News You Should Know July 7

BTL Staff

DENVER (AP) - Colorado Attorney General John Suthers filed a lawsuit July 3, to follow through with his threat to sue the Boulder County clerk, Hillary Hall, who has been issuing same-sex marriage licenses. Suthers maintains that since the 10th Circuit Court ruling was put on hold pending appeal that the state's gay-marriage ban remains in effect and that those licenses that have been issued are invalid.

"Regretfully, our office was forced to take action against Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall due to her refusal to follow state law,'' Suthers said. "While we would prefer not to sue a government official, Ms. Hall's actions are creating a legal limbo for both the state and the couples whose relationships she wants to champion."

Hall responded to say that it's Suthers' prerogative to take legal action until the Supreme Court rules on the issue, but she made it clear that she would not stop issuing licenses to gay couples. Hall says that Suthers is seeking to force her to violate the fundamental rights of the LGBT couples who apply for a marriage license.

By the end of the day on July 3rd the office had issued 105 marriage licenses.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied county official and Schulkill County Orphans Court Clerk Theresa Santai-Gaffney's request to appeal a ruling that overturned Pennsylvania's gay marriage ban. Santai-Gaffney says she plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge John E. Jones III of the U.S. District Court struck down the marriage ban on May 20 making Pennsylvania the last northeastern state to ban same-sex marriage.

GLENSIDE, PA (AP) - An Elementary School in Horsham has worked hard to help a transgender student return to school for the winter term with a new moniker and wardrobe, to live as a girl. Principal of Hallowell Elementary, Steve Glaze said the school received not a single phone call of concern but instead had calls from people wanting to know how they could help the student. Credit for the smooth transition in school policy goes to Graciela Slesaransky-Poe, dean of the education school at Arcadia University who spent weeks advising staff members on how to handle kids' inevitable questions, deal with the restroom issue, use desired gender terminology and watch for harassment on the bus and in the lunchroom. Slesaranksy-Poe is a former disability-rights expert and has worked with school districts from around the country helping educators cope with new challenges in welcoming students who are open about their gender identify at a younger age and with parents who are demanding more support in the classroom.

PITTSBURGH (AP) -Allegheny County has 11 employees with same-sex partners receiving benefits, which were to be terminated Aug. 1, but the county is pushing back the deadline for its employees to marry their same-sex partners in order for those partners to keep health care and other benefits. County Executive Rich Fitzgerald says the deadline is "too aggressive," so those employees will now be given until June 30, 201 to marry.

NEVADA (Washington Blade) - Nevada Republican, Lauren Scott, has the potential of being the first openly transgender person to be elected and serve in a state legislature but says that isn't a focus in her campaign. Scott is seeking to represent District 30 in the Nevada State Assembly and says she wants to make Nevada a better place to live and work, for everybody. Scott, 50, has spent a great deal of time working as a business development consultant and has worked with the state legislature on passage of pro-LGBT legislation as a founder of the group Equality Nevada. She wants to see marriage equality and says the best bet is pending litigation before the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. As a Republican, Scott says she is aware of her party's reputation for being anti-LGBT and that there may be some Republicans that vehemently don't like her. But says she's always been able to push back against bigotry and her outspoken nature for transgender and intersex rights maintains that gender shouldn't be an either-or option. Scott faces an uphill battle in the Democratic district as she pairs with incumbent State Assembly member Michael Sprinkle.

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