The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is changing its name and upping its game "to deliver full LGBTQ freedom, justice and equality," according to a press release. The organization's new name is the National LGBTQ Task Force, and its tagline is "Be you." Executive Director Rea Carey said, "Now more than ever we have the power to define the future we wanta world where every LGBTQ person can be themselves without any barriers."
The Supreme Court has lifted the stay on same-sex marriage in Idaho, the Associated Press reported. The court issued an order Oct. 10 that appears to remove the last legal obstacle keeping gay and lesbian couples from getting married in the conservative state. The federal appeals court in San Francisco had previously declared gay-marriage bans illegal in Idaho and Nevada. However, Justice Anthony Kennedy temporarily blocked same-sex weddings in Idaho. Countering that move, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals stated that Idaho's stay banning same-sex marriage would dissolve as of Oct. 15.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey says his office will no longer fight a court challenge to West Virginia's ban on same-sex marriages, The Huffington Post reported. Morrisey issued a statement that his office "will respect" the recent U.S. Supreme Court declining to review a lower-court ruling in July striking down Virginia's ban on same-sex marriageshowever, he still doesn't agree with the high court's stance. The state's change in position came after the announcement from the Supreme Court denying review of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in McQuigg v. Bostic striking down Virginia's marriage ban; finalizing that ruling; and providing a controlling precedent for all the states within the 4th Circuit, including West Virginia, Lambda Legal noted.
U.S. District Judge Timothy Burgess ruled in favor of the freedom to marry and respect for same-sex couples' marriages in Alaska on Oct. 12. Burgess said the ban violates the U.S. constitutional guarantee of due process and equal protection. Five same-sex couples had asked the state of Alaska to overturn a constitutional amendment approved by voters in 1998 that defined marriage as being between one man and one woman. With Alaska, same-sex couples will now be able to legally marry in 30 states and the District of Columbia.
On Oct. 16, U.S. District Court Judge Scott W. Skavdahl of the District of Wyoming will hold a hearing in a federal court challenge to the State of Wyoming's refusal to permit same-sex couples to marry and to respect the legal marriages of same-sex couples who married in other states, according to an NCLR press release. At the hearing, the court will consider a request by four same-sex couples and Wyoming Equality for an immediate order directing state officials to comply with two decisions of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Those rulings established that a state's refusal to allow same-sex couples to marry violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantees of due process and equal protection.
The University of Notre Dame has informed employees it will extend benefits to same-sex spouses after the U.S. Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage in Indiana and 10 other states, according to the Associated Press. The university sent out an email to employees informing them of the development; however, it adds, "Notre Dame is a Catholic university and endorses a Catholic view of marriage. However, it will follow the relevant civil law and begin to implement this change immediately."
Fort Myers, Florida, widow Arlene Goldberg has finally received official state recognition of her marriage to Carol Goldwasser: Under a judge's order, the state amended Goldwasser's death certificate to read "married," The Miami Herald reported. Partners for 47 years, Goldberg and Goldwasser moved from the Bronx to Florida in 1989 and married in New York in October 2011. Goldwasser died March 13, 2014. In August, U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle of Tallahassee ruled that Florida's gay-marriage ban is unconstitutional.
The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) has released its Congressional Scorecard measuring support for LGBT equality in the 113th Congressand, according to the organization, results show record gains in support for LGBT equality. A record number of members earned a perfect 100-percent score in this Congress. Out of 541 members of Congress ( including delegates ), 210 received a perfect rating, compared to 139 in the previous Congress. Democrats in both the House and Senate earned an average score of 96 percent. In contrast, House Republicans earned an average of 10 percent while Senate Republicans averaged 16 percent.
United Methodists in Pennsylvania have agreed to resolve a complaint filed against three dozen clergy who blessed a same-sex wedding without taking the case to trial, according to PCUSA.org . A complaint was filed against 36 United Methodist pastors who officiated at a Nov. 9, 2013, wedding for two men at Arch Street United Methodist Church in Philadelphia. On Oct. 3, Philadelphia Area Bishop Peggy Johnson announced that the complaint had been resolved.
Caleb Laieskia Virginia resident and LGBT rights advocate who rose to prominence after speaking out against the anti-gay bullying that forced him to leave school when he had lived in Arizonaannounced he had filed a lawsuit in the United State District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's ( FDA ) ban on allowing gay and bisexual men to donate blood or organs, MetroWeekly.com reported. Under the policy, any man who has engaged in sex with other men since 1977 is "deferred," meaning the donor could potentially be found to be eligible to donate blood or tissue for organ transplants at a later date, although for an indefinite amount of time.
On the Monday after Yom Kippur, Rabbi Gil Steinlauf, the married senior rabbi at Adas Israela large and historic conservative synagogue in Washington, D.C.announced that he is gay, according to Haaretz.com . In a letter sent to congregants, Steinlauf wrote in part, "With much pain and tears, together with my beloved wife, I have come to understand that I could walk my path with the greatest strength, with the greatest peace in my heart, with the greatest healing and wholeness, when I finally acknowledged that I am a gay man." Steinlauf has been married for 20 years to Rabbi Batya Steinlauf, and they have three children.
In Kentucky, the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission ruled that the company Hands On Originals discriminated against the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization of Lexington when it refused to print the group's Lexington Pride Festival T-shirts in 2012, Kentucky.com reported. Hearing officer Greg Munson wrote that the application of the Fairness Ordinance did not violate the T-shirt vendor's right to free speech and the free exercise of religion. Hands On Originals contended that it declined the T-shirt order because it is a Christian company and disagreed with the message of the shirt.
In Philadelphia, Mazzoni Center has fired its chief financial officer after he was arrested multiple times in the last 10 months on DUI and drug charges, Philadelphia Gay News reported. Nicholas Chaban, CFO of the LGBT health facility for nine years, was arrested five times in Montgomery County since December, including two consecutive days in July. After the fifth arrest last month, a judge revoked bail on his previous cases, and he has been in Montgomery County Prison since Sept. 24.
A Nebraska school district has instructed its teachers to stop referring to students by "gendered expressions" such as "boys and girls," and use "gender inclusive" ones such as "purple penguins" instead, according to The National Review. "Don't use phrases such as 'boys and girls,' 'you guys,' 'ladies and gentlemen,' and similarly gendered expressions to get kids' attention," instructs a training document given to middle-school teachers at the Lincoln Public Schools. The instructions were part of a list called "12 steps on the way to gender inclusiveness" that Gender Spectrum developed.
A veteran Denver police officer has been suspended for three months for a barrage of anti-gay comments directed at coworkers, including referring to lesbian colleagues as "that dyke … dyke bitch"and even more offensive sexual terms, according to CBS Denver. Denver's deputy director of safety ordered Officer Ricardo Damian to begin serving two unpaid 90-day suspensions to run concurrently. Damian ( who is appealing the suspensions ) admitted to many of the comments, but said much of it came during moments of "friendly banter" between him and other employees.
Georgia health officials have launched an HIV and AIDS informational website, Georgia CAPUS ( gacapus.com ), according to HIVPlusMag.com . The website offers four different components offering information on individuals living with HIV/AIDS, care providers to those individuals, and basic information for those wanting to learn more about the disease. The Georgia CAPUS website was launched to target the minorities at highest risk.
A gay Pennsylvania man faces murder charges for allegedly stabbing his former housemate to death in his home late last month, The Washington Blade reported. Jonathan Williams allegedly broke into Ronald Fischman's home late on Sept. 30 and used a kitchen knife to stab him in the neck, shoulders and knee. Williams and his boyfriend once lived in Fischman's home, but he asked them to move out. Fischman then allowed his former housemate's boyfriend to return to his home.
In response to the brutal murder of a transgender woman in East Hollywood, California, the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) has called for increased action to protect transgender people, particularly transgender women of color, a press release stated. The fatal altercation, which was caught on tape and is still under investigation, is being referred to as a botched robbery by Los Angeles police. Said HRC Vice President Fred Sainz, "Violence against transgender peopleparticularly transgender women of coloris a national crisis. And it's [a] crisis that we can only solve when we work together as a community to end transphobia and send the message that this violence is unacceptable."
Two new studies released by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law review findings from four recent large, national, population-based surveys to derive estimates of the size of the LGBT community and same-sex married and unmarried couple families, a press release stated. Estimates across the surveys analyzed imply that between 5.2 million and 9.5 million adults in the United States identify as LGBT ). As of 2013, an estimated 124,000 same-sex couples were married and raising more than 30,000 children.
Prosecutors have claimed that three Hungarian nationals lured three young gay men to the United States only to work as "sex slaves" for up to 20 hours a day in New York City and Miami, The Miami Herald reported. The suspected ringleadersGabor Acs, Viktor Berki and Andras Janos Vass, who all ran a company called Never Sleep Inc.were charged in Miami-Dade state court with human trafficking and racketeering. The young men allegedly were forced to live in a cramped one-bedroom apartment while performing sex acts around the clocksometimes with johns, other times on live Web cameras.
A pastor shocked his Montgomery, Alabama, congregation and the entire community with the admission that he had sex with female church members while knowing that he had AIDS, according to USA Today. The Rev. Juan D. McFarland reportedly made the admission from the pulpit during a Sunday service in September. Deacon Nathan Williams Jr., a 71-year member of the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, also said McFarland admitted to drug use and misusing church funds.
An exclusively gay resort in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is no longer in business, BizJournals.com reported. The 15-room Coconut Cove Guesthouse recently changed owners in a $2.38-million sale to Granada Housing LLC. Coconut Cove reportedly will be used as company employee housing.
Independents Gas & Service Stations Associations has claimed in federal court that Chicago's ordinance banning sales of flavored cigarettes, including menthols, within 500 feet of a school will force gas stations to close throughout the city, Courthouse News Service noted. As part of Mayor Rahm Emmanuel's "Healthy Chicago" initiative, the City Council initiated the ban last December. In part, the ordinance states, "use of menthol-flavored cigarettes is prevalent among child smokers in the black ( 72 percent ), Asian ( 51 percent ), Hispanic ( 47 percent ) and white ( 41 percent ) communities, as well as among young lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender smokers ( 71 percent )."
In Texas, Time Warner Cable News Austin accidentally sent out a tweet containing explicit images of gay porn, The Huffington Post reported. The tweet read: "Traffic: Your 5:12 p.m. update. Too many!" TWC Austin soon deleted the NSFW tweet, but not before raising some eyebrows. One person tweeted, "OMG do not look at @TWCNewsAustin right now unless you want to see a veeeery NSFW tweet-hack." The station later apologized.