Thursday, January 10, 2008

MD, OR: domestic partner issues

The Maryland General Assembly was due today to debate the meaning of “domestic partner.” This is was to fill in a gap in a new state law on health insurance, which would require health insurance companies writing business in Maryland to offer domestic partner coverage when requested to do so by employers.

The latest entry so far is a “Maryland Moment” blog in The Washington Post by Lisa Rein, “Debate on Domestic Partnership Expected in January, link here.

But a federal judge (Michael W. Mosman) placed a hold Dec. 28 on a law in Oregon that would have granted most spousal rights to same-sex couples. The AP story is by Sarah Skidmore, and the Post link is here.

The problem was that there had been a referendum in October trying to block the law. Supposedly there were not enough signatures collected by anti-gay opponents. (Many concerns were voiced concerning raising of children.) However the vote was very close, and opponents claim that the procedures for counting votes should be audited, a common issue now with elections. It was not immediately apparent if there was a paper ballot count.

Oregon had a horrific anti-gay referendum in 1992, and it was voted down. Oregon also had a little known effort to ban gays from teaching in 1986, but it was also defeated (as had happened in California in 1978).

In another continuing story, Idaho Senator Larry Craig was trying to raise "first amendment" issues and quibbling over terminology in the Minnesota disorderly conduct law, as he tries to get his embarrassing guilty plea reversed. Politics does make good bedfellows. The Logo channel now says that "wide stance" has become a new GLBT buzzword.

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