Wednesday, July 8, 2009

News of the week

Man Convicted in Anti-Gay Killing Released from Prison One Year After Sentencing; Victims Mother Notified by Automated Message


The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today condemned the early release of Stephen Andrew Moller, who was convicted in June of 2008 in the death of 20-year-old Sean Kennedy, who has now been released only one year after sentencing. Sean’s mother, Elke Kennedy, was informed of the release by automated message a few nights ago. Witnesses testified at trial that Kennedy’s attacker shouted anti-gay slurs while punching Kennedy outside a Greenville, SC bar in May of 2007. Joe Solmonese, the Human Rights Campaign President says “Sean Kennedy was violently attacked for no other reason than his sexual orientation. This is a text book case of why we need to pass federal legislation that would bring stiffer penalties and provide local authorities with the full resources of the U.S. Justice Department to address vicious hate crimes.”

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Out-of-state gay marriages now recognized in D.C

As of July 7th gays and lesbians who are married in Iowa, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine or Vermont now also have their marriages recognized in Washington, D.C. The D.C. City Council approved the measure last month, but it was subject to a 30-day Congressional review period. Since Congress took no action, gay and lesbian marriages performed legally in other states are now legal in D.C. as well. No same-sex marriages, however, are recognized by the Federal government. The law will affect everything from tax filing, employer health care benefits, inheritance and hospital visitation rights to mundane activities, such as gym memberships and car rentals. Recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions strengthens many rights that were already in place with the District’s Health Benefits Expansion Act of 1992. The U.S. Census Bureau lists 3,839 same-sex couples as residing in the District, according to 2005-2007 data. And the nearly 33,000 gay, lesbian and bisexual people — single and coupled — living in the District made up approximately 8.1 percent of the city’s total adult population in 2005.

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Man hospitalized after gay bar raid released

A man hospitalized after a raid at a Fort Worth, Texas, gay bar says he’s still nursing injuries from the incident now that he’s home. Chad Gibson had bruises, muscle strain and bleeding in his brain after his arrest more than a week ago on suspicion of public intoxication at the Rainbow Lounge.

Police have said the 26-year-old injured himself when he fell and hit his head. Witnesses say officers slammed him into the wall and floor and tackled other patrons who were arrested that night.

Police say some of the bar patrons made sexual gestures toward the officers and allege Gibson grabbed a Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission officer’s groin. In interviews after his release from the hospital Sunday, Gibson denied groping the officer.

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Experimental HIV vaccine awaits approval for human testing

In Canada, An Ontario professor has developed an experimental HIV vaccine that may be soon brought state-side for human testing. Dr. Chil-Yong Kang, a University of Western Ontario professor, developed the vaccine, called SAV001-H. Sumagen Canada Inc, who supports the professor, says that the vaccine has been tested on animals without any identified adverse effects or safety risks. The makers of the vaccine are waiting for approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration before they can begin testing the vaccine on humans. Seventy countries around the world have already patented the vaccine.

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THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR LESBIAN RIGHTS URGES NAVAL INVESTIGATION
INTO GAY SAILOR'S DEATH

On July 1, 2009, a Camp Pendleton sailor was found murdered on the base in San Diego. The 29-year-old African American sailor, August Provost, was bisexual and had recently experienced anti-gay harassment. Various organizations, including the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) are urging the Naval Criminal Investigative Service to conduct a thorough investigation into the murder in order to determine if Provost's sexual orientation was a factor and to determine whether or not the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy of the military is putting the safety of its employees at risk. The military has a Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy that requires lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) members of the military to hide their sexual orientation or risk losing their jobs.

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