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Pride -- Kim Davis' Hometown Holds Its First LGBT Pride
(EDGE) It's been about a year since the defiant Kentucky county clerk made headlines after landing in the clink for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. At the time, Davis, who ignored the Supreme Court's landmark ruling on same-sex marriage and cited her religious beliefs for her naughty behavior, said she has "friends who are gay and lesbian" but was oddly absent when her hometown of Morehead, Ky. when it held its first LGBT Pride, New Now Next reports.
The [event] was organized by David Moore, one of the first people Davis denied a marriage license. After he finally married his husband last October he wanted to celebrate by creating a Pride parade in the town. Teaming up with Morehead Pride, an LGBT nonprofit in the town, and Morehead tourism board, Moore launched Eastern Kentucky's first LGBT event last weekend.
The show included performances from drag queens, including one queen who dressed as Davis. A number of activists and plenty from Kentucky's LGBT community showed up for the celebration.
According to Vice, Moore was accused of creating the event to spite Davis and her defiance from last year but he said she was the "catalyst" that sparked him to be open about his feelings on LGBT rights.
"There've been people who have been afraid to be allies, or people who have been afraid to not voice hatred, for fear of being labeled part of the LGBT community," Sheri Wright, an attendee, told Vice. "[Now] they're saying, who cares?"
National -- N. Carolina Transgender Restroom Trial Delayed
(AP) The trial over a North Carolina law restricting restroom access for transgender people is being pushed back by several months, attorneys challenging the law said Friday.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Joi Elizabeth Peake granted a request from the state's Republican leaders to delay the North Carolina trial while the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether to hear a Virginia case on transgender restroom access, according to a brief entry in the federal court docket.
James Esseks, an ACLU lawyer on the team representing three transgender residents, said the judge's order means the case will be pushed back from its November trial date until May 2017. Justice Department spokesman David Jacobs also confirmed in an email that the trial was being delayed until May.
The so-called HB2 law requires transgender people to use restrooms in schools and many other public buildings that correspond with the sex on their birth certificate, not their gender identity. Passed in March, it also limits other antidiscrimination protections for LGBT people.
The state's Republican governor and legislative leaders argue the law is needed to protect privacy and safety by keeping men out of women's restrooms. Transgender residents challenging the law say that restroom safety is protected by existing laws, while the North Carolina measure is harmful and discriminatory.
The Republican leaders had asked the court to halt the proceedings while the Supreme Court decides if it will take the Virginia case, which centers on a transgender high school student who is asking officials to allow him to use a male restroom.
Crime -- Calif. Teen Arrested In Connection to Gay Club Paintball Shooting
(EDGE) An 18-year-old teen boy was arrested in connection to a paintball attack that took place outside a gay club in Stockton, Calif., in June, CBS Sacramento reports.
Austin Richardson was arrested Monday and is the third teen booked in connection to the incident, which took place at Paradise Club. Patrons said they were shot at by paintball guns on the night of June 12. The attack happened the same night when 49 people were killed at the gay club Pulse in Orlando, Fla., which is the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Richardson was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and hate crime, the Stockton Police Department said, according to news station KCRA.
Brand Staples, 19, was arrested in connection to the paintball shooting in June. An unidentified 16-year-old suspect was also arrested.
Religion -- Gay Priest Suspended After Supporting Fired School Employee
(AP) A gay priest in New Jersey has been suspended after his continued support of gay groups and a woman fired from a Catholic high school for marrying her partner.
The Rev. Warren Hall came out last year after he was fired as a chaplain at Seton Hall University after posting support online for a group that promotes marriage equality.
He was later appointed to a parish in Hoboken, but Hall says Newark Archbishop John Myers suspended him Wednesday.
Kate Drumgoole, the former dean at Paramus Catholic High School, is suing for discrimination. The school is fighting the lawsuit and says its employees must abide by the tenets of the Catholic faith.
Newark Archdiocese spokesman James Goodness says priests promise to support church teachings.
HIV -- Karamo Brown and Deondre Moore are 'Positively Fearless'
(EDGE) From August 31-September 4 at Atlanta's 10th Annual Black Pride Celebration, activists Karamo Brown and Deondre Moore will take the stage to promote their new Positively Fearless movement, celebrating being Black, gay and HIV-positive.
Black men who have sex with men face an especially heavy burden, accounting for 59 percent of all HIV diagnoses among African Americans in the South. In fact, of all Black MSM diagnosed with HIV nationally in 2014, more than 60 percent were living in the South.
"As a black, gay, positive man living in Texas, these statistics are especially worrisome to me, but even more concerning is the fact that many of the positive men in our community aren't being honest with themselves, their families and their doctors about their status -- and taking steps to get on treatment," said Moore, who was diagnosed with HIV at 19-years-old. "When I was first diagnosed, I thought my status was a death sentence, but after educating myself, I quickly learned that by engaging in treatment, I can live a healthy and full life with HIV. So educating and supporting those who may be scared to address their diagnoses has become very important to me, and this campaign has given me a very exciting opportunity to encourage to be brave and take a proactive role in their health."
"By tweeting using the hashtag #PositivelyFearless, people can share their stories and tell others about a time when they chose to be honest, to be brave, to get tested, to tackle their diagnosis head-on, and to be open with their doctor about treatment," said Brown. "I'd encourage people to share this with their friends -- positive or not -- and tell them to get involved! Everyone can be fearless, and we can all be part of the solution."
Keep an eye on the Twitter handle @HIVWisdom for updates.
Crime -- Gay Fashion Student Gives Details of 2013 Beating That Left Him Blind in One Eye
(EDGE) Grisly details were given in Brooklyn court Wednesday by Taj Patterson, the gay fashion student whose brutal attack at the hands of a group of Hassidic men in December 2013 left him blind in one eye.
Patterson's testimony occurred during the trial of Mayer Herkovic, who is being tried for gang assault as a hate crime. Rather than have a trial by jury, Herkovic has opted for a bench trial.
According to a report in the New York Post, Patterson testified about being chased down a street in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn by a crowd of men with "side curls and yarmulkes."
"They caught up to me, and pinned me up against a gate," he said. "I was yelling for them to stop, asking why they were doing this."
Patterson, referred to a "middle man" and his two "flunkies" who did the beating.
Patterson told the court that he broke free with one arm and tried to defend himself. It was then that "the ringleader shoved" his thumb into Patterson's eye.
"Once the thumb was in my eye, I started screaming, and they kept punching me," Patterson told the court.
Patterson said that it was the same man who kicked him in the face, and said "stay down you fucking faggot." The same man took off Patterson's sneaker and threw it on a roof.
Forensics have placed Herskovic's DNA on Patterson's recovered sneaker.
According to Jewish Telegraphic Agency, of the four other alleged assailants who were part of the ultra Orthodox neighborhood watch group, two had the charges dropped and two others - Pinchas Braver and Abraham Winkler - pleaded guilty to downgraded charges earlier this month. Braver and Winkler each must pay the victim, Taj Patterson, $1,400 in restitution and perform 150 hours of community service in a "culturally diverse" neighborhood.
Politics -- Key Trump Campaign Operatives Found to be Part of Secretive Group with Anti-LGBT Members
(EDGE) Remember when the Trump campaign claimed to be pro-LGBT?
Hatewatch, published by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has obtained a copy of the 2014 membership directory for the ultra-conservative and secretive group Council for National Policy which lists Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway and CEO Stephen Bannon. Conway was listed as a member of the group's executive committee that year.
And while, CNP is not officially an anti-LGBT group, its membership reads like a Who's Who or the anti-gay and racist fringe.
Some of the extremists listed as members in this closely guarded document include people like Michael Peroutka, a neo-Confederate who for years was on the board of the white supremacist League of the South; Jerome Corsi, a strident Obama "birther" and the propagandist hit man responsible for the "Swift boating" of John Kerry; Joseph Farah, who runs the wildly conspiracist "news" operation known as WorldNetDaily; Mat Staver, the Liberty Counsel leader who has worked to re-criminalize gay sex; Philip Zodhaites, another anti-gay activist who is charged with helping a self-described former lesbian who kidnapped her daughter from her former partner and fled the country; and a large number of other similar characters.
"It's not known how their contacts within the CNP may have affected Conway and Bannon. But as the SPLC concluded in its May report on the CNP: "At a time of extreme political polarization in our society, in the middle of an ugly presidential contest which has featured an almost unsurpassed record of ethnic, racial and sexual insults and lies, Americans deserve to know who their ostensible leaders are mixing with as we collectively decide our country's future."
International -- Australian Prime Minister Urges Public Vote On Gay Marriage
(AP) Australia's prime minister on Wednesday urged his political opponents to allow Australians to endorse gay marriage through a popular vote instead of insisting that the divisive issue be put into lawmakers' hands.
Most opposition lawmakers, who support gay marriage, oppose the government's plan to ask the public in a plebiscite whether the Parliament should create marriage equality.
The opposition Labor Party, the minor Greens party and two independent lawmakers on Wednesday proposed bills that would allow the Parliament to decide the same-sex marriage issue without consulting the public. They all support gay marriage, but fear a plebiscite - an opinion poll that isn't legally binding - would prove divisive and potentially fail.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called on Labor leader Bill Shorten to endorse the plebiscite plan in the Senate, where the government holds a minority of seats. Labor has become the plebiscite's last chance after two balance-of-power minor parties ruled out support.
"If there is a plebiscite, a majority will vote 'yes' and if a majority vote 'yes,' you can be absolutely assured the Parliament will legislate it," Turnbull said. "We are setting out a way for that to be resolved. Mr. Shorten is standing in the way."
Turnbull agreed to hold the plebiscite in a deal with gay marriage opponents within his conservative Liberal Party. In return, those opponents backed Turnbull in an internal leadership ballot that toppled Prime Minister Tony Abbott a year ago.
Turnbull, a gay marriage advocate, had previously spoken out against such a public vote that could create painful divisions in Australian society.
Gay marriage lobbyists are generally opposed to the plebiscite, which they argue was initiated by lawmakers who hope it fails.
Some marriage equality advocates warn that a lost plebiscite could likely set back their cause for decades.
Politics -- Indiana Lawmakers to Discuss Ongoing LGBT Rights Debate
(AP) Indiana state lawmakers plan to convene Tuesday to discuss what recommendations should be made for the upcoming legislative session regarding rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents.
The meeting Tuesday comes after efforts failed last legislative session when the state drew widespread opposition of a religious objections law that critics said amounted to an invitation to discriminate against gay people, the Indianapolis Star (http://indy.st/2bMiu1N) reported.
Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle, said a compromise appears unlikely as neither LGBT advocates nor religious conservatives have budged from their stances.
"I'm hopeful but not too optimistic that we'll get some resolution to this coming out of the committee hearing," said Holdman, the panel's co-chair and author of last session's civil rights bill.
The Indy Chamber and advocacy group Freedom Indiana say they're focusing on familiarizing people with the discrimination that gay and transgender residents can encounter as well as helping cities develop ordinances to ban discrimination against LGBT people.
"We fully recognize this might be a longer-term play, and we need to really focus on educating the legislature and the general public on these issues," said Mark Fisher, an Indy Chamber lobbyist.
Last session, the Indiana Senate stopped a debate over extending civil rights protections to gay Hoosiers in housing, employment and public accommodations, with certain religious exemptions. Protections for transgender people weren't included.
The debate was led by Republicans after the sharp backlash over Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which appeared to some as an allowance for religious business owners to discriminate against LGBT people.
"If we could have an honest discussion and a real vote doing something positive, I, for one, would be interested in that," said Rep. Ed DeLaney, D-Indianapolis, who is also on the panel. "But I'm not interested in teeing up a controversy that gets us nowhere and causes more damage to the state. That's the dilemma."