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Asher Brown's parents drop suit; HRC's red logo
NATIONAL ROUNDUP: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

This article shared 6881 times since Tue Apr 2, 2013
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Amy and David Truong, parents of gay teen suicide victim Asher Brown, have dropped their lawsuit against the Cy-Fair Independent School District in Houston, Texas, according to the Dallas Voice. Brown, 13, committed suicide in September 2010; the Truongs had claimed their son had been bullied based on his Buddhist beliefs, size and sexual orientation. Martin Cirkiel, the Truongs' attorney, said the suit was based on Title IX; it was dropped because they were unable to prove Asher was bullied because of gender or gender stereotypes. Neither state nor federal law specifically bans bullying based on sexual orientation.

A new infographic by Rad Campaign (; shows how the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) turned its red logo to support marriage equality into a viral success over night, a press release noted. Initially, 1.4 million of HRC's Facebook followers used the graphic; over the following 24 hours, 2.7 million more Facebook users updated their profile pictures. Celebrities such as George Takei, Madonna, Beyonce and Kim Kardashian helped the red logo to go viral, and shared messages of support.

Gay former Army Lt. Dan Choi was fined $100 for chaining himself to the White House fence in 2010 to protest "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," according to . Choi was convicted of failing to obey a lawful order after Choi represented himself at the March 28 hearing. Choi was one of 13 people arrested for handcuffing themselves to the fence; all of the other protestors accepted plea bargains, but Choi refused to do so.

In a 7-4 vote, the bathroom bill, SB1045, moved forward from the Appropriations Committee to the Arizona House floor, according to . The National Center for Transgender Equality added that "SB1045 renders local LGBT nondiscrimination laws unenforceable and protects businesses and other facility managers that choose to discriminate against transgender and gender nonconforming public restroom users." Executive Director Mara Keisling said, "SB1045 brings more shame to Arizona's legislature for isolating and targeting another marginalized community."

The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) will honor JPMorgan & Chase Co.; USA Network's Characters Unite campaign; journalist, commentator and sportswriter LZ Granderson; its 2013 Educator of the Year; and its 2013 Gay-Straight Alliance of the Year at its annual Respect Awards May 20 at New York City's Gotham Hall, according to a press release. Actors (and married couple) Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon will serve as the event's honorary co-chairs.

As the Supreme Court heard arguments on pivotal same-sex marriage cases the week of March 26, Time magazine released two separate covers—"Gay Marriage Already Won"—each featuring an intimate portrait of a committed gay couple: one male, one female. In his cover story, Time's David Von Drehle reports that recent polls show that same-sex marriage is now embraced by half or more of all Americans, with support among young voters running as high as four to one.

In Dallas, the Black Tie Dinner's board of directors has announced the selection of 17 north Texas beneficiaries, and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation as national beneficiary, of the event's 2013 fundraising efforts, according to a press release. Among the local recipients are the Equality Texas Foundation, Congregation Beth El Binah and the Legal Hospice of Texas. The dinner will take place Nov. 2 at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) will honor several individuals and groups at its 2013 Anniversary Celebration—which marks its 36th year—on May 18 at San Francisco's City View at Metreon, a press release noted. LGBT DREAMers (young women and men who came to the States as children and know only this country as their home) will receive the Courage Award, while Jennifer Tobits will be honored with the Justice Award and NCLR Executive Director Shannon Price Minter, Esq., will receive the Founder's Award.

The New York City AIDS Memorial's board of directors unveiled the final design for the project at an event in Manhattan, according to the Architectural Record. Designed by Studio a+i, a Brooklyn-based architecture firm, the memorial will feature an 18-foot steel canopy that will serve as a gateway to the new St. Vincent's Hospital Park. It will enclose a granite fountain and benches, as well as a paved surface carved with texts chosen by a team led by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright Tony Kushner.

Conservative radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh said that conservatives have lost the gay marriage debate and that it is now "inevitable," the Washington Post reported. "This issue is lost," he said. "I don't care what the Supreme Court does. This is inevitable. And it's inevitable because we lost the language on this." Limbaugh added that conservatives lost the debate because they allowed the term "marriage" to be "bastardized."

A Republican senator has inched toward endorsing same-sex marriage as Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told a local paper that her views on the issue were "evolving," according to the Washington Post. "I've got two young sons who, when I ask them and their friends how they feel about gay marriage, kinda give me one of those looks like, 'Gosh mom, why are you even asking that question?'" she told the Alaska Star. "The term 'evolving view' has been perhaps overused, but I think it is an appropriate term for me to use." Alaska was one of the first states to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, in 1998.

A transgender-discrimination complaint against a Niles, Ill., spa will move forward after a mediation between both parties failed to yield a resolution, Windy City Times reported. King Spa & Sauna is facing a discrimination complaint after the spa asked Levi Pine, a transgender man, to use a private shower facility instead of the men's showers. Pine filed a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights against the spa late last year. Both parties came together March 19 to try to reach a resolution before moving forward.

A California Chick-fil-A franchise did something some marriage-equality supporters found surprising: It supported them. According to the Huffington Post, Corey Braun—the franchisee of the Chick-fil-A in the Victoria Gateway Center in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.—provided dozens of free meal coupons to a group of advocates demonstrating near the restaurant. The move came months after Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy revealed his anti-gay stance in a July interview.

A gay Maryland man, Joel Bromwell, faces charges of hitting Ruby Whitfield with his SUV on March 21 as she and two other people were crossing the street in Washington, D.C., according to the Washington Blade. The police document alleges Bromwell's vehicle dragged Whitfield for "approximately 86 feet before becoming dislodged from" it. Bromwell, 32, faces charges that include intent to kill another and to inflict serious bodily injury on another.

The son of a New York lawmaker who opposes marriage equality announced he now supports weddings for gays and lesbians, according to the Washington Blade. New York City Democrat Ruben Diaz Jr. cited his gay chief-of-staff Paul Del Duca, Del Duca's partner and his lesbian niece, Erica Diaz, in his statement. Diaz Jr.'s statement came a day after his father, New York state Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr., spoke at a rally against marriage equality.

The Michigan Republican who posted a controversial anti-gay article on his Facebook page is defending his actions and rejecting calls for his resignation, according to the Huffington Post. Dave Agema, a Michigan Republican National Committeeman, shared an article entitled "Everyone Should Know These Statistics on Homosexuals" that, among other things, depicted gays and lesbians as "filthy." Agema's post immediately sparked outrage among members of his own party, but he has labelled calls for his resignation "a joke."

Current and former leaders of the organization representing the LGBT members of the Johns Hopkins medical institutions say they found recent comments from Dr. Ben Carson—a neurology professor who compared marriage-equality supporters to advocates of pedophilia and bestiality—"extremely discouraging" and "hurtful," according to a Media Matters for America release. Carl Sneed—a 2013 MD candidate at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a longtime LGBT-rights advocate—said he was "extremely disappointed" by Carson's views, calling the comments a "remarkable throwback to the language of the 1990s," when vicious debates surrounded the passage of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the Defense of Marriage Act.

Oklahoma dentist Wayne Scott Harrington may have exposed approximately 7,000 patients to HIV as well as hepatitis B and C through improperly cleaned dental instruments, according to . A joint Tulsa Health Department and Oklahoma Board of Dentistry investigation of Harrington's surgical practices showed workers were using improperly sterilized or rusted instruments on patients. The investigation was launched March 18 after a patient with no known risk factors—but who had received dental treatment—tested positive for HIV and hepatitis C.

The Equality Forum's International Equality Dinner will honor former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank with the 18th annual International Role Model Award and Exelon Corporation with the 11th annual International Business Leadership Award on May 4, according to a press release. The Equality Forum will take place May 2-5 in Philadelphia (with Cuba as the featured nation), and will have 18 panels along with parties and an art exhibit.

The Health and Human Services Department (HHS) said March 29 that it would accept public comments on whether to reexamine its decision not to cover sex changes—but withdrew the proposal later that day, according to . The decision to consider using taxpayer money to cover gender-reassignment surgery was sure to attract criticism from Congress. An HHS spokesman said HHS' Departmental Appeals Board is weighing a challenge to the department's ruling that sex-change procedures are experimental and should not be covered by Medicare and Medicaid.

Longtime NYC gay bar The Rawhide has closed after more than three decades of existence, according to . The bar wasn't ever landmarked, leading to the bar's eviction after the building's new owners hiked the venue's monthly rent from $15,000 to $27,000. There's no word on what will replace Rawhide.

Republican U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake said on the NBC show Meet the Press March 31 that it was "inevitable" that the GOP would field a presidential candidate who supports same-sex marriage, the New York Daily News reported. Guest host Chuck Todd asked Flake if he could "support a Republican presidential candidate someday who supported same-sex marriage." However, Flake added that he's a traditionalist when it comes to his own views about marriage.

An Arizona judge has denied Thomas Beatie's request for divorce from his wife of nine years, Gay Star News reported. The so-called "pregnant man" kept his female reproductive organs while transitioning to a man in his early 20s, and later gave birth to three children. The judge ruled that since Beatie and his wife have female organs, their marriage can be viewed as a same-sex marriage, and Arizona doesn't recognize such unions.

A chief hospital corpsman at Illinois' Great Lakes Naval Station will face a trial by court-martial to fight a "fraternization" charge that stems from her relationship with a fellow Navy servicewoman she met online while deployed in Afghanistan, according to the Chicago Tribune. Chief Petty Officer Sabrina Russell—who was joined with her partner, Petty Officer 1st Class Jodi Geibel in a legal civil union last year—has been charged with violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice "by wrongfully engaging in an unduly familiar personal relationship that did not respect differences in rank and grade." Navy officials argue that the charge against Russell is not about her same-sex partnership, but instead reflects the violation of a long-held policy intended to discourage preferential treatment among the ranks.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) issued a statement apologizing for two events that HRC staffers caused, according to The New Civil Rights Movement. HRC was part of a wider coalition, United For Marriage, which successfully held several rallies at the Supreme Court during the court's hearings on same-sex marriage. The statement says that "in one case, a trans activist was asked to remove the trans pride flag from behind the podium, and in another, a queer undocumented speaker was asked to remove reference to his immigration status in his remarks."

Phoenix man Ernie Barnes has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison over a November 2012 attack on two gay men, Gay Star News reported. Barnes and his brother, Jermon, attacked entertainer DJ Austin Head and a friend, yelling anti-gay slurs as they approached the pair. Judge Robert Gottsfield also ordered Ernie Barnes to pay Head $8,000 in restitution to cover medical expenses. Jermon received six months in jail with three years probation.

Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) has announced his support for same-sex marriage, joining the growing number of Democrats to embrace marriage equality, according to the Philadelphia Gay News. "After much deliberation and after reviewing the legal, public policy and civil-rights questions presented, I support marriage equality for same-sex couples and believe that DOMA should be repealed," Casey said in an exclusive statement to the publication. Casey, a Catholic, added that his new position may not be universally applauded, but that everyone can support the issue of equality.

On April 15, The D.C. chapter of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) will co-sponsor a panel discussion on what to expect of the Supreme Court on DOMA and Prop 8 now that the oral arguments have been made, a press release stated. Panelists will include Walter Dellinger, a professor of law at Harvard University, and Paul M. Smith, chair of the Appellate and Supreme Court Practice and co-chair of the Media and First Amendment, and Election Law and Redistricting Practices at Jenner & Block. The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart will moderate.

Sue Everhart, the chairwoman of the Georgia GOP, has suggested that allowing same-sex couples to marry would lead to mass fraud, according to . In an interview with The Marietta Daily Journal, Everhart said, "Say you had a great job with the government where you had this wonderful health plan. I mean, what would prohibit you from saying that you're gay, and y'all get married and still live as separate, but you get all the benefits? ... There is no way that this is about equality. To me, it's all about a free ride."

Arizona Republican Rep. Matt Salmon says he loves his gay son, but still can't back same-sex marriage, the Washington Times reported. The stand comes in direct opposition to Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, who recently announced his support of marriage equality because his own son came out to him. Salmon said, "I'm just not there as far as believing in my heart that we should change 2,000 years of social policy in favor of a redefinition of the family."

Wisconsin authorities are shutting down one of the country's most popular nude beaches on weekdays because of failed efforts to curtail sex and drugs on the sandbar and surrounding woods, according to a Wisconsin Gazette item. Nudists from around the country have been traveling to the public beach on the Wisconsin River near Mazomanie, about 25 miles northwest of Madison, for decades. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will keep the area open on weekends, though.

Illinois Republican Sen. Mark Kirk has released a statement in support of equal marriage, Windy City Times reported. Kirk, whose record on LGBT issues has been mixed, posted a statement on his website voicing support for equal civil marriage. "When I climbed the Capitol steps in January, I promised myself that I would return to the Senate with an open mind and greater respect for others," Kirk wrote. "Same-sex couples should have the right to civil marriage. Our time on this Earth is limited, I know that better than most. Life comes down to who you love and who loves you back—government has no place in the middle."

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