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Justice Department’s New Civil Chief Is Anti-Gay Crusader

Eric Dreiband, an attorney with the firm Jones Day who defended the University of North Carolina in its honoring of that state’s anti-LGBTQ “bathroom bill” and fought to allow anti-LGBTQ discrimination by medical providers who cite their “faith”-based objections under the Affordable Care Act, was confirmed on a party-line vote to head the Civil Rights Division of the US Justice Department. Comment
Eager to let his members go home and campaign for the November 6 midterms, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, New York’s senior senator, made a deal October 11 with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the dour Kentucky Republican, to allow votes on 15 more Trump-nominated right wing judges for the federal courts and then adjourn. Schumer’s rationale was that they would be confirmed eventually by this Senate and the most Democrats could do was slow down the process. Comment
News Briefs

In Kavanaugh Tacks to Right of Gorsuch

At oral arguments at the US Supreme Court on October 10, the justices took up the issue of whether ICE must detain immigrants guilty of even minor crimes committed long ago. Justice Brett Kavanaugh said a 1996 law passed by Congress demanded it and made no provision for a bail hearing. Comment
Shocking video out of Baghdad that emerged over the past week shows a delicate 14-year-old boy, identified as Hamoudi al-Mutairi, being stabbed to death in the streets near his home because he was perceived to be gay. As his killers stabbed him, they taunted him and joked. He could be heard plaintively calling for his mother as he died at the scene. This photo is one al-Mutairi posted to Instagram. Comment
Health

Legal Pot Movement on Two Fronts This Week

The Albany County district attorney made an impassioned plea for taxing and regulating the sale of marijuana to adults at a State Assembly hearing October 16, saying ending the war on pot is a logical next step in the process that began in 2004 with the repeal of the draconian Rockefeller era drug laws. Comment
News Briefs

New Democrat Bloomberg Is Stiffing the Dems

Michael Bloomberg, positioning himself for a run for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020, has enrolled as a Democrat again after having won the New York City mayoralty three times running on the Republican line. Comment
News Briefs

Stacey Abrams Breaks Atlanta Pride Barrier

Stacey Abrams In the midst of a tight race for governor of Georgia, Stacey Abrams, the Democratic nominee, on October 14 became the first major party candidate to march in the Atlanta’s LGBTQ Pride Parade. Comment
News Briefs

Marriage Updates from Around the Globe

Taiwan will hold two referenda on gay relationships this fall. Since the Constitutional Court there has mandated that the country give equal rights to gay couples, the right wing has put forth a proposal limiting marriage to different-sex couples and providing civil unions for same-sex couples. The LGBTQ rights movement has qualified another proposal that would open marriage to gay couples. Both will be on the ballot on November 24. Comment
News Briefs

Trump Wants to Make Protesters at White House to Pay

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has proposed closing off 80 percent of the sidewalks around the White House to protesters and charging those who use public property within sight of the Executive Mansion — such as Lafayette Park — to pay the National Park Service a fee for “event management costs.” Comment
News Briefs

“Conversion Therapy” Bans Proliferate

Eau Claire has become the third city in Wisconsin to ban so-called “conversion therapy” for minors. Joining them this past week were Westchester County, New York, and Lakewood, Ohio. Comment
News Briefs

Berl Boykin, Pioneering Atlanta Activist, Dies at 74

Berl Boykin, who organized the first gay pride march in Atlanta in 1971 — attracting 125 participants despite not being able to secure a permit — has died at 74. Boykin was expelled from Emory University in 1963 for “hosting a man in his dorm room.” He founded the Gay Liberation Front of Atlanta in 1969. Comment
Politics

Does Path to Dem State Senate Go Through Brooklyn?

When Mayor Michael Bloomberg was running for a third term in 2009, Gay City News asked him why as a committed supporter of marriage equality he was also a big booster of the State Senate Republican campaign committee. The mayor argued his financial support for the GOP gave him unique sway in pressing the case for equal rights to skeptical listeners — and he specifically mentioned the handful of Republican state senators who represent New York City districts, including Marty Golden from District 22 in South Brooklyn. Comments (2)
At a gala dinner with 400 guests at the Plaza Hotel on October 9, Gay Men’s Health Crisis raised more than $600,000 to support its programs and client services. The evening’s honorees included long-time trustee Joan H. Tisch (in memoriam), City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, Phill Wilson, the president of the Black AIDS Institute, and Pride Media, publisher of OUT and The Advocate, and its CEO Nathan Coyle. Comment
News Briefs

De Blasio Signs Gender Marker Reform

At an October 9 ceremony at the Edie Windsor SAGE Center in Chelsea, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation to give a third gender option on New York City birth certificates, allowing people who identify as non-binary or gender-nonconforming to mark an X rather than an M or F. Comment
News Briefs

A Busy October Calendar for LGBTQ Communities

October is LGBTQ History Month, full of special days to make our communities more whole. October 11 is the 30th National Coming Out Day, founded on the first anniversary of the 1987 March on Washington for LGBTQ Rights that was held in the midst of the worst days of the AIDS crisis. Comment
News Briefs

Susan Collins Dumped

US Senator Susan Collins’ defense of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh got her removed as an honorary co-sponsor of the International Human Rights Art Festival set for New York’s Wild Project November 12-18. The festival posted, “Her lack of candor, empathy, her reliance on ‘junk science’ to ignore Dr. [Christine Blasey] Ford’s claim, and her insincerity has led us to believe that we do not want her name attached to an event that includes such a sincere and passionate collection of artists, activists, performers and speakers.” Those festival participants had hit organizers with an “outpouring of indignation” over Collins inclusion. Comments (1)
News Briefs

Homophobe Close to Winning Presidency of Brazil

Right wing candidate Jair Bolsonaro won 46 percent in the first round of voting for president of Brazil, short of the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff on October 28. Bolsonaro will face off against São Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad of the Workers’ Party, who got 29 percent in a country beset by a bad economy and political corruption. Leftist former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Haddad’s party was barred from running by the Superior Electoral Court. Comment
Can’t fault CNN for liberal bias. They hired Kaitlan Collins as a White House correspondent in 2017 — directly from her serving in the same post for the right-wing Daily Caller website that was founded by Fox News’ Tucker Carlson. Now the 26-year-old Collins is in trouble for a 2011 tweet calling someone a “fag” and another pondering, “Idk [I don’t know] if I wanna room with a lesbian” as a student at the University of Alabama. Comment
News Briefs

Trans Student Excluded During Shelter Drill

A middle school in Stafford County, Virginia, had a lockdown drills that students do to prepare for an active shooter. The students all went to their respective boys’ and girls’ locker rooms, but staff couldn’t decide where a transgender girl should go so she was kept out of both — left in a hallway with a teacher. Comment
News Briefs

PrEP #FAIL

Truvada used as PrEP to prevent HIV infection has proven enormously effective. But a new report from San Francisco found a PrEP-adherent man who contracted a drug-resistant strain of HIV. It was the sixth known such seroconversion among those who adhere to treatment, the San Francisco Department of Health reported. Comment
News Briefs

Saint John Paul II’s Halo Tarnished

The fight between the far right Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò and Pope Francis, whom Vigano accuses of covering up sexual abuse committed by Washington Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, is heating up and lots of reputations are being sullied. While Francis would not respond to the charge, his aide Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect for the Congregation of Bishops, is hitting back hard, calling Viganò’s charges “false” and “abhorrent” and producing documentation that Pope John Paul II, now a canonized saint in the Catholic Church, received information about McCarrick’s sexual misconduct with seminarians in 2000 and yet elevated him to cardinal in 2001—long before Francis became pope. Comment
The Gay Men’s Chorus of Mexico City was detained at Houston’s Hobby Airport on October 7 as they tried to enter the US on a trip to Los Angeles to perform with that city’s Gay Men’s Chorus. A Homeland Security officer found sheet music in their luggage and inferred that they were performers in the US without the proper work permits. The chorus, however, is a non-profit group and all its members are volunteers. Agency officials got their backs up when they found that one of the chorus’ members, Jorge Gutierrez, a university professor of literature, had the same name as someone who had once stolen a truck. Comment
News Briefs

Tokyo Enacts LGBT Rights Law

The Metropolitan Government of Tokyo passed a bill prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity on October 5 — moved by the coming of the Summer Olympics to the capital in 2020. Human Rights Watch worked with the government to comply with the Olympic Charter’s human rights provisions. The International Olympic Committee in 2014 adopted a policy of only holding games in cities that ban such discrimination. Comment
News Briefs

Taiwan Votes on Same-Sex Marriage November 24

Opponents of gay marriage have gotten enough signatures to put a referendum on the ballot for November 24 in Taiwan. Since the Constitutional Court ruled that the country must equalize rights for same-sex couples, a proposal from right wing forces in Taiwan proposed establishing civil unions instead of marriage for gay couples. Comment
News Briefs

Big Win in Romania

Even though three million Romanians signed a petition to get a ban on same-sex marriage into the constitution, a referendum from the religious right — aided by Americans including the National Organization for Marriage and anti-gay Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis — failed on October 6-7, when only 20 percent of eligible voters participated. The constitution can only be changed by a referendum where at least 30 percent show up. Opponents of the amendment successfully pursued a strategy of urging voters to stay home. Comment
Legal

No First Amendment Shield for Homophobic Professor

Ruling on motions in a tenured professor’s lawsuit against a state university that suspended him based on student complaints about his statements and conduct in class, a federal court has ruled he is not protected by the First Amendment for his alleged behavior. Comment
Health

Wisconsin Must Cover Employee Transition Costs

A federal court has ruled that Wisconsin’s refusal to cover the costs of “surgery and sex hormones associated with gender reassignment” for its transgender state employees violates the ban on sex discrimination in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and in the Affordable Care Act, as well as the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. Comment

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