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NATIONAL Judicial nominee, stay of execution, revenge porn, Amy Klobuchar
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-11-05

This article shared 14221 times since Tue Nov 5, 2019
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A federal appeals court nominee broke down in tears during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing when confronted with a scathing letter from the American Bar Association ( ABA ) that deemed him "not qualified," NBC News reported. The association cited the record of the nominee, Lawrence VanDyke, on LGBTQ issues, along with allegations that he's "arrogant," "lazy" and "an ideologue." VanDyke—President Donald Trump's nominee for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, one level below the Supreme Court—struggled to speak during the Oct. 30 hearing after Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, asked him about the ABA's concerns that he would not be fair to LGBTQ people if confirmed.

A South Dakota gay man slated to be executed this week for a 1992 murder is appealing the court's most recent decision to deny his request to stay the execution, the Argus Leader reported. Charles Russell Rhines is appealing a Minnehaha County judge's decision denying his request for a stay of execution, arguing that the drug the state intends to use is a violation of his rights to choose the manner of his execution. Rhines is also appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court with renewed claims of anti-gay jury bias, citing new evidence. Rhines' petition for writ of habeas corpus can be seen at tinyurl.com/yxmpkmxs. Rhines, however, was executed Nov. 4.

Minnesota state Sen. Scott Dibble—who married his husband, Richard Leyva, in 2008—said he is the victim of revenge porn after a former intimate partner sent explicit images to Dibble's colleagues, the StarTribune reported. In his statement, Dibble said that, for the past five months, he has been harassed by "a former friend." Dibble told MPR News that the relationship at issue as having been largely online, and that Leyva has pledged to stand beside him. This development came days after Katie Hill, a junior congresswoman from California, stepped down in a similar situation.

LGBTQ Nation reported that, in 2008, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar ( D-Minnesota ) requested $500,000 in taxpayer money to go toward an anti-drug program run by Minnesota Teen Challenge, a group with anti-LGBTQ views that is also associated with the world's largest Pentecostal group, the Assemblies of God. While it's unclear if Minnesota Teen Challenge ever received the money, it was meant to fund its "Know the Truth" program for "drug prevention education efforts for teenagers." The group also called Halloween, Harry Potter and Pokemon "gateways to drug addiction," and listed homosexuality as a problem similar to drug addiction. Although Klobuchar fought for the repeal of DOMA and has criticized the Trump administration's anti-transgender military policy, in 2009 she opposed marriage equality, preferring second-class civil unions for same-sex couples instead.

The city and county of San Francisco awarded $1.15 million in rental subsidies to aid some transgender and gender-nonconforming ( TGNC ) city residents dealing with housing instability, The New York Daily News noted. Mayor London N. Breed announced the launch of the new program, which will provide funding to low income TGNC San Franciscans. Our Trans Home SF will provide at least 55 households with a monthly subsidy to help pay their rent, as part of a two-year pilot program.

Also, San Francisco Mayor London Breed raised the trans flag at City Hall on Nov. 1, marking the beginning of Transgender Awareness Month, The Bay Area Reporter noted. City Hall was lit in the pink, light blue and white colors of the trans flag that evening. Last year—in a surprise to attendees at what was then called Transgender Awareness Week—Breed and the Office of Transgender Initiatives said the month would be commemorated as a time for trans and gender-nonconforming people and their allies to come together to celebrate successes and take action on issues of prejudice, discrimination, and violence.

Three gay men said they were savagely beaten in an anti-gay attack outside Boston drag bar Jacque's Cabaret, LGBTQ Nation reported. Jacque's hosts a drag show that's popular with both straight and LGBTQ people on the main level, and a queer fetish party called Fascination is held twice a month in the basement. Three gay men who were at the fetish party were waiting for a ride outside of Jacque's when a group of straight people who were at the drag show started antagonizing them—and then the attack escalated.

As the Democratic Party fields its first serious presidential contender who is openly gay ( Pete Buttigieg ), half of U.S. voters say that they personally are ready for a gay or lesbian president, but are split about whether the country as a whole is ready, Politico reported. According to a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll of registered voters, 50 percent of respondents said they were either definitely or probably ready to have a commander in chief who is openly gay, compared with 37 percent who said they were either definitely or probably not ready.

Andy Lassner, the executive producer of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, engaged in a Twitter feud with Rep. Matt Gaetz ( R-Florida ), HuffPost noted. Gaetz posed for a selfie with President Donald Trump during Game 5 of the World Series, prompting Lassner to retweet the pic, captioning it "Omg this fucking tool." Gaetz fired back, hauling NBC into the mix by suggesting he was not surprised the network condoned "such a dumb/triggered/profane comment from a senior employee." Lassner then replied, "I don't work for NBC, but I can't tell you how much it means to me that you took time out of crashing hearings to respond to me."

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) called on Congress to pass the College Affordability Act ( H.R. 4674 ) to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, a press release stated. The College Affordability Act includes important protections for LGBTQ students. Among other things, the measure includes the Tyler Clementi Act ( H.R. 2747/S. 1492 ) to require higher education institutions adopt policies to address cyberbullying; and clarifies that prohibitions on discrimination on the basis of sex include gender identity and sexual orientation.

Kelley Fisher—a former social worker at an Indianapolis Catholic high school—said she was fired for making public statements in support of LGBTQ colleagues who were terminated, NBC News reported, citing IndyStar. Fisher, who is straight and had been assigned to Roncalli High School, said she thinks that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis moved to have her fired because of two Facebook posts she shared in support of two lesbian guidance counselors who had worked at Roncalli for years before they were fired.

Two students at the University of Memphis claimed they were kicked out of a frat party because they're gay, Instinct Magazine noted. According to WMC5 Action News, Benjamin Buckley and Luke Chapman were at an off-campus frat party with friends when a bunch of male students walked up to them. The boys were allegedly told that they "don't belong here f****t." After news of Buckley and Chapman's allegations spread, Dr. David Rudd, president of the University of Memphis, said, "An off-campus incident involving possible bigotry has been brought to my attention and has been referred for investigation. The Office of the Dean of Students is in the process of reaching out to students and others potentially involved. I think those that were responsible need to be held accountable."

Instagram is banning ads for PrEP directed at gay and bi men for being too political, LGBTQ Nation noted. The site is owned by Facebook, which has made it a matter of principle to accept political ads even if they're untrue. Apicha Community Health Center—a New York City health care provider that focuses on serving people of color, LGBTQ people and people living with HIV—tried to place an ad campaign on Instagram to raise awareness about PrEP, the medication regimen that has been shown to be 99-percent effective in preventing the transmission of HIV if taken as directed.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Center for Reproductive Rights, Lambda Legal and the County of Santa Clara argued before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California that the Trump administration's Denial of Care Rule should be ruled unlawful and blocked from going into effect, a joint press release noted. The rule ( slated to go into effect Nov. 22 ) invites any healthcare worker—including doctors, nurses, EMTs, administrators, janitors and clerical staff—to deny medical treatment, information and services to patients because of personal religious or moral beliefs. The organizations, along with pro bono counsel Mayer Brown LLP, are representing myriad healthcare providers and medical professionals, as co-plaintiffs with the county, in the lawsuit County of Santa Clara v. HHS.

In Texas, the Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District moved toward firing a gay teacher who it alleges violated its policy when he sent text messages to a student, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. However, Josh Hamilton—who taught at Grapevine High School and coached its competitive speech team—said he was certain that his firing was connected to a reference to his sexual orientation that he made in early September to a group of seven students.

A member of the St. Louis County Council called on Police Chief Jon Belmar to resign—and she and another member called on County Executive Sam Page to replace members of the Board of Police Commissioners after a jury handed down a nearly $20 million judgment against the county in an LGBT-discrimination case, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. A jury in St. Louis County Circuit Court agreed with Sgt. Keith Wildhaber, who alleged the police department had discriminated against him because he is gay. The case included testimony about him being passed over 23 times for promotion and being transferred in retaliation for filing a federal EEOC complaint.

A private women's university in Virginia has announced a new policy allowing students who transition from female to male while at school to remain enrolled and earn their degrees, NBC News reported. Under the new guidelines at Hollins University, enrolled students who transition from female to male will no longer be required to transfer to another institution. As for applicants transitioning from male to female, they no longer have to complete a full surgical transition before being eligible for admission.

A battle over LGBTQ rights and Christian values has engulfed the mayoral and city council elections in one of the most conservative cities in Iowa, the Sioux City Journal reported. Residents argued over whether a recent festival sponsored by a pro-LGBT group violated Orange City's code of conduct policy. A group called the Sioux County Conservatives backed a slate of candidates to oust Mayor Deb De Haan and two council incumbents in the Nov. 5 election, arguing the incumbents did not publicly speak out against a Pride festival that featured drag queen and king performers.

Police in Asheville, North Carolina, are offering a reward of up $5,000 for information leading to an arrest in a shooting at a gay-friendly nightclub that left a visitor from Los Angeles paralyzed, Advocate.com reported. On Oct. 7, someone fired shots from a car into a crowd leaving Scandals Nightclub and two other clubs located in the same building. Pedro Ventura—who was visiting from Los Angeles for a wedding—was hit by a bullet that shattered his spine and injured his spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed from the shoulders down, partner Ezra Glenn told the Asheville Citizen Times.

Delta Air Lines said that it's bringing back the gay scenes that it had previous cut from the movies Booksmart and Rocketman, LGBTQ Nation noted. Passengers on the airline noticed that gay kisses and same-sex scenes were missing from the movies, and that words like "vagina" and "lesbian" were censored. "The studio has agreed to provide a special Delta edit that retains the LGBTQ+ love scenes in both Booksmart and Rocketman that will be on our flights as soon as possible," Delta's statement said.

The Trump campaign drew on the 1993 film Hocus Pocus in denouncing the impeachment inquiry against President Trump, selling T-shirts of an image with Democratic lawmakers in the place of witches from the gay cult classic, The Washington Blade noted. Denouncing impeachment inquiry in the U.S. House as a "Witch Hunt," the image features House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ( D-California ) in the Bette Midler role; House Oversight & Government Reform Committee Chair Adam Schiff ( D-California ) in the Sarah Jessica Parker role; and House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler ( D-New York ) in the Kathy Najimy role.

Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke ( D-Texas ) announced Nov. 1 that he would end his presidential bid, The Hill reported. In a post on the website Medium, O'Rourke said that it had become clear that he did not have the means to keep his campaign afloat. "Though it is difficult to accept, it is clear to me now that this campaign does not have the means to move forward successfully," O'Rourke wrote.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced that her proposed Medicare-For-All health plan would be financed with a tax on the wealthy that could cost Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos nearly $7 billion—although he'd still be very much the richest person alive, TheWrap noted. Warren's proposal outlined $20.5 trillion in spending over a 10 year period. To help reach that figure, Warren revamped her "Ultra-Millionaire Tax" on Friday, bumping it from a 3-percent tax to a 6-percent tax on every dollar over $1 billion in net worth.


This article shared 14221 times since Tue Nov 5, 2019
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