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National roundup: Va. homicide, Chelsea Manning, Native Son Awards
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

This article shared 338 times since Tue Nov 8, 2016
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The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs ( NCAVP ) has learned of the intimate partner violence homicide of Ava Tucker, 26, in Henrico County, Virginia, that occurred Oct. 27, a press release stated. According to local media reports, Tucker's ex-girlfriend, Sheena Yolanda Wilson, 33, confessed to her homicide and turned herself in to police. Ava's sister, Latesha Tucker, has spoken out, calling Ava a "beautiful person" and a "beautiful soul."

Chelsea Manning attempted suicide for the second time in recent months while the transgender soldier remains imprisoned in Kansas for leaking classified information, according to an LGBTQ Nation item. Attorneys Vincent Ward and Chase Strangio declined to divulge details of Manning's suicide attempt last month at a military prison at Kansas' Fort Leavenworth. But Manning's attorneys cited her prison conditions—including the solitary confinement that her legal team says she received as punishment for her July suicide attempt—as contributing to their client's fragile mental state.

On Wed., Nov. 30, journalist/activsit Emil Wilbekin will host the inaugural Native Son Awards, a press release stated. The awards will honor Tony Award-winning director and playwright George C. Wolfe; journalist and CNN Tonight host Don Lemon; and Black Lives Matter Activist DeRay Mckesson at New York City's Cadillac House. The event—the first in a series of intimate quarterly influencer/networking events—was created by Wilbekin to honor and celebrate the achievements of Black gay men who have broken down barriers, defied stereotypes and made a cultural impact not only on in the LGBT community, but also on the world.

The National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund and the National Coalition for LGBT Health have published a new guide on health issues important to LGBTQ people, according to a press release. Released in advance of the 2016 presidential election, the "10 Key LGBTQ Health Advocacy Priorities Guide" is intended to educate voters on LGBTQ health priorities the two organizations will continue to focus on during the next administration. The guide is available online on the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund and the National Coalition for LGBT Health's websites.

Another gay man has been dismissed from a Catholic Church position because of a legal marriage to his husband, a New Ways Ministry press release stated. William di Canzio was told by the abbot of Daylesford Abbey, Paoli, Pennsylvania ( near Philadelphia ), that he was no longer able to be a lector ( reader of Scriptures at liturgical celebrations ). The directive was given to the abbot by Archbishop Charles Chaput, who issued very restrictive guidelines about pastoral roles last July. di Canzio has made his story public in a reflective essay on Bonding 2.0, New Ways MInistry's daily blog on Catholic LGBT issues.

The National LGBTQ Task Force is joining LGBTQ advocates across the nation in celebrating Native American Heritage Month. Additionally, the organization is joining calls for the President to stop construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline being built in sacred Native American lands, a press release noted. "We urge the President to go beyond his welcomed re-routing of the Standing Rock pipeline project and to stop the project entirely—and commit to preserving all sacred Native American lands," said National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey.

Citing concerns over the possibility of legislation modeled after North Carolina's HB2 law, more than 200 Texas business owners signed an open letter opposing any efforts to pass laws that would single out the LGBT community for disparate treatment, Metro Weekly reported, citing The Houston Chronicle. "[W]e're watching what's unfolding in North Carolina with a growing sense of dread," reads the letter, which was posted on Equality Texas' website. "Experts put economic damage from the discriminatory HB2 law at $395 million and rising. That damage is coming from the loss of corporate investments, talent, performances, sporting events, and conventions.

In Kansas, Equality House, painted in the colors of the rainbow flag representing the LGBTQI community, was attacked by unknown vandals Oct. 22, The New Civil Rights Movement reported. The Topeka Police Department and a spokesperson for Planting Peace, the non-profit organization that owns the house and the Transgender House located next door, confirmed the attack. Bullet holes and associated damages were discovered by the staff of the house, which is located directly across the street from the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church.

In Indiana, two faith-based groups have argued in a Hamilton County courtroom that anti-discrimination ordinances in four cities hurt their organizations, according to an LGBTQ Nation item that cites the Associated Press. However, attorneys for Indianapolis, Carmel, Bloomington and Columbus argued that the Indiana Family Institute and American Family Association of Indiana aren't even governed by the regulations, which protect the rights of LGBT residents, and that the groups haven't been harmed or affected in any way. Hamilton Superior Court Judge Steven Nation said he will decide at a later date whether to let the case proceed.

As the New York City AIDS Memorial Park at St. Vincent's Triangle nears completion, supporters of the project celebrated with a reception at Barneys New York, POZ noted. A public dedication for the memorial is scheduled for World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, according to a press release from the memorial. The memorial is located in a Greenwich Village park across from what used to be St. Vincent's Hospital, the origin of the AIDS crisis in the early years of the epidemic.

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) praised the decision of a federal judge in Pittsburgh who sided with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ( EEOC ) position that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects against discrimination based on sexual orientation, a press release noted. In the case of U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Scott Medical Health Center, Judge Cathy Bissoon ruled, "There is no more obvious form of sex stereotyping than making a determination that a person should conform to heterosexuality." HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow said, "Judge Bissoon's decision affirms that discrimination against an individual based on their sexual orientation is fundamentally a form of discrimination based on sex—which is prohibited by federal law. We congratulate the EEOC and the plaintiff on this victory."

The arrest of a police sergeant's live-in boyfriend has reportedly launched a multi-agency probe into allegations that gay cops in upstate New York may have hosted or participated in sex parties attended by teens not old enough to drink booze or give consent, The New York Post reported. The Times Union reports that Schenectady police Sgt. Jonathan E. Moore, 35, was at an auto dealership last month in Colonie, New York, when his boyfriend, Anthony Aubin, 27, was arrested after trying to use a counterfeit check to buy a 2016 Jaguar coupe for $92,000, according to arrest records. Aubin's arrest has since triggered a broader investigation into allegations that gay officers may have hosted so-called "breeding parties."

A jury in New Jersey convicted two cronies of Gov. Chris Christie for their roles in the infamous "Bridgegate" saga that prosecutors said was political retaliation against a mayor defied the governor, LGBTQ Nation reported. Bill Baroni and Bridget Anne Kelly were convicted after five days of deliberations capping nearly seven weeks of trial, reported the Star-Ledger. Talking with reporters, Baroni thanked his family and "friends in the gay community." In 2010, Baroni was the sole Republican lawmaker to support marriage equality when the bill came up in the state senate.

Probate judges in at least eight Alabama counties continued to refuse to issue any marriage licenses as of late October, nearly 16 months after the U.S. Supreme Court found that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right, reported. More than a dozen Alabama probate judges stopped issuing marriage licenses to both gay and straight couples at various points after a federal judge struck down Alabama's gay marriage ban on Jan. 23, 2015, and in the wake of the June 26, 2015, Supreme Court ruling. Employees of Autauga, Choctaw, Clarke, Cleburne, Covington, Elmore, Pike and Washington counties confirmed that their probate judges had not granted any marriage licenses.

Speaking of Alabama, a judicial ethics panel dismissed a complaint against Alabama Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker over comments he made about the court decision that effectively legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, according to LGBTQ Nation. Parker's attorney, Mat Staver, said Friday that the Judicial Inquiry Commission dismissed the complaint filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center. On a Christian-themed radio show, Parker said, among other things, that the marriage ruling could maybe start a revival of what we need in this country—to return to our founding principles."

The New York City police hate-crimes unit has its hands full with two new incidents of anti-gay violence, LGBTQ Nation noted. One was directed at two lesbians in Times Square that led to the arrests of two men; the other—just 45 minutes earlier in another part of Manhattan—has triggered a manhunt for the man who left a gay men seriously hurt and injured another. Daquan Burns, 24, and Michael Bailey, 23, were arrested regarding the lesbian-related attack.

A homophobic robocall that claims some lawmakers' voting records led to a man entering a changing room for girls is targeting political candidates in West Virginia, Metro Weekly noted. According to Victory Fund, a group that aims to help openly LGBT political candidates get elected, Delegate Stephen Skinner ( D )—who was running against Republican Patricia Rucker to represent West Virginia's 16th district—was among those attacked by the ad. State Sen. Chris Walters ( R ) and state Sen. Corey Palumbo ( D ), who sponsored a bill to outlaw discrimination against people based on sexual orientation, were among the other candidates attacked, according to Walters.

Senate Democrats are urging their Republican colleagues to dump a controversial "religious liberty" provision as they draft a final version of the National Defense Authorization Act ( NDAA ), warning that such an amendment to the defense policy bill could open the floodgates to widespread employment discrimination based on religion, gender and sexual orientation, NBC News noted. NDAA is a must-pass bill, as it authorizes defense spending for the upcoming fiscal year. The controversial Russell Amendment was proposed by Rep. Steve Russell, a Republican congressman from Oklahoma, and would expand religious exemptions for any employer that is a federal contractor, subcontractor, recipient of a federal grant or participant in a federal purchase order.

A federal-court jury decided that a Rolling Stone journalist defamed a former University of Virginia associate dean in a 2014 magazine article about sexual assault on campus that included a debunked account of a fraternity gang rape, The Washington Post reported. The 10-member jury concluded that the Rolling Stone reporter, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, was responsible for defamation, with actual malice, in the case brought by Nicole Eramo, a school administrator who oversaw sexual-violence cases at the time of the article's publication. The jury also found the magazine and its parent company, Wenner Media, responsible for defaming Eramo.

This article shared 338 times since Tue Nov 8, 2016
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