OUT magazine has presented its seventh annual Power 50 list. Apple CEO is number one, while this is the first time Anderson Cooper (No. 5) is publicly out on the list. Among the other people on the list are Ellen DeGeneres (2), statistician Nate Silver (5), U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (9), singer Frank Ocean (10), fashion designer/actor Marc Jacobs (19), financial guru Suze Orman (28) and RuPaul (50).
Javier Pagan, the Boston Police Department's liaison to the LGBT community, was nearby when bombs went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon April 16, and appears in one of the iconic photos from the tragedy, according to a Dallas Voice item. (The photo, which shows 78-year-old marathoner Bill Iffrig lying on the ground and Pagan on the far right, was shot by John Tlumacki of The Boston Globe and is on the cover of Sports Illustrated.) Officer Pagan's husband, Pedro, is a retired sergeant from the New York Police Department who rescued many people when the Twin Towers collapsed on Sept. 11, 2011.
Woodinville, Wash.-based Redhook Brewery has launched a campaign in support of marriage equality, according to a PR release. The campaign features three Redhook brands, including the new Audible Ale, that were created in partnership with sports broadcasting legend Dan Patrick. Posters feature such taglines as "You can't spell 'lesbian' without ESB [one of Redhook's brands]" and "Redhook's support for equality isn't silent. It's Audible [another brand]."
The National Center for Transgender Equality and more than 30 transgender service and advocacy groups released a Statement of Principles on Immigration Reform, according to a press release. The statement outlines fundamental policies critical for reform that affect the estimated 20,000 undocumented transgender adults in the United States, and thousands of transgender youth who came to the States at an early age and also lack legal status. The statement is at http://transequality.org/PDFs/CIR%20Statement%20of%20Principles%20FINAL.pdf.
The Trevor Project has announced the official listing of its cornerstone education program, the Trevor Lifeguard Workshop, as a best practice for suicide prevention, according to a press release. This school-based training programappropriate for middle school, high school and college-age studentshas been reviewed by experts for adherence to standards and is the first training to address the unique needs of LGBTQ youth in the SPRC/AFSP Best Practices Registry for Suicide Prevention. More info is at www.thetrevorproject.org/LWP.
The Washington state attorney general has filed a lawsuit against a Richland florist who said her religious belief did not allow her to provide flowers for the wedding of a gay couple, according to the Seattle Times. The state's suit against Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene's Flowers and Gifts, came just days after the attorney general's office wrote to ask Stutzman to reconsider her position and agree to comply with the state's anti-discrimination laws. JD Bristol, attorney for Arlene's, said his client has many customers and employees who are gay, and that charges of discrimination are "nonsense."
In Delaware, state legislators filed a marriage-equality bill, according to Advocate.com . Most of the state's political leadershipincluding Gov. Jack Markell, Lt. Gov. Matt Denn, Speaker of the House Beau Biden and Senate President Pro Tempore Patricia Blevinsannounced the introduction of marriage-equality legislation outside the City and County building in Wilmington April 11. Delaware has a state-level marriage statute that prohibits marriage between "people of the same gender," but voters there never amended the state constitution to ban the practice; the legislation aims to revise the statute language and establish marriage equality.
In Chicago, Charles Norwood has claimed in federal court that police officer Nelson Stewart demanded, and got, sexual services in jail after Norwood was arrested on prostitution charges, according to Courthouse News. Norwood, a gay African-American, was arrested five times in 2010 and 2011 on charges of prostitution and soliciting rides. The complaint also claims that Stewart sexually abused other "gay and/or gender non-conforming individuals."
The ACLU is suing Nevada over its "infamous crime against nature statute," which makes it illegal to have gay sex with any minor under 18, Business Insider reported. The ACLU says that the law creates a double standard for gay and straight couples, as the age of consent for heterosexual sex is 16. The group represents an unnamed 17-year-old boy who was allegedly prosecuted for having sex with a 16-year-old boy.
In Kansas City, Mo., a gay man, Roger Gorley, was arrested and issued a restraining order after he refused to leave his partner's hospital bedside, Advocate.com reported. Gorley told Fox 4 News that he and his partner, Allen, have been in a civil union for five years and have legal power of attorney agreements to make medical decisions for one another. However, when a member of Allen's family asked Roger to leave, staff at Research Medical Center refused to recognize the men's partnership, and had police arrest Roger.
Dr. Ben Carson won't be speaking to the graduating class of Johns Hopkins University this May after students protested the neurosurgeon's controversial statements on Fox News in March comparing marriage equality to pedophilia and bestiality, Advocate.com reported. Carson apologized for his statements last month, citing his Christian beliefs and claiming he had no intention to offend anyone. Withdrawing from the event, Carson claimed he is being unfairly silenced by a drive for political correctness.
In Long Island, New York, Nicholas Coppolaa gay man who was stripped of his involvement with his local Roman Catholic parishdelivered more than 18,000 signatures with GLAAD to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre, requesting to be restored to full engagement with his local parish, sdgln.com reported. Coppola was out to his church, and both congregation members and clergy supported him. However, after marrying his husband in October, Coppola was told that the bishop directed his priest to remove him from all involvement with the church.
Meghan McCain criticized fellow Republican Ann Coulter after the conservative provocateur joked about McCain being murdered, according to the Huffington Post. Coulter wrote, "MSNBC's Martin Bashir suggested that Republican senators need to have a member of their families killed for them to support the Democrats' gun proposals. (Let's start with Meghan McCain!)" McCain subsequently tweeted, "A little perspective this morning. People like ann coulter are part of the past and only live to spread hate and negativity. I literally couldn't imagine living a life that seems so void of love, compassion, and perspective."
In Florida, North Miami District 1 Commissioner Scott Galvin said he's "offended and embarrassed" that his city voted to let anti-gay pastor Jack Hakimian (commonly known as "Pastor Jack") use the MOCA Plaza, its sound system and its staff to run a prayer vigil on May 2, the National Day of Prayer, according to SouthFloridaGayNews.com . The city council voted 4-1 on April 9 to let Hakimian (who told SFGN he's not anti-gay, though he preaches homosexuality is a sin that can be undone) use the city's facilities.
A coalition of groups with Tell Them SC and The New Morning Foundation are advocating for updated changes in South Carolina's comprehensive sex-education law, citing updated medical and scientific accuracy, teacher training and accountability, according to Q Notes. South Carolina Equality, a statewide LGBT education and advocacy organization, is a member of the coalition. A proposed measure would require "medically accurate and factual" sexual health education, including reproductive health topics and pregnancy prevention.
In Arizona, the city of Bisbee has legalized civil unions, according to Care2.com . The city council, representing the former mining town of 5,600 residents, passed the ordinance five to two, making Bisbee the first city in Arizona to recognize same-sex partnerships in any meaningful way. Couples, gay or straight, will be able to go to City Hall and pay $76 (the same as a marriage license) to obtain a civil-union certificate.
The Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilsonthe moderator of the Metropolitan Community Churches and a member of President Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnershipsreleased a statement taking a stand against human trafficking, a press release noted. Wilson said in part, "With over 77% of victims being persons of color and the targeting of homeless youth, 40% of whom are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, our mandate is clear. Prejudice makes people vulnerable to hate, to violence and to being enslaved, so we must challenge prejudice wherever it is."
GLAAD announced that actor and LGBT-rights advocate Omar Sharif Jr. will join the organization's staff as national spokesperson and strategic giving officer, according to a press release. Complementing the work of national spokesperson Wilson Cruz, Sharif Jr. will help build relationships with donors and raise funds to support GLAAD's work. Sharif Jr., the grandson of the Golden Globe-winning actor Omar Sharif, comes to GLAAD from a Canadian non-profit advocacy organization, where he served as the director of outreach.
The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) released "Modernizing the Fair Housing Act for the 21st Century," its 2013 Fair Housing Trends Report, according to a press release. This year's report highlights the need to amend the federal Fair Housing Act to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, income source and marital status. Among the study's key findings are that housing discrimination because of sexual orientation is still legal in 38 states, and gender identity-based bias is legal in 44 states.
On MSNBC's Hardball, Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director Gregory Angelo accused Robin Armstrong, a member of the Republican National Committee (RNC), of putting the party in danger of losing future elections following the committee's decision to include resolutions against same-sex marriage in the platform, according to RawStory.com . The committee voted unanimously April 12 for resolutions stating that it defined marriage as being between one man and one woman. "I believe that it is the height of arrogance for us to think that we can change 6,000 years of history," Armstrong replied.
Brett Shaad, a 33-year-old gay lawyer from West Hollywood, Calif., died Saturday evening, after being diagnosed with bacterial meningitis three days earlier, Advocate.com reported. (Symptoms include fever, stiff neck, confusion and light sensitivity, according to MayoClinic.com .) West Hollywood City Councilman John Duran issued a warning to residents and gay men, adding that one of his concerns is that the man attended the annual White Party in Palm Springs, an event that attracts gay men from across the country, over Easter weekend. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation offered free vaccines April 14 in response to the development.
GLAAD has joined more than 3,000 Change.org petition signers and student organizers at Smith College to call for an end to the school's policy that, according to a press release, "unfairly rejects the admission applications of some transgender women." In March, Smith denied admission to Calliope Wong because the gender marker on her FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Financial Aid) form did not match her stated gender identity of female. GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz said, "Smith is setting a poor example to all of its students by not even accepting the applications of women like Calliope."
In Virginia Beach, Va., Bradley Kindrick claims he was fired from his job at a 7-11 for being gay after being physically assaulted by a customer during an overnight shift, the Huffington Post reported. Kindrick told NBC affilate WAVY TV that he was "scared to death" after a customer pushed him against a wall and forcibly kissed him while on the job. The store's management allegedly told Kindrick that he was fired for being drunk on the job; Kindrick denies that he was drinking, leading him to think he was let go because of his sexual orientation.
Ten years after the U.S. Supreme Court declared that state bans on consensual sex between people of the same gender are unconstitutional, Montana has removed a similar law from its books, according to Advocate.com . By a vote of 65-34, he Montana state House passed Senate Bill 107, which removed from the state code's obsolete language criminalizing gay sex as "deviate sexual conduct." The measure now heads to Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock for a signaure.
National LGBT-advocacy organizations joined local, state and national immigration, civil rights and LGBT groups and advocates marching for justice for all immigrants on April 10, the National Immigration Day of Action, according to a press release. Twenty-six groups signed a letter in support of the day; among the organizations were CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Trevor Project, the Trans-Latin@ Coalition and GLAAD.
A federal judge has ruled that Florida school officials may be liable for blocking a protest of gay bullying but an injunction is unnecessary to protect the same event scheduled for April 19, according to Courthouse News. Amber Hatcher sued the Desoto County School District Board of Education and three school officials after they allegedly prevented her from organizing and participating in a National Day of Silence honoring the LGBT students who face bullying and harassment. Hatcher claimed Hatcher claims that she wore a "non-vulgar" T-shirt for the Day of Silence on April 20, 2012, but was removed from her third-period class and disciplined.
John Berry announced his resignation from his post as director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) April 11, one day before his four-year term expired, Windy City Times noted. Unconfirmed reports suggest the openly gay Berry may be in line for an ambassadorship. Interim acting director of OPM will be the office's openly lesbian general counsel, Elaine Kaplan.
Opponents of a proposed gay-marriage bill in Minnesota traveled around the state April 12-14 to rally against the measure, according to On Top Magazine. Minnesota for Marriage held rallies at stops in Hinckley, Duluth, Brainerd, Grand Rapids, Detroit Lakes and Morris. An additional five rallies are scheduled for the following weekend. The proposed bill has cleared legislative panels in the Minnesota House and Senate and awaits action in both chambers.
The Miss South Carolina pageant will welcome Analouisa Valencia, the first multiracial and openly lesbian candidate in the competition, according to PolicyMic.com . The 19-year-old first broke barriers when she won pageants in a predominately white contestant pool. Valencia's father is of Mexican heritage and her mother is African-American, making her stand out from many of her counterparts. Two lesbian contestants entered the Miss California competition in 2012; however, they failed to make it to the final leading spots.
In Pennsylvania, Democratic Bradford County Commissioner Mark Smith (who's running for lieutenant govvernor) was asked to leave his Christian rock band, One Floor Away, after Smith expressed support for same-sex marriage, according to Philly.com . Smith has spoken up for marriage equality on the campaign trail and on Facebook, and has refused to change his stance. On its website, One Floor Away says its mission is to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Former Florida A&M (FAMU) band members are pleading not guilty to increased charges of manslaughter related to the death of drum major Robert Champion, the Miami Herald reported. (However, percussionist Caleb Jackson pled "no contest," where the defendant neither admits nor disputes a charge, the Chicago Tribune reported.) More than a dozen former FAMU band members were charged last year with hazing, a third-degree felony, from Champion's death in 2011; however, prosecutors increased the charges to manslaughter. Champion Jr., a 26-year-old openly gay student, died after being beaten aboard the charter bus parked at the Rosen Plaza hotel.
CNBC Host Suze Orman and two Ernst & Young LLP leaders participated in a press conference call April 15 to discuss the challenges same-sex married couples face during tax season and to share some financial planning tips, according to PR Newswire. "In order to be financially secure now and in the future, same-sex couples have to devote time to financial and estate planning," said Orman. "[The Defense of Marriage Act] requires families to look ahead and plan a budget around its restrictions, which includes higher federal taxes and tax penalties on benefits."
Pope Francis announced that he will stick to his predecessor's hard-line approach to reforming an umbrella group representing about 80 percent of U.S. nuns, an organization that Benedict XVI believed was promoting "radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith," Slate.com noted. Benedict aimed at pushing the group back in line with the Vatican's positions on social issues like homosexuality, abortion, euthanasia and women in the priesthood.
E.J. Johnson, the son of retired NBA player Magic Johnson and Cookie Johnson, said he feels like his recent on-the-street interview with TMZ has led to a sort of second coming-out process, according to an Advocate.com item. "I didn't think it would be that big of a deal, since I've been out to my friends and family for five years," Johnson, 20, said in an interview with Howard Bragman on his Web series Gwissues. He also clarified that the guy he was holding hands with on the Sunset Strip is his best friend, not his boyfriend.
A judge in Honolulu, Hawaii, ruled that a local bed-and-breakfast owner discriminated against lesbian couple Diane Cervelli and Takeo Bufford when she refused to allow them to book a reservation in 2007, according to SheWired.com . The First Circuit Court of Hawaii ruled that the owner of the Aloha Bed & Breakfast violated the state's nondiscrimination laws, which prohibit discrimination in public accommodation due to sexual orientation, gender identity, race, sex, religion, ancestry or disability.
The Point Foundation, which supports LGBT college students with scholarships and mentoring, recently held its "Honoring New York" gala, which raised more than $660,000, according to Out.com . David Burtka, the fiance of Neil Patrick Harris, hosted the event, and civil-rights activist David Mixner presented the Courage Award to fashion photographer and activist Nigel Barker. In addition, Judith Light presented the Inspiration Award to The Estee Lauder Companies.