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Entries in Homosexual (9)

Tuesday
Jul172012

Boy Scouts Reaffirm Ban on Gays

Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images(IRVING, Texas) -- The Boy Scouts of America on Tuesday reaffirmed its policy of excluding gays from joining or being leaders – a decision that’s disappointing gay rights groups.

A special committee of Scout executive and adult volunteers formed in 2010 concluded unanimously that the anti-gay policy was “in the best interest” of the 100-year-old organization.

The Scouts is one of the largest youth organizations in the country with 2.7 million members and more than 1 million adult volunteers.

Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout and son of Iowa lesbians who has been outspoken in the issue, today accused the organization of basing their decision on a committee of "11 unelected, unnamed bureaucrats."

"Why not put out a call and make it a democratic process?" he said to ABC News. "Why have a secretive committee make the decision?"

"I believe the vast majority of Scout families do not support their policy on excluding gays and if that is the case, they picked an awfully interesting way of affirming that in their report," said Wahls.

"It's disappointing," he said. "The first value of the Scout's law, is a scout is trustworthy and this process does not sound trustworthy. We don't know who the people are -- they are not named and they are not willing to accept responsibility for their actions."

But the Scouts' chief executive, Bob Mazzuca, said that both leaders and Scouts overwhelmingly support the policy.

"The vast majority of the parents of youth we serve value their right to address issues of same-sex orientation within their family, with spiritual advisers and at the appropriate time and in the right setting," Mazzuca said. "We fully understand that no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society."

Just this week AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, executive board member of the Boy Scouts of America, said he was committed to ending the ban. He takes over as president in 2012, according to Wahls.

"Things are changing," said Wahls. "He will be one of the three most powerful men in the organization."

The exclusion policy was challenged in 2000, but the U.S. Supreme Court sided with the Boy Scouts of America, ruling 5-4 that the organization was exempt from state laws that bar anti-gay discrimination.

The court overturned a ruling by the New Jersey Supreme Court to require a troop to readmit a longtime gay scoutmaster who had been dismissed.

The Girl Scouts of America has had a diversity policy and non-discrimination clause since 1980.

GLAAD President Herndon Graddick expressed dismay over the decision.

"With organizations including the Girl Scouts of the USA, the Boys & Girls Club and the U.S. military allowing gay Americans to participate, the Boy Scouts of America need to find a way to treat all children and their parents fairly," said Graddick in a prepared statement.

"Until this ban is lifted, the Scouts are putting parents in a situation where they have to explain to their children why some scouts and hard-working scout leaders are being turned away simply because of who they are. It's unfair policies like this that contribute to a climate of bullying in our schools and communities. Since when is that a value worth teaching young adults?"

The president of the largest U.S. gay-rights group, Chad Griffin, of the Human Rights Campaign, depicted the Scouts' decision as "a missed opportunity of colossal proportions."

"With the country moving toward inclusion, the leaders of the Boy Scouts of America have instead sent a message to young people that only some of them are valued," he said. "They've chosen to teach division and intolerance."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun052012

Prop 8 Headed to the Supreme Court

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A federal appeals court in California has denied a petition to have Prop 8—the 2008 California ballot initiative that defines marriage as between a man and a woman—further reviewed by a larger panel of judges.  Tuesday’s filing means that the case is headed to the Supreme Court of the United States.  

In February, the majority of a three judge panel sitting on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Prop 8 ruling that the initiative “serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California and to officially reclassify their relationship and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples.” The court ruled on narrow grounds specific to California and Proposition 8. It did not find a fundamental right of same sex couples to marry.

Supporters of Prop 8 had asked for “en banc” review of the case, which would have meant that the Chief Judge of the circuit along with 10 randomly selected judges would have mooted their colleagues’ decision and started anew. But in a filing Tuesday the court said that a majority of judges had voted to deny the petition.

The court stayed the three judge ruling pending an appeal to the Supreme Court.

“Today’s order is yet another federal court victory for loving, committed gay and lesbian couples in California and around the nation,” said Chad Griffin, the Co-founder of The American Foundation for Equal Rights, the group that brought the challenge to Prop 8.

“This is a great step forward towards the day when everyone will be able to marry the person they love” said AFER attorney David Boies.

Andy Pugno, general counsel for ProtectMarriage.com, the official proponents of Prop 8, said his group will appeal the case to the Supreme Court. “Perhaps the most positive news from today’s decision is that the court has stayed the decision up to and including the time that the United States Supreme Court finally decides this case. We will promptly file our appeal to the nation’s highest court and look forward to a positive outcome on behalf of the millions of Californians who believe in traditional marriage,” Pugno said in a statement.

Three 9th Circuit judges -- Carlos T. Bea, Jay S. Bybee and Diarmuid Fionntain O’Scannlain -- wrote separately Tuesday arguing that a larger panel of the court should have taken  up the case. In their dissent, the judges referenced President Obama’s recent interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts in which he said he personally supports same sex marriage.

“A few weeks ago, subsequent to oral argument in this case, the President of the United States ignited a media firestorm by announcing that he supports same sex marriage as a policy matter. Drawing less attention, however, were his comments that the Constitution left this matter to the States and that one of the things that he’d like to see is 'that the conversation continue in a respectful way.’ Today our court has silenced any such respectful conversation.”

Judges Stephen Reinhardt and Michael Daly Hawkins, who authored the three judge panel decision, wrote separately to address the dissent. “We are puzzled by our dissenting colleagues’ unusual reliance on the President’s views regarding the Constitution, especially as the President did not discuss the narrow issue that we decided in our opinion,” they wrote. They stressed that in their opinion they had ruled narrowly that under the particular circumstances relating to California’s Prop 8, the measure was invalid.

“We did not resolve the fundamental question that both sides asked us to: whether the Constitution prohibits the states from banning same-sex marriage. That question may be decided in the near future, but if so, it should be in some other case, at some other time,” they said.

Tuesday’s ruling comes a week after a federal appeals court in Boston struck down a key provision of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). In that case, legally married same sex couples argue that the federal government is denying them benefits available to opposite sex couples.

The Supreme Court will most likely consider both the PROP 8 case and the DOMA cases next term.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar222012

Gay Cruise Passengers Arrested for Sex on the Ship

Bruno Vincent/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Two Americans traveling on a gay cruise were arrested on the Caribbean island of Dominica for having sex on one of the ship's balconies.

Gay sex, known as "buggery" on the island, is against Dominican laws. Public indecency and having sex in view of the public are also against the law there, according to police superintendent David Andrew.

John Robert Hart, 41, and Dennis K. Mayer, 43, pleaded guilty Thursday to the charge of public indecency. They were fined $2,400 and were released following payment, Andrew said.

Police in Dominica were alerted to the behavior by people on shore who could see the balcony, according to Andrew. Police then boarded the ship, which was docked at the Roseau port, and arrested the men.

Hart and Mayer were part of a gay cruise group from California sponsored by Atlantis Events, which runs gay tourism trips around the world and markets itself as running the largest gay cruise in the world. The group chartered a Celebrity Cruise ship for the trip to Dominica.

Neither Atlantis Events nor Celebrity Cruises responded to requests for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct282011

Cellphone Captures Boy Beating Gay Student

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(CHILLICOTHE, Ohio) -- An Ohio high school student waited in a classroom to attack a 15-year-old gay classmate, beating him repeatedly in a vicious assault captured by a bystander on a cellphone.

"I covered myself and shielded my body, and he kept hitting," the gay student, who did not want to be identified, told ABC's affiliate WSYX in Ohio. "Nobody did anything."

Now the boy's mother, Rebecca Collins of Chillicothe, has said she would seek justice for the Oct. 17 beating.

The Ross County Sheriff's office said it is investigating the attack but so far has not made any arrests.

James Osborne, principal at Union-Scioto High School, located about 50 miles south of Columbus, confirmed the "unfortunate" attack, and said "charges have been filed."

"It turns my stomach," Collins told ABC's affiliate station. "It's my son. I don't care, and they did it just because he's a homosexual."

Other students watched as the attacker waited for his victim to arrive in the classroom. He then shoved his prey to the ground, and repeatedly punched him in the face.

Collins said her son broke two teeth, and may have suffered a concussion.

The recording of the attack has been posted on Facebook and YouTube.

The student who initiated the attack was suspended for three days.

According to the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, which helps gay students and works with schools to set up support programs, one in four LGBT students have experienced some form of assault in Ohio each year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul182011

Rejected Blood Donor to Sue Over Faulty 'Gaydar'

22 year-old Aaron Pace is attempting to file charges against a blood center in Indiana after he was denied a request to give blood because, he says, the staff told him he appeared to be homosexual. (Aaron Pace)(GARY, Ind.) -- Aaron Pace claims he is the victim of faulty "gaydar" and intends to sue for discrimination after he was not allowed to give blood because he appeared to be homosexual.

Pace, who is 22 and insists he is straight, was rejected from giving blood by Bio-Blood Components Inc. in Gary, Ind., earlier this month.

Federal guidelines forbid blood donations by gays. The regulations dates back to 1983 and the outbreak of AIDS and the virus associated with AIDS, HIV.

"I was humiliated," Pace told ABC News. "This was my first time experiencing this."

Pace said he filled out a questionnaire at Bio-Blood Components Inc. and sat through an interview with a staff member. When the interview was over, Pace was told he was not eligible to give blood and was turned away.

"She said 'I'm sorry, but it's the way that you act and appear to be. [It's] your sexuality.' And I said 'because I'm what?' and she said 'because you're gay,'" said Pace. He demanded to speak with the doctor on site who reiterated that he had been denied.

Pace said Monday that he plans to sue for sexual orientation discrimination.

Pace said he has an effeminate voice, and thinks that perhaps that was what caused the blood center to assume he was homosexual.

Bio-Blood Components Inc. did not return ABC News' call requesting comment.

Blood donation sites across the country have been banned since 1983 from allowing gay men to donate blood due to a Food and Drug Administration regulation. The American Red Cross and other groups that supply donated blood have asked for a review of the regulation.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun032011

DADT Discharge Was Because of Voluntary Outing

Bill Clark/Roll Call/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The first case of a gay service member being discharged since the signing of the law that begins the process of repealing the Don’t Tell, Don’t Ask Law involved an Airman who voluntarily outed himself to get out of the Air Force.

The Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law barring gays from serving openly in the military is likely to be repealed in a few months, but until then the law still remains in effect.

Under the repeal signed into law last December, DADT won’t be reversed until 60 days after Defense Secretary Gates, Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen and President Obama certify that the readiness of the force has not been affected.  To that end, all of the services are in the midst of training their forces for what will change when repeal occurs.  Top Pentagon officials have said they expect certification to occur in mid- summer; that will begin the 60 day clock to repeal.

But last night the Air Force confirmed that a DADT discharge had occurred on April 29.  The news was surprising because last October, Gates had raised the bar so high for a DADT discharge to occur that none had occurred since then. Under Gates’ directive a servic emember’s discharge could only occur after consultation between the secretary of the relevant service, the Pentagon’s General Counsel and top personnel chief.

That was all done to prevent a gay service member from being discharged involuntarily under the law, but it didn’t prevent a service member from declaring themselves to be gay and wanting to leave the service and that’s exactly what happened in this case.

According to Air Force Spokesman Maj. Joel Harper on that date, “the Secretary of the Air Force approved the discharge of an Airman under the provisions of 10 USC 654, after coordination with the DoD General Counsel and the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. Each of these officials evaluated the case carefully, and concluded that separation was appropriate.  The Airman in the case asked to be separated expeditiously.  Until repeal occurs, 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' remains the law."

Harper says the Air Force expects to finish its training on June 30th, and there have been no reports of problems with the training.

In a statement reacting to news of the discharge, Alexander Nicholson, the Executive Director of the advocacy group Servicemembers United said “this appears to be a classic case of someone simply trying to use the fact that the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law is still technically on the books to get out of his or her service obligation.”  However, he said “it shows why the DADT law is flawed and harms the military - it can also be abused to allow someone to receive expensive training and then skip out on their commitment to serve, or it can simply be used to quit the military early by forcing an early separation."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb112011

Rumsfeld: 'Time Has Come' to Allow Gays to Serve Openly

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who served at the Pentagon under two Republican presidents, says the “time has come” time for gays and lesbians to serve openly in the U.S. military.

Two months after President Obama signed a law that will lead to the repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell, Rumsfeld told ABC News Radio the nation is ready for open service.

“First of all, we know that gays and lesbians have been serving in the military for decades with honorable service,” Rumsfeld said.  “We know that [repeal of a ban on gays serving openly] is an idea whose time has come.”

Rumsfeld says he has “enormous respect” for the ground commanders and service chiefs who have expressed concerns about the impact of gays serving openly on unit cohesion, and he urged the top brass to implement the new law “with care.”

But Rumsfeld says that congress, which passed the repeal bill in the waning days of the last session, has expressed the will of the American people.

“We’ve seen it evolve in our country,” Rumsfeld said of the nation’s perception of gays and lesbians, reiterating that many have served in uniform with distinction.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan022011

Raunchy Videos Prompt Naval Investigation

Photo Courtesy - Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jared M. King/U.S. Navy(NORFOLK, Va.) -- The U.S. Navy's Fleet Forces Command on Saturday launched an investigation into raunchy videos it concedes were shown on board the USS Enterprise, involving an officer who now commands the ship.

The videos were first obtained by the Norfolk, Va., newspaper The Virginian-Pilot, with a report Saturday that indicated the ship's captain, Owen Honors, appeared in the videos when he was the Enterprise's second-ranking officer.  In the video, he uses a gay slur, makes gestures apparently meant to simulate masturbation and refers to "chicks in showers" at a point where the video depicts two women in a shower together.  The videos were apparently shown on board the ship via closed-circuit television.

In a statement, the Fleet Command emphasizes the videos were made in 2006 and 2007.  Commander Chris Sims said in the paper statement that the videos are clearly inappropriate, not acceptable when they were made, and not acceptable now.  Sims told ABC News the videos are authentic.  He would not say whether the Fleet Command knew of the videos or Honors' role in the production of them when he was promoted to Captain of the Enterprise in May.

The aircraft carrier deploys in two weeks.  As of Sunday, Commander Sims said Honors' position was unchanged and he remains captain of the ship.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct112010

NYPD Hunts Ninth Gang Member in Brutal Gay Assault

Photo Courtesy - ABC News/WABC-TV New York(NEW YORK) -- New York City police are searching for a ninth suspect accused of participating in a savage, night-long gang assault against a man and two teenage boys whom they accused of being gay, authorities said Monday.

A citywide manhunt is in place for Rudy Vargas-Perez, 22, who police say participated in a torture session that involved slashing the victims with box cutters, burning them with cigarettes, sodomizing them with a plunger handle and, in one case, forcing a victim to select the weapon with which he would be beaten -- a bat or pipe.

Cops denied reports that Vargas-Perez had offered to turn himself in and then ran off.

Perez's eight accused accomplices, all allegedly members of the Bronx gang the Latin King Goonies, were arraigned in court Sunday on hate-crime, robbery, assault, sexual abuse and unlawful imprisonment charges.

The nine members of the gang earlier this month heard a rumor that one of their 17-year-old recruits was gay. Early in the morning on Oct. 3, the gang members allegedly lured the teenager to an abandoned apartment, stripped him, beat him and sodomized him a plunger handle.

Prosecutors say the men then lured another 17-year-old boy and a 30-year-old man in to the apartment, where they were also tortured, in an attack city officials have condemned for its brutality.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio