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Sandusky attorney accidentally promotes gay-sex line; West Va. board's anti-bullying policy
NATIONAL ROUNDUP: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times.
2011-12-21

This article shared 3845 times since Wed Dec 21, 2011
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In defending former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, attorney Joe Amendola accidentally promoted a gay-sex line, according to Newser.com . Amendola told reporters that anybody who believes Mike McQueary, who said he witnessed Sandusky raping a boy, "should call 1-800-REALITY." That number is actually a gay-sex line "with horny gay, bi and bi-curious studs." Upon finding out what the number is, Amendola said he won't use that line in the future.

In a related case, former Syracuse University assistant men's basketball coach Bernie Fine is also being accused of sexually abusing minors—and one of those accusers is going to jail. According to Newser.com, Zach Tomaselli, 23, will probably accept a plea deal that would put him in jail for two years for sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy. He told the Daily Orange, "There's nothing we can do. I admitted it. I'm officially going to be going to prison, and that was a very shocking moment."

West Virginia's board of education has passed an anti-bullying policy that will protect youth based on actual/perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, according to Advocate.com . Fairness West Virginia, a state LGBT-rights organization, worked with the board to bring about the change. Fairness announced on Facebook, "Policy 4373 passes! LGBT students expressly protected from bullying under WV state board [ . ] The decision was unanimous," Metro Weekly reported.

Lambda Legal and the Child Welfare League of America ( CWLA ) released "Recommended Practice Guidelines to Promote the Safety and Well-Being of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning ( LGBTQ ) Youth and Youth at Risk of or Living with HIV in Child Welfare Settings," according to a press release. The guide includes national practice guidelines for state and local child-welfare agencies for LGBTQ children in the child-welfare system. The guidelines are available at http://www.lambdalegal.org/publications/recommended-practice-guidelines.

U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., has called for a level playing field for students seeking financial aid, according to a press release. In a letter to the Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Kerry said reforms are needed to end policies that discriminate against the children of same-sex couples as well as gay and transgender students seeking federal financial assistance to attend college. "Reports that kids who want to go to college are facing financial barriers just because of who they are or their parents were born to be are downright un-American. We can do better," Kerry wrote.

Bryan Samuels—the commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—blogged recently about finding loving adoptive families for LGBT children, according to WhiteHouse.gov . He wrote, "More than 100,000 children are in foster care waiting for loving, affirming and supportive families" while also praising programs like the Human Rights Campaign's All Children-All Families initiative. "I'm proud to be a part of an Administration that believes no child in foster care should be denied a permanent family simply because of the LGBT identity of the adults willing to provide it, or of the child seeking a new home."

GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum recently asked voters to call him "intelligent," although many are laughing at him for an unintentionally funny campaign sign, according to Advocate.com . Santorum recently held up a sign that read "Santorum for President" that was writtn in brown letters—which brought to mind Dan Savage's one-time "definition" of the word "santorum" as the by-product of anal sex.

The campaigns for Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman have each chosen gay Republicans to run with them as canddiates for delegate to the Republican National Convention in Washington, D.C.'s, April 3 presidential primary, according to the Washington Blade. Huntsman's campaign has selected R. Clarke Cooper, the executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans. Gingrich's campaign has chosen activists Timothy Day and Marc Morgan, and Romney's has selected Rachel Hoff. Terry Tahir is the only known out gay person on Paul's slate.

A board member of the gay-rights group Equality Michigan told the Kent County Commission that sheriff's deputies are targeting gay men, according to MLive.com . A group—including a minister and board member Collette Seguin Beighley—say deputies arrested 33 gay men in county parks in 2010, but claim about half of those arrests involved two men merely speaking to undercover deputies, or making casual contact like holding hands.

In Maryland, New Ways Ministry—a 34-year-old national Catholic ministry of justice and reconciliation—has started a blog about LGBT people and the Catholic Church, according to a press release. The blog is called Bondings 2.0, and is found at newwaysministryblog.wordpress.com . The website aims to provide up-to-the minute information, opinions and reflections for people interested in the intersection of Catholicism with sexual and gender minorities.

In Oregon, Robert Maurice Bosket has been sentenced to six months in jail for attacking a gay neighbor over a tree-trimming, Advocate.com reported. Bosket, 50, pled guilty to first-degree burglary and strangulation. Other charges, such as the use of anti-gay slurs, were dismissed as part of a plea agreement. Bosket was reportedly angry because his neighbor, David Christensen, cut back some trees that overlook his deck.

A diverse coalition of organizations called "2,012 for 2012" announced its goal of recruiting 5,000 progressive candidates to run for local office next year, a press release stated. Its prior internal goal of recruiting 2,012 local candidates was scrapped because of an overwhelming response to emails intended to jump-start recruitment efforts. The initiative is hosted by the Candidate Project, a program of the New Organizing Institute, and is a collaboration between organizations who have successfully recruited and trained candidates for years as well as organizations who are new to candidate recruitment.

In Massachusetts, Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren advocated for full equality for LGBT people in an op-ed on the blog Blue Mass Group, according to the Huffington Post. "This is our moment in history," she wrote. "We must decide what kind of people we are and what kind of nation we are going to build." She also wrote, "As other states grapple with whether to support marriage equality, I'm ready to move to the next step: End the two-tiered system created by the Defense of Marriage Act."

GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich signed the National Organization for Marriage's ( NOM ) anti-gay "Marriage Pledge," according to an Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) press release. The pledge calls on candidates to, among other things, vigorously support the Defense of Marriage Act and push for a federal marriage amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. HRC President Joe Solmonese said, "Newt Gingrich's signature to the NOM Marriage Pledge is just the latest indicator of how beholden the GOP presidential candidates are to anti-gay groups." Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney also have signed NOM's pledge.

In Texas, 18 beneficiaries will share a $1.142-million distribution from the 30th Black Tie Dinner, according to a press release. Black Tie Dinner board members presented the checks to community leaders of 17 northern Texas LGBT-supportive beneficiaries and the Black Tie national beneficiary, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. This year, almost 3,000 guests enjoyed an evening of education, empowerment and entertainment at the Dallas Museum of Art that featured master of ceremonies Caroline Rhea and a keynote address by Academy Award-winning actress Marlee Matlin.

In Michigan, Detroit resident Qasim Raqib has been arrested and charged with the murder of transgender teen Michele Hilliard, Advocate.com reported. The body of Hilliard—also known as "Shelley" or "Treasure"—was found burned and dismembered in October. The motive for the death may have been revenge; information shows that Hilliard was an informant for the Madison Heights police, and she may have been the source behind a drug sting that resulted in Raqib's arrest.

In Virginia, the Board of Social Services approved regulations banning same-sex adoption by a 5-1 vote, according to Advocate.com . The original anti-discrimination policy included sexual orientation. However, when Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell took office, he backed a scaled-back version of the policy, which starts in May. The only classes protected from discrimination regarding adoption are race, color and national origin.

In Philadelphia, local LGBT leader Robert Burns, executive director of The Colours Organization Inc., died at the age of 36, according to the Philadelphia Gay News. Burns joined Colours as its executive director in 2010, after serving as deputy director and interim executive director. Before coming to Colours, Burns worked for four years as the director of The Collective, a joint HIV-prevention effort by Mazzoni Center, ASIAC and the Gay and Lesbian Latino AIDS Education Initiative.

In Utah, LGBT advocates are criticizing a middle school's decision to out a gay student to his parents, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. Alpine School District spokeswoman Rhonda Bromley said the parents were notified their 14-year-old son is gay because the school was being "proactive" in preventing bullying. Valerie Larabee, director of the Utah Pride Center, said, "It's important to me that school officials deal with bullying issues and don't cause another problem for the child by outing him to his parents."

The Christian magazine WORLD has named Alan Chambers—the leader of the "ex-gay" organization Exodus International—its "Daniel of the Year," a reference to the Hebrew prophet Daniel, according to Q Notes. The group's track record of sexual-orientation conversion is unknown, and activists have accused the group of misleading vulnerable LGBT people. Chambers himself has said that "ex-gay" conversion isn't always likely.

In South Carolina, one of the men accused in the April beating of a gay man at a Rock Hill convenience store pled guilty to assault and drug charges in court, according to HeraldOnline.com . Great Falls resident Cortezio Laquise Douglas, 21, was sentenced to 30 months suspended time served, plus probation; the sentence means that as long as Douglas successfully completes his probation he will not serve jail time. On April 9, Douglas and three others allegedly attacked 20-year-old Joshua Esskew.

The Department of Justice ( DoJ ) sent one of its top attorneys to federal court in San Francisco to argue that the Defense of Marriage Act's ( DOMA's ) federal definition of marriage unconstitutionally limits Karen Golinski's ability to secure health insurance for her wife, according to Metro Weekly. Golinski's case—which began as a request to include her wife, Amy Cunninghis, on her federal employee health insurance plan—has morphed into a challenge to DOMA. Assistant Attorney General Tony West, the head of the civil division of DoJ, appeared in court to argue the department's position.

In Massachusetts, Valerie Tebbetts—the former head of the HIV/AIDS nonprofit organization Boston Living Center—pled guilty to embezzling more than $100,000 from the center because of an addiction to gambling, ActUp.org reported. Tebbetts pled guilty in Suffolk Superior Court to three counts of larceny and one count of making false entries in corporate books. She was sentenced to five years of probation, and is expected to attend Gamblers Anonymous meetings, pay $123,500 in restitution funds to the center and avoid casinos and state lottery games.

In Mississippi, Southaven Mayor Greg Davis has officially come out after an investigation revealed he used city funds to cover personal expenses—including a visit to a gay sex shop, according to the Huffington Post. Among Davis' personal expenses was a $67 charge to Priape, a store in Toronto that its website describes as "Canada's premiere gay lifestyle store and sex shop." Davis, a Republican, has allegedly misused $170,000 on both city-issued and personal credit cards—$96,000 of which he has reportedly repaid so far.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation has started an awareness campaign regarding a private boarding school in Hershey, Penn. that dismissed a student because he is HIV-positive, according to HIVPlusMag.com . The foundation has also pledged to contribute up to $50,000 to the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, which is representing the 13-year-old former student. Officials at the Milton Hershey School, a free school for low-income students, claimed they were protecting the student body by not admitting the boy.

In a pretrial court hearing for Bradley Manning—the U.S. Army private accused of leaking thousands of classified documents—testimony revealed that he kept articles on gender identity disorder and used a female alias in Internet chat rooms, according to Advocate.com . An Army special agent testified by phone that Manning, 24, had used the name "Breanna Manning" online. Manning's attorneys are reportedly seeking to "establish his state of mind at the time of the alleged crimes."

In Arizona, public opinion on same-sex marriage has shifted, according to LGBTWeekly.com . In 2008, voters passed a marriage-equality ban 56 percent to 44 percent. Now, Public Policy Polling has discovered that 45 percent think same-sex marriage should be illegal, while 44 percent still support it. Not surprisingly, younger voters support the institution more than older ones.

The Log Cabin Republicans ( LCR ) have rejected GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's proposed marriage plan but praised what it called his nondiscrimination platform, according to a press release. LCR Executive Director R. Clarke Cooper said of a recent Iowa debate, "We were pleased to see Mitt Romney stand by his position opposing discrimination and highlighting his record of including openly gay people in his administration and judicial appointments."

U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., introduced a measure that would restore voting rights in federal elections for millions of citizens who are no longer incarcerated but still denied their right to vote because of a criminal conviction, according to an ACLU press release. Criminal-disfranchisement laws, which vary by state, prevent an estimated 5.3 million citizens from voting, and nearly 4 million of those have been released from prison.

A report published in the American Journal of Public Health shows that in states where same-sex marriage is legal, gay men visit doctors less and their health costs go down considerably, according to the New York Daily News. Researcher Mark Hatzenbuehler said, "Our results suggest that removing these barriers improves the health of gay and bisexual men." The study covered a 12-month period starting in 2003, when Massachusetts became the first state to legalize the practice. It included more than 1,200 patients at a health clinic that provides services for gay men and other sexual minorities.

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention ( OJJDP ) today released Bullying in Schools: An Overview, the first of five bulletins examining bullying in schools and support schools can provide bullying victims, according to a press release. "Parents and schools across the country worry about the devastating harm bullying can cause, and we share this concern for our nation's children," said Jeff Slowikowski, OJJDP's acting administrator. "This new study highlights the impact of bullying and recommends effective anti-bullying strategies that schools can implement to keep students safe." Among the strategies the report offers are mentoring programs and opportunities for community service. See http://www.ojjdp.gov/pubs/234205.pdf.

In Clarion, Iowa, pro-LGBT advocates crashed Michele Bachmann's meet-and-greet with voters at a Pizza Ranch restaurant, according to the Chicago Tribune. The protesters waved rainbow flags and signs to draw attention to what they said is a high number of LGBT suicides in the presidential candidate's Minnesota congressional district. Bachmann did not acknowledge the protesters, and her campaign was not immediately available for comment.

Speaking of Bachmann, her husband, Marcus, has agreed to stop trying to collect $150 from Truth Wins Out ( TWO ) for canceled "ex-gay" therapy sessions, according to a TWO press release. The voice message, left by a Bachmann & Associates' billing representative, informed TWO Communication's Director, John Becker, that " [ his ] account is at a zero balance" and that the charges were written off "per Marcus Bachmann." TWO had previously reported that Becker exposed the Bachmann's clinic as a place where staffers practiced "ex-gay" therapy.

Lambda Legal has released "State of the Law 2011," its annual wrap-up of progress in LGBT rights and tip sheet of what is likely to come in 2012, according to a press release. Highlights included marriage equality in New York and the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" taking effect. Lambda Legal Executive Director Kevin Cathcart said, "2011 was another momentous year of progress for LGBT rights and the rights of those living with HIV," but added, "Significant challenges remain." Issues for next year include lawsuits involving DOMA and marriage-equality legislation in New Jersey. The report is at http://lambdalegal.org/publications/state-of-the-law-2011.

A friend-of-the-court brief in Donaldson v. Montana argues that allowing Montana's 1,348 same-sex couples equal access to state law protections and obligations would likely benefit the state economy, according to an ACLU press release. Six same-sex couples filed the lawsuit in state court based on the Montana Constitution, saying the state cannot offer benefits and protections only to different-sex couples through marriage, with no way for same-sex partners and their dependents to receive equivalent protections.

Media Matters named Fox News' Dr. Keith Ablow "Misinformer Of The Year On LGBT Issue," according to a press release. The release stated that The Fox News Medical A-Team member "has been a prolific source of anti-LGBT misinformation, disguising his animosity toward gay, lesbian and transgender people as expert commentary on human sexuality." The statement added that Ablow's "bigoted rants against J. Crew, Dancing with the Stars and the Girl Scouts have earned widespread criticism and mockery, eventually causing him to resign from the American Psychiatric Association."

In a landmark victory for same-sex parents, Lowenstein Sandler successfully represented a gay, interracial couple seeking custody of their twin daughters, according to a press release. The fathers, who were married in California and joined in a civil union in New Jersey, created embryos using the eggs of an anonymous donor. The sister of the non-biological father agreed to carry the pregnancy. After giving birth, she challenged the fathers' right to primary custody of the children. "This decision is a victory for parents, particularly those in non-traditional families, who value diversity and inclusion and pass those values along to their children," said Lowenstein Sandler Senior Counsel Karim G. Kaspar.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit upheld a lower court's ruling against Jennifer Keeton, a graduate student in counseling at Augusta State University ( ASU ) , according to a press release. Keeton expressed intent to engage in discriminatory and harmful professional practices when working with LGBT students as a school counselor. She claimed her First Amendment rights were violated when the school required her to complete a remediation program to better understand LGBT issues. Judge Rosemary Barkett wrote, "Keeton does not have a constitutional right to disregard the limits ASU has established for its clinical practicum and set her own standards for counseling clients in the clinical practicum."

Lambda Legal filed a discrimination lawsuit in the First Circuit Court of Hawaii on behalf of a lesbian couple rejected by Aloha Bed & Breakfast, allegedly because of the owner's personal anti-gay beliefs, according to a press release. Lambda Legal represents Diane Cervelli and Taeko Bufford, who were traveling to Hawaii to visit a close friend and her newborn baby. Peter Renn, staff attorney at Lambda Legal, said, "No business owner is above the law. If you choose to open a business, then you must play by the same rules that apply to everyone else—you don't get to pick and choose the laws that you like."

We R Equal has launched the We R Equal 2012 Equality Calendars, according to a press release. The goal through the sales of the calendars is to raise nearly $75,000 for local, national, and international charitable organizations aimed at fostering a more inclusive society for members of the LGBT community. Two 8.5" x 11" calendars are available for purchase: one featuring men, and one featuring women. Visit www.werequal.com .

The Dec. 13 auction of 80 of Elizabeth Taylor's pieces of jewelry garnered almost $116 million, according to People.com . The amount is a world record for a private jewelry collection. "La Peregrina," the 16th-century pearl on a necklace designed by Cartier, fetched $11.8 million alone. The 33.19-carat diamond ring two-time husband Richard Burton gave Taylor garnered a bid of $8.8 million, as did the Taj Mahal Diamond.


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