Tag Archives: New Jersey

Other LGBT News: Portugal Approves Same-Sex Marriage; Obama Appoints Trans Female; First HIV+ Man To Visit U.S.

While states like California and New Jersey grapple clumsily with the issue of same-sex marriage and equality, Portugal apparently had little difficulty in approving legislation to allow such unions.  On Friday, Portugal’s Parliament voted by a sizeable majority – 125 to 99 – to permit same-sex marriages.  The nation’s President is not expected to veto the measure, and ceremonies are anticipated to begin as early as April 2010.

Before you go dismissing Portugal’s actions as just another liberal EU country showing off, Portugal is hardly a bastion of liberalism.  In fact, Portugal’s decision to approve same-sex marriage is significant given that the country is generally regarded as socially conservative.  Perhaps, in Portugal, the leaders were able to put aside their own petty squabblings and, well, lead.

You can link to a full article discussing Portugal’s decision here.

President Obama Appoints Transgender Female To Commerce Dept.

In other news this week, President Obama appointed transgender female, Amanda Simpson, to be Senior Technical Adviser to the Commerce Department.

“I’m truly honored to have received this appointment and am eager and excited about this opportunity that is before me,” she said in a press release by the National Center for Transgender Equality, an organization for which she has served on the board of directors.”

Simpson was most recently the deputy director in Advanced Technology Development at Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson. A flight instructor and test pilot, Simpson also holds degrees in physics, engineering, and business administration.

You can link to other news articles discussing President Obama’s appointment here and here.

First HIV+ Traveler To Visit U.S. From The Netherlands

Clemons Ruland may become the first known HIV-positive person to legally visit the United States after he filed papers with the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security Monday, the day the HIV travel and immigration ban was officially lifted.  The ban was lifted on January 4 by President Obama after 22 years of barring HIV-positive people from entering the U.S.

Ruland, pictured on the right, will travel with his HIV-negative partner pictured left.  Ruland trip to the U.S. is being sponsored by Netherlands group, NGO AIDS Fonds, after he won an essay contest.

Thanks to The Advocate for reporting on this story, which you can link to here.

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New Jersey Turns Down Gay Marriage Bill; Rhode Island Legislature Owns Anti-Gay Gov.

{{w|Donald Carcieri}}, Governor of Rhode Island
Image via Wikipedia

The legislative news out of New England this week has been a mixed bag for the LGBT community.  Late Thursday night, New Jersey lawmakers voted 20-14 against a bill that would have made New Jersey the 6th state to allow gay marriage.  I tweeted an article yesterday discussing these developments which you can also link here.

In Rhode Island, however, the Legislature on Tuesday voted to over-ride the veto of one of America’s most anti-gay Governors, Gov. Donald Carcieri.  Carcieri had vetoed a bill that would allow domestic partners the right to to claim the bodies of and make funeral arrangements for each other.  The Legislature’s vote was a resounding thumbs-down to Carcieri – The house vote was 67 to 3, and the senate vote was 29 to 3.  You can link to an article from The Advocate discussing the Rhode Island developments here.

When I blog for CRW, one of the most enjoyable aspects of my writing is that I do not have to be objective on matters where editorial opinion might count.  I make no excuses for that.  And, folks, this is one of those times.  Who the Hell does this tool Carcieri think he is anyway?  I certainly hope he does not consider himself an advocate of limited government.  In my book, when the government steps in and decides whether I can take possession of my deceased partner’s remains and make funeral arrangements, the government is being pretty damned intrusive – and Fascist!

One of the comments following the article in The Advocate said it best:

“The next step is to work long and hard to get this homophobic, bigoted, discriminatory monster out as governor and replaced with someone who will follow the US Constitution for equal civil rights for all. Rhode Island needs to follow the other New England states for civil marriage equality now.”

I second those sentiments.  A free and democratic society is no place for someone like Gov. Carcieri.

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Gestational Surrogates Win Custody In New Jersey And Michigan

Gestational surrogates in two states, New Jersey and Michigan, have successfully won custody of the children to whom they gave birth.  Unlike standard surrogacy arrangements, gestational surrogacy is an arrangement where the birth mother agrees to carry the pregnancy to delivery after having been implanted with an embryo to which she typically has no genetic relationship.  For an excellent discussion of surrogacy laws and arrangements, both in the U.S. and internationally, you can link to a Wikipedia article here.

In the New Jersey case, Angelia G. Robinson agreed in 2006 to carry a fertilized embryo for her brother and his same-sex partner, which they had fertilized with the partner’s sperm.  Subsequently, raising allegations that she was coerced into the arrangement, Angelia sought custody of the child.  Superior Court Judge Francis Schultz sided with Angelia, relying primarily on an earlier New Jersey Supreme Court case, In re Baby M. (1988) 109 N.J. 396, 536 A.2d 1227.  A PDF copy of the Baby M. case is in the Box for those interested.

In a similar development, Michigan couple Amy Kehoe and her husband Scott arranged for the use of a gestational surrogate, Laschell Baker, after acquiring an egg and sperm from third parties.  Baker successfully sought custody of the twins borne of the pregnancy, claiming that she took action upon learning that one of the parents had been treated for mental illness.

An excellent discussion and comments on these cases can be found at Jonathan Turley‘s blog here.  Another excellent article can be found at The Huffington Post, written by Jacob M. Appel, here.

What are your thoughts on these kinds of cases?  Should Angelia have won any custody rights when she was not biologically related to the child?  Are these cases examples of CIVIL RIGHTS or CIVIL WRONGS?

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