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May 31, 2013

News Briefs

Soccer’s Rogers gets an ovation in his first out game

Los Angeles--Robbie Rogers, who came out as the first openly gay professional soccer player in the United States after retiring last year, stepped onto the field for the Los Angeles Galaxy on May 26, having officially come out of retirement and signing with the team a day earlier.

He had trained with the team for a month, and received a standing ovation when he took the field. The Galaxy defeated the Seattle Sounders 4-0.

He said that he was nervous on the way to the stadium, but that evaporated when he got there.

While the NBA’s Jason Collins is the first pro male athlete in a team sport to come out during his career, he did so after the season ended. Rogers is now the first male professional athlete in a team sport in the United States to play a game after coming out publicly.

In 1976, Glenn Burke was out to his fellow players and managers on the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Oakland Athletics, but sports writers would not touch the story.

Teen charged for dating another teen

Sebastian, Fla.--An 18-year-old high school student faces 15 years in prison and a lifetime on the sexual offender registry for her relationship with a 14-year-old female classmate.

Kaitlyn Hunt, a senior, faces charges of “lewd and lascivious assault” for her relationship with the freshman. The girl’s parents filed charges after Hunt turned 18. They say they told Hunt twice to stay away from their daughter when she was still 17.

Hunt’s attorney believes that part of the impetus for the charges is because it was a same-sex relationship, but the freshman’s parents deny that sexual orientation was a factor, saying that they simply believe their daughter is not of an age when she should be having sex at all.

Florida law has 16 years old as the age of consent, so even though the younger girl consented, it is still a felony. The state has a Romeo and Juliet statute, as do many other states, which carves out some exceptions when both partners are young. However, unlike some states which would negate the charges, Florida’s law allows for a petition to avoid being placed on the sex offender registry if certain conditions are met. Because Kaitlyn and her girlfriend are four years or less apart in age, and the younger woman was over 12, she could apply under the law.

Hunt refused a plea agreement that would have seen her avoiding jail time, but would have listed her as a child abuser. Her trial is likely to start in the next month.

New York sees a rash of gaybashings

New York City--A spate of anti-gay attacks has the city on edge, with a murder on May 17 followed just days later with two other, more minor attacks on gay men.

Mark Carson, 32, was shot and killed on May 17 in Greenwich Village. Elliot Morales was arrested for the crime. Investigators say he shouted anti-gay slurs when he shot Carson in the head. Morales faces a charge of second-degree murder as a hate crime.

Three days later, a 45-year-old was beaten in the East Village after going out to the bars, and two men were attacked in SoHo the following morning by assailants who called them anti-gay slurs in English and Spanish.

The city has seen 29 anti-gay attacks since the beginning of the year, up from 14 in the first five months of 2012.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly held a news conference on May 21, saying that the city has “zero tolerance for intolerance,” according to Reuters.

Puerto Rico passes equality law

San Juan, Puerto Rico--The territory’s legislature passed LGBT-inclusive antidiscrimination and domestic violence bills on May 24, and Gov. Alejandro García Padilla promised to sign it,

They passed the senate a week earlier.

“Today is a thrilling day in Puerto Rican history,” said Pedro Julio Serrano, founder of Puerto Rico Para Tod@s and the communications director for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. “A decade ago, LGBT Puerto Ricans were criminals under the sodomy law, today we’re second-class citizens and when this bill is signed into law, we will be closer to achieving the first-class citizenship we deserve.”

“Equality is inevitable,” he continued. “Puerto Rico will be for all.”

While Puerto Rico voted for statehood in the 2012 general election, it will require another vote of its populace and an act of Congress to formally move it to statehood. However, the passage of the bills mean antidiscrimination laws cover 21 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. Of these, 16 plus D.C. and Puerto Rico include transgender people in those protections.

Sally Ride awarded Medal of Freedom

Washington, D.C.--The first known LGBT person in space will be honored posthumously with the Medal of Freedom.

Sally Ride was the first woman in space, and after her death last year, it was revealed that she was in a 27-year relationship with Tam O’Shaughnessy, a professor at San Diego State University and the chief operating officer of Sally Ride Science.

Ride wrote her own obituary with O’Shaughnessy, disclosing their relationship. She died last July of pancreatic cancer.

Ride’s mother, sister and O’Shaughnessy were notified in mid-May of President Barack Obama’s decision to award her the medal, which will be presented later this year.

Obama adds gays to Morehouse speech

Washington, D.C.--President Barack Obama addressed the graduating class at historically black Morehouse College on May 19, including gay people more than once in his speech,even altering a line to make it gay-inclusive.

According to Buzzfeed’s Chris Geidner, Obama told graduates of the all-male school, “Be the best husband to your wife, or your boyfriend, or your partner,” quieting the audience, who noted the remark, and then said, “Be the best father you can be to your children. Because nothing is more important.”

According to the written version of the speech released by the White House, the line was supposed to be “or boyfriend to your partner.”

He also compared the discrimination faced by African Americans to that leveled against gay and lesbian Americans, saying that they feel the same stigma “when a stranger passes judgment on their parenting skills or the love that they share.”

Morehouse College is the alma mater of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Compiled by Brian DeWitt, Anthony Glassman and Patti Harris.









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