Two plead in murder of Alabama gay man
In Rockford, Ala., two men accused of fatally beating an acquaintance and burning his body because he was gay pleaded innocent May 20, reports AP. Charles Monroe Butler Jr., 21, and Steven Eric Mullins, 25, could receive the death penalty if convicted on the capital murder charges in the death of 39- year- old Billy Jack Gaither.
The two are accused of beating Gaither to death with an ax handle Feb. 19 and burning his body on a pile of tires after luring him from his home with a phone call, AP said. Mullins and Butler confessed to killing Gaither because he made a pass at one of them.
Defense lawyer Billy Hill said he would "keep the door open" to a plea bargain for Butler, 21. Attorney Rod Giddens said it was too early to determine whether a deal might be possible for Mullins, AP reported.
Woman sentenced for role in Shepard attack
In Laramie, Wyo.,the girlfriend of a man who pleaded guilty to killing gay college student Matthew Shepard was sentenced May 21 to up to two years in prison for helping to cover up evidence in the killing, reports AP.
Chasity Vera Pasley, 20, was sentenced to 15 months to two years in prison for being an accessory after the fact to first- degree murder.
Pasley was one of two women accused of helping Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson dispose of Henderson¬'s bloody clothes.
Henderson pleaded guilty last month to kidnapping and felony murder and was sentenced to consecutive life terms. McKinney has pleaded innocent and is scheduled to stand trial in August. He faces the death penalty if convicted of murder.
Kristen LeAnn Price, 19, was McKinney¬'s girlfriend. She also was charged with being an accessory after the fact to first- degree murder, but her trial has been delayed, AP reported.
New poll on student violence
The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network said a new Gallup Poll linking anti- gay and racist attitudes with student- on- student violence should send a clear mandate for school administrators to address these prejudices as they work to create comprehensive safe schools plans. The poll, released May 20, revealed that high school students who are aware of ¬'violence- prone¬' groups in their schools believe these groups present a particular threat to gay students. Fifty- eight percent affirmed that ¬'violence- prone¬' groups could be dangerous to gay students, with 50 percent reporting to have heard these groups espouse ¬'hatred of gays.¬' Fifty- one percent of the students also stated that ¬'violence- prone¬' groups could be dangerous to Black, Hispanic or other minority students.
GLSEN notes that while this poll points only to the potential for violence, studies show that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students face actual harassment on a near- daily basis. The Massachusetts State Department of Education and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently found that lesbian, gay and bisexual students are more than seven times as likely as their heterosexual classmates to be threatened with a weapon at school. They are also more than five times as likely to skip school due to feeling unsafe at or en route to school. Finally, GLSEN studies indicate that the average high school student hears anti- gay epithets 25 times a day.
Man accused of molesting girl after fighting gay couple who tried to adopt her
An Anderson, Ind., man who, with his wife, fought to keep their foster daughter from being adopted by a gay couple has been charged with molesting the 9- year- old girl, reports The Indianapolis Star News.
Earl L. "Butch" Kimmerling was arrested May 14 on four felony counts of child molestation.
The Kimmerlings were at the center of a controversy last fall when the Madison County office of the state Division of Family and Children considered allowing two gay men from Indianapolis to adopt the girl and her three brothers, all of whom lived in foster homes.
Anderson Mayor Mark Lawler protested the proposed adoption in a letter written on city letterhead.
Republican State Reps. Jack Lutz and Woody Burton co- sponsored a bill in the General Assembly to ban adoptions by homosexuals in Indiana, which many saw as a direct consequence of the Kimmerling controversy. The bill failed.
Kimmerling faces two felony counts involving allegations of oral sex and two felony counts involving allegations of fondling, the paper said.
Lesbian mom, dad both get custody
A Fulton County judge awarded joint custody of a toddler to his lesbian mother and to his father May 18, reports The Atlanta Journal Constitution.
The 1- 1/2- year- old boy has lived with his mother and her companion since birth, and Superior Court Judge Stephanie Manis ordered their Dunwoody home remain his primary residence. She cited testimony about psychological harm the boy could suffer if moved into a new home.
Brent Hayes of Suwanee sued Dana Jay early last year for sole custody. The two dated briefly, although Jay said she realized she was a lesbian about 10 years ago at age 21. Hayes claimed Jay intentionally got pregnant, deceiving him about the need for birth control so that she and her lover could have a child. Jay denied the scheme.
Neither Hayes nor Jay accused the other of being an unfit parent, and Jay¬'s attorney said there was little animosity between them because both are concerned about their son. Hayes has been paying child support and taking the child home for twice- monthly overnight stays.
Manis ordered increased visitation and said it will grow as the child ages.
Former student charged with hate crimes
The Attorney General¬'s Office has filed a hate crimes complaint against a former Wells High School student who prosecutors say threatened to kill several classmates, reports The Portland Press Herald.
Frederick White, 18, repeatedly assaulted and terrorized four students, two of whom are gay, according to the complaint filed May 12 in York County Superior Court. In one instance, White began harassing a gay student beginning in the fall of 1997. White repeatedly called the boy a derogatory name, telling him, "I want to see you die-I would enjoy watching you die."
Plot twist in Stanley case
Christian L. Curry, 25, a Wall Street whizz kid, says he¬'ll file a $1.35- billion lawsuit against Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. for ruining his reputation and career. Curry, who is Black, was fired by the company soon after his picture appeared on the cover of the gay Playguy.
Morgan Stanley claims that Curry, who is heterosexual, was fired because of expense- account discrepancies.
But the case has taken several twists and turns. Months later, officials at Morgan Stanley reported a plot by Curry to plant racist e- mail in their computers. Curry was charged with forgery.
Now there¬'s another twist, because the Manhattan district attorney¬'s office have dropped all charges against Curry, saying Morgan Stanley paid $10,000 to the prosecution¬'s star witness in the forgery plot, reports The New York Times.
East Principal cleared
Salt Lake City Schools Superintendent Darline Robles has rebuffed a petition calling for disciplinary action against East High School Principal Kay Petersen, reports the Salt Lake Tribune.
The petition stemmed from Petersen¬'s decision to allow members of the Gay Straight Alliance to participate in the school¬'s annual multicultural assembly April 20. Enraged parents stormed a meeting of the School Community Council the following week and asked Petersen to step down.
In Hackensack, N.J., a state judge May 17 gave a gay couple permission to jointly adopt a second child. The Maywood men, Jon Holden and Michael Galluccio, helped pioneer the right of gay and unmarried couples to jointly adopt. In 1997, state Superior Court Judge Sybil R. Moses permitted their adoption of foster child Adam, who is now 3. The men had cared for him since he was 3 months old.
The National Press Club, the professional and social organization for journalists in Washington, D.C., voted May 10 to extend spousal benefits to members¬' same- sex domestic partners.
The University of New Mexico School of Law is fighting for repeal of a federal law that forces universities to allow military recruitment on campus or lose financial aid for students. The law school objects to recruitment because gays and lesbians can be barred from military service if their homosexuality becomes known. The law school has a policy against discriminating against people because of race, color, religion, national origin or sexual orientation.
The city of Pittsburgh is poised to offer its 500 nonunion employees health benefits for same- sex partners and common- law partners, just as such benefits have been offered to members of two city unions. Nonunion employees include staff from the mayor¬'s office and council.
President Clinton has named Sean Maloney as Assistant to the President and Staff Secretary. As Staff Secretary, Maloney is responsible for clearing all written material going to and from the Oval Office, including all presidential briefing and decision memos, executive orders, directives and legislation. Maloney and his partner, Randy Florke, have a 9- year- old son.
A Pap smear, which has lead to a dramatic drop in cervical cancer, could be a cost- effective way to catch the early signs of anal cancer in HIV- positive gay and bisexual men. Like cervical cancer, anal cancer is linked to human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted disease that can prompt pre- cancerous lesions to form on the surface of the anus and cervix.. Although the research, published May 19 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, focused on those with HIV, a similar trend has also been noted among HIV- negative gay men. Estimates are that 35 HIV- negative gay men per 100,000 will get anal cancer, and the rate is about twice as high among gay men who are HIV- positive.