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McGreevey talks Chris Christie; ally at Super Bowl
NATIONAL ROUNDUP: Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2013-01-30

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Jim McGreevey. Photo by Rob Reed


Jim McGreevey—the former New Jersey governor who said "I am a gay American" as he resigned the governorship of New Jersey amid a sex scandal eight years ago—has said that he's given up politics for a simpler life, according to The Daily Beast. When asked if he thought current Gov. Chris Christie should run for president, McGreevey said, "I think [a Christie campaign] would provide for a very different Republican presidential candidacy than what we've seen in the past." Last year, Christie named McGreevey to a state task force on opiate addiction and met with him to discuss Integrity House, a drug-treatment center where he's an addiction recovery specialist.

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo is figuring out how to help promote gay rights at the Super Bowl, according to Yahoo! Sports. Ayanbadejo has sent emails to Brian Ellner, a marriage-equality advocate, and Michael Skolnik, who works for hip-hop figure Russell Simmons, who is a supporter of gay rights and marriage equality. Ayanbadejo and Minnesota punter Chris Kluwe have both been vocal advocates for same-sex marriage.

The American Gem Society (AGS) is launching the AGS Perfect Proposal Toolkit Feb. 1-15 to help those planning to pop the question on Valentine's Day, according to a press release. Located at www.americangemsociety.org/Groom2B, the online resource offers fun and unique suggestions for traditional and non-traditional proposals; recipes for romantic dinners; and even recommendations for those tweeting proposals. There is also a Perfect Proposal Contest that give entrants the opportunity to win a three-day/two night trip to Las Vegas.

In Washington state, a Seattle man accused of berating a child he believed to be gay is facing a hate-crime charge, according to SeattlePI.com . King County prosecutors contend Steven W. Ramirez, 44, shoved and threatened a 13-year-old boy during a 30-minute-long argument at a North Beacon Hill home. When the boy declined to speak with him, Ramirez launched into an angry, anti-gay tirade, a Seattle police detective said.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is urging Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to issue military IDs to same-sex spouses and to extend every possible benefit not specifically barred by the Defense of Marriage Act, according to a press release. HRC contends that some of the regulatory changes Panetta could make involve issues such as personnel assignments, legal services, housing and military ID cards.

A new report from the Department of Health and Human Services shows that lesbian, gay and bisexual youth transitioning out of foster care face greater career and nutritional challenges than their heterosexual peers, Windy City Times noted. The report—"Economic Well-Being of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Youth Transitioning Out of Foster Care"—looks at data on 591 young people in Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois who have aged out of foster care. The study shows that while LGB youth face many of the same obstacles as heterosexuals entering adulthood, they face added hurdles.

In New Jersey, high school student Jacob Rudolph made quite an impression at an award ceremony—by coming out, according to Inquisitr.com . The senior from Parsippany decided that after being named Class Actor, he would come clean to the crowd about acting he had done outside of the stage. At one point, he said, "I've been acting as someone I'm not … you see me acting the part of straight Jacob when I am, in fact, LGBT." After his speech, his classmates reportedly gave him a thunderous ovation.

Lesbian feminist writer, philosopher, linguist and political activist Julia Penelope has died at age 71, Windy City Times reported. In 1988, she co-edited For Lesbians Only: A Separatist Anthology with Chicagoan Sarah Lucia Hoagland. Among her other works are Sexual Practice/Textual Theory: Lesbian Cultural Criticism (1993); and Crossword Puzzles for Women (1995).

Scientists at Stanford University have genetically engineered cells that are HIV-resistant, according to HIVPlusMag.com . The procedure uses molecular scissors to cut into T-cells, followed by the insertion of a series of HIV-resistant genes. Scientists also anticipated the constantly mutating forms of HIV by engineering the cell on multiple fronts to become resistant to the virus. The development could lead to an alternative therapy for people on heavy drug treatment plans.

The CDC has released the first set of national prevalence data on intimate partner violence (IPV), sexual violence (SV) and stalking victimization by sexual orientation, according to a press release. The study (based on a 2010 survey) found that lesbians and gay men reported IPV and SV over their lifetimes at levels equal to or higher than those of heterosexuals. In addition, the majority of women who reported experiencing sexual violence, regardless of their sexual orientation, reported that they were victimized by male perpetrators. For more details, visit www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/nisvs/index.html .

The Senate sponsor behind a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois says she hopes to move the bill shortly after the senate returns in early February. State Sen. Heather Steans said that she is currently working on revisions to the bill. "We are working to address concerns expressed with particular language in the bill, and I expect we will take up the marriage bill sometime soon after our return," Steans said in a statement.

Chicago women, local groups and national organizations sent a letter to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), FOX executives and UFC sponsors demanding the cage-fighting franchise and television network immediately drop UFC competitor Quinton "Rampage" Jackson from a Jan. 26 televised fight, according to Yahoo.com . The letter said that Jackson repeatedly denigrates women, and he posted a video last year in which he makes light of sexual assault by pretending to rape a woman in a parking garage.

NBA player Kenneth Faried (who plays with the Denver Nuggets) has come forward to voice his support for civil unions in Colorado, according to One-Colorado.org . Faried, who has two moms, celebrated when his parents became the fifth same-sex couple recognized under the law in their home state of New Jersey. A video featuring Faried has him saying, "Nobody can ever tell me I can't have two moms because I really do."

Keith Rabois, the chief operating officer for the mobile-payment company Square, abruptly resigned after an employee reportedly accused him of sexual harassment and demanded "millions of dollars," Reuters reported. In a lengthy Tumblr blog post, Rabois, 43, said he had been contacted by a New York attorney for his accuser, an unidentified male with whom he had a relationship. The company has retained San Francisco lawyer Richard Curiale to conduct an internal investigation into the matter.

The Last Closet, a web-based campaign and video project to combat homophobia in sports, launched a new campaign asking professional sports team owners to speak out about this issue, according to a press release. This is the second in a series of campaigns designed to promote dialogue about homophobia among the sports hierarchy and help pave the way for the first athlete in one of the top five U.S. pro sports leagues to come out publicly while actively playing. The NBA's Mark Cuban (of the Dallas Mavericks) and the NFL's Robert Kraft (of the New England Patriots) are among the five owners The Last Closet has approached.

Vandals defaced the office of the LGBT student group at the Boston College School of Law, according to BusinessInsider.com . Moreover, the incident occured on the Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday. Among the phrases scrawled on a wall were "rimjob," "bean fucker" and "felching." Law school dean Vince Rougeau called the graffiti "reprehensible" in a statement sent to Business Insider and said it "runs counter to everything we stand for as a law school."

Talk-show host Katie Couric asked football player Manti Te'o (who claims he was the victim of an Internet hoax involving a nonexistent girlfriend) if he's gay, according to Advocate.com . Te'o responded "No, far from it. Faaar from it," and then laughed. When it turned out that Te'o had actually been talking to a man who was apparently a close friend, bloggers wondered if the ruse was a gay cover-up.

In Wisconsin, five suspects now face murder charges in the disappearance case of transgender rapper Ebony (Evon) Young, according to TodaysTMJ4.com . Billy Griffin, 28, Ashanti Mcalister, 18, and Victor Stewart, 27, each now face murder charges; Ron Allen, 37, and Devin Seaberry, 23, were charged after an investigation into the disappearance of Young, who has been missing since Jan. 2. The men (reportedly affiliated with the gang known as the Black P-Stones) allegedly struck and shot Young, with the victim's body put in a dumpster that was set on fire.

In Virginia, four Republicans joined all of the Democratic state senators to pass an employment non-discrimination guarantee for LGBT people, according to Advocate.com . However, the Human Rights Campaign has noted the difficulty presented by the House of Delegates, "where it faces a steep uphill climb in the more conservative chamber." The state's governors had a recent history of working around the legislature by issuing executive orders barring anti-gay discrimination by state employees; however, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who is planning to run for governor, is known for his anti-gay stance.

The Connecticut House and Senate confirmed former state Sen. Andrew McDonald as an associate Supreme Court justice, making him the state's first openly gay justice, according to the Darien Times. Gov. Dan Malloy nominated McDonald as a candidate last December. McDonald served as a senator for eight years before becoming the governor's legal counsel.

After a three-year run as a paid contributor to the nation's highest-rated cable news channel, Sarah Palin and Fox News have severed ties, according to RealClearPolitics.com . After resigning as governor in 2009, Palin became one of the news channel's on-air assets. However, the relationship between Palin and the channel was occasionally rocky; last year, during the Republican National Convention, she was upset that Fox had "cancelled all my scheduled interviews tonight."

In Kentucky, gay preacher Rev. Maurice "Bojangles" Blanchard and his partner, Dominique James, were arrested after refusing to leave a county clerk's office that denied them a marriage license, according to the Huffington Post. Officers arrived to arrest the couple (for trespassing) when they remained in the Jefferson County clerk's office after it had closed for the day. Same-sex marriages and civil unions were outlawed in Kentucky in 2004 because of an amendment to the state's constitution.

Approximately 50 people marched on Brooklyn's 77th Precinct to protest the arrest of Jabbar Campbell, a gay party promoter who says police assaulted him during an event at his Crown Heights home, according to Gay City News. Video cameras at Campbell's front door and inside his apartment did not capture his arrest or the altercation with police; however, the front door camera showed a sergeant reaching up and turning it toward the wall before Campbell answered the door the second time. The city's 311 system showed 22 complaints about loud music or a party associated with Campbell's address since September 2012.

In New York, the Empire State Pride Agenda's political action committee officially endorsed New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn as the next mayor, according to Gay City News. The release said the group "recognizes Christine Quinn's unmatched record on LGBT rights over the last two decades," including her leadership of the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project and her role in pushing for marriage equality. If elected, Quinn would be the city's first out lesbian or gay mayor, as well as the first woman to hold the job.

Historian Gerda Lerner, a pioneer in the creation of women's studies as an academic discipline, died in Madison, Wis. at age 92, according to NPR.org . Her many books included a two-volume work called Women in History; the first book examined the history of patriarchy and the second dealt with the start of feminist consciousness. As a Jewish teenager in Austria in 1938, she and her mother were imprisoned by the Nazis in a bid to pressure her father to return. He was able to eventually secure their release, and she relocated to New York.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) announced Jan. 28 the formation of a business coalition consisting of Fortune 500 and brand-name companies that support ending federal discrimination against legally married gay and lesbian couples, a press release stated. The new Business Coalition for DOMA Repeal is throwing its support behind the Respect for Marriage Act, which repeals DOMA and recognizes all legal marriages for federal purposes. The act has attracted bipartisan support.

Five organizations—the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Human Rights Campaign, the Immigration Equality Action Fund, the National Center for Transgender Equality, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund—released a joint statement reiterating the call for a comprehensive immigration policy that ensures fair and just treatment, according to a press release. Part of the statement says, "We look forward to working with Congress, the White House and every community harmed by our broken immigration system to finally achieve the comprehensive reforms we all so desperately need."

Former pro football player Kwame Harris faces felony domestic violence charges for allegedly beating an ex-boyfriend in the parking lot of a Menlo Park, Calif., restaurant after arguing over soy sauce, according to MercuryNews.com . The 30-year-old Harris, who played with the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders, charged with felony domestic violence and assault causing great bodily injury; he faces up to nine years in prison if found guilty. Harris' attorney said it's a case of self-defense.

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) could be ending its longtime ban on gay scouts, the organization announced Jan. 28. Deron Smith, director of public relations for BSA, said in a statement that BSA was discussing removing the national restrictions on sexual orientation. "This would mean there would no longer be any national policy regarding sexual orientation, but that the chartered organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with their organization's mission, principles or religious beliefs," Smith said in the statement.

In Illinois, three St. Charles residents have been charged with a hate crime in connection with a violent attack on a group of people while taunting two men in the group for being gay, according to the Chicago Tribune. The residents—Stephan Bolt, Christopher Miner and Susan Patton—are each charged with two counts of felony hate crime as well as two counts of aggravated battery and one count of mob action.

Despite some media reports that Chick-fil-A has ceased donating to anti-gay groups, a Media Matters for America release says the opposite is true. Campus Pride Executive Director Shane Windmeyer recently reported that—according to the 2011 IRS 990 tax form he had seen—Chick-fil-A had ceased its practice of donating millions of dollars to anti-gay groups through its charitable arm, the WinShape Foundation. However, it appears that Chick-fil-A has agreed to stop giving to the "most extreme" anti-gay organizations—which affects less than 1 percent of the company's total anti-gay donations, said Media Matters.

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said that it's a mistake for President Obama to push for same-sex couples to be included in immigration reform if he wants Republicans to support the bill, according to the Huffington Post. "Why don't we just put legalized abortion in there and round it all out," Graham said to reporters. Graham is part of an eight-member group—four Republicans, four Democrats—that released a framework for bipartisan immigration reform; said framework does not include a provision for same-sex couples.

In September 2012, Jamie Kuntz was kicked off his college football team within 24 hours of his coach learning he was gay. Kuntz said he recently accepted an offer to try out for the Palomar College Comets in San Marcos, Calif. However, the school rescinded the offer within days of learning about Kuntz's sexual identity and the events leading to his dismissal from the North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS), according to SDGLN.com . NDSCS ousted Kuntz off its team after he was caught kissing his much older boyfriend while filming game footage in the stadium's press box.


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