Wednesday, June 10, 2009

June 10 News Round-Up

Last Wednesday, New Hampshire Governor John Lynch signed the state’s equal marriage bill, making New Hampshire the sixth state to allow gay marriage. The law will take effect on January 1, 2010.
And in Wisconsin, provisions in the state budget that would allow same sex couples who live together to form domestic partnerships and receive some of the same benefits as married couples, continues to work its way through the state assembly. These benefits include joint property ownership, and inheritance and hospital visitation rights. Domestic partners of state employees could receive the same state retirement and health insurance benefits as spouses.

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This school year, Case High School in Mt. Pleasant, Wis., implemented a program called “Expect Respect” that encourages students to use less offensive and profane language.
The rules are simple — no profanity, no language that puts people down or harasses them and no writing such language on school property or book bags. The initiative also asked students to refrain from using words like gay or retarded.
After three months of the initiative, teachers and students say they have noticed a difference.
A student committee has helped oversee the program, creating posters and a respect jingle contest.
Several students report their language has changed because of the awareness generated by the program.

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San Angelo, Texas residents were surprised this past week when Mayor J.W. Lown resigned from his office to be with his partner in Mexico. Lown, who was re-elected for a fourth term by a landslide vote, is helping his partner, a non-U.S. citizen, get a visa.
“I made the final decision when I knew it was the right decision to make for me and my partner and our future - and for the community,” Lown said. “I love the people of San Angelo. I know the timing wasn’t good, but the timing couldn’t be helped.”
Lown was re-elected to the position of mayor with 89 percent of the vote. Lown, who has dual citizenship in the U.S. and Mexico, hopes to return to San Angelo with his partner if “the people of San Angelo will welcome me back.”

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The West Bend, Wis., Library Board last week unanimously rejected efforts by a local citizen group to restrict access of young adults to books depicting sex among teenagers or those describing teenage homosexual relationships.
Some of the books targeted books by the citizen group included "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" and "The Geography Club."
The nine-member board listened for 2½ hours as nearly 60 people discussed the appropriateness of the library providing such books to the public before the board voted to maintain current policies. Approximately 200 citizens attended the meeting.
In rejecting the initiative, the library board cited that such books already are separated from children's books in a young adults section.

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to review Pentagon policy barring gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.
The court said it will not hear an appeal from former Army Capt. James Pietrangelo II, who was dismissed under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.
The federal appeals court in Boston earlier threw out a lawsuit filed by Pietrangelo and 11 other veterans. Pietrangelo asked the high court to rule that the Clinton-era policy is unconstitutional.
During last year’s campaign, President Barack Obama indicated he supported the eventual repeal of the policy, but he has made no specific move to do so since taking office in January. Meanwhile, the administration said the appeals court ruled correctly in this case when it found that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is “rationally related to the government’s legitimate interest in military discipline and cohesion.”

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Sacramento, Calif. - Bank of America, Verizon, Chipotle and other companies have pulled advertising from a Sacramento radio station after two talk show hosts referred to transgender people as “freaks” with mental disorders.
During a May 28 show, one of the three hosts on KRXQ’s “Rob, Arnie & Dawn” show said he would hit his son with his shoe if he put on high heels. Another said he would tell a boy he was “a little idiot” if he asked to wear a dress.
Representatives of Verizon Communications Inc., Nissan Motor Co. and Carl’s Jr. restaurants also said they stopped advertising.
The comments in question came from Arnie States and Rob Williams. The third host, Dawn Rossi, defended transgender people on the show. The remarks came in the wake of a discussion over the California Supreme Court’s recent ruling upholding Proposition 8, an initiative that banned same-sex marriage.

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A man is in jail in San Diego after allegedly slapping Ron DeHarte, who was carrying a gay-rights banner during the Equality Torch Relay event.
Kenyatta Mitchell, 23, is said to have yelled, "There's no place for that here!" and slapped DeHarte twice. Mitchell was arrested moments later hiding in a store. He is charged with assault and violation of civil rights through force, both misdemeanors.
The Equality Torch Relay is a daylong march through numerous cities in San Diego County to promote equal rights for gays.
Mitchell is being held without bail on three outstanding warrants for trespassing, violation of a restraining order and weapons possession.

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Knoxville, TN - The superintendent of Knox County schools in Knoxville, Tenn., says a glitch has been fixed, allowing access to educational Web sites on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues.
Superintendent Jim McIntyre told the county school board last week the school system was already working on the matter before a lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union for denying access.
The Knoxville News Sentinel quoted McIntyre saying blocking the sites was not in compliance with Knox County’s policy and the system worked with the school’s internet service provider to allow access to the sites from school computers

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Utah’s gay community is honoring Governor Jon Huntsman with the Utah Pride Center’s 2009 Pete Suazo Political Action Award.
Huntsman this year said he supports civil unions and came out in favor of a package of legislation called the Common Ground Initiative that would have extended some benefits to same-sex and other nontraditional couples.
The award was established in 2002 and honors late state Senator Pete Suazo for his work on hate crimes legislation. The Pride Center’s executive director says Huntsman, a Mormon and a Republican, has been fair-minded on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues over the years.

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