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  WINDY CITY TIMES

NATIONAL ROUNDUP
Special to the Online Edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2011-04-20

This article shared 2517 times since Wed Apr 20, 2011
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Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders ( SAGE ) announced the launch of a new caregiving portal on the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging website, www.lgbtagingcenter.org, according to a press release. The site, introduced in October 2010, will evolve over time as a centralized clearinghouse of online resources that span the many issues affecting LGBT older adults nationwide. Michael Adams, executive director of SAGE, said, "It is clear that one of the best ways for the Resource Center to support LGBT older adults is to provide an LGBT-affirming space where people going through the difficult time of caring for a loved one can receive essential information and support."

Servicemembers United, the nation's largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans, issued a statement on the White House's refusal to allow a civilian representative of gay and lesbian military families to be present at First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden's "Military Families Initiative" kick-off event at the White House, held April 12. The statement read, in part, "We have been trying for nearly two weeks to get just one spot for one of our community's representatives at this event. The First Lady's office has used the continued enforcement of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' as an excuse to exclude us, even though they know that 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' does not apply to the civilians who work at their advocacy and service organizations."

Transgender woman Brittany Novotny has been elected president of the Young Democrats of Oklahoma, according to Advocate.com . Novotny—who once challenged anti-gay Oklahoma politician Sally Kern ( and won almost 35 percent of the vote in an unsuccessful bid to unseat her ) —is the first transgender person elected to head a Young Democrats organization.

The U.S. Navy will not discharge Petty Officer Second Class Stephen Jones, a sailor who fell asleep in the same bed as a colleague, according to Advocate.com . Jones, stationed in Charleston, S.C., fell asleep in the same bed as Petty Officer Bryan McGee after the two watched television. Jones' roommate found them together; both Jones and McGee said they were clothed and had not engaged in any sexual conduct.

The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network ( SLDN ) released the full text of letters sent recently to Gov. Haley Barbour and former Govs. Mike Huckabee and Tim Pawlenty—three possible 2012 presidential candidates who have voiced support for "repealing the repeal" of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law, according to a press release. "Perhaps since you were not in Congress during the past few years, you did not follow the debate about whether to repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,'" wrote SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis in the letters. "This isn't—and never has been—a partisan political issue."

The Republican National Committee ( RNC ) website that targeted LGBT American families and patriots, "Hope Isn't Hiring," has disappeared, according to a Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) press release. The link for the old website, www.hopeisnthiring.com, now redirects to www.gop.com . Additionally, a link to the hate site from the RNC homepage goes nowhere. Recently, HRC President Joe Solmonese wrote a letter to RNC Chair Reince Priebus condemning the site.

In Maryland, the state Senate has sent the Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act back to committee—in effect, killing it, according to Advocate.com . Senators voted 27-20 to recommit the bill to the judicial proceedings committee, which had advanced the measure by a 7-4 vote. The measure had previously passed through the house of delegates by an 86-52 vote.

In Florida, Miami Shores Village Council candidate Jesse Walters, who's openly gay, filed a police report after campaign signs were defaced with anti-gay slurs, NBC Miami reported. Walters said that flyers depicting him, his partner of 23 years and their 15-month-old daughter may have angered someone. Walters won the election, unseating an incumbent, according to Advocate.com .

In New Jersey, transgender employee El'Jai Devoureau has filed a lawsuit against the drug-treatment center that fired him, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The center questioned Devoureau, 39, about his gender almost immediately after he started his position, which involved overseeing urine tests administered to men. The case challenges an employer's right to terminate transgender candidates for positions that the law says may be gender-specific—and this type of case is believed to be a first in the state.

In Texas, the ACLU has alleged that Goose Creek Consolidated School District is engaging in "viewpoint-based censorship" against LGBT-themed websites, according to MyFoxHouston.com . ACLU's reaction came from a Goose Creek Memorial High student's research for a news story about Chick-Fil-A donating to anti-gay organizations. The student's search wsa stonewalled when several sites appearing on Google News were blocked by the district. The ACLU claims the district is violating free-speech rights as well as the Equal Access Act.

A group of conservatives feels that the word "gay" should no longer be used, Newser.com reported. At the Awakening Conference at Virginia's Liberty University, Young Conservatives of California Chair Ryan Sorba said that using the word was conceding ground, adding, "Gay identity does not exist." Alternatives for the word "gay" that were tossed about at the conference included "sodomy," "anti-Christian" and "same-sex intercourse."

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will tape a show with Oprah Winfrey April 27 in Chicago, according to a Chicago Tribune item. The Obamas' appearance will air May 2, approximately three weeks before Winfrey's show ends May 25. Winfrey endorsed Obama for president in 2008—her first public backing of a candidate.

Equality Hawaii and the Human Rights Campaign are praising the Hawaii Senate for passing a bill codifying prohibitions against discrimination in employment on the basis of gender identity by a 22 to 2 vote, according to a press release. The bill moves to Gov. Neil Abercrombie for his signature. "The march towards full equality in the Aloha State continues," said Alan Spector, Equality Hawaii co-chair. "Providing employment protections to transgender citizens in Hawaii is a victory for civil rights and equal treatment under the law for all residents of our great state."

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed two prior court rulings and denied an accurate birth certificate to a Louisiana-born 5-year-old boy who was adopted at birth by Oren Adar and Mickey Smith, a gay couple in New York, according to a Lambda Legal press release. Adar and Smith adopted their Louisiana-born son in 2006 in New York, where a judge issued an adoption decree. When the couple attempted to get a new birth certificate for their child, the Louisiana registrar's office rejected their request. In separate hearings, U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey and a three-judge appellate panel ruled in favor of the couple before this latest decision.

Charles Robbins, the executive director of the suicide prevention and education non-profit organization The Trevor Project, has resigned from his post, according to Advocate.com . Baord Chair David McFarland has assumed the role of executive director on an interim basis. McFarland said, "The Trevor Project has worked to ensure a seamless transition, ensuring that the most important people we serve, LGBTQ youth in crisis, can continue to access our lifesaving resources."

Conservative figure Glenn Beck and his radio co-hosts recently mocked political analyst/actor Lawrence O'Donnell's defense of Planned Parenthood, according to the Huffington Post. Of O'Donnell—who said that one woman's email drove him to cry—Beck said, "I believe that my country is under attack, and that man's freedom as we understand it is over. He gets on the air ... and [ cries ] about, 'we're not going to kill babies anymore.'" Beck and O'Donnell have had a long-running feud.

Quinn Matney, an openly gay University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student, is receiving counseling after falsely claiming to be a hate-crime victim, according to WRAL.com . Matney claimed that a man walked up to him, used a slur and branded him, resulting in Matney receiving third- and fourth-degree burns. However, it turned out that the wound was self-inflicted and that Matney was too embarrassed to admit it.

In New Jersey, transgender Norristown woman Asia Santana has pled guilty to fatally stabbing boyfriend Eric Nevith during an argument last August, Philly.com reported. Santana, 40, admitted to one count of third-degree murder and one count of possessing an instrument of crime. Nevith, 28, died of puncture wounds to his lung and thoracic aorta.

Bob Vander Plaats, the leader of the conservative group The Family Leader, has compared being gay to smoking, On Top Magazine reported. Vander Plaats, who backed campaigns to oust three of the seven Iowa justices who ruled in favor of marriage equality, said at a seminar series, "If we're teaching the kids, 'don't smoke, because that's a risky health style,' the same can be true of the homosexual lifestyle."

The Delaware legislature has voted to approve the Delaware Civil Unions and Equality Act of 2011, according to Advocate.com . The state's house of representative voted 26-15 in favor of the measure on April 14, a week after the senate passed it. Gov. Jack Markell intends to sign the bill, which state Sen. David Sokola and state Rep. Melanie George sponsored. "Today, we celebrate a victory for all Delaware families who will have the tools to protect themselves in good times and in bad," said Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese in a statement.

A New York Times article has revealed that more gay and lesbian students at evangelical Christian colleges are living openly on campus. However, according to Advocate.com, administrators and trustees are much more traditionalist—meaning that they are standing in the way of those students who wish to be out. One Abilene Christian University official said they "are not going to embrace any advocacy for gay identity." Gay students say that, as a result, they feel alienated.

The Human Rights Campaign has called the move of the law firm King & Spalding to take up the U.S. House Republican leadership's defense of the Defense of Marriage Act ( DOMA ) "a shameful stain on the firm's reputation," according to a press release. Firm partner Paul Clement will represent House leaders in their quest to preserve DOMA.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has signed a bill that gives heterosexual couples priority consideration when agencies are placing children for foster care or adoption, according to Advocate.com . Although Brewer received approximately 500 postcards from opponents of the measure, she signed it. Equality Arizona Board Chair Tom Mann said in a statement that the bill "akes the focus off of what's in the best interest of a child when adoption decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis, according to what's in a child's best interest."

A Facebook rep has said that the removal of a photo of two men kissing was a mistake, according to Advocate.com . The Dangerous Minds Facebook page was set up to promote a gay "kiss-in" demonstration to protest a London pub's decision to throw out a same-sex couple. The photo was initially quickly removed, with a message sent to the page's administrators that read, "Shares that contain nudity, or any kind of graphic or sexually suggestive content, are not permitted on Facebook." Dozens of people then posted their own photos of same-sex smooches.

In California, the state Senate passed a bill that would mandate the teaching of LGBT history in public schools, according to Bay Windows. If the bill is adopted by the state Assembly and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, California would become the first state to require this subject in schools' curricula. The bill is flexible in letting schools decide when to include lessons and what grades students would start learning; however, any anti-LGBT material would have to be excluded starting in the 2013-14 school year.

In Indiana, ex-Marine Michael Griffin has been found guilty of intentionally killing gay Indiana University professor Don Belton two years ago, Advocate.com reported. However, during the trial, Griffin admitted to the jury that he had stabbed Belton 22 times with a knife two days after the men had a sexual encounter Griffin claims was non-consensual. Griffin could get up to 65 years in prison.

In The Life Media is releasing a web video, produced with support from The Calamus Foundation, featuring the personal stories of two transgender women, Ja'briel and Michelle, highlighting the findings of the first comprehensive transgender-discrimination study completed by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, according to a press release. The survey found, among other things, that respondents experience unemployment at twice the rate of the general population.

In Delaware, the supreme court has ruled that the former partner of a woman who adopted a child from Kazakhstan has de facto parental rights, according to Advocate.com . One of the women initially adopted the child, but the host country does not allow two women to adopt the same child. Little more than a year later, the women ended their relationship, with the non-adopting partner suing for custody.


This article shared 2517 times since Wed Apr 20, 2011
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