Stylish rocker Lenny Kravitz glams in the new issue of The Block. Kravitz rocks John Varvatos, Phillip Lim and others in the editorial lensed by fashion photographer Steven Pan.
Kravitz's ninth studio album Black and White America was released last month. "Right now, he’s filming The Hunger Games in North Carolina; he’ll play the stylist Cinna, which suits well enough, given his proclivity for tight-ass leather," writes Sarah Nicole Prickett.
A federal appeals court has refused to decide the constitutionality of the now-repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that bans openly gay troops, saying the issue is "moot" since gays and lesbians can now legally enlist and serve. The ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denies gay rights advocates "an important legal precedent" that they had argued should be preserved, reports CNN.
The three-judge panel said the case was essentially moot since the military's enforcement of the policy ceased nine days ago, after a Pentagon-led transition period that followed repeal of the 1993 law by Congress last year. "The repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell provides Log Cabin (Republicans) with all it sought and may have had standing to obtain," wrote the judges in a 21-page ruling.
By so ruling, the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals avoided deciding the larger question of whether the policy violated the constitutional due process rights of gays and lesbians who are serving or who wanted to serve the armed forces. ...
The Log Cabin Republicans' lawsuit became part of the back-and-forth legal and political dealings that took place in the months leading up to the demise of the policy. Federal courts -- including the Supreme Court -- dealt with the question of whether the law should continue to be enforced during the transition, ignoring the larger questions of its constitutionality.
Even though “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has been lifted, plaintiffs continued with the litigation on the basis that a ruling that the ban was unconstitutional would prohibit future reinstatement of the law. Republican presidential candidates Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum have said they’d reinstitute “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” if elected to the White House.
A ruling that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was unconstitutional could also aid service members discharged under the law seeking back pay, reinstatement or a change in discharge status. The decision came down from the Ninth Circuit panel after the U.S. Justice Department asked the court to dismiss
The lawsuit in the wake of the end to "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell." R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of the National Log Cabin Republicans, said President Obama “should be ashamed that he is responsible” for taking part in the undoing of the district court’s decision on the matter.
President Obama reiterated his opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act and said that he believes the courts will address the law "fairly soon" but stopped short of predicting a ruling.
The President's remarks came yesterday at the White House during a roundtable with Latino media. In addition to addressing the situation of bi-national same-sex couples, the commander-in-chief also addressed issues such as bullying, hate crimes, immigration reform and Puerto Rico's future.
The position that my administration has taken I think will have a significant influence on the court as it examines the constitutionality of this law. And once that law is struck down—and I don't know what the ruling will be—then addressing these binational issues could flow from that decision, potentially.
I can't comment on where the case is going to go. I can only say what I believe, and that is that DOMA doesn't make sense; it’s unfair; I don't think that it meets the demands of our Constitution. ... I’ve already said that I’m also supportive of Congress repealing DOMA on it’s own and not waiting for the courts. The likelihood of us being able to get the votes in the House of Representatives for DOMA repeal are very low at this point so, truthfully, the recourse to the courts is probably going to be the best approach.
The Obama Administration announced in February that it will NOT defend recent lawsuits challenging Section Three of the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex couples and denies all federal benefits, such as Social Security, pensions, health care and preferential tax status. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has hired counsel to defend DOMA's constitutionality in court.
In related news: The legislative effort to repeal DOMA attracted its first Republican co-sponsor last week. There are now 125 supporters in the House and 29 in the Senate.
According to revised estimates from the 2010 Census, there were 131,729 same-sex married couple households and 514,735 same-sex unmarried partner households in the United States.
The results of the 2010 Census revised estimates are closer to the results of the 2010 American Community Survey (ACS) for same-sex married and unmarried partners. The 2010 ACS estimated same-sex married couples at 152,335 and same-sex unmarried partners at 440,989. ...
Statistics on same-sex couple households are derived from two questions on the census and ACS questionnaire: relationship to householder and the sex of each person. When data were captured for these two questions on the 2010 Census door-to-door form, the wrong box may have been checked for the sex of a small percentage of opposite-sex spouses and unmarried partners. Because the population of opposite-sex married couples is large and the population of same-sex married couples in particular is small, an error of this type artificially inflates the number of same-sex married partners.
The Census Bureau adds: "The 2010 Census preferred estimates have been peer-reviewed by Gary Gates, a demographer with the UCLA School of Law's Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy, by Philip Cohen, a professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and by Megan Sweeney, professor of sociology at UCLA. These experts concluded the methodology behind these revised estimates was sound."
The Williams Institute conducted a survey of same-sex couples immediately after Census 2010 showing that most same-sex couples who described themselves as spouses are in legally recognized relationships, but not all are actually married. The analyses suggest that approximately 70% reported that they were legally married, and another 15% said that they were in civil unions or registered domestic partnerships. The remaining 15% indicated that while they were not actually in a legally recognized relationship, they considered themselves to be spouses.
Same-sex couples can marry in six states and the District of Columbia. Thirteen states offer non-marital forms of relationship recognition like civil unions or registered domestic partnership.
The Williams Institute estimates that about 50,000 same-sex couples have married in the following states, and in the following numbers: Massachusetts (2004-2009) 16,129; California (2008) 18,000; Connecticut (2008-2010) 6,752; Iowa (2009-2010) 2,099; Vermont (2009-2010) 1,425; New Hampshire (2010) 1,805; District of Columbia (2010) 3,500. Data on marriages in New York are not yet available. In addition, as many as 30,000 same-sex couples may have been married outside of the US. The Williams Institute also estimates that approximately 100,000 same-sex couples are in non-marital forms of relationship recognition like civil unions and registered domestic partnerships.
One of the Alabama Senate's Republican leaders has been forced to issue an "apology" after referring to Blacks as "aborigines. Social conservative and Tea Party favorite State Sen. Scott Beason's recorded remarks were heard in court as part of an undercover federal investigation, reports The Birmingham News.
The comment was caught on tape when Beason wore a wire for FBI agents during an investigation into alleged State House corruption and vote-buying. But Senate Democrats on Tuesday said Beason's apology was inadequate for the offense he caused and that he should step down as Rules Committee chairman or be removed from the position by GOP leaders. The committee sets the debate agenda in the Alabama Senate.
The wire Beason wore during the FBI investigation recorded him and two other Republicans joking about economic development in predominantly black Greene County and Greenetrack casino, which was one of the county's largest employers. "That's y'all's Indians," former Rep. Benjamin Lewis said. "They're aborigines, but they're not Indians," replied Beason. ...
Senate President Pro Tempore Del Marsh, R-Anniston, said Republicans were giving Beason the "benefit of the doubt" following his apology at a caucus meeting last week and to Alabama citizens Tuesday. ... But some Republicans also wanted Beason removed as rules chairman and some Senate leaders have suggested that Beason resign his committee position temporarily.
Beason's comments come the same week that Black GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain claims the Tea Party is not "racist."
In related news: A federal judge is set to rule today on three lawsuits that challenge Alabama's new and restrictive immigration law, which Beason sponsored.
New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie has slammed President Barack Obama as a "bystander in the Oval Office" but refuses to say whether he will run for that office, reports Politico.
He didn’t give a definitive yes or no to the people who came to hear a sold-out speech that could almost be used as the text for a presidential kick-off at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, instead executing a series of artful dodges. ... But he didn’t issue a new denial up on stage as he listened to the crowd’s pleas that he get into the race. "Your country needs you," one woman said. Another, "My Italian mother said you gotta run for president."
Christie’s been the subject of intense, renewed speculation about getting into the race as doubts circulate among big donors and the Republican establishment about Texas Gov. Rick Perry following his weak debate performance and Florida straw poll loss last week. Despite a year of repeating that he wouldn’t run, Christie yet again emerged this week as the choice for those still looking for a Mitt Romney alternative.
Some quick history: The incoming governor threatened to veto the New Jersey legislature's initial plans to vote on marriage equality during its lameduck session. Christie replaced the only Black justice on the state Supreme Court with a white Republican. Christie also "wasn't sure" if he should sign the Garden State's landmark anti-bullying legislation.