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National roundup: Pulse lawsuit, lesbian judge removed, artists against Ivanka
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2016-12-27

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The families of three men shot and killed at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando earlier this year are suing Facebook, Twitter and Google for allegedly providing the Islamic State terrorist with material support, Forbes noted. In a suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and obtained by Fox News, the families of Tevin Crosby, Javier Jorge-Reyes and Juan Ramon Guerrero claim that the three internet giants facilitated the growth of ISIS. ISIS was quick to claim responsibility for the attack through its Amaq news agency—although it became apparent after the attack that that the gunman was not actually a member of ISIS and had pledged allegiance to several other terrorist organizations that actively oppose the organization.

Artists are demanding Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka, remove their work from her luxury apartment because they are embarrassed to be associated with her and her father, The Independent reporter. The New York artists have formed a group called the Halt Action Group ( HAG ) and launched a campaign, "Dear Ivanka," in protest of her support for her father's policies. Trump's social-media accounts include numerous photos of her posing in her New York apartment in front a range of paintings, sculptures and designer furniture.

The state Court of Judicial Discipline has permanently removed openly lesbian Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Dawn A. Segal from the bench, Philadelphia Gay News reported. Segal served as a Philadelphia municipal-court judge for about six years. She was suspended without pay in February after acknowledging having improper discussions about three court cases pending before her. Segal is permitted to appeal the court's decision to the state Supreme Court.

North Carolina's Democratic Gov.-elect Roy Cooper is opposing North Carolina NAACP leader the Rev. William Barber's call for a national economic boycott to pressure state lawmakers into overturning a law limiting LGBT rights and other actions by Republicans, LGBTQ Nation noted. Cooper said he shares others' frustrations about Republican policies such as House Bill 2 ( HB2 ), but he said the better way is to bring companies and people to North Carolina to "join us in the fight for fairness."

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore—who was indefinitely suspended by an ethics panel over an illegal crusade against same-sex weddings—is being considered as a replacement for a U.S. senator promoted to Trump's cabinet, PinkNews noted. Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley's office said that Moore is one of 11 candidates so far to be considered to fill a U.S. Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions, who will become Trump's attorney general nominee. Moore has refused to apologise for his actions, blaming "radical homosexuals" for the decision to remove him, which was taken independently by the Judicial Inquiry Commission and Court of the Judiciary.

Gay Air Force Lt. Joshua Seefried was promoted to the rank of captain nearly four months after he was acquitted of charges stemming from a 2012 incident in which a fellow gay service member accused him of sexual assault, The Washington Blade reported. The promotion—which is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2014, when Seefried would have been eligible for the promotion had he not had charges pending against him—clears the way for his honorable discharge from the Air Force scheduled for Jan. 3.

The University of Minnesota has published the first videos in a project aimed at capturing the stories of transgender people in the Midwest, SouthFloridaGayNews.com noted. University oral historian Andrea Jenkins has recorded interviews with 119 transgender people, discussing how they came to find their gender identity as well as broader issues affecting their community, the Pioneer Press reported. More than 10 of the interviews have been published online through the school's Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies.

A gay couple is being allowed to dissolve their 2012 adoption so that they can get married, On Top Magazine noted, citing the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Nino Esposito, who is now 80, adopted partner Roland Bosee Jr., 69, in 2012 to legally protect their relationship of nearly a half-century. However, the Pennsylvania Superior Court recently ruled that such adoptions can be dissolved as long as no one is opposed. The couple, together since 1970, have been in legal limbo since last year when they were denied a request to dissolve the adoption pending guidance from a higher court.

The Texas economy could lose up to $8.5 billion if state lawmakers pass a so-called transgender bathroom bill or other anti-LGBT legislation, DallasNews.com noted. "We now face overwhelming data about the risk of damage to the economy and reputation of our great state resulting from legislation that would allow for discrimination," Texas Association of Business President Chris Wallace said in Austin. "Businesses from across Texas have come together to urge the Texas Legislature to reject discrimination and embrace public policy that keeps Texas open for business."

A prominent Saginaw, Michigan, attorney is now representing a former WNEM TV-5 reporter, alleging the TV station's parent company is suing him based on his sexual orientation, MLive.com reported. In July, Meredith Corporation, the Iowa-based parent company of WNEM TV-5, filed its suit against Dominic J. "Nick" Lulli in Saginaw County District Court for breach of contract and unjust enrichment. After news of the lawsuit broke in a Dec. 5 MLive article, Lulli hired Victor J. Mastromarco Jr.; Lulli is gay and Mastromarco said he feels that played a significant role in Meredith Corporation's dealings with him.

The Philadelphia City Council will consider banning the use of "conversion therapy," a treatment meant to change a person's sexual orientation, on anyone under the age of 18, Philly.com reported. Councilman Mark Squilla, the bill's sponsor, introduced the legislation at the council's last session of 2016, as the body passed dozens of other bills before the holiday break. The bill will have a hearing in the new year.

In San Francisco, the remodeling of the SF LGBT Center is entering its final phase, according to a press release. According to the release, "The exterior colors of the Center's Charles M. Holmes Campus and our Carmel Fallon Building—turquoise and purple—are part of a color palate meant to make a proud statement about our queer identities and celebrate the vibrant nature of our communities." Also, tenants AGUILAS, API Wellness, and Bay Area Legal Aid now occupy the third and fourth floors.

After several months of increasing contention that has marred their one-time close partnership, Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines are calling it quits, TravelMarketReport.com . Their code-share and frequent-flyer agreements will come to an end on April 30. The carriers' relationship deteriorated in inverse proportion to Delta's buildup of its Seattle hub, where Alaska was once the dominant airline. The animosity between Delta and Alaska reached a low point last May, when Delta and Seattle Pride, which oversees the city's annual gay parade, reached an exclusive sponsorship deal.

In Virginia Beach, Virginia, documents show that an assembly planned earlier this month by Cox High School's Gay-Straight Alliance appeared to confuse the school division even though several notices were sent to parents and community members about the program, The Virginian-Pilot reported. Correspondence shows that the administration had several opportunities to understand who was organizing the program.


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