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Giffords hero has memoir; GQ names 'honorary gays'
NATIONAL ROUNDUP: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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Daniel Hernandez—the gay intern who helped save the life of then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., when a madman shot her two years ago—is publishing a memoir entitled They Call Me a Hero, according to Gay Star News. Hernandez told Publishers Weekly that the message most publishers wanted to portray—being a celebrity—"was not something I was comfortable with. I don't consider myself a hero." The book, which Simon & Schuster is publishing, will be out in February.

GQ Magazine has named NFL players Brendon Ayanbadejo (Baltimore Ravens) and Chris Kluwe (Minnesota Vikings) its "honorary gays of the year." Part of the reason is the situation that arose whe Ayanbadejo donated a pair of tickets to a gay-marriage fund-raiser—which prompted criticism from Maryland politician Emmett C. Burns. In turn, Kluwe came to Ayanbadejo's defense with a profane letter to Burns in which he wrote, in part, "[Gay people] won't magically turn you into a lustful cockmonster."

The University of California Hastings College of the Law named married lesbian veteran Elizabeth L. Hillman as the school's new academic dean, according to . Hillman joined the UC Hastings faculty in 2007, after earning her Ph.D. in history and J.D. from Yale Law School. Hillman and wife Trish Culbert are raising five children in their Berkeley home.

In Virginia, Patrick Henry College is blocking access to an anonymously written blog about being gay at the Christian school, according to a item. Chancellor Michael Farris demanded the removal of "Queer at Patrick Henry College," saying that the school would litigate, if necessary. The next day, Farris withdrew his note, saying, "[W]e believe that litigation is not appropriate." Farris has also said, "We don't think that there are any such [gay] students" at Patrick Henry College.

A gay man who works at Macy's is being called a hero for helping customers safely escape an Oregon mall when a gunman opened fire, according to . Allan Fonseca, who works at the Lancome makeup counter inside Macy's at Clackamas Town Center Mall, helped several people escape the firepower. According to ABC News, the gunman has been identified as Jacob Tyler Roberts, who killed two people before turning the gun on himself.

In an interview on Hardball with Chris Matthews, lesbian New York City Council speaker Christine Quinn condemned Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's latest comments regarding homosexuality, according to the Huffington Post. Scalia recently spoke at Princeton University, where (while answering a student's question) he said, "If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?" Quinn called Scalia's remark "offensive," adding, "Don't compare me to a murderer because I'm a lesbian."

In Atlanta, authorities investigating the disappearance and death of Lisa Lawson, 40, concluded that her death was a suicide, according to . Lawson had been missing since Nov. 19, and was found dead inside her SUV in neighboring McDonough County Dec. 5. Michelle Alexander, Lawson's girlfriend, thought Lawson might be suffering from slight depression; however, Alexander said she couldn't think of a reason her girlfriend would run away.

New York state Sen. Stephen Saland, one of four Republicans who backed marriage-equality legislation that passed last year, conceded defeat in his bid for re-election, according to . The 11-term incumbent from Hudson Valley officially ended his long legal battle for his seat; Democrat Terry Gipson will succeed him.

In California, Larry Faulk—a gay, disabled African-American who had been fighting foreclosure—was evicted from his home and is now living in a minivan, according to the Bay Area Reporter. "All I did was apply for a loan modification," Faulks said. "And now I'm living in my car. Thank you, Wells Fargo." Faulks said the bank sold his home without his knowledge to DMG Asset Management, a firm with a history of buying foreclosed homes in the Bay Area; DMG has since sold the home.

A Chicago-area spa is facing down discrimination allegations after management told a transgender person he could not use the spa's men's shower area. Levi Pine, a Chicago transgender man, has filed an Illinois Dept. of Human Rights (IDHR) complaint against King Spa & Sauna in Niles, after a manager told him he would have to use a private shower or leave. One of the sauna's managers said he recognizes that transgender people are a minority, and said that he treats all of his customers the same; however, he claimed he didn't want other customers to feel uncomfortable.

The Michigan legislature ended its 2012 session without holding votes on three measures that could've affected people on the bases of sexual orientation or gender identity, according to . Two of the bills would've allowed adoption agencies to discriminate against gay and lesbian prospective parents, and another would've let healthcare providers refuse service if the service requested violated their moral or religious beliefs. The adoption measures had passed the Michigan House Committee on Families, Children, and Seniors, but did not make it to the House floor for a full vote.

The State Department confirmed that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton fainted and sustained a concussion, according to . Clinton, who had been suffering from a stomach virus at the time, stopping her testifying Dec. 13 before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans. Clinton was never hospitalized, and was recovering at home.

The Iowa District Court for Polk County ordered the state's department of public health to issue an accurate death certificate to Jennifer and Jessica Buntemeyer after their son was stillborn in October 2011, according to a Lambda Legal press release. The couple's grief over the baby's death was compounded when the department initially erased Jennifer's name from the death certificate. Camilla Taylor, marriage project director for Lambda Legal, said, "The Buntemeyers will always grieve the loss of their child but at least now they do not also have to face denial and discrimination from the government."

More than 50 LGBT organizations marked the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers by calling for support for efforts worldwide to defend the lives and rights of all people involved in the sex trades, according to a press release. In part, the statement read, "We recognize that systemic homophobia and transphobia, disproportionate poverty and homelessness, widespread discrimination, and an absence of pathways to immigration status, frequently limit the economic and survival options of LGBTQ people, particularly LGBTQ youth and adults of color and transgender people."

Forbes magazine unveiled its second annual "30 Under 30" listing of tomorrow's brightest stars: 30 individuals in 15 categories under the age of 30, according to Business Wire. Among the honorees are musicians Adele (24), Bruno Mars (27) and Justin Bieber (18); U.S. Olympic gymnast Gabrielle Douglas (17); Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg (28); and Kate McKinnon (28), a new Saturday Night Live cast member who was a cast member on The Big Gay Sketch Show. The full list is at

U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, died of respiratory complications at a Washington, D.C.-area hospital at age 88, according to ABC News. He became one of the most influential politicians in the country, playing critical roles in Congressional investigations of the Watergate and Iran-Contra scandals. Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said in a statement that "LGBT Americans across this country especially honor his unequivocal support for full LGBT equality—most notably, his 1996 vote against the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act, his support for marriage equality and his co-sponsorship of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and other pro-equality legislation."

HBO and Martin Scorsese will partner for a documentary spotlighting Bill Clinton, according to a press release. Made with Clinton's full cooperation, the film will explore his perspectives on history, politics, culture and the world, with Scorsese producing and directing, and Steve Bing producing. The Clinton documentary marks Martin Scorsese's fourth collaboration with the network, following the documentaries Public Speaking (about lesbian raconteuse Fran Lebowitz) and the Emmy-winning George Harrison: Living in the Material World, and the hit series Boardwalk Empire."

NASA has named the site where twin agency spacecraft impacted the moon Dec. 17 in honor of the late lesbian astronaut, Sally K. Ride, who was America's first woman in space and a member of the probes' mission team, according to a White House press release. On Dec. 14, Ebb and Flow—the two spacecraft composing NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission—were commanded to descend into a lower orbit that impacted a mountain near the moon's north pole. "Sally was all about getting the job done, whether it be in exploring space, inspiring the next generation, or helping make the GRAIL mission the resounding success it is today," said GRAIL principal investigator Maria Zuber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Montana Supreme Court granted, in part, an appeal by the American Civil Liberties Union and six committed same-sex couples to secure domestic-partnership protections, according to an ACLU press release. Although the court denied the plaintiffs' initial appeal, saying it was too broad, the justices allowed the ACLU to move forward with more narrowly tailored efforts to secure equal treatment for same-sex couples in the state. "We're encouraged by the decision because the justices said that we could pursue the protections we are seeking," said Mary Leslie, who lives with her partner, Stacey Haugland in Bozeman. "Legal protection is essential, not just for our families, but for all same-sex couples. We won't stop until every loving couple is treated fairly."

Three years after a controversial raid at the gay bar Atlanta Eagle, members of the Atlanta Police Department (APD) have made an "It Gets Better" video, according to . Twenty-three gay and lesbian members of the force contributed clips for the video, including Deputy Chief Renee Propes, the highest-ranking openly gay person in the APD. The video begins with a message from Police Chief George Turner, who says he's an LGBT ally.

The White House got its first same-sex marriage proposal recently when U.S. Marine Matthew Phelps proposed to his partner, Ben Schock, noted. On his Facebook page, Phelps stated, "Thanks for all the wonderful greetings and messages, and thanks to Barack Obama and Michelle Obama for lending us your home for the occasion!" A transgender man, Scout, proposed to wife Liz Margolies at the White House in June; they recently married in New York.

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson said that the shootings at Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary resulted from America turning its back on God, joining other conservative Christian leaders in assigning blame, according to the Huffington Post. On his podcast, he linked the massacre to same-sex marriage, among other things, saying, "We have killed 54 million babies and the institution of marriage is right on the verge of a complete redefinition. Believe me, that is going to have consequences, too."

Speaking of the Connecticut tragedy, the anti-gay, Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church announced it would picket the funerals of the children who were murdered—and was targeted by the hacking collective Anonymous, reported. Shortly after the announcement, the church found its website attacked by the hackers who began to post the personal contact details of the hate group's main organizers.

Spencer Cox, an AIDS activist who helped spearhead research on lifesaving protease inhibitors, died of AIDS-related causes in New York City at age 44, according to . Cox cofounded Treatment Action Group and was a spokesman for ACT UP; in addition, he was featured in David France's recent documentary about the AIDS epidemic, How to Survive A Plague.

In Texas, Dallas City Councilwoman Delia Jasso has sent a letter to members of North Texas' state legislative delegation, urging them to address anti-LGBT employment discrimination and marriage equality in the upcoming session, according to the Dallas Voice. Jasso's letter was emailed to Dallas Voice days after her possible opponent in next year's municipal election, Councilman Scott Griggs, announced his plan to introduce pro-LGBT resolutions on the same two issues; however, Jasso said her letter was written before she knew of Griggs' resolutions.

In Montana, the Helena City Commission unanimously passed an ordinance to ban discrimination in housing, employment and many kinds of public accommodation based on sexual orientation, according to . Hundreds of people showed up to support or oppose the measure, with the commission opening two additional rooms in the City-County Building to provide audio and video of the meeting.

Gustavo Archilla—whose marriage in Canada in 2003 after almost six decades of a quiet, committed relationship inspired supporters of same-sex marriage—died Nov. 27 on Marco Island, Fla., at age 96, according to the New York Times. Archilla was strolling across Columbus Circle in New York in September 1945 when he met Elmer Lokkins; well into their 80s, they married, eloping to Canada in 2003 shortly after same-sex marriage became legal there.

Political pundit Nate Silver said his friends would describe him as "sexually gay but ethnically straight" in a new interview with Out magazine, who named the statistician "Person of the Year" in its new issue, according to the Huffington Post. Currently in the midst of promoting his new book The Signal and the Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail but Some Don't, Silver said that he supports same-sex marriage, but "worries that growing acceptance of gays will dent our capacity to question broader injustice."

Two Republican House members—Reps. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) and Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.)—signed a measure that would allow same-sex couples equal rights as heterosexual ones for immigration purposes, the Huffington Post noted. They joined Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and 145 Democratic lawmakers in support of the bill, called the Uniting American Families Act. Dent, Hanna and Collins are the only Republican co-sponsors of the bill.

In San Diego, Joseph Bukombe received a two-year reprieve after fighting deportation to the anti-gay African country of Uganda, according to . U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement stated, "Consistent with its enforcement priorities, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has granted Mr. Bukombe deferred action for a two-year period to afford him further time to pursue legal options. At the end of that timeframe, ICE will reevaluate his case to determine appropriate next steps." Bukombe expressed joy at the news.

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