NATIONAL BRIEFS

Posted on 27 Apr 2006 at 9:38pm
By Staff and Wire Reports

Cingular ranked in top 10 for GLBT employees by DiversityInc.


Sen. Satveer Chaudhary

Cingular Wireless, based in Atlanta, has been ranked among the top 10 U.S. companies for GLBT employees on DiversityInc.’s “Top 50 Companies for Diversity: The Specialty Lists.”

Each year the magazine recognizes businesses with a commitment to diversity, as indicated by factors such as employee recruitment and retention, and regular and consistent diversity training and communications programs.
Bob Reed, Cingular’s vice president for diversity and inclusion, said that diversity is “a business imperative” for Cingular.

“Our commitment to diversity besides being the right thing to do adds value to our company and our communities,” Reed said.

Cingular Wireless scored an 86 on the Human Rights Campaign’s latest Corporate Equality Index, losing points for not having a written non-discrimination policy covering gender identity or expression.

Officials investigating threatening letter sent to Minnesota legislator

ST. PAUL Law enforcement investigators are looking into a letter received by state Sen. Satveer Chaudhary that criticized his vote against a gay

marriage ballot measure and had a bullet hole drawn on a picture of him.
Tim Leslie, assistant commissioner for the Department of Public Safety, said Tuesday that a State Patrol officer is working with a Fridley police officer to determine the origins of the mailing.

The hostile note was attached to a newspaper ad run by a group promoting the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions. Leslie said the return address on the mailing doesn’t exist. Chaudhary, a Democrat, issued a news release Monday disparaging the letter as political hate speech.

“One anonymous coward does not change my mission as a legislator,”

Chaud-hary said. “It is my hope that Minneso-tans will reject these blatant attempts to drive a wedge between the people of our state and not sink to their level of discourse.”

The group that ran the ad, Minnesota Citizens in Defense of Marriage, condemned the letter and said it doesn’t condone threats of violence.

Graffiti at Christian college targets gays, blacks and Jews

BEAVER FALLS, Pa. Racist, anti-Semitic and anti-gay graffiti appeared on the campus of a Christian college for the second time in about a month, a school official said.

About 11 street signs on Geneva College’s campus were covered in epithets aimed at blacks, gays, Jews, Japanese and whites, said Ken Carson, vice president of academic affairs.

Carson said he discovered the graffiti while driving to church on April 23.
Anyone at the school connected to the graffiti could be expelled, Carson said.
Cynthia Cook, director of the college’s multiethnic student services, warned against over-publicizing the graffiti, which she said might encourage the person who wrote it.

“If we keep drawing attention to it, that’s what they want to see,” Cook said. “We’re not going to fall into that pattern of trying to make something of it.”

Bloomington City Council approves protections for transgendered citizens

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. The Bloomington City Council has voted unanimously to approve adding protections for transgender people to the city’s human rights ordinance.

Unlike last week’s council meeting when several supporters and opponents spoke about the proposal, only one person voiced opposition before Wednesday night’s vote.

Under the amendment, gender identity is defined as “a person’s actual or perceived gender-related attributes, self-image, appearance, expression or behavior, whether or not such characteristics differ from those traditionally associated with the person’s assigned sex at birth.”

Bloomington is now at least the second Indiana city with such an ordinance. The Indianapolis City-County Council approved similar protections in December.

Bree Hartlage, who has pushed for the Bloomington ordinance as a representative of the transgender community, said including gender identity is a move toward equal rights for all residents.

Man convicted in anti-gay attack sentenced to 25 years


Steven Pomie

NEW YORK A man convicted of a hate crime for the brutal beating of a gay neighbor was sentenced Monday to 25 years in prison.

Steven Pomie, a suspected street gang member, was convicted by a jury last month of first-degree assault and assault as a hate crime for the June 9, 2005, attack on Dwan Prince.

He received the maximum, 25 years on each charge, with the sentences to run concurrently.

Pomie, 23, attacked Prince as he walked home, shouting anti-gay slurs while he beat him unconscious and kicked him in the head, prosecutors said.
Prince suffered severe head injuries and remained in a coma for some time. Authorities said Pomie with the victim already beaten, bloodied and on the ground delivered the final blow by kicking him in the head. Investigators said they believed Pomie knew about Prince’s homosexuality before the attack.

Police said witnesses told them that Pomie was walking down the street when he noticed Prince staring at him.

They said Pomie asked Prince, “What are you looking at? You want a piece of me?”

Investigators said Prince responded by saying something that enraged Pomie, who then began beating him.

Police said Pomie had an extensive arrest record and was a suspected member of the Crips street gang.

Rutledge to be retried in 1998 murder of 2 gay men

SANTA ROSA, Calif. A Sonoma County judge ruled April 21 that there is enough evidence to retry a man for the 1998 slayings of a nightclub owner and another man.

Prosecutors refiled murder charges against Zach Rutledge, 30, in 2004 after another judge threw out the case because prosecutors admitted introducing inaccurate evidence they said linked him to the crime.

Rutledge initially was arrested in 2002, nearly four years after Hans Grahlmann, 57, and Jason Blore, 26, were shot to death with a Russian-made SKS rifle at Grahlmann’s remote Monte Rio home.

Grahlmann owned gay bars and other businesses in Guerneville and San Francisco, and Blore worked for him. Prosecutors have said Rutledge didn’t like gay men and also was angry that Blore had beaten him in a bar fight.
After a nearly three week preliminary hearing, Judge Dean Beaupre ruled with little explanation on April 21, holding Rutledge over on the murder charge and two special circumstances lying in wait and multiple victims.

Prosecutor Daniel Carr argued that Rutledge should face trial based on evidence that he said links the defendant to the murder weapon and an admission allegedly made during a sweat lodge ceremony in 2002.

Rutledge’s lawyer, David Nick, presented alibi evidence for Rutledge and pointed the finger at another man who was an associate of the defendant.
Rutledge’s next court appearance is scheduled for May.

California Supreme Court asked to review lesbian infertility treatment case
Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund filed papers late Monday with the California Supreme Court asking it to review a lower court decision that allowed doctors to refuse infertility treatment to lesbian patient Guadalupe Benitez, based on their religious beliefs.

Lambda Legal represents Benitez, who was denied infertility treatment by her Southern California health care providers because she is a lesbian. The doctors claim a right not to comply with California’s civil rights law because they are fundamentalist Christians and they object to treating a lesbian patient the same way they treat other patients.

Benitez’s lawsuit was thrown out of state court initially, but she won an appeal three years ago that said that patients can sue health care providers who discriminate based on their sexual orientation, and federal law does not exempt health care providers from state civil rights laws.

In late 2004, Benitez won a legal ruling in the trial court saying that doctors in a for-profit medical group must comply with California’s anti-discrimination laws and treat all patients equally, whatever the doctor’s personal religious beliefs may be. The doctors asked the court of appeal in San Diego to review that ruling and the court ruled in the doctors’ favor.

That decision has created confusion about whether or not the California Supreme Court’s Catholic Charities decision applies in this case, which is a main argument in the request for review by the Supreme Court.

Human Rights Campaign to officially sponsor podcast for GLBT parents

The Human Rights Campaign, the largest advocacy group for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans, has become the official non-profit sponsor of the Gay Parenting Show on The Podcast Network (TPN).

“The Gay Parenting Show is an important resource keeping parents connected and updated on political, social and practical issues affecting our daily lives,” said Ellen Kahn, director of the Human Rights Campaign Family Project. “With more and more states extending critical protections to GLBT families on the one hand and attempts to ban adoption on the other, the show and the Human Rights Campaign will work collaboratively to get families the information they need,” she said.

“The Gay Parenting Show is a significant resource because there is a real dearth of information available on the challenges and rewards of raising GBLT families,” Kahn said. “The mainstream press, including parenting books and magazines rarely address the concerns GLBT parents,” she added.

The audience of GLBT parents who need such targeted information is huge. A 1995 survey estimated that between one and nine million children as much as 12 percent of all children in the US are being raised by gay parents. In addition, according to a 2000 study, 8 percent of self-identified gay, lesbian, or bisexual people are already parents or legal guardians of a child under 18. Another 49 percent aspire to become parents in the future. The Gay Parenting Show is available on The Podcast Network at http://gayparenting.-thepodcastnetwork.com.

Metro Weekly publisher honored with GLAA Distinguished Service Award
Randy Shulman, owner and publisher of Washington’s award-winning gay and lesbian magazine Metro Weekly, was honored April 20 at the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance 35th Anniversary Celebration.

Shulman received the 2006 Distinguished Service Award for his work with Metro Weekly, which itself celebrates its 12th anniversary on May 4. He has been owner and publisher of the magazine since its inception, making the Metro Weekly one of the last independently-owned gay publications in the nation.

“I’m doing something that I love , for a community that I love, a community that is extremely important to me as a proud, out member of it,” Shulman said upon accepting the award.

Shulman’s award comes at a time of marked growth for Metro Weekly which is continuing its expansion throughout D.C. and into area suburbs. Shulman also publishes the official Capital Pride Guide and the Black Pride Guide.

Metro Weekly is Washington’s only gay and lesbian magazine with more than 45,000 readers every week.

Bill would have allowed domestic partners to register with county

MINEOLA, N.Y. In a surprise move, the Nassau County Legislature has narrowly defeated a plan to create a registry for unmarried couples to record domestic partnerships.

The 10-to-8 vote, with one abstention, came after a heated debate Monday evening.

“It is a very embarrassing moment,” said Presiding Officer Judy Jacobs, a supporter of the bill that would have allowed domestic partners of any sex to register with the county as couples without being married.

Opponents claimed the registry would violate social traditions and that its real purpose was to promote gay marriage.

“A vote for domestic registry is a vote for gay marriage,” said Paul Kosowski, a leader of the Nassau County Civics Association.

The proposal originated with the law body’s 10-member Democratic majority.
Democratic Legislator Joseph Scannell surprised his colleagues when he voted against the measure.

“The bill did not give any substantive rights,” he later said. “In the final analysis, the bill does not solve problems. All it does is add confusion.”

The law would have made it easier for a partner to receive medical insurance from a private employer or gain access to the other person during a medical emergency, among other things. Suffolk, New York City and Westchester already have such a registry.

Deputy Presiding Officer Roger Corbin, a Democrat, abstained from voting, saying he was a Roman Catholic who had been lobbied by Bishop William Murphy and clergy in his district.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, April 28, 2006.

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