In Maine, state lawmakers gave final approval to a bill to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination, WCBS-TV reported. The state Senate approved the bill 25-10, the House voted 91-58, and there was no debate in either chamber. The bill was signed by Gov. John Baldacci, making Maine the sixth and final New England state to pass such a law. The bill would amend the Maine Human Rights Act by making it illegal to discriminate in employment, housing, credit, public accommodations, and education based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Human Rights Campaign expressed concern over statements made by religious extremists about the upcoming Jerusalem WorldPride Festival. According to an HRC release, the LGBT pride event will be held in Jerusalem, Israel, on Aug. 18-28. Led by southern California evangelical Christian pastor Rev. Leo Giovinetti, extremist representatives of the Muslim, Christian, and Jewish faiths demanded that the festival, themed 'Love without Borders', not be allowed to be held in the Holy City.
Hundreds of members of the North American LGBT communities will travel to Israel on the United Jewish Communities Pride in Israel Mission, Aug. 14-21. Joining mission participants will be U.S. congressman Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Rabbi Steven Greenberg, who was featured in the gay Jewish documentary Trembling Before G-d. The last portion of the mission coincides with the beginning of Love Without Borders: Jerusalem WorldPride 2005.
A Florida woman has denied claims by the Boy Scouts of America that a top national Scout executive who pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography in Texas was only a paper pusher who never had access to children, the Miami Herald reported. Douglas Smith Jr., 61, pleaded guilty in a Fort Worth courtroom to a federal charge of possession and distribution of child pornography. The charge stemmed from an investigation in which authorities found 520 photographs and video clips of child pornography on Smith's home computer. Smith faces five to 20 years in prison. Pat Douglas, a former administrative assistant at the Boy Scouts of America's Florida High Adventure Sea Base in Islamorada, said at least once a year, Smith would visit the camp to participate in a seven-day sailing excursion during which he and another adult would supervise six youths.
The American Civil Liberties Union ( ACLU ) applauded the dramatic improvements in medical treatment and living conditions for hundreds of HIV-positive Mississippi prisoners as a result of litigation. In a statement from the organization, Margaret Winter, associate director of the ACLU's National Prison Project and lead attorney for the prisoners, said that the suit 'has accomplished its purpose of saving lives and ending discriminatory policies against prisoners with HIV/AIDS.'
Hartford ( Conn. ) Superior Court Judge Linda Priestley told two women seeking to annul a civil marriage they filed with the clerk of Provincetown, Mass., that their union was legally void, the Connecticut Law Tribune reported. In a 10-page decision, Priestley determined that Connecticut courts have no jurisdiction to rule because the state has not yet endorsed same-sex marriage.Read more story below....
In New York, four teens were busted for beating 35-year-old Nelson Torres in an apparent gay-bashing, the New York Daily News reported. Oscar Bautista and Manuel Mendez, both 16, and two 14-year-old boys hit the victim and screamed anti-gay insults at him, police said. The youths were arrested on criminal charges, including third-degree assault, harassment, and perpetration of a hate crime.
A retired Navy psychiatrist accused the military of not respecting the doctor-patient confidentiality of more than 65,000 lesbian and gay military personnel, according to a release from the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. Capt. Mike Rankin, M.D., USNR ( Ret. ) , claimed that LGBT servicemembers are being outed by healthcare providers and, as a result, being discharged under the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy.
In New York, the state's highest court declined to hear two cases contesting the state law that bars same-sex couples from getting married, the Associated Press reported. The Court of Appeals ruled it does not have the jurisdiction to hear the cases before they first go to a lower appellate court. In February, state Supreme Court Justice Doris Ling-Cohan ruled the state law is unconstitutional, ruling in favor of five same-sex couples who had been denied marriage licenses by New York City. In a statement, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg said that he believes 'that marriage should be open to gay and lesbian couples, and it is my responsibility to see that when licenses are issued, they are irrevocable and backed by the full weight of the law.'
The San Francisco Superior Court judge who ruled that same-sex couples in California have a constitutional right to marry agreed to stay his orders while the appeals process gets under way, according to Bay City News. The stay, to be issued by Judge Richard Kramer, means there cannot be any same-sex weddings in the state until and unless his ruling is upheld on appeal, a process that could take one to two years.
An Alabama federal judge has announced he will not accept Yale Law School students for federal clerkships because he opposes the school's decision to limit military recruiting on its campus, according to PlanetOut.com. Yale Law School officials recently reinstated a policy restricting on-campus military recruitment because the military's 'don't ask, don't tell' policy violates the school's anti-discrimination policy.
Openly gay U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and the Gay and Lesbian Leadership Institute released a letter signed by 40 gay and lesbian public officials that called on Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America ( PhRMA ) members to condemn what the letter called 'the gratuitous political gay bashing' by USA Next, an organization funded primarily by PhRMA. According to a release from Frank's office, USA Next 'gratuitously and inaccurately attacked' the American Association of Retired Persons as a supporter of same-sex marriage in the course of the debate on the partial privatization of Social Security.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that those who say they have been retaliated against for complaining about unlawful gender discrimination can sue under a federal law barring sex bias at schools and colleges that get federal aid. The 5-4 ruling was a victory for Roderick Jackson, a girls' basketball coach at an Alabama high school who said he lost his job after he complained that his players received less favorable treatment than the boys' teams.
An Albany County ( N.Y. ) legislator withdrew a proposal amending a county law to extend protections against discrimination to transgender individuals, the Times Union said. Democrat John Frederick of Albany's 6th District said chances for passage were slim.
In Maine, a bill that seeks to protect unborn gay children has upset many gay-rights activists but has been approved by gay pro-life advocates. The bill, LD 908, would make it illegal in Maine to abort a fetus that has the 'gay gene,' PlanetOut reported.
Many couples are reportedly opting out of California's domestic-partner registry for gays because of uncertainty over taxes and financial obligations, according to 365Gay.com. In January an expanded registry was implemented that offers most of the benefits of marriage to same-sex couples.