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Gay Activists to Use Protests of Arizona Victim’s Funeral as Anti-Violence Fundraiser

January 10, 2011 By: jaysays Category: Headline

Jude Stevens, jaysays.com author, converses with WBC in San Antonio, Texas

Jude Stevens, jaysays.com author, converses with WBC in San Antonio, Texas

The Westboro Baptist Church (“WBC”), under the guidance of the Reverend Fred Phelps, has dedicated substantial time and resources in making the United States a living hell.  Not only has the church spread hate-filled messages against the LGBTQ community to the masses, they have also attacked the United States as a whole because of its tolerance for LGBT people and failure to eradicate homosexuality.

Over the past several years, the WBC has gained notoriety for pickets of soldiers’ funerals.  Now, in an effort to spread more hate and support violent action against Americans, the WBC has announced their intention to picket the funerals of those murdered in Saturday’s shooting at the Safeway in Tucson, Arizona.

LGBTQ people have followed the workings of the WBC closely, often finding unique ways to counter their pro-hate message.  It’s no surprise that the LGBT advocacy group, Progressive Approach, has stepped up to the plate.  The organization will be hosting a “Phelps-A-Thon” to counter-protest the WBC picket.  The purpose of the “Phelps-A-Thon” is to raise many for the Anti-Violence Project of Southern Arizona, thereby helping a cause contrary to the message of the WBC.  The organizers will be collecting pledges online for every minute WBC pickets the funeral.

Director of Phelps-A-Thon.com, Chris Mason, had this to say:

I believe everyone has the right to free speech, but protesting these funerals is beyond wrong, it is disgusting. A lot of people are angry with this and have emailed, asking us to do something. We feel this is an appropriate response to such hatred; while the Westboro Baptist Church is celebrating violence, they will also be raising funds to fight it.

We send our best wishes and support to the organizers.  May peace always triumph.

LGBT Notable News Happenings – (August 13, 2009 – August 19, 2009)

August 21, 2009 By: MJ Category: Featured, LGBT News

LGBT NewsUtah Newspaper Rejects Gay Wedding Announcement (August 13, 2009)

Tyler Barrick and Spencer Jones live in San Francisco and were married June 17, 2008.  Mr. Jones is originally from Utah and wanted the announcement printed in his hometown paper – prior to a family party there.  The clerk at The Spectrum initially accepted the announcement information along with payment – then later the announcement was declined.  The Spectrum had been on GLAAD’s list of inclusive newspapers – and GLAAD did try to help but without success.  The announcement has since been published in The Salt Lake Tribune – another local paper.

Tennessee Schools Agree to Remove Anti-LGBT Filter (August 14, 2009)

In April 2009 the ACLU sent a letter to the Nashville school district.  The district had set up filters on school computers – blocking access to LGBT friendly websites.  Students were having to out themselves to their teachers to try to gain access.  The ACLU filed a federal suit against the schools.  Now the schools have agreed to remove the filters blocking the sites – and a judge has dismissed the lawsuit.  If the agreement is not followed – the ACLU will return to court.

Great Nationwide Kiss-In – Dozens Gather in Utah (August 15, 2009)

Same Sex couples exchanged a simple kiss or even just a hug – and they were detained by the police.  This happened in Utah, and in two locations in Texas.  The idea for the Kiss-In started in the blog of a concerned LGBT activist – and then grew into events in more than 50 cities across the US.  One of the events was held at Liberty Square amphitheater in Utah – where dozens of couples and individuals gathered for a kiss.  Another Kiss-In is being planned for next year – hopefully in even more cities.

Montreal LGBT Pride Celebrates Pending Action on Plan (August 16, 2009)

Quebec has had a wide-ranging action plan pending – and now the plan against Homophobia is expected to happen this fall.  The announcement that Quebec will have a policy against Homophobia – came in time for celebration at the Pride Fest.  There will still be work involved in applying the law – but the LGBT community expects the new plan will greatly help the fight against anti-LGBT discrimination.  A report from the Quebec human rights commission was partly involved in the framework of the plan.

Obama – Makes Statement re: DOMA in Court Brief (August 17, 2009)

President Obama has made statements to the public about DOMA – including one made in response to the case of Smelt v. United States of America.  The case involves Arthur Smelt and Christopher Hammer – a Gay couple who were married during 2008 in California.  President Obama and his senior advisers stated in a court brief that DOMA is discriminatory – but that it should be repealed by Congress.  This brief is an attempt to dismiss Smelt V. United States.

New York Man Receives Maximum Sentence for Transgender Hate Crime (August 19, 2009)

Last month Dwight DeLee was found guilty of manslaughter for shooting Lateisha Green – the charge included Anti-Gay bias.  Mr. DeLee is just the second person in this country to be legally convicted for killing a Transgender person.  Ms Green had gone to a party with her brother – and they were sitting in their car outside – when Mr. DeLee came up to the car and shot her.  He has been sentenced to the maximum of 25 years in prison.

DoJ Has Added Liaison to LGBT Community (August 19, 2009)

The Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department has hired Matt Nosanchuk – who advised Obama on LGBT issues during the presidential campaign.  Mr. Nosanchuk has worked for the DoJ in Policy Development – and worked on judiciary and civil rights issues for Senator Bill Nelson (D-Fla).  He will have a variety of cases as a senior lawyer – and will spend the rest of his time reaching out to constituencies on Capitol Hill as well as the LGBT community.

Sect in Australia Apologizes to Transgender & Intersex People (August 19, 2009)

Three daily newspapers in Tasmania published the apology – as a result of a conciliation agreement.  In 2006 members of the religious sect – Exclusive Brethren – published a state election advertisement attacking Transgender and Intersex people.  As a result of the advertisement – Martine Delaney filed a complaint with the state’s anti-discrimination tribunal.  Those who issued the apology were members of the Exclusive Brethren – along with a shell company (TradTas) which paid for the ads.

LGBT Youth Center in NY Named for Bea Arthur (August 19, 2009)

One of the stars of Golden Girls – Bea Arthur – was a generous benefactor to the Ali Forney Center.  Four years ago she went to New York for a benefit performance for the center – which raised $40,000.  The charity currently has four residential shelters for LGBT youth.  Recently it received funding from the Oak Foundation to buy housing sites – and the first site will be named – the Bea Arthur Residence for LGBT Youth.
mjpngwnz: MJ, a/k/a pngwnz, is summarizing LGBT current events each week for jaysays.com and the Why Would You Say That – Really? series. She is an out lesbian with an affinity for the music of Phil Collins and Carole King.

LGBT Notable News Happenings (June 2, 2009 – June 6, 2009)

June 08, 2009 By: MJ Category: LGBT News

LGBT NewsWA LGBT Group Might Expose Petition Signers (June 2, 2009)

There has been a lot of discussion lately about publicly recognizing people who are anti-LGBT in their actions.  Previously, contributors to anti-LGBT legislation such as Prop. 8 in CA have been listed on weblogs and other internet sites.  When a registered voter signs a petition, and it has been properly certified, the names then do become a matter of public record.  Now two organizations are planning to create a similar type of post showing those who sign petitions for Referendum 71.  Recently WA passed an expansion of their Domestic Partner Bill and Referendum 71 is an attempt to overturn that approved expansion of LGBT rights.

Denmark Study – Kids of Lesbian Moms More Mentally Healthy (June 2, 2009)

According to a study done in Copenhagen – children raised in families headed by Lesbian mothers have a lesser chance of developing mental illness than those children raised in families headed by heterosexual parents.  Merete Lauberg of the University of Copenhagen said, “The findings suggest that concerns that alternative families have a negative effect on child development are over.”  Hopefully this will be the beginning of many more adoptions by LGBT parents  – to be.  Good news and definitely very interesting news for our community.

Harvard Joins Yale in LGBT Studies (June 3, 2009)

The Harvard Gay and Lesbian Caucus has made a large gift to the university to endow a chair – being named for F.O. Matthiessen.  The gift will be used to invite “eminent scholars studying issues related to sexuality or sexual minorities” for a one semester period on the Harvard campus.  Professor Matthiessen was a Harvard scholar and literary critic who also was a gay man.  Candace Gingrich a youth outreach manager at HRC, and sister of Newt Gingrich said, “Any time a university as renowned as Harvard feels it is important and sees it as important to have an endowed professorship in LGBT studies is recognition that it is an important issue.”   Although Yale originally turned down the endowment they were offered, the university later accepted the endowment and also has an endowed chair in LGBT studies.

Catholic Charities in Legal Dilemma in UK (June 3, 2009)

Adoption is one way of growing a family in LGBT households.  Here in the U.S. some couples are finding it very difficult if not impossible to adopt.  For LGBT households in the UK the Charity Commission is the legal board in England and Wales which regulates charities.  The Charity Tribunal was set up as part of the Charity Commission.  Recently Catholic Charities has come under scrutiny for discrimination – because of their “heterosexuals only” policy.  The Catholic Church and Catholic Charities now are facing a decision of choosing between the tenants of the Church and their legal status as a charity in the UK.

New Hampshire Joins in Legalizing Gay Marriage (June 3, 2009)

Governor John Lynch signed the bill after it passed the state Senate and the state’s Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.  The law will go into effect on January 1, 2010 – and will also recognize out-of-state gay marriages and civil unions.  “Today, we are standing up for the liberties of same-sex couples by making clear that they will receive the same rights, responsibilities, and respect, under New Hampshire law,” Lynch said in a statement.

Former N.C. Mayor Sues Radio Host for Libel (June 3, 2009)

Tom Fetzer, a former Raleigh mayor, filed a lawsuit against a radio show host – the purpose of which he claims was to protect his name.  Mr Fetzer claims that Curtis Wright knowingly forwarded an anonymous letter containing false information – which implied that Fetzer is gay.  Fetzer said in a statement, “It is justice that I seek, not vengeance.”  A 1994 state Court of Appeals ruling said that falsely accusing someone of being gay or bisexual wasn’t automatically slander because such an accusation is not tantamount to charging someone with a crime.   Fetzer is a candidate for chairmanship of the North Carolina Republican Party.

Gay Penguins Raise Family in Germany (June 3, 2009)

The penguin couple – at a zoo in Bremerhaven – were given an egg which was rejected by its biological parents.  The couple named Z and Vielpunkt have been happily raising the chick as their own since the zoo allowed them to adopt the egg as an “Easter gift”.  A statement from the zoo said, “Since the chick arrived, they have been behaving just as you would expect a heterosexual (penguin) couple to do.  The two happy fathers spend their days attentively protecting, caring for and feeding their adopted offspring.”  Best wishes to the happy and growing family.

State Workers in AZ Could Lose Domestic Partner Benefits (June 3, 2009)

Last year then Governor Janet Napolitano’s administration added domestic partner benefits.  Critics of the benefit now site many reasons why they feel the benefits should be removed, including estimating a financial savings to the state.  Republican legislative leaders are currently proposing a budget which would eliminate those same benefits effective Oct.1 of this year.   “Department of Administration spokesman Alan Ecker said it’s impossible to know how many domestic partner benefits are going to same-sex couples because the state doesn’t track that information.”  Accordingly, there is no way to really determine the amount of money the state of Arizona would save by eliminating the benefits.

Ted Olsen & David Boies Have Filed Fed Lawsuit (June 4, 2009)

In a previous post an article was included about the Federal suit and some opinions both for and against the suit.  This particular article includes a more thorough background as to why Olsen and Boies joined with American Foundation for Equal Rights to file the suit.  Also included in the article is a photo history, “pictures of the gay-rights movement, from Stonewall to Prop. 8”.  I urge everyone to take a look at these historical and quite moving photographs – an appropriate and sobering reminder of why we are continuing to fight so hard for LGBT equality.

Staten Island Pride Parade Year Five: “We Are Here!” (June 6, 2009)

They were out and proud and having a lot of fun.  There were “church groups and students, seniors and toddlers, lawmakers, union members, business owners, and co-grand marshals riding in flag-draped convertibles”.  Hundreds of LGBT folks with their friends and families filled the streets in celebration of LGBT Pride.  Happily there were no protesters – just supporters and participants for the nearly 2-mile parade.  Jim Padula, who came out just a few years ago – in his 60’s – said, “Twenty years ago I would have been scared to be here.  Now it is like family.”

Close to 50,000 Attend Europride in Zurich Despite Rain (June 6, 2009)

Europride festival which was first held in London in 1993 travels to a different city each year.  This year it was held in Zurich, Switzerland and next year it is expected to be held in Warsaw.  The Christian Social Union (BCS) had called for the defense of the “Christian family model”, and some people were seen handing out their leaflets, but that stayed pretty quiet.  Michael Rueegg the organizer said while at Europride, “Up to now, there are about 50,000 people participating in the parade, but there will be some more people coming for the festivities later today.”  The article also includes a map of the location and pictures of the fun.