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  WINDY CITY TIMES

NewsWrap
by Raphael Abantés
2004-01-14

This article shared 3005 times since Wed Jan 14, 2004
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Several students from Morgan Hill, Calif., reached a $1.1 million settlement in their suit that alleged the school district did not protect them from anti-gay bullying, reports Reuters. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) represented the six students against the school district south of San Jose. The district also agreed to begin a training program aimed at reducing anti-gay bullying.

The New Jersey senate approved the state's proposed domestic-partnership law, reports the Jersey Journal. Ahead of possible direction from the courts, the state senate drafted and passed the legislation that would give gay couples many of the rights of marriage. The bill passed in the senate 23-9 and is expected to be signed into law.

A federal appeals court ruled last week that it was OK to fire an anti-gay employee, reports Reuters. Hewlett-Packard Co. fired Richard Peterson, a Christian employee who posted Biblical passages condemning homosexuality in response to corporate posters promoting diversity. Peterson admitted that one of the passages was intended to be hurtful.

365Gay.com reports that a Brooklyn man has been found beaten to death and mutilated inside his apartment in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area, and police say the murder may be related to a gay Web site he created. Nubian Knight, 37, worked at Kings County Hospital as a hospital cop, had been missing for several days.

The Washington Blade reports that D.C. police are seeking help from gays in an investigation into the killing of a gay music promoter whose body was found Dec. 9 inside a duffel bag in his Dupont Circle apartment. U.S. marshals called police to the apartment of Tymon 'Tymex' Birchett, 28, after they discovered his body while removing his belongings during an eviction, according to a police statement. He had been strangled and beaten. The killings of more than a dozen gay men in D.C. over the past decade remain unsolved in cases that police and gay activists refer to as 'pickup' murders.

Elizabeth Birch, former executive director of the Human Rights Campaign, joined the Dean for America campaign, reports Dean headquarters. Birch will serve as a senior advisor on the campaign. HRC has not yet issued an endorsement.

The city of San Diego agreed to stop support of the Boy Scouts of America, according to the San Diego Union Tribune. The ACLU sued the city over their long-term lease of campground space to the Scouts. A judge ruled that the lease to the discriminatory Scouts was unconstitutional. Under the lease agreement, the Scouts paid only $1 per year plus an administrative fee for more than 15 acres of land. Councilwoman Toni Atkins told the Tribune that any new lessee must provide a space that is 'open to all the public.'

The owner of a Cincinnati-area gay bar received a death threat in the mail, reports the Cincinnati Post. The FBI launched a hate-crimes investigation after Carl Fox received the letter bearing a swastika and threats of extermination. Beneath a hand-drawn cross were the words 'Race, God, Country.' Sending threats through the mail is a federal offense.

Margaret Cho, Moby, and Michael Stipe will vote on the best critical George W. Bush commercial in a contest sponsored by the Moveon.Org voter fund. Finalist videos are critical of Bush's war on Iraq, his tax policies, and the No Child Left Behind Act. To view the videos online, visit BushIn30seconds.org .

A teen near Spokane, Wash., says he's dropping out of Post Falls High School because administrators are not able to protect him from anti-gay harassment reports KXLY-TV. Ryan Myers, 17, dropped out after several months at the school. He said he hopes his story will help make the school safe for other students.

The U.S. State Department disavowed any involvement in promoting acceptance of homosexuals in Macedonia, reports AFP. A human-rights group in the Southeast European country used the U.S. embassy seal on billboards intended to promote tolerance. A State Department spokesman said the embassy gave the rights group a $20,000 grant in 2002 to provide legal assistance and counseling to victims of discrimination.

Two gay couples in Atlanta filed a discrimination complaint against the Druid Hills Golf Club, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Georgia is one of four states without an anti-discrimination law so the complaint will be heard and possibly decided this week by the Atlanta Human Relations Commission.

Comedian Rosie O'Donnell and her partner Kelli formed a new company to provide travel and information for gay families, reports Reuters. R Family Vacations, interviewed a few weeks ago in Windy City Times, plans its first offering to be a weeklong cruise to the Bahamas. The twist on this cruise: free time is spent in discussion groups and informational sessions about starting or maintaining healthy families.

The Massachusetts Family Institute (MFI) and the Coalition for Marriage (CM) is under fire for distorting a public opinion poll about gay marriage, reports the Boston Herald. MFI and CM commissioned the Zogby organization to poll Massachusetts residents with 20 questions about same-sex unions. CM released the results of only seven questions that supported their views. Zogby later released the unabridged results which suggested, among other things, that a slight majority of respondents actually oppose a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

'Metrosexual' is the word of the year for 2003, reports AFP. The American Dialect Association voted last week for the word meaning a straight man with fashion sense. The word came into national prominence after Queer Eye for the Straight Guy hit the scene in '03. 'Metrosexual' defeated 'governator,' describing California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and beat the phrase 'weapons of mass deception.'

Project Inform, a leading national HIV/AIDS treatment information and advocacy organization, criticized California Gov. Schwarzenegger's proposed state budget for its failure to provide adequate funding for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP).

The New York Times reports on violence involving two Staten Island firefighters, which may have been started with anti-gay comments. 'It now appears that the incident, which ended with one man on a respirator and another under arrest, resulted from 'busting chops': firefighters' teasing one another about work habits, physical appearance and—as is reported to have occurred here—sexual orientation,' the paper said.

The Human Rights Campaign urged the National Park Service to keep footage of GLBT civil-rights marches, as well as pro-choice demonstrations, in a tourism video that has been running at the Lincoln Memorial since 1995. The Park Service has been giving conflicting statements on whether the clips will be edited out in order to satisfy right-wing critics.

Francesco Scavullo, 82, the American fashion photographer who helped shape the look of Cosmopolitan's distinctive magazine covers, died last week, reports 365Gay.com . His companion of more than 30 years, Sean Byrnes, said Scavullo had died of heart failure and had felt weak.

News Tips? RaphaelNews@aol.com


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