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National roundup: Marriage poll, Loretta Lynch, NYC Pride Parade
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

This article shared 622 times since Tue Jun 28, 2016
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A new poll from Gallup indicates that 49 percent of all same-sex couples who are living together are legally married, noted. That's a significant jump from 38 percent, which represented the percentage who were married before Obergefell v. Hodges brought marriage equality to all 50 states. Using rough population estimates, Gallup claims that nearly 1 million Americans are now in same-sex marriages, or 0.4 percent of all adults in the United States.

Lincoln Financial Group released the first segment of results from its 2016 study of U.S. employees, entitled, "M.O.O.D ( Measuring Optimism, Outlook and Direction ) of America on Employee Benefits," according to Business Wire. Among the results is that more than one in four ( 28 percent ) LGBT employees overall, and a third ( 35 percent ) of those currently married or in a domestic partnership have either re-evaluated their workplace benefits, enrolled in a new benefit or increased their contribution to an existing benefit as a result of the marriage equality ruling last year. See .

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch traveled to Florida to visit with survivors of the Orlando nightclub shooting and check up on the investigation into shooter Omar Mateen's rampage, CNN reported. She brought $1 million in emergency funding to help Florida, Orange County and Orlando pay for overtime and other investigative costs. Lynch also expressed great pride in the community and its unity "in defiance of terror and in defense of our most cherished ideals."

Subhi Nahas was one of three grand marshals of this year's 46th New York City Pride March, taking place in the wake of the massacre of 49 people at the LGBT club Pulse in Orlando, The Daily Beast reported. Originally from Idlib, a city of 1.5 million residents north of Damascus in Syria, Nahas had feared he would be murdered by ISIS for being gay. In 2012, Nahas escaped to Lebanon, and then to Hatay in Turkey, where he worked as an interpreter; he currently lives in San Francisco. Also, Hillary Clinton walked two blocks of the parade, alongside New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

On a related note, the owner of Orlando's Pulse nightclub rode on the lead float to kick off the nation's largest gay-pride parade in Manhattan on June 26, Courthouse News Service noted. Barbara Poma and her entertainment manager, Neema Bahrami, were also at the city's Pride Rally on June 24 at Hudson River Park's Pier 26. The lead float for the parade was surrounded by color guards from Scouts for Equality, who carried 49 orange flags with a rainbow strip in the victims' honor.

Equality Florida's fundraising efforts for the victims' families and survivors of the Pulse Nightclub Shooting have raised more than $6 million, a press release stated. The vast majority of the funding came from a GoFundMe campaign that has drawn more than 114,000 contributors from across the world and all facets of society, as well as pledges from corporate sponsors and grassroots fundraising efforts ( locally and globally ). The organization's plan to distribute funds is at

State health officials have issued an advisory in Southern California following an outbreak of invasive meningococcal disease, primarily among gay and bisexual men, reported. Since the beginning of May, nine meningococcal disease cases have been identified in men living in Los Angeles and Orange counties. Several outbreaks and clusters of meningococcal disease among gay and bisexual men have been reported in New York City, Los Angeles County and Chicago since 2014. Although rare, meningococcal disease is serious and potentially fatal.

To mark the one-year anniversary of marriage equality becoming the law of the land, the Democratic National Committee ( DNC ) has produced a video reflecting on eight years of progress for LGBT Americans during President Obama's administration, a press release stated. DNC spokesperson TJ Helmstetter said, in part, "LGBT Americans have seen tremendous progress under President Obama, and we can't afford to go [backward]. There is more work to be done to achieve full equality. ... That's why it's so important to defeat Donald Trump and elect a Democrat as the next President of the United States to continue to build on President Obama's remarkable pro-LGBT record." See the video at

Robert Jeffress, the pastor at First Baptist Church in Dallas, tweeted a photo of himself with Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, according to On Top Magazine. "Honored to pray for my friend, @realDonaldTrump, at tonight's Dallas rally," Jeffress messaged. Jeffress is openly hostile to gay rights; for example, in 2013, he compared gay sex—which he's called a sin—to plugging in a U.S. television into a European outlet.

Speaking of Trump, NYC Council Member Corey Johnson and Chris Barron—founder of conservative group GOProud and leader of the new "Gays For Trump" campaign—went at it on CNN, Queerty reported. "I think it's funny that just because [Trump said] the four letters LGBT that [he is] somehow the champion of the LGBT community," Johnson said. Later, Johnson dug up an old Tweet of Barron's that called Trump a sociopath, and Barron replied: "Hillary Clinton is a bigger sociopath than Donald Trump will ever be."

Bernie Sanders still hasn't suspended his candidacy, but the progressive senator from Vermont confirmed he will vote for Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, The Huffington Post reported, citing Time. Speaking at a town hall in midtown Manhattan, Sanders again did not concede the nomination—and did not endorse his opponent. It's been speculated that Sanders, his campaign and millions of supporters throughout the nation and world must wait until July 25, knowing that the FBI will likely disclose its findings of Clinton's email investigation before the Democratic convention.

Federal investigators have scoured the Orlando shooter's laptop computer, cell phone and the trail of communications he left behind—and so far have found no evidence that he led a secret gay life, The Orlando Sentinel reported. They've also reviewed the electronic devices of men who said they'd communicated with him on gay dating apps—and so far have found no link. People have said they either saw the shooter at Pulse Nightclub or communicated with him via gay dating apps.

Indiana state Rep. Ed Delaney ( D-Indianapolis ) said the state "blew it" by not enforcing a gun ban against a man who was armed when he was arrested in California while traveling to a Los Angeles gay-pride event, according to The Chicago Tribune. James Wesley Howell, 20, was ordered in April to forfeit all firearms under the terms of his yearlong probation on a misdemeanor intimidation conviction—and it's unclear if Howell obtained the three assault rifles found on him in L.A. on June 12 before or after the judge's order. Clark County chief probation officer James Hayden told the Associated Press that probation officials had rated Howell a low-level offender regarding the recent misdemeanor.

Singer-songwriter Lady Gaga visited Indianapolis for the U.S. Conference of Mayors' annual convention, where hundreds of mayors from across the country gather to talk policy and swap tips on how to tackle the myriad challenges facing cities, The Indianapolis Star noted. The pop icon joined the Dalai Lama and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The 84th annual meeting took place June 24-27.

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is accused of urging defiance against the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage; however, his lawyers argued in a legal filing that the complaint is baseless and that he never ordered state probate judges to refuse wedding licenses to same-sex couples. The outspoken Republican jurist—who once lost his judicial post for disobeying a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama Supreme Court building—is suspended from the bench. He faces possible removal from office again over a January administrative order he sent probate judges.

A California teenager faces hate-crime charges for shooting paintballs at a crowd outside a gay club on the same night as the Orlando tragedy, according to The New York Daily News. Branden Staples is accusing of opening fire at Stockton's Paradise nightclub on June 12, hitting at least two people. The 19-year-old now faces charges of assault with force likely to cause great bodily injuring, making terrorist threats and explosives charges for that alleged attack and other recent incidents.

Dallas LGBT advocates want the city to become the first in the state—and only the fourth in the nation—to bar mental health professionals from conversion therapy, which involves attempting to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of people under 18, The Texas Observer reported. Rafael McDonnell, communications and advocacy manager for Resource Center, said outlawing the widely discredited practice would be consistent with Dallas' comprehensive resolution in support of LGBT equality, which the City Council approved in 2014. Texas Republicans made headlines by adding a plank endorsing reparative therapy to the party's platform in 2014.

Defending California's ban against gay-conversion therapy in the Ninth Circuit, an attorney for the state emphasized that the law regulates licensed professionals, not religious beliefs, Courthouse News Service reported. A family therapist and minister named Donald Welch brought the challenge at hand, taking aim at the law passed in June 2014. Deputy Attorney General Alexandra Gordon told a three-judge panel that no one is stopping Welch from practicing gay-conversion therapy methods in a ministerial capacity. When he holds himself out as a licensed therapist, she added, it becomes problematic.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin ( D-Wisconsin ) and Congresswoman Suzan DelBene ( D-Washington ) introduced a resolution to designate June 26 "LGBT Equality Day," honoring the anniversary of three significant victories won at the U.S. Supreme Court for LGBT people, according to a press release. The court victories occurred in Lawrence v. Texas, United States v. Windsor, and Obergefell v. Hodges. Baldwin and Congresswoman DelBene's resolution was co-sponsored by more than 175 members of Congress, and is supported by the Center for American Progress, the Human Rights Campaign, the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund and the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus.

Authorities are investigating a man who threatened to kill LGBT people, made anti-gay comments and left threatening notes in at least two East Atlanta restaurants, Project Q reported. Moreover, the threats happened just days after an Atlanta man impersonated another man and threatened to make two Atlanta gay bars "the next Orlando" and a Marietta man was fired by Walmart for calling the tragedy "someone doing community service.". Atlanta police told WSB that they are investigating the threats and that the incident has been turned over to its Homeland Security Unit.

A lesbian chef at an uptown Charlotte, North Caroina, restaurant told police she was attacked by a woman who hurled anti-gay slurs and then body-slammed her to the ground, The Charlotte Observer reported. Charlotte police charged two 17-year-olds with misdemeanor assault and have asked the FBI whether the girls could be charged under the federal hate-crime law.

Two Christian business owners have filed a lawsuit against the government to stop them ever having to work for a gay wedding—before they have even been asked, The Daily Mail reported. Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski are suing the city of Phoenix over a non-discrimination law, which they claim violates their religious rights. The pair met at a Bible study and eventually formed Brush & Nib, a business that creates art and calligraphy projects for events including weddings.

After months of discussing how best to shift their restrooms from gendered spaces into gender-neutral ones, the owners of Myers + Chang in Boston decided to codify their restrooms with the symbol famously used by the late pop star Prince, reported. The crew at the restaurant, who are all self-proclaimed Prince fans, came up with the idea shortly after the singer died this past April. They'd previously discussed labeling their restrooms as "Anyone" or "Everyone," but said that when the restaurant's general manager, Kristi McNeil, suggested they use the Prince symbol instead, it seemed like a perfect fit.

Infamous Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis wants an appeals court to officially forget all about her anti-marriage equality incident and make the case go away, The Huffington Post reported. In a motion filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit—where Davis is contesting an earlier contempt order against her—her lawyers asked for the whole matter to be dismissed because of recent developments in Kentucky law. Specifically, Davis' attorneys noted that the state legislature recently removed a requirement that county clerks sign their names to marriage licenses.

Marco Rubio announced that he will seek re-election to the Senate—reversing a pledge he made a year ago to either assume the presidency or return to private life in Florida, The Washington Post reported. The decision to continue his career in elective politics comes barely three months after Rubio, 45, ended his presidential campaign after a loss in his home-state primary, where he finished nearly 20 points behind Donald Trump and won only one county outright: his home base of Miami-Dade.

Pat Summitt, the legendary University of Tennessee women's basketball coach, died in Tennessee of dementia at age 64, ABC News reported. Summitt stepped down as Tennessee's coach in 2012, one year after announcing her diagnosis of early onset dementia, Alzheimer's type. Also in 2012, Summit was the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPY Awards. She coached the Lady Vols to eight national championships in her 38 seasons and notched 1,098 career victories—more than any other Division I basketball coach.

This article shared 622 times since Tue Jun 28, 2016
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