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  WINDY CITY TIMES

NATIONAL Citizenship case, anti-LGBTQ companies, Buttigieg, gay bars
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-07-30

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A gay U.S. couple is reportedly suing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for discrimination after the State Department denied citizenship to their daughter, who was born in the United Kingdom with the help of a surrogate, The Hill reported. The New York Times reported that James Derek Mize and husband Jonathan Gregg filed a lawsuit after their daughter, Simone, was denied citizenship even though both of her parents are U.S. citizens. Simone was born in the United Kingdom last year using the donor egg of a British friend and Gregg's sperm.

A new campaign wants corporations like AT&T and Amazon to stop giving money to anti-LGBTQ politicians—and, until that happens, the organization suggests consumers stop putting dollars in those companies' accounts, Advocate.com reported. The political arm for CREDO Mobile—a mobile virtual network directing revenue to progressive causes—launched a petition campaign today targeting AT&T, T-Mobile, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Dell. AT&T, for example, donated $2.755 million to 193 anti-gay politicians in the midterm election cycle, according to the group. CREDO Mobile's petition is at https://act.credoaction.com/sign/ATT-stop-funding-hate/.

Blair Garner—whose country music radio show is heard in more than 200 cities—was recently contacted by the presidential campaign of Mayor Pete Buttigieg requesting an interview, Instinct magazine noted. But after recording the 20-minute chat, Garner was told by his bosses at Cumulus Media he couldn't share the interview on air. ( Cumulus issued a statement explaining their decision was based on the "large number of political candidates" currently running and the FCC's Equal Time Rule, which requires media companies to provide equal airtime to all candidates. ) Garner admitted he was "stunned" by the request considering his radio show isn't political, and most country-music fans tend to be on the conservative end of the political spectrum.

A gay bar in Portland, Maine, has put up new front windows after 28 years of covering its smashed glass with plywood in the wake of homophobic vandalism, Press Herald reported. Vandals repeatedly smashed the front windows of Blackstones with rocks and bricks, and the bar's owners boarded the windows with plywood and Plexiglass in 1991. Bar manager Carl Currie recently pulled down the plywood and found old shards of glass behind it that had been there for nearly three decades; he said the change came because "we're at a point now where the bar is safe."

In Minnesota, the first bar in Duluth to cater exclusively to the LGBT community is for sale, The Star Tribune reported. Duluth Flame owner Alvin Berg put the eight-year-old nightclub on the market and has found a buyer; the Flame will remain a gay club, Berg said. Berg is also owner of Superior Flame, a smaller neighborhood gay bar across the Wisconsin border.

The City of Atlanta has passed an ordinance that bans smoking and vaping in public spaces, affecting several gay bars, according to a Georgia Voice item that cites the AJC. The legislation, drafted by councilperson Matt Westmoreland, expands on existing smoke-free laws to maintain "the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the City of Atlanta and its visitors." Passed 13-2, the ordinance prohibits smoking and vaping in bars, restaurants, workplaces, hotel and motel rooms, and other enclosed public areas, including Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, beginning Jan. 2, 2020. An amendment to exclude adult-entertainment establishments ( like Swinging Richards ) was proposed by councilperson Marci Collier Overstreet but failed.

Terminal 1 at San Francisco International Airport will henceforth be called Harvey Milk Terminal 1, CNN.com reported. Milk,—the first openly gay person elected to public office in California—served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for almost a year before he was assassinated in 1978. The naming effort was the brainchild of David Campos, a former member of the Board of Supervisors who introduced legislation that failed to pass back in 2013 to rename the entire airport after Milk.

PFLAG National honored Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III at its inaugural Moving Equality Forward reception in Washington, D.C., on July 24, a press release noted. Kennedy, who is serving the Fourth District of Massachusetts for a fourth term, is the vice chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus and chair of that caucus's Transgender Equality Task Force. He has led Congressional efforts to strengthen protections for transgender students and oppose attacks on transgender servicemembers in the military, including passage of a House Resolution to support open service for them and future troops.

A man claims a Sweetwater, Tennessee, church will not let him attend his father's seemingly impending funeral due to his own sexual orientation, WVLT.tv reported. Jessie Goodman said Lee's Chapel Baptist Church told him he would not be allowed to bring his partner to his father's funeral service. Goodman said his 71-year-old father has only a few days left to live and it is his dying wish for his son to sing "The Anchor Holds" during his service.

Baltimore-born director John Waters has responded to President Trump's tweets denouncing his home city, LGBTQ Nation noted. Waters—the gay director of Pink Flamingos, Hairspray, Serial Mom and other cult films which feature misfits living outside of "proper" suburban Baltimore—said, "Give me the rats and roaches of Baltimore any day over the lies and racism of your Washington, Mr. Trump. Come on over to that neighborhood and see if you have the nerve to say it in person!" Trump has not visited Baltimore as president.

The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved, by voice vote, a bill to remedy the Internal Revenue Service's unfair treatment of same-sex couples, Metro Weekly reported. For years, same-sex couples in states where marriage equality was the law were wrongfully denied refunds because the federal government, under the Defense of Marriage Act ( DOMA ), was prohibited from recognizing their legal relationships; thus, they were prohibited from filing federal taxes jointly. To remedy this problem, U.S. Reps. Judy Chu ( D-California ) and Andy Levin ( D-Michigan ), proposed the Promoting Respect for Individuals' Dignity and Equality ( PRIDE ) Act of 2019.

Military leaders, medical associations, public-health groups and HIV advocates joined three friend-of-the court briefs filed in support of a federal lawsuit challenging the Pentagon's policies that prevent servicemembers living with HIV from deploying to most locations outside the United States, a Lambda Legal press release noted. These deployment restrictions recently resulted in decisions to discharge a number of airmen. The briefs being filed in Roe and Voe v. Shanahan before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit urge the court to uphold a preliminary injunction preventing the Air Force from discharging HIV-positive servicemembers.

In Pennsylvania, Reading Mayor Wally Scott called off a rainbow flag-raising to kick off the city's weeklong Pride celebration, saying it's a political movement, CNN.com reported. Scott told CNN affiliate WFMZ that he doesn't have anything against the LGBTQ community—but that he doesn't believe flags should be raised at City Hall for political movements. The LGBT Center of Greater Reading stated, "What was supposed to be a proud and historical moment in history today for the City of Reading, the LGBTQ+ community and our allies, turned into a show of blatant, unacceptable discrimination."

A group of Virginia Republicans tried but failed to censure a GOP congressman for what they considered a failure to uphold the party's values by officiating a same-sex couple's wedding, NBC News noted, citing The Roanoke Times. The 5th Congressional District Republican Committee held a closed session to discuss reprimanding Rep. Denver Riggleman. The committee chairman, Melvin Adams, said the motion was out of order; committee member Diana Shores motioned to overrule Adams, but only four people voted in favor, so the motion and censure effort failed.

One of the two gay guidance counselors who have accused the archdiocese of Indianapolis of discrimination is suing the church and Roncalli High School—where she worked for nearly 40 years until she was fired because of her same-sex marriage, IndyStar.com reported. It's the second lawsuit brought by a gay employee of an Indianapolis Catholic school against the archdiocese in July. Lynn Starkey alleges that the archdiocese and Roncalli subjected her to a hostile work environment, discriminated against her on the basis of her sexual orientation and retaliated against her due to her complaints of discrimination.

For the fourth year, Greater Fort Lauderdale will host the longest-running transgender conference in the United States—the Southern Comfort Transgender Conference, on Aug. 15-17. The informational forum will welcome hundreds of attendees for a series of workshops, seminars and networking events hosted at the Riverside Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Conference activities include legal and medical presentations, as well as informative sessions on family, relationships, sexuality and much more. See sccfla.org .

Sean McShee, South Florida Gay News' ( SFGN's ) HIV editor, publicly criticized the main headline on the cover of his own newspaper's May 8 issue, which read, "Loyal Lovers Live Longer," Press Pass Q noted. McShee said the headline was misleading and obscured the importance of a recent HIV study. Norm Kent, SFGN's publisher, noted that he had no problem printing McShee's critique.

With the Democratic campaign to unseat President Donald Trump already well underway, a pair of music industry veterans-turned-activists are announcing a new initiative entitled 46 for 46, described as a "strategically planned series of 46 unique concerts in 46 different cities in the states that matter most during the lead up to the 2020 election," Billboard noted. The minds behind the campaign are Kyle Frenette and Christopher Moon, longtime artist- managers. Some of the possible acts during the initiative include pop duo Sylvan Esso ( North Carolina ), singer-songwriter Lissie ( Iowa ), emo pioneers Dashboard Confessional ( Florida ), singer-songwriter Patty Griffin ( Maine ), folk-rocker Nathaniel Rateliff ( Colorado ) and Bon Iver ( Wisconsin ).

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard ( D-Hawaii ) has sued Google for $50 million, saying the tech giant violated her right to free speech when it briefly suspended her advertising account after the last Democratic presidential debate, HuffPost noted. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Los Angeles, came after Gabbard's campaign said its Google advertising account was suspended for about six hours. Gabbard has also been in the news because she said fellow Democratic candidate U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris ( D-California ) "lacks the temperament" to be president during an interview on Fox Sports Radio, USA Today reported.

Jon Bon Jovi and his wife, Dorothea, are set to host a fundraiser for presidential candidate Cory Booker at their Hamptons mansion on Aug. 18, Page Six reported. Tickets for the East Hampton event range from $1,000 per person—which includes entrance to a late-afternoon cocktail reception—all the way up to $15,000 each for the host committee. Booker announced in February that he would seek the 2020 Democratic nomination for president.

A private, historically Black college in Virginia fired nine police officers after the officers posted racist and misogynistic comments on social media, USA Today reported. Hampton University said in a statement that it fired the officers from its police department "for egregious violations" of the university's code of conduct. The university hasn't offered specifics about the nature of the posts, news station WAVY noted, but a termination letter obtained by the station said officers participated in "Meme Wars"—an exchange of insults using images and text, directed at both each other and outside parties.

National Geographic and deep-sea explorer Dr. Robert Ballard has announced an expedition to solve the mystery of famed aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart, Deadline noted. In a scientific expedition jointly funded by National Geographic Partners and National Geographic Society, Ballard—best known for his 1985 discovery of the Titanic shipwreck—is setting out in August to solve the mystery of Earhart's disappearance and end decades of speculation about what actually happened to her. The project will result in a two-hour special to air on Nat Geo this fall.


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