The board of directors of the LGBT organization National Black Justice Coalition ( NBJC ) has announced that Sharon J. Lettman is the group's new executive director, according to a press release.
"We must bring our families together," Lettman said. "Gay and transgender people are our children, our brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, parents, co-workers and friends. They are a vital part of the Black community, and it is time for everyone to recognize the real issues we all face when our brothers and sisters are denied full participation in the life of our community." Lettman succeeds Alexander Robinson, who led NBJC for five years.
The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network ( GLSEN ) has announced that Austin Laufersweiler, 18, will receive its first-ever Student Advocate of the Year Award at GLSEN's fifth annual Respect Awards, which will take place at the Beverly Hills Hotel Oct. 9, according to a press release. Laufersweiler is a senior at Lassiter High School in Marietta, Ga.
In New Jersey, Republican lawmakers want a constitutional amendment in 2010 that would allow voters to decide if same-sex marriage should be legal, according to PinkNews.co.uk. Meanwhile, Democrats are trying to get a vote on the issue in next month's ballot. Gov. John Corzine, who is a Democrat, has said that he would prefer that the issue be decided by elected officials instead of voters.
In Massachusetts, a professor at the Boston College Law School has generated controversy by appearing in an ad supporting the Maine Marriage Initiative, which is against same-sex marriage, according to FOXNews.com . Professor Scott Fitzgibbonwho is identified in the adsaid that "Unless question one [ which opposes the movement to legalize gay marriage ] passes, there could be real consequences for Mainers." In response to the subsequent outpouring of emotions, Law School Dean John Garvey released a letter that stated Fitzgibbon's freedom of speech, as well as that of any other faculty member who opposes his view. A group of law students has already released an ad spoofing Fitzgibbon's appearance, according to the Law Librarian Blog.
The Lambda Literary Foundation ( LLF ) has announced new rules that exclude individuals who do not identify as LGBT from its awards, according to Towleroad.com . The foundation said, in part, that " [ i ] t is more difficult to be an LGBT writer now than it has been in many decades, more difficult to make any income from our written words, much less a living. ... It seems more urgent than ever that LLF be as active and supportive a service organization as we possibly can be for our own writers, and that's what we're working on, with a Board that could not be more passionate in our commitment." Also, LLF stated that writer Christopher Rice resigned as president of its board of trustees.
In Utah, it took a jury less than three hours to acquit David James "D.J." Bell of kidnapping two children, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. The openly gay Bell was accused of taking two children, aged 2 and 4, from the home of his next-door neighbor, who was holding a loud drinking party, in July 2008. Had he been convicted, Bell could have been sentenced to life in prison.
The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network ( GLSEN ) has released a report that states that middle-school LGBT students are more likely to be harassed but less likely to have access to helpful resources than high school LGBT students, according to an organizational press release. The research briefthe first national research report to look specifically at the experiences of LGBT students in middle schoolis based on data from 626 LGBT middle school students who participated in GLSEN's 2007 National School Climate Survey of 6,209 secondary school students.
In Washington, D.C., openly gay councilmember David Catania unveiled his same-sex marriage measure at a convocation, the Washington Blade reported. Catania told the gathering of 300 people that most councilmembers favor passing the bill; however, opponents have said they will ask Congress to kill the measure.