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April 19, 2013

News Briefs

Hospital forces man to leave his partner’s room

Kansas City, Mo.--A gay man was forcibly removed from his partner’s hospital room on April 9, despite having a power of attorney to make medical decisions for him.

Employees at Research Medical Center called police on Roger Gorley, who was led from his partner Allen’s room in handcuffs. Allen repeatedly said from his hospital bed that he wanted Roger to stay. The hospital says Gorley was being disruptive, but his daughter says it was Allen’s brother Lee who was being loud.

Gorley’s daughter Amanda Brown told John Aravosis at Americablog that Allen asked Lee to leave, and he refused to comply. The nurse on duty had dealt with the couple before, and knew about the power of attorney, but told Roger to leave the room. She also said that Lee was yelling, not her father.

Hospital security removed him from the room, and police escorted him from the hospital.

President Barack Obama issued an order extending hospital visitation rights to same-sex partners of patients in 2010, and it applies to all hospitals that take Medicare and Medicaid. The American Civil Liberties Union is helping Gorley, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are investigating.

54 senators now back marriage

Washington, D.C.--Fifty-four U.S. senators have announced their support of marriage equality.

The most recent additions were Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota on April 5, and Tim Johnson of South Dakota three days later. They are all Democrats representing conservative states.

That means that 50 out of 53 Democratic senators now have expressed their support; only Mark Pryor of Arkansas, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, and Mary Landrieu in Louisiana have not joined their fellow party members.

The two independents who caucus with the Democrats, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Vermont’s Bernie Sanders, have also thrown their support to marriage equality, along with Republicans Rob Portman of Ohio, the first GOP senator to do so, and Mark Kirk of Illinois.

In 2010, 15 senators supported marriage equality, as shown by their positions on related legislation. The current tally, two years later, is based on explicit statements by the senators.

Ohio measure honors Day of Silence

Columbus--Rep. Nickie Antonio of Lakewood, Ohio’s first out state legislator, is introducing a resolution to recognize the Day of Silence on April 19.

The resolution will be assigned a bill number on April 16. Antonio extended the original deadline for cosponsors, originally April 5, to try to get as much support for the resolution as possible.

The Day of Silence is coordinated each year by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network to call attention to bullying and harassment LGBT students face in school. Students will often pledge silence for the day, carrying notes or signs explaining that their silence mirrors the silencing of LGBT youth every day.

On college campuses across the nation, the day usually ends with educational programs and performances.

This year is the 18th annual Day of Silence.

Arizona town tries to pass civil unions

Bisbee, Ariz.--City Council approved an ordinance recognizing same-sex civil unions on April 2, then nullified it nine days later after being threatened with a lawsuit by the state’s attorney general.

The council repealed the ordinance, but ordered city attorney John MacKinnon to reword it to nullify attorney general Tom Horne’s concerns that it overreached city powers, which do not extend to marriages and civil unions.

The ordinance as it was originally passed specified that it would only grant whatever benefits the city gave to married couples, but said the couples would be considered spouses and mentioned property, guardian powers and adoption, which fall under state law.

Horne’s office pressed for the council to voluntarily rework the ordinance to avoid a time-consuming and expensive court case.

Arizona voters passed a constitutional amendment defining marriage as an opposite-sex institution in 2008, but rejected one two years earlier that would have also outlawed civil unions.

Businessman and possible gubernatorial candidate Fred DuVal started a petition calling for Horne to back off and stop wasting taxpayer money, framing it in Libertarian terms popular in the state.

“Arizonans cherish our personal freedoms and Bisbee has the right to offer civil unions without big government interference,” he wrote in a post on his campaign blog. “Such actions are a frivolous use of state resources.”

Compiled by Brian DeWitt, Anthony Glassman and Patti Harris.









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