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Rachel Maddow answers Fox; Bachmann's, Woolery's anti-gay comments
NATIONAL ROUNDUP: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times.

This article shared 5055 times since Wed Feb 15, 2012
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Rachel Maddow has responded to Fox News pundit Cal Thomas' comment that she should never have been born, the Huffington Post reported. On her show, Maddow said, "Personally, I'm glad that you were born. Otherwise, how would Republicans get the special Fox News bat signal that it's time to be outraged now, about what used to be Republicans' own policy idea?" Thomas made the comment at the Conservative Political Action Conference, prompting fellow Fox personality Greta Van Susteren to say Thomas should personally and publicly apologize to Maddow.

At the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., former GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann slammed the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for ruling Prop 8 unconstitutional, according to the Huffington Post. She said, "The people of the state of California have the right to vote on the laws that they living under." Also at the event, Bachmann met up with former Love Connection host Chuck Woolery, who also criticized the ruling and said African Americans don't need civil rights because "they have inalienable rights granted by God in the Constitution."

Robin Tyler and Diane Olson, the first same-sex couple to wed in Los Angeles, are divorcing after almost four years of marriage, the Daily Mail reported. The couple—together for 18 years—were plaintiffs in a California Supreme Court lawsuit that ruled a ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. On June 16, 2008, they became the first of 18,000 couples to marry in the six months before Prop 8 passed—once again banning same-sex marriage.

As the New Jersey legislature approaches a vote on marriage equality, the Williams Institute has released statistics and references to illustrate the potential impacts of the bill if it passed, according to a press release. Over three years, weddings by resident New Jersey couples alone will generate between $48 to $119 million for the state economy, generating more than $3 million to $8 million in new tax revenues. Also, being legally married would probably boost emotional health to a greater extent than being in a legally recognized domestic partnership or civil union.

Members of the Minnesota Rabbinical Association signed a statement opposing a Nov. 6 ballot initiative that would prohibit same-sex marriages, according to . The group represents rabbis from 15 congregations from the Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist movements; no Orthodox rabbis signed the statement. In the statement, the rabbis said the amendment "seeks to continue the practice of leaving individual families within the LGBT community vulnerable and unprotected by the law."

In Virginia, state Sen. Janet Howell recently proposed a tongue-in-cheek measure that men being treated for erectile dysfunction be required to get rectal exams and stress tests, according to . She made the retaliatory measure in response to a Senate proposal that would require women seeking abortions to have ultrasounds—with the option of viewing them.

In Tennessee, the so-called "Don't Say Gay" bill has been tabled until this week, according to . Opponents of the measure say they will continue to show up in large groups to protest the legislation. The bill aims to prevent LGBT issues from being mentioned in public schools; foes fear that the legislation would prevent teachers and others from speaking out against bullying.

The Virginia Senate passed a measure Feb. 9 allowing private adoption agencies to deny placements that conflict with their religious or moral beliefs, including opposition to LGBT issues, according to . The 22-18 vote virtually ensures the bill will become law; Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell said he will sign the measure if it reaches his desk, and the House of Delegates has passed a similar bill.

In North Carolina, the Greensboro City Council okayed a resolution opposing a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage in the state, On Top Magazine reported. Voters will decide on the measure during the state's presidential primary in May. If approved, the amendment would ban North Carolina from recognizing the relationships of same-sex couples by marriage, civil union and, possibly, domestic partnership.

In Oklahoma, Democratic state Sen. Constance Johnson jokingly proposed—in response to a strict pro-life bill—a measure regarding male ejaculation, according to . Senate Bill 1433 aims to define life as being at the moment of conception, giving "the unborn child at every stage of development all the rights, privileges and immunities available to other persons, citizens and residents of this state." Johnson added an "Every Sperm Is Sacred" amendment that states, "Any action in which a man ejaculates or otherwise deposits semen anywhere but in a woman's vagina shall be interpreted and construed as an action against an unborn child."

In New York City on Feb. 14, Gay Men's Health Crisis ( GMHC ) launched a citywide HIV prevention campaign, "Kiss & Tell," according to a press release. The campaign was developed in partnership with adolescents 13-19, and encourages young Black and Latino gay and bisexual men to have openly talk with partners ( the people they kiss, hence the project's name ) about their sexual history and HIV status. The launched featured works by out celebrity photographer Mike Ruiz as well as speeches by youths and elected officials.

Lambda Legal filed suit against the Iowa Department of Public Health ( IDPH ) on behalf of Jenny and Jessica Buntemeyer, a married Iowa couple seeking an accurate death certificate for their stillborn baby, Brayden, according to a press release. After the loss of their son, Jenny and Jessica filled out the spaces on the death certificate form for both parents, and indicated that they were married. IDPH sent the couple a death certificate with Jenny's name erased. Jessica said, "To erase Jenny's name from the death certificate was like trying to erase all the love, commitment and work we had both put into planning a family. We were in complete shock."

In Atlanta, one of the three suspects in a videotaped beating of a gay man has been arrested, reported. Christopher Cain, 18, has been charged with robbery and aggravated assault. Three men were seen in a video as they shouted anti-gay slurs and physically attacked 20-year-old Brandon White after he stepped out of the JVC Grocery and Deli. The attackers were believed to be members of a gang called Jack City.

White House Chief of Staff Jacob Lew said on Fox News Sunday Feb. 12 that the Obama administration has no plans to compromise further on its mandate that all employer-based health care plans provide women with free contraception—including abortion-inducing drugs— despite backlash from conservatives, the Washington Times reported. Obama also announced that religious employers such as universities, charities and hospitals would not have to pay for contraceptive coverage. Lew added that Obama "has the authority under the Affordable Care Act to have these kinds of rules take effect."

Point Foundation ( Point ) , the nation's largest scholarship-granting organization for LGBT students of merit, will honor global film company Focus Features April 16 at this year's Point Honors New York gala, according to a press release. Focus, which has made and brought Academy Award-winning films such as Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain and Gus Van Sant's Milk, will be accorded the Point Inspiration Award. The honor is given to "a company or organization that champions respect and inclusion of the LGBT community and operates with the vision that investing in today's potential will produce a brighter tomorrow."

Former Human Rights Campaign and Servicemembers Legal Defense Network communications director Trevor Thomas has filed paperwork to launch his bid for the United States Congress in Michigan's 3rd District, according to a press release. "My parents' generation helped put the world on wheels and furniture in our living rooms," Thomas said. "Now it is our time to stand up and fight for Michigan families to ensure they get a fair shake." A formal announcement will be made in March.

Lambda Legal announced that it has added resources for Puerto Rico on its website for members of the commonwealth's LGBT and HIV/AIDS communities, according to a press release. Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal said, "Lambda Legal's history working in Puerto Rico goes back years, but we want to make sure members of the LGBT community and those with HIV can access information about the laws that affect them. Living on the island doesn't mean you are isolated from the LGBT movement."

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