National Briefs

Posted on 12 Apr 2007 at 7:55pm
By Staff and Wire Reports

Gay organizations offer reward for information in attack on gay man

Even though the Wayne County Medical Examiner has ruled that Andrew Anthos, a 72-year-old gay man, died of natural causes, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who attacked Anthos on a city street shortly before he died.

Anthos was found unconscious Feb. 13 in a snow bank outside an apartment building near downtown Detroit. Police initially said Anthos might have been assaulted by a man who reportedly followed Anthos off a city bus after he had made an anti-gay slur to the elderly man.

But the coroner ruled Anthos fell because he had an arthritic neck, and police investigators were unable to find any witnesses to the alleged beating. Anthos’ family members, like the gay rights activists, believe his death was the result of an anti-gay hate crime.

Walt Disney Company opens “‘Fairy Tale Wedding’ program to same-sex couples

LOS ANGELES Same-sex couples who want to exchange vows in front of Cinderella’s Castle now have the chance.

The Walt Disney Co. had limited its Fairy Tale Wedding program to couples with valid marriage licenses, but it is now making ceremonies at its parks available to gay couples as well.

“We believe this change is consistent with Disney’s long-standing policy of welcoming every guest in an inclusive environment,” Disney Parks and Resorts spokesman Donn Walker said Friday, April 6. “We want everyone who comes to celebrate a special occasion at Disney to feel welcome and respected.”

The company said it made the change after being contacted by a gay couple who wanted to use the wedding service, which offers ceremonies at Disneyland in California, Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disney’s cruise ships.

Florida judge rules that school must let GSA meet while lawsuit is pending

MIAMI A high school club that promotes tolerance of gays must be allowed to meet while a lawsuit is pending, a federal judge ruled.

U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore ruled Friday, April 6, that Okeechobee High School must grant the same privileges to the Gay Straight Alliance that it grants other clubs, as mandated by the federal Equal Access Act.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued the Okeechobee school board in November on behalf of the high school’s Gay-Straight Alliance after school officials said the group was a “sex-based” organization that would violate its abstinence-only education policy.

The judge said the school showed no evidence to back its concern that the group would encourage students to share “obscene or sexual explicit material,” and that the school had made that assumption based on the group’s name.

Kansas AG says partner registry would not violate state’s gay marriage ban

TOPEKA, Kan. A proposed Lawrence ordinance allowing same-sex and unmarried heterosexual couples to register their partnerships with the city wouldn’t violate the Kansas Constitution’s ban on gay marriage, Attorney General Paul Morrison said Friday, April 6.

Morrison’s legal opinion isn’t binding, but the Lawrence City Commission had been waiting for his guidance before considering the ordinance. Early discussions about it led a conservative legislator to introduce a bill banning domestic partnership registries statewide.

A constitutional amendment adopted by voters in April 2005 declares that only unions between one man and one woman can be recognized as marriages in Kansas. It also says no other relationship is entitled to “the rights or incidents of marriage.”

Army suspends recruiter following allegations of racist, anti-gay comments

The U.S. Army has decided to suspend a recruiter and engage in an investigation into reports of recent anti-gay, racist remarks, according to a press release from the Human Rights Campaign, which has commended the action.

The comments were made to Corey Andrew, a gay, African-American man who was in talks with the recruiter about serving as an openly gay man.

Andrew reported that the recruiter began sending a series of racist and homophobic e-mails after he identified himself as a gay man.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 13, 2007

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