Half of Americans Say They’d Support an Openly Gay President
According to a new 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll, 50 percent of Americans say they would support an openly gay President of the United States, while 44 percent would oppose having a gay president in the Oval Office. The survey asked how people would feel about having an openly gay person in a variety of roles, including Supreme Court Justice, Secretary of State, and Super Bowl quarterback, with the latter garnering the highest approval level at 62 percent.
Justice Department Defends Military Gay Ban with Old Views
Politico reports that the US Department of Justice continues to defend the military’s ban on openly gay personnel, despite assurances by the Obama Administration that it will be lifted. The department filed a brief in federal court in March, repeatedly quoting retired General Colin Powell’s statements from nearly 20 years ago that support the ban, without regard for his recent reversal of opinion on the issue. Tracy Schmaler, a Justice Department spokesman, told reporters, “In this case, the Department is defending the statute, as it traditionally does when acts of Congress are challenged. The Department does not pick and choose which federal laws it will defend based on any one administration’s policy preferences.”
Army Chief Sees De Facto Moratorium on Gay Discharges
Army Secretary John McHugh informed reporters in March that he would not discharge personnel who told him they were gay, despite the current ban on openly gay service members, according to Reuters. He said, “What the Secretary of Defense has placed a moratorium on is going forward on discharges.” Although Congress has yet to lift the ban, the statement by McHugh indicates some Pentagon leaders already have changed their stance on the issue. The Pentagon recently issued new rules making it harder for the military to discharge gay personnel.
Support for Gay Marriage Growing in California
The Associated Press reports a new poll in California has found for the first time that more residents of the state support same-sex marriage than oppose it. A Public Policy Institute of California survey released in March found that a record-high 50 percent of Californians said they support gay marriage, while 45 percent opposed it. The poll also showed that support is growing for repealing the nation’s ban on openly gay service members, with 75 percent of Californians in favor of the ban repeal.
Dead Soldier’s Father Must Pay Antigay Protesters
Albert Snyder, the father of a US marine killed in Iraq, must pay $16,000 in legal bills to Reverend Fred Phelps of the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, AFP reports. Phelps—whose church routinely demonstrates outside the funerals of military personnel, claiming the deaths are because of United States acceptance of gay people—protested at the Snyder funeral in 2006. Albert Snyder sued Phelps and won, but the case later was overturned on appeal. Snyder’s attorney, Sean Summers, told AFP, “After the reverse of the appellate court, Phelps requested that we be required to pay.” Statutory law permits Phelps to ask for payment. The case, however, is headed to the US Supreme Court.
Christian Broadcaster Settles Gay Harassment Lawsuit
According to The Washington Post, Christian broadcaster Trinity Broadcasting Network has settled a civil lawsuit brought by an openly gay former engineer who claimed he was harassed for being gay. The lawsuit alleged that Paul Crouch Jr., the son of Trinity founders Jan and Paul Crouch, told Dugger to stop being “gay,” teased him in front of others, and told him to take more interest in women. Dugger asked for more than $2 million in damages, but the amount of the settlement is unknown.