In California, Los Gatos residents Larry Arzie and David Stonesifer have pledged $1 million to support San Jose State University's new Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Center, which opened last year, according to MercuryNews.com . "They're going to be a beacon and a lifeboat to a wide demographic of people," Arzie said. "They're there to help anyone who is questioning their sexuality." Stonesifer and Arzie met in 1962.
In Vermont, the RU12? ( Are you one, too? ) Community Center—a gay facility in Burlington—was vandalized, according to WCAX.com . The center hung a banner to celebrate the passage of the state's same-sex marriage bill; someone later spray-painted a slur on the banner's bottom. Although the staff admitted that the center has been vandalized before, they plan to hang another banner.
Kaushal Niroula, the prime suspect in the Gay Grifter murder case—in which a group of San Francisco residents allegedly killed and robbed retired Palm Springs art dealer Cliff Lambert—collapsed in court and was hospitalized, SFWeekly.com reported. Niroula, 27, faces murder charges in connection with the disappearance of Lambert, 74; among the others being charged are Niroula's on-and-off lovers Danny Garcia, 26, and David Replogle, 60.
In Florida, Deerfield Beach residents Victor Gonzalez, 21, and Pargu Leandro, 25, have been arrested in connection with the brutal beatings of gay individuals David Villanova, 27, and Craig Cohen, 47, according to the Miami Herald. The attack left Cohen on life support and Villanova with serious head injuries. Gonzalez and Leandro are facing charges of battery, robbery and attempted murder; if Cohen dies, the suspects could face an additional charge of murder.
Judy Blume—the writer of such classics as Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret—sparked controversy with a letter on behalf of Planned Parenthood, describing a donation to the organization as a "gift any mother will appreciate," the Chicago Tribune reported. Pro-life groups quickly responded, and Blume received hundreds of e-mails, with some being "harassing and intimidating," a Planned Parenthood spokesperson said. However, Blume has also received over 25,000 supportive messages.
The National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association ( NLGJA ) announced that Michael Tune is its new managing director "and will oversee its efforts to support newsroom diversity and ensure fair and accurate coverage of LGBT issues," according to an organizational press release. Tune, who succeeds David Barre, will also lead NLGJA's flagship programs, such as its annual convention, which will take place in September in Montreal.
In Kentucky, McDonald's has agreed to a cash settlement and diversity training for management at 30 of its Louisville-area restaurants after a staff member subjected gay patrons to slurs, according to an ACLU press release. Ryan Marlatt, Teddy Eggers and three other friends had stopped for lunch on July 26, 2008; an employee behind the counter referred to them as "faggots" to another employee. Although Marlatt and Eggers only asked for $28, McDonald's offered them $2,000 each on its own, which they accepted.
Immigration Equality and the National Center for Lesbian Rights have filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the Ninth Circuit to rehear its decision in Martinez v. Holder, according to a release jointly issued by the organizations. Last month, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied asylum to Saul Martinez, a gay man from Guatemala who fled the country after he was reportedly beaten, sexually assaulted and threatened by a Guatemalan politician and Guatemalan police because of Martinez's sexual orientation. "This case creates a precedent that is truly dangerous for LGBT asylum seekers," said Victoria Neilson, legal director of Immigration Equality.
The United Methodist Church's Judicial Council has ruled that clergy cannot officiate at same-sex marriages—even in states where such unions are legal, Advocate.com reported. The council's decision overturns resolutions from two regional groups ( the California-Nevada Annual Conference and California-Pacific Conference ) that supported clergy officiating the ceremonies.
A pro-LGBT organization called Equal Rep has been lobbying President Barack Obama to appoint lesbian Kathleen M. Sullivan to be the newest United States Supreme Court justice after David Souter retires in June, according to PinkNews.co.uk. Sullivan—a former Stanford Law School dean who has been named by the National Law Journal as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in America—has appeared on lists of candidates in the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.
A University at Albany survey has revealed that many Latinos support same-sex marriage, TimesUnion.com reported. The New York Latino Research and Resources Network surveyed more than 1,200 Latinos in several northern states, including New York ( where the university is located ) , Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Jose Cruz, the network's director, said the study found half of Latinos in those states supported gay marriage or civil unions—although only 18 percent identified as liberal.
In Ohio, Cleveland officials warmly greeted same-sex couples arriving at City Hall to take part of a new domestic-partner registry, according to On Top Magazine. Gay-rights activists celebrated with a rally on the steps of city hall, and six council members—including openly gay Joe Santiago—attended. "Today Cleveland has joined with a movement," said rally organizer Sue Doerfer, executive director of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Cleveland. "Equality is spreading much more quickly than the swine flu."
Former Illinois Senate candidate Alan Keyes has made strong statements about Mary Cheney, the openly gay daughter of former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, the Washington Blade reported. In an interview with Sirius Out Q satellite radio, Keyes slammed same-sex marriage, saying it "is based simply on the premise of selfish hedonism." When the host replied, "I don't think Dick Cheney would like to hear that about his daughter, Keyes replied, "Dick Cheney may or may not like to hear the truth, but it can be spoken." Some Republican leaders have criticized Keyes for his remarks.
In Virginia, all three leading Democratic gubernatorial candidates—Brian Moran, R. Creigh Deeds and Terry McAuliffe—want to repeal the 2006 amendment that bans any recognition of gay relationships, even though they all are against same-sex marriage, according to Gay City News. McAuliffe is the former head of the Democratic National Committee, and has close ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Olivia Cruises, which specializes in lesbian-themed vacations, has announced a partnership with Good Vibrations, the San Francisco-based company that provides sex-positive education and toys for grown-ups, according to an Olivia press release. The partnership will launch on Olivia's Caribbean Halloween Cruise, which will take place Oct. 25-Nov. 1. Good Vibrations sexologist and renowned author Dr. Carol Queen, Ph.D,. will offer Olivia travelers customized lesbian-centric workshops and educational Pleasure Parties. See www.olivia.com .
In Georgia, police have deemed a fire that took the lives of lesbian couple Naumbyia T. German and Kiona Lively as "suspicious," according to a Statesboro Herald item. ( German and Lively were wed March 2007 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. ) A third woman who lived at the residence—identified as the mother of one of the victims—was found unharmed at a local motel; she is not a suspect.