaranteeing full equality for women in the Constitution. Opponents, however, used the backlash among conservatives to the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, especially in southern states, to successfully kill the ERA dead in its tracks by the early ’80s. The backlash has now been used to not only restrict abortion rights but to prevent laws to end income disparity and to positively affect many other issues for women.
“The gays have their argument about inevitability,” the 90-year-old author of 25 books told me in an interview for SiriusXM Progress at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, over the weekend, during a book-signing including her new book, “Who Killed the American Family?”
Ashley Alman | Huffington Post | March 2, 2015
A federal judge has ruled Nebraska’s statewide ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon issued the ruling Monday, saying county clerks will be permitted to begin issuing gay marriage licenses on March 9.
“[A]ll relevant state officials are ordered to treat same-sex couples the same as different sex couples in the context of processing a marriage license or determining the rights, protections, obligations or benefits of marriage,” he wrote in the order.
The Nebraska attorney general’s office has already said it will appeal the judge’s order. Attorney General Doug Peterson is confident the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals will grant the appeal.
Terrell Jermaine Starr | AlterNet | March 2, 2015
The U.S. Justice Department is expected to release a report this week blasting police in Ferguson, Mo. for discriminatory traffic stops of African-Americans that have created years of racial tension in the small midwestern town, the New York Times reports.
Officials briefed on the report say it will criticize the city for its disproportionate ticketing and arrest-rates of African-American motorists. People who cannot afford to pay their fines are often imprisoned. Traffic fines are the second-largest source of revenue for Ferguson after sales tax. The Justice Department’s report is expected to say that this provides local police the incentive to unfairly target black drivers during stops.
Although African-Americans make up just 63 percent of the city’s population, they were stopped 86 percent of the time in 2013. During those stops, black drivers were twice as likely to be searched, even though white drivers were more likely to have some kind of contraband on them. The report will force the city of Ferguson negotiate a settlement with the Justice Department or face being sued on civil rights charges.
Amy Goodman | Democracy Now! | AlterNet | March 2, 2015
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has arrived in the United States as part of his bid to stop a nuclear deal with Iran during a controversial speech before the U.S. Congress on Tuesday. Dozens of Democrats are threatening to boycott the address, which was arranged by House Speaker John Boehner without consulting the White House. Netanyahu’s visit comes just as Iran and six world powers, including the United States, are set to resume talks in a bid to meet a March 31 deadline. “For both Prime Minister Netanyahu and the hawks in Congress, mostly Republican, the primary goal is to undermine any potential negotiation that might settle whatever issue there is with Iran,” says Noam Chomsky, institute professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “They have a common interest in ensuring there is no regional force that can serve as any kind of deterrent to Israeli and U.S. violence, the major violence in the region.” Chomsky also responds to recent revelations that in 2012 the Israeli spy agency, Mossad, contradicted Netanyahu’s own dire warnings about Iran’s ability to produce a nuclear bomb, concluding that Iran was “not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons.”
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AARON MATÉ: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has arrived in Washington as part of his bid to stop a nuclear deal with Iran. Netanyahu will address the lobby group AIPAC today, followed by a controversial speech before Congress on Tuesday. The visit comes just as Iran and six world powers, including the U.S., are set to resume talks in a bid to meet a March 31st deadline. At the White House, Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Netanyahu’s trip won’t threaten the outcome.