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Gay hairstylist takes stand; lesbians charged with hate crime
NATIONAL ROUNDUP: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy CIty Times
2012-02-28

This article shared 5294 times since Tue Feb 28, 2012
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In New Mexico, gay Santa Fe hairstylist Antonio Darden has refused to cut Gov. Susana Martinez's hair because she does not support same-sex marriage, according to Newser.com . Darden said, "Because of her stances and her views on this I told her aides no. They called the next day, asking if I'd changed my mind about taking the governor in and I said no again." Despite her position on marriage, Martinez recently appointed an openly gay man to the state's Public Regulation Commission.

In Boston, three lesbians have been charged with a hate crime against a gay man, according to Advocate.com . Erika Stroud, her sister Felicia Stroud and her partner, Lydia Sanford, allegedly attacked a gay man in a subway station, kicking and punching him after he bumped into the women in a stairwell. However, Sanford's attorney, Helene Tomlinson, is arguing that since her client is an out lesbian, there is no hate crime involved. District Attorney Daniel F. Conley disagreed, saying the alleged attackers' sexual orientation is a non-factor.

In Tennessee, sponsors of the so-called "Don't Say Gay" bill are working on an amendment to the measure, according to Tennessean.com . The House Education Committee temporarily tabled a discussion of a measure meant to curb discussions about homosexuality in elementary and middle school so new language can be added specifically protecting some talks between students and their teachers, school nurses and guidance counselors.

A Manhattan jury awarded former Playboy playmate Stephanie Adams, 41, $1.2 million after she claimed police officers manhandled her, according to the New York Daily News. Adams said that, in 2006, authorities threw her on the ground at gunpoint after a cab driver said she "flashed vampire teeth" and was about to shoot him. Adams, an African American who claims to be a direct descendant of presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams, said the rough treatment gave her permanent neck and back injuries. Despite coming out as the first lesbian Playmate in 1992, Adams is currently married to a man ( and has a son, 1 ) .

In Indiana, Republican state Rep. Bob Morris will not support a resolution celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts because he feels it is a "radicalized organization" that "sexualizes" young girls and promotes homosexuality, the Huffington Post reported. Morris plans to pull his two daughters out of their troop because of information he found online, including a report about a Colorado troop that allowed a transgender girl to join. He later apologized for his words but still stood by his position.

Truth Wins Out has filed a defamation lawsuit against Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays ( PFOX ) and its president, Greg Quinlan, after he claimed on a television show that Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen tried to have him killed, according to a press release. "We will not let PFOX's outright lies and bizarre fabrications go unanswered," said Besen. "Greg Quinlan's false allegations were deviously designed to damage my reputation and that of Truth Wins Out. We look forward to vigorously challenging Quinlan's delusional version of events and debunking them in a court of law."

Jamba Juice Company has acquired Talbott Teas, a Chicago-based boutique tea company recently profiled on ABC-TV's Shark Tank. Shane Talbott and Steven Nakisher, same-sex partners in business and in life, co-own Talbott Teas, whose products Oprah Winfrey had among her "Favorite Things" in 2010.

Army PFC Bradley Manning decided not to enter a plea to charges he sent military secrets to WikiLeaks, according to the Huffington Post. Manning allegedly gave the anti-secrecy website more than 700,000 documents and video clips. Manning's lawyers claim that others had access to his workplace computers in Iraq. The attorneys also said that Manning was in emotional turmoil—partially because he was a gay soldier when the United States still practiced "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Another court session is slated for March 15-16.

Indiana Youth Group ( IYG ) is fighting to keep a specialty license plate aimed at supporting LGBTQ youth, according to an organizational press release. Recently, there have been three failed attempts by Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-District 28, to amend bills aimed at taking away IYG's specialty plate. The House Roads and Transportation Committee voted 8-2 to advance a measure, SB327, that ends sales of specialty plates by organizations that sold fewer than 1,000 plates in 2011, according to the Indianapolis Star.

Mayors such as Chicago's Rahm Emanuel and New York City's Michael Bloomberg have signed a marriage-equality pledge from Freedom to Marry; however, leaders of 25 of the country's 50 most-populous cities have not, Advocate.com reported. Among them is Mike Rawlings of Dallas, who said, "I'm a bit pledge-phobic. I think America has got too many pledges out there and I think it's simplistic and not substantive." A spokeswoman for Virginia Beach, Va., Mayor William Sessoms Jr. said, "This issue is being discussed actively at the state and federal levels. ... Because it is not a local issue, we must defer to both state and federal officials."

In California, Chapman University School of Law professor professor and marriage-equality proponent M. Katherine Baird Darmer died after falling from a building in Irvine, the Wall Street Journal reported. Officials said her death was a suicide. Darmer's legal writings included pieces on torture, civil rights and the legal scene after Prop 8.

Le Grande, Ore., Mayor Daniel Pokorney has apologized for calling same-sex marriages an "abomination" on his Facebook page, according to Advocate.com . Pokorney also compared Washington state, which just legalized marriage equality, to Sodom and Gomorrah. His comments resulted in almost 200 comments from people criticizing him. He later said in a forum, "I sincerely apologize for my choice of words in the two Facebook posts last week. My choice of words was harmful and hurtful. ... I understand there is a right way and a wrong way to address the issues."

Portsmouth, Ohio, Mayor David Malone also called homosexuality an "abomination" when responding to a request from openly gay City Councilman Kevin Johnson to join Mayors for the Freedom to Marry, according to EDGE Boston. Malone wrote to Johnson, "Although this is your preferred lifestyle, I have the utmost respect for you as a person and the things you do for the city, I cannot support what God calls an abomination." Malone also ranted against heterosexual adultery and single parents in his reply.

In Pennsylvania, James D. Schneller, co-founder of the anti-gay Philadelphia Metro Task Force, wants Montgomery County judge Bernard A. Moore to void a pro-LGBT ordinance in the borough of Conshohocken, the Philadelphia Gay News reported. Schneller claims the nondiscrimination ordinance violates religious freedom, promostes the spread of disease and is harmful to children. However, Borough Solicitor Michael Savona said Schneller's complaint has no merit.

Alan Simpson, the former longtime Republican senator of Wyoming, said that GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum is the wrong person to be chief executive, in part because he is "homophobic," according to an Advocate.com item. Simpson, who has criticized anti-gay Republicans before, told Face to Face host Bob Schieffer that Santorum's statement comparing homosexuality with bestiality was "disgusting." Simpson also felt that Santorum wanting a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage was disappointing.

In Arizona, gay former GOP Rep. Jim Kolbe has expressed his support of Paul Babeu, a sheriff and Congressional candidate who allegedly threatened an ex-lover with deportation when the man refused to promise to keep their relationship secret, according to Towleroad.com . Kolbe told the Washington Blade, "I endorse Paul Babeu based on his distinguished record of service to his country both in the military and as a law enforcement officer. I think he has a solid understanding of the short and long-term economic problems that face this country and is willing to make the necessary, tough decisions to tackle them." Kolbe added that he knew Babeu was gay before he recently came out.

Speaking of Babeu, it turns out there was an investigation involving claims of abuse when he was headmaster of the now-defunct DeSisto School in Stockbridge, Mass., during the years 1999-2001, ABC15.com reported. A Massachusetts Office of Child Care Services' investigation revealed that the school was not licensed, and that there were claims of sexual and physical abuse. Also, it turns out that Babeu's sister, Lucy, confronted Paul when she discovered a 17-year-old male student living with him.

In Maryland, Baltimore's city council approved a nondiscrimination measure that would protect transgender individuals, according to the Baltimore Sun. Baltimore now is the fourth municipality in the state to adopt such protections. Council members ( who approved the bill 5-2 ) did not add a proposed amendment proposed that would have exempted bathrooms, locker rooms and dressing rooms. However, the council left the bathroom issue open to interpretation, amending the measure so the protections do not apply to "distinctly private or personal" facilities.

Former ESPN college-football analyst Craig James is employing anti-gay rhetoric as he runs for a state Senate seat in Texas, according to USA Today. James was at a debate and responded to an item concerning opponent Tom Leppert, another Republican, marched in gay-pride parades even though he is against marriage equality. James said that being gay was "a choice" and that "they are going to have to answer to the Lord for their actions." James also said, "I can assure you I will never ride in a gay parade."

Also in Texas, Dallas County Judge Tonya Parker has said she won't perform marriage ceremonies until same-sex couples can wed, according to NBCDFW.com . During a Feb. 21 meeting, Parker told the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, "I use it as my opportunity to give [ opposite-sex couples ] a lesson about marriage inequality in this state because I feel like I have to tell them why I'm turning them away." Parker has added that she passes marriage ceremonies on to other judges so they can be completed. Parker was elected two years ago, and is the first out lesbian to be elected a county judge in Dallas.

Soulforce's 2012 Equality Ride—a two-month long social-justice bus tour of young LGBTQ activists ( to fundamentalist, anti-LGBTQ religious colleges and universities throughout the country—kicked off recently in Philadelphia, according to a press release. The activists will ride until April 29, with a debriefing scheduled in San Francisco April 30-May 2. Now in its fifth tour, the ride has visited more than 70 fundamentalist, anti-LGBTQ religious colleges and universities.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., is asking the Democratic Party to endorse same-sex marriage in its platform, according to the Huffington Post. Shaheen is one of the national co-chairs for the re-election campaign of President Obama, who does not support marriage equality but is reportedly "evolving" on the issue. The Democratic platform will be ratified at the party's national convention, which begins Sept. 3 in Charlotte, N.C.

A Maryland-based priest, Father Marcel Guarnizo, allegedly denied communion to a lesbian parishioner attending her mother's funeral, the Huffington Post reported. Guarnizo, of Gaithersburg's Saint John Neumann Catholic Church, reportedly covered the bowl containing the Eucharist as the woman approached him. Some bloggers have criticized the action, with a Restore DC Catholicism reader posting, " [ Guarnizo ] is one of these reactionary evangelical zealots who believe the pulpit is a place to condemn others and control public policy."

Out actress Jane Lynch is no fan of Mitt Romney, according to a Huffington Post item. The Glee star, 51, told Politico that the GOP presidential hopeful didn't make a good impression with her at a recent event leading up to NASCAR's Daytona 500. "It was like small talk, but he didn't really hear a word I said," Lynch said. "It affirmed for me that the guy does not know how to relate to people."


This article shared 5294 times since Tue Feb 28, 2012
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