National Briefs

Posted on 03 Aug 2006 at 5:03pm

National Stonewall Democrats names Welsh as development director

Cheryl Ann Welsh has joined the staff of the National Stonewall Democrats as the organization’s development director, executive director Jo Wyrick announced this week.

Welsh has more than 18 years experience in development in the GLBT community and the Democratic Party, Wyrick said.

“We know our members will benefit from her experience and enthusiasm,” Wyrick said. “Her talent and strong background will further solidify Stonewall as the grassroots organization that most effectively bridges LGBT and Democratic politics.”

Welsh was deputy director of the Democratic National Committee’s Gay and Lesbian Leadership Council during the 2004 election cycle, helping raise more than $8.9 million. She served more than six years as a member of the Human Rights Campaign’s Board of Governors, and she chaired the programming committee for the North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival for five years. She co-chaired the festival in 2000 and 2001.

Welsh graduated from Guilford College, and worked for five years with the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University and in development for the Durham Arts Council.

Welsh is currently business manager for Birch and Company, working in development management for the firm’s charitable companies. She will move to her new position with Stonewall this fall.

Welsh and her partner, Anita Broccolino, live in Silver Spring, Md.

Judge orders woman to stop making anti-gay slurs against neighbor

PROVIDENCE, R.I. A judge ordered a Warren woman to stop directing anti-gay slurs at her gay neighbor, saying the insults amounted to “hateful conduct” and interfered with the man’s right to live in peace.

The attorney general’s newly formed civil rights advocate’s office sued Theresa R. Deschenes in its first case, accusing her of harassing a gay neighbor with AIDS and threatening him with violence.

Superior Court Judge Netti Vogel on July 28 ruled that Deschenes, 33, had deprived Kenneth W. Potts of his right to live peacefully under the state’s Fair Housing Practices Act, which protects against discrimination, and issued an injunction forcing her to stop her behavior.

Deschenes’ lawyer, Christopher Millea, said his client’s comments were protected by the First Amendment and were merely part of a “kindergarten name-calling contest.”

But the judge rejected that argument.

“She has intimidated him,” Vogel said. “She has threatened him with physical violence … all connected to his sexual orientation.”

Potts, 48, accused Deschenes of making anti-gay insults, threatening to kill him “if you do anything to my daughter,” playing loud music and stomping on her floor.

He said that when Deschenes was arrested last month on a disorderly conduct charge, she threatened to assault him once she was released.

Deschenes admitted making anti-gay comments to Potts under questioning by her lawyer, but said she was not homophobic. She said she had made the remarks out of anger, and had been mad when she was arrested and when Potts had called child-welfare officials.

Millea said he would talk with his client about whether to appeal the judge’s decision.

Priest says he was booted from HIV mission in Africa because he is gay

UTICA, N.Y. A central New York priest claims he was denied participation in a Catholic mission to help increase HIV awareness in Africa because he is gay.

Fred Daley, of St. Francis de Sales Church, said he applied for a spot in the Catholic Relief Services program in March, went through months of training and was assigned to Lesotho in southern Africa.

Daley was scheduled to leave on Aug. 6 for the three final weeks of training in Washington, but received a phone call July 18 telling him that his application had been withdrawn from the program.

Catholic Relief Services CEO Michael Wiest contacted Daley and said he had discovered that the priest was gay, Daley said.

“He said he had received an anonymous call with information that I was an openly gay priest who publicly declared my orientation and that I have a high profile, and therefore CRS made a decision to withdraw my application from their volunteer program,” Daley said.

Officials from the Syracuse Roman Catholic Diocese attempted to have the decision appealed but have been unsuccessful.

Candidate’s mother-in-law challenges lesbian’s election win in Alabama

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. The mother-in-law of a defeated legislative candidate challenged the outcome of a Democratic runoff election, claiming the winner timed the filing of a campaign finance report to keep voters from learning she was supported by a pro-gay campaign fund.

Retired beautician Mattie Childress asked the Democratic Party to review Patricia Todd’s slim victory over Gaynell Hendricks, who is married to Childress’ son.

Todd, who would be the first openly gay member of the Alabama Legislature if elected, did not immediately return a telephone message Monday seeking comment. The challenge was filed late on July 27.

Todd led Hendricks by 59 votes in the July 18 Democratic runoff for House District 54, which includes much of Birmingham. Winning the runoff was tantamount to election since no Republican ran for the seat.

In the election challenge, Childress claimed that the release of a campaign finance report by Todd was timed to prevent voters from knowing that Todd received a $25,000 contribution from the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund. Voters also didn’t know that Todd made payments of $12,750 to two primary opponents who endorsed her, according to the challenge.

The contest claims Todd received illegal votes, and it challenged the way Jefferson County elections officials handled the returns.

Jim Spearman, executive director of the Alabama Democratic Party, said a contest hearing will be held within 20 days by a five-member committee appointed by party chair Joe Turnham. The committee will investigate the allegations and make a decision, Spearman said.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, August 4, 2006.

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