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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Recused judge in Choi case; Perez to take part in Spirit Day
NATIONAL ROUNDUP: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy CIty Times..
2012-09-26

This article shared 3107 times since Wed Sep 26, 2012
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Less than a day before Lt. Dan Choi's Sept. 26 criminal hearing, Magistrate Judge Elizabeth C. Wingo recused herself, according to a release from Choi. The recusal and unprecedented delay is based upon Choi's motion related to government misconduct. Choi is still on trial for protesting "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in federal court, and a hearing on that separate case is still set for Oct. 17.

Blogger Perez Hilton, TV actress Shay Mitchell, NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal, TV icon George Takei talk-show host Wendy Williams are among the celebrities who will join GLAAD, corporations, schools and local communities by wearing purple for Spirit Day Oct. 19, according to a GLAAD press release. Spirit Day is about taking a stand against bullying and supporting LGBT youth. Supporters are encouraged to take the Spirit Day Pledge at www.glaad.org/spiritday.

In New York, the University of Rochester has launched an online archive of all 438 issues of the Empty Closet, the state's oldest gay newspaper, according to a press release. The issues, which span 1971-2011, cover everything from the first gay-pride marches in New York City in the early 1970s to the outbreak of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s to the recent campaign for marriage equality. The archive is at www.lib.rochester.edu/index.cfm?PAGE=4769.

Cowboys.com Group LLC—based in Baltimore, Md.—is launching a Western-themed website to take advantage of the fastest growing segment in online dating, according to Business Wire. The website www.Cowboys.com will be the new home for gay and straight people looking to find cowboys and cowgirls. Darren Cleveland, president/CEO of City Advertising (part of the owners' group) said, "Gay dating is a primary target for this website; however, we will also serve the needs of straight daters as well."

In California, authorities are still investigating a case in which a severed head, hands and feet were found in Griffith Park near the Hollywood sign, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The dismemberment of Hervey Medellin, 66, was said be connected to a Mexican drug cartel; however, speculation then shifted to Luka Magnotta, the Canadian porn actor charged with cutting up a college student. Asking talking with several people—including a bodyguard for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie—investigators have focused on Medellin's boyfriend, Gabriel Campos-Martinez.

The University of Minnesota at Duluth is being criticized for giving transgender photographer Loren Cameron $4,000 for presenting trans-related images at the school, according to Advocate.com . The images show Cameron documenting his journey from being female to being male—a process that started in the early 1990s. A conservative student group linked with the Arlington, Va.-based Leadership Institute is objecting to the exhibition because it has explicit images of trans men.

AIDS United's board of trustees has named Michael Kaplan as the organization's president/CEO, according to a press release. Kaplan—who comes to the Washington, D.C.-based organization from Portland, Ore.—will take the over full-time effective Dec. 1 but will begin working with staff on a part-time basis in mid-October.

Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz released a statement on the one-year anniversary of the official end of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, according to a press release. In part, Wasserman Schulz said, "We celebrate the incredible leadership of those who made this day possible: President Obama and the hard-working members of his Administration, a fair-minded majority in the Congress that I was proud to join in voting to repeal this reprehensible policy, and all of the tireless champions for LGBT equality across the country—including the many brave servicemen and women who were unfairly discharged and those who still serve today."

The New York-based Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) released a statement praising U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., for introducing the LGBT Elder Americans Act of 2012. The act includes proposals for specifying LGBT elders as a population in "greatest social need" and permanently establishing the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, among other amendments. Michael Adams, executive director of SAGE, said, "LGBT older adults face profound challenges that require unique services and supports, and this bill is a major step forward for elders in every part of the country."

In Florida, the School Board of Broward County unanimously passed a resolution declaring its support of LGBT History Month (October), according to an Equality Forum release. In doing do, the school district becomes the first in the nation to issue an official resolution supporting the month. The Broward County School District is the sixth-largest school district in the country, and includes Fort Lauderdale.

On CNN, conservative pastor Joel Osteen told reporter Soledad O'Brien he didn't choose to be straight, saying, "I just feel like that's who I am," according to Advocate.com . The pastor—who belives the Bible condemns same-sex love and who leads a 45,000-member megachurch in Texas—appeared on the CNN show Starting Point with ex-Clinton advisor Richard Socarides, who is openly gay. Socarides actually posed the question to Osteen; however, when he realized his answer could lead to one saying he didn't choose to be gay, Osteen backtracked and said he tries to "stick to issues I understand."

A CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) analysis of data from the 2009-2010 National Adult Tobacco Survey showed that with the exception of pipes, tobacco use was significantly higher among LGBT respondents when compared to the general population, according to a press release from Fenway Health. The survey found that 32.8 percent of LGBT people nationally smoke cigarettes; 12.2 percent smoke cigars/cigarillos/small cigars; and 38.5 percent report using any tobacco. Among non-LGBT respondents, those rates fell to 19.5 percent for cigarettes; 6.6 percent for cigars/cigarillos/small cigars; and 25.2 percent for any tobacco use.

In New York City, a 350-pound attacker slashed 22-year-old gay man Jamar McLeod across the face and neck at a Greenwich Village McDonald's, the New York Daily News reported. This particular eatery has been the site of three other assaults, including a gay-bashing, over the past 18 months. Police said the incident started when the slasher taunted McLeod's partner, a transgender woman (Jalisa Griffen) who was waiting to use the women's bathroom. Subsequently, the parties were outside when the victim's partner swung at the suspect; McLeod then kneed the attacker in the groin. He then pulled out a razor and cut the victim's face, neck, back and elbow.

Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles has suspended local priest Father Joseph Palacios from the ministry over the latter's promotion of same-sex marriage, the National Catholic Register stated. Palacios cannot say Mass or distribute the sacraments; moreover, he may not wear a Roman collar and cannot in any way present himself as a priest in public. Palacios is a founding member of Catholics for Equality, a pro-LGBT group.

Actor George Clooney is auctioning a date with himself to benefit the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Advocate.com noted. Two people will get to spend an intimate afternoon lunch with Clooney and journalist Dave Karger at West Hollywood's Soho House. The once-in-a-lifetime experience is valued at $20,000 and is available to bid on through Oct. 11 at auction site CharityBuzz.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine has become the first Republican to co-sponsor a bill that ends discrimination against same-sex couples in immigration deportation cases, Advocate.com reported. The Uniting American Families Act allows gays and lesbians to sponsor their same-sex spouse for citizenship; currently, same-sex couples are forced to split, with one partner having to leave the country. Collins has also co-sponsored ENDA and the Tax Parity for Health Plan Beneficiaries Act.

In California, Berkeley is thought to be the country's first city to officially proclaim a day recognizing bisexuals, according to the Wisconsin Gazette. Sept. 23 was declared Bisexual Pride and Bi Visibility Day throughout the city—a proclamation the city council unanimously approved. Martin Rawlings-Fein, a director of the Bay Area Bisexual Network, told the San Francisco Chronicle, "We get pushed to the side in the LGBT community and told we don't exist, that we're actually gay or lesbian and just not totally 'out.""

On Sept. 28, Philadelphia FIGHT's AIDS Library—the only one of its kind in the country—marked 25 years of providing resources to the local HIV/AIDS community, Philadelphia Gay News reported. The library, now in its third home, has undergone many changes in the past two-and-a-half decades. Among said changes is a public computer lab with six stations, made possible through a donation from local businessman Mel Heifetz.

Intel—the Boy Scouts of America's has largest corporate donor—will stop giving to the group unless it vows to stop discriminating against gay people, Advocate.com reported. Thousands of people joined a campaign on Change.org urging Intel to stop funding the scouts until the organization removes its ban on gay youth and leaders, according to a Change.org press release. Eagle Scout Zach Wahls, founder of Scouts for Equality, launched the campaign on Change.org after an American Independent report revealed that Intel gave nearly $700,000 to the Boy Scouts in 2010.

A SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) trolley operator was stabbed in the face in Delaware County after an altercation with a transgender woman, according to NBC Philadelphia. The operator told police that the woman often gets off the trolley without paying. He said that one day he told the woman she had to pay; at that point, she began yelling and then stabbed him in the face. She was apprehended shortly thereafter.

The Rev. Al Sharpton and various other African-American ministers spoke out Sept. 21 in favor of same-sex marriage, according to the Washington Post. The clergy members said marriage equality is a civil-rights issue, not a religious one. However, Derek McCoy—chairman of the Maryland Marriage Alliance opposing same-sex marriage—said several large African-American churches are on his side. Maryland, which has a Black population of about 30 percent, is one of four states where voters will decide on the marriage-equality question in November.

In Utah, the group Mormons Building Bridges (MBB) has joined with Ogden OUTreach to help homeless gay Mormon youths, according to the Standard-Examiner. OUTreach Director Marian Edmonds has estimated that half the approximately 1,000 homeless youths in the state are gay, driven from their homes. MBB wants to work with Edmonds "because teen homelessness and teen suicide are such a sad component of the gay experience within the LDS [Latter-Day Saints] Church," said Erika Munson, one of MBB's founders.

Students at a Kentucky high school who overcame administrative censorship by launching their own independent publication, and a Tennessee yearbook adviser who was reassigned after defending his students' right to publish a candid article about being gay are the winners of the 2012 Courage in Student Journalism Award, according to a Student Press Law Center press release. The recipients are the staff of The Red Pen, an independent newspaper at duPont Manual High School in Louisville, Ky., and James Yoakley, the former newspaper and yearbook adviser at Lenoir City High School, Tenn.; he has been reassigned to teach seventh-grade English teacher at Lenoir City Middle School.

In Texas, the 29th Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade, Dallas' gay-pride event, drew 25,000 people despite a steady rain, according to the Dallas Voice. Sgt. Jeremy Liebbe, who served as co-security liaison for the Dallas Pride parade and festival, said the number was down from an average of 35,000. Twelve of the 15 Dallas city councilmembers, including Mayor Mike Rawlings, attended the parade.

Freedom to Marry has formed a political action committee (PAC) that will let it raise money to defend Maryland's same-sex marriage law—a change of course from earlier this year, when the organization declined to join the coalition of groups defending the measure, the Washington Blade reported. The Freedom to Marry Maryland PAC, with Teresa Williams of Cheverly as its chair, was registered Sept. 18. Williams' partner, Jo Deutsch—Freedom to Marry's federal director in D.C.—is the PAC's treasurer.

Keith Griffith—who launched the free site CruisingForSex.com, a portal devoted to helping men find each other in bath houses, restrooms and other places—passed away at age 53 after battling cancer and AIDS, XBiz.com reported. Miranda Leaver, a longtime friend and a founding partner of sites such as Men4SexNow, said, "Keith was a groundbreaker and never afraid to push the envelope. He was known as the 'Cruisemaster' by legions of gay men."

Photojournalist Bettye Lane, renowned for capturing the feminist movement during the 1970s and 1980s, has died of cancer at age 82, according to the New York Times. Lane also caught moments in demonstrations for gay and civil rights as well as rallies against the Vietnam War. Her work covering the 1969 Stonewall Riots appear in the 2010 documentary Stonewall Uprising, about the seminal gay-rights event.

The Trevor Project (a national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide-prevention services to LGBTQ people under 24) recently announced its fifth national social media award, having been honored this weekend with the StayClassy National Award for Human Services, according to a press release. In addition to the StayClassy Awards, The Trevor Project's social media efforts are also recognized among the "Social 25" by Social Media Week Los Angeles and has recently been added to the list of "50 Nonprofits Every U.S. Politician Should Follow on Twitter" by the blog NonProfit Tech 2.0.

In Alaska, Lambda Legal has filed a legal challenge on behalf of Deborah Harris, whose same-sex partner, Kerry Fadely, was shot and killed one year ago by a disgruntled former employee whom Fadely had fired, according to an organizational press release. Under Alaska's workers' compensation law, the spouse of a person who dies from a work-related injury is eligible for survivor benefits; however, same-sex couples are excluded from that legal protection. Lambda Legal claims that the discrimination violates the constitutional guarantees of equality that the Alaska and U.S. constitutions provide.

In Alabama, students at Spanish Fort High School are reportedly facing disciplinary action after displaying an anti-gay banner at a nationally televised football game, the Huffington Post noted. As ESPN's cameras scanned the crowd during Spanish Fort's game against Daphne High School, students were holding a banner that read, "Purple? Man, that's GAY"—an apparent dig at Daphne's school colors. Outsports' Jim Buzinski later wrote, "The gay sign is offensive, but so uncreative and lame that those holding it deserved to be mocked rather than lectured."

Conservative pundit Ann Coulter again made controversial comments, this time on a recent installment of ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, according to the Huffington Post. Discussing a statement in her new book, she said, "Civil rights are [only] for Blacks." She added, "We don't owe the homeless. We don't owe feminists. We don't owe women who are desirous of having abortions, or gays who want to get married to one another."

Truth Wins Out (TWO) criticized Newark, N.J., Catholic Archbishop John Myers after he said that Catholics who support marriage equality are not fit to partake in the Eucharist and should "refrain from receiving Holy Communion," according to a TWO press release. Myers' anti-gay remarks come one day after Salvatore Cordileone, archbishop-elect of San Francisco, told the Los Angeles Times that gay and lesbian Catholics who are sexually active should not present themselves for the sacrament of Holy Communion. "The actions of Archbishops Myers and Cordileone make it abundantly clear that homophobic bigotry is the official institutional policy of the Roman Catholic Church," said TWO Executive Director Wayne Besen.

In Illinois, the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) has approved a major contract for upcoming LGBT-friendly senior housing in Lakeview. CHA's board of commissioners voted in favor of the Housing Assistance Payment contract at its public meeting downtown Sept. 18. "This is a really big deal," said openly gay 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney, who added that the new development is historic.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said that his state's marriage-equality campaign needs to raise "another couple of million dollars" in the next six weeks to be successful at the ballot in November, according to Advocate.com . During a 40-minute call with reporters and bloggers, O'Malley said, "We have the ability to pass [marriage-equality measure Question 6] in Maryland. It is in keeping with the character of our state to protect rights equally under the law while also protecting religious liberty. But we do need to raise money here."


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