National News: September 2013

Gay men arrested under invalid law

Gay men in Louisiana are in danger of being arrested for consensual sex under an invalid sodomy law. According to The Advocate, at least a dozen men since 2011 have fallen victim to an undercover East Baton Rouge Parish operation to ensnare men who “discussed or agreed to have consensual sex with an undercover agent.”

The US Supreme Court struck down the anti-sodomy law a decade ago, and District Attorney Hillar Moore III told The Advocate that his office refused to prosecute the cases because he found no crime had occurred.

Moore went on to say that he intends to meet with Sheriff’s Office investigators to discuss the implications of the Supreme Court ruling.

Gay troops may get leave to marry

Under a proposal being considered by the Pentagon, same-sex spouses of military members could get health care, housing, and other benefits. The Defense Department is addressing provisions for gay and lesbian military personnel regarding temporary leave in order to get married. 

According to a memo obtained by the Associated Press, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel informed top defense leaders that those wishing to get married may have leave up to 10 days so that they may travel to a state that allows same-sex marriages.

“As the Supreme Court’s ruling has made it possible for same-sex couples to marry and be afforded all benefits available to any military spouse and family, I have determined, consistent with the unanimous advice of the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that the spousal and family benefits far outweigh the benefits that could be extended under a declaration system,” Hagel wrote.

Three New Mexico Counties Issue Same-sex Marriage Licenses

In late August, Santa Fe County ordered an issuing of same-sex marriage licenses–and a clerk in the southern part of the state decided to issue them independently of any court ruling. Under Bernalillo County Judge Alan Malott, a total of three counties in New Mexico will hand out same-sex marriage licenses. They are still unsure of how the ruling would affect the remaining 30 counties that have not issued the same-sex marriage licenses.

Gender-nonconforming host sues Television network

B. Scott, a transgender correspondent for Black Entertainment Television (BET), is suing the network’s parent company, Viacom, for discrimination, wrongful termination, and distress.

Scott alleges that at last month’s BET Awards she was told to change her outfit to a more “conservative” men’s suit, put her long hair back in a ponytail, and not to wear heels. She claims that even after she complied, she was replaced with another correspondent.

BET apologized in a statement to the press, calling the whole incident mere “miscommunication,” but Scott dubbed it a “non-apology.”

“Let’s be clear–I’m suing BET and Viacom for a true public apology and to be fairly remunerated for the time lost, humiliation, and emotional distress this entire situation has put me through,” she explained on her website.

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