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LGBT Notable News Happenings – (September 3, 2009 – September 10, 2009)

September 12, 2009 By: MJ Category: Featured, LGBT News

LGBT NewsGay Sailor Brutalized by Own Unit and Discharged in CA (September 3, 2009)

Former Petty Officer Third Class Joseph Rocha was brutalized for more than two years by members of his own unit in Bahrain. He was returned to CA suffering from P.T.S.D. and was forced to admit to his sexual orientation – then was discharged under D.A.D.T. Others were also brutalized and the military is investigating.

Bill Recognizing Harvey Milk’s Birthday Passes CA Legislature (September 4, 2009)

Once again a bill to recognize Harvey Milk is waiting for the signature of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger – and would recognize Harvey Milk on his birthday – May 22nd.  If signed – Harvey Milk would join the only three other days of recognition in the state.

LGBT Activist Runs For Mayor in Idaho Town (September 5, 2009)

Melissa Sue Robinson is an LGBT activist and transwoman running for mayor of Nampa. She was previously married for 17 years and her ex-wife now plays a major role in her election campaign. Some of those not so pleased that she is running include a person who started a fraudulent Twitter account in her name – which has since been closed.

Los Angeles Mourns Death of Albert L. Gordon –  Gay Rights Attorney (September 6, 2009)

Albert L. Gordon was married and had twin sons – both sons are/were Gay. Mr. Gordon became an attorney in his 40’s and fought for LGBT rights. His first wife and one of his sons died before him. He was known as the leading pro bono lawyer to L.A.’s Gay community.

Catholic Church in Maine Supporting Anti-Gay Marriage Referendum (September 6, 2009)

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland has requested that its parishes have a special second collection this coming weekend – with the money collected to go to Stand for Marriage Maine. Stand for Marriage Maine is leading the effort to repeal legal Same-Sex Marriage in Maine – the Catholic Church is exempt from federal taxes as a non-profit religious institution in spite of its political dealings.

Openly Gay Man Accepted for Training in Church of Scotland Ministry (September 8, 2009)

The Church of Scotland has selected to train a Gay man –  in a Civil Partnership – for ministry despite a ban. Church officials backed his candidacy after receiving advice from an internal body that supports would-be trainees. The ban was put in place after the appointment of The Rev Scott Rennie.

Lesbian From U.S. Army Fighting Deportation From Canada (September 8, 2009)

Former Pte. Bethany Smith – who changed her name to Skyler James – requested discharge then decided to leave the U.S. Army after harassment and death threats from within her unit. She was unable to report the threats because of D.A.D.T. and was outed by another soldier. Skyler James is now fully employed and living in Canada. but faces deportation.

Proposed Law to Repeal Ban on Healthy Gay and Bisexual Blood Donations (September 8, 2009)

There is new proposed legislation which would allow healthy Gay and Bisexual men to donate blood. The legislation was approved by the Assembly Tuesday and is called the U.S. Blood Donor Nondiscrimination Resolution – and it moves to the state Senate in January 2010.

Gordon Brown Honors Contributions of Alan Turing During WWII in UK (September 10, 2009)

Alan Turing was a brilliant mathematician and was most famous for his work in breaking German Enigma codes during WWII. In 1952 he was convicted of ‘gross indecency’ (for being Gay) and sentenced – then took his own life just two years after that. Gordon Brown acknowledged that a coalition of computer scientists, historians and LGBT Activists made it possible for Mr. Turing to be honored.

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 (May 24, 2009 – May 29, 2009)

May 31, 2009 By: MJ Category: LGBT News

LGBT NewsBritish Clergy Fear New LGBT Rights Bill in UK (May 24, 2009)

In the U.S. some Church leaders, and others on the far right, have expressed major concerns that the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Bill now in the Senate will hurt the rights of the Church to preach to Church members.  Well, it looks as though our community here in the U.S. is not alone in trying to correct misinterpretations and misunderstandings.  In Britain there is an existing law titled the “Criminal Justice and Immigration Act”, and this year a new “clause” has been proposed.  Our brothers and sisters in the UK seem to be experiencing similar frustrations.  The Public Order Act of 1986 includes Part 3 which prohibits expressions of “racial hatred”.  This new “clause” is simply extending the protection to the LGBT community.  The “clause” or Part 3 is not meant to cause any new concerns to leaders of a Church.

LGBT Hate Crime in Cape Cod (May 24, 2009)

A young man named Eric Patten, just 23 years old, was quite drunk and was asked to leave a club in Provincetown.  According to police he began screaming anti-homosexual slurs on the sidewalk outside the club and approached and began attacking two lesbian women.  Police also said Eric called one of the women an offensive slur which would refer to a gay man.  Then, he pushed one of the women into a cafe window both breaking the window and injuring the woman.  Both women were taken to the hospital and bystanders were visibly upset about what they had witnessed.  Mr. Patten is facing a number of charges including resisting arrest.

Gay Minister Appointed in Scotland (May 25, 2009)

The Rev. Scott Rennie was relieved and humbled as the ruling body of the Church of Scotland voted to dismiss the challenge against his new appointment.  Rev. Rennie is now an openly gay minister with a partner and his most current appointment was originally challenged because of his sexual orientation.  He believes the challenge came from religious conservatives within the Anglican Communion. The Anglican Communion would be the equivalent to the Anglican body here in the U.S., where openly gay bishop V. Gene Robinson was consecrated in 2003 in New Hampshire.

New LGBT Youth Cafe in Ireland (May 25, 2009)

Many of the young people in Limerick haven’t really had a place where they can feel comfortable and safe.  Many don’t even feel comfortable or safe in their own local schools.  The cafe is meant, for LGBTQ young people aged 13 – 25, to be a place where they can stop by for a chat with a youth worker, or even just hang out for awhile.  Although it was originally meant for LGBT youth and those who are questioning – non LGBTQ family members and friends are also welcome.

Prop. 8 Upheld by CA Supreme Court (May 27, 2009)

The majority of the justices of the CA Supreme Court voted to uphold the Prop. 8 ban on same-sex marriage.  They said that Prop. 8 was a limited constitutional amendment which did not require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to be put on the ballot.  The justices decided unanimously that the approximately 18,000 same-sex marriages would still be legal in the state.  The one justice who did vote in favor of overturning Prop. 8, Justice Carlos R. Moreno, said the ruling was, “not just a defeat for same-sex couples, but for any minority group that seeks the protection of the equal protection clause of the California Constitution.  The rule the majority crafts today not only allows same-sex couples to be stripped of the right to marry, it places at risk the state constitutional rights of all disfavored minorities.”

Fed Lawsuit Filed to Overturn CA Prop. 8 (May 27, 2009)

Back in 2000 there was an highly disputed presidential election with memories of hanging chads, butterfly ballots and challenging Electoral College votes.  Recently a new advocacy nonprofit called American Foundation for Equal Rights was formed and they hired attorneys David Boies and Theodore B. Olson to represent two gay couples in a Federal lawsuit challenging Proposition 8.  The two attorneys, Mr. Boies and Mr. Olson, were each the lead attorneys during the court battle over the 2000 Presidential election – and are now working together because they see Federal possibility of overturning Prop. 8.  Mr Olson, who served as solicitor general under former Pres. Bush was quoted as saying, “Creating a second class of citizens is discrimination, plain and simple.  The Constitution of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Abraham Lincoln does not permit it.”  Hopefully their combined legal experience along with their determination will help to win marriage equality for California, as well as other states.

CA School Board Votes to Adopt Anti-Bullying Curriculum (May 27, 2009)

Previously in this column an article was included about a school district in Alameda, CA considering adopting a well written curriculum to help students and teachers have better respect and understanding for the LGBT community.  That vote has taken place and there were cheers when the results of the vote were announced.  The members of the board voted 3-2 in favor of adopting the new curriculum.  Some members of other minority groups present at the meeting were not as happy with the vote – citing problems which exist toward their own groups.  The district Superintendent Kirsten Vital answered them by acknowledging the concerns and saying, “We need to do a better job as a school district, but you don’t take away from one group to support another…”.

More Killings of Gays in Iraq (May 28, 2009)

During the past three months approximately 30 more people have been killed in Iraq because they were either believed to be or know to be homosexual.  Amnesty International wrote directly to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to take action to stop this from happening.  Some believe that these people were tortured then killed in baghdad at the hands of the Mahdi Army, some believe tribal vigilantes were responsible.

Air Force Lt. Col. Battling for Career Over DADT (May 28, 2009)

Lt. Col Victor Fehrenbach is the winner of nine medals for distinguished service in flight and is trying to save his 18-year Air Force career.  A year ago an acquaintance told his bosses he was gay, now Fehrenbach is trying to save his career with the help of The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.  He had been trying to stay in the service until the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” – but he has decided it is time to speak out.  Lt. Col. Fehrenbach said, “I will fight this in uniform and I’ll fight it without.  I swore an oath to defend and support the Constitution, I’m going to speak out and fight this until the law is repealed because it is not constitutional.”  He has also appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show.

High School in CA Elects Male Prom Queen (May 29, 2009)

When Sergio Garcia, a senior at Fairfax High School in the Hollywood area, submitted his application for Prom Queen earlier this month he told his classmates he would wear a suit and not a dress to the prom.  Then, at his prom the majority of the students voted by paper ballot to elect him.  Senior Keith Perez, who was elected Prom King said that he, “didn’t mind at all” dancing with the school’s first male Prom King.  Vanessa Lo, the senior class president and the prom date of Keith Perez, was happy to announce Garcia as the newly elected Prom Queen that evening.  Many notable alumni of Fairfax High School include members of the band Red Hot Chili Peppers, actresses Mila Kunis and Demi Moore … and another not so notable nor famous alumnus … your humble news gatherer – MJ.