Hawaii Approves Same-Sex Civil Unions
Reuters reports that Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie has signed legislation granting gay and lesbian couples in the state the right to enter into civil unions. They provide the same state protections and benefits previously afforded only to heterosexual married couples. Abercrombie said in a statement, “For me, this bill represents equal rights for all the people of Hawaii.”
Same-Sex Marriage Case in California Supreme Court
The case against California’s ban on same-sex marriage was back in court in February. Last year, a federal judge ruled that the state’s Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriage, was unconstitutional. The case was appealed to the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals. It asked the California Supreme Court to determine whether the ban’s supporters have the authority to defend it in court, because state officials have refused to do so. The high court unanimously decided to make the determination later this year. Oral arguments aren’t expected until at least September.
San Francisco Health Officials Urge Gay Men To Use Female Condoms
According to the Associated Press, San Francisco health officials are urging women and gay men to use a new condom similar to the female one introduced in the mid-1990s. The redesigned condom is made of thinner, softer, more-comfortable material. Officials hope use of it will help fight the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases.
Massachusetts Transgender State Workers Get Aid from Governor
The Boston Globe reports that Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick issued an executive order in February banning discrimination against transgender state employees. It is considered a first step toward getting statewide legislation enacted. Transgender advocates applauded the order.
Indiana House Passes Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriage
The Indiana House overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in the state. It now heads to the Senate. If enacted, the amendment would ban not only same-sex marriage, but also any legally-recognized same-sex relationship resembling marriage, such as civil unions or domestic partnerships.
Wyoming Senate Passes Bill Preventing Same-Sex Marriage Recognition
The Wyoming Senate voted by a narrow margin in February to pass a bill that would prevent the state from recognizing same-sex marriages and civil unions performed outside the state. A similar measure was passed in the House, but last-minute changes mean the Senate version first must head back to the House for approval.
California Man Arrested for Antigay Vandalism
In Long Beach, California, 23-year-old Oliver Rodrich Saintvictor has been arrested for allegedly vandalizing gay and lesbian businesses in the city. Police say he smashed windows of three different businesses in December. He has been charged with felony vandalism including a special allegation for a hate crime.
Israel Appoints First Openly Gay Judge
According to YNetNews, attorney Dori Spivak became Israel’s first openly-gay judge when he recently was appointed to the Tel Aviv Labor Court. Deputy Director of Tel Aviv University’s law clinics, he is a veteran gay-rights activist. Spivak’s partner and academic colleague, Dr. Yishai Blank, told YNet, “I don’t think sexual preferences had anything to do with this appointment. It’s a happy occasion for us personally, and also for the state.”