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  WINDY CITY TIMES

National NewsWrap
by Raphael Abantés
2003-02-12

This article shared 3186 times since Wed Feb 12, 2003
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The Cincinnati City Council Feb. 5 voted 7 – 2 to expand the city's hate-crimes ordinance to include age, disability, gender and sexual orientation. Hundreds of people packed City Council chambers and balcony Feb. 4 to testify on the ordinance.

Gay.com/PlanetOut.com reports that Henry Dunn Junior has been executed by the state of Texas for the 1993 murder of a gay man. Dunn was found guilty in the kidnap and murder of Nicolas West, 23, who had been hanging out in a Tyler, Texas, park known as a meeting place for gay men.

Former Leona Helmsley employee Charles Bell won his case against the hotel magnate. Bell charged that he was fired as manager of New York's Park Lane Hotel because he's gay. A jury agreed and awarded him more than $11 million. Lawyers close to the case say this marks one of the largest awards for anti-gay discrimination.

The trial against the accused murderers of Gwen Araujo is underway in Fremont, Calif. The four men charged with the hate-crime murder all plead not guilty. According to AP, testimony surfaced from a reluctant witness who said she heard men arguing with Araujo on the night of the murder.

Generally seen as progressive, Minnesota may be removing protections for GLBT citizens, reports the Star Tribune. State Rep. Arlon Lindner, the sponsor of a bill to repeal the portion of the human-rights ordinance that gives protections to gays and lesbians, said the law had unintended consequences. Lindner cited a case of a woman who was fired from a school because she 'disagreed' with homosexuality. Opponents of the bill say Lindner has an uphill battle.

A California appeals court will hear arguments this week in the case of a San Diego woman whose healthcare providers refused medical treatment to her because she is a lesbian. Lambda Legal is asking the court to overturn a ruling from last year that said Guadalupe Benitez's healthcare providers acted lawfully when, citing doctors' personal religious beliefs about gay people, they refused to provide infertility treatment to her so she and her partner could start a family.

Oil and queers don't mix. That's what HRC contends while condemning Conoco-Phillips for removing protections for GLBT employees. According to HRC, after oil companies Conoco and Phillips merged last year, the new corporation removed Conoco's non-discrimination policy covering sexual orientation. HRC says this is only the second company on record to have taken such action. The first was Exxon-Mobil.

Emerson Electronics shareholders again defeated an attempt to include sexual orientation as a protected class in its equal employment policy. Pride Foundation of Seattle attempted to enact a shareholder resolution that would insist the corporation enact an inclusive non-discrimination policy. The resolution failed 9 to 1 with the company saying its policies should reflect the classes protected under federal law.

Sponsors of Nashville's anti-discrimination bill caved to pressure from opponents of the bill, reports the Tennessean. Sponsors withdrew the bill that had already received preliminary approval. In its place will be a new bill that makes clear religious exemptions. Mayor Bill Purcell said he does not think the bill is necessary but has not committed to veto it if it passes. The Southern Baptist Convention has threatened to move their planned 2005 conference in Nashville if the city passes the legislation.

The desert gay Mecca of Palm Springs is known now for more than circuit parties and golf tourneys. Palm Springs has a growing rate of syphilis, according to Gay.com . Palm Springs has rates of syphilis higher than San Francisco or San Diego county, the site reports. Dan Wohlfeiler, spokesman for California's Sexually Transmitted Diseases Control Branch, told Gay.com that the jump in cases could help increase the number of HIV transmissions. Two-thirds of California gay men diagnosed with syphilis last year were HIV positive.

More than five years ago, Montana's Supreme Court struck down the state's anti-sodomy law, but the law remains on the books. The Billings Gazette reports that state rep Tom Facey wants to fix that. Facey asked his fellow state representatives to remove the unconstitutional law from the legal code.

The Yosemite Community College (YCC) board of trustees voted to offer domestic-partner benefits to employees of the district. In addition to the two schools YCC represents, the University of California, California State University, and 34 of the California's 108 community college districts offer similar benefits, according to the Modesto Bee.

An Ohio legislator expects to introduce a civil-rights bill for GLBT Ohioans in March. The Gay People's Chronicle reports that Democrat Dan Brady hopes to enact legislation that would protect GLBT people in state employment and in private industry. Ohio Governor Bob Taft eliminated protections for state workers when he took office in 1999.

Students in Palm Beach County, Fla., still wait for the school board to enact a non-discrimination policy that activists say will protect harassed students. The South Florida Sun Sentinel reports that the policy, which was passed in two votes thus far, is held up because school board members wanted to give opponents a chance to make their case.

The American Boyz hosts the seventh annual True Spirit Conference at the Washington Court Hotel, Washington, D.C., Feb. 14-17, 2003. TSC focuses on the social, physical, emotional, spiritual and relational health of all gender-variant people on the female-to-male (FtM) spectrum and their partners, family and allies. See Web sites www.amboyz.org or www.true-spirit.org

News Tips? RaphaelNews@aol.com


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