Chicago mayor may appoint lesbian Deb Mell to dad's city council seat

Written by The Associated Press Thursday, 11 July 2013 05:49

The last time Dick Mell helped a relative climb Illinois' political ladder, son-in-law Rod Blagojevich ascended to governor before being sent to prison for corruption. Now the longtime Chicago alderman, who is admittedly nostalgic for the old days of patronage politics, is talking up his daughter to fill his City Council seat when he retires this month.

It's creating a sticky situation for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who ultimately will decide who fills the vacancy. The former White House chief of staff touts his efforts to change the way business has always been done at City Hall, by hiring based on merits rather than who's related to whom and who's owed a favor.

Employment Non-Discrimination Act advances to full Senate

Written by WiG Wednesday, 10 July 2013 09:07

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on July 10 approved the Employment Non-Discrimination Act by a bipartisan vote of 15-7.

The measure would ban workplace discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

Marriage equality suit expected in Virginia

Written by WiG Tuesday, 09 July 2013 10:29

Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union are preparing to sue for marriage equality in the state of Virginia.

The announcement was made on the same day that the ACLU sued to overturn Pennsylvania’s anti-gay marriage law and announced plans to amend a pending lawsuit in North Carolina.

Farmers worry about fate of immigration bill

Written by The Associated Press Tuesday, 09 July 2013 07:43

A Michigan cherry orchard.

For northern Michigan fruit grower Pat McGuire, the most potent symbol of the immigration debate isn't grainy television footage showing people slipping furtively across the U.S.-Mexican border. Instead, it's plump red cherries and crisp apples rotting on the ground because there aren't enough workers to pick them – a scenario that could become reality over the next couple of months.

Cook County judge asked to rule for marriage equality – now

Written by WiG Wednesday, 10 July 2013 12:25

Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Illinois filed a motion for summary judgment in Cook County Circuit Court, asking a judge to end the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

The filings follow the U.S. Supreme Court rulings in late June that overturned a major provision in the federal Defense of Marriage Act and allowed for same-sex marriages to resume in California.

The nation’s leading corporations pushed for passage of the long-pending Employment Non-Discrimination Act in advance of a Senate committee's consideration of the legislation.

ENDA would provide workplace protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, barring discrimination in hiring, firing, salary and promotions based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

Global corruption survey: 1 in 4 paid bribe in past year

Written by WiG Tuesday, 09 July 2013 10:14

The Global Corruption Barometer 2013, released on July 9, shows that one person in two thinks corruption has worsened in the past two years.

The world’s largest public opinion survey, conducted by Transparency International, also found people optimistic that they can make a difference and oppose graft.

Rick Perry reshaped Texas, but foundered nationally

Written by The Associated Press Tuesday, 09 July 2013 04:04

Texas Gov. Rick Perry was a champion of fiercely conservative social activism long before the tea party was born and became the state's most powerful governor since Reconstruction.

But nationally, Perry is better known for his 'oops' presidential debate brain freeze or for not opposing forcefully enough the notion that Texas could secede from the union. For many outside the Lone Star State, he's a political punchline on par with Dan Quayle – if he's known at all.

South Carolina ends segregation of HIV-positive inmates

Written by WiG Wednesday, 10 July 2013 09:44

The South Carolina Department of Corrections said July 10 that it is abolishing a policy of segregating HIV-positive prisoners. South Carolina was the last state with such a policy, a practice that dates back some 26 years.

"HIV ghettos became a shameful fixture in U.S. prisons during the earliest days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, especially in the Deep South," said Margaret Winter, associate director of the ACLU National Prison Project. "Today, South Carolina closes a discriminatory chapter in U.S. history, one that was driven by ignorance, fear, and bias."

Former North Carolina GOP director urges support on ENDA

Written by WiG Tuesday, 09 July 2013 11:03

The former director of the North Carolina GOP is urging support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is expected to take up on July 10.

The measure, which would ban bias based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace, has the support of at least 53 U.S. senators.

21 people sue for marriage equality in Pennsylvania

Written by WiG Tuesday, 09 July 2013 08:51

The American Civil Liberties Union on July 9 filed a lawsuit on behalf of 21 people who want to marry of for the state of Pennsylvania to recognize their out-of-state marriages.

The suit — filed by the ACLU of Pennsylvania, the national ACLU and the law firm of Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schille — alleges that the state’s anti-gay marriage law, which defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman and withholds recognition of same-sex marriages from other states, violates the fundamental right to marry and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

A south Louisiana official says he’s drafting a proposal to limit the types of flags that can be flown on government property after hearing complaints about a gay Pride flag being hoisted temporarily in a local park.

Andy Naquin, a Lafayette City-Parish councilman, told The Daily Advertiser that he was contacted by a military veteran who was offended that a gay Pride group flew the rainbow flag June 30 in Girard Park, which is Lafayette Consolidated Government property.