Big Gay News

Local News

District Urged To Discipline Teachers in Antigay Bullying Case

Community members concerned about a recent case of antigay harassment toward a high school student attended a school board meeting in August to voice their frustration. The Minnesota Department of Human Rights alleges that teachers Walter Filson and Diane Cleveland made antigay comments about 17-year-old Alex Merritt’s perceived homosexuality. Earlier in August, the Anoka-Hennepin County School District decided to settle the case with a $25,000 payment to Merritt’s family. Many of those at the meeting asked the district to discipline the teachers in question. Organizer Adam Fairbanks told reporters, “We’re hoping they will take steps to fire the two teachers, or they’ll resign.” School board members told the St. Paul Pioneer Press they believed the district acted appropriately under its current policies and state statutes.

National News

Gay Marriage Draws Out-of-State Couples to Iowa

The Des Moines Register reports that after April’s Iowa Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in the state, data show up to 45 percent of marriages are by out-of-state couples. Between April 27 and July 27, 5,214 marriage certificates were issued statewide, of which 676 were for same-sex couples. Of those couples, 312 weren’t from Iowa. Data show 57 couples were from Illinois, 38 were from Nebraska, 37 were from Missouri, and 36 were from Minnesota.

Gay Marriage Begins in Vermont

Same-sex marriage ceremonies began in Vermont the first week of September. It is the first state to enact same-sex marriage legislation without the involvement of the courts. It was also the first state to allow same-sex civil unions in 2000. Bill Slimback, who married his husband, Bob Sullivan, in a ceremony shortly after Midnight on September 1, said, “We’ve waited a long time to do this—basically, our whole lives.”

Texas Liquor Board Fires Three Over Raid on Gay Bar

Based on their involvement in the controversial raid on a Fort Worth gay bar in June, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has fired two agents and a supervisor. Agent Christopher Aller and agent trainee Jason Chapman were dismissed. Their supervisor, Sergeant Terry Parsons, who was not at the bar on the night of the raid, was terminated effective September 2. Two other officials have been disciplined.

Utah Governor Says Gays Not Protected Class

Utah Governor Gary Herbert told reporters that discrimination against gays and lesbians should not be illegal, and that sexual orientation should not be a protected class like race, gender, and religion. He said in his first monthly news conference, “We don’t have to have a rule for everybody to do the right thing. We ought to just do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do, and we don’t have to have a law that punishes us if we don’t.” It remains legal in Utah to fire someone for being gay or transgender.

Antigay Group Sues Hotel, Claims Discrimination

Peter LaBarbera, leader of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, has filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against the Naperville Holiday Inn Select, claiming a fund-raiser there was canceled because of his group’s religious beliefs against gays and lesbians. He did not have a written contract for the event, and no money was paid. LaBarbera said hotel management told him the reservation was canceled because of “potential negative publicity.” He apparently informed the hotel it could expect protesters outside his event. He told reporters, “It’s always easy to come up with excuses, but the real truth is, they didn’t like our message. If you allow this sort of hecklers veto, you’re sanctioning discrimination.”

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