National briefs

Posted on 13 Apr 2006 at 10:29pm
By Staff and Wire Reports

Kentucky governor repeals protection for GLBT workers on “‘Diversity Day’
On Tuesday, the same day he declared “Diversity Day,” Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher issued an executive order repealing anti-discrimination protections for GLBT state employees.

A bill that would prohibit local jurisdictions in Kentucky from enacting civil rights ordinances including protections for GLBT people has consistently died in the state legislature. Jefferson County and the cities of Louisville and Covington prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, called Fletcher’s order a “mean-spirited” decree that “goes against the values of the legislature and the people of Kentucky who want simple fairness for all their friends and neighbors.”

Hicklin named editor for Out magazine, promises “‘unequivocally gay’ content
Joe Landry, publisher and vice president of Out magazine, announced this week that Aaron Hicklin has been named editor in chief of the GLBT publication. Hicklin’s appointment is effective as of April 24.

Hicklin as been editor in chief of BlackBook magazine since 2003. Prior to that, he spent five years with Gear, a magazine he helped launch in 1998. He started out as senior editor of Gear and later became executive editor.

Hicklin edited the recently-published book “The Revolution Will Be Accessorized,” an anthology from Harper Perennial of articles from BlackBook. It will be published in May.

Hicklin also authored “Boy Soliders,” an account of the murder trial of two students that was recently adapted into a screenplay.

He was features editor of Scotland on Sunday newspaper, and he wrote an award-winning column for the United Kingdom’s Sunday Herald from New York. Hicklin was one of a team of journalists with Scotland on Sunday that won the Scottish Press Award for coverage of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, and he was a runner-up in the Foreign Press Awards for his coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in 1996.
Hicklin said Out will continue to be “unequivocally gay and forward-looking.”

“The magazine will not be afraid to push buttons, to be provocative and counter-intuitive when it seems right and necessary,” Hicklin said. “Sometimes that might upset people, but I think the readership is ready and eager for a real debate about what it means to be gay in the new millennium.”

Harvard adds gender identity to existing non-discrimination policy
Officials at Harvard University announced April 11 that the school, the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States, is adding gender identity to its existing non-discrimination policy to protect transgender students and faculty.

Harvard is ranked first on the U.S. News and World Report’s list of “America’s Best Colleges 2006.” Harvard’s addition to its non-discrimination policies means that half of the Ivy League schools now include protections for transgender people in their policies.

Other schools that already included gender identity in their non-discrimination policies are Brown University, Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania.

Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign Fund, said that by adding gender identity to the policy, Harvard is “continuing its centuries-long tradition of advancing and understanding and nurturing national leaders.”
Solmonese also said that in addition to sending a signal to students and staff, the move “aligns the university with the workplaces many of these students will join after graduation.”

Pride Agenda poll indicates support in New York for same-sex marriage
The Empire State Pride Agenda, a GLBT rights organization in New York, on Monday released results of a poll indicating that a growing majority of New York residents support ending marriage discrimination.

The poll, conducted in March by Global Strategy Group, found that 53 percent of New York state residents support same-sex marriage, and 38 percent do not. Pride Agenda officials said the results showed a steady increase in support for gay marriage when compared to results of polls conducted in 2004 and 2005.

In 2004, 47 percent said they supported same-sex marriage, and 46 percent opposed it. Poll results from 2005 show an almost even split, Pride Agenda officials said.

Alan Van Cappelle, executive director of Pride Agenda, said poll results from New York are consistent with the findings of three other polls released around the country in recent weeks. A national poll by Pew Research Center, a Zogby poll for Garden State Equality in New Jersey and a nonpartisan Field Poll in California all show the same trend, Van Cappelle said.

The Pride Agenda poll indicated a growing number of New Yorkers favored recognizing legal same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions. It also showed that a majority of respondents said it would make no difference to them if an elected official supported gay marriage, but that a majority said they were less likely to favor an elected official who voted for legislation discriminating against same-sex couples.

Results were drawn from 658 random digit dialed telephone interviews with likely voters from across the state. The margin of error is plus-or-minus 3.8 percent.

24 Equality Riders, students arrested during protest at BYU
Nine current or former students of Brigham Young University and 15 participants in Soulforce’s Equality Ride were arrested Tuesday on the university campus as they participated in a procession carrying Easter lilies in remembrance of GLBT members of the Church of the Latter Day Saints who have committed suicide because of the church’s stance on GLBT issues.

The marchers were arrested as they entered the Brigham Young campus.
Haven Herrin, co-director of Equality Ride, said the lilies were symbolic of life and death.

“It is particularly fitting during the Christian Holy Week that we remember those whose lives were not able to bloom because of the despair they felt from their church’s teachings on homosexuality,” Herrin said.

As the marchers reached the gates of the Brigham Young campus, stories and names of those who had committed suicide were read aloud. As each name was read, the marcher representing that person stepped through the gates and onto the campus where they laid down in the grass. They stayed there until Provo police asked them to get up and then escorted them off the campus. But they left the lilies behind.

Log Cabin Republicans plan 2006 National Convention in D.C.
The Log Cabin Republicans, the nation’s largest organization of Republicans who support fairness, freedom and equality for gay and lesbian Americans, is holding its 2006 National Convention, in coordination with the Liberty Education Forum’s National Symposium April 27-29. The convention will be held at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Hall of Flags, located at 1615 H. Street in Washington D.C.

Speakers at the convention will include Gene Robinson, openly gay Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire; Alan Duncan, openly gay Conservative member of Parliament in Britain; Jim Kolbe, openly gay GOP Congressman from Arizona; Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign; Rich Tafel, former executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans; Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; Jody Huckaby, executive director of PFLAG; Patrick Guerriero, president of the Log Cabin Republicans and Liberty Education Forum; and Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of the Family Pride Coalition, Jon Danforth, former GOP Senator and U.N. Ambassador, along with many others.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, April 14, 2006.

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