By Lisa Keen
Keen News Service
FORTY ARRESTED IN IDAHO: Police in Boise arrested more than 40 protesters for trespassing Monday as they stood silently for more than three hours, blocking three entrances to the Idaho senate chamber. In a video posted by the Idaho Statesman newspaper, openly gay former state Senator Nicole LeFavour, who organized the civil disobedience, said the protesters would not leave until legislators began work on a proposed bill to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Republican leaders have refused to hold a hearing on the bill.
SCOTLAND MAKES NUMBER 18: The Scottish Parliament voted 105 to 18 Tuesday to allow same-sex couples to marry, making Scotland the 18th nation in the world to provide marriage equality. Tom French, head of the Scottish Equality Network, told the Daily Record newspaper, “This is a profoundly emotional moment for many people who grew up in a country where being gay was still a criminal offence until 1980. Scotland can be proud that we now have one of the most progressive equal marriage bills in the world, and that we’ve sent out a strong message about the kind of country we are.” According to the Scotsman newspaper, same-sex couples can begin marrying some time later this year. The national Freedom to Marry group in the United States noted that Scotland follows England and Wales, which passed marriage equality legislation last July, “leaving northern Ireland as the only region in the United Kingdom where same-sex couples cannot yet marry.” The Netherlands was the first country to pass marriage equality legislation, in April 2001.
STAY GRANTED ON EX-THERAPY: The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals issued an order Monday granting a stay of its decision upholding a California law that bars the use of reparative therapy of persons younger than 18. The court granted the stay of its decision in Pickup v. Brown and Welch v. Brown, pending the appeal by Liberty Counsel to the U.S. Supreme Court. Liberty Counsel has been challenging the law as a violation of the First Amendment rights of ex-gay therapists.
VIRGINIA CASE HEARD: U.S. District Court Judge Arenda Wright Allen listened “studiously,” took a lot of notes, but “did not ask a lot of questions” during Tuesday’s two-hour hearing on a lawsuit challenging Virginia’s ban on same-sex couples obtaining marriage licenses. Ted Olson, one of the lead attorneys arguing against the ban, said Allen indicated she will render her decision “soon.” David Boies, who leads the team with Olson, said the decision, whatever it is, will almost certainly be appealed to the conservative Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. A decision striking down bans at the Fourth Circuit level would cover bans in four other southern states as well: Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia.
DE BLASIO SNUBS ST. PAT’S PARADE: New York City’s new progressive mayor, Bill De Blasio, announced Tuesday that he will not march in this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade because its organizers continue to bar openly LGBT contingents from participating. The New York Times pointed out that this marks the first time in 20 years that a New York City mayor has decided not to participate in the annual event but that he would allow contingents from the city’s fire and police forces to participate. That snub fell short for many LGBT groups and people. They signed onto a letter to the mayor saying that allowing the city’s fire and police details to march “sends a clear signal to LGBTQ New Yorkers that these personnel…do not respect the lives or safety of LGBT people.”