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National roundup: Miss. ruling, lesbian N.C. politician, Iowa case settled
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

This article shared 440 times since Tue Jul 5, 2016
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A federal judge ruled that Mississippi clerks cannot cite their own religious beliefs to recuse themselves from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the Associated Press reported. U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves' ruling blocks the state from enforcing part of a religious objections bill that was supposed to become law July 1. Mississippi's religious-objections measure, House Bill 1523, was filed in response to last summer's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

LaWana Mayfield—the first openly gay council person to serve in Charlotte, North Carolina, and only the second African-American woman—has opened up about the state's anti-LGBT law known as House Bill 2, The Huffington Post reported. In part, she said, "I honestly think that the media can do a better job because the conversation was reduced to bathrooms —not looking at how what Charlotte passed as an fully-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance that wasn't groundbreaking or earth-shattering. [I]t took away the rights of everyone if you're a minority, whether that's African American, Asian, Pacific Islander, Latino, female, a senior, if you have a disability—everybody's rights were taken away when it comes to filing a discrimination case to at least be heard on a state level."

In Iowa, the case of a Black transgender woman who alleged she was harassed at a local hotel because of her gender identity and race has been resolved, The Des Moines Register reported, citing an ACLU of Iowa update. "The ACLU of Iowa is pleased to report we have successfully settled Meagan Taylor's case to the satisfaction of the parties involved," the post read. In November, Taylor filed a complaint with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission claiming the harassment occurred in July when she and a friend stopped for the night at the West Des Moines Drury Inn.

In Baltimore, a landmark lawsuit alleging sex discrimination based on sexual orientation has been settled for more than $200,000, the Associated Press noted. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said in a statement that Pallet Companies, doing business as IFCO Systems, will pay more than $182,000 to Yolanda Boone, who alleged she was fired after complaining that her supervisor made comments regarding her sexual orientation and appearance. IFCO Systems had hired Boone as a forklift operator in 2013 and fired her in 2014.

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law six gun-safety bills that ban possession of high capacity assault rifle magazines, regulate the sale and possession of ammunition, expand background checks, limit loans of firearms and ban the resale of a gun to someone legally barred from purchasing it, according to an Equality California press release. The new laws were supported by Equality California and 19 other LGBT and HIV organizations as part of Equality California's Safe and Equal campaign against gun violence.

Virginia man Kyler Schmitz is accused of threatening to shoot at least two U.S. senators, including Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, in the days immediately following the Orlando shooting, LGBTQ Nation reported. Gawker shows Schmitz tweeted to the official House Republicans ( @HouseGOP ) and Senate Republicans ( @SenateGOP ) Twitter accounts, saying, "I can't wait to shoot you in the face one by one." Judge Theresa Buchanan ordered Schmitz ( who was unable to obtain a gun ) into home detention, in the custody of his aunt, according to The Washington Blade. He has also been prohibited from using Twitter, must stay away from Washington, D.C., and must undergo mental-health testing and treatment.

Talking with SiriusXM's Michelangelo Signorile, lesbian Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan criticized the inaction of GOP politicians like Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, LGBTQ Nation noted. Sheehan called out the politicians for their hypocrisy in expressing their sympathy for victims of the Pulse shooting and then voting against gun control. The commissioner also pointed out that many of these officials failed to acknowledge the sexuality of the victims, dismissing the homophobia that fueled the violence.

The attorney who successfully argued that the Long Beach ( Calif. ) Police Department unfairly targeted gay men when conducting lewd conduct stings earlier this year has filed a federal class-action lawsuit against the city, claiming hundreds of other men were victims of discriminatory policing, The L.A. Times reported. Bruce Nickerson filed the 18-page suit in federal court, naming the city, Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna and several officers from the department's vice unit as defendants. The suit ( which seeks monetary damages ) asks the court to declare the conduct of Long Beach's vice unit to be a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects people against unreasonable searches and seizures, and the 14th Amendment, which guarantees equal protection.

Gay Dallas advocate Jack Evans—who made national headlines when he and his partner of 56 years became the first same-sex couple to legally wed in Dallas County—passed away at age 86 after a battle with lung cancer, LGBTQ Nation noted. Evans just days before his first wedding anniversary with husband George Harris. Evans and Harris—who met in 1961—founded the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce, and were involved with The Dallas GLBT History Project.

Following its quadrennial meeting last month, the United Methodist Church has two U.S jurisdictions considering three openly gay candidates for bishop in July, the National Catholic Reporter noted. The Rev. Karen Oliveto, the Rev. Frank Wulf and the Rev. David Meredith have been nominated for election at the meetings of the denomination's Western and North Central jurisdictions July 13-16. In the United States, United Methodist bishops are elected by the denomination's five jurisdictional conferences. Like its worldwide General Conference, those jurisdictional conferences meet every four years.

In Oklahoma, a customer left IHOP server Taylor Stewart, a lesbian, a note that read, "Gay is wrong," The Enid News & Eagle noted. Stewart was cleaning the table when she found the receipt for a $36 ticket—with the message and no tip. Since the story broke, Stewart said she has received an overwhelming amount of support from friends and strangers. "People are telling me they're going to come in [to eat] and ask for me," she said. "And, just now, someone came in and gave me a card with $10 in it."

After claiming to be the victim of a hate crime outside a West Hollywood gay bar, LGBTQ and lifestyle YouTuber Calum McSwiggan has been charged with filing a false police report, according to an LGBTQ Nation item that cites the L.A. Times. Los Angeles County prosecutors say he lied to sheriff's deputies when he told them three men beat him. The London resident has pleaded not guilty to charges of filing a false report; if found guilty, he could face up to 364 days in county jail.

In New Jersey, the Democratic group House Majority PAC will have a plane with a banner reading "SCOTT GARRETT: ANTI-GAY BIGOTRY WONT FLY" and directing people to its new anti-Garrett website, The Huffington Post reported. Garrett, a state congressman, has been targeted ever since Politico reported last year that he told fellow Republicans in a closed-door meeting that he wouldn't pay his dues to the National Republican Congressional Committee because of the organization's support for gay candidates. Since then, Wall Street and corporate donors have stopped donating to Garrett.

An anti-discrimination bill offering protections in the workplace and housing has cleared a Pennsylvania Senate committee, The Meadville Tribune reported. To get the Senate committee to act on the bill, language barring discrimination in public accommodations—like stores and restaurants—was scrapped. "Over 70 percent of Pennsylvanians support the Fairness Act, and they are watching Harrisburg, even more so after the Orlando mass murder that has reminded everyone of the second-class status LGBT people face on a daily basis in most of Pennsylvania and much of the nation," said Rep. Brian Sims, D-Philadelphia, the first out LGBT person elected to the Legislature.

Fashion designer and AIDS activist Kenneth Cole was named an international goodwill ambassador June 7 by the head of the the United Nations' ( UN's ) AIDS-fighting organization, the Associated Press noted. Cole told reporters at a news conference at UN headquarters he hopes to combine his United Nations work with his work at The Foundation for AIDS Research, known as amfAR, and its goal of finding a cure for the disease by 2020. Cole has long been involved in the global effort to end HIV and AIDS, joining the board of amfAR in 1987 and initiating its public awareness campaigns.

In Illinois, a McHenry County gun shop has called off its controversial raffle of a semi-automatic rifle to raise money for the victims of the Orlando, Florida, mass shooting, The Chicago Tribune reported. The owners of Second Amendment Sports in McHenry said they canceled the raffle after questions were raised about the legality of the event. State law allows only nonprofit organizations to run raffles. Store owner Bert Irslinger Jr. said the store is considering other options—such as partnering with a nonprofit for a possible future raffle—and will continue taking donations for the Orlando victims "because we believe this is a good case."

The accepted theory is that French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi chose his mother, Charlotte, as the inspiration for the Statue of Liberty's face, but historian Elizabeth Mitchell has a different theory, NewNowNext noted. On Discovery Channel's Secrets of America's Favorite Places, Mitchell said she believes the face actually belongs to Bartholdi's brother, Jean-Charles. "As I was looking at it more carefully, the structure of the face isn't really the same. [His mother] has a more arched eyebrow, has a thinner nose, has thinner lips, even in her youth," Mitchell said.

The University of California-Irvine suspended its chapter of the College Republicans for a year because the group wanted to invite gay libertarian provocateur Milo Yiannopolous back to campus, according to a Daily Caller item that cites Breitbart. The UC Irvine group hosted Yiannopolous about a month ago, during which he held a talk called "Social Justice Is Cancer." The school said the suspension happened because of a problem with insurance for the security that was needed for the event where Yiannopolous spoke.

This article shared 440 times since Tue Jul 5, 2016
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