President Barack Obama will not renominate controversial Georgia judicial nominee Michael Boggs to the federal bench in 2015, according to Politico.com . Boggs drew widespread opposition from Senate Democrats, including Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, for his record as a Georgia state legislator on gay marriage, abortion and the Confederate flag. Boggs was originally nominated in December 2013 but never received a confirmation vote.
U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney ( D-N.Y. ) wants House Majority Whip Steve Scalise ( R-La. ) to resign from leadership after he admitted speaking to a white supremacist group in 2002, according to The Hill. ( Maloney, who is openly gay, is the first Congressman to call for Scalise to leave his post. ) Scalise said he regretted speaking to the group, which former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke founded, but emphasized he was unaware of the group's message. On top of racism and anti-Semitism, Duke has expressed opposition to a bill that would make discrimination against gays illegal and bashed the decision to allow gays into the military.
Holding candles and chanting "Trans lives matter," about 60 advocates for Nizah Morris marched through Center City in Philadelphia, according to Philadelphia Gay News. The Dec. 22 event marked the 12th anniversary of a Center City "courtesy ride" Philadelphia police gave to Morris. Twelve years ago, onlookers helped an intoxicated Morris inside a police car; instead, the transwoman was transported to the area of 16th and Walnut streets, where passing motorists found her lying in the street with blunt-force head trauma. She died two days later, on Dec. 24, 2002and her homicide remains unsolved.
A petition to enact a "Leelah's Law" and ban transgender conversion therapy has gathered more than 200,000 virtual signatures in fewer than 48 hours of its posting to Change.org, according to Cincinnati.com . The petition, addressed to Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, calls for the president and House leadership to "immediately seek a pathway for banning the practice known as 'transgender conversion therapy.'" In December, transgender teen Leelah Alcorn committed suicide in Ohio by stepping in front of a moving tractor-trailer truckin part because Alcorn's Christian parents reportedly rejected her.
A circuit judge lifted the stay on gay marriage in Miami-Dade County Jan. 5, making it the first county to allow same-sex marriages in the state of Florida, according to the Huffington Post. Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel ruled the ban on gay marriage unconstitutional in July, but stayed the order. The case in Miami-Dade County, Pareto v. Ruvin, was brought by six same-sex couples in January 2014, and Zabel heard the case in early July. The case's namesake, Catherina Pareto, and her partner of more than 14 years, Karla Arguello, expressed relief following Zabel's 2015 announcement.
Police in San Francisco have arrested a man on suspicion of stabbing a transgender woman as she exited a San Francisco Municipal Railway bus with her partner, LGBTQ Nation reported. The victimsSamantha Hulsey, 24, and Rae Raucci, 52, both transgender womensaid they took a seat toward the back of the bus when, almost immediately, a man on the bus focused on them and "began acting violently," reports SFGate.com . Raucci, a first-year law student at San Francisco Law School, said the attack was a hate crime. The assailant was identified as Brodes Wayne Joynes, 54.
An unnamed teenager was arrested in connection to the murder of a transgender woman, who was killed in Hollywood in October, according to Advocate.com . The 17-year-old may be charged as an adult for what seems to be a robbery that escalated into the shooting of Aniya Parker, 47. Surveillance video recorded near the crime scene shows Parker struggling with two men or three men as they reportedly tried to take her purse; she was shot when she tried to flee the scene after the altercation.
Mario Cuomoa three-term New York governor ( 1983-94 ) and father of the state's current governor, Andrew Cuomodied New Year's Day at 82. Mario's death came the same day as Andrew was inaugurated for a second term, USA Today noted. Liberal views were his hallmark. For example, he opposed the death penalty. He also opposed abortion, but was pro-choice because he believed it wasn't a state's right to prohibit it. Among those surviving Mario are five children, including Andrew and journalist Chris Cuomo, currently at CNN.
The Rhode Island Supreme Court has tossed decade-old lawsuits from two Providence firefighters who claimed their civil rights were violated when they were ordered to drive a truck in the city's gay pride parade, Advocate.com noted, citing the Associated Press. The court, in a unanimous ruling written by Justice William Robinson, said the firefighters' appearance in the parade was "relatively anonymous" and did not indicate they condoned the parade's purpose. Firefighters Theodore Fabrizio and Stephen Deninnoboth Roman Catholics who said they did not endorse the parade's messagedrove the truck in the 2001 parade and filed their suits in 2004.
A federal judge took steps to speed up a ruling on the remaining legal issues in a lawsuit challenging Kansas' ban on same-sex marriage, Kansas.com reported. Opposing attorneys must narrow factual disputes and propose a schedule at the end of January for a hearing, U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree said. Both the state's attorneys and lawyers challenging ban said they want to expedite the case.
Three federal appellate judges are hearing arguments in lawsuits challenging state prohibitions of same-sex marriage in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, according to the Dallas News. Judges Patrick Higginbotham of Dallas, Jerry Smith of Houston and James Graves Jr. of Jackson, Mississippi, are on a panel hearing appeals from state officials in Texas and Mississippi of lower-court rulings that overturned the two states' gay marriage bans. In the Louisiana case, U.S. District Judge Martin L.C. Feldman upheld his state's ban, so same-sex couples are appealing.
A same-sex Denver couple, Sean White and Mathew Peters, had a unique response to an anti-gay slur being carved on the door of their apartment, according to Pix11.com . White responded with the message, "To the individual who scrawled the word 'faggots' into our door: We regret to inform you that you completely failed to use glitter paint and/or sequins, your work looked rushed, and your handwriting was positively atrocious. It is for these reasons that we have removed your work from our door with sandpaper. Fabulously yours, the gays in apt. 611." "You can't fight hate with hate," Peters said. "You can fight back with love."
One of two LGBT liaisons for Atlanta police is being shifted to other duties within the department after more than four years of serving as a go-between for officers and the city's LGBT residents, according to Project Q Atlanta. Officer Brian Sharp, named one of the agency's two LGBT liaisons in 2010, will be reassigned to the Filed Operations Division in Zone 5. Sharp's move is part of a larger shuffling of more than 70 officers that took effect Jan. 5.
Also in Atlanta, a gay man holding his boyfriend's hand was suddenly pushed into oncoming traffic in an attack recorded by surveillance video, On Top Magazine reported. The men, who were not identified, had just left Campagnolo, a gay-owned Italian restaurant. A BMW reportedly followed the couple; as they waited to cross an intersection, a passenger in the BMW jumped out and screamed "faggot" before pushing one of the men into the street. Video shows a car swerving into another lane to avoid hitting the man and nearly colliding with another vehicle.
A study by two economics professors at Kent State University revealed that the 2014 Gay Gameswhich attracted nearly 8,000 athletes and 20,000 visitors to northeast Ohio in Augustadded $52 million to the local economy during the eight-day event, according to an LGBTQ Nation item. Spending far exceeded the estimated $36 million that was spent in the area during the 2013 National Senior Games, held in Cleveland in July 2013despite the fact that the Senior Games drew 5,000 more visitors.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer ( D-Md. ) has asked Republican leadership to establish rules in the new Congress allowing delegates floor votes and barring discrimination against openly gay staffers, The Hill noted. "Absent such protections, LGBT employees of the House of Representatives can be denied job opportunities, summarily fired, or otherwise discriminated against solely because of their sexual orientation or gender identity," Hoyer wrote in a letter. The House was slated to vote on the package when it convened for the new Congress on Jan. 6.
In a Dec. 29 letter to members and partners, the Chicago Area Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce announced the resignation of its president and CEO, Christina Pinson, effective Dec. 31. The Chamber was established in 1995 by Windy City Times co-founder Tracy Baim ( at that time she was publisher of Outlines newspaper ), and gay marketing professional Kevin Boyer joined her as the first co-chairs for the group. Three other business owners helped launch the Chamber in time for the 1996 Democratic National Convention in Chicago: Carrie Barnett, Art Johnston and Tom Tunney.
In Illinois, a former police officer has filed suit, claiming that the Round Lake Heights police chief made unwanted sexual advances toward him and fired the officer after said advances were rebuffed, according to The Chicago Tribune. Hossein "Sam" Isbitan claims Chief John Roehlk repeatedly invited the officer to spend the night at his home, sent him unwanted gifts, lewd text messages and made suggestive comments. Since then, Isbitan has reportedly tried many times to get another law enforcement job but hasn't been able to, in part because of his firing after less than a year on the job.
Voters in Fayetteville, Arkansas, passed a measure to repeal Ordinance 119, an anti-discrimination city policy, OzarksFirst.com reported. Voters turned out in record numbers, the election commission said. In September, petitioners turned in more than 5,000 signatures, pushing the controversial ordinance to a public vote after the city council passed the measure. The now-repealed Civil Rights Administration ordinance was to protect against specific types of discrimination because of sexual orientation, gender identity and several other criteria.
A new survey finds increasing support for allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry, according to On Top Magazine. The nonprofit RAND Corporation surveyed 2,718 members of the American Life Panel ( ALP ) in October, finding that 62.4 percent of U.S. residents support marriage equality. Approval was 66.3 percent in states where it was legalized by popular vote or legislative act.
Anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality ( AFTAH ), has accused Apple CEO Tim Cook of telling "the biggest gay lie of 2014," according to On Top Magazine. Cook "implicated our Heavenly Father in his sinful behavior [when the CEO said being gay was one of God's 'greatest gifts' to him, in an op-ed]. For that, AFTAH is declaring Tim Cook for having told the biggest gay lie of 2014," LaBarbera told Crosstalk host Jim Schneider.
Lee Nicholsa former Sacramento State University communications professor who was also a newsman, political aide, executive and gay-rights activistdied Dec. 14 in San Pablo, California, of heart failure at age 85, the Sacramento Bee reported. Following his own advice to be true to himself, Nichols came out as a gay man to his wife, Liz, and their five adult children in 1984. He advocated for civil rights for gays and lesbians, and wrote for local gay publications.
The Lakeland, Florida-based Publix grocery store chain now offers employee insurance benefits to same-sex couples legally married in other states, the Associated Press noted. Publix is expanding coverage for its health, dental and vision benefit plans to associates married in any state where same-sex marriages are legal. Publixwhich will reportedly hold a 30-day enrollment period for same-sex married employeesowns nearly 2,000 grocery stores in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.
Chick-fil-A had been in the news because of controversy with the LGBT community, but now officials with the company said the business and an IT contractor are investigating a possible data breach, The Hill noted. The fast food company said customers would not be held liable for any fraudulent charges on their accounts. Among other companies that have suffered breaches within the past year are Home Depot, AOL, Jimmy John's, Staples, Kmart and Dairy Queen.