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  WINDY CITY TIMES

National Roundup
2000-02-09

This article shared 2873 times since Wed Feb 9, 2000
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Military discharges up 73% since ¬'Don¬'t Ask, Don¬'t Tell¬' started

3rd teen charged in alleged gay attack

Judge rules in favor of student group

NGLTF first legislative update of 2000

Crowd rallies against gay marriage

Gay R.I. legislator backs pro-marriage bill

Juror exclusion based on sexuality nixed

March on D.C. backers release projections

Lambda appeals against sheriff in Teena murder

Trans law in Boulder

Reform Jews face same-sex decision

Presbyterians may split

Man on trial in killing of gay partner

Boss of restaurant chain says no guys + earrings

Military discharges up 73% since ¬'Don¬'t Ask, Don¬'t Tell¬' started

The Pentagon has released the gay discharge figures for 1999: 1,034 servicemembers were kicked out for being gay, an average of three per day. The Pentagon figures are a 10% decrease over figures from 1998¬'s 1,149 discharged, but a 73% increase from the 597 gay discharges in 1993, the last year before "Don¬'t Ask, Don¬'t Tell, Don¬'t Pursue."

The same day the Pentagon also announced new training programs on preventing anti-gay harassment and improper investigations under "Don¬'t Ask, Don¬'t Tell." The guidelines for the first time instruct servicemembers that they may seek confidential help from military defense attorneys and chaplains. The guidelines also instruct commanders on when and when not to investigate servicemembers.

Every member of the armed forces, from four-star generals to privates, will undergo training by the end of the year to prevent anti-gay harassment, reports The New York Times. Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen ordered each of the armed services to prepare training programs and asked the senior civilian and military leaders of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines to send letters to their commanders this month emphasizing that anti-gay threats and harassment will not be tolerated.

The core of the new training sessions will be a slide presentation detailing what the policy does and does not allow. The services also plan to use video presentations, role playing and pamphlets.

3rd teen charged in alleged gay attack

A 17-year-old girl Feb. 1 became the third student arraigned for the beating of a classmate thought to be lesbian, reports The Boston Herald. Nykesha Gant of Dorchester pleaded innocent in Boston Municipal Court to charges of attempted rape, indecent assault and battery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon ( a knife ) and civil-rights violations.

Two other 15-year-old female Boston High students were arraigned on the same charges. Three others, including a teen male who allegedly held a knife to the victim¬'s throat, are still being sought. The beating occurred on a train, after the attackers had seen the 16-year-old victim holding hands with another girl as she was leaving her school. The victim is from Morocco, where it is a custom for girls to hold hands without connoting any relationship, the paper said.

The attackers taunted the Moroccan girl, pointing to their own genitals and asking her, "Is this what you like? Is this what you want?¬'¬'

Judge rules in favor of student group

In Santa Ana, Calif., U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter issued a preliminary injunction Feb. 4, ordering the Orange Unified School District to allow the Gay-Straight Alliance Club at El Modena High School to meet on school grounds while their case proceeds.

The judge¬'s ruling cited the high incidence of anti-gay hate crimes and the disproportionate rate of suicide among lesbian and gay teens, saying in his order, "This injunction therefore is not just about the student pursuit of ideas and tolerance for diverse viewpoints. As any concerned parent would understand, this case may involve the protection of life itself."

The ruling lets the club meet freely while the lawsuit continues. Significantly, the judge rejected the school board¬'s argument that the club was initiated by outside adults.

Judge Carter heard argument last month at a hearing in which the club¬'s founders, 15-year-old Anthony Col√≠n and 16-year-old Heather Zetin, testified that they wanted a safe place to talk about what it was like to be a gay teenager and how to deal with harassment in school, and emphasized that adults had not influenced or controlled their efforts.

NGLTF first legislative update of 2000

With 36 state legislatures currently in session, lawmakers across the country are considering 198 bills favorable to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community and 146 bills unfavorable, according to the first National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Legislative Update of the year 2000.

The NGLTF update is at www.ngltf.org/legupdate2000. Or call ( 202 ) 332— 6483, ext. 3205.

Crowd rallies against gay marriage

On Feb. 1, about 1,000 Christians who oppose same-sex marriage rallied in support of "God¬'s law" on the Vermont State House steps, reports The Rutland Herald.

Many of the same-sex marriage opponents waved yellow placards that read, "One Man, One Woman: Preserve Marriage," joined in prayer, listened to speeches and sang "God Bless America" and "Amazing Grace."

The rally was organized to precede a public hearing inside the State House, where legislators were seeking input on how to respond to the Supreme Court decision, that same-sex couples must receive the same benefits as non-gay couples.

Gay R.I. legislator backs pro-marriage bill

In Providence, R.I., gay state Rep. Michael S. Pisaturo has introduced a bill in the state house that would allow all Rhode Islanders equal access to civil marriage, according to the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund.

Pisaturo has secured 20 co-sponsors for the Equal Access to Marriage Act.

Juror exclusion based on sexuality nixed

The Associated Press reports that in Santa Ana, Calif., jurors cannot be excluded simply because they are gay and cannot be asked by lawyers about their sexual orientation, a state appeals court has ruled.

The ruling involved a 1997 Orange County burglary case in which Cano Garcia was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. The court ordered the case be retried if a judge determines the prosecutor removed two jurors solely because they were lesbians.

During jury selection, it somehow became known that two prospective jurors were lesbians. When both sides exercised their right to challenge jurors without stating a reason, the prosecutor removed both women and was challenged by Garcia¬'s lawyer.

Computer analysis dates HIV virus to 1930

The worldwide AIDS epidemic has been traced back to a single ancestor virus that emerged perhaps around 1930, reports AP. Earlier research had suggested that the epidemic began in the first half of the 20th century, but the latest analysis, done by researchers from Northwestern, Alabama and the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, appears to be the most definitive so far.

March on D.C. backers release projections

Organizers of the Millennium March on Washington for Equality recently predicted that activities related to the April 30 event would generate $1.95 million in revenue and $1.70 million in expenses, reports The Washington Blade.

Millennium March board members released a financial summary that offers projections about the organization¬'s proposed budget for the march, but refused to release financial information indicating how much money Millennium March organizers have actually raised and spent.

But the Ad Hoc Committee for An Open Process, which has been dogging March organizers for more than two years, said they are not happy with the incomplete information.

"We are not going to release our financial statements to the Ad Hoc Committee," said Donna Red Wing, a national co-chair of the Millennium March, according to the Blade. "Our contractual arrangements are none of their business. Those involve legally binding information."

Michael Castellano, an Ad Hoc Committee member, said, "When MMOW says it¬'s ¬'none of their business,¬' the ¬'their¬' refers to the entire LGBT community, the same community they purport to represent. I¬'m both saddened and angered by Red Wing¬'s callous and insensitive remarks," he told the Blade.

Lambda appeals against sheriff in Teena murder

Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund said that it will litigate the Nebraska appeal of a small trial court award against a county whose sheriff failed to protect Brandon Teena from a brutal 1993 murder.

The films Boys Don¬'t Cry and documentary, The Brandon Teena Story, chronicle Brandon¬'s life and tragic death. Born female and named Teena Brandon, he was living as a man in Falls City, Neb., when he was murdered at age 21.

In 1993, two men raped Brandon after discovering his sex; shortly after he reported the rape to the sheriff, the men tracked Brandon down and killed him. The killers were later arrested and convicted of murder.

Joann Brandon, the victim¬'s mother and representative of the estate, sued Richardson County Sheriff Charles B. Laux because he negligently failed to protect Brandon between the time of the rape and the murder and was abusive in interviewing him about the rape. The trial court¬'s opinion yielded mixed results, including a finding of negligence but with just $23,520 in damages.

On the appeal, Lambda joins as co-counsel to the lawyers who have handled the case so far, Herbert J. Friedman of Friedman Law Offices and Michael J. Hansen of Berry, Kelley, and Hansen of Lincoln, Nebraska. The suit, Joann Brandon v. County of Richardson, Nebraska, will contend that the trial court made several significant legal errors that led to an unacceptably small recovery.

Trans law in Boulder

Boulder became the first city in Colorado to protect transgendered people from discrimination, following a unanimous vote Feb. 1 of the City Council, reports The Daily Camera.

The amendment prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender variance, defined as "a persistent sense that one¬'s gender identity is incongruent with ones biological sense."

Reform Jews face same-sex decision

Two years after they postponed a contentious showdown over same-sex blessing rituals, the rabbis of Judaism¬'s liberal Reform branch will face a decision on the issue at this year¬'s convention, reports AP.

Leaders of the 200-member Women¬'s Rabbinic Network have agreed to force the issue by submitting a resolution sanctioning such ceremonies to the Central Conference of American Rabbis, which meets March 26— 29 in Greensboro, N.C.

Presbyterians may split

The 3.6 million-member Presbyterian Church ( U.S.A. ) may be split apart over the issue of whether or not gays should be ordained as ministers, reports World Net Daily.

Two proposals, dealing with ordination of gays and other contentious issues, have been introduced by conservatives of the Presbyterian Church ( U.S.A. ) allowing liberal congregations to leave the denomination with their property.

Critics of the proposals, which will be considered at the church¬'s General Assembly in July, include both liberals and "traditional" conservatives.

Man on trial in killing of gay partner

A Santa Rosa man is being tried for murder in a case of domestic violence that his defense attorney contends might have been dropped if the couple had been heterosexual, reports The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat.

Paul Freezon killed his male partner, Chris Muniz, with a knife during an argument at their west Santa Rosa home more than 2— 1/2 half years ago.

Whether it was murder or self-defense will be up to a jury to decide.

Defense attorney Jonathan Steele portrays Freezon, 38, as a chronically battered spouse who fought back against Muniz, his 36-year-old partner, and suggests authorities have pursued murder charges because it involved domestic violence between two gay men, Press-Democrat reported.

But prosecutors say Freezon told police different versions of what happened in their home the night of June 29, 1997, and deny the case is being handled differently.

Boss of restaurant chain says no guys + earrings

If you¬'re a guy who likes to wear an earring, don¬'t bother applying for work at any of the nation¬'s 850 Chick-fil-A restaurants, the founder and chairman of the company said Jan. 31, reports The Mobile Register.

"If a man¬'s got an earring in his ear and he applies to work at one of my restaurants, we won¬'t even talk to him," S. Truett Cathy said after a speech to more than 300 people at the University of Mobile.

After the lecture, Cathy was asked if he would hire gay people at his fast-food restaurants. He hesitated, then said, "It depends on the circumstances." That means he would have to consider the applicant¬'s appearance, history and reputation, he said.


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