In the News

Lesley Gore, Teenage Voice of Heartbreak, Dies at 68
source: The New York Times
posted: 2/16/15
Lesley Gore, who was a teenager in the 1960s when she recorded hit songs about heartbreak and resilience that went on to become feminist touchstones, died on Monday in Manhattan. She was 68.

Lois Sasson, her partner of 33 years, said Ms. Gore died of lung cancer at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

With songs like “It’s My Party,” “Judy’s Turn to Cry” and the indelibly defiant 1964 single “You Don’t Own Me” — all recorded before she was 18 — Ms. Gore made herself the voice of teenage girls ag

Selling Cure for Being Gay Found Illegal in New Jersey
source: The New York Times
posted: 2/13/15
The plaintiffs described the methods used by the counseling group in Jersey City from which they had sought help: One of them, a young man hoping to overcome his attraction to other men, said he had been told to grab a tennis racket, scream and beat an effigy of his mother as if killing her.

This week, in a lawsuit brought against the counseling group by that man and three others, a State Superior Court judge in Hudson County, N.J., ruled that counselors selling so-called conversion therapy w

Tokyo Ward Plans to Extend Rights of Gay Couples
source: The New York Times
posted: 2/12/15
A district in Tokyo plans to give same-sex couples the same legal rights as married opposite-sex spouses, becoming the first local government in Japan to do so at a time when gay marriage is a hot-button issue in many countries.

On Thursday, Shibuya ward in central Tokyo unveiled a draft of the new statute, which it said would be put to a vote in the ward’s assembly next month. If approved as expected, same-sex couples will be able to start applying for “proof of partnership” certificates beg

Federal Judge Sets Hearing in Alabama on Same-Sex Marriage
source: The New York Times
posted: 2/10/15
A day after a federal ruling legalizing same-sex marriage took effect in Alabama, a federal judge set a hearing that could determine whether resistant local probate judges must grant licenses to gay couples. At the same time, some officials who had refused to issue the licenses, in compliance with a state judicial ruling, reversed course.

The probate judges are caught between conflicting signals from the state and federal judiciaries. State law does not require these judges to be lawyers, ye

Same-Sex Marriages Proceed in Parts of Alabama, Amid Judicial Chaos
source: The New York Times
posted: 2/9/15
Amid conflicting signals from federal courts and the chief justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court, some Alabama counties began granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Monday in a legal showdown with echoes of the battles over desegregation in the 1960s.

In major county seats like Birmingham, Montgomery and Huntsville, same-sex couples lined up outside courthouses as they opened and emerged smiling after being wed.

At the Jefferson County Courthouse here, Judge Michael G. Graffeo of C

Justice Thomas’s Dissent Hints of Supreme Court’s Intentions on Same-Sex Marriage
source: The New York Times
posted: 2/9/15
The Supreme Court’s decision on Monday not to delay same-sex marriage in Alabama offered the strongest signal yet that gay rights advocates are likely to prevail in coming months in their decades-long quest to establish a nationwide constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

The court's decision came with a blistering dissent from Justice Clarence Thomas, who criticized his fellow justices for looking “the other way” as another federal court pushes aside state laws, rather than taking the cus

Same-Sex Interfaith Couples Face Roadblock to Marriage in Judaism
source: The New York Times
posted: 1/31/15
When Julia Spiegelman and Erina Donnelly, two teachers who met as undergraduates at Bryn Mawr, became engaged, they were looking forward to planning a wedding that included elements from both of their religions.

Ms. Spiegelman grew up attending a Reform synagogue in Andover, Mass., and Ms. Donnelly was raised a Roman Catholic.

The two women attend Jewish and Catholic services together, and they had hoped to find marriage officiants from both religions, which they did not think would be dif

Chile: Lawmakers Approve Civil Unions for Gay or Heterosexual Couples
source: The New York Times
posted: 1/28/15
After nearly four years of legislative wrangling, legislators in socially conservative Chile approved civil unions on Wednesday for same-sex and unmarried heterosexual couples. The bill will give many of the legal rights afforded to married couples to an estimated two million Chileans. Most of those expected to benefit from the civil unions are heterosexual couples, though the move is also seen as a big step forward for gay rights. The bill now heads to President Michelle Bachelet to be signed i

Same-Sex Marriage Foes Dig In on the State Level
source: The New York Times
posted: 1/28/15
As the nation waits for the Supreme Court to decide whether same-sex unions should be legal nationwide, another, more mundane front has opened in the marriage wars: the offices of the state and local officials who perform civil marriages and issue licenses.

Republican state legislators in Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas have introduced bills this year that would prohibit state or local government employees from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, despite federal court rulings declari

Mormons Seek Golden Mean Between Gay Rights and Religious Beliefs
source: The New York Times
posted: 1/27/15
Mormon leaders tried to stake out a middle ground in the escalating battle between gay rights and religious freedom on Tuesday, demanding that both ideas, together, be treated as a national priority.

At a rare news conference at church headquarters in Salt Lake City, leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints forcefully condemned discrimination against gays and vowed to support nondiscrimination laws — like one proposed in Utah — to protect people from being denied jobs or hou