Gay Rights Movement Flexes Muscles, Brings In The Liz Gilbert GunsS

Blame godless San Francisco. It's the site of the ruling against Proposition 8, which had its stay lifted yesterday, and where the Human Rights Campaign is hoping to leverage its political muscle with Target.

We'll know more next week about the fate of gay couples seeing to marry in California, since Judge Vaughn Walker scheduled the overturning of Proposition 8 to go into effect next Wednesday — enough time for the Ninth Circuit's three-judge panel to decide on whether there should be a stay to hear the appeal from anti-gay marriage organizations. Walker pointed out in his most recent decision that since the state is not defending Proposition 8 — Governor Schwarzenegger had applauded its overturning — it's not clear whether its supporters have standing on their own to appeal his ruling.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Campaign is in "closed-door" negotiations with Target about its $150,000 donation to Tom Emmer, a rabidly anti-gay candidate. According to The Los Angeles Times, HRC is asking Target to make an "equivalent or greater donation to groups supporting gay rights candidates." Also: "The group has found a potential lever: the threat to come out against the construction of two new Target stores in San Francisco, where gay rights groups have exceptional political influence." Nice to see them bringing in the big guns.

On another major front of discrimination against gays and lesbians — the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy — Air Force Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach is pushing back against his discharge in a U.S. District Court in Idaho. He is arguing that "a discharge will cause him irreparable harm and that the government cannot prove that his continued service hinders 'morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion.'" His dismissal under the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy occurred after a man he met on the Internet accused him of sexual assault, a charge that was later dropped.

By the way, as long as the federal government declines to recognize gay marriage, binational gay couples are denied the same rights to apply for legal immigration status conferred by marriage. Enter Elizabeth Gilbert, who is heading to DC on September 30 to lobby congress to pass the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), "a bill to end discrimination against lesbian and gay binational couples who face separation under current U.S. immigration law."

Judge Lifts Prop. 8 Stay - Gay Marriages On Hold [SF Chronicle]
Target Stores Negotiate With Gay-Lesbian Group Over Political Spending [LAT]
Liberals Push To Exploit Target Backlash [AP]
Elizabeth Gilbert To Lobby Congress [Immigration Equality Fund]
Air Force Officer Fights Discharge Under Military 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Rule [AP]
Green Light And Delay On Same Sex Marriage [NYT]