News Bites For May 7, 2014

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Colonel Comes to Lesbian Vet’s Aid

After the Idaho Division of Veterans Services denied a request by a U.S. Navy veteran to be buried with her wife in the state’s veterans cemetery, a former U.S. Army colonel is offering his spot instead. In a letter to the Idaho Statesman, Barry Johnson, a 27-year veteran writes, “I am happy to give my fellow veteran that small peace of mind. And I do it to honor all great Americans I’ve served with a long the way – gay, straight, whatever.” Idaho denied Madelynn Taylor’s request to be buried with her departed wife Jean Mixner because the state does not recognize same-sex marriage.

Gay Justice Appointed to Washington Supreme Court

Mary Yu, a King County Superior Court Judge, was appointed last week to the Washington Supreme Court, becoming the first openly gay and Asian American judge to serve in such capacity. Yu, 57, was appointed by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who said it was “a moment all Washingtonians can be proud of.” Yu is best known in LGBT circles for having performed Washington’s first same-sex marriage in 2012. She is a native of Chicago and a graduate of the University of Notre Dame Law School. The sixth woman on the nine-member court, Yu must run for election in November to keep her judgeship.

Islamic Law Takes Hold in Brunei

The sultanate of Brunei has introduced sharia law for its estimated 400,000 inhabitants of the tiny former British protectorate in Southeast Asia. Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah announced the new criminal penal code last week which punishes pregnancy outside of marriage, failure to perform Friday prayers and propagating other religions. Brunei plans to further phase in a death penalty by stoning for homosexuality. The sultan hailed the new law as a “great achievement.” Officials at the United Nations condemned the law which has sparked outrage in the West and resulted in a boycott by gay groups of the sultan’s Beverly Hills Hotel.

World AIDS Museum Readies for Opening Day

The board of directors of the World AIDS Museum and Educational Center have announced plans to begin regularly scheduled guided tours of the new museum in Wilton Manors. Starting May 15, the museum, located at 1201 NE 26th Street, Suite 111, will operate Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays with doucet-guided tours, said founder Steve Stagon. The museum tells the story of the history of HIV/AIDS through pictures, film, artwork and written material and allows visitors to add their personal experiences via interactive exhibits. It was dedicated last December with a visit from basketball legend Ervin “Magic” Johnson. Visit WorldAIDSMuseum.com for more information.


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