Thursday, November 24, 2011

Brandon McInerney Sentenced to 21 Years in Prison

Months after Brandon McInerney's trial ended in a hung jury, the teen has now been sentenced to 21 years in prison in exchange for pleading guilty to second-degree manslaughter and voluntary manslaughter. McInerney, who fatally shot Lawrence "Larry" King in the back of the head in 2008 for being gay, will be 38 years-old by the time he is released. McInerney's defense painted the picture of a student who could no longer stand King's repeated sexual advances, but in reality McInerney was a budding white supremacist who owned a copy of "Mein Kampf", had a notebook filled with Nazi symbols and associated with a racist gang called the S.S.L. This news, however, has not stopped anti-gay figures such as the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer and Save California's Randy Thomasson from blaming King's death on his own "flamboyant behavior" and portraying McInerney as the real victim.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

America's LGBT Homeless Problem

Photo courtesy of Margot Adler/NPR

NPR provides an excellent piece on homeless LGBT youth in America entitled "Young, Gay And Homeless: Fighting For Resources." What is revealing is that somewhere between 30 and 40 percent of homeless youths identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, with much of this problem stemming from them being kicked out of their homes by their own families.

Friday, November 18, 2011

California Supreme Court: Prop 8 Backers Can Challenge Court Ruling

On Thursday the California Supreme Court ruled that, the official proponent of Proposition 8, has legal standing to challenge the 2010 decision by District Judge Vaughn Walker which overturned the ban on same-sex marriage. Now that the issue of standing has been settled, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will be able to decide the case on its merits and determine whether or not Prop 8 is unconstitutional. Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage, a key Prop 8 contributor, stated that while he fully expects the Ninth Circuit to invalidate Prop 8 and find "some phony right to same-sex marriage in the U.S. Constitution", he nevertheless expects victory "once this case gets out of San Francisco" and reaches the U.S. Supreme Court.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Massachusetts Passes Transgender Anti-Discrimination Bill

The Massachusetts Senate passed a bill which protects transgender people in the housing and credit industries as well as the workplace, and includes them under hate crime protections. The bill also adds the definition of gender identity to the General Laws of Massachusetts:

"Gender identity" shall mean a person's gender-related identity, appearance or behavior, whether or not that gender-related identity, appearance or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person's physiology or assigned sex at birth. Gender-related identity may be shown by providing evidence including, but not limited to, medical history, care or treatment of the gender-related identity, consistent and uniform assertion of the gender-related identity or any other evidence that the gender-related identity is sincerely held, as part of a person's core identity; provided however, gender-related identity shall not be asserted for improper purpose.

The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 95-56 and has been sent to be signed by Governor Deval Patrick.

Thanks to OUTlaw 1L Rep. Kaley Lentini for the link.

Religious Exemption Dropped from MI Anti-Bullying Law

Earlier this month the Michigan State Senate passed "Matt's Safe School Law", a piece of anti-bullying legislation named after Matt Epling, an East Lansing teen who committed suicide after being subjected to relentless homophobic bullying. The law, designed to prohibit harassment and bullying at school, was met with fierce opposition by anti-gay activists such as the Michigan AFA's Gary Glenn, who called it a "Trojan Horse" for "homosexual activists." Republican Senators briefly added an exemption for bullying based on "religious or moral convictions", igniting a firestorm of controversy and earning them a stinging rebuke from Democratic Senator Gretchen Whitmer. In response, Senator Rick Jones has agreed to drop the religious exemption and leave the bill as it was originally intended.

Monday, November 14, 2011

MA Transgender Rights Bill

Advocates report that the House is set to debate a transgender rights bill. Read more from Masslive.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

American Bar Association Supports Repeal of DOMA

The American Bar Association (ABA) has now officially gone on record in support of the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Thomas Susman, the director of  the ABA’s Governmental Affairs Office, sent a letter to the senate judiciary committee in which he voiced the ABA's support for repealing the law on the grounds that it is "discriminatory" and causes "legal confusion and complications."

Special thanks to OUTlaw President Erika Scibelli for finding the article.