U.S. Immigration to resume deportation cases involving married same-sex couples; ENDA bill awaiting more co-sponsors; Uganda backtracks on “kill the gays” bill; Lionsgate announces new microbudget films, including Gay Dude.
- Just two days after announcing that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) would no longer automatically deny cases of married same-sex couples, they have announced that they have received legal guidance that would allow them to lift the hold. USCIS press secretary Christopher S. Bentley told The Advocate that they were instructed by the Department of Homeland Security to remove the hold on all such immigration cases and to proceed on a case-by-case basis, as usual. Because the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is still the law of the land, the USCIS cannot recognize same-sex marriages even though the Department of Justice has refused to defend DOMA’s constitutionality in court.
- Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) announced today that he would be waiting to formally re-introduce the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) until more co-sponsors had signed on. On Tuesday, Frank’s office had originally released a statement saying that ENDA would be introduced on Wednesday. Frank also expressed concerns that the bill would be difficult to pass in a Republican-controlled House. He said, “This is a chance to continue – not begin, but continue – a lobbying effort that I am convinced will be successful, frankly, next time the Democrats take back the House of Representatives.” He stressed that people need to continue laying the groundwork for the bill, lobbying and educating members of Congress. The bill would ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Uganda is backing away from its widely-criticized “kill the gays” bill, which would have made homosexuality punishable by death. Information minister Masiko Kabakumba appeared on television to announce that President Yoweri Museveni’s administration had deemed the bill redundant, as other existing laws already criminalize homosexuality. The bill’s main parliamentary supporter. David Bahati, seems unwilling to back down however, saying “We don’t have any provisions on the promotion of homosexuality anywhere. We don’t have any provisions on same sex marriage. We don’t have any provisions in our laws for recruitment of our children … We want Parliament to come up with a law that is specific and clear to address the problem of homosexuality.”
- Lionsgate has announced the production of up to 10 microbudget films (costing less than $2 million) each year. Among the initial films slated is Gay Dude. The film is described as “a coming of age comedy in the vein of SUPERBAD. Best friends Matty and Michael decide to lose their virginity before graduating from high school, but their quest takes an unexpected turn when Matty tells Michael he’s gay. What follows is a funny, heartfelt story about friendship, prejudice, love, and the trials and triumphs of growing up.” Written by Parks & Recreation‘s Alan Young, the screenplay was selected from the 2008 Black List, a compilation of unproduced films suggested by over 200 film executives. Other films on the list included Quentin Taratino’s Inglorious Basterds and the upcoming Mel Gibson movie The Beaver.