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NATIONAL Torres' run, tribe OKs marriage, Bernie Sanders, Netflix
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times.
2019-07-24

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New York City Councilman Ritchie Torres made history when he announced his bid for a seat in New York's House of Representatives, Queerty noted. The 31-year-old Democrat from the Bronx is the first openly gay man to hold elected office in the New York City borough; if elected to the House of Representatives, he would become the first openly gay member of Congress who is either Black or Latinx. New York City Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr.—a 76-year-old homophobic Pentecostal minister—is also running for the seat.

The Oglala Sioux say they are the first tribe in South Dakota to legalize same-sex marriage, a U.S. News & World Report item noted. The tribal council approved a same-gender marriage ordinance in a 12-to-three vote, with one abstention. The new marriage ordinance amends marital and domestic law that has not changed on the Pine Ridge reservation since 1935. The U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2015—but not for the 573 federally recognized tribes.

On the anniversary of his 1996 vote against the Defense of Marriage Act ( DOMA ), Bernie Sanders ( through his 2020 presidential campaign ) has issued a video in which LGBT supporters in New Hampshire highlight his record, The Washington Blade noted. The three-minute video, titled "Even When It was Hard," shows images of Bernie Sanders with LGBT supporters, including a march through a Pride parade. Sanders and Joseph Biden were on opposite sides of DOMA; when the bill came up for a vote in the Senate on Sept. 10, 1996, Biden voted for the measure.

Netflix thinks the Straight Pride Parade "is about hate—not pride," CNN.com reported. The company had a strong and swift response after organizers of a Straight Pride Parade included a logo of Netflix on their website about potential corporate sponsors. "You should know that we're unafraid of bullies," Netflix wrote in an email to the group. "Our legal department is here, it's queer and it's telling you to steer clear." The organizers are planning a controversial Straight Pride Parade in Boston for August.

When an interview with former U.S. women's national soccer teammate Jaelene Hinkle resurfaced on Twitter, where she claimed the team "wasn't a welcoming place for Christians," Ashlyn Harris—who helped the team defend its World Cup title—didn't hold back, The New York Post noted. "Hinkle, our team is about inclusion. Your religion was never the problem. The problem is your intolerance and you are homophobic," Harris, who is engaged to fellow USA World Cup champion Ali Krieger, tweeted. Hinkle declined a call-up to the team two years ago because she didn't want to wear a Pride-themed jersey in support of LGBTQ rights. There are also five openly gay players on team USA, in addition to coach Jill Ellis.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed the so-called Save Chick-fil-A bill into law, NBC News reported. Abbott tweeted, "No business should be discriminated against simply because its owners gave to a church or to the Salvation Army or to any other religious organization." The legislation—Senate Bill 1978, which has no official connected to Chick-fil-A—prohibits government entities from taking "adverse actions" against businesses or individuals because of their religious beliefs or moral convictions. Chick-fil-A has been under fire for its anti-LGBTQ track record since 2012.

A gay-owned private club in Colorado will be hosting an expensive fundraiser for Mike Pence and the Republican Party, LGBTQ Nation reported. The Caribou Club in Aspen, Colorado, is owned by Billy Stolz and Richard Edwards, and it's set to host a VIP-only reception with Pence this evening. The reception will cost $35,000 per couple to attend. The Donald Trump campaign will receive $2,700 from that money, and the rest will go to the Republican National Committee.

A Republican congressman from a conservative district in the rural South presided over a same-sex wedding in Virginia, The News & Advance noted, citing The Washington Post. Denver Riggleman, who represents the 5th District, did the honors for Anthony LeCounte and Alex Pisciarino at King Family Vineyards. Riggleman—a former Air Force intelligence officer who owns a distillery in Nelson County with his wife—ran for the seat in 2018 as a conservative Republican with a libertarian streak; regarding marriage, he said the government needed to treat straight and gay the same out of basic fairness.

The Trump administration moved to end asylum protections for most Central American migrants in a major escalation of the president's battle to tamp down the number of people crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, Time.com reported. According to a new rule published in the Federal Register, asylum seekers who pass through another country first will be ineligible for asylum at the U.S. southern border. The rule, expected to go into effect July 16, also applies to children who have crossed the border alone.

The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law estimates in a brief that 1.45 million LGBT adults would see an increase in earnings by 2025 if the minimum wage were increased from $7.25 to $15 per hour, a press release noted. This estimate includes 913,000 LGBT workers who would have earned less than $15 per hour without the increase and an additional 537,000 million LGBT workers who might see ripple effects on their wages. The brief, "Raising the Federal Minimum Wage: Impact on LGBT Adults," is at https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/Federal-Minimum-Wage-July-2019.pdf.

The New Republic is facing major backlash after it published what has been called a homophobic hit piece on Mayor Pete Buttigieg written by gay YA novelist Dale Peck, Queerty noted. The backlash became so severe that the site ultimately took down the post and replaced with an editor's note that reads: "Dale Peck's post 'My Mayor Pete Problem' has been removed from the site, in response to criticism of the piece's inappropriate and invasive content. We regret its publication." In the piece, Peck repeatedly refers to Mayor Pete as "Mary Pete" and "the gay equivalent of Uncle Tom," fantasizes about his bedroom behaviors and preferred sexual positions, and suggests he shouldn't be president because he would be too sexually promiscuous.

Peter Thiel, an openly gay venture capitalist and member of President Trump's White House transition team, suggested in a speech that Google has been actively working with the Chinese military—and that top management has become a hotbed for Chinese spies, according to The New York Post. The speech, first reported by Axios, echoed a tweet by Trump in March accusing Google of "helping China and their military, but not the U.S. Terrible!" Thiel, who sits on Facebook's board, left Silicon Valley last year after reportedly growing tired of the Bay Area's liberal politics.

Gene Wesley Elder—a San Antonio artist and gay-rights activist who established and maintained the Happy Foundation Archives to preserve the stories of the LGBTQ community—passed away in late April at age 69, MySanAntonio.com reported. Elder was born on Independence Day in 1949 in Dallas. He came to San Antonio in the 1970s to study at Trinity University because, he said, a friend had enrolled there and said he needed a roommate.

William Dannemeyer—a former Orange County, California, congressman who spent much of his career fighting gay rights and helped cement Orange County's reputation as a bastion of right-wing conservatism—has died at 89, the L.A. Times noted. Over a 30-year career, Dannemeyer equated environmentalists with socialists, pushed for voluntary prayer in schools, and was vehemently anti-tax.

Royal Caribbean International canceled a planned call in San Juan, Puerto Rico, amid protests against the embattled governor in the capital of the U.S. territory, USA Today noted. Empress of the Seas, which was slated to stop in San Juan, was rerouted to Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, and guests will receive refunds for prepaid shore excursions. Tortola was already on the itinerary as a planned stop, according to cruise-tracking site CruiseMapper.com . Thousands of protesters marched in San Juan to call for Gov. Ricardo Rossello's resignation after a profanity-lace, misogynistic and homophobic chat surfaced.

A private Christian school in Savage, Maryland, has been removed from the state's voucher program for its anti-LGBTQ beliefs, according to NewNowNext.com . According to The Baltimore Sun, The Bethel Christian Academy "filed suit in federal court last month saying the state is infringing on its First Amendment right to religious freedom by kicking it out of a program that pays tuition for low-income children to attend the school." The Bethel Christian Academy is represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom—the same group that represented Colorado baker Jack Phillips in his U.S. Supreme Court case.

The Miss World America organization is under fire after stripping a President Donald Trump—supporting model of her Miss Michigan title because of "racist, Islamophobic and insensitive" tweets, Yahoo! reported. Kathy Zhu, 20, is a University of Michigan student who won the 2019 Michigan World America title. On Twitter, Zhu claimed, "They stripped me of my Miss Michigan title due to my refusal to try on a hijab in 2018, my tweet about black on black gun violence, and "insensitive" statistical tweets."


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