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Group attacks two gay men; Calif. governor signs Gender Nondiscrimination Act
NATIONAL ROUNDUP: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2011-10-12

This article shared 7141 times since Wed Oct 12, 2011
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GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain appeared on ABC's The View, where he said, among other things, that being gay is a choice. When co-star Joy Behar asked him about his stance regarding this issue, Cain responded, "You show me the science that says that it's not. Could be persuaded. Right now it's my opinion against the opinion of others who feel differently. That's just a difference of opinion." Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) President Joe Solmonese called Cain's thoughts "jaw-dropping," adding, "HRC is eager to connect Herman Cain with medical professionals who can walk him through the very basic science that he says he is seeking out."

Lambda Legal has filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of itself and 16 other LGBT, HIV and health-advocacy organizations, according to a press release. The brief urges the U.S. Supreme Court to confirm a lower court's ruling that the federal Privacy Act protects against illegal disclosures that result in suffering unrelated to financial losses. Stanmore Cooper, who disclosed his HIV status to the Social Security Administration ( SSA ) in applying for long-term disability benefits, initially brought the case; Cooper sought remedy in court after his HIV status was shared among the SSA, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the U.S. Department of Transportation without his consent. Cooper said that the development caused him psychological harm.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi met with a gay married binational couple, Bradford Wells and Anthony John Makk, according to Advocate.com . The couple is attempting to stay together in the country after immigration officials, citing the Defense of Marriage Act ( DOMA ) , denied them a marriage-based green card. Wells and Makk, who live in Pelosi's district, have asked administration officials to put on hold the appeal of their application, pending DOMA's legislative repeal or a legal ruling against it.

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network ( SLDN ) released a statement in response that Gautam Raghavan has been named associate director in the Office of Public Engagement. "We are pleased to welcome Gautam to his new post at the White House," said Army Veteran and SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis. "He is well-respected in the LGBT community, but perhaps no more than here at SLDN, where we worked closely with him in his role at the Pentagon helping to build the support needed and manage the repeal process of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'"

The NAACP has issued a statement mourning the passing of civil-rights leader Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, according to a press release. Shuttlesworth, who co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, was 89. "Rev. Shuttlesworth will be remembered with the highest possible esteem for his work in the civil rights movement," stated NAACP Chairman Emeritus Myrlie Evers-Williams. "He was a dear friend of mine, and a crusader who mobilized thousands to get involved in the fight for equality. Nothing could stop him in his campaign for justice; not fire hoses or death threats."

Sarah Palin will not be running for president. According to Fox News, the former governor of Alaska sent a letter to supporters stating that her decision was based on a "review of what common sense conservatives and independents have accomplished, especially over the last year." She added, "I believe that at this time I can be more effective in a decisive role to help elect other true public servants to office—from the nation's governors to congressional seats and the presidency." Her announcement came one day after Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said he also will not run.

On a recent appearance on the CNN show Piers Morgan Tonight, Houston megachurch minister Joel Osteen said that he'll never sway from his opinion that homosexuality is sinful, according to Advocate.com . Osteen said, "Mine's based out of the Scripture. That's what I believe that the Scripture says, that homosexuality is a sin." When Morgan asked Osteen if the Scripture should change over time, the pastor responded, "I can't see how you would change that. ... Two hundred years from now, the Scripture's still gonna say that."

In Tennessee, Madisonville high school student Chris Sigler said his principal physically and verbally assaulted him for wearing a T-shirt supporting a gay-straight alliance at the school, Advocate.com reported. Sigler wore a homemade T-shirt that read, "Gay Straight Alliance: We've Got Your Back." After Sigler wore the shirt a second time, principal Maurice Moser allegedly confronted the student in a classroom after asking the other students to leave. Moser reportedly grabbed Sigler's arm, shoved him against a wall and chest-bumped him while asking, "Who's the big man now?"

A study in the American Journal of Sociology indicates that gay men are 40 percent less likely to be called in for job interviews than their heterosexual counterparts, according to Advocate.com . Harvard University researcher Andras Tilcsik submitted two resumes to 1,700 white-collar job openings; one had the applicant serving as a treasurer of his college gay society while the other mentioned involvement in the "Progressive and Socialist Alliance." Tilcsik said that employers were likely to associate both applicants with similarly leftist views, which would increase the probability of rejection being based only on the gay affiliation.

In California, Brandon McInerney will be retried on charges that he murdered classmate Lawrence King three years ago, according to CNN.com . However, at the new trial the now-17-year-old will not be charged with committing a hate crime. Last month, a jury was deadlocked in the McInerney's eight-week trial. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Nov. 21; if McInerney is found guilty of all the new charges, he could face 50 years to life in prison.

Equality California has accused conservative activists who want to repeal the state's new gay-history law of purposefully concealing the sizes and sources of campaign contributions, according to MercuryNews.com . The organization accuses Capitol Resource Institute and Pacific Justice Institute of raising and spending money to qualify the repeal referendum for next year's ballot without registering as campaign committees. The law made California the first state to add lessons about gays and lesbians to public-school curricula.

In other Equality California-related news, the group will not try to have Proposition 8 overturned in 2012, ABC News reported. Prop 8 limited marriage to opposite-sex couples five months after the state supreme court legalized same-sex marriages. Executive Director Roland Palencia said that polls show voters are still divided; he added that a court challenge that could overturn the measure is still pending.

Next year, San Diego State University ( SDSU ) will become the second college in the country to offer a major in LGBT studies, according to SignOnSanDiego.com . SDSU has offered a minor in LGBT studies for the past two years. Esther Rothblum, a professor of women's studies and the LGBT studies academic adviser, said, "We had so many courses on LGBT issues in so many departments, a group of us got together to put together a major." The only other school in the nation to offer such a major is Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, N.Y.

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) has issued a statement mourning the passing of former Apple CEO Steve Jobs. In the press release, HRC President Joe Solmonese called Jobs "one of America's greatest visionaries and a tremendous ally to the LGBT community." Solmonese added, "Steve Jobs' life and career touched the lives of millions of people across the globe. From his unparalleled contributions to technology and communication, to his steadfast support for the fight for LGBT equality, Jobs has truly embodied the spirit of our great nation. The world is without a doubt a better place because he lived in it." Apple donated $100,000 in 2008 to fight Prop 8.

On Oct. 16, 30,000 walkers and dozens of celebrities and elected officials will gather in West Hollywood Park for the 27th annual AIDS Walk Los Angeles, the largest event of its kind, according to a press release. The event will benefit AIDS Project Los Angeles and more than 20 other Los Angeles County HIV/AIDS-service organizations.

In Immokalee, Fla., a group of five men jumped openly gay men Manuel Galan and Cirildo Soliz in what was a possible hate crime, according to NaplesNews.com . "It was right in the middle of the street," Galan said. "People were walking all around us. No one stopped. No one did anything. It hurts me, I knew some of the people." The attackers hit and kicked the two men repeatedly while yelling anti-gay slurs.

The Southern Poverty Law Center ( SPLC ) urged all public figures to boycott the recent Values Voter Summit, which the center said in a press release "is hosted and co-sponsored by two groups that demonize members of the LGBT community with false propaganda." "The Family Research Council and the American Family Association are among the chief purveyors of lies about the LGBT community—lies that stoke hate and violence," said Mark Potok, director of the SPLC's Intelligence Project. "LGBT people are now, by far, the group most victimized by violent hate crimes in America. Public figures should not lend their names to groups that vilify them."

In Park Ridge, Ill., cross-dressing is now legal. The Chicago suburb—where actors Gary Cole and Karen were born, and where Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was raised—dropped an 83-year-old ban on the practice. "It's just one of those archaic things that never got changed," said City Clerk Betty Henneman. Chicago's cross-dressing law was removed in 1978 by the City Council after years of court dispute.

Paula Ettelbrick, an attorney and human-rights activist who served the LGBT community in various organizations, died Oct. 7, according to Advocate.com . She reportedly died of cancer-related causes. In her almost three-decade career, Ettelbrick worked for organizations such as the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission ( IGLHRC ) , the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the Empire State Pride Agenda, and the Stonewall Community Foundation.

On Oct. 8 in Madison, Wis., the Presbyterian Church ordained Scott Anderson as its first openly gay minister. Anderson's ordination happened after the Presbyterian Church ( USA ) , numbering 2 million members, began welcoming non-celibate gay clergy this past summer. In 1990, Anderson was the head pastor of Bethany Presbyterian in Sacramento, Calif., when two parishioners outed him; soon after, he left the church. Anderson and partner Ian MacAllister have been together 20 years.

In Indiana, Kameryn Gibson—the "other man" in a gay-sex scandal involving married GOP state Rep. Phillip Hinkle—is posing on a gay-porn site, the New York Daily News reported. Gibson's employer, Flava Works, announced, "No more will Republicans have to endure the outrage and embarrassment when they get caught in public." Gibson and Hinkle arranged to meet in an Indianapolis hotel; the encounter ended when Gibson tried to leave and Hinkle grabbed him, allegedly exposing himself. Hinkle has not resigned from office.

Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays ( PFOX ) defended GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann and her husband, Marcus, at the recent Values Voter Summit, according to On Top Magazine. In past interviews, the Bachmanns have admitted their clinics attempt to "cure" gay people of their sexuality. PFOX leader Greg Quinlan wrote in a letter distributed at the event that gay people "cannot bear to have even one homosexual leave homosexuality, hence their outrage at Dr. Bachmann."

In San Diego, Calif., two of the Republican mayoral candidates—District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and Councilman Carl DeMaio—are gay, according to an On Top Magazine item. Dumanis said, "It's easier to hate a stereotype than it is a person. I make a point of introducing [ partner ] Denise wherever I go." DeMaio added, " [ Sexual ] orientation is not an issue. It's a not a plus or a minus." Republicans have run the city for almost two decades.

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 887, the Gender Nondiscrimination Act, which will strengthen employment, housing and other civil-rights protections for Californians on the bases of gender identity and expression., according to a press release. Assemblymember Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, authored the bill and Equality California, the Transgender Law Center and the Gay-Straight Alliance Network sponsored it. Masen Davis, executive director of the Transgender Law Center, said, "Thanks to the fair-minded legislature and Governor Brown, employment posters and student handbooks will finally inform transgender people of their rights, and educate employers and schools about their responsibilities. It's about time."

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear the case of a Louisiana gay couple who used the state registrar for refusing to include both parents' names on their adopted son's birth certificate, Advocate.com reported. Lambda Legal had asked the court to review the case, Adar v. Smith; Oren Adar and Mickey Smith wanted both their names to be listed on the birth certificate of the Louisiana-born son they adopted in New York in 2006. However, Louisiana state registrar Darlene Smith has refused to recognize the adoption because the couple isn't legally married.

There were two glitter bombings at the anti-gay Minnesota Faith and Freedom Coalition, a strategy session for politicians who want to redo the state's constitution so that it bans marriage equality, according to Advocate.com . The first happened as Congressman Erik Paulsen received a "Friend of the Family" award; in addition, Karl Rove was doused with glitter at a book-signing.

North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue said that she will vote against a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban marriage equality, according to an On Top Magazine item. Voters will decide next May if the state should prohibit same-sex marriage, civil unions and, possibly, domestic partnerships. Perdue, a Democrat, said she's actually against marriage equality but added that the economy takes top priority right now.

The Southern Poverty Law Center and Truth Wins Out launched a national campaign targeting conversion therapy, a practice that claims to "convert" people from homosexuality to heterosexuality, according to a press release. The groups made the announcement in coordination with National Coming Out Day, Oct. 11. The campaign will begin with a series of community meetings in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., for survivors of the practice.

The Vermont Human Rights Commission ( HRC ) has asked to intervene in an American Civil Liberties Union case in support of a lesbian couple who could not hold their wedding reception at the Wildflower Inn because the facility reportedly has a "no gay receptions" policy, according to an ACLU press release. "The state's action underscores the fact that this is a straightforward case of discrimination," said Dan Barrett, staff attorney with the ACLU of Vermont. "We're glad to see that the Human Rights Commission is as concerned as we are about the threat that the Wildflower Inn is posing to Vermont's non-discrimination guarantees."

In honor of National Coming Out Day ( Oct. 11 ) , Whirlpool Corporation's employees posted a video to share an "It Gets Better" message with LGBT youth who are struggling with bullying and self-acceptance, according to a press release. Whirlpool Corporation has earned a 100 percent score on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality index for more than seven years; the index scores companies on the policies and practices related to LGBT employees. The video is at http://whr.pl/n5x5Q6.

U.S. Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif.—who chairs the House Armed Services Committee—said he'd rather go without a defense-spending measure than compromise on letting military chaplains conduct same-sex marriages, The Hill reported. McKeon's statement could initiate a stalemate with the Democratic-controlled Senate. The Senate's defense-authorization bill doesn't have the House provision on same-sex marriage. "I'm hopeful that the Senate will look at those votes and will understand our feelings on this issue," McKeon said of the marriage-equality issue.


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