National News Briefs

By |2018-01-16T16:49:49-05:00October 31st, 2017|Uncategorized|
Family Rights

Colorado court holds lesbian co-parent can seek parental rights
{SAN FRANCISCO} The Colorado Court of Appeals ruled July 1 that a lesbian co-parent can seek custody or visitation with a child that she jointly raised with her former partner.
The pair were in a committed relationship for 11 years and decided to have a child together. One partner adopted a baby girl from China with the intention that both would parent her. Approximately 6 years after the child was adopted, the couple ended their relationship. After they separated, the adoptive mother argued that that her former partner had no legal right to visitation or care of their daughter.
In its decision, the Court of Appeals upheld the trial courtÕs order giving both equal parenting rights. The court explained that the other partner was entitled to seek parenting rights based on her established parental relationship with the child.

Three Ohio state universities to offer full benefits to same-sex couples
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Miami and Ohio universities are the first of the state’s public four-year schools to offer health and dental coverage, free tuition and other paid benefits to employees’ partners. Cleveland State University said it will soon follow.
Trustees at both schools passed resolutions supporting the benefits.
Cleveland State has clauses in three of its four union contracts requiring it to offer paid benefits to same-sex domestic partners if any of the state’s other public universities do so.
The new university benefits aren’t identical to those of married employees because the value must be taxed as income under federal law.

Law

ACLU Asks Kansas Supreme Court to Drop 17-Year Prison Sentence of Gay Teenager
TOPEKA, KS – In a brief filed June 24, the ACLU asked the Kansas Supreme Court to reverse a 17-year conviction for a teenager who would have only had to serve 15 months if he were heterosexual.
In February of 2000, Limon and another male teenager were both students at the same residential school for developmentally disabled youth. A week after Limon’s 18th birthday, he performed consensual oral sex on the other teenager, who was nearly 15 years old. Because Kansas’s so-called “Romeo and Juliet” law gives much lighter sentences to heterosexual teenagers who have sex with younger teens but specifically excludes gay teenagers, Limon was sentenced to 17 years in prison. A heterosexual teenager with the same record would serve no longer than 15 months for the same offense.
The papers filed in support of Limon’s appeal argue that the “Romeo and Juliet” law violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection guarantees. The Kansas Supreme Court agreed last month to hear the case after the Kansas Court of Appeals upheld the conviction in January. Limon’s case had landed back before the lower court after the U.S. Supreme Court ordered it to reconsider the matter in light of the Supreme Court’s decision last summer in Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down all same-sex-only sodomy laws.

Slain transgender teen granted posthumous name change
FREMONT, Calif. – A Superior Court Commissioner issued an order recognizing a name change from Eddie Araujo, Jr. to Gwen Amber Rose Araujo for the slain transgender teen. The order had been requested by AraujoÕs mother, in a May 25 hearing.
Transgender Law Center Co-Director Christopher Daley said, “Make no mistake, this court order is not a symbolic document. Due to last week’s mistrial, Gwen’s name and identity will once again be subject to unprincipled attacks from the same defense attorneys who have spent the last several months disrespecting her. It is my strong hope that as we move towards a retrial for their clients, each of these attorneys will give this order the respect it demands by referring to Gwen by her legal name.”

Univ. of Pittsburgh attempts to destroy discrimination protections
PITTSBURGH – The University of Pittsburgh has asked a Pennsylvania court to strike down all laws in the state against sexual orientation discrimination. The ACLU filed a brief in Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania in a lawsuit related to its litigation against the University of Pittsburgh for equal employment benefits for gay employees.
In its brief, the University of Pittsburgh argues that the City of Pittsburgh did not have the authority to include sexual orientation protection in its civil right ordinance since sexual orientation was not covered by state civil rights protections. Such reasoning would invalidate civil rights ordinances in other Pennsylvania cities including Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Lancaster, York and Erie that also protect against sexual orientation.
Oral arguments before the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania are expected to take place later this year.

Lambda Legal Files Lawsuit Against Foot Locker
COLUMBIA, South Carolina – Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit against Foot Locker, Inc., June 29 on behalf of a former employee who was subjected to severe antigay harassment by coworkers and supervisors, at two different store locations and in front of customers, and ultimately fired.
Kevin Dunbar, 26, suffered antigay harassment and discrimination at the hands of his coworkers, supervisors and customers. Foot Locker, Inc., promises a harassment-free workplace and includes sexual orientation in its policies on discrimination and harassment. When Dunbar formally complained, the promised confidentiality of the complaint was broken and the discrimination grew worse.
Dunbar was transferred from one store location to another, where his new store manager refused to shake his hand and said, “I heard about your shit, I don’t want your faggot ass in my store.”
Three customers who witnessed three separate incidents of antigay harassment have sworn affidavits on Dunbar’s behalf.
After Dunbar was sexually harassed by a store customer, Foot Locker terminated him based on his complaint about the harassment.
In conjunction with the lawsuit, Lambda Legal launched the “Blow the Whistle on Foot Locker” campaign today, designed to activate people nationwide beginning with a series of town hall meetings set to kick off in Columbia after Labor Day. An aggressive postcard campaign launched today will engage thousands of people nationwide in the “Blow the Whistle on Foot Locker” team, giving consumers a way to directly tell Foot Locker leadership that they won’t tolerate discrimination.
. Footlocker can be contacted at Foot Locker, Inc. Headquarters, 112 West 34th Street, New York, NY, 10120; or by phone at 212-720-3700.

Politics

Councilman planning sex change thanks Rapid City for support
RAPID CITY, S.D. – Tom Murphy, the Rapid City councilman who has said he plans to have a sex-change operation, praised the community for its support during two days of protests from members of an out-of-state church who called him an “abomination” in the eyes of God.
“I was very proud of Rapid City in the way people conducted themselves,” said Murphy. “They showed they were independent thinkers and don’t like what this group represents.”
Followers of the Rev. Fred Phelps, pastor of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., carried pickets outside local churches and demonstrated near Sen. Tom Daschle’s office and in front of city call.
The Rev. David Cameron, rector of Emmanuel Episcopal Church, said the Phelps message “represents a theology that most of us find unacceptable.”

In Other News

Gay pride parade goes on in Arkansas town despite protests, dumping of manure on route
CONWAY, Arkansas – Organizers of a gay pride parade awoke to find the parade route covered in cow manure, but it was cleaned up in time for the event by city workers.
Police said the dump-truck load was spread at about 6:30 a.m. June 27. Authorities are investigating, they said, and criminal mischief and littering charges could be filed.
The parade attracted about 275 marchers in the town of 26,000 north of Little Rock. It also attracted protesters, many from local churches. Police said there were no injuries or arrests.

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