December 10, 2011
By Jacob Combs
If you’ve followed our coverage throughout the week, you’ll know that we’ve been pretty focused on the lead up to yesterday’s Perry hearings at the 9th Circuit. Here are a couple of stories significant to our community that made headlines this week, including a closer look at the burgeoning nontroversy regarding the repeal of the U.S. military’s sodomy laws.
On Wednesday, Forbes reported on an opinion issued by the attorney general of Hawaii stating that partners joined under the state’s civil unions law (which was enacted earlier this year) will be treated as if they were married when filing their income taxes. In related news, a lesbian couple who were recently denied a marriage license in Hawaii have filed a suit against Gov. Neil Abercrombie arguing that their equal protection rights have been infringed upon.
In New York, a Queens couple received a letter on Monday confirming that Monica Alcota, an Argintinian-born immigrant married to Cristina Ojeda, can stay in the United States following an immigration judge’s ruling to that effect. The couple’s lawyer, Lavi Soloway, told CNN that this is the first deportation case closed by the government since the Department of Homeland Security announced on November 17 that all pending immigration proceedings would be reviewed.
Finally, the Senate passed a military authorization bill that would repeal Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the provision banning sodomy among members of the armed forces. Military officials had recommended that Congress rescind the provision provided the recent repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the 2003 Supreme Court decision that struck down civilian sodomy laws in the states.
Due to a strange passage in that very provision, however, conservative groups are up in arms regarding the Senate’s decision. Article 125 exact wording states that anyone engaging in “unnatural carnal copulation with another person of the same or opposite sex or with an animal is guilty of sodomy.”
Right wing groups have already begun proclaiming that the Senate is in effect legalizing bestiality in the armed forces. Military officials insist that the language in Article 125 is simply a technicality and that even without the provision, bestiality remains quite illegal in the military. This, of course, has not stopped anti-gay groups like the Family Research Council, which in a blog posted titled “Bestiality Should Give Leaders Paws” (yes, really) used the semi-controversy as proof that DADT repeal was rushed. (This Nigerian newspaper went even one step further, proclaiming in a headline: “U.S. Senate legalizes sex with animals.”)
The House version of the military re-authorization bill does not contain any language removing Article 125; the two chambers’ bills will have to hammered out by aides into an agreement package before the bill can be passed. It is still unclear if the sodomy repeal will make its way into the final bill.
As usual, if you see something newsworthy, remember to send it our way or to post it on P8TT in Quick Hits!