News Bites for March 25, 2015

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Local, national, and international news bites...

Local

Adoption Debate Stirs Tallahassee

The Florida House Health and Human Services Committee approved a proposal last week that would allow private adoption agencies to object to “performing, assisting in, recommending, consenting to or participating in the placement of a child if a placement violates the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies.” The measure, sponsored by Rep. Jason Brodeur (R-Sanford), has drawn fire from gay rights activists who claim it essentially endorses discrimination. The American Civil Liberties Union has called the proposal “unconstitutional.” 

Gay Businessman Convicted Of Drug Trafficking

A Fort Lauderdale gay man who once owned a popular antique shop was convicted on March 16 of trafficking in crystal methamphetamine and ecstasy. Robert Joshua was found guilty by a Broward County jury and immediately taken into custody. He faces a minimum three year sentence in Florida State Prison with no right to an appellate bond. Joshua once owned The Joshua Tree on North Andrews Avenue in Fort Lauderdale.

National

Senator Disciplines Staff

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) demoted two staff members for their role in mishandling veteran’s affairs for her office. Baldwin, a lesbian, was elected to the Senate in 2012. She demoted Doug Hill, her state director, and cut his salary by $50,000. Baldwin also cut the salary of her veteran chief of staff, Bill Murat, by $14,000. The punishment was a result of an internal report which found mistakes in handling of complaints concerning overmedication at the Tomah VA Medical Center. Reportedly, veterans, who relied on the medical facility for care, were referring to it as “Candy Land.”

Father: My Son Is Not Gay

Dr. Richard Schock, father to U.S. Congressman Aaron Schock (R-Illinois) told a Chicago television station that his son is not gay. “Aaron is a little different,” Dr. Schock told the ABC7. “He wears stylish clothing and yet he is not gay…and he’s not married and he’s not running around with women, so everybody is throwing up their arms. They can’t figure out Aaron so he must be crooked. So attack him, bring him down because he doesn’t fit into our picture.” Dr. Schock’s remarks came after Aaron, 33, announced last week he is resigning his seat in the U.S. Congress amid an ethics investigation.

Oregon Governor Settles In

Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed into law her first piece of legislation since assuming the chief executive role for the Pacific coast state. Dubbed the “Motor Voter Bill,” HB 2177 permits Oregon’s Department of Motor Vehicles to automatically register eligible voters. Brown, an admitted bisexual, said the bill allows Oregon to be more “egalitarian” than typical voter registration drives. Brown became Oregon’s second female governor in February of 2015. She is a Democrat and an attorney, who previously served as Oregon Secretary of State. “The goal is to put a ballot in the hands of every eligible Oregonian,” she said.

S. Sailor Wants Back On Ship

Landon Wilson is a former Navy sailor who, reportedly, was forced to leave the military for being transgender. Wilson was assigned female at birth and has transitioned to male. Wilson tells the CBS Evening News that he “came out” as transgender at age 21 while stationed in Hawaii. Wilson says he was deployed to Afghanistan where he trained with male members of the military. Now 23 with an honorable discharge, Wilson is seeking to re-enlist and worries “who was going to take my spot.” The report, airing on the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley, can be accessed at cbsnews.com

International

Russian Neo Nazi Faces More Charges

Maxim Martinsinkevich, known in underground circles as “The Hatchet,” is being charged in Moscow with robbery, hooliganism, property damage and inciting hate. Martinsinkevich fled Russia last year and was eventually captured in Cuba in January. He has a long documented record of luring gay men, especially teens, into his clutches using social media apps such as Vkontakte and filming their humiliation.

 


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