The GLAAD Daily: Respect for Marriage Act Hearing, Pop Up Chapel in Central Park, and Kevin Keller Gets a Monthly

The Senate Judiciary Committee this morning held its first hearing on the Respect for Marriage Act, which is sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and aims to repeal the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act." During the hearing, both marriage equality advocates and anti-gay activists testified. Chris Geidner of MetroWeekly wrote a summary of the hearing, part of which was broadcast on C-SPAN. As ThinkProgress pointed out, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) pointed out inaccuracies in the testimony of Focus on the Family’s Tom Minnery, who claimed a study by the Department of Health and Human Services found that children do better with straight parents. ThinkProgress writes that the study “actually found that children do best in two-parent households, regardless of the parents’ gender.” As was reported yesterday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Tuesday said President Obama is "proud to support the Respect for Marriage Act," and, "[t]his legislation would uphold the principle that the federal government should not deny gay and lesbian couples the same rights and legal protections as straight couples." Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) today wrote a blog in the Huffington Post examining the momentum behind the Respect for Marriage Act. Gillibrand examined a Quinnipiac University poll showing that 59% of Americans would support the repeal of a law that denies "spouses in same-sex marriages ... eligibility for federal benefits.” A group in New York, including The Knot, City Cakes, David Stark Design, Architizer, Logo, Scratch Weddings and Arcadia, will host an event called Pop Up Chapel in Central Park. The New York Times City Room blog reports that same-sex couples will be able to marry in pop-up wedding chapels in the park on July 30, the first Saturday after the state’s marriage equality law goes into effect. Also in New York, the National Organization for Marriage this week began sending mailers to homes in the districts of the seven New York state senators who changed their positions on marriage for same-sex couples since they voted against the legislation in 2009. The Associated Press writes that a spokesperson for Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said Tuesday that by the end of the week the governor will announce what role he will play in the campaign for the passage of marriage equality legislation in the state. In Vermont, the American Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday filed a lawsuit in Caledonia Superior Court on behalf of a lesbian couple claiming that a Vermont inn discriminated against them when it refused to host their wedding reception. The ACLU says the inn violated the state Fair Housing and Public Accommodations Act. Another lesbian couple in San Francisco claimed that a guard at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco said they could not hold hands in the museum. A spokesperson for the museum said that officials have requested that a private security company reprimand the guard. USA Today’s Susan Page wrote a report examining the increasing number of out gay and lesbian legislators currently serving in office nationwide. The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund reported that 107 out candidates were elected nationwide in 2010. The New York Times ArtsBeat blog wrote that executives at Archie Comics have announced that Kevin Keller, the first openly gay character in the company's lexicon, will have his own monthly comic book beginning in February. In early 2012, Life With Archie, which show's Archie Andrews' life as an adult, will feature Kevin's marriage. Jon Goldwater: “We needed to figure out how to get Kevin into that book and, frankly, not sidestep the issue. It deals with the fact that he’s a gay man and has gay relationships.”