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Chef Art Smith honored; Gene Robinson's possible successor gay
NATIONAL ROUNDUP: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy CIty Times..

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Famed chef Art Smith is among those who will be honored by Washington, D.C.'s, Capital Area Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce April 20 at its annual gala, according to a press release. Smith—who has restaurants in Chicago, Washington and New York City—will receive the Excellence in Business Award. Among the other award recipients will be Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese (Community Advocacy Award) and Signal Financial (Corporate Ally of the Year Award).

Retiring New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson, who is openly gay, may have a gay replacement, noted. Dr. William Warwick Rich, a partnered bishop living in Boston, has been mentioned as a potential replacement for Robinson. Rich began to come out at the end of college and, in 1992, officiated a same-sex wedding.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) questioned the judgment of House Speaker John Boehner for his appointment of Robert George, co-founder and chairman emeritus of the National Organization for Marriage, to the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom, according to a press release. "For the Speaker to appoint someone who embodies NOM's deep seated anti-gay animus is the wrong thing to do," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "This appointment is counter to the Commission's stated mission because George represents a narrow and exclusionary ideology. Unfortunately, Rep. Boehner has further aligned himself with the extremist wing of his party."

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the ACLU of Eastern Missouri have reached a settlement agreement with the Camdenton R-III School District following a judge's order to stop using Internet filtering software that blocked pro-LGBT websites while allowing access to anti-LGBT resources, according to . The district agreed to stop blocking the sites, submit to monitoring for 18 months to confirm compliance and pay $125,000 in legal fees and costs.

The Human Rights Campaign has released results of a poll that shows overwhelming support for an executive order to ban federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, a press release stated. Seventy-three percent of 2012 likely voters favor such an order and support remains strong regardless of age, race, education, political ideology and other demographics.

In Indiana, the South Bend City Council approved an LGBT-rights ordinance, according to . The measure, approved 6-3, will extend employment and housing anti-discrimination protections to cover sexual orientation and gender identity. The ordinance, which goes into effect April 6, excludes churches and other religious organizations, but opponents argue it should also exempt people and business owners who believe homosexuality is immoral.

Former President Jimmy Carter discusses homosexuality in his new book, NIV Lessons from Life Bible: Personal Reflections with Jimmy Carter, according to . In the book, Carter writes, "Homosexuality was well known in the ancient world, well before Christ was born and Jesus never said a word about homosexuality. In all of his teachings about multiple things—he never said that gay people should be condemned. I personally think it is very fine for gay people to be married in civil ceremonies."

Openly gay author/Daily Beast blogger Andrew Sullivan and National Organization for Marriage co-founder Maggie Gallagher are slated to debate same-sex marriage April 4 at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Va. The event is free, but recording and broadcasting are reportedly prohibited. (Sullivan and Gallagher had previously debated at least once, at Georgetown University in 2010.) The pro-LGBT group Outlaw and the Federalist Society are co-hosting the event.

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied the appeal of John Lotter, who is on Nebraska's death row for killing transgender man Brandon Teena as part of a 1993 triple murder depicted in the movie Boys Don't Cry, according to . Lotter and Marvin Nissen were convicted of raping and murdering Teena, and they killed two witnesses to Teena's murder: Phillip DeVine and Lisa Lambert. Nissen has said he actually murdered the three by himself, but courts say that they are both culpable.

In Ohio, two gay men were attacked while walking home from a drag show—and authorities say the victims were targeted because of their sexual orientation, reported. Miami (Ohio) University student Michael Bustin was walking home with a friend and briefly held hands when he heard someone yell an anti-gay slur. Four men then set upon the victims, beating them.

Major League Soccer team the Houston Dynamos suspended player Colin Clark for three games (with pay) and fined him after he was caught yelling an anti-gay slur at a ball boy, reported. The incident occurred during a recent game in Seattle. Soon after, Clark tweeted an apology and spoke directly to the ball boy; however, officials still indicated there would be consequences.

In another sports-related development, a high school classmate of Minnesota Twins pitcher Carl Pavano reportedly threatened to reveal an alleged same-sex relationship they had unless Pavano apologized to him and bought him a Range Rover SUV, according to a Huffington Post item. Police in Pavano's Connecticut hometown started investigating after Pavano's sister complained about messages she got from the classmate, Christian Bedard. Bedard later said in a statement that he was joking about the SUV.

In Texas, former Lamar University dance professor Linda Ozmun claims in court that school administrators unfairly reprimanded her for refusing, for religious reasons, not to attend gay performance artist Tim Miller's show on campus, according to Courthouse News Service. In her complaint, Ozmun said she refused to attend Miller's show in 2011, and did not go to a show theater students organized in 2010 (called "Coming Out Collective") after Miller's performance was cancelled. Ozmun seeks, among other things, punitive damages and reinstatement.

In Philadelphia, U.S. District Judge Ronald Buckwalter ruled that the Boy Scouts of America can recoup nearly $900,000 in legal fees for beating a city's eviction attempt because of the group's ban on gay members, according to Courthouse News Service. Although the Scouts had been using a building rent-free since 1929, the city demanded rent in 2003 unless the group stop discriminating against openly gay men. The group sued the city, and a jury sided with the Scouts, saying Philadelphia violated the First Amendment. The city moved to overturn the verdict or have a new trial, but Buckwalter refused.

According to a study initially revealed in Discovery News, dolphins were "found to engage in extensive bisexuality, combined with periods of exclusive homosexuality," the Huffington Post reported. (Same-sex relations in the animal kingdom are apparently quite common.) It was also found that two or three male dolphins may cooperate to sequester and herd individual females during the mating season.

Court documents have shown that the anti-gay organization the National Organization for Marriage has tried to split the Democratic Party base by having Latinos and African Americans face off against gay-rights groups, according to . "The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks—two key Democratic constituencies," says one of the memos. Court officials in Maine recently unsealed the documents, which are from 2009.

In Alaska, supporters of Proposition 5—which would expand Anchorage's antidiscrimination laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity—have criticized an advertisement released by opponents, according to the Huffington Post. One ad shows a cartoon man in drag applying at a day-care center, with the narrator saying, "If [the daycare center's owner] hires him, she risks losing customers. And if she refuses, she can be fined or imprisoned." Among those denouncing the ad is a former Alaska governor.

Citing logistics, a Pennsylvania court ordered the start of the child sex-abuse trial of former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky delayed three weeks to June 5, according to the Chicago Tribune. Sandusky, 68, faces 52 counts of child molestation over accusations he abused 10 boys over a 15-year period. He has denied the charges and is currently under house arrest.

In Alabama, the Tuscaloosa school system will now allow same-sex couples to go to prom, reported. The situation started in January, when a high school asked student Elizabeth Garrett to remove a sweatshirt that read "Warning: This Individual Infected With 'The Gay,' Proceed With Caution." The school then announced that gay and lesbian couples couldn't attend prom. The Southern Poverty Law Center then got involved, resulting in the school system's policy change.

A University of Michigan study has found that gay, lesbian and bisexual (GLB) college students who experience subtle discrimination are at increased risk of having a problem with alcohol compared to their heterosexual counterparts, according to a news release. The study also found that GLB students who knew others who were subjected to hostility were at increased risk for having a drinking problem. "Addressing disrespectful, discourteous behaviors on campus may seem unimportant compared to addressing overt discrimination and violence, but this study's results suggest otherwise," said Michael Woodford, assistant professor of social work and the study's lead author.

Lambda Legal and more than 100 civil rights, faith and community organizations filed a friend-of-the-court brief in Arizona v. United States, the State of Arizona's appeal of a federal-court decision enjoining key sections of SB1070. The brief argues that SB 1070, also called the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, will lead to racial profiling, discrimination and anti-immigrant extremism.

Supporters of an executive order barring discrimination against LGBT federal workers praised the results of a new poll showing that 73 percent of U.S. residents support such a measure, according to the Washington Blade. Brian Moulton, legal director for the Human Rights Campaign, discussed the findings at a briefing for staffers on Capitol Hill, saying support for the order comes from a diverse array of demographic groups—including conservatives. U.S. Reps. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., and Lois Capps, D-Calif., were among those who lent their support at the briefing.

In New York City, art photographer Iannis Delatolas said he was gay-bashed at a Brooklyn bar while dozens of witnesses failed to help, according to . Delatolas told The Village Voice's Michael Musto that he took his dog, Tulip, to the hipster bar Mission Dolores when another man reportedly cut in front of him in line and said an anti-gay slur when Delatolas protested. After a shouting match, one of the man's friends allegedly attacked Delatolas.

Activist and former athlete Corey Johnson is entering the race to succeed out New York City Councilwoman Christine Quinn, reported. Johnson, 29, is one of four LGBT candidates hoping to replace Quinn; he blogs for the gay website Towleroad and is also community board chairman for New York City. Quinn, whose term expires next year, is expected to run for mayor.

In California, transgender-rights advocate Alexis Rivera died March 28 of HIV-related complications at the age of 34, the Huffington Post reported. Masen Davis, executive director of Transgender Law Center, said in a statement that Rivera "understood that we are stronger together, and she kept organizing until the very end. Alexis' death is a reminder that the fight for equality—and against AIDS—is far from over."

The pro-LGBT organization Freedom to Work—building on recent momentum behind an executive order to ban discrimination among federal contractors based on sexual orientation or gender identity—announced a new letter of support signed by 72 members of Congress, according to a Human Rights Campaign press release. The sign-on letter, led by Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr., D-N.J., and co-signed by Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif., includes nearly half of the House Democratic Caucus and expands on a statement by Nancy Pelosi, who said last July that such an executive order is "long overdue."

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