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Election surprises; Clementi foundation news; Manning
National roundup: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2014-08-13

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In a stunner, gay-friendly Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie lost—badly—in a Democratic primary, according to a Newser.com item. Abercrombie had name recognition, history, a 10-to-1 spending advantage and President Obama's endorsement—and still lost 67 percent to 32 percent to state Sen. David Ige. Abercrombie became the state's first incumbent governor to fall in a primary, and only the second to fail to secure re-election. In January, Abercrombie signed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage.

Tennessee state Sen. Stacey Campfield—author of the infamous "don't say gay" bill that would have prohibited any mention of homosexuality in the state's public schools through eighth grade—also lost his primary, according to Advocate.com . Campfield lost his Republican primary to Richard Briggs—a Knox County commissioner and cardiac surgeon who served as an Army doctor in the first Iraq war—67 percent to 28 percent. Campfield, a state legislator since 2004, gained national notoriety with the "don't say gay" bill, which he introduced twice.

The Tyler Clementi Foundation ( TCF ) has named Sean M. Kosofsky as its first full-time executive director, according to a press release. TCF was formed in 2012 to honor the memory of gay Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi, who tragically took his life in 2010 after being targeted for his sexuality by his roommate. Kosofsky's background includes 12 years as policy director for Michigan's Triangle Foundation ( now Equality Michigan ).

Attorneys for Chelsea Manning have given the military until Sept. 4 to put in place appropriate medical treatment for the transgender woman, who is an inmate at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, according to BuzzFeed. If the military does not act by that time, the lawyers say they will sue to ensure that Manning receives the treatment. Manning was convicted of violations of the Espionage Act and other offenses in July 2013 after leaking thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks.

Some Nebraska officials are holding strong to that state's status of having one of the nation's most restrictive laws, which affects some of the most basic aspects of gay couples' lives—from driver's licenses to parenting rights, according to LGBTQ Nation. Nebraska voters passed a state constitutional amendment in 2000 banning same-sex marriages, civil unions or even legalized domestic partnerships, and it has withstood all legal challenges.

Dr. Demetre Daskalakis will be the new head of New York City's Bureau of HIV/AIDS, starting in September, according to an HIVPlusMag.com item. Last year, Daskalakis led a successful effort to vaccinate gay men from meningitis when an outbreak threatened the community. Daskalakis has said he wants to build on his past success, and to use social media to reach gay and bisexual men with prevention and treatment efforts; he also wants to make Truvada more accessible to the community.

The Cincinnati-based leader of Roman Catholics in a 19-county archdiocese is urging them to pray that a federal appeals court considering same-sex marriage bans will uphold what he calls "traditional marriage," according to LGBTQ Nation. Archbishop Dennis Schnurr—whose archdiocese has nearly half a million Catholics—says Ohio's bishops strongly supported the voter-approved 2004 state ban.

A judge in Tennessee broke a streak of successful rulings across the country in the past year in favor of same-sex marriage. The Hill reported that State Circuit Court Judge Russell Simmons Jr. ruled the state's ban on recognizing same-sex marriages does not violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution. Simmons said that the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Windsor ( which invalidated a part of DOMA ) did not apply to his case, in part because that case only dealt with marriage in connection with federal law.

The United Church of Christ has become the first religious denomination to be a major sponsor of the Gay Games, Advocate.com reported. The Church is a fourth-tier silver sponsor of Gay Games 9, which runs through Aug. 16 in Cleveland and Akron, Ohio. The Gay Games were established in 1982 in an effort to promote LGBT inclusion and excellence in the field of athletics; they are open to anyone over the age of 18, regardless of athletic prowess, age, gender, race, or sexual orientation.

The state of Utah has filed its appeal of a gay marriage ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, becoming the first state to ask the justices to review a state same-sex marriage ban since the high court struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year, LGBTQ Nation reported. Utah officials announced in July they would take the state's case directly to the high court instead of seeking a review from the appeals court; that court ruled in June that states cannot deprive gay and lesbian couples of the fundamental right to marry.

CBS News released the results of a recent poll showing a majority of Hispanics in the United States support marriage rights for same-sex couples, a Human Rights Campaign touted. According to the poll results, 50 percent of all Hispanics and 62 percent of U.S.-born Hispanics say same-sex marriage should be legal. Other polls show a strong majority of Americans—56 percent—favor marriage equality, with support growing among almost every demographic group.

In Arizona, Republican gubernatorial candidate Andrew Thomas attacks gays, immigrants and judges in his first TV ad of the campaign, according to AZFamily.com . In the 30-second spot, which started airing in July, Thomas touts a record of standing up to the "gay lobby," illegal immigrants and "liberal judges." The ad ends with an image of a prohibition sign over the Mexican national flag and a narrator saying, "Vote for Andy Thomas before it's too late."

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley's Democratic challenger says the state should "pause" in defending against a legal challenge to the state's gay marriage ban, and a Republican state Senate leader also says he believes the end of the ban is inevitable, the Associated Press noted. Sen. Vincent Sheheen said in a written statement the state should wait for the nation's highest court to rule. In addition, state Senate Judiciary Chairman Larry Martin said public acceptance of same-sex marriage in the nation has increased exponentially in the last decade, and he thinks it's "just a matter of time" before same-sex couples can marry in South Carolina.

The first known gay Boy Scout to achieve the rank of Eagle is now excluded from the youth organization due to his age, according to Advocate.com . Pascal Tessier, an out scout who made headlines when became the first gay Eagle Scout in February, has turned 18 and is, thus, no longer eligible to be a member. In response, Tessier has written an open letter to Boy Scouts of America President Robert Gates, the former U.S. defense secretary, demanding that the organization amend its discriminatory policy.

Asked if he would support a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul ( R-Kentucky ) said he supports the idea of traditional marriage but thinks Washington shouldn't be involved in the issue, CNN.com reported. Regarding his anti-marriage-equality stance, Paul added, "The loss of the idea of marriage is probably the leading cause of poverty in our country, in the sense that if you [have] kids before you're married, your chance of being in poverty is three of four times that of anyone else."

A study has shown that Black men who have sex with men ( MSM ) are more likely to report problems with broken or improperly used condoms, putting them at higher risk of contracting or transmitting HIV, Reuters reported. About 40 percent of Black men who reported having sex with men within the past three months said their condoms broke or weren't used correctly, compared to about a third of white men who had sex with men. The study team, led by Dr. Alfonso Hernandez-Romieu from Emory University in Atlanta, writes that Black MSM are about six times more likely to be diagnosed with an HIV infection than their white counterparts.

In Tampa, Florida, New Hope Missionary Baptist Church informed the family of Julion Evans, 42, that a funeral for him could not be held there because Evans was married to another man, The Huffington Post reported. New Hope noticed Evans' obituary, which named Kendall Capers as the "surviving husband." Evans' family members were devastated by the news, with his mother too upset to speak to reporters on the phone. The couple was recently married in Maryland, and had been together for 17 years.

While the Ku Klux Klan held a mass anti-immigration rally in the ironically named town of Welcome, North Carolina, members of LGBTQ and immigrant rights groups GetEQUAL North Carolina and El Cambio staged a counter-protest to speak out against the Klan's actions, according to a press release. "Hatred Not Welcome Here" was the theme of the counter-protest to the Aug. 9 rally. "We are organizing this action in order to meet hatred with love," said immigrants-rights leader Verenice Granadero, 19, before the events. "Racism is ridiculous."

Adam Joseph, a weatherman at Philadelphia's ABC affiliate, came out of the closet in announcing the birth of his son Jacob, according to On Top Magazine. On a Facebook post, Joseph stated, "I am ecstatic to introduce Jacob, the newest love of our lives. My partner Karl and I welcomed him into our world on August 5th at 1:41am." Joseph's employer, WPVI-TV, shared the news on its website and broadcasts.

In Pennsylvania, clergy within the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh may now sign civil marriage certificates between same-sex couples, Bishop Dorsey McConnell confirmed in a recent open letter to the diocese, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette noted. The action builds on McConnell's decision in November 2013 to allow clergy to conduct blessings of same-sex relationships. McConnell and diocesan chancellor Andy Roman reviewed civil and canon law after the May 20 federal court decision ruling that same-sex couples be allowed to marry in the state of Pennsylvania.

The Princeton Review released its annual list of "The Best 379 Colleges," ranking California's Stanford University as the most LGBT-friendly college in the nation, LGBTQ Nation reported. The annual survey asked 130,000 students at 379 top colleges to rate their schools on dozens of topics and report on their experiences at them. Other schools in the review's list of the 20 most LGBT-friendly colleges and universities in the United States include Oberlin College ( Oberlin, Ohio ), Warren Wilson College ( Asheville, North Carolina ), the University of Wisconsin ( Madison, Wisconsin ), Vassar College ( Poughkeepsie, New York ) and Yale University ( New Haven, Connecticut ).

Continuing on that track, the Princeton Review also listed its 20 most LGBT-unfriendly schools. College of the Ozarks ( Point Lookout, Missouri ) topped a list that is largely a repeat of last year, with 15 returning schools and five replacements. Others on the list include Wheaton College ( Wheaton, Illinois ), Brigham Young University ( Provo, Utah ), the University of Tennessee ( Knoxville, Tennessee ), Hampden-Sydney College ( Hampden-Sydney, Virginia ) and the University of Notre Dame ( Notre Dame, Indiana ).

A South Dakota Catholic high school coach could lose his job after announcing that he is gay in an online article, according to SiouxLandMatters.com . Nathan Alfson wrote about his experiences as a gay Christian athlete for the website Outsports. Alfson could be fired, but he said his only regret was the way he shared his story; however, the coach added he wanted to write the article because he didn't want to hide who he was.

The MAC AIDS Fund just released findings from its study on teen attitudes toward HIV and AIDS—and the results are more than a little alarming to some, according to a Teen Vogue article. Eighty-eight percent of U.S. teens think they aren't at risk of getting HIV, even though 60 percent of the sexually active teenagers surveyed said they've had sex at least once without a condom. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are 20 million new cases of sexually transmitted infections in the United States every year.

Straight But Not Narrow ( SBNN ), The Trevor Project and human I-T announced a joint initiative called "Power On" ( #PowerOn ) to provide LGBTQ youth access to computers and important online resources, a press release stated. Through "LGBT Spirit Day" on Oct. 17, the organizations will work to encourage individuals to donate their laptops, tablets and/or smart phones through the campaign to be distributed to LGBTQ resource centers across the United States. According to GLSEN's "Out Online" study, more than half ( 52 percent ) of LGBTQ youth who were not out to peers in person had used the Internet to connect with other LGBTQ people. Donation information is available at TheTrevorProject.org/poweron and human-i-t.org/ally.

A document being used to prosecute former college wrestler Michael Johnson under Missouri's HIV laws, and referred to by prosecutors as a "'smoking gun" is apparently not an official state of Missouri document, according to HIVPlusMag.com . Ryan Hobart, spokesperson for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services which oversees HIV programming for the state, admits the document "is not a DHSS form."

A Texas appeals court ruled that Marivel Castro—whose husband, Juan Francisco Castro, called her a fat lesbian and allegedly said he was "thinking of ways to kill her"—correctly prevailed on her claim for emotional distress, Courthouse News reported. A lower-court jury awarded Maribel $30,000 for past mental anguish and $45,000 for future mental anguish. Juan appealed stating that his conduct did not rise to the level of infliction of emotional distress. The 13th Texas Court of Appeals, based in Corpus Christi and Edinburg, disagreed.

A California man las filed a lawsuit against his doctor and a Southern California healthcare network, saying they ignored his request to remove a notation from his medial records describing "homosexual behavior" as a "chronic problem," LGBTQ Nation reported. Matthew Moore, 46, who is openly gay, said he was shocked to see his sexual orientation still described as a chronic condition more than a year after he complained about the use of the archaic medical classification. Moore is suing Dr. Elaine Jones of the Torrance Health Association, who last year defended her use of the description by saying that the medical community goes "back and forth" on the classification.


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