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September 7, 2012

News Briefs

California passes nation’s first ban on ‘cure’ therapy

Sacramento--California legislators approved a bill on August 28 that would bar the use of “reparative” or “conversion” therapy on minors.

The discredited practice attempts to make gays or lesbians heterosexual. The bill’s backers say it has no medical basis because homosexuality is not a disorder.

The measure was approved 51-21 in the California Assembly. In May, the Senate passed its own version 23-13. The bills then went to conference to have differences between the two versions worked out.

The result will go to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk. He has not yet stated his position on the measure.

“One of our number one priorities in this house is to protect the next generation of Californians,” California Rep. Ricardo Lara of Los Angeles said, according to Reuters. “And some of those are sissy boys. And some of those sissy boys grow up to be Assembly members. And some of those sissy boys need help. And we are here to stand with those sissy boys.”

State Sen. Ted Lieu, who sponsored the bill, pointed to Dr. Robert Spitzer, the psychiatrist who pioneered the therapy but has since apologized to the LGBT community and denounced the practice.

Several professional groups have issued edicts against “reparative” therapy, saying that it does not work and can be very harmful to patients who undergo it.

Corkins indicted for FRC shooting

Washington, D.C.--The man accused of shooting a security guard in the arm at the headquarters of the Family Research Council pleaded not guilty on August 24.

Floyd Lee Corkins II was also found competent to stand trial after a psychiatric evaluation requested by prosecutors.

After he waived his right to a preliminary hearing, Judge Magistrate Alan Kay converted the August 24 court date into an arraignment. Two days earlier, Corkins was indicted by a grand jury for assault with intent to kill while armed and possession of a handgun during a violent crime, both D.C. charges, and a federal charge of interstate transportation of a firearm.

On August 15, according to police, Corkins walked into the headquarters of the FRC, a leading anti-gay religious right organization, carrying a backpack with firearms, ammunition and Chick-fil-A sandwiches. He announced his opposition to the FRC’s positions while brandishing a gun, then shot a security guard, hitting him in the arm. The security guard then wrested the gun from his grasp and held him until police arrived.

Corkins was a part-time volunteer at the Washington, D.C. LGBT Center, but LGBT activists in the capital said they had not seen him at events or meetings other than working the front desk of the center on weekends.

Inn to pay $30K for refusing ceremony

Montpelier, Vt.--Two lesbians from New York emerged victorious after an inn that refused to host their wedding agreed to settle the case on August 28.

Ming and Kate Linsley filed suit after Ming’s mother was told by the Wildflower Inn’s events manager that the hotel would not host same-sex weddings because of owners Jim and Mary O’Reilly’s religious beliefs. Their attorney, however, said on August 28 that the inn would be willing to host receptions despite the O’Reilly’s religious objections, and the employee acted without permission when she responded to Ming Linsley’s mother.

Under the settlement, the Wildflower Inn will pay $10,000 to the Vermont Human Rights Commission and place another $20,000 in a charitable trust. The inn will also no longer host weddings and wedding receptions at all.

Jim Campbell, the O’Reilly’s attorney, said that they had already decided to stop hosting weddings before the case arose.

New Zealand to be next with marriage

Wellington, N.Z.--The country that acknowledged women’s right to vote over two decades before the United States passed the 19th Amendment is poised to beat the U.S. to another civil rights milestone: legalized same-sex marriage.

The New Zealand Marriage Amendment Bill passed its first reading on a two-to-one margin, and will now be reviewed by a select committee for roughly six months. Some members of Parliament agreed only to support the first reading, and their continued support will be dependent on the recommendation of the select committee.

The morning before the vote on August 29, around a thousand people marched through Wellington’s streets in support of marriage equality.

Almost 12,000 miles northwest, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said that his government will send a marriage equality bill to the legislature in October, bringing the country in line with much of the rest of western and northern Europe. President François Holland ran on a promise to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.

United sued for taping dildo atop bag

Houston--A gay male couple filed suit against United Continental Airlines, alleging that employees intentionally caused them extreme distress by going through their luggage, defiling a dildo and taping it to their suitcase.

Martin Borger and Christopher Bridgeman were returning to Norfolk, Virginia from Costa Rica on May 21, 2011, and had a stopover in Houston. After going through customs, they re-checked their baggage and headed home.

When they got to the baggage carousel at Norfolk, however, a sex toy had been taken out of one of their bags and covered in a smelly, greasy substance before being taped to the top of their bag.

The men say that it was done to humiliate them, out of animosity for them as gay men. United, however, said that there is no support for this allegation.

Bridgeman and Borger are suing for emotional trauma, violation of privacy and negligence, and are suing for damages.

Sinema is closer to being first bi Rep.

Phoenix, Ariz.--Former State Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is one step closer to being the first out bisexual in Congress after winning the Democratic primary for the Ninth Congressional District seat.

She defeated former Clinton advisor Andrei Cherny and State Sen. David Schapira for the nomination on August 28.

She now goes on to face Republican Vernon Parker in the General Election, which is, at this time, viewed as a toss-up.

The Ninth Congressional District is a new one, created after the 2010 Census showed an increase in the state’s population. It is made up of parts of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Mesa, Chandler and Tempe.

Compiled by Brian DeWitt, Anthony Glassman and Patti Harris.










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