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National roundup: Evangelical poll, trans death, Gavin Grimm, Chick-fil-A
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2017-07-11

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A new survey shows a dramatic shift in attitudes toward favoring same-sex marriage among a younger generation of white evangelicals—a group considered to be one of the most conservative on the issue, The Washington Post noted. According to Pew, 47 percent of Generation X/millennial evangelicals ( those born after 1964 ) favor same-sex marriage, compared with 26 percent of boomer and older evangelicals ( those born between 1928 and 1964 ). Just a decade ago, the gap between younger evangelicals and older evangelicals on the issue was not wide.

The death of Ebony Morgan, 28, is the 15th reported murder of a transgender person in the United States this year, LGBTQ Nation reported. Morgan was fatally shot in Lynchburg, Virginia. Lynchburg Police Sgt. Bryan Williams told The News & Advance that detectives are aware Morgan identified as transgender, and are investigating if the killing was a hate crime.

Gavin Grimm, the 18-year-old transgender Virginia high school grad who's suing his school district over its anti-trans bathroom policy, will have his day in court this fall, GayRVA.com reported. The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear G.G. v. Gloucester School Board on Sept. 12. Grimm sued the school board in December 2014 over a policy that required students to use the restroom that aligned with the gender marker on their birth certificate.

According to a ThinkProgress investigative report, it appears that nothing has changed in the five years since Chick-fil-A Chairman/CEO Dan Cathy's comment that the company was "guilty as charged" of opposing same-sex marriage brought the company's long history of anti-LGBTQ activism to the nation's attention. The Chick-fil-A Foundation's most recent IRS filings show it gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to anti-LGBTQ organizations in 2015. Though its website's FAQ claims the foundation "is focused on helping every child become all they were created to be," its donations went to groups that do not believe this includes LGBTQ youth.

The winning design announced by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the end of Pride Month for the LGBT Memorial in Hudson River Park to "honor the LGBT community and the victims of the Orlando shooting" at the Pulse club in 2016 was met with criticism, Gay City News reported. Cuomo picked Anthony Goicolea's plan for an arrangement of "nine modified boulders, some of which are bisected with a clear, laminated, borosilicate-glass with refractory components that act as a prism to create subtle rainbow patterns on the surrounding lawn and nearby objects." Matt Foreman, a former executive director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project, said, "This design is an insult to LGBT victims of violence. Hate has never broken or scattered us, like this design suggests. It's only made us stronger."

Voters this November won't be seeing a ballot measure seeking to roll back Washington's transgender bathroom and locker room rule, The Seattle Times reported. A group seeking the initiative July 7 canceled its appointment to submit petitions; that day was the deadline to turn in signatures to get an initiative on the November ballot. "Anti-equality activists spent hundreds of thousands of dollars attempting to pass a shameful ballot measure aimed at discriminating against LGBTQ people, but thanks to the fair-minded people of Washington State, they have failed," said Human Rights Campaign National Field Director Marty Rouse in a statement.

A bill to require all New Jersey school boards to provide instruction on and make accommodations for transgender students passed in both the state Assembly and Senate on June 29, according to ShoreNewsToday.com . The bill, A-4652 and S-3067, is meant to create a "safe, inclusive and accepting school environment for transgender students." The bill headed to Gov. Chris Christie for his review.

Also in New Jersey, a township middle-school teacher was honored with a national award for social justice, NJ.com reported. Robt Seda-Schreiber, an art and theater teacher at Melvin H. Kreps Middle School, was named Social Justice Activist of the Year by the National Education Association ( NEA ). Seda-Schreiber said he takes pride in his work with all students, particularly with the LGBTQ community at the school; he helped create the first gay-straight alliance at a middle school in New Jersey.

Lambda Legal plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit denied its en banc petition asking that the full Court rehear the case of Jameka Evans, a press release stated. Evans is a security guard who was reportedly harassed at work and effectively terminated from her job because she is a lesbian and didn't conform to gender norms in her appearance and demeanor.

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) announced a grassroots expansion with the launch of HRC Rising, a campaign aiming to accelerate progress in states from coast to coast, resist the politics of hate, fight anti-LGBTQ legislation, and fuel pro-equality candidates and initiatives, a press release noted. HRC is harnessing momentum from participating in Pride Month marches to begin organizing for the 2018 elections earlier than ever before, with its biggest strategic investment in the organization's 37-year history.

The people behind gay dating app Grindr want a judge to dismiss the claims of a New York man who says he's been accosted at home and work by more than 1,000 sex-hungry men after an ex-boyfriend posted fake profiles soliciting men interested in exploring violent fantasies, The Seattle Times noted. Grindr asked a Manhattan federal court judge to toss Matthew Herrick's claims, saying the Communications Decency Act protects it from liability and Herrick should sue his ex-lover instead.

Robert Lee Covington, 54—who worked as the office manager at an LGBTQ church in Dallas—was found dead in his bed, suffocated with duct tape across his nose and mouth, LGBTQ Nation reported. Police have arrested Yevin Rushing, 22, whom Covington met online. Rushing was in possession of the deceased's watch and returned to the scene with a U-Haul, leaving when he realized police were present. Bond has been set at $500,000.

CenterLink has launched its new Center Action Network ( CAN ) website ( lgbtactionlink.org/ ), a press release noted. The website, along with the new CAN Facebook Page, will be the go-to site for advocacy resources for LGBT community centers and their constituents. Founded in 1994, a fundamental goal of CenterLink's mission is to help build the capacity of centers to meet the social, cultural, health and political advocacy needs of LGBT community members across the country.

A report stated that house parents at the nation's richest private school showed at least one student a video designed to convert them from homosexuality, The New York Post noted. The revelation came one year after school officials blasted the "outrageous" allegation contained in one of two lawsuits filed by former students against the $12 billion Milton Hershey School in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Attorneys for the cost-free, co-ed school of 2,000 students now acknowledge in court documents that one student was shown a video aimed at changing a person's sexual orientation.

Walter Shaub—the embattled ethics sentinel who repeatedly challenged the president and members of the Trump administration on conflicts of interest—announced his resignation, LGBTQ Nation reported. Appointed to a five-year term as director of the Office of Government Ethics by then-President Barack Obama after serving in the George W. Bush administration, Shaub is leaving one year early to work for a non-profit that focuses on election law and campaign financing. Shaub had been sharply critical of the current president since the election.

Michelle Obama was slated to present the Arthur Ashe Courage Award to Special Olympics Founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver at The 25th ESPYS on July 12, TheWrap reported. Timothy Shriver, chair of Special Olympics, was scheduled to accept the award on his mother's behalf. Kennedy Shriver was honored for her dedication to using the power of sports to empower individuals with intellectual disabilities to become acknowledged and celebrated members of society.

Roberta ( "Robbie" ) Kaplan, a litigator with decades of experience in both commercial and civil-rights litigation, announced the formation of Kaplan & Company, LLP, a new law firm headquartered in New York City, a press release noted. Kaplan is best known for successfully representing Edith Windsor all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where she achieved a landmark victory holding that a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act ( DOMA ) violated the U.S. Constitution.

U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto ordered Martin Shkreli to stop talking about his fraud case in or around the Brooklyn courthouse where he is standing trial—five days after the former drug-company executive burst into a room full of spectators and attacked the credibility of a government witness, Reuters reported. Matsumoto's order did not bar Shkreli from making any public statements about the case, as prosecutors had requested in a motion. Shkreli, 34, gained notoriety in 2015 when he raised the price of a life-saving drug by 5,000 percent as CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals.

Just more than two weeks after Bill Cosby's criminal case for the alleged 2004 rape of Andrea Constand ended in a mistrial, a date was set for a new trial, Deadline noted. "A retrial in the above-captioned matter is hereby scheduled for Monday, Nov. 6, 2017 at 9 a.m. in Courtroom A of the Montgomery County Courthouse, Norristown, Pennsylvania," read an order by Judge Steven O'Neill. Cosby faces more than 10 years in jail if convicted on three felony charges of second-degree aggravated indecent assault.


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