Thursday, March 26, 2009

Baby Steps

Lesbian named chief judge of U.S. Claims Court
Hewitt is married Episcopal priest
By LOU CHIBBARO JR. of WashingtonBlade

The White House announced Monday that President Obama has appointed a prominent lesbian attorney and ordained Episcopal priest as Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

Emily C. Hewitt, 64, has been serving as one of 16 judges on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims since President Clinton appointed her to the post in 1998.

Hewitt’s elevation to Chief Judge on the court does not require Senate confirmation. The Senate confirmed her 1998 appointment to the court.

A biography of Hewitt on the court’s web site says she is married to Eleanor Dean Acheson, a nationally recognized gay rights attorney who served as an assistant attorney general in the Clinton administration. Acheson, who was out as a lesbian in the Clinton administration, later worked as director of public policy and government affairs for the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force.

With so many recent appointments of superbly qualified gay and lesbians Americans by President Obama to high offices, it is finally beginning to feel like we’ve finally turned the page on the dark days of the Bush administration.


And then, there's this 180 degree turnabout in recognizing that GAY STUDENTS exist and need to have a voice:

Education Secretary Arne Duncan has told a gay student advocacy group that he intends to make schools safe for every student, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.

Duncan made the pledge during a meeting with representatives of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network and a delegation of students and teachers.

It is the first time that a Secretary of Education has met with LGBT advocates. The Bush administration rejected calls to meet.

“It was moving to witness these students and teachers sharing their personal stories of pain, rejection, resilience and hope with the nation’s top education official,” said GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard who attended the meeting.

“Secretary Duncan showed great compassion for their experiences, respect for their perseverance and dedication to identifying effective responses to school climate issues. I am confident that we will see growing engagement with these issues at the Department of Education and truly positive change.”

Duncan also expressed an interest in finding ways to highlight the problem of bullying and harassment in national discussions about education, and requested further data on a number of proposed interventions.


Equality survives a Popular vote in Gainesville Florida March 24th 2009!

"GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Voters have turned down a measure that would have stripped Gainesville, Fla.'s anti-discrimination protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender residents."

"With all precincts reporting Tuesday, the vote was 58 percent against changing the law."

"A group, Citizens for Good Public Policy, had sought to replace the city's protections with the Florida Civil Rights Act."

"The act does not include anti-discrimination laws to sexual preference or gender identity."

"The winning group, Equality is Gainesville's Business, says the allegations played on the public's fears and the changes were merely an attempt to remove protections from Gainesville citizens."


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