In the face of growing anxiety over the Supreme Court's conservative bent, state lawmakers in New Jersey are moving to pass marriage-equality legislation, Gay City News reported. According to Garden State Equality, the New Jersey Assembly's Judiciary Committee unanimously passed a marriage equality bill Dec. 9; the measure is expected to clear both houses of the state legislature by the end of the year. New Jersey established equal marriage rights through a 2013 state Superior Court ruling after Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, had previously vetoed a marriage-equality bill; following that decision, an effort to codify marriage equality was unsuccessful because of criticism over religious exemptions in the legislation. In 2015, the Supreme Court's ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges extended marriage rights to the entire nation.
The late lesbian poet, activist and professor Audre Lorde will be the subject of a forthcoming biopic, according to a Gay City News item that cited Deadline. The biopic will be called The Erotica title inspired by Lorde's own essay "Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic of Power," which confronted western perspectives of eroticism and reframed the term in a way that related to women's power, consciousness, spirituality, and other themes. Numa Perrier, the director of Jezebel, will produce and star in the film.; the movie does not yet have a timeline for production.
In the ongoing nationwide battle regarding school censorship and LGBTQ books, Maia Kobabe's Gender Queer: A Memoir has been pulled from circulation by North Carolina's Wake County Public Libraries (WCPL), The News & Observer reported. "WCPL is committed to thoroughly reviewing titles when we receive a formal request from the community," said spokesperson Alice Avery. "After the review, WCPL determined that the book does contain explicit illustrations that do not align with WCPL's selection policy. This is the only book that WCPL has pulled in the 2021 calendar year." LGBT Center of Raleigh Interim Executive Director Dolph Goldenburg said the center wasn't asked about how removing the book might impact LGBTQ residents.
In Missouri, a Jackson County jury found the Blue Springs R-IV School District owes more than $4 million in damages for sex discrimination against a transgender student, KSHB.com reported. The district was found liable for sex discrimination after denying a male transgender student use of the boys' restrooms and locker rooms at both Delta Woods Middle School and the Freshman Center. The lawsuit was filed in 2015, after the defendant filed a charge of discrimination with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights in late 2014. The Blue Springs School District "disagrees with the verdict and will be seeking appropriate relief from the trial court and court of appeals if necessary," according to a statement.
Hundreds of residents in Hastings, Minnesota, held a rally in support of LGBTQ youth after an official's transgender child was publicly outed, NBC News reported. The demonstrations in support of the child come after Concerned Parents of Hastings, a Facebook group for conservative parents, publicly outed Kit, 8, in the wake of a bitter school board election. The child's mother, Kelsey Waits, was running for re-election to the town school board in November when opponents of her campaign outed her child, who is non-binary and uses gender-neutral pronouns. Concerning the rally, Waits said she was proud that the community denounced the harassment.
For the first time in decades, the San Francisco Police Commission will be without an LGBTQ member, according to The Bay Area Reporter. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors appointed longtime Mission district activist Jesus Gabriel Yanez to the vacancy created by the retirement of former Commissioner Petra DeJesus, a lesbian who had served on the oversight body for 15 years until she stepped down in April. Two transgender women had applied for this seat but didn't seem to have the qualifications that Yanez and another applicant, assistant public defender David Rizk, had.
A federal court in New York dismissed a lawsuit filed by a Christian wedding photographer who refused to photograph same-sex weddings, according to NBC News. The woman, Emilee Carpenter, filed the federal lawsuit in April, arguing that New York's nondiscrimination laws forced her to choose between going against her faith by photographing same-sex weddings and paying fines of up to $100,000. However, U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci Jr., of Western New York, said, "the Court is not persuaded."
In Kentucky, Louisville's LGBTQ community will soon have two new locations when it comes to resources and representationwith one focusing on homeless LGBTQ youth, WDRB.com noted. A mansion in Old Louisville is being converted to the first LGBTQ center Louisville has seen in more than 30 years. Asia Institute's Crane House, which currently occupies the building, will move its offices to just the first floorallowing the second and third floors to be for the LGBTQ center. In addition, a former dental office will be the new location for Sweet Evening Breeze, which will help with LGBTQ youth homeless or those who have unstable households. Although teens will not reside at this location, the office will offer job training and have a therapy dog.
Furman University wide receiver Ryan Deluca came out publicly as gay on Instagram less than two weeks after his final game for the Paladins, according to Outsports. "I've been wanting to come out for a while now," he wrote. "I think I'm finally ready and I'm proud of it. I want to thank everyone who knows and has supported me to this point, you all mean a lot to me. Thank you to the one that makes me smile." The post got an outpouring of support from people in his life, including his current and former teammates.
The group Truth Wins Out issued a press release condemning Freedom March founder Jeffrey McCall as "a hypocritical fraud" after he admitted online to multiple hookups and romantic attachments with men, even as he continues to lead Freedom March's parades of so-called "ex-gays." Given the tawdry revelations, Truth Wins Out calls on the Freedom March to permanently shut down and stop conning people into believing that they can "pray away the gay." McCall is featured in the Netflix documentary Pray Away, which looks at the pain inflicted by "ex-gay" ministries and conversion therapy, NBC News stated.
A server at a New York diner was captured in a series of viral TikTok videos kicking out a creepy customer who was reportedly trying to give his cellphone number to underage girls, making anti-LGBTQ comments and calling his server a slur, Metro reported. The unidentified man was seen at the Massapequa Diner, in Long Island, where he reportedly was "staring at and trying to solicit his phone number" to a group of underage girls. He also apparently went on a homophobic and sexist rant, the TikTok videos reveal.
A Long Island man who was arrested after allegedly threatening to launch a devastating attack at the New York City Pride march and repeatedly threatening LGBTQ leaders over the span of years was back in handcuffs and facing new charges, NBC New York reported. Robert Fehring, 74, was arrested againthis time for stealing more than 20 Pride flags from the Suffolk County town of Sayville back in July. The arrest came after he was arraigned in court on federal charges the previous day; he was accused of menacing and threatening to harm those supportive of LGBTQ causes and events in the area. The criminal complaint unsealed in federal court stated Fehring had been sending threatening letters since at least 2013.
Prior to a unanimous vote to refer Mark Meadows for contempt of Congress charges, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, the ranking Republican on the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection, read a series of text messages she said Meadows received during the Capitol attack, NPR noted. In the messages, several figures, including Donald Trump Jr. and Fox News hosts Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity, urge Meadows to get then-President Donald Trump to tell his supporters to leave the Capitol. Cheney said Meadows, who was Trump's White House chief of staff during the siege, turned over the materials before he stopped cooperating with the panel.
A judge in Louisiana, Michelle Odinet, asked for "forgiveness and understanding" after a video surfaced capturing a series of racist remarks as her family gathered to watch security footage of an attempted burglary at their home, HuffPost reported. A video that circulated after the incident appeared to show members of her family joking and using the N-word to recap the burglary while they watched the security footage. A Black man was reportedly arrested in connection with the burglary at the Lafayette City Court judge's home in Bendel Gardens.