The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs announced a final rule that dramatically expands the ability of federal contractors to claim religious exemptions from federal nondiscrimination and equal employment opportunity laws and regulations, Lambda Legal stated. Lambda Legal Director of Law and Policy Jennifer Pizer said, in part, "It is hard to overstate the harm that the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs is visiting on LGBTQ people, women, religious minorities and others with the sledgehammer it is taking to federal nondiscrimination protections."
Kimberly Fial is the 41st trans woman killed in the United States this year, out.com reported. Fial was fatally stabbed with a chef's knife while volunteering at a homeless shelter in San Jose, California, on Dec. 3. Fial was one of two deaths and multiple stabbing victims resulting from the violent attack at the Grace Baptist Church. Police arrested Fernando Jesus Lopez for the crimes. This has been the deadliest year for trans women in this country since stats were tracked.
An Iowa man convicted of a November 2019 hate crime for tearing down and burning an LGBT flag hanging outside a Des Moines bar was sentenced to time served, SouthFloridaGayNews.com noted. Daniel Rosemark was sentenced last month to the 361 days he had already served while being held on charges in the case, the Des Moines Register reported. Rosemark pled guilty in October to reckless use of fire or explosives as a hate crime and drug possession.
The U.S. Supreme Court turned away a challenge brought by Oregon parents to a school district's policy allowing transgender students to use bathroom facilities that match their gender identity, CBS News reported. The dispute was brought by a group of parents who argued the policy enacted by Dallas School District No. 2 in Dallas, Oregon, and left in place by lower courts violated other students' privacy rights.
Queer Eye star Karamo Brown has angered some in the LGBT+ community by partnering with the Salvation Army, despite the charity's long history of anti-LGBT+ discrimination, PinkNews reported. The reality star put out a sponsored ad for the organization's Christmas fundraising campaign via Instagram and Twitter, ringing a donation bell and encouraging fans to give money. The Salvation Armywhich has been dogged for years over its poor record on LGBT+ issuesmaintains that it is not homophobic, but adheres to the teaching that gay sex is sinful and that same-sex unions are invalid.
Time Magazine named President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris as its Person of the Year. In part, Time's article on the team stated, "The Democratic ticket was an unlikely partnership: forged in conflict and fused over Zoom, divided by generation, race and gender. They come from different coasts, different ideologies, different Americas. But they also have much in common, says Biden: working-class backgrounds, blended families, shared values. … Biden and Harris share a faith that empathetic governance can restore the solidarity we've lost."
LGBTQ leaders are urging the Biden-Harris transition team to choose former Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-Pennsylvania) to head the Department of Veteran's Affairs, LGBTQ Nation noted. The straight politician led the fight to overturn "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" while serving in public office. Murphy endorsed Pete Buttigieg during the presidential primary before joining the former candidate in supporting Biden.
More openly LGBTQ candidates won their political races in 2020 than in any other election year in United States history, according to an LGBTQ Victory Fund press release. As of Dec. 8, 334 out LGBTQ candidates won their races out of the 782 known openly LGBTQ candidates who appeared on the ballot this year. Of the 782 known out LGBTQ candidates who were on the ballot, the Fund endorsed 390.
Former presidential candidate and U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) introduced legislation in the House that would bar schools from receiving federal funding if they allow transgender girls and women and non-binary people to compete on sports teams consistent with their gender identities, HuffPost reported. The bill co-sponsored by Republican Rep. Markwayne Mullin, of Oklahomawas met with immediate outrage from transgender activists and allies who labeled the legislation "blatantly transphobic." Gabbard faced scrutiny last year after homophobic remarks she'd made in 2004 surfaced.
The Modern Military Association of America (MMAA)the nation's largest LGBTQ military and veteran non-profit organizationjoined the growing list of veteran service organizations calling on the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Robert Wilkie, to resign, a press release noted. The call for his resignation follow the release of a VA Inspector General report on "Senior VA Officials' Response to a Veteran's Sexual Assault Allegations." "By targeting and disparaging a veteran who dared to speak out about her sexual assault, Secretary Wilkie has severely violated his oath of office and must resign immediately," said MMAA Interim Executive Director, Air Force veteran and military sexual-assault survivor Jennifer Dane. The report said that six days after the veteran, an aide to Congressman Mark Takano of California, reported her assault, Wilkie personally involved himself in the investigation, according to CBS News.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel plans to appeal a court ruling that found Michigan's civil-rights laws do not protect against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, The Hill reported. Judge Christopher Murray recently ruled that the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Actwhich bans discrimination on the basis of sexdid not prohibit discrimination against sexual orientation. The decision came after two Michigan companies argued that laws in the state did not prevent them from refusing service to LGBTQ customers.
In a press release, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR)along with co-counsel Relman Colfax PLLC, St. Louis LGBTQ civil rights attorney Arlene Zarembka and the ACLU of Missouriannounced the settlement of Walsh v. Friendship Village of South County, a housing discrimination lawsuit. The lawsuitfiled on behalf of Mary Walsh and Bev Nancealleged that St. Louis establishment Friendship Village Sunset Hills violated the federal Fair Housing Act when it denied Walsh and Nance a unit in the senior housing community because they are a lesbian couple.
As the 18th anniversary of Nizah Morris' death approaches, Philadelphia Gay News is preparing to take legal action in order to obtain records relating to the trans woman's death that city officials thus far have declined to produce, the publication revealed. Morris, a beloved trans advocate, was discovered with a fatal head injury shortly after receiving a "courtesy ride" from Philadelphia police in the Gayborhood. She died on Christmas Eve 2002. The following day, her death was declared a homicide due to blunt-force head trauma.
Republican Sen. Kelly Loefflerthe richest member of Congress, and who will fight to retain her seat during a Georgia runoff election in Januarydonated large portions of her Senate salary to anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ-rights organizations, Buzzfeed News reported. Among these organizations are several "crisis pregnancy centers" that often pose as abortion clinics in order to dissuade people from getting the procedure, and an adoption agency that has a strong anti-LGBTQ ethos and bans same-sex couples from using it. Loeffler and her husband hold a roughly $500 million stake in the New York Stock Exchange's parent company, Intercontinental Exchange, Forbes reported, estimating that the couple's net worth is at least $800 million.
In California, the Sacramento LGBT Community Center expanded its leadership team with four new staff members last month, the Bay Area Reporter noted. Allison VanKuiken, a trans woman, has been named the agency's first chief development officer; Jose Emmanuel Vega, a gay man, has been hired as director of health services; Robynne Rose-Haymer, a lesbian, has been hired as director of housing services; and Valerie Mayweather has been hired as the grants and sustainability manager.
The Army is punishing 14 leaders at Fort Hood, relieving some high-ranking officers of duty and suspending other leaders after a review sparked by the killing of Spc. Vanessa Guillen, according to NPR.org . Army Secretary Ryan D. McCarthy cited profound problems at the base, including a command climate that was "permissive of sexual harassment and sexual assault." Guillen's body was found in Texas, near where she went missing in April; a suspect in the case, 20-year-old Spc. Aaron David Robinson, who was also an active duty soldier at Fort Hood, killed himself July 1.
For a trio of entrepreneurs from Southern California, the pandemic did not stop their dream of opening the bar known as Noa Noa Placeone of the only queer Latinx spaces around, Instinct Magazine noted. Noa Noa Place is a new restaurant and bar that has opened in the heart of Boyle Heights, in Los Angeles. The new venture comes from the minds of friends and business partners Luis Octavio, Deysi Serrano and Donaji Esparza. The spacenamed after a song by the late Mexican singer/songwriter Juan Gabrielis a carefully curated space celebrating queer Latinidad through themed nights, patron-controlled music, specialty drinks and food.
Hig Robertsan American former World Cup alpine ski racer who skyrocketed to the top as a member of the U.S. National teamhas come out as gay, out.com revealed. "[Being in the closet] took away a lot of the experience and the joy I could have experienced during this life and that's a shame," Roberts told Out. "I had moments of standing on the podium with national titles and still feeling depressed. I was almost in a daze because of the mental anguish I would feel." Roberts was first alternate to the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Games, a year that saw a record-breaking 15 out LGBTQ+ people competing in the Winter Olympics.
Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Alphonso David issued a statement in response to news that the contract of the popular Puerto Rican show La Comay had not been renewed. In part, David said, "Racist, homophobic and transphobic propaganda has no place on or off screen. For far too long, Kobbo Santarossa hid behind the puppet La Comay to spread hateful and dangerous messages that contributed to upticks in killings of LGBTQ people on the island." In June, HRC called for the show's cancellation, citing its "long history of spreading racist, misogynistic, homophobic and transphobic propaganda."
Student activists at Carnegie Mellon University want the university to hold former Trump administration official Richard Grenell accountable for his tweets, The College Fix noted. Signers of a letter sent to the administration include Women in Politics, the Muslim Student Association and CMU Men's Club Lacrosse. Grenella former U.S ambassador to Germany and director of national intelligence who media outlets have noted to be openly gayhas tweeted about ballot harvesting and voter fraud.
In Idaho, the only Anne Frank memorial in the United States was vandalized, USA Today reported. The memorial includes a life-sized bronze statue of Frank, which depicts her holding her diary and peering out the window of the secret annex in which she and her family spent 761 days hiding from Nazis before they were found and sent to concentration camps in 1944. Stickers with swastikas and the words "We are everywhere" were found affixed to the diary, and another was pasted to a statue representing the "spiral of injustice."
After acquiring the American suit maker Brooks Brothersthe oldest continuously running brand in the countryout of bankruptcy in September for $325 million, joint owners Authentic Brands Group (ABG) and Simon Property Group have named Ken Ohashi as president and designer Michael Bastian as creative director of men's and women's, Business of Fashion noted. Designer Zac Posen, who was the creative director of the women's collections since 2014, has exited the business. The pandemic pushed Brooks Brothers to the edgeas the business filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection July 8but it was already weakened before due to changing dress codes and a heavy network of stores. Bastian, who was most recently the interim creative director at Ted Baker, was the men's fashion director at Bergdorf Goodman before launching his namesake luxury menswear line in 2006.
Dallas venue Redfield's Tavern reopened Dec. 14 with a new name: Redfield's Neighborhood Tavern, DallasNews.com noted. Dylan Asher, the former bar manager at Dallas spot Maple Landing, has been hired by Redfield's original owners to run the operations of the bar. Asher, who is gay, hopes that other members of the LGBT community in Dallas will return to the establishmentdespite backlash in October when the co-owners (who have also now hired a gay publicist) were caught on tape saying they didn't want Redfield's to be perceived as an "overtly gay" place.
A supporter of President Donald Trump appealed the dismissal of her lawsuit that seeks to overturn Joe Biden's victory in Georgia, AJC.com reported. Attorney Sidney Powell recently filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court, claiming the election was tainted by a variety of irregularities, including an election system that switched votes from Biden to Trump. Powell, formerly a member of the president's legal team, had promised to "release the kraken"a phrase referring to a mythological sea monsteron Georgia. The lawsuit has since become known as the "kraken lawsuit." Originally, U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten dismissed the suit, saying federal courts have limited jurisdictions in such cases and that overturning an election would amount to "judicial activism."