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NATIONAL Historic town hall, Trump and the military
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times.

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An LGBTQ town hall will be part of the NAACP's 109th annual convention on July 14-18, a press release noted. The San Antonio, Texas, event—entitled "The State of LGBTQ People of Color in America"—will take place Tuesday, July 17, at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. Panelists will include the H.U.G.S. Movement's Marsha R. Bonner; Center for Black Equity President/CEO and DNC LGBT Caucus Earl D. Fowlkes Jr.; National Black Justice Coalition Executive Director David J. Johns; National LGBTQ Task Force Deputy Executive Director Kierra Johnson; theologian/columnist the Rev. Irene Monroe; actress and TransTech Social Enterprises founder Angelica Ross; and model/actress Amiyah Scott.

Dozens of retired U.S. military officers and former national security officials have joined states attorneys general, medical associations and leading civil-rights organizations in nine friend-of-the-court briefs urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to uphold the lower-court ruling in Karnoski v. Trump, and maintain the bar on implementation of the Trump administration's ban on transgender military service, a Lambda Legal press release stated. Some of the groups that have submitted briefs included The Trevor Project, The American Medical Association and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. More about the case is at

Under order from Donald Trump's Department of Defense ( DoD ), the U.S. Army has been discharging immigrant recruits and reservists who enlisted under a program initiated in 2008—which can lead to a path to naturalized citizen status, LGBTQ Nation noted. DoD officials tell recruits that they pose "security risks" to the United States because they have family members abroad for whom the military cannot properly conduct background checks. President George W. Bush started the program, known as Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said he believes Jesus would approve of same-sex marriage, noted. Carter, who recently published the book Faith: A Journey For All, was asked by HuffPost Live's Marc Lamont Hill about his stance on the issue. "That's no problem with me," he said. "I think everyone should have a right to get married regardless of their sex." Carter added that the only thing he wouldn't be in favor of would be churches being forced to perform same-sex weddings if they didn't want to do so.

A teen was arrested near Boston after he allegedly locked up a gay man and beat him for four days, LGBTQ Nation noted. Jackson Sugrue, 19, is facing several charges ( assault and battery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, intimidation of a witness and a hate-crime charge ) because police say he locked Otoni Eliseu, 50, in a church bathroom and beat him for days. "He attacked me on my back, on my butt, [saying] 'you're gay, you like me,'" Eliseu, who is from Brazil, said, adding that Sugrue beat him with a fire extinguisher while shouting anti-gay slurs.

South Carolina lawmakers inserted a little-publicized amendment into an appropriations bill to allow adoption agencies that receive taxpayer money to discriminate against same-sex couples and other prospective parents, Metro Weekly reported. The provision, inserted into a nearly 500-page bill, allows adoption and foster care agencies to refuse to place children with any family to which the agency, or an employee of the agency, objects, based on a "sincerely-held religious belief or moral conviction." If approved, the provision would make South Carolina the 10th state in the nation to exercise such a policy.

Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage vetoed a bill that would have banned conversion therapy, the controversial practice to change a person's sexual orientation, because it was "bad public policy" and was a "threat to an individual's religious liberty," Newsweek reported. LePage said there was no evidence presented that conversion therapy is currently being practiced in the state and said the bill would prevent therapists from having conversations with those who seek advice about their feelings. Thirteen states plus D.C. currently ban the practice—with four of those bans signed into law by Republican governors.

This year, Huntington, West Virginia, recognized the month of LGBT awareness by hosting its second annual Pride Picnic, noted. It's part of a LGBT-inclusion campaign spearheaded by the city's mayor, Stephen Williams. At the event, 20 vendors and exhibitors set up tents with local goods, resource materials and rainbow flags.

Former pharmaceutical executive Bob Hugin is seeking to be the first Republican in 46 years to serve as a New Jersey senator who is pro-choice and supports marriage equality, reported. Hugin—a Marine Corps veteran who retired in January as executive chairman of Celgene Corp.—is looking to unseat two-term Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez in the midterm elections in November.

California is on its way to officially recognize June as LGBT Pride Month, Q Voice News reported. Nationally, June generally is recognized as LGBT Pride Month. LA Pride hosted the nation's first, permitted Pride Parade on June 28, 1970. California the first state in the country to recognize an official caucus of state legislators who identify as LGBT.

A California official is under fire after proclaiming July "Straight Pride American Month" and using homophobic language in a local newspaper column, NBC News reported. Ted Hickman—the vice mayor of Dixon, a town just west of Sacramento—caused outrage from both the local community and LGBTQ advocates across the state following the publication of his June 29 "That's Life" column in Dixon's Independent Voice. The column referred to LGBTQ Pride Month, which is celebrated in June, as "LGBTQF-WTF month"; called gay people "tinker bells" and "faries" [sic]; and said heterosexuals should celebrate themselves in July. An online petition demanding Hickman's resignation has garnered more than 16,000 signatures.

The Philadelphia pride flag has now inspired another new flag, Popbuzz noted. Designed by Daniel Quasar, the 'progress' flag aims to reconcile the differences of the Philly flag and give the pride flag "more meaning" for the wider community. The new flag keeps the original six-stripe LGBTQ flag, but adds the trans flag and marginalised community stripes ( black and brown ) to the hoist of the flag; there's also a new arrow shape.

Action Wellness appointed three new officers to its board of directors as the organization looks to expand service to more individuals living with HIV and other chronic illnesses, noted. Action Wellness—previously known as ActionAIDS—provides medical, vocational, educational and family services for those living with HIV and other chronic illnesses in the Greater Philadelphia area.

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin participated in a forum on civil rights under the Trump administration that took place during UnidosUS' annual conference in Washington, D.C., according to The Washington Blade. "The LGBTQ community is as diverse as the fabric of our nation," said Griffin during the forum that UnidosUS President and CEO Janet MurguÃïa moderated. Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights President and CEO Vanita Gupta, NAACP Legal Defense Fund President and Director Sherrilyn Ifill, Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden and Voto Latino President and CEO Maria Teresa Kumar also took part in the forum.

The Delaware Valley Legacy Fund ( DVLF ) elected an executive director nearly seven months after the resignation of his predecessor, noted. Social-justice professional Juan Franco was one of 65 candidates who applied for the position at the LGBT grantmaking organization, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Fernando Gonzalez, president of DVLF's board of directors, said Franco's background in fundraising and building relationships made him the ideal fit.

House Speaker Paul Ryan weighed in on accusations that Republican Rep. Jim Jordan ignored allegations of sexual abuse while he was an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University decades ago, USA Today reported. Through a spokesman, Ryan said the university was right to investigate the claims and that he would await the outcome of the review. In other Ryan-related news, CNN reported that Randy Bryce—a Democrat from Wisconsin running to replace Ryan in Congress—was arrested and pled guilty to driving while intoxicated in 1998, in addition to eight other arrests. Bryce—who is facing Janesville School Board member Cathy Myers in a Democratic primary on Aug. 14—has also been arrested in Wisconsin for marijuana possession, property damage, trespassing and theft, although the theft and trespassing charges were dropped.

Renowned journalist/author Gwen Ifill is still being celebrated one year after her untimely passing, and now she's receiving an honor from her undergraduate alma mater, noted. Just months after The Washington Press Club and PBS Newshour launched a fellowship program bearing her name, Simmons College announced that it plans to unveil the new Gwen Ifill College of Media, Arts and Humanity in fall 2018. The college will also reportedly house some of Ifill's papers and other personal affects, according to PBS.

A division of the American Library Association voted unanimously to strip Laura Ingalls Wilder's name from a major children's literature award over concerns about how the author referred to Native American and Black people, noted. The Association for Library Service to Children says the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award will now be known as the Children's Literature Legacy Award.

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