Former Sen. Larry Craig is dropping further attempts to appeal his conviction connected to a sex sting in a Minneapolis airport bathroom, the Associated Press reported. Craig was arrested in 2007 by an undercover police officer, and pled guilty to disorderly conduct; however, he changed his mind after finding out that arrest was publicized.
In Seattle, Wash., almost a dozen gay bars have received anonymous typewritten letters that are threatening to poison customers with the toxin called ricin, according to the Seattle Times. However, the bar owners have refused to close their businesses, and the FBI and the city's police department are involved in an investigation. Ricin, a chemical found in castor beans, can be fatal ingested or inhaled in its purified form.
The RainbowVision project, a planned LGBT retirement community promoted by lesbian tennis icon Billie Jean King, is yet another victim of the country's mortgage crisis; the lender reclaimed the project's land in a foreclosure auction, 365Gay.com reported. RainbowVision—which was to go up in Palm Springs, Calif.—was going to have 184 condos; tennis courts; and a clubhouse with a nightclub, cafe and spa.
In Columbia, Mo., former police officer Steven Rios, 31, has again been found guilty of murdering Jesse Valencia, 23, with whom he had an affair, according to the Associated Press. Rios had been convicted of the 2004 murder back in 2007; however, the Missouri Court of Appeals' Western District overturned the ruling because of problems connected with hearsay statements. The jury recommended that Rios serve a life sentence plus 23 years.
Susan Horowitz and Jan Stevenson, owners of Pride Source Media Group and publishers of Between The Lines weekly newspaper, have assumed a majority interest in Q Syndicate, the nation's leading provider of content for LGBT publications, according to a Pride Source press release. David Bianco founded Q Syndicate in 1995, and in 2001 the company was acquired by Todd Evans, who is also the principal of Rivendell Media.
The Ohio Supreme Court has affirmed an appeals court ruling that strengthened a child-custody agreement that involves lesbian mothers, according to a Lambda Legal press release. Lambda Legal represented Therese Leach, who fought to uphold a court-approved joint-custody pact signed by both her and her former partner, Denise Fairchild.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation ( GLAAD ) has come out with its list of the worst anti-gay and anti-transgender voices of 2008. Among those who made the cut were FOX host Bill O'Reilly, California's Yes on Proposition 8 Campaign, the Rev. Rick Warren, Republican Oklahoma Rep. Sally Kern and the New York Post ( which had "Evil Lesbian Mom Left Toddler to Die Slow Death: DA" as a Jan. 25, 2008, headline ) .
William White, chief operating officer of the Intrepid Museum Foundation, is receiving some support from top retired military leaders to make him the next secretary of the Navy—which would make him the first out gay man to head one of the services, the Washington Times reported. However, the position is a civilian one, meaning that White would not violate "don't ask, don't tell"; however, it would put the focus back on the controversial policy.
Alicia Skillman has been named executive director of Michigan's Triangle Foundation—becoming the first woman and person of color to lead the state's prominent LGBT-rights organization, according to an organizational press release. Skillman is also a member of Project Harmony's Advisory Council, VOICES; Project Harmony is an initiative of Family Equality Council that involves LGBT families of color.
Three recently discovered poems by the influential African-American poet Langston Hughes—speculated by many to have been gay—have been published in the January 2009 issue of Poetry magazine, according to a press release from the Poetry Foundation. Penny Welbourne, a rare book cataloger at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University, discovered the poems, which were handwritten in pencil on the endpapers of Hughes' edition of An Anthology of Revolutionary Poetry.
James Anthony Apparel has revived the popular "Anita Sucks Fruits" T-shirt of the late 1970s, developed to counter Anita Bryant's campaign of hatred towards the LGBT community and equal rights. Proceeds from sales of the $25 shirts will benefit the LGBT Community Center in New York City and the Human Rights Campaign; see jamesanthony.etsy.com .
Openly gay San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Dufty introduced a resolution condemning vandalism to the Most Holy Redeemer Church, an inclusive Catholic congregation in the Castro District, GayPolitics.com reported. Vandals recently spray-painted swastikas and phrases such as "Prop H8" on the church.
In San Francisco, Calif., city health authorities have traced cases of tuberculosis to patrons of gay bars in the Castro neighborhood, according to the Bay Area Reporter. In the wake of the discovery, the officials have asked almost 150 employees of businesses in the district to get screenings for the disease.
President-elect Barack Obama has chosen former Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund Executive Director Brian Bond as deputy director of the White House Office of the Public Liaison, according to GayPolitics.com . Bond will have managerial and strategic responsibilities for the office and will be the point person on LGBT issues.
The Human Rights Campaign—the nation's largest LGBT-rights group—has released a comprehensive database of more than 160 scholarships available to LGBT and allied students. The list—created by the organization's Youth and Campus Outreach Program—can be seen at www.hrc.org/scholarships.
In an effort to reach out to the gay community, healthcare-benefit company Aetna has formed an LGBT advisory council, according to a company press release. Among the members are National Coalition for LGBT Health Executive Director Rebecca Fox and Gay and Lesbian Medical Association Executive Director Joel Ginsberg.
Lesbian park ranger Jennifer Donovan is suing the California State Parks Department, alleging sexual harassment, racism and homophobia, according to the Orange County Register. Among other things, Donovan claims co-workers placed various items—including sex toys and women's underwear—around the workplace.
Lambda Legal has named Jennifer C. Pizer, senior counsel in its Los Angeles-based Western Regional Office, as director of its national marriage project, according to an organizational press release. In addition to her marriage work, Pizer has handled cases to advance domestic-partner protections and the rights of lesbian and gay parents, among other things.
Campbell's Soup has taken out four full-page ads in the LGBT publication The Advocate—a move that has upset the conservative American Family Association ( AFA ) , according to Gay City News. AFA said that Campbell's is "helping homosexual activists push their agenda. Not only did the ads cost Campbell's a chunk of money, but they also sent a message that homosexual parents constitute a family and are worthy of support."