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National roundup: Ohio ruling; trans candidate; Missouri murder
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times.

This article shared 3620 times since Tue Aug 18, 2015
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n Ohio, the Supreme Court's Board of Professional Conduct ruled that the state's judges should not refuse to perform same-sex marriages based on personal or religious beliefs, Reuters reported. The advisory ( and non-binding ) opinion was issued in response to inquiries from judges and a judicial association seeking guidance, after a number of Ohio judges refused to marry same-sex couple or halted civil marriages altogether. The opinion cited the June 26 U.S. Supreme Court Obergefell v. Hodges ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

Transgender former Navy SEAL and congressional candidate Kristin Beck has responded to former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and the comments he made about transgender service members during the recent GOP 2016 presidential debate in Cleveland, noted. Asked what he would do to reform the military, Huckabee vowed he'd disallow transgender people from serving openly. Beck, a 20-year-veteran and recipient of the Purple Heart and Bronze Star, responded to Huckabee's diatribe in a tweet. "I am twice the man that you could ever be!" she wrote.

In Kansas City, Missouri, a transgender woman is dead after repeatedly being run over near a church parking lot, reported. Police say Tamara Dominguez was killed in what may have been a hate crime. Witnesses say they saw a black SUV, a Chevy Avalanche, at the scene. The family is trying to raise funds to bury their loved one; donations can be made by calling 816-745-2904.

A same-sex marriage fight continues in Kentucky, where a county clerk's staff turned away two different same-sex couples in search of marriage licenses, according to NPR. This came after a decision from a federal judge, U.S. District Judge David Bunning, ordering the county clerk, Kim Davis, to start issuing marriage licenses, after she initially refused to do so; Davis did not show up to work the day following the order. She is appealing the judge's decision.

In preparation for Pope Francis' upcoming visit to the United States, GLAAD released "The Papal Visit: a resource guide for journalists covering Pope Francis and the LGBT community." The playbook was released after GLAAD, DignityUSA and 28 other groups published a letter asking Pope Francis to meet with LGBT Catholics. This guide provides best practices, pitfalls and terms to avoid when discussing LGBT Catholics as well as information on LGBT Catholic organizations. Visit

The Colorado Court of Appeals has ruled that a dessert shop could not refuse service to a same-sex couple that wanted to order a wedding cake, affirming previous rulings, according to Politico. The American Civil Liberties Union and its Colorado chapter filed the lawsuit on behalf of David Mullins and Charlie Craig; Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips turned the same-sex couple away in 2012, citing religious beliefs. In 2014, the Colorado Civil Rights Division affirmed a previous judge's ruling that Phillips had discriminated against them, and Phillips' business appealed.

New Ways Ministry's workshop "Transforming Love: Gender Identity from Catholic Perspectives"—scheduled to take place at St. John the Evangelist parish, Philadelphia, on Sept. 26—has been evicted from the space by Archbishop Charles Chaput of the Philadephia Archdiocese, according to the ministry's website. The moderator of the Curia of the archdiocese phoned the parish's pastor, Fr. John Daya, OFM Cap, to tell him that the archbishop had seen a brochure for the program and did not want it to take place. Organizers are working on re-scheduling both the New Ways Ministry and Equally Blessed programs ( which were also cancelled ) to the nearby Arch Street United Methodist Church in Philadelphia.

The mayor of a small southeastern Indiana city is accused of paying an Indianapolis man for sex in June, reported. Batesville Mayor Richard C. Fledderman, 60, has been charged with one count of patronizing a prostitute after police said he paid 42-year-old Randy Wigle-Stevens for sex. Wigle-Stevens reportedly failed to disclose his HIV status to Fledderman before having sex with him, and threatened to go public with the encounter unless Fledderman paid him more money. Wigle-Stevens is charged with failure to disclose dangerous communicable disease status—a felony—as well as intimidation and prostitution, both misdemeanors.

More than 60 same-sex couples exchanged vows at a mass wedding in Puerto Rico, celebrating a U.S. Supreme Court ruling affecting the socially conservative U.S. territory, the Associated Press reported. "This is a historic event for all of Puerto Rico," said organizer Ada Conde, an attorney who had filed a federal lawsuit seeking to have her gay marriage recognized in the U.S. territory prior to the Supreme Court decision. "This is not a show. This is not a parade. This is a solemn event to celebrate the fruit of our sacrifice."

Chelsea Manning faces indefinite solitary confinement at Fort Leavenworth prison as penalty for having a copy of the Vanity Fair Caitlyn Jenner cover in her possession, TheWrap noted. The former U.S. army intelligence analyst was slated to have an Aug. 18 hearing to determine whether she should be punished for what prison officials deemed contraband. Other materials that were taken from Manning's possession included The Advocate and Out magazines; the Cosmopolitan issue that featured an interview with Manning; Transgender Studies Quarterly; and a A Safe Girl to Love, a transgender novel.

The National Institutes of Health has awarded $5.7 million for a five-year, multicenter study that will be the first in the United States to evaluate the long-term outcomes of medical treatment for transgender youth, according to EurekAlert! This study will provide evidence-based information on the physiological and psychosocial impact, as well as safety, of hormone blockers and cross-sex hormone use in this population. The study, which will begin enrollment in fall 2015, will include 280 transgender youth with gender dysphoria.

Greater Fort Lauderdale will welcome the 25th Annual Southern Comfort Conference to its sunny shores this year, a first-time honor for Florida, according to a press release. The destination will host the conference, one of the largest gatherings of the transgender community in the world, for the next three years. The four-day conference—to be held at the Bonaventure Resort & Spa Sept. 29-Oct. 3—anticipates 1,000 attendees.

Callen-Lorde Community Health Center has been selected for Affordable Care Act funding to open its planned new site in the South Bronx, in partnership with BOOM!Health, according to a press release. Callen-Lorde's new Bronx site will target services to reach LGBTQ Bronx residents and homeless or unstably housed LGBTQ people from across New York City. The center will receive a $650,000 grant.

Friends celebrated the life of a gay Houston man who died recently, weeks after a freak accident during Pride weekend that left him with a broken neck, Project Q Houston noted. Robert Fulton, 33, died on July 26—a day shy of his 34th birthday—from complications related to injuries he suffered when he dove headfirst into the shallow end of the pool at Club Houston, a gay bathhouse. On Aug. 16, friends held a "Celebration of Life and Benefit" at Maribelle's; the event raised funds to help pay for Fulton's medical expenses.

The boyfriend of a longtime Atlanta drag queen pleaded guilty to shooting and killing her as a dispute over dinner turned violent—the final argument in a years-long tumultuous relationship, Project Q Atlanta reported. Frank Davis Bowles, 60, pleaded guilty to malice murder in the Oct. 3, 2014, killing of his partner, 60-year-old Kitty Litter ( known as Kitty Collins on Facebook ). Bowles shot Collins several times as the two argued over the preparation of dinner. Bowles then dragged Collins' body into the woods; took her driver's license, credit cards and Honda Odyssey; and fled the state.

Police say a New York City man has been arrested in connection with an attack in lower Manhattan against the first gay couple to be married at West Point, The Huffington Post noted. Thomas Clabough of Queens was arrested, and charged with assault and attempted assault as a hate crime. The victims were Daniel Lennox-Choate and his husband, Larry. Daniel graduated from West Point in 2007, and his husband graduated two years later.

Four Mississippi couples are challenging the state's 15-year-old ban on adoptions by same-sex couples, calling the one-sentence law a "significant deprivation" of their constitutional rights, Courthouse News Service noted. Mississippi is the only state that has such a prohibition, it's law reading, "Adoption by couples of the same gender is prohibited." The plaintiffs seek declarative and injunctive relief of equal protection and due process claims.

In South Carolina, U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel ruled that Attorney General Alan Wilson must pay $135,276 in legal fees and costs to lawyers whose federal lawsuit forced open the doors to same-sex marriages in that state, The Post and Courier reported. The money must be paid by Wilson in his official capacity, Gergel ordered, and will come from state accounts. It will go to the gay-rights advocacy groups South Carolina Equality and Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund.

From the deep red state of Texas, the Dallas-based North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce is handing out stickers and signs with the words "LGBT Zone" and "We Welcome Everyone"—and businesses are snapping them up, according to an item that cites The Dallas Morning News. Many business—not just gay ones—are displaying the signs, which feature a rainbow design that imitates a bar code.

Twelve men were arrested by Delaware police last month at a gay-male cruising area about three miles northwest of Rehoboth Beach, Philadelphia Gay News reported. The arrests took place in a section of Cape Henlopen State Park known as Wolfe Neck. The men were charged with violations such as criminal solicitation, offensive touching, lewdness, indecent exposure and loitering to engage in or solicit sex.

In Colorado, an attorney has said that a school that pulled a graduation speech by a valedictorian who wanted to disclose his sexual orientation didn't discriminate by blocking the speech, the Associated Press noted. Eighteen-year-old Twin Peaks Charter Academy valedictorian Evan Young was blocked this spring from giving a graduation speech in which he planned to out himself as gay, prompting criticism from gay rights activists. The school hired the attorney to investigate its decision.

For more than a decade the Victory Fund has distributed its Gay Politics Report, a clipping service of news stories and opinion on all things LGBT—but has now ceased doing so, Press Pass Q noted. More than 20,000 LGBT leaders in media, government, politics, and advocacy looked to Gay Politics Report to keep them informed. Victory Fund cited a changed political landscape as a reason for discontinuing the report.

A Washington, D.C., museum will exhibit a sculpture that uses the blood of nine gay, bisexual and transgender men to protest the federal ban on blood donations from men who have sex with other men, the Associated Press reported. The American University Museum will showcase Jordan Eagles' sculpture, entitled "Jordan Eagles: Blood Mirror," in an exhibit opening Sept. 12. The artwork includes blood donations encased in resin. Blood donors for the sculpture include the Rev. John Moody, an 88-year-old gay, Episcopal priest; Kelsey Louie, the CEO of Gay Men's Health Crisis in New York; and former Army Capt. Anthony Woods, who served two tours in Iraq and was discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" before he was reinstated in 2014.

The Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs has made rainbow crosswalks—a vision spearheaded by one gay man, Robert Sepulveda—a reality in the city, according to Project Q Atlanta. The permanent addition, at 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue, will be a joint project overseen by the city's Cultural Arts Department and Department of Public Works, as well as the newly formed Atlanta Rainbow Crosswalks organization.

In Georgia, the Fulton County health director who oversaw the county's HIV-prevention funding is out—retiring after facing intense scrutiny in the wake of reports detailing the program's failures, Project Q Atlanta reported. Dr. Patrice Harris, director of the county's health department, quietly announced her retirement, which is effective at the end of the year. An investigation in early June discovered the health department returned $8.7 million in HIV-prevention funds granted by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention—nearly 45 percent of its budget since 2012.

Target has announced it will begin phasing out gender-based descriptions for children's toys and other sections following customer complaints, The Washington Times reported. "Right now, our teams are working across the store to identify areas where we can phase out gender-based signage to help strike a better balance," Target said in a statement. The push for more gender-neutral advertising at Target gained steam in June after Ohio mother Abi Bechtel posted a photo on social media that showed an aisle designated for "Building Sets" and "Girls' Building Sets," according to a Fox News item.

In West Hollywood, California, David Cooley announced last night that he is taking full ownership of The Abbey, the famous gay bar and restaurant that he opened in 1991 as a coffee shop, according to . Cooley made the announcement at a party at The Abbey celebrating his 55th birthday. Cooley sold what was rumored to be a 75-percent stake in The Abbey in 2006 to entertainment group SBE. A production company currently is at work on a reality-TV show about The Abbey.

This article shared 3620 times since Tue Aug 18, 2015
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