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Ugandan gay rights activist murdered weeks after court victory | World News | The Guardian

Posted: January 28th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

David Kato, one of the earliest and most prominent gay rights activists in Uganda, was murdered in his home Wednesday. The killing comes shortly after Kato won a permanent injunction against the Rolling Stone tabloid from publishing names and pictures of Ugandans it claims are homosexual. Kato himself was pictured in an earlier run of the tabloid under the headline "Hang Them." When asked for comment, the tabloid's managing editor Giles Muhame said he had "no regrets" about the publication—or the murder.

It's worth forever remembering the intimate role American Christian fundamentalists have played in this murder, as "visits from several American preachers renowned for their homophobic views," reported Xan Rice, helped create a climate of fear and prejudice in the country.

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Cox fires Andrew Shirvell, says he used state resources in attack on gay student | freep.com | Detroit Free Press

Posted: November 8th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

"Andrew Shirvell, the assistant attorney general under fire for his attacks on a University of Michigan student, has been fired," Lori Higgins reports. You may remember Shirvell from appearances like Look Who's Stalking, in which he defends his belief that a gay student is "Satan's representative," and tried justifying his actions with logic only his mother could accept.

Attorney General Mike Cox initially declined to fire Shirvell, saying that Shirvell's first amendment right to express himself didn't constitute any firing offenses. But after Shirvell lied to investigators during a disciplinary hearing, Cox seems to have changed his mind. Among other violations, the investigation found that "Shirvell engaged in his campaign against [the student] on company time and posted attacks on Armstrong on the Internet while at work." Good riddance, Mr. Shirvell.

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Ugandan paper calls for gay people to be hanged | World news | The Guardian

Posted: October 21st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

A weekly title started by Ugandan journalism students, the Rolling Stone, recently ran an article outing 100 gay people in the country under the headline "Hang Them." The article included pictures and even home addresses. One woman's home was pelted with stones and others have endured verbal harassment, which many fear will escalate to further violence.

Xan Rice reports, "On the front page, the paper claims that the homosexual community aims to 'recruit 1,000,000 children by 2012', and that parents 'face heart-breaks (sic) as homos raids schools'. Inside, a headline reads: 'Hang them; They are after our kids!!'." (sic.) Managing editor of the homophobic paper, Giles Muhame, defended his decision to run the article, saying, "Other countries have capital punishment to stop drug traffickers; we should have the same for homosexuals." Uganda's media council temporarily suspended the paper but its editors say they'll resume publishing next week, having fulfilled registration requirements.

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Update: The paper has now published a second run of the same sort of article that resulted in violence against at least four gay people a few weeks ago. Sexual Minorities Uganda, a Ugandan gay-rights group, has asked the country’s highest court to issue an injunction preventing the paper from publishing the faces of gay Ugandans in the future.

Anderson Cooper 360: Blog Archive – Michigan attorney general defends employee’s right to blog – CNN.com blogs

Posted: October 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

A painfully hypocritical double-standard is on display in Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox's office as he refuses to discipline assistant AG Andrew Shirvell for waging a bigoted campaign against the first openly gay president of the University of Michigan's student council. Mr. Shirvell has called the student "Satan's representative" and runs a blog where he posts pictures of the student with nazi insignia scrawled across his face.

A State Attorney General has legal grounds disciplining employees for engaging in "conduct unbecoming" of public officials. But while Cox rightfully defended Shirvell's actions under the First Amendment, he also called "conduct unbecoming" an "empty vessel," with no meaning. This would certainly shock Melissa Petro, a tenured teacher who may face the loss of her job for "conduct unbecoming" of her role after blogging about being a former sex worker.

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Gay teen dies after 10 days on life support, following suicide attempt over anti-gay bullying – LGBTQ Nation

Posted: September 29th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

This September, not one, not two, but three (3!) gay teenagers have committed suicide after being viciously bullied over their sexual orientation in their schools and communities. Seth Walsh, 13 years old, spent 10 days on life support in California after he apparently tried to hang himself from a tree branch. He had faced years of bullying at Jacobsen Middle School, despite claims by school officials at Tehachapi Union School District that there was no such bullying. Officials also say they can't prosecute Seth's classmates because the teasing was not criminal.

On September 9th, Billy Lucas, 15, hanged himself at his grandmother's house in Greensburg, Indiana, after facing years of torment from classmates who threatened to beat him up every day. And on September 23, 13-year-old Asher Brown came home from school early and shot himself in the head while his parents were at work. Asher had also faced constant harassment and bullying at school.

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Update: The bad news: there were actually 5 gay teen suicides this month, not 3. Cody Barker, aged 17, also committed suicide in Washington State. And just today, 18-year-old Tyler Clementi is presumed dead after jumping off the George Washington Bridge one day after he was outed by his college roommate. Thanks to Sinclair Sexsmith for the heads up. The good news: Sinclair has also blogged about some resources to help combat anti-gay bullying, including Dan Savage’s latest project, It Gets Better.

10 Terrified States Want Gay Marriage Ban to Stand in California – Los Angeles News – The Informer

Posted: September 27th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Anti-gay lawyers have their heads so far up their asses they're unable to produce substantive arguments against GLBT rights. Either unwilling or unable to acknowledge that homophobia is a losing trial strategy, attorneys general from 10 States including Wyoming, Florida, and Michigan filed an amicus brief in favor of upholding California's Prop 8 despite an earlier ruling declaring it unconstitutional.

As Patrick Range McDonald observes, among the knuckle-headed officials' arguments is tired old rhetoric linking same-sex marriage with bestiality: "If public affirmation of anyone and everyone's personal love and commitment is the single purpose of marriage, a limitless number of rights claims could be set up that evacuate the term marriage of any meaning." To anyone with half a brain, this kind of argument should be as silly as it is offensive.

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Civil rights victory: DADT smacked down by judge in Maj. Margaret Witt case – National liberal | Examiner.com

Posted: September 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

A second legislative victory for gay rights was won as America's homophobic Don't Ask, Don't Tell law was again ruled unconstitutional. Despite the law's name, even if you're never asked and you never tell you can still lose your career in the military. That's what happened to Maj. Margaret Witt in 2006, whose case formed a legal precedent around DADT when Judge Ronald Leighton found her discharge legally binding. On Friday, however, "Judge Ronald Leighton ruled in favor of military nurse Maj. Margaret Witt, and said that she was constitutionally entitled to be reinstated to the military," Jean Williams reports.

"It has been an anti-noble lie that gays and lesbians are a threat to military morale," Williams writes, noting Leighton "looked into the case and focused on Maj. Witt’s individual record" instead of looking only at DADT myopically. Leighton's decision expressly opposes claims that gay service-members reduce unit morale or cohesion.

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Apple Hides Prop 8 Tweets from Lady Gaga Promo Page for Ping (Screenshots)

Posted: September 2nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Apple, Inc. recently launched a new social music service, Ping. Among the features it has is social media integration that lets you view celebrity Twitter streams. In the launch, "Apple's promotional image for the new feature conveniently omits a string of Tweets from Lady Gaga's timeline in which she protests anti-gay marriage legislation Proposition 8," writes Marshall Kirkpatrick after being tipped to the inconsistency by Kevin Marks (on Twitter).

"Apple, we see you," Violet Blue writes on her blog, chiding the company. GLBT sites like The Daily Storm called the service "homophobic" and say the omission is an act of censorship. Now, Apple's certainly not the most sex-positive company, but is this homophobic censorship? That seems harsh. Either way, the controversy clearly shows that Apple's anti-porn position is a slippery slope.

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COSTA RICA : Gays Unite Against Referendum on Civil Unions – IPS ipsnews.net

Posted: August 10th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Religious groups in Costa Rica have collected 150,000 signatures (mostly at Christian places of worship) petitioning the government to put a proposed law banning same-sex civil unions to popular vote, rather than have it decided by the legislature. Discussion of passing a same-sex civil union law has been ongoing in the predominantly Catholic nation since 2006.

Alexandra Loría, one of 4 lawyers who began the petition, said the referendum was timed to coincide with municipal elections and would therefore likely get a high voter turnout. She rejects opponents' arguments that the referendum is an attempt to violate human rights. "It is about human rights, which cannot be left in the hands of a group of homophobic Catholics," Ombudswoman Ofelia Taitelbaum said, adding "we are completely against" it. Meanwhile, the Costa Rican Coalition of Sexual Diversity Organisations and Groups (CONODIS) campaigns against it, and says it will take the legal fight to international courts, if it must.

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Birmingham gay couple save life of man who abused them – Sunday Mercury

Posted: August 7th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

A gay couple in Birmingham, U.K., grabbed a ladder and rescued their homophobic neighbor and his whole family from the roof of their burning home, Ben Goldby reports. The gay couple, Bryn and James Tudor, had already "made headlines in 2005 when they became the first homosexual couple to tie the knot in a civil partnership in Birmingham." That preceded 3 years of verbal abuse from their neighbor, 29-year-old Baljit Koonar. But in the literal heat of the moment, none of that bigotry mattered. "Our thoughts weren’t about him. We wanted to get the kids down as soon as we could. You don’t think about anything that person has done, it’s just about the value of human life," James said.

As Michael A. Jones wrote, "Kind of makes you think, right? The person you treat with homophobic, transphobic, racist, or sexist remarks today may just end up being the same person who one day saves your life."

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