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washingtonblade.com - volume 42, issue 01 - january 7, 2011

washingtonblade.com - volume 42, issue 01 - january 7, 2011

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Published by: Washington Blade Newspaper on Jan 06, 2011
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Supporters may lack standing to continue case
 
By LOU CHIBBARO JR.lchibbaro@washblade.com
The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court o Appeals this week sidestepped a ruling on whether Caliornia’s banon same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution and sent a lawsuit seeking to overturn Proposition8 to the Caliornia Supreme Court.In a decision handed down by a three-judge panel, the Ninth Circuit appeals court said it was notqualied to decide whether supporters o Proposition 8 have legal standing to appeal an earlier rulingby a ederal judge that Prop 8 violates the U.S. Constitution and must be struck down.However, the three-judge panel upheld the decision by U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walkerthat ocials with Imperial County, Cali., lack standing to intervene in the case on behal o the state.The legal standing issue suraced when ormer Caliornia Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and thenstate Attorney General Jerry Brown, now the governor, reused to deend Prop 8 against a lawsuitbrought by two same-sex couples.The private citizens who organized Prop 8 were allowed to intervene on its behal during the districtcourt proceedings, including a civil trial, but gay rights attorneys challenging the ballot measure onappeal argued that only the state could deend the measure because it was a state law.
localnews
Maryland and Virginialegislatures are backin session next week.What can we expect?
PAGE 2
nationalnews
Congress gets its4th out gay member,as David Cicilline issworn in this week.
PAGE 10
the lgbtq community news source
washingtonblade.com • vol. 42, issue 01 • january 7, 2011 • Still sharp after 40 years
GLBT head Dyer praises former mayor;never had private meeting with him
By LOU CHIBBARO JR.lchibbaro@washblade.com
In the three and a hal years that he served as director o the city’s O-ce o GLBT Aairs, Christopher Dyer said he never met with Mayor Adri-an Fenty to discuss gay-related issues in a private, ace-to-ace meeting.Yet Dyer, who let oce Dec. 31 in the closing days o the Fenty ad-ministration, said he had constant access to Fenty through a mayoralchain o command that allowed him to weigh in on all matters relevantto the LGBT community.“Obviously there are ways that we could have been better anddone the job better,” Dyer told the Blade.In his rst media interview ater no longer being bound by a Fen-ty policy that barred him rom talking to the press, Dyer provided aglimpse into the inner workings o the city’s handling o LGBT issues.He praised Fenty’s accomplishments on LGBT and other pressingcity issues. But Dyer also acknowledged he was as bafed as otherpolitical observers over how a highly popular mayor who won a land-slide victory in the 2006 election could lose his re-election bid ouryears later amid accusations o being aloo and arrogant.“We could have communicated better and done the job better,” Dyersaid. “In hindsight, we could have done a lot o things dierently. But in
Prop 8 sent to Calif. Supreme Court
Looking back on four years with Fenty
socialagenda
Mari Levi talks music, kids and why she loves Washington.
PAGE 24Continues on page 14Continues on page 4
localnews
Who stole the Nutcracker gurine rom Trio last weekend?
PAGE 6
‘Obviously there are ways that we could have been better and done the job better,’ said
Christopher Dyer
, heado D.C.’s Oce o GLBT Aairs under Mayor Fenty, in his rst interview since leaving oce.
Washington Blade photo by Michael Key
la vidahonesto
2010 brought a newcrop o out gay celebs,suggesting it’s gettingeasier to come out.
PAGE 23
 
2 washingtonblade.com • january 7, 2011
LOCALNEWS
Ebbin, Englin planlegislation to toughenstate’s existing laws
By JOEY DiGUGLIELMOjoeyd@washblade.com
Two members o the Virginia House oDelegates — one gay, one a straight ally— have introduced two anti-bullying billsthat, i successul, will be major accom-plishments in the coming legislative ses-sion considering how dicult activistsand elected ocials there have oundgetting pro-LGBT legislation passed.Del. Adam Ebbin, who represents Virgin-ia’s 49th House District, which includes partso Arlington County, Alexandria and FairaxCounty, has introduced legislation that wouldmake bullying a class one misdemeanor,give victims the right to sue bullies who aresanctioned or ound guilty, provide or expul-sions or bullies and require that any bullyingthat causes injury be reported to the state’sattorney. Ebbin is the only openly gay mem-ber o the House o Delegates.Del. David Englin, who represents thestate’s 45th House District which includesparts o Arlington and Fairax counties andAlexandria, has introduced the “Anti-Bully-ing Responsibility Act,” which would addspecicity to the codes o student conductalready required o state school districts, re-quire schools to have procedures in placeto separate victims rom bullies, make bully-ing intervention a requirement or teachers,require incidents to be reported to superin-tendents and hold administrators respon-sible or their local policies.“No child should be araid to go toschool and every child has a right to asae learning environment,” Englin said.“We need to make sure that school is asae environment or all our children.”Forty-seven states have anti-bullyinglaws in place and 35 states have takenaction against cyber bullying, includingVirginia. Ebbin said these new laws, ipassed, would “add teeth” to existing laws.Ebbin’s bill, or instance, adds sexualorientation and gender identity to thedenition o bullying even though somedistricts, such as his, already have thatspecied. He said having those areasidentied is important because in someparts o the state, educators don’t takeanti-gay bullying seriously.“Even some teachers have been knownto use anti-gay epithets in class,” Ebbinsaid. “This law would make it so that even inareas where there isn’t a strong policy thatmakes it clear that’s not OK, this would.”Ebbin said he was inspired to intro-duce the legislation in part because othe late Christian Taylor, a 16-year-oldreshman at Graton High School in Yor-ktown, Va., who committed suicide lastMay ater enduring months o bullying.He hung himsel in his bedroom. Hismother told reporters they had reportedthe bullying to school administrators andpolice but nothing was done. Police saidthey looked into the situation but turned itover to the school when they determinedno crime had been committed.Ebbin said one bully told Taylor, “youneed to just go commit suicide and get itover with.”Ebbin admitted, considering Virgin-ia’s poor track record o passing LGBT-riendly laws, the sexual orientation andgender identity provisions in his bill couldhinder it but he said it’s still important totry to get it passed that way.Equality Virginia, o course, supportsthe legislation but said its sta and lob-byists have yet to nalize their legislativepriorities or the year. The board o itslobbying arm is meeting this weekend todecide its members’ goals.“We haven’t nalized anything but ob-viously a law protecting LGBT employeesbased on sexual orientation and genderidentity has been on the top o our wishlist or about three years,” said James Par-rish, the organization’s deputy director.Parrish also said provisions or partnerso gay state employees and having sexualorientation and gender identity as protect-ed classes in the state’s human rights actwill likely top the organization’s “wish list.”And i Del. Bob Marshall introducesa bill — which he said he’s drating —to ban gays rom serving in the VirginiaNational Guard, Parrish said deeating itwould be among his group’s top goals.
Virginia Del.
Adam Ebbin
says his state needs tougher laws to deter bullies. He introduced legislation thisweek that has provisions or gender identity and sexual orientation.
Washington Blade fle photo
Virginia officials introduce anti-bullying bills
Valentine’s Day picked forlobbying on both measures
 
By LOU CHIBBARO JR.lchibbaro@washblade.com
The same-sex marriage and transgen-der non-discrimination bills pending inthe Maryland Legislature cleared anotherhurdle last week when the speaker o theHouse o Delegates appointed a majorityo supporters o the two bills to the com-mittees that must rst approve them.House Speaker Michael Busch (D-Anne Arundel County) had been expect-ed to retain a majority on the House Judi-ciary Committee in avor o the marriageequality bill as he has in past years, anddid so again on Dec. 29.But ocials with Equality Maryland,the statewide LGBT advocacy organiza-tion, were less certain about the makeupo the House Committee on Health andGovernment Operations. That panelhas jurisdiction over a pending bill thatwould ban employment discriminationbased on gender identity and expres-sion, which would protect transgenderpeople. In past years, the panel has nottaken a vote on the transgender bill.Equality Maryland Executive DirectorMorgan Meneses-Sheets said the groupwas delighted with Busch’s decision onDec. 29 to also name at least 13 sup-porters o the transgender measure tothe 23-member Health and GovernmentOperations Committee. The action en-sures that the bill will be reported out ocommittee or an up or down vote in theHouse o Delegates.In early December, a majority o pro-marriage equality members were namedto the Maryland Senate’s Judicial Pro-ceedings Committee, ensuring or therst time that a same-sex marriage mea-sure would clear that key panel andreach the Senate foor or a vote. Up untilnow, the Judicial Proceedings Commit-tee has blocked the marriage bill romcoming to a foor vote.“We want to move the marriage bill rstin the Senate and the gender identity billrst in the House,” Meneses-Sheets saidin discussing the timetable planned orthe bills among a coalition o supporters.She said urther renement o thetimetable or moving both measures wasto be discussed Wednesday in a coner-ence call between Equality Maryland o-cials and all seven members o the leg-islature’s gay and lesbian caucus.Similar to past years, Meneses-Sheetsand others advocating or the two bills be-lieve there appear to be enough votes topass the marriage bill in the House. Sup-porters in the Senate believe they havethe 24 votes needed to pass the marriagebill on an up or down vote but were lesscertain over whether they have the 29votes needed to stop an expected libus-ter by same-sex marriage opponents.“The question is whether we can getcloture to break a libuster,” said Sen.Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery County),who supports both the marriage equalityand transgender non-discrimination bills.“That’s the mystery at this point,” he said.Raskin said he was not amiliar enoughwith the positions o his colleagues onthe transgender bill to predict its out-come other than to say he sees supportgrowing or that measure.Sen. Richard Madaleno (D-Montgom-ery County), who is gay, said on Wednes-day he’s more condent in the prospectsor the marriage bill.“I have never been so optimistic aboutgetting this done,” he said. “Today atlunch I sat quietly by mysel with a list othe members o the new Senate goingover again and again in my head wherethe votes are, and I’m eeling really goodright now both or the foor vote and thecloture vote.”Madaleno is among seven out gaysand lesbians now serving in the Mary-land legislature — one in the Senate andsix in the House — who said they willpush hard rom the inside to pass boththe marriage and transgender rights bill.Meneses-Sheets said Equality Mary-land has scheduled a lobby day or Feb.14 on Valentine’s Day, where the grouphopes large numbers o LGBT Mary-
Marriage, trans bills get boost in Md. House
Maryland Gov.
Martin O’Malley
haspledged to sign a marriage equality bill ithe legislature can pass it. Lawmakers andactivists are increasingly optimistic it willhappen this year.
Washington Blade fle photo
Continues on page 12
 
 january 7, 2011 • washingtonblade.com 3
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