On the heels of a historic victory in the United States for same-sex marriage, LGBT Catholics are pushing for a historic meeting with Pope Francis when he visits the country in September for the first time, IBTimes.com reported. When the pope comes to Philadelphia Sept. 26-27 for the Pontifical Council for the Family, LGBT Catholics are expected to ask the pope to speak out on issues that are dividing the U.S. branch of the church, such as same-sex marriage and transgender rights. The LGBT groups sent a formal letter sent to the Vatican requesting a meeting with the pope while he is in the United States.
A judge has recognized a 2001 same-sex union as a common-law marriage in Pennsylvania, even though one partner died before same-sex marriage became legala ruling that has family lawyers wondering about the potential implications, The New York Times reported. Sabrina Maurer's case involves her fight over death benefits and inheritance taxes as well as access to their safety-deposit boxafter the 2013 death of Kim Underwood. Bucks County Judge C. Theodore Fritsch Jr. found that the women retroactively qualify as common-law spouses because of their 2001 church union.
Missouri gubernatorial hopeful Sen. Bob Dixon released a statement claiming his motherand "teenage confusion"convinced him to live as a gay man for five years, LGBTQ Nation reported. Dixon, who has a wife and three children, emphasized his conservative values when announcing his candidacy, claiming that child abuse led him to doubt his sexuality as a teen.
An Omaha, Nebraska, deejay has been charged with a hate crime after he was accused of storming into a women's restroom at an Omaha bar called the Down Under Lounge and assaulting transgender woman Kara Jeslyn Barone, Omaha.com reported. Stephen E. Thompson, 45, was charged in Douglas County Court with one count of third-degree assault that is being prosecuted as a felony hate crime. A judge set bail at $50,000. Thompson allegedly shouted, "You're a faggot" and other anti-gay slurs toward Barone after punching her.
A gay Texas man died in jail after officials failed to give him his prescribed medication, according to Towleroad. Jesse Jacobs, 32, died in March after suffering a seizure and being rushed to the hospital from the Galveston County Jail. Jacobs reportedly was detoxing from Xanax, which he'd been taking for 10 years to treat anxiety disorder. Although Jacobs brought his medication with him when he checked in to serve 30 days for driving while intoxicated, jail medical staff did not administer the Xanax to him.
Gender Odysseyan international conference focused on the needs and interests of transgender and gender-nonconforming ( GNC ) peoplewill be held in Seattle on Aug. 19-23, a press release stated. Keynote speakers will include author Kate Bornstein, poet Andrea Jenkins and parent/advocate Debi Jackson. Visit GenderOdyssey.org/events.
The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce's ( NGLCC ) International Business & Leadership Conference will take place Aug. 11-14 in Greater Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a press release stated. Keynote speakers include personal finance guru Suze Orman, CNN anchor Richard Quest, Washington Post columnist/MSNBC contributor Jonathan Capehart and personal branding expert Sally Hogshead. See www.nglcc.org/nglcc15.
A Philadelphia attorney has opened what he says is the first LGBTQ divorce firm, CBS Philadelphia reported. Philadelphia lawyer Conor Corcoran, who bills himself as the nation's first gay divorce attorney, says he is ready to serve gays and lesbians who will need divorces. The law office's website says it is "proud to be the first law firm in the U.S. to practice in the field of gay divorce, providing Private Client Domestic Services, 24/7 and coast to coast, regardless of your sexual orientation."
Authorities have said that the deaths of two gay Georgia men were the result of a scheme carried out by a jealous former boyfriend bent on exacting revenge, according to Project Q Atlanta. The bodies of Randall Kinard, 33, and Christopher Michael Dukes, 41, were found on different floors of a home in north Houston County. Houston County Sheriff Cullen Talton said autopsies performed by the GBI and evidence collected showed that Dukes murdered Kinard and then killed himself.
In New York, a gay Staten Island caterer said cops who were captured on video taking him down in his front yard, beat him while shouting anti-gay slurs, The New York Daily News reported. Louis Falcone, 31, wasn't charged as a result of the June 19 takedown, and now plans to sue in federal court for civil-rights violations. "While I was on the ground, I had mud and blood in my mouth," Falcone has claimed. "One ( of the cops ) said, 'Don't let it get on you, he probably has AIDS, the f****t.'"
Also in New York, a man shouted anti-gay slurs at the first gay men to be married at West Point Military Academy before punching one of them in the face, The New York Daily News noted. The victim, Daniel Lennox-Choate, 30, and his husband, Larry Lennox-Choate, were shopping in a SoHo bodega during the incident. The victim graduated from West Point in 2007, two years before his husband. The two married in 2013.
Forty gay couples in South Dakota applied to be married during the first month following a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized such unions across the country, the Associated Press reported. The number of marriage licenses issued to gay couples in South Dakota represents about 5 percent of the 839 licenses issued to all couples from June 26 to July 27. Gay-rights advocates called the statistics reflective of the barriers the gay community still faces in South Dakota and other conservative states.
Football commentator Craig James, a former NFL player, is suing Fox Sportstwo years after the network fired him for anti-gay remarks he made at a rally, LGBTQ Nation reported. Among the things James said at the event were that being gay "is a choice" and that gay people "will have to answer to the lord for their actions." Right-wing website Breitbart has argued that by firing James, Fox Sports violated the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act.
The CEO of a massive gamers' convention that threatened to leave Indiana earlier this year over a religious-exemption law said that organizers are "shopping the show" to other cities and could relocate if lawmakers don't expand protections for gays and lesbians, TurnTo10.com reported. Adrian Swartout, the CEO of Gen Con, told The Associated Press Thursday on the convention's opening day that a competitive offer from a state that grants gays and lesbians that status could be a "catalyst" pushing the event to relocate when its contract expires in 2020. Chicago has shown interest and Orlando also is a possibility, she said.
Beginning this fall, a San Francisco public high school will offer a course in LGBT studiesone of the first of its kind at the high school level, Newsweek noted. "LGBT studies will explore the American experience of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and agender individuals in the United States and across the world," said Lyndsey Schlax, a teacher at the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts ( SOTA ), in a video. About 600 students attend tSOTA; of those, 28 percent identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer.
A book of parody songs updated in 2012 and circulated privately by members of the Ohio State University marching band included a sendup of the Holocaust, the Wall Street Journal reported. The book contains joking references to furnaces used in Nazi concentration camps and the train cars used to transport Jews to their deaths in a song called "Goodbye Kramer." The songs also featured lyrics about rape, bestiality and homosexuality.
The mayor of Reno, Nevada, is apologizing for ordering the rainbow flag flown over City Hall in place of the American flag, NewNowNext.com related. Mayor Hillary Schieve had the LGBT banner briefly hoisted to mark a Pride event in city; however, after locals and anti-gay activists complained, she quickly took it down. "The city of Reno honors and respects the men and women who serve our country and we apologize to those we may have offended," the City of Reno said in a statement.
A former employee of a southern Indiana county clerk says she was fired over her religious objection to processing a same-sex couple's marriage application, according to LGBTQ Nation. Linda G. Summers of Corydon says in a federal lawsuit that Harrison County Clerk Sally Whitis violated her civil and religious rights by firing her last year after Summers raised objections. Citing the Biblical bok of Leviticus, which condemns same-sex relationships, Summers says she is a Christian with a "sincerely held religious belief" against same-sex marriage.
Andrea Constand, a former Temple University employee who sued Cosby for sexual assault in 2005 but settled with the comedian the following year, has filed new papers blasting Cosby's "narcissistic view of the world," according to TheWrap. The papers say despite the comedian's claims that he could read women, he didn't realize that Constand is a lesbian. Constand is asking for the confidentiality clause of her settlement with Cosby to be lifted, to the opposition of the comedian's legal team.
Planned Parenthood's website went down July 29 in what the nonprofit health services organization called "an attack by extremists," CNN reported. The hack happened in the wake of the publication of several undercover videos by anti-abortion activists showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of fetal tissue and organs for medical research. Selling fetal organs for a profit is a felony, but the footage is highly edited and it is not clear that is what the officials are discussing.
Trans and/or Women's Action Camp ( TWAC )in solidarity with NWDC Resistance and the Not1More movement to end detentions and deportationstook part in a civil-disobedience action to bring attention to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ( ICE ) presence in downtown Seattle, according to a press release. TWAC called attention to ICE and what the group said is ICE's local quota that guarantees a minimum of 800 beds to be filled at the immigration jail in Tacoma ( aka Northwest Detention Center ).
In New York, members of the the Church of the Redeemer in Astoria gasped when their priest, Juan Andres Quevedo-Bosch, stopped service to deliver a series of stunning news, according to Queerty. The news items were that 1 ) He was gay, 2 ) He was divorcing his wife and 3 ) He was marrying a younger man. Despite the departures of some church members, others are standing by Quevedo-Bosch; a petition urging him to stay after he offered to resign is circulating. He has since posted on social media that he wedded the man in Los Angeles.
Campus Pride has signed onto a national letter to the Common Application requesting the addition of optional demographic questions related to gender identity and sexual orientation to its standard form, according to a press release. Campus Pride joins 24 other national education, LGBTQ and youth advocacy organizations in the formal request. A full copy of the letter is available online at CampusPride.org/commonapp.
Dick and Betty Odgaardthe Christian couple from Iowa who decided to shut down their wedding chapel after refusing to host a same-sex wedding ( and getting sued for it in 2013 )are now trying to erect 1,000 billboards that oppose gay marriage, according to LGBTQ Nation. The first billboard, mounted in Oklahoma, reads, "Marriage = 1 man and 1 woman. Please… I need your help with this! — God."
A Wisconsin restaurant owner plugging her place of business on the La Crosse Foodie Facebook page set off a war of words with a local Tea Party member who objected to her profile picture using a rainbow filter indicating her support for the LGBT community, Raw Story noted. Despina Kozidis, owner of Gracie's Gyros and Wraps, responded by taking a screen shot of the comment and blocking out the objector's last name before posting it on the La Crosse Foodie page as well as her own Facebook page. The post was later taken down after the objector called it "inappropriate," but word spread and patrons have flocked to Gracie's to support the woman and her restaurant.