Gay

eHarmony same sex settlement.JPGThe state of New Jersey has reached a settlement with the popular online dating website, eHarmony. Under the settlement, eHarmony agrees to provide its proprietary online matching service to same sex singles.

In return, the state of New Jersey will not pursue a civil rights action against eHarmony that the state would surely win:

The company also agrees to ensure that same-sex users are matched via the same or equivalent technology as that used for heterosexual match-seekers, agrees to charge same-sex users the same fees, and agrees to offer the same service quality and terms of service as heterosexuals.

Unless somebody wants to argue that eHarmony is a religious institution, I think the law is pretty clear on this one.

More information about the settlement after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “eHarmony ‘Catches The Gay’”

gay marriage skadden.jpgThanks to the voters of California, we now live in a time where previously granted rights can be snatched away from law abiding citizens on the strength of majoritarian domination.

If you didn’t think that was going to spark a whole bunch of legal arguments (on both sides of the issue), you’ve never been oppressed by an otherwise “free” society.

So, let’s take a look at all the crazy things dribbling out of California right now. For my money, here’s the most ludicrous argument:

If opposition to same-sex marriage is to be understood as pure bigotry, then no accommodation for religious believers will be made. This is what people have got to understand is at stake in this conflict. It is not a scare tactic, or a made-up charge: there really will be a substantial effect on traditional churches, synagogues, mosques and religious institutions if gay marriage is constitutionalized.

As usual, the argument ends there. People like to talk about the “substantial effect” on religious institutions, without naming one concrete effect. See, in this country, we have civil marriages and religious marriages. I’ve yet to talk to a supporter of gay marriage who wants to the state to force a priest or a reverend or a rabbi to perform a gay marriage in a house of worship. Heck, in the Catholic church at least, you can’t get straight-married by a priest in a church unless you submit yourself to hours of religious indoctrination and lie about your relationship with contraceptives.

(Christ, did I just say that out loud? Now I have to go to confessional again before Christmas. Damnit.)

Nobody is going to mess with the right of religious people to “not condone the gay lifestyle.” America reads you loud and clear. You’re not gay, you have a huge penis, and that one time in college you were just really drunk. The private feelings of religious people towards gay people are strictly between religious people and their Jesus (who preached a lot about love and tolerance, but whatever).

The impact of gay marriage on the 1st Amendment is nil. As many (many, many) people have pointed out: if you don’t like gay marriage, then don’t get gay married. Thank God we have an entire constitutional amendment that allows churches to marry whomever the hell they want to without interference from the state. It’s a good thing that all gay rights advocates want is for gays and lesbians to have a legal bond commensurate with what straight people can achieve on a pirate ship.

Okay, but the 1st Amendment argument against gay marriage is a total red herring. After the jump, California drags us into some more complicated legal issues.

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When The Law Stops Acting as a Shield and Starts Acting as a Sword”

gay marriage skadden.jpgCalifornia may have let pesky voters take away the rights of gays and lesbians to have state marriages, but clearly Connecticut wants no part of “National Lampoon’s Mystic Vacation: Meet Mr. & Mr. Griswold.”

Last month, we reported that the Connecticut high court upheld gay marriage. Today, a New Haven Superior Court judge ruled that gay couples could come pick up their marriage licenses:

“Today is historic legally and culturally and socially,” said Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who was attending the hearing. “My office vigorously defended state law, including the civil unions statute, but we have to put aside our past positions and personal opinions to make sure the law is vigorously enforced and defended and the court’s decision is implemented as smoothly as possible.”

New Haven and judicial fiat. Some things just belong together.

Meanwhile, back in LaLa Land, 52.5% of voters mumbled something about an activist God before Connecticut jurists stopped listening.

Welcome to Connecticut: home to the WWE, ESPN, and Gay Marriage.

Gay Marriage Now Legal in Connecticut [Law.com]

Earlier: Breaking: Connecticut Court Upholds Gay Marriage

Christian Legal Society logo.JPGThe Christian Legal Society had their big conference in Washington, DC, but not all of the participants walked away feeling good about the direction of the organization. One tipster reports:

I attended the CLS conference in Washington and was surprised and disappointed by its focus on the culture wars. The law student portion of the conference turned out to be two things. 1. It was a pity party for how Christian groups are so oppressed. (Right, because Jesus’ disciples thought following him was the ticket to getting on Law Review and SBA. Ummm. See Acts 1:1-28:30.) 2. The focus was an “us against them” rallying cry back to the culture war. There was much talk about the “Membership Statement of Faith and Sexual Morality Standards” that CLS chapter board members apparently have to sign, but nothing about compassion and caring that is supposed to mark Christians. See Matthew 25:35-46. At least for those of us who walked out in disgust, it was a very sad thing to witness.

In a follow up email sent yesterday, the Director of the Center for Law & Religious Freedom Christian Legal Society emphasized CLS’s “non-discrimination” policies:

As you will recall, I made a short presentation during the NSLC on Saturday afternoon. I distributed hard copies of the Q&A we prepared regarding the application of nondiscrimination policies to CLS law school chapters. For your convenience, I’ve attached an electronic copy to this email. …

Are you having any difficulties on your campus? Does your law school forbid student groups — even religious ones like CLS — from “discriminating” on the basis of religion, sexual orientation, marital status, or gender identity?

Please let me know. I’d very much appreciate hearing from you. And please let me know if there is anything that the CLS Center can do to serve you.

Blessings in Christ.

How the Christian Legal Society interprets anti-discrimination after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Guide Around Anti-Discrimination Laws:
Brought to you by The Christian Legal Society”

gay marriage skadden.jpgWell, Prop 8 passed in California.

Other states also passed ballot initiatives to ban gay marriage (Arizona and Arkansas Florida). Arkansas passed a measure to prevent gay men and lesbians from adopting.

The ACLU respects democracy, except for when the ACLU thinks that voters get it “wrong.”

The American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, filed the suit Wednesday on behalf of Equality California and six unmarried and possibly deprived same-sex couples. The plaintiffs urge the court to invalidate Proposition 8 on the grounds that the initiative process itself violated California’s Constitution in aiming to prevent the judiciary from its duty to uphold equal protections for a minority: gays and lesbians. Any measure that changes the underlying principles of the Constitution, the plaintiffs charge, must first be approved by the state legislature before reaching a voter’s ballot.

“A major purpose of the constitution is to protect minorities from majorities,” said ACLU of Northern California staff attorney Elizabeth Gill.

Back to the courts! Again. Article III pwns “people.”

California’s gay marriage ban, Proposition 8, faces court battle [Page One]

Bans in 3 States on Gay Marriage [New York Times]

Earlier: Countdown to California’s Prop. 8 Showdown

pink gavel gay lesbian bisexual transgender lawyer attorney.jpgThis is the second and final post about the panel discussion featuring out lawyers that we attended last week. The first installment was published over the weekend.

The panel was moderated by litigatrix Lisa Linsky, a partner a McDermott Will & Emery. She was joined by Michael Colosi, general counsel for Kenneth Cole; Phylliss Delgreco, associate general counsel and senior vice president at Citigroup; and Roberta Kaplan, a litigation partner at Paul Weiss.

(Linsky, by the way, was recently interviewed by BBLP about her work on LGBT issues at McDermott. See here and here.)

Read about the discussion — which covered such issues as whether it’s easier to be out when you’re in-house rather than at a law firm, how to deal with homophobic clients, and how to figure out which workplaces are LGBT-friendly (aside from discussing the subject in ATL comments) — after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “OutLaws: A Discussion With Out Lawyers (Part 2)”

pink gavel gay lesbian bisexual transgender lawyer attorney.jpgLast week, we attended OutLaws: A Discussion With Out Lawyers, held at the LGBT Community Center here in New York. The event featured “out lawyers sharing different perspectives and stories — how they got to where they are professionally, as well as what went right, what didn’t, how they’d approach things differently today, and the specific challenges they faced as an LGBT person.”

The panel was moderated by Lisa Linsky, a litigation partner at McDermott Will & Emery. She was joined by Michael Colosi, general counsel for Kenneth Cole; Phylliss Delgreco, associate general counsel and senior vice president at Citigroup; and Roberta Kaplan, a litigation partner at Paul Weiss.

The freewheeling discussion was quite enlightening. You can read about it after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “OutLaws: A Discussion With Out Lawyers (Part 1)”

gay marriage skadden.jpgUnless something very strange happens, California’s electoral votes are already spoken for. In fact, we might know the next President long before the California polls close.

But regardless of the national election, there are many reasons why Californians should go vote on November, 4th. For many, Proposition 8 (the initiative to ban gay marriage) will be the signature issue on the ballot.

We have reported on attorneys from Orrick and Proskauer staking out positions on Prop. 8. Yesterday, the Daily Journal did a thorough breakdown of Prop. 8 campaign spending.

The California Marriage Protection Act has prompted more than 2,600 attorneys, judges and law professors to write checks totaling at least $1.6 million, but the committees that oppose the measure received 14 percent more money from the legal community than those who support it, an analysis by the Daily Journal shows.

No Biglaw firm took an “official” stance on the issue, but the Daily Journal reported that attorneys at Knobbe Martens, Sheppard, Mullin, Latham & Watkins, Richter & Hampton and Kirkland & Ellis led in terms of individual contributions.

Additional Prop 8 campaign info after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Countdown to California’s Prop. 8 Showdown”

gay marriage skadden.jpgWe’ve reported on how various lawyers are wading into the California Proposition 8 battle through internal firm communication. Last week we told you about a “Yes on 8″ Proskauer associate who emailed entertainment law blogger Russell Wetanson from his Proskauer email account.

Apparently, one missive supporting a ban on gay marriage wasn’t enough for the associate. The associate has sent out another email — from his Proskauer account — to a much wider distribution list which included other Proskauer attorneys:

The Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage did not just overturn the will of California voters (over 61% of them to be exact); it also redefined marriage for the rest of society, without ever asking the people themselves to accept this decision. As a lawyer I can tell you that those Four Activist Judges in San Francisco harmed the democratic process as much as they damaged traditional marriage. [Redacted] I know you and I agree on most things and I assume you still believe that it is a judge’s role to enforce the law not create it, but that is exactly what those Four Activist Judges did. They ignored the votes and voices of 4 million Californians and replaced it with their own. For that reason alone Prop 8 should be supported. If the proponents of gay marriage wish to change the law, let them do it properly not; through the people not through activist judges.

What people do on their personal time is their own business. But doesn’t this cat have a gmail account? There are a lot of attorneys who use the Star Jones-special “I’m a Lawyer” conceit to strengthen their argument, but why drag the firm into it?

More excerpts from this Proskauer associate after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Yes on Prop 8 Proskauer Associate Strikes Again”

gay marriage skadden.jpgLegal analyst and pop-culture sycophant Russell Wetanson has been running a fairly aggressive campaign against California’s Proposition 8. The measure would ban gay marriages in California, as we have discussed before.

Wetanson sent around the following email to subscribers to his blog:

No On Prop 8. No On Prop 8. No On Prop 8.

If you think everyone agrees with this or understands the proposition, you are wrong. The evil Yes On 8 people have raised way too much money, so No On Prop 8 needs your help to keep running ads and make sure that civil rights guaranteed by the California Constitution are not stripped away by a vote.

Not surprisingly, the “evil” line produced some pretty angry responses to Wetanson, including one from a senior Proskauer Rose associate:

Russell: Easy on the “evil Yes on 8 people” – as you may or may not know I am one of them and my girlfriend [Redacted] – so unless you actually think we are evil I think it goes a little over the top to call people names (especially in support of a campaign that purports to fight against bigotry).

Though I am sure I will not change your mind I will remind you that Prop 8 will not take any substantive rights away from any individuals as California law already provides domestic partners all of the rights that can be provided under state law to same sex couples (and we both know Prop 8 does not impact federal law). On the other hand keeping the law as it was judicially modified by 4 judges who overturn 62% of Californian’s will impacts far more than those who wish to enter into a committed relationship as it impacts the requirements of educational system and potential the rights of religious organizations. This is not a doomsday prediction, it is already happening as state funds are being used to proselytize to 1st graders http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/10/11/MNFG13F1VG.DTL&type=politics&tsp=1.

All I am saying is adults can disagree (as you and I have responsibly for years) and while this can be an emotional issue for both sides, name calling is a little beyond you.

A reasonable response (though I disagree that taking a field trip to see a teacher get married is tantamount to “proselytizing first graders”).

After the jump, was the firm email account really the best way to communicate this message?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Gay Marriage Debate Comes To Proskauer Rose”

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