Tennessee's controversial "Don't Say Gay" bill is set to die after key GOP sponsor state Rep. Joey Hensley said he decided "simply not to bring it up," according to a Huffington Post item. The legislationwhich had earlier been approved by a state House committeestated, "[N]o public elementary or middle school shall provide any instruction or material that discusses sexual orientation other than heterosexuality." Last year, the state Senate passed a similar measure, only to fail a final approval by the state House.
Conservative LGBT organization GOProud criticized gay writer/activist and "It Gets Better" co-founder Dan Savage for comments he made at a conference for high school journalists, Advocate.com reported. Among other things, Savage said, "We ignore bullshit in the Bible about all sorts of things. The Bible is a radically pro-slavery document"prompting some students to walk out on Savage. GOProud Executive Director Jimmy LaSalvia said in a statement, "Dan Savage's outrageous anti-Christian tirade hurtsnot helpsthe fight for gay rights in this country." Savage later apologized, but denied that he engaged in an anti-Christian tirade, saying he attacked "hypocrisy."
Richard Grenellthe openly gay man GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney named as a spokesmanhas resigned in the wake of backlash from social conservatives, Advocate.com reported. In a statement to the Washington Post, Grennell said, "My ability to speak clearly and forcefully on the issues has been greatly diminished by the hyper-partisan discussion of personal issues that sometimes comes from a presidential campaign."
Missouri is weighing its own version of Tennessee's "Don't Say Gay" bill, according to Advocate.com . Republican legislators, including House Speaker Steve Tilley, are sponsoring the measurewith House Small Business Committee Chairman Dwight Scharnhorst adding, "There is no need to talk about Billy wanting to marry a goat." Sponsor Rep. Steve Cookson said that Missouri's bill applies to all discussion of sexual orientation, both gay and heterosexual.
Bradley Manning, the out gay U.S. intelligence analyst charged with leaking classified military documents to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, will face a court-martial Sept. 21, the Chicago Tribune reported. Manning, 24, faces 22 charges, and being found guilty of the most serious ones could result in life in prison. Military judge Col. Denise Lind ruled against a motion to dismiss that Manning's attorney filed, saying there was no evidence of the prosecutorial misconduct the defense lawyer claimed.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry has endorsed onetime GOP rival Mitt Romney for president, according to ABC News. Perry, who was a candidate himself before dropping out of the presidential race in January, said, "Mitt Romney has earned the Republican Presidential nomination through hard-work, a strong organization, and disciplined message of restoring America." Perry had backed Newt Gingrich, who's expected to suspend his campaign May 1.
Top executives from some of Wall Street's biggest banks and other industries are discussing LGBT equality at the second annual Out on the Street Leadership Summit May 2 in New York City, according to a press release. Building on last year's inaugural summit, the 2012 summit is focusing on the role that support for LGBT equality can play in the retention of talent and the conduct of business. Among the featured speakers are Goldman Sachs Chairman/CEO Lloyd C. Blankfein, Knoll Furniture President/COO Lynn Utter and special guest moderator George Stephanopoulos from ABC.
The Williams Institute released a report finding that 86 percent of all federal contractors protect against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and 55 percent on the basis of gender identity, according to a press release. The combined total represents almost one-half of all federal contractors with LGBT protections, amounting to more than $249 billion in federal spending. Tico Almeida, president of Freedom to Work, said, "Anyone who cites the possibility of a legal challenge after President Obama signs this LGBT order is simply inventing excuses to delay our civil rights and equality under the law. There is nothing left to study."
In an unprecedented move for the organization, Illinois HIV/AIDS agency Chicago House has unveiled a new nine-bedroom facility to house transgender people on Chicago's North Side. "We plan for this to be a safe haven and residential facility for transgender persons," said Rev. Stan Sloan, CEO of Chicago House. Nine transgender people will live in the four-story house before year's end.
In Maine, the attorney general's office has filed a complaint against Turner resident Ronald Champagne, who allegedly used a gay slur against another man, pursued the man's vehicle and rammed it twice, according to WMTW.com . The 60-year-old man had stopped his vehicle to adjust items in the back of it after leaving work when the man said Champagne, 50, drove up in his Cadillac, called him the slur and threatened to ram him in to the lake. While the alleged victim called 911, Champagne hit the vehicle.
The White House announced that civil-rights activist Dolores Huerta is a 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, according to a Human Rights Campaign (HRC) press release. Huerta co-founded the National Farmworkers Association with labor leader Cesar Chavez in 1962. HRC President Joe Solmonese said that Huerta "recognized early that all oppressed peoplethe nation's farm workers, women, ethnic minorities, and the LGBT communityshare the common goal of a fairer nation." Singer Bob Dylan, ex-women's basketball coach Pat Summitt, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, writer Toni Morrison, former Israel President Shimon Peres and astronaut John Glenn are among the 12 other recipients.
Bettie Naylor, a founding member of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the National Women's Political Caucus, died at age 84, according to SheWired.com . Naylor was a staunch LGBT- and women's-rights activist, with ties to organizations such as Equality Texas, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood and AIDS Services of Austin. "Bettie was a tireless advocate and never stopped working to ensure that members of our community received the rights, dignity, and respect that all people deserve," HRC president Joe Solmonese said in a statement.
Meghan McCain, the daughter of former GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, criticized Fox News host Greta Van Susteren for inviting Lindsay Lohan to the White House Correspondents Dinner that took place April 28, the New York Daily News reported. McCain tweeted, "Let me get this straight. Greta Van Susteren is bringing Lindsay Lohan to the WHC Dinner but has a moral offense to Louie C.K.?" Van Susteren called for a boycott of the Radio and Television Correspondents Association Dinner after learning that comedian Louis C.K. would headline the event, citing his "filthy language" about women.
OUT ESCAPES (www.OutEscapes.com) announced the public launch of its website, which offers members and friends of the LGBT community bookable travel and event packages at top travel destinations and properties around the world through limited-time sale offers, according to a press release. The website, which officially launches May 15, is the first travel flash sales website ever to be geared specifically to the LGBT communityan industry that brings in an estimated $65 billion in revenue annually.
In Kansas, Erich Bishopthe openly gay 28-year-old son of a former member of the Ku Klux Klanis planning to run against conservative state Rep. Jan Pauls in the state's Democratic primary election in August, Advocate.com reported. Bishop, 28, announced his plans April 26 during a rally at the state capitol in Topeka. Despite being a Democrat, Pauls has supported a measure that would allow state residents to opt out of laws that conflict with their religious beliefs, such as laws banning anti-LGBT discrimination.
In Michigan, principal Denny Starnes of Mount Pleasant's Sacred Heart Academy spoke in front of the student body about the controversial decision to disinvite Dominic Sheahan-Stahl as graduation speaker because he is gay. Sheahan-Stahl, a Sacred Heart alumnus and older brother of a current graduate, was asked last fall to give the keynote addressbut that invitation was rescinded. Starnes conveyed that while he did not agree with the decision of the Saginaw Diocese, his feelings were trumped by the church's teachings and the decision of Bishop Joseph R. Cistone.
OUT Magazine has revealed its Power 50 list for 2012and Apple CEO Tim Cook is number one. The Power 50, according to a press release, represents "a who's who of prominent gay men and women representing all walks of life." Others in the top 10 include Ellen DeGeneres, venture capitalist Peter Thiel, TV director/producer Ryan Murphy, political commentator Rachel Maddow and talk-show host Anderson Cooper.
In Utah, Ogden resident Alex Smith, 18, talked to a packed room about the bullying his boyfriend, Jack Reese, was experiencingbut no one, including Smith, knew that Reese had already taken his own life, according to Q Salt Lake. Reese is the latest known suicide of a gay teen in northern Utah. Several organizations issued statements in reaction to the death and the pro-LGBT group OUTreach was slated to hold a panel on bullying and suicide May 1.
GLAAD has taken action after claiming that a Cleveland, Ohio, morning DJ suggested that a man should allow his lesbian daughter to be raped, according to Advocate.com . Dominic Dieter, a DJ at station WMMS, reportedly addressed a man's letter about his lesbian daughter on the show Rover's Morning Glory by saying, "You should get one of your friends to screw your daughter straight." Aaron McQuade, GLAAD's director of news and field media, said, "It was appalling and dangerous for this show to tell a father that he should have one of his friends rape his daughter." The station disciplined Dieter and he issued an on-air apology, LGBTQ Nation reported.
President Obama and host Jimmy Kimmel touched on LGBT issues at the annual White House Correspondents Dinner, according to GregInHollywood.com . At one point, Obama said, "In my first term we repealed a policy known as Don't Ask, Don't Tell. In my second term we will replace it with a policy known as "It's Raining Men."' Kimmel asked former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, "How can you be against gay marriage when you yourself are the son of two gay parents? The Michelin and the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man."
U.S. Sens. Mark Udall, Kirsten Gillibrand and Joseph Lieberman urged the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to streamline its process for veterans discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) so it's easier for veterans to gain employment, according to a press release from Udall's office. "Even though we ended DADT last year, more than 14,000 veterans who were forced to leave the military because of their sexual orientation still have an unfair stigma hanging over them," Udall said. Lieberman added, "By streamlining the process to correct these service members' discharge documents, [DoD] can ensure that these courageous Americans move forward with dignity in their careers and private lives."
In the wake of the Boy Scouts ousting lesbian Ohio mother Jennifer Tyrrell because of her sexual orientation, GLAAD has drawn attention to a 1994 video in which current Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney said, "I support the right of the Boy Scouts of America to decide what it wants to do on that issue. I feel that all people should be able to participate in the Boy Scouts regardless of their sexual orientation." Video of Romney's remarks is available is available at www.glaad.org/equalityscouts.
On May 8, Service Women's Action Network (SWAN) will hold the first-ever gathering of Navy, Army, Air Force and Marine veteran sexual-assault survivors for "Truth and Justice: The 2012 Summit on Military Sexual Violence" in Washington, D.C. More than 100 survivors, including LGBT individuals, are expected to convene at the event, which will include veteran and policy panels as well as an awards ceremony and Congressional visits. See www.TruthAndJusticeSummit.org .
GLAAD has announced the 2nd Annual National People of Color Media Training Institute as a part of the organization's National People of Color Media Initiative, according to a press release. The institute will consist of a training program in New York (Aug. 24-26) and Los Angeles (Sept. 7-9), where GLAAD staff, leading journalists and key media trainers will develop institute participants with best practices for on-camera and radio interviews. Interested persons should visit www.glaad.org/programs/pocmedia.
In Oakland, Calif., friends of slain transgender woman Brandy Martell, 37, feel that the killing was a hate crime, according to LGBTQ Nation. One of two men who walked up to Martell's car became angry and fired a gunshot into the car where she was sitting. Community organizers feel Martell was shot by a man who had "become enraged and shot her when he realized she was trans," reported the SF Weekly.
A federal judge has ruled that the conservative group the Hawaii Family Forum can defend Hawaii's anti-gay marriage law in court, Advocate.com reported. In a suit filed last year by a lesbian couple, Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie refused to defend the state's constitutional ban on marriage equality. Now, the Hawaii Family Forum has stepped in, represented by the anti-gay Alliance Defense Fund.
Openly gay Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black (Milk) has said an op-ed in which he appeared to criticize President Obama's record on same-sex marriage has been misinterpreted, Advocate.com reported. Several people criticized a viewpoint Black wrote for The Hollywood Reporter entitled "Hollywood & Politics: Dustin Lance Black Blames Obama and Romney for the Mess of Gay Marriage." Black wrote that, like others, he was bother by the publication's headline.
Hours after a U.S. district judge stopped a Texas law that would have eliminated Planned Parenthood's participation in the state's women's health program, Federal Appeals Judge Jerry E. Smith issued an emergency stay reversing that order, according to the Huffington Post. In the appeal for the emergency stay, a team of lawyers led by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott compared Planned Parenthood to a terrorist organization. Melaney Linton, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, called the comparison "appalling."
The Colorado Senate advanced a ballot resolution that would allow voters to repeal an unenforceable constitutional amendment banning local authorities from passing gay-inclusive nondiscrimination laws, Care2.com reported. Senate Concurrent Resolution 1 would repeal the anti-gay Amendment 2, which voters passed in 1992. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Amendment 2 unconstitutional in 1996.
A group of 14 leading HIV/AIDS and health organizations stated their support for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of Truvada as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV infection in adult men and women, according to an AVAC: Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention press release. The organizations' comments, submitted in advance of a May 10 FDA Advisory Committee meeting, pointed to evidence on the efficacy of Truvada. Despite some progress in reducing HIV incidence using other available methods, approximately 50,000 people become infected with HIV every year in the United States, and 2.6 million people were newly infected with HIV globally in 2010.
In Denver, Rich Dewberry claimed a Best Buy employee outed him as gay on Facebookeven though Dewberry is straight, according to On Top Magazine. Dewberry said the trouble started when he took his cellphone to the store to have it fixed; after his phone was replaced with a new one, a status update on his Facebook profile read, "I am gay; I'm coming out." Dewberry filed a complaint with the store and was reportedly told the employee involved was fired.
Dr. Franklin Grahamthe son of evangelist Billy Grahamhas endorsed Amendment One, a proposed marriage-equality ban in North Carolina, according to On Top Magazine. Voters will decide the amendment's fate May 8. In his recorded statement released by Vote for Marriage North Carolina, Franklin Graham called the upcoming vote "very crucial."