Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Via Bilerico, Argentina is ending its ban on gay and lesbian folks serving openly in the military. If they can do it, we can do it.

A new study shows "red" states lead in online porn subscriptions. This strikes me as raising interesting questions about "local community standards" in obscenity cases. (Indeed, I recall that at least one defendant has recently tried to use data on risque Google searches to establish the relevant standard.)

Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) has filed a challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act on behalf of married Massachusetts couples seeking marriage-related federal benefits. This seems to mark a shift in strategy from the LGBT legal movement, which heretofore has tried to keep suits regarding marriage and DOMA out of the federal courts for fear of a) setting bad precedent without first building a firmer foundation in state courts and in non-marriage cases, and b) reviving the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment. I'd guess that (b) is now seen as much less of a concern, and (a) is seen as a manageable concern if cases are brought and framed selectively. Here, no state would be forced to accept the plaintiffs' marriage; rather, they are seeking federal recognition of a state-recognized marriage for the purpose of specific tax, Social Security and other benefits. Balkinization has a preliminary assessment of the case.

Finally, Senate Republicans are apparently trying to use the current Omnibus Appropriations bill to eliminate federal Title X funds for Planned Parenthood clinics across the country. An amendment will be introduced today, so folks should call their Senators forthwith.

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