Velvetpark Names NCLR’s Kate Kendell as One of the Top 25 Most Significant Queer Women of 2009

January 4, 2010

The Tireless Champion – Kate Kendell, Gay Rights Legal Council/Activist

Kate Kendell grew up gay and Mormon… in Utah. So then, it sort of makes sense that she was on the team leading the charge against Mormon-backed Proposition 8 to overturn gay marriage in California. Having served early in her career as the ACLU’s first staff attorney in Utah, she made her way to the National Center for Lesbian Rights in 1994, eventually becoming the group’s executive director in 1996. And every day she’s out there fighting the good fight for LGBT equality.

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A Big Step Forward for Mexico City

January 4, 2010

Los Angeles Times editorial

The bloody drug war has reinforced Mexico’s image as a macho country with a taste for violence. It was, therefore, particularly heartening this week to hear that Mexico City once again has bucked the stereotype and placed itself at the forefront of social change in Latin America, passing a law permitting people of the same sex to marry and adopt children. This is a triumph of tolerance over prejudice, of equal rights over discrimination. It is a step toward fighting institutional and sometimes physical violence against homosexuals, because it says that gays and lesbians are just like everyone else.

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With Gay Marriage Coming to D.C., Man Who Fought for It 2 Decades Ago Wants First Spot in Line

January 4, 2010

by Jessica Gresko | Los Angeles Times

Craig Dean’s first wedding was attended by thousands, and as he recited his vows, gay couples behind him on Constitution Avenue echoed their own.

It was 1993, and Dean and boyfriend Patrick Gill headlined what was billed as the largest gay marriage ceremony at the time. Dean, 29, and Gill, 26, were celebrities after suing the city of Washington for denying them a marriage license.

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New Jersey Gay Marriage Advocates Plan Trenton Rally to Urge Lawmakers’ Vote

January 4, 2010

by Mary Fuchs | The Star-Ledger

Clergy from 19 different faith groups around the state are asking Senate President Richard Codey (D-Essex) and Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts (D-Camden) to vote on same-sex marriage legislation before the current legislative session ends.

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New Hampshire Gays Ring in New Year with Weddings at Statehouse as Same-Sex Marriage Law Takes Effect

January 4, 2010

from the Los Angeles Times

Jubilant gay couples have rung in the New Year in New Hampshire with wedding vows to celebrate the state’s new law legalizing same-sex marriage.

At midnight, New Hampshire joined Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut and Iowa in allowing gay marriage.

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Watch Annise Parker Sworn in as Mayor of the City of Houston

January 4, 2010

Americans’ Role Seen in Uganda Anti-Gay Push

January 4, 2010

by By Jeffrey Gettleman | New York Times

Last March, three American evangelical Christians, whose teachings about “curing” homosexuals have been widely discredited in the United States, arrived here in Uganda’s capital to give a series of talks.

The theme of the event, according to Stephen Langa, its Ugandan organizer, was “the gay agenda — that whole hidden and dark agenda” — and the threat homosexuals posed to Bible-based values and the traditional African family.

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Gay in Uganda, and Feeling Hunted

January 4, 2010

By Jeffrey Gettleman | New York Times

Isolation, insults, threats and violence: this is what Uganda’s mostly closeted gay community has dealt with for years.

But now that Ugandan politicians are threatening to pass a new anti-homosexuality bill that would sentence some homosexuals (serial offenders, those who are H.I.V. positive and others) to life in prison or even death, many gay men and lesbians said they felt hunted.

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Obama Appoints Transgender Woman

January 4, 2010


Amanda Simpson, a member of the board of directors of the National Center for Transgender Equality, has been appointed Senior Technical Advisor to the Department of Commerce by President Obama, according to NCTE.

“I’m truly honored to have received this appointment and am eager and excited about this opportunity that is before me. And at the same time, as one of the first transgender presidential appointees to the federal government, I hope that I will soon be one of hundreds, and that this appointment opens future opportunities for many others,” Simpson said in a statement released by NCTE today.

Obama is the first U.S. president to appoint openly transgender individuals to executive branch positions.  Simpson is among more than 100 openly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons appointed by Obama so far, many of whom participated in the LGBT community’s Presidential Appointments Project, which is coordinated by the Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute.

According to NCTE:

Simpson brings considerable professional credentials to her new job. For thirty years, she has worked in the aerospace and defense industry, most recently serving as Deputy Director in Advanced Technology Development at Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, Arizona. She holds degrees in physics, engineering and business administration along with an extensive flight background. She is a certified flight instructor and test pilot with 20 years of experience.

She has also been very active in political and community groups. She has served on the Board of Directors of two national organizations: Out & Equal and NCTE. In Arizona, she has been on the board of Wingspan, the Southern Arizona Gender Alliance, the Southern Arizona ACLU and the Arizona Human Rights Fund (now Equality Arizona).

original article

U.S. Lifts HIV/Aids Immigration Ban

January 4, 2010

from the BBC

The US has lifted a 22-year immigration ban which has stopped anyone with HIV/Aids from entering the country.

President Obama said the ban was not compatible with US plans to be a leader in the fight against the disease.

The new rules come into force on Monday and the US plans to host a bi-annual global HIV/Aids summit for the first time in 2012.

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