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  WINDY CITY TIMES

NATIONAL ROUNDUP
Extended for the Online Edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis
2009-09-02

This article shared 2867 times since Wed Sep 2, 2009
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Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of former vice-president Dick Cheney, has pledged $1,000 to an anti-gay political candidate, according to RawStory.com .

Rob Portman, a Republican Senate hopeful, voted to ban same-sex adoptions in 1999 when he was an Ohio congressman; in 2004, he voted "yes" to a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage. Mary Cheney, 40, has a 2-year-old son with partner Heather Poe.

AIDS activist, writer and filmmaker Robert Hilferty committed suicide July 24 at the age of 49, according to the New York Times. In the late 1980s, while in the AIDS organization ACT UP, Hilferty produced and directed a 24-minute film, "Stop the Church," documenting a demonstration at a New York City cathedral by gay- and abortion-rights advocates. He is survived by his companion of 16 years, Fabio Toblini.

Swine flu has claimed the life of Doug Murphy, a popular bar owner in San Francisco's Castro district, according to an NBCbayarea.com item. Murphy, 41, who co-owned Moby Dick and Blackbird, died Aug. 21 from complications of the H1N1 virus. Murphy was apparently infected while visiting Palm Springs, Calif.; he had not traveled overseas.

In South Carolina, a six-member jury ruled that a man charged with soliciting for gay sex in an Anderson park was not guilty, according to an On Top Magazine item. Gary Burgess, a former school superintendent and a current minister at the Universal Body of Christ Church, was arrested April 29 in Darwin Wright Park. Officer L.B. Culbertson said that Burgess rubbed his own leg and lifted his shorts, exposing his penis; however, Burgess' lawyer said that his client's activities were not illegal.

In Minnesota, a home has been vandalized with anti-gay graffiti, Advocate.com reported. Homeowner Ross Sveback said that he is still "scared," adding "I have a hard time sleeping at night. If I see a car parked outside of the house, I'm in a panic." Sveback and his sister woke up Aug. 16 to see the words "HIV," "AIDS," "help" and "gay" on his house.

In Florida, eight men have alleged that Jonathan Bleiweiss, a Broward County sheriff's deputy, molested or sexually assaulted them, according to UPI. Bleiweiss has been held without bail since Aug. 3, and has been suspended without pay. He faces a long list of charges, including sexual battery, stalking and armed false imprisonment.

The trans community in Washington, D.C., is experiencing fear and outrage after an Aug. 26 stabbing killed one person and injured another, News8.net reported. Family and friends of the victim, 21-year-old Joshua Mack ( who went by the name Nana Boo ) , gathered outside the Transgender Help Empowerment Center the following day to condemn what happened. The victim's mother said, "I don't like it [ be ] cause my child was born just like everyone else to a mother's womb and I don't think it's fair for others to take other people's lives." Police are still investigating.

In California, LGBT-rights organizations are criticizing the nomination of former State Sen. Charles S. Poochigian to a state appellate court seat because of his anti-gay record, according to the Bay Area Reporter. Poochigian, 60, served in the state legislature from 1994 to 2006—and earned a zero rating from the gay-rights group Equality California for his opposition to LGBT legislation. Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom Co-Chair Dan Dean said that his group was "profoundly disappointed" at Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointing Poochigian to the post, which has an annual salary of $204,599.

In Illinois, the anti-gay grouup Americans for Truth About Homosexuality ( headed by Peter LaBarbera ) has filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against a Naperville Holiday Inn, according to the Daily Herald. The group, based in Carol Stream, is alleging that the hotel canceled a 2007 fundraiser because of its beliefs regarding homosexuality. Although there was no written contract and no exchange of money, LaBarbera maintains that organizers had verbally worked out details of the event.

In Florida, a man with the words "Britney Spears" tattooed on him allegedly stole a Chihuahua with pink earrings from gay bar Georgie's Alibi, according to PinkNews.co.uk. Brian Dortort reported the theft, and has reportedly spent weeks trying to find his dog, named Hudson Hayward Hemingway.

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., has said to President Barack Obama that he is "deeply disappointed" that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has not yet been repealed, according to an Advocate.com item. Hastings sent a letter to Obama Aug. 27, reminding the chief executive that, two months ago, almost 80 representatives asked for a moratorium on investigating cases involving servicemembers who were accused of being gay.

The late gay-rights activist Harvey Milk is among the 2009 inductees ( selected by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver ) to The California Museum's California Hall of Fame, according to a press release. The 2009 inductees—who include filmmaker George Lucas and writer Danielle Steel, among others—join 38 California Hall of Fame inductees who have made great achievements in fields ranging from science to politics to fitness. The California Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place Tuesday, Dec. 1, at the museum in Sacramento.

An ESPN survey of U.S. college football players has revealed that 49.4 percent of them said that they have had a gay athlete on their team, according to a Pinknews.co.uk item. The figure actually rose to 70 percent among colleges in the Pac-10 conference, which includes UCLA, Stanford and Oregon. Ryan Hockensmith, a writer for ESPN who worked on the survey, told Advocate.com he thought players exceeded expectations regarding acceptance of gay players.

In Florida, former Miami anchorman Charles Perez has been granted a two-year restraining order against his ex, Dennis Ricardo Pena, On Top Magazine reported. Perez has been in the news for accusing former employer WPLG of sexual-orientation discrimination; he was subsequently fired. Perez, 46, said he was afraid of Pena, 42, claiming Pena had physically threatened him physical harm and sexually assaulted him.

In Ohio, convicted rapist Robert Williams was described as calculating, even befriending his first two victims by pretending to be their "gay best friend," according to Cincinnati.com . Assistant Hamilton County Prosecutor Katie Burroughs said Williams, like a spider, "weaved intricate lies about who he was and what he was. Once the women became ensnared, he pounced." Williams, 26—who has been convicted on four charges of rape in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court—could receive 40 years in prison when Judge Steve Martin sentences him Sept. 15.

In Maryland, lesbian couple Aiyi-nah Ford and Torian Brown have filed a complaint with the Maryland Commission on Human Relations against Tastee Diner after they claim they were tossed out for being affectionate with each other, according to NBCWashington.com . The diner's general manager, John Littleton, said that the couple got too intense, saying, "one of their faces goes down in the other girl's breast, and we found that to be inappropriate."

In California, the West Hollywood City Council will unveil a bronze plaque honoring same-sex marriages at its Sept. 8 meeting, the Los Angeles Times reported. The marker—engraved with a quote from activist Nelson Mandela—will be permanently installed at West Hollywood Park off North San Vicente Boulevard, where some of the state's first same-sex marriages were performed before Proposition 8 was upheld.

Air Force Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach, 40, might be expelled from the military for violating "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" after coming out of the closet to clear himself of a rape charge, according to the Idaho Statesman. Fehrenbach, an 18-year veteran who fought in the Iraq War, was accused of raping a man—and admitted he had consensual sex with Cameron Shaner, 30. Although Fehrenbach was cleared by the prosecutor and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, his discharge is pending.

In Minneapolis, delegates at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's biennial meeting voted 559-451 on Aug. 21 to ordain ministers in committed, same-sex relationships—although they did not endorse same-sex marriage, according to the Associated Baptist Press. In a statement, Emily Eastwood, executive director of Lutherans Concerned/North America, said, "Today I am proud to be a Lutheran. Supporters and advocates of full inclusion have longed for this day since the inception of the ELCA, and for many of us what seemed like a lifetime."

In Oklahoma City, Okla., a judge has ruled that instructor Joe Quigley will be reinstated to teach after he was allegedly fired for speaking out against anti-gay bias, according to Advocate.com . The city's school board supposedly let Quigley go in May, saying he failed to follow school policies; however, he said he was fired because he sought support for LGBT students. Quigley now hopes that the district will add gender identity and sexual orientation to the district's policy involving harassment.

A Utah newspaper, the St. George Spectrum, refused to run a same-sex wedding announcement about Tyler Barrick and Spencer Jones, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. Barrick and Jones, a couple who appeared in People magazine and USA Today after they married in San Francisco last year, plan to renew their vows Sept. 6—in California. In denying the publication of the announcement, Spectrum publisher Donnie Welch e-mailed Jones that it could only "run marriage announcements recognized by Utah law."

In Pennsylvania, transwoman Kate Lynn Blatt is claiming that her former employer—global staffing-services agency Manpower, Inc.—asked for a photograph of her genitalia so she could continue working for the company, according to Philadelphia Gay News. In 2007, Manpower placed Blatt at Sapa Industrial Extrusions, where she worked as a temporary factory worker; she was let go after a month after being allegedly told she wasn't physically well enough to work there. Manpower branch manager Irene Kudziela then reportedly told Blatt that a letter documenting her gender-reassignment surgery—along with a photograph of her genital area —would be needed before she could return to Sapa.

In California, the West Hollywood City Council has created the first-ever official municipal advisory body focusing on trans individuals, according to WeHoNews.com . The primary goals of the Transgender Advisory Board will include increasing job opportunities in the trans community; taking a more active role in HIV/AIDS prevention; and helping to establish housing equality and community education of City resources available to the transgender community.

Members of Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders ( SAGE ) attended a recent meeting about healthcare reform and older Americans held by White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and director of public liaison Tina Tchen, Advocate.com reported. Karen Taylor, director of advocacy and training for SAGE, said that several pro-elder groups were called together "to get information about the pieces of the [ Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act ] that are not being talked about and need to get more coverage."

New York's Division on Civil Rights is allowing Paul Nathan, a gay Black man, to file a complaint against the Bank of New York after he claimed he not only was the recipient of racial and anti-gay slurs, but was let go after he reported the treatment, according to the Cliffview Pilot. At least six of Nathan's former co-workers confirmed his allegations, which include a claim that someone posted a photo with a threat that Nathan would be sodomized with a stick. A spokesman for the financial institution—now known as The Bank of New York Mellon—has denied all charges.

Staten Island, N.Y., now has its first openly gay nightclub in more than a decade, according to SILive.com . QSINY, a nightclub and restaurant for LGBT patrons, opened July 4; the owners, Jim McKernan and Ray Carr ( partners for 16 years ) , said they launched it in response to the demand for such a nightspot. QSINY operates as an eatery some days of the week, seating up to 130 people and serving dishes such as Kobe beef burgers, Alaskan king crab and cheesecake spring rolls.

U.S. District Judge Garnett Thomas Eisele refused to dismiss a lawsuit brought by Lambda Legal on behalf of Robert Franke, a HIV-positive retired minister, against Fox Ridge, according to HIVPlusMag.com . The administration at Fox Ridge—an assisted-living facility in North Little Rock, Ark.—ejected Franke from the building after learning of his seropositivity; a staff member reportedly told Franke's daughter that his personal belongings could stay but the "body" had to go.

Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of former vice-president Dick Cheney, has pledged $1,000 to an anti-gay political candidate, according to RawStory.com . Rob Portman, a Republican Senate hopeful, voted to ban same-sex adoptions in 1999 when he was an Ohio congressman; in 2004, he voted "yes" to a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage. Mary Cheney, 40, has a 2-year-old son with partner Heather Poe.

AIDS activist, writer and filmmaker Robert Hilferty committed suicide July 24 at the age of 49, according to the New York Times. In the late 1980s, while in the AIDS organization ACT UP, Hilferty produced and directed a 24-minute film, "Stop the Church," documenting a demonstration at a New York City cathedral by gay- and abortion-rights advocates. He is survived by his companion of 16 years, Fabio Toblini.

Read more national news online at www.WindyCityMediaGroup, including:

—the Democratic Congressman who is openly criticizing Obama; and

—the Florida deputy accused of sexually assaulting eight men.


This article shared 2867 times since Wed Sep 2, 2009
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