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  WINDY CITY TIMES

National News RoundUp
by Andrew Davis
2009-12-30

This article shared 2759 times since Wed Dec 30, 2009
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Pride At Work—the LGBT constituency group of organized labor—has named longtime LGBT and labor activist Peggy Shorey as its new executive director, according to a press release.

Shorey succeeds Jeremy Bishop, who resigned to join the Obama administration in the U.S. Department of Labor. "This is a deeply challenging time for all working people—for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families, and for the labor movement as a whole" said Shorey. "I am honored and excited to have the opportunity to take on this new role with Pride at Work."

In Arkansas, openly gay furniture designer Mitchell Gold, founder of Faith In America, recently honored 10-year-old student Will Phillips at the Fayetteville Public Library with a special award to note the fifth-grader's refusal to recite the pledge of allegiance, according to Q-Notes.com . Phillips refused to take part because he felt LGBT people have not yet achieved full equality in the United States. Gold said, "Following the story of young Will Phillips, I was immediately struck by his ability to understand a message so many in America have failed to grasp—that it is simply wrong to treat others as unequal and inferior based on their sexual orientation."

In Georgia, the Augusta Chronicle ran an editorial claiming that Kevin Jennings—the U.S. Department of Education's gay assistant deputy secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools—promoted molestation and underage sex, but called him the wrong name throughout the article, according to Advocate.com . The Chronicle stated that Jennings, 46—whom it kept calling "Keith"—encouraged underage sex through books recommended by the organization he founded: the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) .

The Iowa Family Policy Council is continuing to urge state lawmakers to support a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, according to Advocate.com . The group is asking 150 legislators about their stances on a ballot measure similar to California's Proposition 8 and Maine's Question 1, which both denied gay and lesbian couples the right to marry. If the legislature does not act on such an initiative next year, the earliest the measure could be voted on by the public would be 2013. Same-sex marriage in Iowa became legal April 27, 2009.

Vermont state Rep. Rick Hube—one of five Republicans to vote for same-sex marriage—recently died at age 62, according to an Advocate.com item. Hube, who has lost approximately 100 pounds within the last year, suffered an aortic aneurysm while walking, the Bennington Banner reported. Democratic state Rep. Michael Obuchowski said that Hube "was a gifted, talented, intelligent person who had the ability to see beyond partisanship and view what was best for Vermont."

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has decided that it cannot provide benefits for Amy Cunninghis—the legal spouse of Karen Golinski, an attorney who works at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, according to Advocate.com . Golinski's insurer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, initially would not provide health benefits for Cunninghis; however, Circuit Chief Judge Alex Kozinski said that the denial violated the court's guarantee of equal employment opportunity. OPM lawyers consulted with the Department of Justice, who determined that Kozinski's ruling was not legally binding because he "was acting as an administrative official ... not as a federal judge."

In New York, lesbian attorney Julie Kamps is suing her firm—Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson—for $50 million, claiming "repulsive harassment and discrimination" because of her sexual orientation, according to NBCNewYork.com . Kamps, who typically wear's men's suits, is saying that at least one partner at the firm wrote "gay-bashing and damaging comments" about her. Kamps, who wants to be rehired as a partner, currently resides in California with her wife.

Michigan's Department of Corrections will investigate its own affiliation with the ex-gay ministry Corduroy Stone, according to the Michigan Messenger. Department spokesman John Cordell said, "The department's position is that when you are ministering to a group or even an individual that the content of that not be defamatory or derogatory." He added that the department—which has expelled white-supremacist groups and the Nation of Islam for making racist comments—explicitly bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

In Ohio, a closeted lesbian has sued Netflix, claiming that data the movie-rental site has published could out her, according to theregister.co.uk. The anonymous woman is suing, alleging that the company committed an invasion of privacy when it disclosed information on the viewing habits of 480,000 customers as part of a contest to improve its recommendation system. According to the suit, researchers from the University of Texas once used Netflix data to identify customers by comparing anonymous reviews to ones posted on the Internet Movie Database, and made educated guesses about the customers' sexual orientation—a process called the Brokeback Mountain factor.

In Michigan, Benton Harbor's LGBT community is rallying behind a man after he was reportedly gay-bashed, according to an On Top Magazine item. The incident—in which the victim was reportedly subjected to anti-gay slurs, and was beaten—was the second in three weeks reported in three weeks to OutCenter, the county's LGBT community center.

The South Carolina LGBT non-profit organization known as The Alliance for Full Acceptance (AFFA) has once again sponsored Operation Shoebox, a national project that sends shoeboxes full of gifts and items such as like snacks, toiletries, magazines and DVDs to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to News.sc. AFFA Executive Director Warren Gress deemed this season's operation successful, adding that the group does a similar project for troops on Memorial Day. Operation Shoebox has been running since 2003.

In Puerto Rico, officials are investigating the murder of a man killed at Ponce's Las Colinas Motel as a possible hate crime, according to GaySocialites.com . The victim, whose name has not been released, was reportedly stabbed approximately 20 times. This could be the second hate crime in the commonwealth in less than two months, following the brutal murder of Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado.


This article shared 2759 times since Wed Dec 30, 2009
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