Baltimore, MD - Baltimore Cops Win Legal Case over Benefits - 11.24
Two Baltimore County Police officers who were denied health benefits for their same-sex spouses have won their cases before an arbitrator, the first disputes of this kind to be decided in the department. Officers Margaret Selby and Juanika Ballard got the word on Tuesday that an independent arbitrator ruled in their favor, meaning the county must provide health benefits to the women whom they each married out of state in the summer of 2009. In a 10-page opinion, the arbitrator ruled that the county violated the terms of the union contract by denying the benefits in August 2010.
Source: Baltimore Sun
Boston, MA - Massachusetts Gov. Patrick signs Transgender Rights Bill - 11.23
Gov. Deval Patrick has signed a bill designed to protect transgender people from discrimination in Massachusetts. Advocates said the new law protects transgender people from discrimination in the workplace and housing by adding â€śgender identity and expressionâ€ť to the stateâ€™s civil rights laws. The measure won support from state lawmakers after advocates agreed to drop public accommodations language that critics said would lead to a breakdown in privacy in rest rooms, locker rooms and other single-gender facilities.
Source: Associated Press
Colorado - Gay Man Elected Minority Leader of Colorado House - 11.18
Democrats in the Colorado House of Representatives have elected an openly gay man to lead their caucus, meaning he could become House Speaker if the chamber flips back to Democratic control next year. Rep. Mark Ferrandino of Denver, who cosponsored a civil unionâ€™s bill this year that failed to pass in the Republican-controlled House, said he will work to put Democrats back in charge of the nearly evenly divided chamber.
Clayton, MO - Missouri Town Passes Anti-Discrimination Measure - 11.25
The city of Clayton has become the fifth Missouri community to pass a law barring discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in employment, housing and public accommodations. Mayor Linda Goldstein says the St. Louis County community is resolved to protect the rights of all residents equally. The Clayton City Council unanimously approved the measure Tuesday. Mayor Linda Goldstein says the St. Louis County community is resolved to protect the rights of all residents equally.
Source: The Republic
Washington DC - Barney Frank Not Seeking Re-Election in 2012 - 11.28
U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, a prominent 16-term liberal Democrat from Massachusetts and arch-enemy of political conservatives nationwide, announced Monday that he does not intend to seek re-election in 2012. Frank, 71, said his decision to retire from Congress was prompted partly by changes made to the boundaries of his U.S. House district. Frank, first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1980, is the top Democrat on the powerful House Financial Services Committee. The controversial 2010 Dodd-Frank measure, designed to rein in Wall Street excesses after the 2008 financial collapse, passed the House without any GOP support. He made headlines earlier in his career by becoming one of the first openly gay members of Congress. Frankâ€™s current district -- which extends from the affluent, liberal Boston suburbs of Newton and Brookline to the cities of New Bedford and Fall River -- is considered safe Democratic political terrain.