National Briefs

Posted on 03 May 2007 at 8:09pm
By Staff and Wire Reports

Oral arguments scheduled in Log Cabin lawsuit challenging “‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’

A federal judge has scheduled oral arguments on the government’s motion to dismiss in the lawsuit filed by Log Cabin Republicans to challenge the military’s “‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy barring service by openly gay men and women.

The policy was enacted in 1993 under President Bill Clinton. Previously, gays and lesbians were prohibited completely from serving in the U.S. military.

The hearing in Log Cabin’s lawsuit is set for June 18 before Judge George Schiavelli in Los Angeles. Log Cabin President Patrick Sammon said his organization’s efforts will continue regardless of the outcome of the hearing.

“No matter what happens after this initial hearing, Log Cabin will continue working to support and protect our brave men and women in uniform through this case, through legislative lobbying and by educating the American people about why the law should be changed,” Sammon said.

Log Cabin originally filed suit in the fall of 2004. In March 2006, the judge ruled that Log Cabin had to provide the court with the names of Log Cabin members who were impacted by the policy. In May 2006, Log Cabin re-filed its suit explicitly providing the court with two injured members: Alexander Nicholson, who was discharged from the Army under DADT, and “John Doe,” who is still serving in the military.

This John Doe plaintiff “represents scores of Log Cabin members courageously fighting the war on terror,” Sammon said.

Police chief sued for denying CPR to gay man who later died of heart attack

CHARLESTON, W. Va. A small-town police chief was accused in a federal lawsuit Thursday, April 26, of stopping a would-be rescuer from performing CPR on a gay heart attack victim because he assumed the ailing man had HIV and posed a health risk.

Claude Green, 43, died June 21, 2006, after being stricken yards from City Hall in Welch, a community of about 2,400.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued on behalf of his mother.

Police Chief Bobby Bowman called the allegations “a boldface lie.” He said that he called an ambulance and that Green was taken to the hospital in “no more than nine minutes.”

The lawsuit accuses Bowman of pulling off Green’s friend, Billy Snead, as Snead was performing chest compressions on the man. Snead was a passenger in Green’s pickup when Green collapsed; Snead had managed to pull over the vehicle.

L.A. Times veteran sports writer goes public with his identity as a transsexual

LOS ANGELES A veteran sports writer for the Los Angeles Times recently announced in his column that he is a transsexual.

Mike Penner told readers Thursday, April 26, of his struggle to embrace his gender, and said when he returns from vacation in a few weeks he will be known as Christine Daniels. He did not say whether he was having surgery or why he’s changing his last name.

“I am a transsexual sports writer,” Penner wrote. “It has taken more than 40 years, a million tears and hundreds of hours of soul-wrenching therapy for me to work up the courage to type those words.”

The 49-year-old Penner said his brain has been “wired female” and he’s tried to fight off the urge to change sexes.

He called writing a story about his sexuality the “most frightening of all the towering mountains of fear I somehow had to confront and struggle to scale.”

Man pleads guilty in killing of gay teen; jury trial to decide sentence in capital case

MOBILE, Ala. A week before the start of his capital murder trial, Christopher Gaines pleaded guilty Monday, April 30, in the killing of a north Baldwin teen prosecutors say was killed at least in part because he was gay.

Despite the plea, state law dictates that a jury must hear evidence in the case to determine whether the capital murder charge applies in the slaying of Scotty Joe Weaver, the Mobile Press-Register reported on its Web site.

Weaver was robbed of $65 to $80 and killed in July 2004.

Authorities said he had been beaten, strangled, cut and burned.

Robert Holly Lofton Porter, 20, and Nichole Bryars Kelsay, 20, are also charged with capital murder in the slaying and await trial.

Gaines and Kelsay had shared an apartment with Weaver in the Pine Grove Community.

Defense attorneys declined to say whether Gaines will testify if either of the other two defendants go to trial.

Vermont House approves bill protecting transgenders from discrimination

The Vermont House of Representatives on Wednesday, May 2, voted 118 to 28 to approve a bill extending existing anti-discrimination laws to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity in employment, public accommodations, housing, insurance and credit services.

The bill had significant bipartisan support, with 22 Republicans voting in favor of the legislation.

The Senate previously voted 27-to 1 to approve an earlier version of the bill, which will now go to conference committee before being sent to Gov. Jim Douglas.

This measure would make Vermont would become the 11th U.S. state to ban workplace discrimination on the basis of gender identity, and the third to enact such protections this year.

Colorado Legislature passes bill banning anti-gay employment discrimination

DENVER Gay people would be protected from being fired based on their sexual orientation under a bill approved Thursday, May 3, by the Colorado Legislature.

Lawmakers have passed similar bills in the last two years but they both were vetoed by former Republican Gov. Bill Owens.

The bill adds sexual orientation as well as religion to the list of things employers aren’t allowed to consider when hiring, firing or making promotions. People who are discriminated against on those grounds would be able to file a lawsuit.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 4, 2007

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