National News: October 2014

bondi-pam-best-shotFlorida County to Create Domestic-Partnership Registry

Tampa, Florida’s third largest city now has a domestic-partnership registry. Commissioners in Hillsborough County, Fla., voted unanimously to create a domestic-partnership registry that would “allow unmarried people to make legal decisions for their domestic partners,” the Tampa Tribune reported. The legislation, which was narrowly defeated in January 2013, received support from all four Republican commissioners who had previously voted against it. The commissioners also scheduled an Oct. 1 vote on a LGBT nondiscrimination bill.

In related news, Florida’s marriage equality ban is still in question.  Florida officials on Thursday formally appealed last month’s ruling striking down the ban. Filed by Attorney General Pam Bondi (left) on behalf of Gov. Rick Scott, the appeal could prevent the ruling from taking effect later this month. The state did not appeal a county judge’s ruling that a same-sex couple’s marriage should be recognized for the purpose of granting a divorce.

House Dems. Attempt to Force ENDA Vote

Rep. Jared Polis (Colo.), co-chairman of the LGBT Equality Caucus (below), filed a discharge petition to force a House vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. The measure would prohibit employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and was passed by the Senate last year.

The petition needs 218 signatures in order to succeed. Reps. Rush Holt (N.J.), John Garamendi (Calif.) and Gerry Connolly (Va.) signed the petition, as did House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif), reported The Hill.

Politician Announces He Takes HIV-Prevention Meds

San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener wrote an op-ed in the Huffington Post in which he disclosed that he uses Truvada, a daily pill that reduces the risk of contracting HIV.

Wiener said he had decided to publicize his use of the pill to raise awareness about it, as well as reduce the stigma sometimes associated with it.

Mary Cheney Pushes LGBT Issues at Log Cabin Dinner

Mary Cheney delivered the keynote address at the Log Cabin Republicans’ Spirit of Lincoln dinner last month. Cheney, an out lesbian and the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, discussed marriage equality progress and the GOP’s shifting stance on LGBT-rights issues. “It’s only when marriage stops being treated as a partisan issue and starts being dealt with as a human rights issue that true equality will become a reality,” she said.

Md. Judiciary Holds Summit on LGBT Youth in Foster Care

The Maryland Judiciary held a summit on September 10 to help LGBT young people in the foster care system.  According to the Washington Blade, the summit, “Identifying, Supporting, and Meeting the Needs of LGBTQ Youth,” is thought to be the first of its kind in the nation. It was designed to help judges, court professionals, attorneys, social services professionals and others who work with foster youth identify the barriers LGBT foster youths face and develop actions plans for their local jurisdictions.

gov-chris-christieCourt in Favor of NJ Ban on “Conversion” Therapy 

A three-judge panel for a federal appeals court on Thursday ruled that New Jersey’s ban on LGBT “conversion” therapy does not violate religious or free-speech protections in the U.S. Constitution. The ban, which was signed into law last year by Gov. Chris Christie (right), is justified on the grounds that it helps protect the public, the panel said.

Courts Extend Marriage Recognition to Couples Coping with Terminal Illness

Courts in Indiana and Arizona granted emergency recognition to same-sex spouses in two separate cases involving terminal illness. A federal judge in Indiana ordered the state to recognize the marriage of a lesbian couple that is battling ovarian cancer. A federal judge in Arizona ordered the state to recognize a same-sex marriage involving a man who recently died of pancreatic cancer.

Phlli-suspects-Williams-Knott-HarriganSuspects in Gay Bashing Incident I.D.’d via Twitter

Philadelphia’s Twitter community helped police discover the identities of 12 people suspected of a hate crime.  According to Philadelphia, Philadelphia Police released surveillance video of up to 12 people it identified as suspects walking through Center City near the time of the attack.

Witnesses told a local news channel that someone in the group asked one of the men, “is this your faggot boyfriend?” The men were then attacked, held as other members in the group punched them in the face, head, and chest.

One of the men in question has reportedly lost his job coaching at Archbishop Wood High School.  On September 24 three individuals, 24-year-old Philip Williams; 24 year-old Kathryn Knott; and 26-year-old Kevin Harrigan, turned themselves in and were charged with two counts each of aggravated assault and simple assault, and reckless endangerment.

By Rachel Roth

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