Financial expert and CNBC Host Suze Orman moderated a panel discussion at New York University on the economic harms caused by the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the denial of marriage for same-sex couples, according to a press release. The Respect for Marriage Coalitiona coalition of more than 80 organizations supporting the freedom to marryand the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation sponsored the panel, called "The Cost of Marriage Inequality." The panel featured Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee; Nanette Lee Miller, a leader at Marcum LLP's LGBT practice group; and two couples from New York and Maryland who discussed the economic hardships DOMA and marriage inequality have cost them.
A federal court will determine if former Idaho Sen. Larry Craig illegally used campaign money for legal defense when he was arrested for soliciting sex in an airport bathroom, according to Advocate.com . In 2007, Craig was arrested at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport after indicating to an undercover police officer he was looking for quick anonymous sex. Craig was arrested and paid $216,000 in legal fees for his defense, which the Federal Election Commission claims was improper use of campaign funds.
True Colors Fund co-founder Cyndi Lauper and Executive Director Gregory Lewis announced the appointment of Jama Shelton as the new director of the fund's Forty to None Project, a press release stated. Launched in June 2012, the Forty to None Project is a national organization focused solely on ending to LGBT youth homelessness. Shelton, who will assume her new responsibilities March 1, previously worked at New York City's Ali Forney Center.
A U.S. Catholic group has launched an online petition to keep a cardinal linked to a sex-abuse scandal from attending the Vatican conclave that will select a new pope, according to the Chicago Tribune. Catholics Uniteda non-profit, non-partisan organizationsays that former Los Angeles Archbishop Roger Mahony should refrain from attending the meeting and recuse himself from voting. Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez recently stripped Mahony, 76, of his duties over his handling of priest sex-abuse cases.
In Manhattan, 23-year-old gay man Urena Morel Frankelly was attacked on a subwayand bystanders reportedly failed to help, according to the New York Daily News. Frankelly and his partner were on the train when a woman took a picture of them eating and her friend called them names. Subsequently, the two women were joined by three others plus a man, and they all attacked Frankelly. The victim's left eye was swollen shut, with a cut above the socket. Police have released sketches of two of the six suspects, Advocate.com noted.
More than 50 civil-rights, religious, professional, labor, civic and education organizations sent a letter to President Obama calling for an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating in employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, according to a press release. It remains legal in 29 states to fire someone based on his or her sexual orientation, and 34 states don't have laws banning discrimination based on gender identity.
The book The Gay Agenda 2013 is now out, according to EqualityGiving.org . The book, available in mid-March, includes up-to-date information about how to achieve legal equality for LGBT people. It also aims to explain why 2013 will be another watershed year for LGBT equality. Juan Ahonen-Joverthe creator and co-founder of eQualityGiving, ActOnPrinciples, eQualityThinking, and Loving Everywhereis the author.
The Midwest Family Equality Conference will take place April 19-20 in Minneapolis, Minn., according to a press release. U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin will be the keynote speakers, while others slated to be at the conference include equality advocate Zach Wahls, author Jeff Rivera and director/producer/animator Sharon Shattuck.
Prominent conservative and former presidential candidate Jon Huntsman stated in an editorial that he now backs marriage equality, according to Advocate.com . Headlined "Marriage Equality Is a Conservative Cause," the former Utah governor and failed Republican presidential candidate wrote in The American Conservative that "we need to take a hard look at what today's conservatism stands for." Several groups, such as Human Rights Campaign, praised Huntsman's stance.
Pro football player Tim Tebow cancelled an appearance at a controversial Dallas Baptist church, citing "new information," according to CBSSports.com . Recently, CBS Sports' Gregg Doyle had written a scathing column about the church's minister, Robert Jeffress, who has spoken out against everyone from Jews to gay people. According to a church statement, "Mr. Tebow called Dr. Jeffress, saying that for personal and professional reasons he needed to avoid controversy at this time, but would like to come to First Baptist Dallas to speak at a future date."
Former First Lady Laura Bush wanted to be removed from a pro-marriage-equality ad that is part of a $1 million campaign from a new coalition, according to Advocate.com . In an ad for the Respect for Marriage Coalition, Bush appears among clips from a series of Republicans (including former Vice President Dick Cheney) supporting marriage equality. The group is already planning its second ad in the campaign, so the first ad will quickly be replaced on air; however, there are no plans to remove the first lady in the current version.
On a related note, The Respect for Marriage Coalition has launched a second national television ad which features Craig Stowell, a Republican and former Marine corporal, speaking out for the freedom to marry, according to a press release. Titled "Stowell," the national television ad is part of the Coalition's ongoing "#Time4Marriage" advertising campaign. "Stowell"which features Craig Stowell, wife Berta, and brother Calvin, who is gaybegan airing on cable, and will air during networks' Sunday shows over the coming weeks.
In Oklahoma, a convicted rapist said she wants the state to pay for laser hair removal, hormone treatment and counseling, as part of her transition procedure, Advocate.com reported. The inmate, identified as Ronny Edward Darnell or Phoebe Halliwell, filed a lawsuit in federal court last year, asking the Oklahoma Corrections Department to treat gender identity disorder. Darnell claims that being denied treatment subjects her to cruel and unusual punishment.
Milwaukee, Wis., police have called off the search for the body of Evon Young (better known as Yung LT), a transgender rapper who was allegedly murdered ealier this year, according to Advocate.com . Authorities spent three weeks searching the landfill where the alleged killers had told them they dumped Young's body after murdering him. The 22-year-old up-and-coming musician was murdered on New Year's Day by a gang of five men who had been his friends.
Backers of North Carolina's ban on same-sex marriage have filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court supporting the federal Defense of Marriage Act, according to WCNC.com . The North Carolina Values Coalition argues that overturning the 1996 law would infringe upon the Constitutional liberties of Christians who believe that marriage is biblically ordained to be between only one man and one woman.
Puerto Rico's Supreme Court voted 5-4 to uphold a law banning same-sex couples from adopting children, according to the Miami Herald. The vote came in the case of an unidentified woman who has sought for the last eight years to adopt a 12-year-old girl who her partner of more than 20 years had through in vitro fertilization. It was the first time that the court heard a case on same-sex adoptions.
In New Jersey, new documents filed in a lawsuit suggest that a sheriff's deputy may have had DeFarra Gaymon under control just before he shot and killed the unarmed man during a 2010 public sex sting in a Newark park, according to Gay City News. An amended complaint filed in federal court Feb. 15 says, in part, "Decedent Gaymon got down on his knees. At this point, decedent Gaymon had no avenue of escape due to the pond being in front of him. ... Officer [Edward] Esposito approached decedent Gaymon from behind. Defendant Officer Esposito kicked decedent Gaymon several times." Esposito then allegedly shot Gaymon once in the stomach.
The Associated Press has added an entry to its stylebook approving the use of "husband" and "wife" when referencing same-sex marriages, according to TheWrap.com . "Regardless of sexual orientation, 'husband' or 'wife' is acceptable in all references to individuals in any legally recognized marriage," the entry reads. "Spouse or partner may be used if requested." Groups ranging from GLAAD to the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association praised the decision.
A chef who claims she was insulted and called anti-gay and racist slurs while working at Cleo Restaurant, a Hollywood eatery popular with celebrities, is now suing over the alleged discrimination, according to the Huffington Post. When Keyon Wilson joined Cleo as a line cook Sept. 21, 2012, she was the only African-American person in the kitchen; she claims that shortly after her hire, the slurs started. Celebrities such as Jamie Foxx, Melanie Brown and Paris Hilton have eaten at Cleo, located at Hollywood and Vine.
In Oregon, five young people were arrested for beating and robbing a man they lured into a park with the promise of a sexual encounter with another man, accoridng to KOINLocal6.com . Police called it "a targeted attack based on his sexual orientation." Authorities believe the group lured Adam Saldani to that park after arranging a meeting on MeetMe.com .
The Kansas Supreme Court upheld the right of a same-sex partner in a co-parenting relationship to petition courts on matters of child visitation or joint custody, according to CJOnline.com . Kelly Goudschaal, the biological mother of two children, had appealed a Johnson County District Court decision granting joint custody to Marci Frazier, with whom she had a co-parenting contract. However, the court found the co-parenting agreement to be valid.
In Mississippi, newspaper owner Jim Cegielski wrote an op-ed in his own publication defending himself and his reporters against anti-gayreaders who ranted about coverage of a local same-sex "wedding," according to the Huffington Post. On Feb. 7, the Laurel Leader-Call published a front-page story about the marriage of Jessica Powell and her partner Crystal Cravenwhich has resulted in at least 15 people cancelling subscriptions. Same-sex marriage is not legal in Mississippi.
A report that GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) released reveals that LGBT students can greatly benefit from participation in school-based athletics, but many of these students experience harassment, assault and discrimination that negatively impact their participation, according to a press release. GLSEN's research brief, The Experiences of LGBT Students in School Athletics, is an in-depth look at the experiences of more than 8,000 LGBT student-athletes, using data from GLSEN's 2011 National School Climate Survey. See www.glsen.org for the full report.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindala possible Republican candidate for president in 2016rejected former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman's argument that conservatives must embrace marriage equality for gays and lesbians if they want to survive as a party, according to ThinkProgress.org . "I believe in the traditional definition of marriage," Jindal said during an appearance on Meet The Press. "We lost [the 2012 election] because we didn't present a vision showing how we believe the entire economy can grow, how people can join the middle class."
Two Republican Texas lawmakers have filed bills that would cut funding for schools and universities that have policies supporting their LGBT students and staff, ThinkProgress.org reported. Last fall, the Pflugerville School District announced it would be the first in Texas to offer domestic partner benefits to the same-sex partners of its teachers and staff. In response, state Rep. Drew Springer filed a bill that would cut 7.5 percent of a district's healthcare funding if it offers such benefits; also, state Rep. Matt Krause has a bill that would cut monies for any school that doesn't allow its religious student groups to discriminate based on race, gender and sexual orientation.
A Philadelphia drag queen was invited to read Dr. Seuss stories in celebration of the author, but then was disinvited after school directors discovered her drag act, Gay Star News reported. School project manager Mark Simmons contacted Martha Graham Cracker to "add a bit of variety" to the program. However, Cracker was subsequently notified that her act was "inappropriate." In the past, Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret has performed in front of schoolchildren at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Lambda Legal filed papers in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida against Arcadia's DeSoto County High School on behalf of Amber Hatcher, an openly lesbian 16-year-old who was punished for participating in an annual anti-bullying observance in support of LGBT students, according to a press release. Last April, Hatcher planned to observe National Day of Silence, a student-led day of action sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN); however, she was repeatedly told she could not participate. When she defied the orders, she was suspended from school for one day.
Vandals recently covered the inside and outside of Florida teen Jesse Jeffers' mobile home with anti-gay graffiti, according to the Huffington Post. While he was out, at least one person spray-painted messages of hate and derogatory pictures, including a crude depiction of a woman's breasts, on the inside and outside of the trailer. Also, a swastika was sprayed on the ceiling. So far, a local LGBT-friendly church as well as others in the community have pledged to help him get rid of the spray paint.
In Georgia, a former prison doctor who tried to play out his gay sex fantasies in Atlanta's federal pen is now an inmate himself. According to ProjectQAtlanta.com, Lewis Jackson, 34, was sentenced in federal district court to two years in jail for assaulting three inmates in October 2011. Jackson is also awaiting sentencing in Washington, D.C., on similar charges.
The U.S. Senate confirmed former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel as the next secretary of defense by a 58-41 vote, according to Advocate.com . LGBT advocates, meanwhile, were concerned about Hagel because of antigay remarks he made several years ago, although he has since apologized. Hagel will immediately have to face a budget crisis at the Pentagon, as the Department of Defense announced plans to furlough most of its 800,000 civilian employees to fill a $46 billion shortfall.
Same-sex couples who live together have worse health than married opposite-sex couples and similar health as opposite-sex couples who are living together (after adjusting for socio-economic differences), according to a new study from researchers at Rice University. Bridget Gorman, professor of sociology at Rice and the study's co-author, said that given the socio-economic advantages of cohabiting same-sex couples, it's unclear why the results turned out this way.