Obama Signs Bill Beginning the End of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
President Barack Obama signed legislation in December that begins the process of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the military’s ban on openly gay service members. The legislation alone does not repeal the policy, but allows the President and the Pentagon to determine how and when it happens. Obama has said the process will take months, not years. The legislation does not grant gay and lesbian service members equal treatment in the military. For example, once they can serve, their partners will not be entitled to the same benefits heterosexual service members receive.
Gay Man Leads North Carolina Council of Churches
The Charlotte Observer reports that openly gay Stan Kimer has been elected President of the North Carolina Council of Churches (NCCC), a coalition of 17 Christian denominations. Only one other openly gay leader has been elected to any of the country’s 33 similar church councils. NCCC Executive Director Reverend George Reed told the newspaper, “A lot of our member denominations have internal battles about this, but the governing board felt the fact that he is a gay man was not a disqualifying factor.”
Virginia Lawmaker Introduces Bill To Ban Gay Troops from National Guard
In response to the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Virginia state legislator Bob Marshall has announced he is drafting legislation that would ban “active homosexuals” from the state’s National Guard units. He said in a statement, “This policy will weaken military recruitment and retention, and will increase pressure for a military draft.” He alleged that Congress was “conducting a social experiment with our troops and our national security.” Even if the legislation were brought up for a vote, it is unlikely it would pass, or be signed by the governor.
Austin Gay Men Attacked After Hugging
Two gay men in Austin, Texas, say they were attacked in December after leaving a gay nightclub. According to Bobby Beltran and Christopher Ortega, the two were hugging each other good-bye when a car full of men stopped nearby, and yelled antigay slurs at them. Beltran recounted, “I just turned, and I said, ‘That stuff’s not welcome here in Austin. We don’t accept that.’ And that really set them off.” He added that the men then got out of the car, and jumped Ortega and him. No one has been arrested in the case.
UN Votes To Restore Sexual Orientation to Human Rights Resolution
Reuters reports that the United Nations has voted to restore a sexual orientation reference to a resolution condemning unjust killings for a variety of reasons, including race, national origin, religion, and ethnicity. It was removed in November after a proposal by African and Arab nations. The resulting outcry from Western nations led to an amendment from the United States to restore it. Cary Alan Johnson, Executive Director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, told reporters, “The outpouring of support from the international community sent the strong message to our representatives at the UN that it is unacceptable to make invisible the deadly violence LGBT people face because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation.”
Luxury Hotel for Gay Men To Open in Mexico
The Adonis Tulum hotel, a luxury property catering exclusively to gay male tourists, is scheduled to open in January in Mexico’s Tulum archeological zone in the state of Quintana Roo. Patrick Lurenz, the hotel’s General Director, remarked, “The hotel is uniquely for men. Only homosexual couples are accepted. It’s not for women, although among our personnel, we have heterosexual men and women, and all have received specialized training to avoid having our guests feel uncomfortable or discriminated against.”