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NATIONAL Blackmailer killed, Anderson Cooper, Apple CEO, church settlement
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2020-02-25

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After posting a Facebook Live video in which she threatened to out a man if he didn't pay her $5,000, 40-year-old Indianapolis woman Jane Waughfield was shot and killed, LGBTQ Nation reported. According to WISH TV, it remains unclear whether the video is connected to Waughfield's death, although police do believe it was a targeted shooting. In the video she said, "Today was your day to get exposed," referring to the closeted gay man she walked in on; she compared herself to Moses when it comes to exposing truths.

CNN's Anderson Cooper blasted former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich after the now-free politician said that he had been a political prisoner, Rolling Stone noted. Cooper scoffed at the notion while telling Blagojevich he shouldn't put himself in the company of former political prisoners like the South African anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela. Following that exchange, Cooper again got heated when Blagojevich asked the host to join him in his efforts to reform the criminal justice system. The host said that he found the former governor's remarks to be "ironic," "a little sad" and "pathetic and hypocritical."

Apple CEO Tim Cook allegedly has a stalker, The Washington Blade noted. NBC reported that a California court has issued a restraining order against a man Apple claims has been "aggressively" stalking the tech executive. The temporary order was imposed last week against Rakesh "Rocky" Sharma, who allegedly left flowers and champagne at Cook's Silicon Valley property and tried to share "sexualized and inappropriate" photos with the Apple chief on Twitter, according to court documents.

An Ohio megachurch reached an undisclosed financial settlement with a former employee who sued the church claiming that its head pastor—who is also anti-gay—had sexually abused and harassed him for more than a decade, LGBTQ Nation reported. Brock Miller—a former employee who worked as an assistant pastor of Grace Cathedral, in Cuyahoga Falls—claimed that televangelist Rev. Ernest Angley had "inspected his genitals and asked him sexual questions" from 2004 to 2014. Despite he fact that Angley has been caught on tape admitting that he has repeatedly had gay sex, the church claims that Miller fabricated his allegations either to become the church's lead pastor or to extort money from the church.

Democrat Andy Beshear became the first sitting Kentucky governor to attend an annual statewide LGBTQ-rights rally, Towleroad noted. Speaking at the rally staged by the Fairness Campaign in the Capitol Rotunda, Beshear expressed support for bills that would prohibit discrimination against LGBT people and ban conversion therapy—both of which face uphill battles in the Republican-dominated Legislature, according to the Associated Press.

Utah's Brigham Young University revised its strict code of conduct to strip a rule that banned any behavior that reflected "homosexual feelings," which LGBTQ students and their allies felt created an unfair double standard not imposed on heterosexual couples, Time.com reported. The university is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which teaches its members that being gay isn't a sin—but engaging in same-sex intimacy is. BYU's revisions to what the college calls its honor code don't change the faith's opposition to same-sex relationships or gay marriage.

A professor in Ohio who was involved in a highly publicized case where he claimed a free speech right to misgender transgender students lost his case, LGBTQ Nation reported. Nicholas Meriwether is a professor of religious philosophy at Shawnee State University, a public school. He argued that as "a Christian," it was his "sincerely held religious belief, based on the Bible's teachings, that God created human beings as either male or female, that this gender is fixed in each person from the moment of conception and that it cannot be changed."

A significant portion of the AIDS Memorial Quilt—54 tons of fabric paying tribute to the lives of those lost to the epidemic—is scheduled to be unveiled at a special three-day display for the 150th-birthday celebration of Golden Gate Park, representatives of the National AIDS Memorial announced, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Beginning April 3, 1,920 of the panels will be spread out across several areas of Golden Gate Park—the largest display of the quilt in San Francisco's history.

A 9-year-old boy hopped onto a Denver stage to shake hands with Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg—and asked the politician "Would you help me tell the world I'm gay, too?," PinkNews noted. The boy read out the pre-submitted question at a town hall campaign event at the Denver Airport Convention Center. Standing as the first openly gay presidential candidate, the crowd around him began to cheer "love is love." "Well, I don't think you need a lot of advice from me," Buttigieg told the boy. "You seem pretty strong to me. It took me a long time to figure out how to tell even my best friend that I was gay."

Speaking of Buttigieg, he received the endorsement of The San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper in the Democratic presidential primary. Stating "A middle road is more likely to bring Americans together," the publication gave Buttigieg the edge over U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar ( D-Minnesota ). The newspaper's board stated, "Buttigieg is best suited to beat Trump because of his centrist policies, his military experience, his ( admittedly small-scale ) executive experience and the enthusiasm he's inspired, with better fundraising and national polling, bigger campaign crowds and more news coverage than Klobuchar."

MSNBC's Chris Matthews is under fire after comparing Sen. Bernie Sanders's ( I-Vermont ) decisive win in the Nevada caucuses to the Nazi invasion of France in 1940, with some on social media calling for the Hardball host to resign, The Hill reported. "I was reading last night about the fall of France in the summer of 1940," Matthews said during MSNBC's live coverage of the caucuses. "And the general, Reynaud, calls up Churchill and says, 'It's over.' And Churchill says, 'How can that be? You've got the greatest army in Europe. How can it be over?' He said, 'It's over.'" Sanders, who is Jewish, had most of his family killed in the Holocaust.

In other Sanders-related news, he received the endorsement of former presidential candidate Marianne Williamson, The New York Post reported. "Bernie Sanders has been taking a stand for a very long time," she told the crowd at an Austin, Texas, rally for Sanders. "We're here and we're with Bernie." Sanders has emerged as the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, collecting early wins in New Hampshire and Nevada. Sen. Elizabeth Warren was endorsed by another former candidate: former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro.

Several dozen parents, students and other community members gathered to protest the alleged forced resignations of two LGBT teachers from Kennedy Catholic High School in Burien, Washington, KUOW.com reported. Mark Miloscia, a former Washington state senator, went to support the Archdiocese of Seattle at the same time and place that more than 100 were expected to protest the recent resignations of teachers Michelle Beattie and Paul Danforth—both of whom are engaged to be married to same-sex partners—from the school. "Michelle and Paul are no longer teaching here, because they were honest about their same-sex engagement," Danforth's fiance, Sean Nyberg, said, adding that the two were "trying to lay low because they're both pretty private people."

A three-judge panel of Commonwealth Court heard arguments Feb. 13 on whether Pennsylvania residents convicted of serious felonies should be permanently barred from changing their name—even if they're transgender, Philadelphia Gay News reported. The litigants are Philadelphia resident Alonda Talley as well as Allegheny County residents Chauntey Mo'Nique Porter and Priscylla Renee Von Noaker; they're represented pro bono by the Reed Smith law firm, based in Pittsburgh, and the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, based in New York. The judges are expected to issue a ruling within the next few months.

The City of Miami unanimously voted to create an LGBT advisory board, South Florida Gay News reported. The board will advise the City Commission, mayor, city departments and governmental entities on issues that impact the LGBT community. Commissioner Joe Carollo led the initiative as the prime sponsor of the ordinance, while commissioners Ken Russell, Alex Diaz de la Portilla, Manolo Reyes and Mayor Francis Suarez were co-sponsors.

A performance art video ( "Spictacle II: La Tortillera" ) by queer Latinx performer Xandra Ibarra has been labeled "obscene" by San Antonio's City Attorney Andy Segovia and censored by the city's Department of Arts and Culture from appearing in a public exhibit of Latinx art entitled "XicanX: New Visions," LGBTQ Nation noted. The show is scheduled to open at the Centro de Artes on June 28—and the exhibit's curators, Suzy Gonzalez and Michael Menchaca ( who operate under the name Dos Mestizx ), are now petitioning Segovia, the city's art commission and Mayor Ron Nirenberg as well as local artists, activists, the LGBTQ community and other citizens to get Ibarra's video uncensored and included in the exhibit.

A political committee linked to Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is funding ads and other campaign materials designed to meddle in North Carolina's Democratic Senate primary, according to Time.com . The PAC, which was just created last month, has run ads that appear to attempt to boost fortunes of state Sen. Erica Smith at the expense of former state Sen. Cal Cunningham, who has raised more funds than Smith. A more recent commercial from the PAC attempts to portray Cunningham as too moderate on gun and LGBT issues, and Cunningham rejected that characterization.

Katherine Johnson—a pioneering NASA mathematician whose work inspired the film Hidden Figures—died at age 101, CNN.com noted. Johnson was part of NASA's "Computer Pool," a group of mathematicians whose data powered NASA's first successful space missions. The group's success largely hinged on the accomplishments of its Black women members.

A 46-year-old man from Naples, Florida, died after he fell from the tenth floor of a gay cruise ship when it was docked in Old San Juan in Puerto Rico, PinkNews reported. The man fell from the tenth floor of Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas ship. Divers from Puerto Rico police and San Juan municipal police later recovered his body, ABC News noted. After reviewing CCTV footage, authorities said that it appeared as though the man—who has not yet been named—went overboard intentionally.

Republican lawmaker Dennis Guth proposed a law in the Iowa state Senate that would create a state record of people's "sexual preferences" on their marriage licenses that can then be referenced during divorce purposes, LGBTQ Nation noted. Guth is the primary sponsor of Senate File 2130, which would also make "fraudulent concealment of sexual orientation" grounds for a member of a divorcing couple to lose custody of their children, such as domestic abuse. File 2130 is one of several anti-LGBTQ laws introduced in Iowa's chambers within the last week, such as a ban on discussions of LGBTQ people in public spaces ( including candidate for President Pete Buttigieg ).


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