Tag Archives: non-binding

Dane County voters to decide marijuana referendum

Dane County voters casting ballots in the April election will get to say whether Wisconsin should legalize marijuana — for any purpose.

The referendum is non-binding and is reaching voters following approval of a resolution by Dane County supervisors.

Supervisor Leland Pan sponsored the resolution, which passed unanimously with 29 “yes” votes. Dane County Supervisor Dave Ripp abstained.

The supervisors, according to a news release, also unanimously backed a resolution that calls for a nonpartisan system for creating legislative districts — from the local to the congressional level — to avoid creating safe districts for political parties.

The resolution states, “The current system, which essentially allows politicians to pick the voters they prefer in each district, is opposed by non-partisan groups such as the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin and Common Cause and numerous newspaper editorial boards in the state.”

U.S. rep. introduces resolution against ex-gay therapy

A congressional resolution aimed at protecting young people from the psychological abuse of so-called “ex-gay” therapy has been reintroduced.

U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., said her Stop Harming Our Kids resolution would encourage state lawmakers to pass laws similar to those enacted in California and New Jersey that prohibit the practice of trying to change the sexual orientation of children.

Speier, in a statement on the House floor on Dec. 3, said, “When Jerry Spencer told his family that he was gay, his mother told him not to worry because they would quote ‘fix it.’ This began seven years of going through so-called ‘conversion therapy’ to try to make him straight. He was forced to put blocks of ice on his hands while he looked at pictures of guys holding hands, and would only be given relief from the pain if he pleaded to see a picture of a guy and girl holding hands. Other survivors of this quackery were told to strip down and hold their genitalia or to snap themselves with a rubber band every time they experienced same-sex attraction. Jerry said that each time he left, quote, ‘a little more destroyed.'”

Professional medical and mental health organizations do not support ex-gay therapy and many say such therapy is dangerous to the patient. A task force of the American Psychological Association found that such therapy can be linked to confusion, depression, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, shame, social withdrawal, thoughts of suicide, substance abuse, stress, disappointment, self-blame and decreased self-esteem.

“These practices have been rejected by every mainstream mental health association as neither safe nor effective,” said Speier. “These efforts frequently increase family rejection, which we know make LGBT youth 8.4 times more likely than straight youth  to report attempting suicide, 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression, and 3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs.”

The resolution has 15 co-sponsors in the House and the support of the Human Rights Campaign, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Trevor Project, The Southern Poverty Law Center, Truth Wins Out, Parents, Families & Friends Lesbians and Gays National and the Stop Abuse Campaign.

In the next year, lawmakers in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York, Wisconsin and Ohio are expected to consider prohibitions on ex-gay therapy.

Santa Fe council says same-sex marriage legal in New Mexico

The Santa Fe City Council has passed a controversial resolution recognizing gay marriage as legal in New Mexico.

The vote on April 23 for the largely symbolic measure was 5-1 with two abstentions.

Santa Fe Mayor David Coss was a sponsor of the measure.

Council members who abstained or voted “no” say the city has no authority to make law on same-sex marriage and claim the issue has divided or polarized residents.

City attorney Geno Zamora recently provided the council with an opinion saying state law doesn’t define marriage as between a man and a woman and that same-sex unions are legal.

New Mexico Attorney General Gary King is in the process of coming up with an opinion on the subject, which hasn’t been adjudicated with finality in the state’s court system.