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NATIONAL NEWS: Porn star pleads guilty, and more items
NATIONAL ROUNDUP: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times.
2012-02-08

This article shared 11678 times since Wed Feb 8, 2012
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Jason Andrews, 28—a star in the gay-porn industry—recently pled guilty to first-degree murder in the death of 41-year-old Dennis "Scooter" Abrahamsen, according to an EDGE Boston item. Abrahamsen, an owner of a tattoo parlor, was murdered in 2010 in his Tampa, Fla.-area home after he hosted a sex party. After the murder, Andrews and girlfriend Amanda Logue—an adult-film actress who will go on trial for first-degree murder in May—stole $6,000 in cash, a laptop and a camera. Andrews will receive a life sentence without parole.

In Ohio, two gay men ( Steven Ondo and Jonathan Simcox ) are claiming in a lawsuit that they were punched, pinned to the ground, called slurs and jailed without their pants, according to ABC News. The men say that a neighbor—who was an off-duty officer—complained about an argument on the street, attacked them and had them arrested last year. A week later, a SWAT team reportedly arrested the men again as they were at home in T-shirts and underpants. The men were charged with assaulting the officer but were acquitted Oct. 20, 2011.

A group affiliated with the anti-gay American Family Association ( AFA ) is criticizing Macy's for the retailer's apparent support of marriage equality, according to Fox News. A Macy's catalog mailed to customers shows a wedding cake with two groom figurines on top. The AFA-affiliated group called the image "highly offensive and not family-friendly advertising," adding, "Just because gay marriage is legal in a few states does not mean this is appropriate marketing. As a conservative customer I will not support it."

Queer/LGBTIQA2Z Occupy Wall Street, a caucus of the New York City-based Occupy Wall Street movement, protested a Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) gala honoring Goldman Sachs Feb. 4 at the Waldorf Astoria. The caucus—which held a "guerrilla potluck" on the sidewalk outside the prestigious hotel—condemned HRC for honoring Goldman Sachs "in a time of financial collapse caused by [ Goldman's ] unethical business practices and greed," according to a press release.

The National LGBT Bar Association is partnering with Prudential Financial, Inc. ( Prudential ) to provide a summer internship opportunity to a first-year law student, according to a press release. There will be a 10-week internship at Prudential's offices in the New Jersey tri-state area with a stipend of approximately $10,000. Submit a cover letter, resume, transcript and three references to Prudential@LGBTbar.org by March 16.

An openly gay Arizona state lawmaker will enter the race to fill the congressional seat vacated by U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., who recently resigned, according to LGBTQ Nation. Dr. Matt Heinz—a staff physician at Tucson Medical Center and a member of the Arizona House of Representatives from the 29th District in Tucson—said that he's politically similar to Giffords. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer declared a special primary election to fill Giffords' seat for April 17, with the general election scheduled for June 12. Giffords is recovering from the head wound she suffered during an assassination attempt and shooting spree in Tucson last year.

Army Veteran and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network ( SLDN ) Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis released a statement regarding the filing of a lawsuit—Cooper-Harris v. U.S.—that seeks equal recognition, support and benefits for a disabled veteran and her same-gender spouse. "SLDN welcomes [ the ] filing by the Southern Poverty Law Center and looks forward to coordinating in any way they deem appropriate. We have worked with the plaintiff, Tracey Cooper-Harris, in the past, and we believe that her case is compelling. This filing advances the cause of equality for gay and lesbian service members and veterans," said Sarvis.

A coalition of civil rights, labor, progressive, faith, student, health, legal, women's and LGBT organizations announced support of the Respect for Marriage Act—the bill to repeal the discriminatory so-called Defense of Marriage Act, according to a press release. Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, said, "This broad and diverse coalition has come forward to urge members of Congress to end the unfairness. In America, we don't have second-class citizens, and shouldn't have second-class marriages, either."

GLAAD is asking community members and allies to stand up for Ellen DeGeneres and tell J.C. Penney that the company made the right choice in selecting her as its new spokesperson. The call for support came after a group known as "OneMillionMoms.com, a Project of the American Family Association" told its supporters to call the retailer and demand that the company replace DeGeneres as its new spokesperson because she's an out lesbian. As part of its action, GLAAD has launched www.glaad.org/standupforellen.

The Human Rights Campaign praised the Senate Judiciary Committee's Feb. 2 approval of the LGBT-inclusive reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act ( VAWA ) , a press release stated. The reauthorization bill would make grants available for programs that provide outreach and services to LGBT victims of domestic violence. Also, the bill would ban grantees of VAWA funds from discriminating against survivors because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) released an Internet ad featuring Washington state Gov. Christine Gregoire for its Americans for Marriage Equality campaign, according to a press release. In the ad, Gregoire says "As an American, a wife and mother, marriage equality is fair, just and right—and it is time." The video can be viewed at www.hrc.org/MarriageEquality. Previous HRC ads have featured The Talk's Aisha Tyler, U.S. Sen. Al Franken and actress/comedian Mo'Nique, among others.

After more than 50,000 people signed an online petition urging DynCorp International to protect gay employees from harassment, the U.S. defense contractor announced it is adding sexual orientation and gender identity to its workplace nondiscrimination policies, according to a press release. Tico Almeida—a civil-rights attorney and founder of the organization Freedom to Work—started the petition on Change.org after DynCorp announced a $150,000 settlement with a former employee who claimed that, despite significant anti-gay harassment on the job, DynCorp officials did not attempt to stop the abuse.

Roseanne Barr said she's running for the Green Party's presidential nomination, according to the New York Daily News. The actress-comedian said the two major parties aren't serving U.S. residents properly. She added, "Mainstream media will be unable to ignore me, but more importantly they will be unable to overlook the needs of average Americans in the run-up to the 2012 election." Among the items on her platform is the legalization of marijuana, according to TMZ.com .

The Susan G. Komen has reversed its decision to end grants to Planned Parenthood, according to MSNBC. Planned Parenthood is under congressional investigation for allegedly using federal funding for abortion services. The Komen foundation's board of directors issued the following statement: "We want to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women's lives. The events of this week have been deeply unsettling for our supporters, partners and friends and all of us at Susan G. Komen. We have been distressed at the presumption that the changes made to our funding criteria were done for political reasons or to specifically penalize Planned Parenthood. They were not."

In Minnesota, a gay-rights acvitist glitter-bombed GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the Washington Post reported. As Romney walked to the stage inside a warehouse in Eagan, an activist who said he was from the organization "Glitterati" threw a cup of glitter on him. Romney later acknowledged the advocate, saying "This is confetti! We just won Florida!" before launching into "America the Beautiful."

In New York City, transgender woman Temmie Breslauer ( legal name: Todd Breslauer ) has filed a lawsuit against the city and several cops who reportedly humiliated her and chained her to a wall for 28 hours after she was arrested, according to Gothamist.com . Breslauer claims police "targeted" her because of her appearance, and then prolonged her booking so they could torment her. A desk sergeant allegedly asked Breslauer what type of genitalia she has, adding, "Have you had the surgery DOWN THERE?" The police department has been sued at least four times for allegedly violating the civil rights of transgender women.

Out magazine is publishing a series of letters that James Clementi, the older gay brother of the late Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi, wrote to his younger sibling, according to the New Civil Rights Movement. In one letter, James writes, "It is so quiet now. You were really talented; it was a gift. I'm not sure I ever told you that… maybe you didn't care. ... I would tell you now if I could, I really miss the noise!" The brothers apparently came out to each other just months before Tyler committed suicide.

In San Diego, Calif., a second African gay man is facing deportation to an anti-gay country, according to SDGLN.com . Becley Aigbuza, 28, left Benin, Nigeria, 17 years ago; he has a Feb. 28 hearing that will probably determine if he is to be deported. Joseph Bukombe, who left Uganda, faced deportation but was recently released from federal detention.

U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler of North Carolina announced he won't seek re-election, according to the Huffington Post. The pro-life ex-pro football player was a leader in the so-called Democratic Blue Dog Coalition in Washington, D.C., which included moderate and conservative Democrats who lobbied for more fiscal responsibility.

In Washington, D.C., transgender woman Deoni Jones, 22, has died from stab wounds she suffered at a bus stop, according to Advocate.com . She was stabbed in the head Feb. 2 and taken to the hospital in grave condition. Mara Keisling, executive director of the D.C.-based National Center for Transgender Equality, and Jason Terry of the D.C. Transgender Coalition both identified the victim as Jones. Terry also criticized media coverage of the attack, with some outlets calling Jones a "man living as a woman."

In Utah, the state Senate has tabled a bill that would ban anti-LGBT discrimination, Advocate.com reported. After a 90-minute hearing before a capacity crowd, the Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee voted 4-2 to table the bill, terminating its chances to pass this year. Ben McAdams, the measure's sponsor, was disappointed but said the hearing was a "huge milestone."

In Texas, GOP state Senate candidate Tom Leppert said that Dallas' gay community knew he didn't agree with them, but that he participated in past pride parades because it's Christ-like, the Dallas Voice reported. Attempting to rebut attacks by GOP rival Ted Cruz, Leppert said, "On the gay parades, it's real simple. There was not a single group in this city that I didn't engage. Jesus engaged every single group when he was here on earth and I did, too."

In Alaska, five former Anchorage mayors have endorsed a ballot measure to extend anti-discrimination protections to LGBT individuals, according to TheNewsTribune.com . Former mayors Rick Mystrom, Jack Roderick, Matt Claman, Tony Knowles and U.S. Sen. Mark Begich all spoke in support of the One Anchorage campaign, which is backing the initiative. Anchorage residents will vote on the initiative April 3.

In New Jersey, teenager Madison Galluccio pleaded with the state assembly to let her fathers have the right to be married, according to SheWired.com . Galluccio, of North Haledon, said that current laws make her and her family feel less than equal. The state's legislature is debating a marriage-equality bill; GOP Gov. Chris Christie is threatening to veto it.

International law firm McDermott Will & Emery announced the recipients of the 2012 McDermott Diverse Law Student Scholarships Feb. 6. Law students Larry C. Guess ( Northwestern University ) , Lauren Schuster ( Loyola University Chicago School of Law ) and Brianna Serrano ( Cornell Law School ) will each receive a scholarship in the amount of $15,000 under the program. Schuster is the first LGBT recipient of the McDermott Diverse Law Student Scholarship.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights ( NCLR ) has announced that Arcelia Hurtado, a leading civil-rights attorney, will be the organization's new deputy director, according to a press release. Hurtado will be responsible for overseeing the organization's day-to-day operations and helping lead future planning, strategy and development initiatives. Hurtado replaces former Deputy Director Kris Hermanns, who left NCLR in December 2011 to lead the Pride Foundation as its new executive director; Hurtado begins her new role in April.

Karen Handel, the pro-life vice president of public policy for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, has resigned. In her letter of resignation, Handel said, "Komen's decision to change its granting strategy and exit the controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood and its grants was fully vetted by every appropriate level within the organization. ... I am deeply disappointed by the gross mischaracterizations of the strategy, its rationale, and my involvement in it. I openly acknowledge my role in [ defunding Planned Parenthood ] and continue to believe our decision was the best one for Komen's future and the women we serve."

A new study says that a federal executive order that requires contractors to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity would protect up to 16.5 million more workers than are already protected by state or private anti-discrimination policies, according to a press release. The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law is publishing the study, entitled "The Impact of Extending Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Non-Discrimination Requirements to Federal Contractors."

In Maryland, parents in a school district were angry after several students were sent home with an anti-gay flyer, according to Advocate.com . The flyer—sent out by Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays ( PFOX ) —had the message that no one is born gay and that people can select their sexual orientation. Peter Sprigg, a board member for PFOX, said that the letter only discusses a different viewpoint about homosexuality.

LGBT smokers are more likely to smoke and a quarter are uncomfortable approaching their doctors for help, report University of Colorado Cancer Center researchers in a recent article published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research. The GLBT Community Center of Colorado and other organizations across the state prompted a survey of 1,633 Colorado LGBT smokers to see if they were less likely than other smokers to use "proven" cessation methods such as nicotine-replacement therapy or telephone counseling. For more than 70 percent of the LGBT smokers who were surveyed, quitting was not in their plans; furthermore, LGBT adults are roughly twice as likely as heterosexual adults to smoke cigarettes.

CNN's Roland Martin has apologized to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation ( GLAAD ) for tweets the organizations viewed as anti-LGBT. One tweet read, "If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham's H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him!" Following backlast from pro-gay groups, Martin posted on his website, "To those who construed my comment as being anti-gay or homophobic or advancing violence, I'm truly sorry. I can certainly understand how someone could come to a different conclusion than the one I meant. I'm disheartened that my words would embolden prejudice."

Openly gay GOP presidential candidate Fred Karger will be on California's June 5 primary ballot, according to a press release. Karger will join Republicans Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum and Buddy Roemer in battling for the state's 172 delegates. Karger said, "I am thrilled to be on my home state's ballot. This makes six states ( New Hampshire, Michigan, Maryland and North Carolina ) plus Puerto Rico that have included me in their primaries this year."


This article shared 11678 times since Wed Feb 8, 2012
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