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An Ohio judge has ruled that lesbian mothers must share custody of their 8-year-old biological daughter. The judge found that evidence supports the claims of Julie Rose Rowell that she and biological mother Julie Ann Smith were life partners with an agreement to raise the girl together. Smith plans to appeal the case to a domestic relations judge and will appeal even further if necessary. The couple split up in 2008 and Rowell filed a petition for shared custody after Smith refused to allow her contact with the child.
A custody battle in Florida between two lesbians might force state lawmakers to reconsider a 19-year-old law regarding the rights of sperm and egg donors. One partner donated an egg that was fertilized and implanted into her partner. That woman gave birth in 2004, nine years into their relationship. But the couple separated two years later, and the birth mother fled to Australia with the child without telling her former lover.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says he doesn't know if he would support legislation that would give same sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples. The Democrat supported same sex civil unions, which became legal in Illinois last summer. However, he recently said he wants to study issues surrounding same-sex marriage before he makes a decision.
The Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously against a proposed state constitutional amendment to ban marriage for same-sex couples in Minnesota. Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak will sign the measure, which also urges state residents to vote against the amendment in November. “We took this step because it is critical that every person in Minneapolis can make a commitment to the person they love,” said Mayor R.T. Rybak. “Minneapolis has a history of embracing diversity, and we’re a stronger community for it,” said Council Member Elizabeth Glidden.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers in Washington state voted in favor of a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage. Two Republicans voted in support of the bill. "With today's vote, we tell the nation that Washington state will no longer deny our citizens the opportunity to marry the person they love," said Gov. Chris Gregoire, a Demorcrat who has vowed to sign it. "We tell every child of same-sex couples that their family is every bit as equal and important as all other families in our state.
Rolling Stone describes the human cost of political gay-bashing: nine student suicides in two years in Michelle Bachmann’s home district. The article attributes this to the local School Board’s embrace of a fervent anti-gay agenda. The suicides feed a climate of severe gay bullying in the schools, making life hell for some - while administrators did nothing to protect them.
A battle over whether child-placement agencies should be allowed to discriminate against prospective parents and children based on their sexual orientation has moved to Virginia's General Assembly. Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, has introduced legislation that would bar Virginia from contracting with or funding agencies that discriminate against children or otherwise eligible prospective foster or adoptive parents solely on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, family status, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Vowing to make a bill legalizing same-sex marriage a priority, the N.J. legislative leaders say they plan to make marriage equality a centerpiece of the new session that begins this week. "It's going be a fight," Senate President Stephen Sweeney (pictured) said. "We expect it to be a fight. The governor’s a decent person, and I think we can work on educating him to the fact of what it means." He doesn't expect a battle in the new Legislature, but rather with Gov. Chris Christie, who has been a staunch opponent of it.