Financial guru Suze Orman said she couldn't vote for a Republican president because social rights involving LGBT rights affect her monetarily, according to Advocate.com . "Obviously it is no secret that I am gay, so it is very difficult for me to look at any Republican nominee and go, oh, that's who I want in office," she said on The View, adding, "My social issue affects my financial issue."
Another gay California student has taken his life. According to the Huffington Post, 18-year-old Jeffrey Fehr hanged himself Jan. 1 in the front entrance of his family's home in Granite Bay. Parents Pati and Steve believe that bullying led their openly gay son, a student at Sierra College, to commit suicide. A Facebook group, "RIP Jeffrey Fehr," has been launched in honor of the late teen.
National Stonewall Democrats has slammed Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's endorsement of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, according to a press release. Executive Director Jerame Davis said, "Mitt Romney is so craven and desperate to get elected, he has not only accepted, but is proudly crowing over an endorsement by one of the most disgusting ultra-right-wing extremists in the GOP. ... Romney can't claim to support civil rights while affiliating with groups of the same caliber as the Ku Klux Klan and Aryan Nation. His wretched attempts to do so show just how frantic he is to pander to all sides of any issue." The Human Rights Campaign has also criticized the development.
In North Carolina, Harnett County Elections Director Sherre Toler has resigned because of the state's proposed constitutional amendment banning marriage equality, according to the Raleigh GLBT Report. Toler, who lives in a socially conservative county, said her romantic relationship with a man of a different race crystallized her belief that majority ruled shouldn't determine the civil rights of people in love. "The rights of a minority group being put to a popular vote," she said. "It's immoral and unconstitutional."
A study found that the quality of life of 17-year-olds raised in lesbian-parent families did not differ from that of a group of adolescents who grew up in heterosexual-parent families, a press release noted. The studypublished in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatricsalso found, among teens with lesbian mothers, that there was no difference in quality of life based on donor status, stigmatization or maternal relationship continuity. "The favorable outcomes for these adolescents are a reflection of good parenting by mothers who prepared their daughters and sons for the prospect of adversity," said Principal Investigator Nanette Gartrell, MD, of the Williams Institute.
In Virginia, the state's board of juvenile justice has voted to ban sexual orientation-based discrimination in its programs, Advocate.com reported. In doing so, the departmentwhich oversees correctional facilities housing more than 800 young peoplewent against the wishes of anti-gay Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. The policy will now go to Gov. Bob McDonnell's office for review; McDonnell, like Cuccinelli, is known for his anti-gay views.
In Florida, same-sex couples in Orlando could sign up for the city's new domestic-partnership registry starting Jan. 12, CFNews13.com reported. Couples who register for $30 are granted some of the same rights as married men and women, including hospital visitations, rights to health care decisions and joint guardianship of children. Several other cities in Florida, including Miami and Gainesville, have similar registries.
Just one month after filming an "It Gets Better" video in support of LGBT youth, gay teen California-based filmmaker Eric James Borges has taken his own life, the Huffington Post reported. Borges, 19, worked as an intern with The Trevor Project and as a supplemental instructor at the College of the Sequoias. In the video, Borges said, "I was physically, mentally, emotionally and verbally assaulted on a day-to-day basis for my perceived sexual orientation," and claimed his mother performed an exorcism on him before ousting him from her home.
In North Carolinawhich doesn't recognize same-sex marriageJenny Shultz, 31, and Shannon Thomas, 46, were married in a traditional ceremony at United Church of Chapel Hill, NewsObserver.com reported. Shultz is an associate pastor at United Church, having graduated from Baptist Theological Seminary in Richmond, Va; Thomas is the music minister at a Lutheran church in Raleigh, but she is also licensed to preach. The couple plans to have a civil ceremony in Washington, D.C.
In Florida, businesswoman Gina Duncan could make history as Orange County's first transgender candidate after filing the initial paperwork to challenge Commissioner Ted Edwards, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Duncan, a 56-year-old Democrat with 30 years of experience in mortgage banking, is president of the Metropolitan Business Association, the region's gay chamber of commerce.
In California, Jenelle Hutcherson, 26, of Long Beach, and Mollie Thomas, 19, of West Hollywood, recently were the first openly lesbian contestants in the 60 years of the state pageant, the L.A. Times reported. More than 400 women vied for the title of Miss California USA and Miss California Teen USA Jan. 8. Thomas said she competed becuase it let her represent the LGBT community in a positive way. Natalie Pack, a 22-year-old who competed as Miss Hoag Hospital, was crowned Miss California USA and will go on to the Miss USA pageant.
In New Hampshire, former Marine Craig Stowell is fighting to keep marriage equality in his state, according to Advocate.com . Stowell, who is heterosexual, said that he was prompted to circulate a petition because of his gay brother, who resides in New York. "When New Hampshire extended marriage to gay and lesbian couples, two years ago, he finally felt accepted. He finally felt like he belonged. Since that day 1,800 loving and committed gay and lesbian couples have married," Stowell told a New Hampshire media outlet.
In the United States Supreme Court, Lambda Legal filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of 16 national HIV-advocacy organizations in support of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as the ACA, according to a press release. Lambda Legal supports the federal government's position that the ACA's minimum coverage requirement ( also known as the individual mandate ) is constitutional under the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause. Among the signatories in the brief are the Black AIDS Institute, National Center for Lesbian Rights and National Association of People with AIDS.
Washington United for Marriagea statewide coalition of organizations, congregations, unions and business associationsapplauded the introduction of SB 6239, an act that would provide equal protection for all families in Washington state by creating equality in civil marriage and changing the domestic-partnership laws, while protecting religious freedom, according to a press release. The bill needs 25 votes in the state Senate for passage, and was introduced with 23 sponsors. Six states and the District of Columbia recognize same-sex marriage under state law.
Christopher Godfrey, Iowa's only openly gay worker's compensation commissioner, has sued Gov. Terry Branstad for $1 million, claiming Branstad asked him to resign and cutting Godfrey's salary after he refused, the Huffington Post reported. Godfrey is alleging defamation, harassment, sexual discrimination and extortion against the state. Branstad's office is denying the claims, saying that the commissioner was asked to step down because of his job performance.
In Virginia, federal District Court Judge John A. Gibney Jr. has rejected a last-ditch bid by four Republican presidential candidates to get on Virginia's GOP primary ballot, leaving the March 6 contest only to front-runner Mitt Romney and Texas Rep. Ron Paul. Gibney Jr. berated former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., saying those candidates "knew the rules in Virginia many months ago."
The Human Rights Campaign joined the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachersthe two largest organizations representing educatorsJan. 12 for the national film premiere of a new short film for school staff and parents featuring 6-12 year olds talking about gays and lesbians, according to a press release. The film, What do you Know? 6-12 Year Olds Talk About Gays and Lesbians, was created as a professional development tool for educators and features students from Massachusetts and Alabama discussing what they know about gay men and lesbians, what they hear at school and what they'd like teachers to do.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee recently added Planning Commission President Christina Olague to the city's board of supervisors, according to SFGate.com . Olague will represent the representative the District Five neighborhoods that include the Haight-Ashbury, the Panhandle, Lower Haight and parts of the Hayes Valley and Inner Sunset, and Japantown. The bisexual Olague first made her mark in the city's political circles as an organizer with the Mission Anti-Displacement Coalition.
RedLightCenter.com and UtherConvention.com will hold the first-ever Adult Entertainment Virtual Convention Feb. 25-26, according to a press release. The Adult Entertainment 3D Virtual Convention will feature four rooms and one main hall filled with a wide range of exhibitorseverything from XXX Film companies to sex-toy vendors and virtual sex companies. Seka, a porn star of the 1970s and '80s, will be one of the expo's speakers.
Danny Strong, writer/co-producer of the HBO movie Game Change, said Sarah Palin nixed appearing in the film, according to Deadline.com . Game Change is based on Mark Halperin and John Heilemann's book about the 2008 presidential election. Still, Strong said he was able to interview 25 people connected with the 2008 campaign. He did not get John McCain or his speechwriter, Mark Salter, but said, "I got everybody else, including people who are not portrayed in the film."
A prison inmate who was one of four men to accuse former Syracuse University assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine of sexual abuse has admitted to lying, according to CBS News. Floyd VanHooser admitted he wanted to get back at Fine, 66, because the ex-coach didn't hire an attorney to help VanHooser, 56, fight a criminal conviction. VanHooser claimed Fine started sexually abusing him when VanHooser was 14.
In the wake of Portland, Ore., LGBT newspaper Just Out folding, Melanie Davisthe publisher-owner of El Hispanic Newsannounced she is starting a new monthly LGBT publication in that city Feb. 16, according to Advocate.com . The first edition of PQ Monthly will coincide with a celebration that evening at Portland's Jupiter Hotel. Like Just Out, PQ Monthly will be free, and will be available online at PQMonthly.com .
In Minnesota, some religious conservative parents in the Anoka-Hennepin School District want officials to purge any mention of homosexuality, Advocate.com reported. They also want administrators to add info about so-called ex-gay therapies and GRID ( an archaic term for AIDS that was phased out in the mid-1980s ) . Over the last two years, nine studentsin the districtincluding several gay oneshave committed suicide, the Huffington Post has reported.
Following repeated reports of sexual abuse in the immigration-detention system, Congressmen Mike Quigley, D-Ill., and Jared Polis, D-Colo., requested that the Government Accountability Office ( GAO ) investigate and offer possible remedies to improve conditions at Immigration Customs Enforcement ( ICE ) facilities and those with which they contract, a press release stated. Polis, who's openly gay, said, "LGBT immigrants appear to be special targets for abuse in ICE facilities. I expect that GAO will conduct a thorough investigation and offer up solutions that will end this intolerable situation."
Bernice Kinga daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. known for her anti-gay rhetoricincluded LGBT individuals at an Atlanta rally on MLK Day, according to AmericaBlog Gay. Bernice said that everyone is needed to create unity, and it didn't matter if they were Black or white, or "heterosexual or homosexual, or gay, lesbian, bisexual [ or ] transgender." LGBT people at the event were surprised but pleased she mentioned them.
In other King-related news, Martin Luther King III resigned as president of the center formed to promote his father's legacy, AJC.com reported. Bernice King had been named CEO of the King Center; Martin said that he'll be on the board of trustees.
Career centers in higher education are gradually improving in providing services to LGBTQ students. However, OUT for Work's 2012 Career Center Certification Report indicates that only 6 percent of the career centers surveyed earning an A+ Gold ranking, according to a press release. Among the findings was that no career centers at historically Black colleges and universities in the survey performed outreach specifically to the LGBTQ student population. See www.outforwork.org/resources/career_center/report for all findings.
The wife of GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum said that gay-rights advocates have the wrong idea about him, Advocate.com reported. As a stop in South Carolina, a woman with a gay son said her boy keeps hearing how Santorum hates gay people. Karen Santorum responded, "I think it's very sad [ what ] the gay activists have done out there. They vilify him, and it's so wrong. Rick does not hate anyone. He loves them. What he has simply said is [ gay ] marriage shouldn't happen. ... A lot of it is backyard bullying."
In South Carolina, six gay and lesbian couples applied for marriage licenses Jan. 17-18 to protest the state's ban on marriage equality, according to the Huffington Post. The couples arrived at the Greenville County Courthouse knowing they would be denied. The protest coincided with GOP presidential hopefuls being in the state for the Jan. 21 primary.