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NATIONAL San Jose LGBTQ Center vandalized, rainbow-flag items, Ricky Martin
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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In California, a San Jose LGBTQ center was vandalized—and rather than being a random incident, it is believed the center may have been targeted, reported. The windows and door were shattered at the LGBTQ Youth Space. People at the center said it's less about who did it and more about the community looking out for one another.

A New York state park unveiled the city's largest LGBTQ pride flag, The Hill noted. The steps of the Four Freedoms State Park on Roosevelt Island have been transformed into a 12-foot-by-100-foot pride flag through Sunday, June 30, the park announced. The park said the event is in honor of progress that's been made over the past 50 years on human rights, and is intended to call attention to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "Four Freedoms" speech from January 1941. In that address, Roosevelt described as fundamental four freedoms that all people should share: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the Rainbow Flag flown over the State Capitol to commemorate June as LGBTQ Pride Month, The Los Angeles Blade reported. The flag will fly on the main flagpole of the State Capitol building through July 1 for the first time in state history. Overseeing the raising of the flag was an honor guard from the California National Guard.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello backed down from a "religious-liberty bill" after singer Ricky Martin published an open letter slamming the legislation that would exempt government employees from serving constituents if they believe it clashes with their religious beliefs, NBC News reported. Martin's letter came a day after he took to social media to speak out against Rossello and the island's House of Representatives, who had voted in favor of the bill. New York Democratic congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, who is from Puerto Rico, has also criticized the measure.

A Tennessee district attorney is under investigation following anti-Islamic social-media posts and comments about not enforcing domestic-violence laws for same-sex couples, NBC News reported. Coffee County District Attorney Craig Northcott's anti-gay comments were filmed at a town hall-style meeting in 2018 but have only recently come to light. Chris Sanders, executive director of statewide LGBTQ group Tennessee Equality Project, encouraged Northcott to step down.

Also in Tennessee, Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler said his fear of First Amendment lawsuits is keeping him from firing a detective who called for the killing of LGBTQ community members, reported. Instead, Spangler is allowing Grayson Fritts to take a voluntary buyout that the sheriff says was approved before controversy erupted over a hate-laced sermon the detective delivered June 2. Fritts' buyout does not affect his county pension, which he will be eligible for once he turns 50, County Retirement and Pension Board Executive Director Kim Bennett said.

Dallas police announced the arrest of Kendrell Lavar Lyles, 34, in connection with the murder of transgender woman Muhlaysia Booker and two other people, The Dallas Voice reported. Investigators said Lyles is also a "person of interest" in the murder of Chynal Lindsey and is also possibly connected with the 2017 death of Armani Dante Morgan, whose death was ruled "unexplained." Investigations continue to look into those deaths and the deaths of at least two other black transgender women in Dallas: Shade Schuler, whose body was found in a field in July 2015; and Britney White, who was shot to death in October 2018.

Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke unveiled a plan to achieve full equality and protect LGBTQ+ Americans from discrimination, stigma and violence, a press release noted. The plan was launched as Beto participated in a Pride Run with members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community in New York City, where he recognized the third anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shooting at the LGBT Memorial along the Hudson River. More is at

In court, former Iowa governor and current U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad defended his decision eight years ago to ask for the resignation of a gay state official and cut his pay, the Des Moines Register reported. Branstad is being sued for discrimination by former Iowa Workers' Compensation Commissioner Chris Godfrey, a Democrat. Godfrey, who is gay, accused Branstad, a Republican, of cutting his pay as punishment after Godfrey refused to resign after Branstad took office.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis faced backlash from the LGBTQ community after removing mention of the group from a proclamation commemorating the third anniversary of the shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub that left 49 dead, Politico reported. DeSantis, who has worked to brand himself as a Republican moderate, issued a proclamation in remembrance of the June 12, 2016, attack on Orlando's Pulse nightclub—but included no reference to the LGBTQ community and LGBTQ victims of the attack. In his proclamation, DeSantis listed the victims—misspelling one name—and referred to the Pulse gunman as "an ISIS-inspired terrorist."

Speaking of DeSantis, he signed the death warrant for a convicted serial killer who targeted gay men, according to LGBTQ Nation. Gary Ray Bowles, 57, confessed to killing six men in Florida, Georgia and Maryland in 1994. He is now scheduled to be executed Aug. 22, and will be the second person put to death under DeSantis.

James H. Bryson—a businessman who became an advocate for gay rights and a philanthropist who helped LGBTQ youth in the Philadelphia area—died at age 84 of Alzheimer's disease at Artis Senior Living of Huntingdon Valley, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Bryson was a successful insurance company owner in Jenkintown. One of Bryson's proudest achievements was the funding and creation in 2000 of the Bryson Institute for Sexual and Gender Diversity Education at the Attic Youth Center in Philadelphia, his family said.

A gay man who just finished celebrating his anniversary with his husband was walking his dog in the Hamilton Heights section of Manhattan on June 10 when he was shot and killed by a rifle-wielding man who was trying to shoot somebody else, Gay City News reported. Cops said the tragedy unfolded when the shooter, who is still on the loose, pointed his weapon at an unidentified 26-year-old man and threatened to shoot him. Instead, the gunman hit Winston McKay, 40, striking an artery in his leg. McKay and husband Terry Solomon met nearly two decades ago.

A Virginia woman said someone put a hate-filled, anti-LGBTQ sticker on her car, reported. A person placed a sticker titled "Misplaced Pride" over Cynthia Moore's Virginia Beer Company gay-pride sticker. Norfolk police said the act is shameful and that it's not a reflection of the community, adding that once the person responsible is caught, that person will be charged with misdemeanor vandalism.

The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation ( LADF ) hosted its 5th Anniversary Blue Diamond Gala—a star-studded evening that featured a performance by musician Bruno Mars, a press release noted. Equality trailblazers Billie Jean King and Ilana Kloss were honored during the event, which raised more than $3 million and was attended by more than 2,000 guests. The Los Angeles Dodgers Ownership Group—which includes includes Chairman Mark Walter, King, Kloss, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Todd Boehly, Robert "Bobby" Patton Jr. and Peter Guber—presented the event.

A Pennsylvania trucking-company owner known for his trailers supporting President Donald Trump is in the spotlight again for comments he made at a Scranton City Council meeting, reported. Bob Bolus spoke during the public-comment portion of the meeting and took issue with the sexual orientation of Jessica Rothchild, a candidate for council. The LGBTQ activist was the top-vote getter in last month's Democratic primary and, if elected, would be the first openly gay member of City Council.

A gay Pride festival scheduled at Jack Elstro Plaza in the downtown area of Richmond, Indiana, was canceled because of rain and forecasts for possible severe weather, reported. "Hello everyone, the Rainbow Richmond Pride Festival is canceled but will be rescheduled," a message on the group Rainbow Richmond's Facebook page read. "We will post here on the page when a date is picked out. That will be soon."

In Florida, prominent local LGBTQ organizations such as SAVE, South Florida's oldest LGBTQ-rights group; the Unity Coalition; Gay8 Festival; the Aqua Foundation Pride Fort Lauderdale; and Wilton Manors Stonewall Pride announced they had serious concerns about Miami's Wynwood Pride and who stands to profit from it, Miami New Times noted. Noting that the Miami-based event agency Swarm is the producer, they accused the company of trying to make money off the gay community's struggle for acceptance and rights. Anna Margarita Albelo—the sister of Swarm CEO Tony Albelo and one of the founders of Wynwood Pride, and an out lesbian—said Swarm will not profit. Wynwood Pride will take place June 21-23.

A gay server who claimed he resigned from his job over homophobic insults will receive a $20,000 settlement, the Courier Post reported. Brian Peeke, who worked at the Voorhees Diner for two years, alleged restaurant employees repeatedly used anti-gay slurs against him, the attorney general's office stated in a press release. Peeke was hired at Voorhees Diner as a server in November 2016 and worked there until June 2018, when, he alleges, "the situation at work was so unbearable, that he felt he had no choice but to resign," according to a complaint filed with the attorney general's Division of Civil Rights.

Heather Matuszek—a Chick-fil-A franchise owner-operator and former church youth group leader—was arrested in Florida on two felony charges for "lewd and lascivious molestation" of an underage girl, LGBTQ Nation reported. Matuszek was 28 at the time, and the victim was 15; she has already admitted her guilt. Chick-fil-A, known for its anti-LGBT stance, quickly distanced itself from the hand-picked owner.

Fashion designer/socialite Gloria Vanderbilt has died at 95, reported. Born in New York in 1924, Gloria Laura Morgan Vanderbilt grew up in France. Her father, financier Reginald Vanderbilt, the heir to a railroad fortune, died when she was a baby. "Gloria Vanderbilt was an extraordinary woman, who loved life, and lived it on her own terms," son Anderson Cooper said in a statement. "She was a painter, a writer and designer but also a remarkable mother, wife, and friend."

Pulitzer Prize winner Ronan Farrow accepted a Mirror Award for media reporting from Syracuse University for his stories on sexual misconduct at CBS, including allegations that toppled the corporation's former leader, Leslie Moonves, Page Six noted. Like other award winners, he saluted fellow journalists and industry leaders—but he also said, ""I can see people who have lied to protect power." Farrow and The New York Times won Pulitzers in 2018 for stories outlining sexual misconduct allegations against former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Travel guru Rick Steves told Hill.TV that the federal government should legalize marijuana. "Marijuana is a drug; it needs to be taken seriously and highly regulated,"said Steves, who is a board member at the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. "It can be abused, it needs to be kept out of the reach of children. And the smartest way to do that is to take it out of the black market and regulate it."

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