Charges against gay activist Dan Choi regarding a 2011 protest against a pipeline at the White House have been dismissed, according to Advocate.com . Moreover, a restraining order barring him from the White House grounds has been lifted. Another case against Choistemming from a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" protest at the White House in 2010is still pending in federal court.
Male model Renato Seabra, 23, received a sentence of 25 years to life for the 2011 slaying of his lover, 65-year-old Carlos Castro, according to Gay City News. In Manhattan Supreme Court, Judge Daniel P. Fitzgerald called the murder a "chilling example of the manifestation of man's inhumanity to man" before handing down the sentence. During the two-month-long case, the defense argued that Seabra was insane when he strangled, beat and castrated Castro.
Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) says an internal investigation into the firing of women's volleyball coach James Finley was not discriminatory, according to WSLS.com . VCU President Michael Rao said the firing was made in accordance with school policies and not as a result of any discriminatory action by its athletic director. A Change.org petition claimed that Finley (who had filed a complaint with the university) was let go because he's openly gay, and that VCU's new athletic director, Ed McLaughlin, also demoted the only other openly gay person in the department without explanation. Finley, whose team finished 25-6 last season, said he was "disappointed" with the result.
Robert Bork, a conservative who failed to be approved to be on the U.S. Supreme Court, died Dec. 19 at age 85, according to the Chicago Tribune. Bork (a 1953 graduate of the University of Chicago Law School) became a potent symbol to conservatives after the U.S. Senate voted down his nomination to the court in 1987. Liberal, civil-rights and feminist groups opposed Bork, fearing he might vote to overturn abortion rights.
Morgan Stanley has launched an LGBT initiative that provides financial advisors with wealth-planning tools, business development and marketing resources designed specifically for LGBT prospects and clients, according to Business Wire. A new client educational resource"LGBT On Your Terms"is available to help same-sex couples understand the factors that are likely to affect their family's finances and long-term plans.
Stagg, a new dating app for gay men, has launched, according to a press release. Among other things, it offers "Best Fit Scores" that reveal raw compatibility ratings between members and "Sonar Technology," a new kind of mapping system that shows updates of a city's hot spots for mingling with guys in person. See www.staggapp.com .
John Noguez may be in jail, but he's still getting paid. According to FrontPageMag.com, the former Los Angeles County assessor, who is openly gay, will still collect his $197,000 salary while he awaits trial on corruption charges in a California prison for lowering the tax rates of the clients of tax agent, Ramin Salari. The salary is almost as large as the $185,000 bribe that he allegedly received from Salari.
In Texas, Southern Methodist University (SMU) student John Mahaffey admitted he forced a male student to perform oral sex on him, Queerty.com noted. A member of Sigma Phi Epsilon and direct descendent of one of SMU's founders, Mahaffey admitted he knew the victim didn't want to engage in sex but was made to say it was consensual "or lawyers, parents, and the school will be involved," according to a conversation recorded by police.
In Florida, the Boca Raton City Council unanimously appointed openly gay teen Tyler Morrison to the city's community relations board after he spoke out, according to Queerty.com . At the meeting, the 17-year-old Morrison urged the council members to update a 46-year-old anti-discrimination policy to include protection for the city's LGBT employees. Morrison missed the actual appointment because he had to play the oboe at his high school's holiday concert, but he learned of his new position through a Facebook comment.
Former House Speaker and GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said he accepts marriage equality as inevitable and he's OK with it, according to Advocate.com . Talking with the Huffington Post, he said, "The momentum is clearly now in the direction in finding some way to ... accommodate and deal with reality. And the reality is going to be that in a number of American statesand it will be more after 2014gay relationships will be legal, period."
Shawn Klein, who was among the first gay couples to marry atop the Empire State Building, was hospitalized after jumping in front of a subway train, Queerty.com . Hours earlier, he had made bail on child-pornography charges. Klein married his longtime partner, Phil Fung, on Valentine's Day after winning the Empire State Building's annual V-Day contest.
In Washington, D.C., gay performance artist Qween Amor said police officers sided with an anti-gay group when they arrested him while dancing on the sidewalk in Chinatown on a charge of indecent exposure, the Washington Blade reported. He said police arrived on the scene after he began dancing in front of members of the Israelite School of Universal Practical Knowledge, a religious sect that denounces homosexuality. A police incident report says Amor "was viewed with his penis exposed through a hole in his pants" by officers while he was "gyrating" in front of a group of people.
In Virginia, a $10,000 reward has been offered to help find a missing transgender man, according to NBC12.com . Dashad Smith, a 20-year-old Charlottesville resident, has been missing for approximately a month. Smith is a transgender man who also goes by the nickname "Sage." Investigators are focusing on the Old Dominion Landfill in Henrico County.
A federal judge today ordered Alabama to stop segregating prisoners living with HIV, ruling that the practice violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to an ACLU press release. U.S. District Court Judge Myron H. Thompson ruled in a class-action lawsuit by the ACLU on behalf of all Alabama prisoners with HIV that the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) discriminates against the prisoners by housing them separately from all other prisoners and categorically denies them equal access to prison rehabilitative programs.
Former U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., released a statement Dec. 21 apologizing for comments he made more than a decade ago about a gay ambassadorial nominee, the Huffington Post reported. In 1998, Hagelwho is under consideration to be nominated as the next secretary of defensecalled James Hormel, then-President Bill Clinton's nominee for ambassador to Luxembourg, "openly, aggressively gay." In his apology, Hagel said, "My comments 14 years ago in 1998 were insensitive. They do not reflect my views or the totality of my public record, and I apologize to Ambassador Hormel and any LGBT Americans who may question my commitment to their civil rights."
The Wisconsin Court of Appeals unanimously upheld the state's law granting domestic-partnership protections to same-sex couples, saying registries do not conflict with the state's ban on gay marriage and civil unions, according to JSOnline.com . Opponents of the registries sued in an attempt to stop the state from extending benefits to same-sex couples; however, the Madison-based District 4 Court of Appeals sided with a Dane County judge and found the registries do not violate the state constitution.
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) of The National Academies released a summary of presentations and discussions from the Oct. 12 IOM workshop Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Data Collection in Electronic Health Records, a press release noted. The one-day workshop brought together prominent health-care organizations, LGBT-health organizations, and groups involved with electronic health records. See http://iom.edu/Reports/2012/Collecting-Sexual-Orientation-and-Gender-Identity-Data-in-Electronic-Health-Records.aspx.
The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily delayed the start date of a new California law that aims to protect LGBT youth from counselors who practice reparative therapy, according to a press release. The new law was set to take effect Jan. 1, 2013 (after Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill Sept. 29); however, the court must first hear an appeal from an anti-LGBT organization.
In Los Angeles, two gay radio hosts have turned a defaced billboard for their program into an inclusive piece of art, according to an Advocate.com item. A billboard advertising The Craig & Robbie Hour was vandalized twice, but after the second incident Craig Olson and Robbie Laughlin hired local artist Jamie Ochoa to turn the defacement into "a message of hope."
One of Mitt Romney's sons, Tagg, said his father "wanted to be president less than anyone I've met in my life," according to a Huffington Post item. "He had no desire," the eldest Romney son said. "If he could have found someone else to take his place ... he would have been ecstatic to step aside." Ann Romney told ABC in November that if her husband lost the election, he wouldn't run again.
Marriage-equality activist Richard Adams died Dec. 17 in Los Angeles at age 65, according to the Huffington Post. Adams is survived by Tony Sullivan, his partner of 43 years. Adams and Sullivan met at a Los Angeles gay bar in 1971, and made history in 1975 when they were granted a marriage licensebut they futilely fought for the right to be recognized.
South Florida's PBS affiliate will honor the 30th anniversary of the election of Richard Heyman, the first openly gay mayor in the United States, by airing a documentary on his life entitled The Newcomer, according to SouthFloridaGayNews.com . The 2010 documentary shows, among other things, how Heyman made Key West, Fla., into a gay mecca. Heyman, who became mayor in 1983, died of AIDS-related pneumonia in 1994.
Retiring U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, the first out gay congressman in U.S. history, has not ruled out temporarily replacing John Kerry as the senator from Massachusetts should Kerry be appointed secretary of state, according to Gay Star News. Kerry's current Senate term does not end until 2014 so should he vacate the office, Gov. Deval Patrick (who attended Frank's recent wedding) would choose Kerry's successor. Frank, a congressman for more than 30 years, has pointed out that while his name is being floated, no one has asked him.
Pastor David Dykes of Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, Texas, made a statement supporting Uganda's "Kill the Gays" bill, according to the Austinist. While in Uganda, Dykes appeared on NTV, the country's largest independent TV network, to criticize the U.S. State Department for allegedly threatening to cut funding if the bill passes. He added that Christians would fill the gap in aid that Uganda would lose from the U.S. government.