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Larry Craig hired; 'Pregnant Man' charged; president's medals
National roundup: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2014-12-02

This article shared 3902 times since Tue Dec 2, 2014
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The Idaho Republican Party has hired former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig as its financial chair of its executive committee, KTVB.com reported. Craig was arrested in a 2007 airport bathroom sex sting. An undercover officer accused Craig of soliciting sex in a men's bathroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport by tapping his foot under the stall and signaling he wanted sex. Craig retired in 2009, and he then faced legal battles with the Federal Elections Commission over his use of campaign funds.

Thomas Beatie, who rose to fame in 2007 as "The Pregnant Man," was arrested on suspicion of stalking a woman—believed to be his ex—with a GPS tracking device, In Touch Weekly reported. Phoenix-area police arrested the 40-year-old after a public safety officer stopped to aid the woman with a flat tire in September, and noticed a tracking device attached to the car. Police say an order of protection was previously served to Beatie against the woman—and the device was activated six months afterward, therefore violating the order.

Three U.S. civil-rights workers ( James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner ) murdered by members of a white-supremacist group 50 years ago were among 19 individuals who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom Nov. 24, according to Voice of America News. Some of the others to receive medals were actress Meryl Streep, composer Stephen Sondheim, former U.S. Rep. Abner Mikva ( D-Illinois ), NBC journalist Tom Brokaw, actress/activist Marlo Thomas and the late choreographer Alvin Ailey. President John Kennedy established the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963; since then, it has been awarded to 500 people.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights issued a statement in the wake of a Ferguson, Missouri, grand jury deciding not to bring criminal charges against Darren Wilson, the white police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teenager. Executive Director Kate Kendell said, in part, "We vacillate between heartbreak and outrage at the decision from the grand jury. Injustice is too tame a word for what today's decision represents. The fact that an unarmed black youth can be fatally shot by a police officer with no accountability or consequence is a chilling commentary on the worth afforded to young, Black lives and the sorry state of racial justice in this country." Several other LGBT groups responded similarly.

A federal judge struck down Arkansas' voter-approved gay-marriage ban, but stopped any rush to the altar by putting her order on hold so the state can consider an appeal, ABC News reported. U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker ruled in favor of two same-sex couples who had challenged a 2004 constitutional amendment and earlier state law defining marriage as between a man and a woman. The couples argued the ban violated the U.S. Constitution and discriminated based on sexual orientation.

Mississippi has also had its marriage-equality ban overturned. CNN reported that U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves issued a preliminary injunction Nov. 25, but he is putting his order on hold for two weeks so the state can appeal. State attorneys have already said they will ask the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to block Reeves' order. Mississippi has a 1997 law and a 2004 voter-approved constitutional amendment that define marriage as being between a man and a woman.

In light of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel stepping down ( as soon as the U.S. Senate confirms his successor ), SPARTA—the national organization of LGBT members of the U.S. armed forces and their families—commended him for his service on behalf of LGB service members and their families, according to a press release. However, the organization also called on him to immediately initiate a promised review of the policy prohibiting transgender individuals from serving. In May, Hagel told ABC News that Department of Defense policies should be reviewed.

State Rep. Holly Raschein ( R-Key Largo ) and Democratic Whip Sen. Joseph Abruzzo ( D-Boynton Beach ) filed legislation in the Florida House and Senate, respectively, that would prohibit discrimination against LGBT in employment, housing and public accommodations, according to an Equality Florida press release. Known as the Florida Competitive Workforce Act ( FCWA ), the legislation would amend Chapter 760 of the Florida State Statutes that currently prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or marital status to include sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. The bill would add protections for more than 536,000 LGBT adults living in Florida.

On Nov. 28, President Obama issued a proclamation for World AIDS Day. In part, he said, "This World AIDS Day, we come together to honor all those who have been touched by HIV/AIDS and celebrate the promising public health and scientific advances that have brought us closer to our goal of an AIDS-free generation. ... Despite gains, too many with HIV/AIDS, especially young Americans, still do not know they are infected; too many communities, including gay and bisexual men, African Americans, and Hispanics remain disproportionately impacted; and too many individuals continue to bear the burden of discrimination and stigma."

Google has caused outrage for hosting a game that allows players to shoot dead naked gay men as they try to molest the player, according to Gay Star News. Ass Hunter had been playable online 2002 but was uploaded to the Google Play app store Nov. 23—and removed after multiple negative comments on social media. The game description read, "Popular game hunting on gays is now on android! Play and do not be gay!"

The largest and longest running national coalition of community-based HIV/AIDS organizations, AIDS United ( AU ), is calling for the scale-up of pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, according to a press release. PrEP, a breakthrough in biomedical HIV prevention, involves a once-daily medication that reduces the risk of HIV infection by up to 90 percent. Nov. 23, 2014, marked the four-year anniversary of the iPrEx study—the first randomized, controlled trial that found PrEP effective in reducing HIV-infection risk.

Three retired general and flag officers—including Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy, Major General Vance Coleman and Rear Admiral Jamie Barnett—issued a joint statement to accompany a new report showing that the Army, Air Force, and Navy/Marines have failed to comply with new Defense Department ( DOD ) rules on transgender personnel, according to a press release. The retired General and Flag Officers are joined by seven LGBT leaders and experts who signed the statement, including Kristin Beck ( Military Freedom Coalition ), Kylar Broadus ( National LGBTQ Task Force ), James Esseks ( American Civil Liberties Union ), Diane Mazur ( Palm Center ), Shannon Minter ( National Center for Lesbian Rights ), Harper Jean Tobin ( National Center for Transgender Equality ) and Dayna Walker ( Transgender American Veterans Association ). The report is at www.palmcenter.org/files/services%20out%20of%20compliance%20memo.pdf.

In North Carolina, a lesbian couple was upset after their address on Google Maps had been changed to say, "Faggots live here," Gay Star News reported. Jennifer Mann and Jodi McDaniel have lived together in their small home in Canton for four years. Mann's son, Dakota Bonham, said he discovered the slur when he was googling the address at Pisgah High School. The couple say the label was up for at least a month before it was removed. A Google spokesman apologized.

Local10 News reported that Squirt.org's "Non-Stop Hookups" bus advertisement campaign had stirred up the local community in Miami, according to a media release. The ad, a promotion for the Squirt gay dating site, shows two shirtless men embracing along with the site's tagline, "Hot 'n horny hookups," and the campaign slogan, "Non-Stop Hookups." While someone complained about the ad, it was vandalized and stolen. Pink Triangle Press, the operator of Squirt.org, has started a petition against the City of Miami on Change.org to have the ad reinstated.

A day after Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette took his fight to block same-sex marriage to the nation's highest court, Hazel Park nurses April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse finalized the adoption of their fourth child, according to The Detroit Free Press. The adoption—along with five other families adopting eight children this morning in the Oakland County Board of Commissioners auditorium—was part of Michigan Adoption Day. DeBoer and Rowse are leading the charge to overturn Michigan's 2004 voter-approved law that bans same-sex marriage.

A federal judge has ordered the state of Utah to pay $95,000 to cover attorney's fees for four couples who filed a lawsuit after the state refused to provide marriage benefits and legal recognition of married, same-sex couples, according to LGBTQ Nation. The plaintiffs were among 1,200 couples who married following a Dec. 20, 2013, ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby, that struck down the state's gay-marriage ban as unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court stayed the decision Jan. 6 as the state appealed.

Prominent New Jersey gay-rights leader Steven Goldstein has expressed his rage over a New York Times Magazine profile of N.J. Gov. Chris Christie that stated Christie "did not halt passage of a same-sex-marriage bill in New Jersey last year, NJ.com noted. Christie did halt the passage of a gay marriage bill the legislature sent him in 2012 by vetoing it; it wasn't until October 2013—after a Superior Court judge ruled for same-sex marriage—that Christie dropped his challenge. Goldstein, now a law-school professor, said he reached out for a correction, but did not get one. Reporter Mark Leibovich acknowledged the mistake, and the magazine appended a correction to the article.

San Francisco leaders have mapped out an aggressive plan to cut new HIV infections by 90 percent come 2020, The Bay Area Reporter noted. The ultimate goal is to get to no new HIV infections, though backers of the plan have yet to commit to a target date for meeting it. A group of 25 leaders has devised a plan dubbed "Getting to Zero: Zero HIV Infections, Zero AIDS Deaths, and Zero Stigma." Three of the key components are rapid enrollment in treatment for HIV-positive individuals; retention of people once they are in care; and ensuring those who are HIV-negative and at risk for HIV have access to pre-exposure prophylaxis.

The LGBT Sports Coalition has issued a press release condemning an anti-trans ad that The Minneapolis Star Tribune ran. The release says, "The full-page opposes the effort that would allow Minnesota transgender high school student athletes to play on athletic teams appropriate to their gender identity. ... This ad is a blatant attempt at fear-mongering and pushing out false facts to the Minnesota public to stop that inclusive effort." The newspaper initially ran the ad earlier this year.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had a heart stent implanted, reviving talk about how long the 81-year-old liberal jurist will be staying on the court, the Associated Press noted. Ginsburg, who leads the court's liberal wing, has for years been dealing with questions about whether she should retire and give a Democratic president a chance to name her successor. However, the court's oldest justice has not missed any time on the job since President Bill Clinton appointed her in 1993.

A 23-year-old former graduate student at New York University has been accused of helping a former Delaware criminal prosecutor arrange a threesome with a 16-year-old boy, The Daily Mail reported. Matthew Coogan, from Brandywine Hundred, Delaware, has been charged with two counts of sexual solicitation of a child and a second-degree conspiracy to aid former Deputy Attorney General Daniel Simmons in the rape of a Salesianum School student in March. Simmons, 35, was arrested in May on four counts of fourth-degree rape in connection to the assault on the 16-year-old, whom he met through the popular gay dating app Grindr.

A Minnesota man who harassed customers outside a popular Minneapolis gay bar in September and, after yelling gay slurs, pulled out a BB gun and shot at a same-sex couple, has been sentenced to six months in the Hennepin County adult detention center, LGBTQ Nation reported. Wayne Odegard, 44, of Blaine, Minnesota, was also ordered to undergo chemical dependency and psychological evaluations and to attend anger management class. If he violates any of the conditions of his probation, he could be sent to prison for a year and a day. Odegard pled guilty to terroristic threats in October.

While trans advocates and allies around the world were hosting vigils to commemorate the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20, 33-year-old trans woman Thailand Warr was attacked by seven strangers in the lobby of her Houston apartment building, Advocate.com related. Warr, an entertainer who performs under the stage name DeyJzah Opulent Mirage, sustained injuries to her head, chest and upper body after enduring an attack by the five men and two women.

The parents of a gay son whose death they feel partially responsible for have now dedicated their lives to helping the parents of other gay children, The Daily Mail noted. Rob and Linda Robertson of Redmond, Washington, learned their son Ryan was gay when he came out to them at just 12 years old; however, the devout Christians lived by the Bible, and tried to teach their son to fight his orientation. In the end he could not, and Ryan died of a drug overdose at age 20. Now, the Roberstons travel around the country and are dedicated to helping other evangelical parents accept their gay children.

Two male models are on trial in New York for dealing cocaine and LSD from their apartment in Chelsea, NewNowNext.com reported. Christopher Wetmore, who has appeared in GQ Style and modeled for Rocawear and Diesel, faces felony charges of selling a controlled substance. The 25-year-old model is also accused of conspiring to run a drug delivery service with fellow runway walker Joseph DeNormandie, 20, who was caught selling LSD and $2,500 worth of cocaine to an undercover officer.

Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran calls homosexuality "the opposite of clean," compares it to bestiality and sexual perversion, and says it dishonors God in a religious book he wrote, according to Project Q Atlanta. As a result, Mayor Kasim Reed suspended Cochran for a month without pay ( $14,333 ), and ordered him to attend sensitivity training. Reed, in a statement, also strongly rebuked Cochran's anti-gay statements.

Also in Atlanta, a longtime gay Atlanta nightlife promoter was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to running an international drug smuggling operation that shipped meth, GHB and ketamine disguised as candy to buyers as far away as Israel, Project Q Atlanta noted. Christopher Jon Coleman, 48, reported to a minimum security federal prison camp in Montgomery, Ala., on Oct. 13 to begin serving his 41-month sentence. He faced a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison and a $2.5-million fine.

Point Foundation—the nation's largest scholarship-granting organization for LGBTQ students of merit—announced that Dr. Neal Baer and Jason Collins will join the foundation's honorary board, according to a press release. Baer is the executive producer and showrunner for the CBS hit television show Under The Dome, and was executive producer of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and ER, among other top shows. Collins, a graduate of Stanford University, was formerly a professional basketball player and the first openly gay athlete to play in one of the four major North American pro sports leagues.

The Archdiocese of Detroit has banned a Catholic support group from using a Detroit parish for a meeting with a gay-rights speaker, LivingstonDaily.com reported. Archbishop Allen Vigneron prohibited a talk by Francis DeBernardo for Catholics with gay family members. DeBernardo is the executive director of Maryland-based New Ways Ministry, an advocacy group for LGBT Catholics.

New York City's fire department is fine with firefighter Jonathan Jesensky's past as a gay-porn actor, according to The New York Daily News. "There will be no discipline for this individual. Since he became an EMT and advanced to being promoted to paramedic, then to becoming a firefighter he has performed admirably," said FDNY spokesman Jim Long. Jesensky, 33, starred in at least 10 gay-porn films before joining the department Nov. 18. The ex-Marine had ditched his porn career and his "Jonathan West" alias before he was hired as an EMT with the FDNY in 2012.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals ( PETA ) Senior Vice President Dan Mathews married longtime partner Jack Ryan on Thanksgiving Day in Vegas at the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign, according to the Las Vegas Sun. The maid of honor was actress Pamela Anderson ( Baywatch ) and "best man" was singer Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders. Anderson has traveled the world with Mathews on PETA missions for two decades.


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