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June 1. 2012

News Briefs

Support for marriage rises after president backs it

Washington, D.C.--The support of President Barack Obama and the NAACP is making an impact on public support of same-sex couples, according to new polls.

After Obama’s May 9 interview in which he asserted his support for full same-sex marriage, opposition to same-sex marriage among African Americans dropped from 34 percent to 23 percent. Support for civil union increased by nine percent as well, although support for full same-sex marriage dropped two percent, while those who were unsure rose five percent.

Among Latinos, support for same-sex marriage rose five percent to 51 percent, opposition dropped 3 percent to 20 percent.

Among Caucasians, there was a two percent change in both support and opposition, to 41 percent and 25 percent respectively.

The May 25 study was created out of aggregated daily polling since January.

An ABC-Washington Post poll showed even more support for the freedom to marry, with 59 percent of African Americans supporting same-sex marriage two weeks after Obama’s announcement.

Those figures are likely to go up even more after the NAACP’s May 19 vote that it would support marriage equality as a 14th Amendment issue.

Two men bashed in a Waffle House

Columbus--Anti-gay violence struck a Waffle House on South High Street just north of Interstate 270 on April 26, as two men were attacked while their assailants yelled homophobic taunts.

“It was very specifically targeted language,” said Gloria McCauley, executive director of the Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Program, quoting specifically the phrase “fucking faggots.”

One of the two men who were attacked was knocked unconscious, while the other had bones in his face broken.

According to McCauley, while the two men are members of the LGBT community, their sexual orientation was beside the point: their assailants wanted to hurt someone, and were homophobic. If the two victims were heterosexual, it probably would not have made a difference to their attackers.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips leading to the capture of the two men, both of whom are described as white males between 30 and 35. One is six feet tall and weighs around 250 pounds, while the other is 5’ 8” and weighs around 290. Both had shaved heads, and the taller had tattoos visible on his upper arms.

To provide information, go to www.stopcrime.org or call 614-4618477.

New Ohio GOP head lobbied for EHEA

Columbus--The new executive director of the Ohio Republican Party is under attack from far-right conservatives for his work as a lobbyist.

It’s not his efforts on behalf of the MetroHealth System or the Akron Public Schools, however, that have earned Matt Borges their wrath. Rather, it’s his work with Equality Ohio as a hired lobbyist pushing the LGBT Equal Housing and Employment Act that opponents find distasteful.

Borges will take a few weeks before stepping into the role. He will first keep pushing for EHEA, then he will take a leave from Roetzel & Andres, the lobbying firm for which he works.

Anti-gay ‘researcher’ attracted to men

Washington, D.C.--Discredited researcher Paul Cameron, the head of the Family Research Institute, told syndicated news host David Pakman on May 16 that he was attracted to men when he was a boy.

He told Pakman that he was raped by a man when he was three years old, but that society’s pro-heterosexual culture overcame the attraction he felt for men by the time he was 11 years old.

Pakman pointed out that Cameron is very fixated on all things gay, and asked if there was a possibility that he is gay. Cameron said no, that it was more a repulsion.

Before that, Cameron used a masterpiece of circuitous logic to assert that President Barack Obama might be gay, and pointed to Afghanistan and Pakistan as proof that the acceptance of homosexuality in the United States would lead to an epidemic of molestation of young boys by grown men.

The entire interview, along with other examples of Pakman having anti-gay activists make fools of themselves, can be found on his website, www.davidpakman.com.

Outed sheriff ends his House race

Florence, Ariz.--Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu announced in mid-May that he is dropping out of the race for his congressional district’s seat and will instead seek re-election to the sheriff post.

The Republican candidate was outed after a Mexican ex-boyfriend alleged that Babeu’s attorney threatened to have him deported if he told anyone about their relationship.

Babeu and his ex Jose Orozco are both being investigated, as Babeu leveled accusations of theft and identity theft against Orozco.

When the news broke, Babeu was also the co-chair of Mitt Romney’s Arizona campaign, from which he promptly resigned. He denied all of Orozco’s charges, but confirmed that he is gay.

In an interview with out CNN anchor Don Lemon on May 11, Babeu said that he thought it was important for there to be gay Republicans, to prove that the party is inclusive and a “big tent.”

Faculty quits over school’s life rules

Rome, Ga.--Shorter University, a Baptist school northwest of Atlanta, is seeing an exodus among their faculty of almost biblical proportions after adding a section to employee contracts governing their personal lives off campus.

The Personal Lifestyle Statement bars homosexuality, non-marital sex, drinking in public near campus and drug use, and requires staff members to be active members of a church in the area.

Only 12 percent of staff members said they planned to stay at the university in an anonymous survey in April, and over 50 people resigned before the revised contracts were distributed. The science and fine arts departments have been “eviscerated,” AOL quoted librarian Michael Wilson as saying. Wilson, who is gay, resigned in early May, ending his plans to stay until he retired. He had been at the university for 14 years.

Tenured professor Sherri Weiler accused the school of being the “American Taliban” in an op-ed in the Rome News-Tribune, writing, “Religious fundamentalism in any form (Muslim or Christian) is sheer lunacy in today’s divided, fractured, and tormented world. True peace is only to be found in opening the doors, not closing the gates.”

The university is owned by the Georgia Baptist Convention, which stepped in to help financially in the 1950s before asserting more and more control of the school. The school tried to sever its ties with the convention, but was stopped from doing so by the Georgia Supreme Court in 2005. Since then, the convention has had complete control over appointing trustees, even though only about four percent of its budget comes from the organization.

Academy graduates its first out cadets

Colorado Springs, Colo.--Another sign of the end of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” era came on May 23, as the United States Air Force Academy graduated its first openly gay cadets.

According to Blue Alliance head Trish Heller, at least four cadets in the Class of 2012 contacted her group, which is an association of LGBT  academy alumni.

While students said that the transition had been a smooth one, with no reported incidents of harassment or anti-gay violence since the anti-gay policy ended eight months ago.

Cadet Kevin Wise told ABC News’ Devin Dwyer that several of his classmates came out over the last few months. “Honestly, for me, it was, ‘Oh well, I kind of had a suspicion since I’ve known you for two years now,’ but you just move on.”

Sophomore Acacia Miller credited the top brass at the academy for handling the transition properly. “They did a good job preparing us,” she said. “There were lots of briefings about it. They stated how the military was going to go forward with it, how we should act. It was pretty much just like any other repeal, segregation, all that stuff.”

Jim Parsons of ‘Big Bang’ comes out

New York City--Jim Parsons, who plays Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory, has officially come out, although it might have been a Nathan Lane-esque open secret.

In a May 23 feature on the actor, who is appearing on Broadway in the play Harvey this summer, it mentions his last Broadway role, in Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart.

Writer Sara Krulwich said that Kramer’s play “resonated with him on a few levels: Mr. Parsons is gay and in a 10-year relationship, and working with an ensemble again onstage was like nourishment, he said.”

The general sentiment about the disclosure has varied, with gay fans of the show claiming, “I knew it!” to heterosexual fans asking, “So?” Meanwhile, people who do not watch the show want to know who Jim Parsons is. Parson’s Big Bang co-star Johnny Galecki is ostensibly heterosexual.

Compiled by Brian DeWitt, Anthony Glassman and Patti Harris.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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