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LGBT Notable News Happenings (June 7, 2009 – June 12, 2009).

June 15, 2009 By: MJ Category: Featured, LGBT News

LGBT NewsSalt Lake Celebrates LGBT Pride (June 8, 2009)

There were brightly colored floats, rainbow banners, marching and dancing men and women in brightly colored attire.  This year the Utah Pride Center,  organizer of the celebration, also held a political rally in conjunction with the festival.  Grand marshal was LGBT activist Clive Jones – who incidentally thanked The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for supporting Proposition 8.  Clive said, “We thank you for unifying us as never before.  We thank you for teaching our young people that they must be prepared to fight for freedom.”  It is easy to feel like part of the fun – just go to the article and click the “play multimedia” link on the red and white striped face !!  Happy LGBT Pride month everybody!!

D.C. Pride Fest Honors Franklin Kameny (June 8, 2009)

Franklin Kameny is known as one of the original LGBT activists, and this year he was honored as a part of the Pride Fest in D.C.  Kameny was part of the first Gay Rights picket in front of the White House in October 1965 – and although he has been involved in many parts of the LGBT rights movement – he prefers to be remembered for coming up with the slogan “Gay is Good” in 1968.  The slogan is really very important to him.  Mr. Kameny said, “The phrase encapsulates the whole underlying driving force and rationale for everything that I’ve been involved in.”  Mr. Kameny is still quite active at the age of 84, and has been advising DC Council member David Catania on the gay marriage issue as well as continuing to lobby Congress to end D.A.D.T.   A volunteer group called the Kameny Papers Project donated more than 50,000 of his documents – which have been catalogued by the Library of Congress.   These are just a few of the ways in which Franklin Kameny has continued to enhance our movement.

Gay Man From Philippines Wins Asylum in CA (June 8, 2009)

Philip Belarmino is an English Professor from the Philippines, and taught there at university for 17 years.  He has been staying with his parents and his sister who are permanent residents in the Bay Area.  After his visitor’s visa expired in 2006 Professor Belarmino consulted an attorney in San Francisco and began his fight to stay in the U.S.  He had been sexually assaulted a number of times in the Philippines and he had been fearful of being subject to further abuse because of his sexuality if he would have been forced to return.  That was part of the court testimony heard by Judge Loreto Geisse who fortunately finally granted political asylum in the United States to Philip Belarmino.  This was not the Professor’s first attempt to stop his own deportation but this time it was successful!!!  During his celebration of asylum he also showed courage in another way – he “came out” to his own family for the first time.

The Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to DADT (June 8, 2009)

Former Army Capt. James Pietrangelo II, whose military career was forcibly ended by the unconstitutional law “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”, had joined with others hoping to having D.A.D.T. overturned.  Kevin Nix – spokesman for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network – responded by saying, “We don’t see that at all as bad news for repeal.  What happens today puts the ball back into the court of Congress and the White House to repeal the law, and that’s where we think it should be right now.”  Previously President Obama indicated he supported repealing the law and hopefully he will begin that process very soon.  Until then many LGBT military service personnel are still being fired from their careers unjustly.

First LGBT Pride Events for Shanghai (June 11, 2009)

The events are being organized by Shanghai LGBT – which is an association of English speaking expatriates.  Money raised by the Pride Events will go to the Hong Kong-based Chi Heng Foundation, which funds education for children orphaned by AIDS in central China.  In order to avoid the need for government permission “Shanghai Pride” will not include a colorful parade – and will be centered around events held in private venues.  Even with the use of private venues there is still concern that the government of China might show their presence and attempt to stop the celebrations.  The medical community in China officially stopped viewing Homosexuality as a mental disorder only as recently as 2001.  Hopefully our brothers and sisters have been having a great and proud time at Shanghai Pride #1 !!  We look forward to the year when they can celebrate loud and with full rainbow colors!

U.S. Officially Speaks Out Against Anti-Gay Violence in Iraq (June 11, 2009)

The U.S. embassy in Baghdad has come forward in raising the issue with Iraqi government officials.  State Department spokesman Ian Kelly has been speaking out directly to the Iraqi government as an official representative.  It is believed (at the time of the article) that as many as 25 boys and men have been killed in Baghdad alone – their only “crime” being that they were Gay or believed to be Gay.  Statistics are not available regarding girls or women who have been killed.  A previous article in this column mentioned that London-Based Amnesty International also wrote directly to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki this past April.  Hopefully more voiced concerns along with even more powerful voices will begin to curb the violence against our LGBT brothers and sisters – and hopefully will also someday change the laws.

CA Gov. and Atty. Gen. Oppose Injunction Against Prop. 8 (June 12, 2009)

The Federal lawsuit already filed by David Boies and Theodore Olson also includes a request for an injunction to freeze the current Gay marriage ban in CA.  According to the article, “(Attorney General) Brown and (Governor) Schwarzenegger argued separately that it would create too much havoc to put the law on hold until the constitutional issues are resolved, perhaps eventually by the U.S. Supreme Court.”  If the injunction were granted – LGBT couples could resume marrying in California.  Attorney General Brown said that he agrees Proposition 8 “imposed a special disability on gays and lesbians and their families on the basis of sexual orientation.”  He also mentioned that it is in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s promise of equal protection and due process.  Actually the Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines “disability” as; “1 a:  the condition of being disabled;  b:  inability to pursue an occupation because of a physical or mental impairment.”  Possibly the Attorney General meant to use a different word in describing the lack of equality gays and lesbians and their families are experiencing.

Fed D.O.J. Dismisses Suit Filed by Gay Couple Married in CA (June 12, 2009)

This lawsuit was actually filed prior to the suit filed by the attorneys Boies and Olsen.  The first Fed lawsuit was filed to argue the case of Arthur Smelt and Christopher Hammer, who were legally married in California during 2008.  The recent ruling upholding the actions of Prop. 8 means their marriage is still legal, but their concern is the legality of their marriage in states other than California where LGBT marriage is not approved or is still illegal.  The U.S. Justice Department has filed the necessary motion to dismiss the case – the motion was filed on Thursday.  According to the article reported by the AP, “In a separate filing, the California attorney general moved Thursday to dismiss the state lawsuit by the same couple, saying Hammer and Smelt lack standing to sue because their marriage was unaffected in any way by the passage of Proposition 8, the voter-approved gay marriage ban.”  The case was originally in California state court before it went to Federal court.

pngwnz [photo coming soon]: jaysays.com contributor, MJ, a/k/a pngwnz, is an out lesbian with an affinity for the music of Phil Collins and Carole King. She has been an invaluable resource as a reader and idea bouncer-off-er [yeah, that’s the word we are using] and we are pleased to have her as part of the team!

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.