By Michelle Lancaster. You can follow her and let her know your news on Twitter @MichLancaster. Email her at michellel[AT]borderstan.com.
On Tuesday morning, a call in California led to the evacuation of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) building at 1640 Rhode Island Avenue NW, as well as 1325 Rhode Island Avenue NW. The call was “of an unknown origin” and answered by a California police department.
Huffington Post reports the call warned of an attack on a major gay rights organization, which prompted evacuations at HRC and the Massachusetts Avenue building, which houses several LGBT organizations. Lou Chibbaro at the Washington Blade has more details, noting that employees “working for at least 11 national LGBT organizations in Washington evacuated the two buildings in which they are housed late Tuesday morning.”
With same-sex marriage in the news of late — following North Carolina’s vote and President Barack Obama’s subsequent endorsement of gay marriage — it’s sad to say that threats and scares like this may continue.
The Capital Pride Parade is coming up (June 9, mark those calendars) and I encourage you all to stand up against the hatred that fuels scares like this. A police search indicated it was just that, a scare, after a thorough search of the building.
The Washington Blade reportsthat the number of same-sex marriage licenses issued by DC is proving to be much lower than expected, generating fewer city fees than officials had hoped. Worse yet, the gays aren’t shelling out money for lavish wedding parties and gifts in the way city merchants might have hoped. (See Mark Lee’s “D.C. wedding blues, food truck rules.”)
The perceived economic benefit of allowing same-sex marriages to be performed in DC was one of the arguments that helped pass the legislation in 2010. Gay couples were expected to buoy the city’s flagging economy during these lean times. Turns out they’re more “recession” than “chic” and not as prone to spending the big bucks as some would like to portray in stereotypes.
And the big gay disappointment could get worse. Last week, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed the Civil Marriage Protection Act, which legalized same-sex marriage in his state. Ceremonies could begin as early as January, taking away DC’s regional equality monopoly and further diminishing financial returns from gay weddings.
The Maryland same-sex marriage law may go to a November ballot referendum, when Maryland voters go to the polls and decide minority rights by majority rule. Who knows what will happen? This is why implementation of the law was postponed until January 2013.
Still, even if Maryland does succeed in stealing away DC’s gay money marriages, at least we’ve still got good old Virginia, which will no doubt keep prevent same sex marriage — or recognizing them — for years to come. DC actually began recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages in 2009, and New York and Maryland did the same before passing legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry.
From Mike Kohn. Got some news for Mike? Drop him an email or find him on Twitter @mike_kohn.
New York Same-Sex Marriage
Alright alright, it’s not about Borderstan, nor is it even about our humble District, but the big news this weekend came from a bit North and it seemed irresponsible to ignore it. After years of debate, New York is finally allowing same-sex marriage, becoming the largest state in the country to do so. All but one Democrat and even four Republicans in the state Senate voted in favor of the bill, which passed by a slim 33 to 29 margin. New York becomes the sixth state to allow same-sex marriage, joining Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont — and of course, the District of Columbia. Check out the The New York Times for more information. Oh… if you live in Rhode Island or Maryland, those states will recognize your same-sex marriage from another state, but you cannot get married in either of them.
Keegan Theatre Signs New Lease at Church Street
The Keegan Theatre has signed a new five-year lease to remain at the Church Street Theatre. To celebrate, Keegan has planned a “We’re Here to Stay” Cabaret for this Friday, May 13 at 11 pm following the evening’s performance of National Pastime. Keegan’s producing artistic director is Mark A. Rhea.
It’s a Bird, it’s a Plane… It’s a Big Space Anniversary!
In case you missed, May 5 marked the 50th anniversary of manned spaceflight, celebrating Alan Shepherd’s 15-minute journey into space. And look how far we’ve come since then! In honor of the monumental day, there are a few noteworthy events coming up that you should pay attention to, which DCist has done a great job compiling. This Thursday, May 12, the National Air & Space Museum is having a few events at the Public Observation at 9 pm. And the the lottery for free tickets for the annual John H. Glenn Lecture, featuring namesake John Glenn and Scott Carpenter, opens today.
The Scarlet Letter
No, not that one. This time we’re talking about a W. Though nothing’s happened yet, Washington City Paper throws out a fear that our beloved Nationals W may soon be destroyed by Walgreens, which has a similar logo. The drug store chain recently took out Wegmans for having something similar. Could we be next?
From Mike Kohn
D.C. is Smokin’!
Mayor Gray unveiled his plan for governing the dispensing and growing of marijuana in the District, says the Washington Examiner. We’ll have to wait 90 days to get the approval and the final word, but unless it all goes to pot, the Mayor will assemble a panel to review and approve applications for 10 growing centers and five dispensaries. Before you get your hopes up, the marijuana will only be open to patients with HIV, AIDS, cancer, glaucoma or multiple sclerosis.
If pot wasn’t enough for you, add another sin to the list of things D.C. is making easier for you to do — this time, it’s internet gambling, says the Washington Times. The District is going to be the first place in the nation to allow Internet gambling. Government officials figure if people are going to
waste their money make big bucks on the likes of Texas Hold ‘Em and Five Card Stud, they would cash in and generate some revenue to hopefully “help social services programs.” Let’s say the ends justify the means on that one.
1-Year Anniversary: Where Has the Time Gone?
Believe it or not, it’s been a whole year since the District started allowing same-sex marriages. And yet, I haven’t aged a day (10 points if you caught the Sex in the City reference). WTOP reports that gay couples now feel more comfortable buying houses together or visiting one another in the hospital. It’s the little things, ya know?
So Close, Yet So Far…
While the District celebrates the one-year anniversary, just across the border, Maryland is still struggling to pass an act allowing gay marriage to begin with. It’s even more complicated now that one of the original supporters has gone back on his word to back the bill. In what would be a major-major-league flip-flop, Sam Arora (D-Montgomery County) is now planning to vote against the marriage bill, according to Metro Weekly.
Happy Presidents’ Day (or Washington’s Birthday, as Wikipedia refers to it)! Hopefully you’re reading The Weekend Roundup from the comfort of your own home as the federal government has declared this to be a holiday. Be nice to the Borderstanis who were not fortunate enough to get a day off to celebrate our country’s leaders.
Maryland Moving Toward Same-Sex Marriage
Yes, it’s relatively far away from Borderstan, but we felt like it was newsworthy enough to bring out. State Senator James C. Rosapepe said that he would support legislation in favor of same-sex marriage when a vote comes to the Maryland Senate next week. Gov. Martin O’Malley has said he would sign off on the bill, if approved. Opponents could then petition for a referendum to overturn it, which would give voters the final say. The Baltimore Sun has the full story.
Luis and I headed over to Halo Lounge around 6:30 on Friday evening for Mayor Fenty’s “big announcement.” We got there a few minutes late, but Luis did get a photo of the mayor with wife, Michelle, as they left Halo. He was there to announce (not surprisingly) that he would sign the same-sex marriage bill that is expected to be passed by the DC Council later this fall.
There were many political poobahs (yes, it’s a word I love) on hand; I spotted Councilmembers Jim Graham (Ward 1), Mary Cheh (Ward 3) and [I think I saw] Phil Mendelson (At-Large). At-Large Council candidate Clark Ray was there as was DC’s delegate to Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton. (more…)