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Special to the Online Edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis

This article shared 1876 times since Wed Apr 15, 2009
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The Massachusetts Parole Board will grant openly gay inmate Bruce Wilborn a new parole hearing to settle the sexual-orientation discrimination charges he brought against the board over a year ago, according to a press release from Columbia Law School's Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic. "This result is groundbreaking for gay prison inmates," said Suzanne B. Goldberg, director of the clinic. "This settlement ... makes clear that parole boards may not single out gay applicants and deny them fair and equal treatment."

In Colorado, a murder trial involving 18-year-old trans victim Angie Zapata was slated to begin this week, according to . It is believed to be the first murder prosecution under hate-crime laws that centers around a trans victim. The suspect is Allen Andrade, who went out with Zapata last summer, the Denver Post reported. However when Andrade discovered Angie was a biological male, he allegedly beat her to death.

In Orange County, Calif., police shut down a weekly gay bowling/dancing event for not having a permit; however, the event's organizers said it was closed because it is a gay event, according to the L.A. Times. Zach Moos, one of the organizers behind "Spin Tuesdays," said, "Everyone's feeling like the gay community is not welcome here," but Orange Police Sgt. Fred Lopez said that the event was too well-attended, which was a safety issue.

In California, Deputy District Attorney Jay Boyarsky has said that hate-crime cases surged in Santa Clara County last year because of the controversy over Prop 8, according to . Anti-gay incidents made up 56 percent of hate-crime cases last year, a big jump from only 15 percent in 2007. However, Frank Schubert of the conservative group Protect Marriage said, "I certainly hope Proposition 8 did not result in more crime—but if it did, it did so on both sides.''

In Tennessee, Rep. Stacey Campfield is sponsoring a measure that would prohibit the state's elementary schools from "any instruction or materials discussing sexual orientation other than heterosexuality," according to . The Tennessee Equality Project, the Tennessee Education Association and the ACLU all oppose the bill, saying it would stifle free speech.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is not happy with the Obama administration's policy change concerning medical marijuana, according to . The administration will now target California's medical-marijuana distributors only if they violate both federal and state law, as opposed to former President George W. Bush's more stringent policy. Grassley said the new policy is damaging healthcare reform and will lead marijuana users to try harder drugs.

The second annual Out & Equal LGBT Executive Forum drew about 30 high-ranking corporate leaders from across the country and Europe to San Francisco to discuss a wide range of topics, including expanding their executive leadership capacities and corporate equality. Over the course of the forum, held last month, participants focused on building their strengths as executives and LGBT leaders.

For the 18th consecutive year, the Ancient Order of Hibernians—which organizes the St. Patrick's Day parade down New York City's Fifth Avenue—has banned Irish gay groups from marching, according to . At 57th Street, a small group of Irish American gays and lesbians staged a quiet protest, and the city's highest ranking gay politician, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, boycotted the event again this year.

The Connecticut gay-rights group Love Makes a Family will dissolve at the end of 2009, according to . The group—which fought for adoption and equal-marriage rights—was instrumental in getting the state supreme court to approve same-sex marriage. Executive Director Anne Stanback said that " [ w ] e accomplished our core purpose, and we want to end on a high note."

In California, Shirley Tan—a native of the Philippines and the mother of twin boys—has won a reprieve so she can appeal her case, according to . Tan's female partner of 23 years, Jay Mercado, is a U.S. citizen. The Department of Homeland Security has delayed Tan's deportation until April 22. Currently, foreign same-sex partners of U.S. citizens cannot obtain legal permanent residence the way opposite-sex couples can.

The Fair Pricing Coalition ( FPC ) —founded by the late Martin Delaney of Project Inform—has negotiated with major HIV drug manufacturers to require them to implement patient drug co-pay programs, according to a coalition press release. Companies involved in the plan include Bristol-Myers Squibb and GlaxoSmithKline. Others, such as Merck and Pfizer, offer alternatives such as reimbursement assistance.

Openly gay U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., has announced that the House Judiciary Committee would consider H.R. 1913 ( otherwise known as the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act ) the week of April 20, according to . Frank expects the committee to pass the bill, and the House to vote on the bill later this spring. The measure already has over 40 co-sponsors, including lesbian Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin.

Spenser Vogt, a gay 19 year-old-student attending Cinco Ranch High School in Houston, Texas, was shot dead—allegedly by another gay teen he met online, On Top Magazine reported. Vogt was found wrapped in a tarp with two gunshots to his head. Authorities have said that Lee Carl Banks III has confessed to the murder.

California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, has introduced the U.S. Blood Donor Nondiscrimination Resolution, which urges the Food and Drug Administration to revoke its policy banning gay and bisexual men from donating blood, according to . "Blood has no sexual orientation, and the FDA should have no discrimination," Ammiano said.

Controversial minister the Rev. Rick Warren has said he had never supported Proposition 8, California's anti-same-sex marriage initiative, according to On Larry King Live recently, he said: "In the first place, I am not an anti-gay or anti-gay-marriage activist. I never have been, never will be." However, in a video released just before the Prop 8 vote last November, Warren said: "Now let me say this really clearly: we support Proposition 8—and if you believe what the Bible says about marriage, you need to support Proposition 8. I never support a candidate, but on moral issues I come out very clear."

The Washington, D.C., city council unanimously approved legislation that would recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states and countries as legal, the Washington Blade reported. D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty is expected to sign the measure if it clears a second vote May 5.

The New Hampshire House has passed a bill that would protect trans individuals from discrimination, reported. The measure passed 188-187, one month after it was voted down 181-149. The bill now goes on to the state Senate.

In Georgia, the race for the Atlanta City Council's District 6 seat is appearing to be a rematch between lesbian incumbent Anne Fauver and gay consultant Steve Brodie, according to . Brodie announced his candidacy April 2, prompting gay teacher Charlie Stadtlander—who announced his candidacy in January and who was backed by several influential people in the LGBT community—to withdraw. Fauver defeated Brodie back in 2005 by five votes. The election will take place in November.

President Barack Obama has appointed prominent lesbian attorney and ordained Episcopal priest Emily C. Hewitt as chief judge of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, reported. The court which cases involving monetary claims. The court's Web site says that Hewitt is married to Eleanor Dean Acheson, a gay-rights attorney who was an assistant attorney general in the Clinton administration.

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