National & World News
Hundreds March To Remember Slain Teen
Hundreds of teenagers marched in February to honor a Southern California 15-year-old killed in school in an alleged hate crime. The march in Oxnard in memory of Lawrence King was organized by two teenagers who, like police and officials, said they were surprised by the number of people who showed up, the Los Angeles Times reported. King and his alleged killer, Brandon McInerney, were students at E.O. Green Middle School. Classmates have said that King recently came out as gay, upsetting some other boys, including McInerney. King died after being taken off life support. McInerney, 14, has been charged as an adult with first-degree murder with a hate-crime enhancement.
Man Charged with Unprotected Sex
An HIV-positive Missouri man has been charged with having unprotected sex with a woman in St. Charles County without warning her she might get AIDS. Michael Bergman was jailed in lieu of $250,000 bail, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Investigators—who say Bergman may have had sex with five people, both men and women, since learning he was HIV-positive—are trying to trace his partners. Bergman allegedly told the woman he believed she already was infected with AIDS: “I don’t want to lose you, I love you, and I figured we could be sick together.” If the woman turns out to be HIV-positive, Bergman could face more serious charges. He was charged with recklessly risking another person being infected with HIV, which carries a prison term of 5 to 15 years.
Antigay Group to Protest NIU Funerals
The Baptist group led by Reverend Fred Phelps is protesting the funerals of two victims of the Illinois campus shootings, saying it was God’s revenge against gays. Steven Kazmierczak, 27, opened fire in a geology class at Northern Illinois University, killing five students and later himself. Phelps leads members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Kansas who protest the funerals of Iraqi war veterans, claiming their deaths are God’s revenge against homosexuals.
Colorado Same-Sex Marriage Ban Challenged
A lesbian couple charged with trespassing for refusing to leave a clerk’s office without a marriage license is appealing the Colorado ban on same-sex marriage. Mari Newman, the attorney representing Catherine Burns and Sheila Schroeder of Englewood, filed a motion asking a court to strike down Amendment 43, The Denver Post reported. The amendment was adopted by referendum in 2006. Newman argues that the amendment violates several amendments to the US Constitution. “Marriage is a fundamental right that should be enjoyed by all Coloradoans,” she said. Burns and Schroeder were charged with misdemeanor trespassing in September for refusing to leave the Denver Clerk and Recorder’s Office after they were told state law barred them from marriage.
Presbyterian Court Upholds Gay Clergy Ban
The top ecclesiastical court in the Presbyterian Church USA has upheld the church’s ban on ordaining noncelibate gays and lesbians. The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky) reported that the church’s General Assembly’s Permanent Judicial Commission said the Presbyterian Constitution allows “no departures” from its requirement that candidates for ministry live either in “fidelity” in a heterosexual marriage or in chastity. The ruling came weeks after two openly gay ministerial candidates received approval from regional governing bodies in California and Minnesota. A statement from More Light Presbyterians, which calls for greater inclusion of gays and lesbians in the church, called the ruling disappointing, the newspaper reported.
Idaho Senator Rebuked by Ethics Panel
The US Senate Ethics Committee has said Senator Larry Craig (Republican-Idaho) acted improperly in a 2007 police sex sting in a Minneapolis airport restroom. However, while the Senate panel “publicly admonished” him in a letter, it administered no formal punishment, The Washington Post reported. In closing out the matter, the committee said Craig’s actions have “reflected discreditably on the Senate.” Craig stated, “I am disappointed and strongly disagree with the conclusions” of the committee.” Craig also was cited by the six-member panel for using more than $213,000 from his campaign committee to pay legal expenses in the case without getting permission from the committee.
Body Identified as Gay Lover of Edward II
A mutilated body found in a British abbey graveyard has been identified as that of the gay lover of England’s medieval King Edward II. The Telegraph reported that the remains thought to be those of Sir Hugh Despenser the Younger indicate he died a horrific death. He appears to have been hanged as well as drawn and quartered. After gaining favor with the king, his demise came when Queen Isabella and her ally, Roger Mortimer, deposed Edward from the throne in 1326. Despenser’s decapitated remains were buried at Hulton Abbey. They first were unearthed during the 1970s. Reading University Anthropologist Mary Lewis says the manner of execution, carbon-dating of the bones, and the absence of several parts of the body indicates the remains are those of Despenser. In his acclaimed 1991 film Edward II, British gay director Derek Jarman depicted the story of Edward and Despenser.
Parish Splits with Anglican Church
A Vancouver, British Columbia, parish has voted overwhelmingly to leave the Anglican Church in Canada in favor of a more conservative one in South America. The Anglican leadership’s sanctioning of same-sex marriage is the key theological issue that caused 90 percent of St. John’s Shaughnessy congregation to vote in favor of joining the Province of the Southern Cone, the Canadian Broadcast Corp. reported. The parish is the first in Canada to split with the Anglican Church over same-sex marriages. Archbishop Fred Hiltz, who leads the Anglican Church in Canada, sent the congregation a letter saying it must relinquish any claim to church property or assets.
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