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Gay activist fatally beaten; lesbians' legal win
NATIONAL ROUNDUP: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2012-10-31

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In New York, gay activist Lou Rispoli was taken off life support Oct. 25 and did not survive injuries sustained in a brutal attack the previous weekend, Advocate.com reported. A witness saw an SUV pull up with the victim and three other men, two of whom started walking with Rispoli. Rispoli, 62, was "hit in the head with a blunt object with such force that neighbors who heard the assault but did not see it thought he had been shot," Gay City News reported. Rispoli and his husband married in August 2011 on their 31st anniversary; the couple had two daughters.

In New Jersey, the state division of civil rights found that the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association discriminated against a lesbian couple when it banned them from holding a civil ceremony on its boardwalk pavilion five years ago, according to the Asbury Park Press. The organization violated the state Law Against Discrimination in not allowing Harriet Bernstein and Luisa Paster to hold their ceremony at the pavilion, wrote the division's Craig Sashihara in a 16-page decision. However, because the couple did not seek financial restitution, Sashihara wrote that the only penalty the association received is his finding that it violated the state law against discrimination.

The Committee on Gender and Sexuality of the American Psychoanalytic Association named the winner of the Ralph E. Roughton Paper Award for 2013; it is "The Historical Moment in the Analysis of Gay Men," by Bertram J. Cohler, Ph.D. and Robert M. Galatzer-Levy, M.D., a press release noted. The thesis of this paper is that "a lack of appreciation of the changing meanings of same sex desire over periods as short as a decade affected the analyses and therapies of men who desire sex with other men." The award is given to an unpublished manuscript that makes an original and outstanding contribution to the psychoanalytic understanding and/or treatment of LGBT individuals.

President Obama has officially endorsed Washington state's Referendum 74, which would affirm marriage equality, Advocate.com reported. According to Paul Bell, press secretary for Obama's re-eelection efforts in the Washington, "While the president does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the president believes in treating everyone fairly and equally, with dignity and respect."

Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe is capitalizing on his viral letter supporting marriage equality. According to Advocate.com, he's turned the phrase "lustful cockmonster" (which he told a Maryland legislator LGBT rights wouldn't turn anyone into) into a radio ad for Minnesotans for Equality. The ad has Kluwe, an ally of the LGBT community, defending his support of same-sex marriage to an anonymous "government" announcer.

Speaking of radio ads, Alveda King—a niece of Martin Luther King Jr.—can be heard on a new ad urging Maryland residents to vote against marriage equality in their state, according to Advocate.com . King (a conservative, unlike most members of the King family) is on a commercial for the Maryland Marriage Alliance, claiming that same-sex couples have enough rights and marriage does not need to be "redefined" to fit them.

In Philadelphia, the family of slain transgender woman Kyra Cordova met with the head of the local police department to discuss the progress of the case, according to SouthFloridaGayNews.com . Cordova, 27, was gunned down Sept. 3 in Frankford; no suspect has been identified, and there is a $25,000 reward for relevant information about the suspect. Cordova's mother and other family members (as well as community figures involved with the Justice For Kyra initiative) recently met with Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and other officials, giving the family a platform to voice concerns.

In Kentucky, cousins Anthony Ray Jenkins and David Jason Jenkins were found not guilty of a hate crime in the first case prosecuted that involved the sexual-orientation provision of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, according to Advocate.com . However, the defendants were found guilty of kidnapping openly gay resident Kevin Pennington. Federal prosecutors said that the Jenkinses planned to kidnap, beat and kill Pennington because of his sexual orientation.

Bill and Melinda Gates have donated $500,000 to the campaign to uphold Washington state's gay-marriage law, according to SeattlePI.com . Washington United for Marriage, which is working to approve Referendum 74, announced that the donation was made Oct. 15; however, the organization didn't publicly post it online with the Public Disclosure Commission until Oct. 23. Bill Gates gave $100,000 earlier this year.

In New York City, Brooklyn resident Joseph Desmond, 23, has been charged with a hate crime in connection to an attack in Queens after he allegedly shocked another man with a Taser while calling him an anti-gay slur, CBS New York reported. Desmond was charged with second-degree assault as a hate crime, along with three other felony charges.

Transgender Law Center will host its 7th annual Transgender Leadership Summit Nov. 9-11 at the University of California at Berkeley, according to TransgenderLawCenter.org . Several hundred people are expected, including community members, activists, leaders, artists and performers. Workshops will include "Going Beyond HIV 101," "Updates in Trans Law" and "Putting the 'T' in Equality."

Floyd Corkins—the man accused of shooting a guard at the Washington, D.C., headquarters of the anti-gay Family Research Council in August—is facing additional charges, including committing an act of terrorism, according to Advocate.com . Corkins is accused of shooting and wounding guard Leo Johnson after telling him he didn't like the organization's homophobic policies. Now a grand jury has added seven D.C. charges, including second-degree burglary and terrorism, to the federal charges.

In Texas, Republican state Sen. John Carona has expressed his support of several pro-LGBT initiatives, according to the Dallas Observer. He told the Dallas Voice he would support measures to ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity; offer domestic partner benefits to state university employees; and allow same-sex adoptive parents to have both names on birth certificates. However, although he feels that "anything that advances, encourages monogamy is a good thing," he stopped short of endorsing marriage equality.

Right-wing Christian Bishop Earl Walker said in an interview with Americans For Truth About Homosexuality's Peter LaBarbera that he believes many gays are "sick"—but that they all have taken "all the nice-looking Black men," according to a Gay Star News item. Walker added that gays and lesbians are bigoted against African-Americans and Christians, describing homosexuality as a "super sin."

A memorial service for activist/writer Donald Suggs will be held Saturday, Dec. 8, at 1 p.m. at St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery, 131 E. Tenth St., New York City, according to Gay City News. Suggs, the media consultant for the group Grassroots Leadership, passed away of a heart attack at 51, the New York Times reported. Before joining Grassroots Leadership, Suggs was a senior editor at The Village Voice, and was the former associate director of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. As a freelance writer, Suggs wrote for publications ranging from The Advocate to the New York Times. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent to Grassroots Leadership, P.O. Box 36006, Charlotte, N.C., 28236, or to the One Iowa Education Fund, 419 SW Eighth Street, Des Moines, Iowa, 50309.

Several alumni of the University of Georgia and the University of Florida (who hold an annual football game in Jacksonville, Fla.) wrote a letter asking Jacksonville to approve the the expanded human-rights ordinance the city rejected two months ago, according to Project Q Atlanta. Signees are concerned that Jacksonville, without expanding the ordinance to include gays, will lose the popular football game when its contract to host ends in 2016. (Incidentally, Georgia won this year's game, held Oct. 27.)

John McTernan, founder of Defend and Proclaim the Faith ministries, told followers that Hurricane Sandy was God's reaction to homosexuality, according to Advocate.com . He wrote on his website, "Just last August, Hurricane Isaac hit New Orleans seven years later, on the exact day of Hurricane Katrina. Both hit during the week of the homosexual event called Southern Decadence in New Orleans!" He also criticized President Obama and Mitt Romney, saying both are "pro-homosexual and are behind the homosexual agenda."

Kyle Wood, an openly gay man who has been volunteering in the campaign for a Wisconsin Republican House candidate, was beaten in his home, according to an EdgeOnTheNet.com . Also, Wood's car was vandalized a week before he was physically assaulted; the victim said the vandal wrote phrases such as "house trained republican faggot" and "traitor" on the vehicle. Wood said the slurs were in reference to him being a gay Republican who's supporting Chad Lee.

Christina Olague and David Campos (LGBT members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors), The Last Closet Campaign and the National Center of Lesbian Rights (NCLR) held a press conference to mark the launch of a national campaign that paves the way for the first professional athlete in U.S. sports history to come out publicly while actively playing, according to a press release. Olague and Campos introduced a groundbreaking resolution encouraging the commissioners of the five major sports—Major League Baseball, National Football League, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League and Major League Soccer—to state, on camera, that they support their LGBT players and invite them to come out.

Vandals smashed two large windows at San Francisco's GLBT History Museum, according to the Bay Citizen. It appears that vandals threw glass bottles through the windows, according to Paul Boneberg, executive director of the GLBT Historical Society. The museum's history displays were not damaged. The 1,600-square-foot museum opened its doors in the Castro neighborhood in January 2011.

Dakota Ary, the Texas teen whose anti-gay views got him suspended from school last year, is now an unofficial spokesperson of sorts for the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), according to the Huffington Post. Ary—who reportedly declared "I'm a Christian and, to me, being homosexual is wrong" in reaction to a photoof two men kissing presented during a German class at his Fort Worth high school—stars in NOM's new "Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance" video. Ary's mother, Holly, who also appears in the video, says her son "is not a bigot."

Also in Texas, the gay couple who found "Leave or Die Fags" spray-painted on their front porch in Clarendon has moved to Amarillo, ConnectAmarillo.com reported. Joshua Harrison and Jeremy Jeffers said they awoke Oct. 1 to find their front porch painted with a gay slur along with a death threat. Nearly one month later, the couple accepted a donation of almost $3,000 that LGBT blog Owldolatrous Press coordinated.


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