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NATIONAL Calif. hate crimes, trans measure, gay mayor, Stonewall Inn
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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Equality California noted in a press release that, for the third consecutive year, California saw a surge in the number of hate crimes reported in 2017, according to annual reports released from the Office of Attorney General Xavier Becerra. ncidents motivated by a person's sexual orientation ( real or perceived ) increased by 19 percent from 2016, while anti-transgender and anti-gender-nonconforming hate crimes increased by 7 percent. Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur said, "These tragic statistics are just one piece of the story. Behind these numbers are parents and siblings and children, students and teachers, coworkers and neighbors—people who deserve to to live safe and healthy lives with equal dignity and respect. We owe it to them to continue doing everything we can to end the epidemic of hate and violence in our state and in our nation."

Voters in Massachusetts will decide whether to keep a law that bans discrimination against transgender people in public accommodations this fall, LGBTQ Nation noted. Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin certified that sponsors had completed the necessary steps to get a measure on the ballot that would repeal the state's 2016 anti-discrimination law. The repeal initiative will appear on the ballot as Question 3, and voting "yes" will be voting in favor of keeping the transgender protections.

Politico reported that at least three Democratic mayors are mulling presidential campaigns—incluing openly gay South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. ( The other two are Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. ) Garcetti and Buttigieg have launched political action committees to engage in this year's midterm elections. "It's definitely a season for cities," said Buttigieg, the mayor of a city of just more than 100,000 people. "And it's definitely a season for mayors."

A teen smashed the front window of The Stonewall Inn with a baseball bat after he was booted from the landmark LGBTQ bar, The New York Post noted. William Gomez, 19, of Coney Island, allegedly busted the establishment's window and iconic neon sign, causing around $6,800 in damage, police said; he was charged with reckless endangerment, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal mischief The attack is not being considered a hate crime.

Tom Gallagher—the first known U.S. Foreign Service officer to come out as gay in 1975 and who switched careers to become a social worker before returning to the Foreign Service in 1994—died July 8 in his hometown of Tinton Falls, New Jersey, from complications associated with a bacterial infection, The Washington Blade reported. He was 77. Other positions he held included supervisor for the Travelers Aid Society in San Francisco; director of a Napa County, California, psychiatric emergency program; and as a volunteer for AIDS programs in the state. Gallagher is survived by husband Amin Dulgumoni and former wife Carolyn Worrell.

The National LGBT Bar Association has announced the introduction of the Gay and Trans Panic Defense Prohibition Act of 2018, according to a press release. The bill, which U.S. Sen. Edward Markey ( D-Mass. ) and Congressman Joe Kennedy III ( D-Mass. ), would do away with the use of the gay and trans "panic" defenses, which use a victim's sexual orientation or gender identity/expression as legal rationale for violent assault and murder. The American Bar Association, the Matthew Shepard Foundation, the American Unity Fund and Equality California support the measure.

A federal judge rejected a claim from a Christian adoption and fostering service that their constitutional rights were violated by being forced to follow an anti-discrimination law, LGBTQ Nation noted. Catholic Social Services ( CSS ) and Bethany Christian Services, two adoption and fostering agencies in Philadelphia, were caught refusing to place children with same-sex parents. The city suspended their contracts until they agreed to comply with the city's non-discrimination ordinance.

A judge in Ohio refused to approve a transgender teen's name change, and now the parents are appealing, saying that the judge overstepped his authority, LGBTQ Nation noted. Leigh and Kylen Whitaker took their son Elliott to court to make his name change official. Judge Joseph Kirby—who reportedly asked if the child's change of heart happened because of publicity surrounding Caitlyn Jenner—issued a ruling that used Elliott's deadname and repeatedly misgendered him.

The Hawaii Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from the Aloha B&B, letting a ruling in favor of equality stand, LGBTQ Nation reported. A lesbian couple, Diane Cervelli and Taeko Bufford, tried to stay at the Aloha B&B in 2007, but the owner told them that homosexuality was "detestable" and that two women sharing a bed would have "defiled the land." Since the Hawaii Supreme Court isn't going to hear the case, the court is effectively affirming an appeals court's ruling that religion is not an excuse for discrimination in the state.

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) released a statement regarding the July 8 passing of HRC founding board member Gerald ( Jerry ) K. Weller Jr. Among his many roles as an LGBTQ civil rights pioneer, Weller was co-chair of the Gay Rights National Lobby ( GRNL )—the predecessor of the Human Rights Campaign—and was GRNL's acting executive director. "With Jerry Weller's passing, our community has lost another giant," said Vic Basile, who was HRC's first executive director. "When few of us had the courage to be out and fighting the good fight, Jerry was there, ready to lead or simply to lend a helping hand. He was spirited, brave and selfless."

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) Foundation hosted its second Historically Black Colleges and Universities ( HBCU ) Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Briefing for University Presidents and Senior Executives on July 11, a press release noted. This year's day-long meeting was the largest-ever gathering of HBCU presidents discussing LGBTQ inclusive practices and policies. Twelve HBCUs were represented at Wednesday's summit, including five HBCU presidents, the most ever for a discussion on LGBTQ equality. Michael Lomax, CEO and president of the UNFC ( United Negro College Fund ), also participated, along with HRC staff, representatives from major employers, and HBCU alumni who serve on HRC's Parents for Transgender Equality Council.

The U.S. House Appropriations Committee passed an amendment allowing taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to deny LGBTQ families the ability to adopt a child based on religious objection, according to a Democratic National Committee ( DNC ) press release. DNC LGBTQ Media Director Lucas Acosta said, in part, "House Republicans are pandering to their far-right base at the expense of LGBTQ people and children in need of a home. Rather than focusing on empowering families or uniting children with their parents, Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee voted to give child welfare agencies a license to discriminate against qualified potential parents."

A judge sided with an Uber driver in a case in which a lesbian couple claimed they were ejected from the driver's car in Manhattan for kissing, LGBTQ Nation reported. Driver Ahmad El Boutari asked Emma Pichl and girlfriend Alex Iovine to leave the car, saying that they were being "disrespectful" and that what they did was "illegal." They filed a complaint for discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and the driver's taxi license was suspended; however, administrative law judge Joycelyn McGeachy-Kuls recommended that El Boutari's taxi license be reinstated.

The persecution and killing of gay men in Nazi Germany is the focus of a traveling museum exhibit this month in Wilton Manors, Florida, noted. Thousands of gay people were thought to have perished in Germany during the Nazi regime. The Third Reich considered gay people a threat because they "did not produce offspring for the fatherland," said Jake Newsome, spokesman for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The traveling exhibition "Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945" will be displayed July 19-Oct. 14 at the Stonewall National Museum and Archives.

The federal government has reopened its investigation into the slaying of Emmett Till, the Black teenager whose brutal killing in Mississippi shocked the world and helped inspire the civil rights movement more than 60 years ago, a Daily Freeman item noted. The case was closed in 2007 with authorities saying the suspects were dead; a state grand jury didn't file any new charges. A white woman, Carolyn Donham, admitted during a 2008 interview that she wasn't truthful when she testified that Till grabbed her, whistled and made sexual advances at a store in 1955.

Responding to former President Jimmy Carter's statement that Jesus would support same-sex marriage, Trump supporter and far-right minister Franklin Graham launched an attack on Facebook—saying that Jesus would kill gay people, LGBTQ Nation noted. "Jesus didn't come to promote sin, He came to save us from sin," Graham wrote. "I have to respectfully disagree with former President Jimmy Carter on this one. He is absolutely wrong when he said Jesus would approve of gay marriage. The Bible is very clear. God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of homosexuality. God defines sin in His Word—it's not up to our opinion, the latest poll, or a popular vote."

Leaders of the California Democratic Party voted overwhelmingly to endorse Kevin de LeÃ"n for the U.S. Senate over incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein, CNN reported. De Leon—considered a more liberal, activist voice within the party—recently served as California state Senate president pro tempore and currently represents parts of Los Angeles; Feinstein, the leading Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, is seeking her fifth full term in the Senate.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders ( I-Vermont ) renewed his long-running attack on the Walt Disney Company and the pay disparity between the executive suite and those who work at its flagship theme park, recently taking aim at CEO Bob Iger, Deadline noted. Sanders attacked Iger's rich pay package, which Institutional Shareholder Services estimates could earn the executive as much as $423 million over the next four years if he hits all of his performance goals. "Does Disney CEO Bob Iger have a good explanation for why he is being compensated more than $400 million while workers at Disneyland are homeless and relying on food stamps to feed their families?" Sanders asked. A theme park spokesperson dismissed the study on which Sanders relied, telling the Los Angeles Times it was "inaccurate and unscientific."

John Schnatter—the founder, chairman and public face of pizza chain Papa John's—used the N-word on a conference call in May, Forbes reported. Schnatter confirmed the incident in an emailed statement to the publication. On a May conference call, Schnatter was asked how he would distance himself from racist groups online. He responded by downplaying the significance of his NFL statement. "Colonel Sanders called Blacks n——-s," Schnatter said, before complaining that Sanders never faced public backlash. "Regardless of the context, I apologize," he said in the statement. "Simply stated, racism has no place in our society." The University of Louisville now plans to change the name of its football stadium from Papa John's Cardinal Stadium to just Cardinal Stadium, CNBC reported.

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