The Presidential Inauguration Committee announced that Richard Blanco will serve as the inaugural poet at the swearing-in ceremony Jan. 21.
"I’m beside myself, bestowed with this great honor, brimming over with excitement, awe and gratitude,” Blanco stated. “In many ways, this is the very ‘stuff’ of the American Dream, which underlies so much of my work and my life’s story – America’s story, really. I am thrilled by the thought of coming together during this great occasion to celebrate our country and its people through the power of poetry.”
The start of the new legislative in Illinois brought the reintroduction of a bill to legalize same-sex marriage.
On Jan. 9, Illinois state Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, sponsored the reintroduced Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act.
The Obama administration spent more money on immigration enforcement in the last fiscal year than all other federal law enforcement agencies combined, according to a report on the government’s enforcement efforts from a Washington think tank.
The report on Monday from the Migration Policy Institute, a non-partisan group focused on global immigration issues, said in the 2012 budget year that ended in September the government spent about $18 billion on immigration enforcement programs run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the US-Visit program, and Customs and Border Protection, which includes the Border Patrol. Immigration enforcement topped the combined budgets of the FBI; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Secret Service by about $3.6 billion dollars, the report’s authors said.
Openly gay U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wisconsin, announced additional key congressional appointments as a member of the House Budget Committee and as an assistant minority whip.
Pocan also has been appointed to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Myrlie Evers-Williams has been selected to deliver the invocation at the inauguration of President Barack Obama on Jan. 21 in Washington.
The White House made the announcement Jan. 8.
Jeanne Manford, the founder of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays – the organization that adopted so many LGBT people and helped so many come out as the parent of an LGBT kid – has died.
A statement from PFLAG's national executive director, Jody Huckaby: "Today the world has lost a pioneer: Jeanne Manford, the founder of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and the Mother of the Straight Ally movement.
A federal judge heard arguments Jan. 7 on whether to keep alive a case alleging that Massachusetts evangelical Scott Lively’s anti-gay efforts in Uganda constitute persecution under federal and international law.
Sexual Minorities Uganda is the plaintiff in the complaint filed by Center for Constitutional Rights, based in the United States.
With the opening of the 101st session of the Wisconsin Legislature, Gov. Scott Walker, R, issued a statement. He said:
"I look forward to working with all four legislative caucuses to help improve our state for the next generation.
The Washington National Cathedral announced Jan. 9 that – effective immediately – it will allow the celebration of same-sex weddings.
The Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean, said in an announcement on the cathedral's website, “Washington National Cathedral has a long history of advancing equality for people of all faiths and perspectives. The cathedral is called to serve as a gathering place for the nation in times of significance, but it is also rooted in its role as the most visible faith community within the Episcopal Church. For more than 30 years, the Episcopal Church has prayed and studied to discern the evidence of God’s blessing in the lives of same-sex couples. It is now only fitting that the National Cathedral follow suit. We enthusiastically affirm each person as a beloved child of God—and doing so means including the full participation of gays and lesbians in the life of this spiritual home for the nation.”
Authorities have arrested an Alabama teenager – a self-described white supremacist – for allegedly plotting to blow up classmates and a teacher.
The defense attorney for 17-year-old Derek Shrout says the accusations have been blown out of proportion.
In any other New England state, Chelsea Leyden could marry the woman she’s been with for more than two years. But not in Rhode Island. Leyden hopes this is the year that distinction disappears.
“I want to get married where I was born and raised,” said Leyden, of Cranston. “My family is here. I don’t want to have to go to Massachusetts.”
Some servicemembers ousted under the now retired ban on gays in the military will receive their full separation pay, not the half-pay they received previously.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of New Mexico announced a settlement in the class action suit later on Jan. 7.