Normal, Ill., gets rights
Sexual orientation is now a protected class in the southern Illinois town of Normal. The Normal City Council voted 5-2 Oct. 1 in favor of gay rights after more than two hours of testimony and discussion, reports the Bloomington Pantagraph.
Mayor Kent Karraker was among those voting "yes."
The Human Relations Ordinance, which covers housing and employment, will now include sexual orientation along with race, color, religion, sex, marital status, ancestry, national origin, age, disability and matriculation. The law defines sexual orientation as "the actual or perceived state of heterosexuality, homosexuality or bisexuality."
A Nebraska judge has awarded the estate of Brandon Teena, whose murder became the subject of the Oscar-winning movie Boys Don't Cry, $98,223 in damages. County District Judge Orville Coady ordered the county to pay $80,000 for the "panic, fear and pain" experienced by Brandon before her death and $7,000 for emotional distress, reported the Lincoln Journal Star.
The judge also awarded Brandon's family, represented by her mother, Joann Brandon, $5,000 and an additional $6,223 for funeral expenses.
The family had sought half a million in damages. Attorneys said the additional amount was justified by the behavior of former Richardson County Sheriff Charles Laux, whose handling of Teena after Teena had reportedly been raped by the eventual killers was characterized as "extreme and outrageous" by the Nebraska Supreme Court.
NEBRASKA Adoption case to court
The Nebraska Supreme Court was scheduled to hear arguments last week in an adoption case that observers say could redefine "family" and children's rights in the state for years to come, reports the Lincoln Journal Star.
At the center of the controversy is a three-year-old Lincoln boy, identified as Luke, who is being sought for joint adoption by his birth mother and her lesbian partner.
SAN DIEGO PRIDE DIRECTOR missing
Mandy Schultz, a former executive director for San Diego Lesbian and Gay Pride, and high-profile activist in San Diego's gay and lesbian community, was reported missing Sept. 21. Friends and family say that her disappearance is extremely unusual and disturbing.
Her whereabouts were last noted Sept. 20, when roommates heard Schultz leave their Kensington area apartment around 9 a.m.
Schultz is 33 years old; black hair; 5'4"; and around 180lbs. Her vehicle is a black Honda CR-V, with a dent in the rear driver's side and a sticker in the rear window that reads, "Daddy." Her license plate number is: 4KLG216.
Chicago in top 5 cities for lesbians
Milwaukee was ranked No. 1 for lesbians as a place to live by the readers of Girlfriends, a national lesbian magazine. Chicago was ranked fifth. The list includes:
3. Los Angeles
6. Rochester, N.Y.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force echoed praise of Milwaukee, urging all GLBT activists to attend the 14th annual Creating Change conference, convened by NGLTF Nov. 7-11 in Milwaukee. See www.creatingchange.org or call ( 202 ) 332-6483 x 3301.
GLAD CHALLENGES ANTI-GAY INITIATIVES
With the Springfield, Mass., mayor, child welfare experts and union leaders among the plaintiffs, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders called on the Supreme Judicial Court to disallow two anti-gay constitutional ballot initiatives from going forward because they would devastate families, interfere with municipal authority, and severely limit the authority of the courts. The ballot initiatives were certified by Attorney General Tom Reilly last month.
According to GLAD, the measures would harm children and families by removing the court's ability to protect the wide range of families that exist in the Commonwealth.
Gay Catholics leave Seattle Church
The membership of Dignity/Seattle, an organization of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Roman Catholics, voted overwhelmingly Sept. 22 to disassociate itself from the Seattle Archdiocesan Catholic Gay/Lesbian Ministry and to leave St. Joseph Catholic Church on Seattle's Capitol Hill, where it has held weekly Masses for the GLBT community, their families and friends, for more than 21 years.
The decision was prompted by the Archdiocese's opposition to Dignity/ Seattle's increasingly gender-inclusive and same-sex relationship affirming ministry.
The Catholic Church holds that the homosexual orientation itself is "objectively disordered" and that any gay sexual statement is "intrinsically evil." Further, the Church holds that only sexual relations conducive to procreation within marriage are acceptable. Dignity/USA and Dignity/ Seattle believe that GLBT people can practice their sexuality in a loving, life-giving and life-affirming manner that is consistent with Christ's teachings.
Navy Issues Limited Stop-Loss Order
The U.S. Navy has issued a limited stop-loss order, impacting approximately 10,500 members in 11 specialties, but which mandates the continued discharge of lesbian, gay and bisexual Navy personnel. The order follows a similar directive issued by the Air Force.
"It is important for every servicemember, regardless of the branch in which they serve, to remember that 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' remains in full effect," said C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. "The gay ban has not been lifted, nor has it been suspended on an even temporary basis. Gay and lesbian discharges will continue as they have before."
The Army, Marine Corps and Coast Guard have not yet issued stop-loss orders. Army and Marine Corps officials have indicated that they have no immediate plans to issue an order.
JUMP 50 PERCENT
Domestic-partner health insurance benefits have increased by 50 percent in the last two years among U.S. employers, according to a report released by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. At least 712 U.S. employers added domestic-partner health insurance benefits from August 2000 through August 2001, according to "The State of the Workplace for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Americans." This was an increase of 20 percent over 2000.
As of August 2001, a total of 4,284 companies, colleges and universities and state and local governments were offering or had announced they would offer health insurance coverage to the domestic partners of their employees, the study found. This was up from 3,572 employers in 2000 and 2,856 in August 1999...a 50 percent increase in two years.
In addition, the number of Fortune 500 companies offering DP benefits has more than doubled in the past three years, from 61 in 1998 to 145 in 2001. In fact, more Fortune 500 companies...36...have added domestic-partner benefits in 2001 than in any year since the HRC Foundation has tracked the trend.
See www.hrc.org/worknet/ .
Hitler was homosexual: German historian
AFP news services reports that Adolf Hitler "was homosexual and had a number of homoerotic relationships in his youth, a German historian has asserted in a new book ... . Lothar Machtan, a professor of history at Germany's University of Bremen, writes in his new book Hitler's Secret...The Double Life of a Dictator, that the future Nazi leader cultivated close, affectionate relationships with a number of men in his youth that had heavily erotic overtones."
"We can say that Hitler had several homoerotic friendships up through the 1920s," Machtan told Die Welt newspaper. "Many of them would be described by people today as homosexual."
Machtan said that Hitler during this period belonged to a circle of male friends in the southern German city of Munich that had a "homosexual orientation." There is no definitive "proof" that Hitler had sex with men, Machan said. "From 1930 on, Hitler felt that he could be blackmailed. ... From that point, he was forced again and again to defend himself against such attempts."