Big Gay News: 488
BigGayNews from Florida:
Six South Florida Gay Couples Sue In Miami-Dade Circuit Court For Right To Marry
The Miami Herald reports that six same-sex couples on Tuesday sued in Miami-Dade Circuit Court for the right to marry in Florida, once again thrusting the Sunshine State into the national gay rights spotlight.
The six couples, along with their attorneys, say that Florida’s refusal to grant same-sex couples the right to marry excludes them from the “fundamental rights, dignity, and equality guaranteed to all persons by the United States Constitution.”
John Stemberger, president and general counsel of the Florida Family Policy Council derides the lawsuit as being “nothing more than a publicity stunt.”
BigGayNews from Virginia:
New Virginia Attorney General Drops Defense of Gay Marriage Ban
The New York Times reports that state attorney general Mark Herring asked a federal court to invalidate the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, calling the law unconstitutional and oppressive.
Herring asserted that Virginia had too often been on the “wrong side” of justice on civil rights matters.
The decision to drop support for the gay marriage ban was an abrupt shift from the positions taken in the past by the state’s socially conservative elected officials.
Virginia is now on a path to be the first Southern state to allow marriage equality.
BigGayNews from California:
Court Says Prospective Jurors Can’t Be Removed Because They Are Gay
The Los Angeles Times reports that a federal appeals court decided Tuesday that lawyers may not exclude a potential juror solely because he or she is gay, extending a protection once reserved in federal courts for race and gender to sexual orientation.
The decision was a unanimous one, with all three judges on the panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturning a verdict in a case concerning an AIDS medication because a potential juror was struck due to being gay.
One of the judges, Stephen Reinhardt, commented: “Strikes exercised on the basis of sexual orientation continue this deplorable tradition of treating gays and lesbians as undeserving of participation in our nation’s most cherished rites and rituals.”
BigGayNews from Texas:
Houston Mayor Fires Back at Critics Over Her Marriage: ‘Get over it!’
LGBTQ Nation reports that Houston mayor Aniece Parker responded to Republicans who say her recent marriage to her longtime partner was politically motivated.
Parker married her partner of 23 years Kathy Hubbard in Palm Springs, Calif.
Within hours, some Republican leaders in Texas blasted Parker by questioning her motives behind their marriage.
Parker said: “You do not commit 23 years of your life to someone to make a political statement. I took four days off. I had to leave my home state and make a little wedge of time to marry the woman I love. They can get over it.”
BigGayNews from Washington, D.C.:
Obama Picks Staci Michelle Yandle, Black Lesbian Judge, For Federal Judgeship
The Huffington Post reports that President Barack Obama prides himself on the diversity of his judicial picks, but on Thursday, he charted new territory by nominating Staci Michelle Yandle, who, if confirmed, would become the second-ever out black lesbian federal judge.
Yandle has been in private practice in an Illinois law firm for twenty years, and would be taking the seat for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.
In an earlier interview, Yandle was quoted as saying “When I first started practicing, for a while I did not feel comfortable acknowledging my sexual orientation because I didn’t want it to cost me my job. I wanted to be judged on my merit and my merit alone.”
BigGayNews from Uganda:
Uganda To Deport British Man Charged In Gay Sex
ABC News reports that a Ugandan court on Wednesday ordered the deportation of a British man facing criminal charges related to images of him having sex with another man.
Bernard Randall, 65, was charged after images from his stolen laptop were leaked to a Ugandan newspaper. Homosexuality is a criminal act in the African nation, with a relatively new law calling for life in prison for committing “aggravated homosexual acts.”
Randall’s lawyer said that his client’s deportation stems from him having an expired visa since courts failed to find evidence against him in the original criminal case.
BigGayNews from Germany:
Germany’s Olympic Uniform Seen as Pro-Gay
Der Spiegel reports that Germany’s new outfits for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi have been interpreted by many as a silent protest against Russia’s anti-gay laws, but the German Olympic Sports Confederation disputes it.
Germany premiered the bold and colorful uniforms for its Olympics team with a runway show in Düsseldorf.
On Twitter, a German user described the rainbow pattern as a “clear political statement which looks great, like a gay and lesbian pride parade.”
The German Olympic Sports Confederation disputes any political message saying that the designs had been finalized before the Russia protests had even begun.
BigGayNews from Kenya:
Kenyan Author Lashes Out At Anti-Gay Laws: “I’m Gay”
ABC News reports that African literary light Binyavanga Wainaina says he’s known he was gay since he was 5, though he did not have a homosexual encounter until he was 39.
The 43-year-old has decided to come out in an online essay, something that takes extraordinary courage considering that homosexuality and gay sex are illegal in most African countries and could result in jail time, fines, or harassment.
In an interview, Wainaina said that he wanted to make his sexuality known to preserve his dignity, and to shed light on the plight of the GLBT community and how they are treated in so many African nations.