National News: July/August 2014
Texas Dads Denied Parental Rights
Two Texas fathers are fighting for the right to be legally recognized as such. Jason Hanna and Joe Riggs are each the biological father of twin sons – half brothers who share an egg donor – but ran into trouble when they sought to “cross adopt” the other’s child.
According to GLAAD, neither Hanna nor Riggs are listed as fathers on either of their sons’ birth certificates, which the men have not been able to see. They petitioned a judge in Fort Worth to add each of their names to their biological sons’ birth certificates and to second-parent adopt, the boys. The judge has denied the family both requests.
In Texas, as in 17 other states, the law is “unclear” as to whether LGBT parents can jointly adopt, meaning such family protections vary from judge to judge or county to county. Additionally, Texas does not recognize the men’s marriage, making second-parent adoption harder to achieve.
Executive Order a Boon for LGBT Rights
President Barack Obama plans to sign an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating against employees on the basis of their sexual orientation, a White House official told the Associated Press.
The official – who insisted on anonymity – would not say when Obama planned to sign the order, only that the president had asked his staff to prepare a measure for his signature.
Maryland Trans. Protection Law Withstands Repeal Effort
Last month, Gay Life reported on the passage of a Maryland law that protects transgender people from discrimination in matters of housing, employment, credit and use of public accommodations under legislation.
Opponents of the negatively dubbed “Bathroom Bill,” launched a petition drive, hoping to collect enough signatures to put it up for a referendum vote later this year. The group fell roughly 1,000 short of the required signatures required to get the issue on the ballot. The law will go into effect in October.
Texas Republicans Support “Conversion” Therapy
The Texas Republican Party has adopted a revised platform that endorses voluntary LGBT “conversion” therapy. The copy of the Republican Party of Texas’ 2014 platform, obtained by the San Antonio Express-News/Houston Chronicle, states: “We recognize the legitimacy and value of counseling which offers reparative therapy and treatment to patients who are seeking escape from the homosexual lifestyle. No laws or executive orders shall be imposed to limit or restrict access to this type of therapy.”
Trans. Woman Wins Nevada Primary
Lauren Scott, a transgender Republican, won the GOP primary for the state Assembly’s 30th District, which includes parts of Democratic-leaning Reno.
Video Shows Cop Punching 19-year-old Teen at Pittsburgh Pride Celebration
A video circling the Internet shows a police officer using what appears to be excessive force on a 19-year-old Pittsburgh PrideFest attendee. Local news channel WPXI-TV reported that Ariel Lawther was fighting with a man named Eric Moore when the involved officer went to break the fight up.
Marriage Equality News Brief:
20 and Counting…
District Judge Barbara Crabb struck down a Wisconsin law that banned same-sex marriages, ruling that it violated the Constitution’s equal-protection clause. Ten days after her ruling, same-sex marriages came to a halt while an appeal from Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen is pending. According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) approximately 500 couples wed during that time. The HRC also said it is expected that Van Hollen will appeal the ruling to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
By Rachel Roth