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National roundup: Proposition 63, Red Wing leaving, onePULSE event
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2016-08-23

This article shared 666 times since Tue Aug 23, 2016
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Equality California has endorsed Proposition 63, the "Safety for All" ballot initiative backed by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a press release stated. Following the shootings in June at an Orlando LGBT nightclub, a spike in homicides of LGBT people and an ongoing worldwide epidemic of murders of transgender women, Equality California has made enacting gun safety measures a key part of its program and advocacy work. KPBS noted that Proposition 63 is a collection of gun regulations that would make gun theft a felony and require gun owners to quickly report lost or stolen guns to police, among other things.

One Iowa Executive Director Donna Red Wing has announced she will retire in December after more than four years leading the state's largest LGBT organization as well as three decades of LGBT advocacy and leadership, a press release stated. She said, "After I retire from full-time work, I look forward to staying involved in our movement and our community. I also look forward to spending real time with my wife, my grandson, my friends and my dog. And I hope to pursue some long awaited dreams." Members of the One Iowa board of directors will lead a transition team to conduct a search for Red Wing's successor.

The onePULSE Foundation hosted a benefit at NeueHouse in Hollywood, California, to help those affected by the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history that took place at Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12, a press release stated. Celebrities, industry powerhouses and advocates ( including Pulse nightclub owner Barbara Poma, Lance Bass, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, will.i.am, Matt Bomer and Stevie Wonder, among others ) came together in unity to honor those lives lost and families torn apart. Also, Hillary Clinton taped a video for the event. ( Those interested in contributing are urged to text "PULSE" to 91999. )

Cher, on Aug. 21, helped raise more than $1.5 million at a fundraiser and rally for Hillary Clinton, On Top Magazine noted. The "summer celebration" in support of Clinton attracted roughly 1,000 people to the Pilgrim Monument & Museum in Provincetown, Massachusetts. According to the Cape Cod Times, Clinton spoke for about 30 minutes. Others who attended the event include out tennis legend Billie Jean King, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, U.S. Senator Ed Markey and former Congressman Barney Frank.

Following the news that the United States General Services Administration ( GSA ) would issue a bulletin clarifying that transgender people working in or visiting thousands of federally operated facilities be allowed to use restrooms in accordance with their gender identity, Lambda Legal Transgender Rights Project Director Dru Levasseur issued a statement. In part, Levasseur said, "This is bigger than bathrooms— it is a win for equality and dignity. Lambda Legal joins others in celebrating and applauding this key step forward. As we continue our work to ensure that transgender people are granted equal access to public facilities, including restrooms and locker rooms, this guidance sends an important message to public officials at all levels of government: discrimination against transgender individuals has no place in America."

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) released a statement in response to a decision by a federal judge in Michigan who ruled in favor of a Detroit-based funeral home who fired a transgender employee due to her gender identity. HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow said, in part, "[U.S. District Court Judge Sean] Cox's deeply disappointing decision has the possibility of setting an incredibly dangerous precedent that purported religious beliefs can be used as an excuse to violate non-discrimination laws. It has the potential of opening a Pandora's box of discrimination against a wide range of vulnerable communities."

A federal appeals court refused to lift a stay against Mississippi's controversial religious-freedom law, The Washington Blade reported. U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves initially issued a last-minute injunction against House Bill 1523—which critics contend would allow anti-LGBT discrimination in Mississippi—before it was to have taken effect on July 1. Gov. Phil Bryant appealed Reeves' ruling to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans after state Attorney General Jim Hood, who is a Democrat, announced that he would not.

Discrimination based on race, color, age, religion, sex, familial status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or national origin has been banned in Juneau, Alaska, as the city's assembly passed an anti-discrimination ordinance Aug. 22, The Juneau Empire reported. The equal rights ordinance, which becomes effective in 30 days, will give Juneau residents a legal leg to stand on if they've been discriminated against by an employer, landlord or business owner.

A small-town police chief in staunchly conservative South Carolina is trying to make history by becoming the first female—and openly gay—sheriff in the state, CBS News reported. Just two years ago, residents in Crystal Moore's town of Latta ( population: 1,400 ) rallied around her after the mayor fired her. He was later caught on a recording ranting that he would rather have a drunk watch a child than a lesbian. Now Moore is running for sheriff in Dillon County, a former tobacco hub of 31,000 that's probably best known for its South of the Border rest stop.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio ( R-Fla. ) attempted to defend his appearance at an event hosted by opponents of LGBT rights, On Top Magazine noted. Rubio and Donald Trump had been criticized for taking part in the event, part of the American Renewal Project's "Rediscovering God" campaign. "[It was] the message that I've given before, which is irrespective of how you feel about the definition of marriage we should all respect each other's views," he told TV station WPLG.

A Brooklyn judge sentenced the two Hasidic men who admitted to participating in the vicious beating of a gay Black man to 150 hours of community service, The New York Daily News reported. Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun had delayed Pinchas Braver and Abraham Winkler's sentencing by seven days so they could find an appropriate placement for their community service—but they still have not. Taj Patterson was beaten by a group of Hasidic men and left blind in his right eye.

In what is believed to be a first for the local bench, a gay Asian judge is now serving on the San Francisco Superior Court, The Bay Area Reporter noted. Judge Roger Chan took his oath of office July 22 and has been assigned to hear traffic cases at the Hall of Justice. Gov. Jerry Brown appointed him in late June to fill the vacancy created by Judge Richard A. Kramer's retirement.

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) and Equality NC issued a joint press release endorsing Roy Cooper for governor of North Carolina. "Roy Cooper is the leader we need for North Carolina. He has a strong track record of fighting for civil rights, education and economic growth that Pat McCrory lacks," said Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro. "While Pat McCrory has caused deep harm to both the LGBTQ community and the economy of our state every day since the passage of HB2, Roy Cooper has been a leader we need."

A lesbian couple is suing New Jersey state officials over a law that requires couples to have unprotected, heterosexual intercourse with a man first before being allowed medical treatment for infertility issues that have been diagnosed, The Huffington Post reported. Marianne and Erin Krupa's lawsuit states that the law is discriminatory in nature. The couple has been trying to conceive since 2013.

A Wyoming judge urged the state's Supreme Court to let her remain on the bench despite her publicly stated refusal to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies, citing religious objections, NBC News reported. The state's judicial ethics commission recommended that Ruth Neely be relieved of her position as a magistrate in the small northwestern Wyoming town of Pinedale. In a letter to the state's judicial ethics advisory committee, she wrote, "Homosexuality is a named sin in the Bible, as are drunkenness, thievery, lying, and the like. I can no more officiate at a same-sex wedding than I can buy beer for the alcoholic."

A Minnesota man dismissed from the banking business his family ran in southeast Minnesota was terminated for being gay, according to a judge who awarded him as much as $3.5 million in damages, The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reported. The case involves Stephen Habberstad, who came out as gay in his 50s, leading to a divorce and feud that involved the Country Bankers Inc., a family-owned holding company that owned portions of Farmers and Merchants State Bank of Blooming Prairie and Citizens State Bank of Hayfield.

Lambda Legal filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Jessica Hicklin, a 37-year-old transgender woman incarcerated at the Potosi Correctional Center, a facility for male inmates, in Mineral Point, Missouri, a press release stated. The case challenges a Missouri Department of Corrections ( MDOC ) "freeze-frame" policy that bars access to hormone therapy for inmates and others in custody if they were not receiving treatment prior to incarceration.

A new LifeWay research shows that pastors are rarely requested to preside over same-sex marriages and that most of the requests are made to Presbyterian and reformed pastors, while Baptist pastors are least likely to be asked to officiate gay weddings, Christianity Today noted. Since the 2015 ruling that legalized same-sex marriages, over 120,000 same-sex couples have gotten married, according to a Gallup poll. The study also says that only 9.6 percent of LGBT adults are married. Presbyterian/Reformed pastors were approached more often ( 26 percent ) than Lutherans ( 19 percent ), Methodists ( 9 percent ), Church of Christ ( 7 percent ), and Pentecostals ( 6 percent ). Only 1 percent of Baptist pastors were asked to perform gay weddings.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced her resignation one day after a jury convicted her of perjury, obstruction of justice and other charges, USA Today noted. Kane burst onto the state's political scene with a convincing victory in the attorney general's race four years ago. She was the first woman and first Democrat elected to the post, and she drew early acclaim for liberal positions on same-sex marriage and other issues.

A federal judge seems inclined to let a legal challenge continue over North Carolina's law allowing magistrates to refuse to marry same-sex couples—but only if those suing can prove they have the right to file the legal action, ABC News reported. U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn didn't rule immediately after the Aug. 8 hearing in Asheville, North Carolina. Roughly 5 percent of North Carolina's magistrates are refusing to marry same-sex couples for religious reasons, including every magistrate in McDowell County.

A pastor who believes natural disasters are a "sign of God's wrath" to punish gay people has been flooded out of his home, ITV News noted. Tony Perkins, president of the anti-gay Christian group Family Research Council, made headlines last year after saying Hurricane Joaquin was caused by abortion and the legalization of same-sex marriage. However, Perkins revealed he had been forced to flee his home following the recent storm in Louisiana.

In San Francisco, Tommy Castellani, a doorman at the Castro bar Badlands, was brutally beaten in an act of bigoted violence according to his sister, Julia DePetrillo, who has created a GoFundMe.com page to raise money to pay for his medical expenses, SFist.com noted. "Tommy had to have emergency surgery to basically re-attach his fractured jaw to his skull as well as other unpleasant fractured and broken details," DePetrillo wrote. The campaign exceeded its $5,000 goal.

In an interview with Asbury Park Press, former Seton Hall University guard Derrick Gordon claimed he was not invited to try out for a single NBA team this summer because of his sexual orientation, On Top Magazine noted. "I didn't get a fair shot to show what I could do," he said. "It was, without a doubt, because of the fact that I'm gay. I was heartbroken." Gordon came out in April 2014 in an ESPN profile while attending the University of Massachusetts.

Former Corbin Fisher model-turned-CNN producer Matt Null died at age 34 while on vacation in Barcelona, Queerty reported. ( Corbin Fisher specializes in gay adult entertainment. ) According to Str8UpGayPorn, Null got his start in adult entertainment 12 years ago, appearing in scenes as "Austin" on Corbin Fisher from 2004-2005. He later went on to work as a producer for On the Record With Greta Van Susteren at Fox News before becoming a senior producer at CNN. Null had been working for the network's morning show, Early Start, for the past three years.

In Philadelphia, Nikki Lopez, a former youth coordinator with GALAEI: A Queer Latin@ Social Justice Organization, will take the reins as the group's executive director starting the first week of September, Philadelphia Gay News noted. She worked at the organization from 2011-2014; Lopez left to pursue a master of fine arts degree at Rutgers University. "It's an organization that's been in existence over 20 years," she added. "It's a resilient place. I think it demonstrates that the LGBT Latinx community of Philadelphia is resilient as well."

In Atlanta, a cluster of gay businesses in the middle of the redevelopment surge that is sweeping through Cheshire Bridge Road will remain in place and open, Project Q reported. Last year, the sale of a 2.4-acre parcel at the corner of Cheshire Bridge and Faulkner roads—the home of strip club Doll House and a vacant lot—set off alarm bells from gay nightlife fans concerned about how 200 apartments planned for the site would co-exist with the trio of gay bars that neighbor it.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier will resign next month to take over as head of security for the National Football League, ending her 26-year career on the force—the last decade as its first permanent female leader, The Washington Post reported. She said the unique job opportunity in professional sports prompted her decision. Her latest contract was up in January.

Univision is purchasing Gawker Media for $135 million, Recode noted. Ziff Davis and Univision were the only two bidders for Gawker, which filed for bankruptcy after Hulk Hogan and Peter Thiel won a $140-million judgment in a privacy case. Thiel, who Gawker outed several years ago, financed Hogan's case.


This article shared 666 times since Tue Aug 23, 2016
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