Friday, November 11 2011 17:55

National News, November 11-14, 2011

By  Rachel Roth

House Democrats Challenge DOMA

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and 130 Democrats have officially challenged the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) by filing a friend-of-the-court brief. Pelosi is credited with spearheading the effort, which challenges the decision by House Republican leaders to hire outside counsel to defend the statute after the Justice Department decided in February it could no longer do so on constitutional grounds.

In a recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle, Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, called the Democrats' brief “a tremendously powerful statement to the courts and the country” that shows “how much the political center of gravity has shifted on the marriage question.”

“Fifteen years ago, people were falling over themselves to sign on to DOMA,” he said.

On Nov. 10, the Senate Judiciary Committee plans to vote on bill by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calf., to repeal the law. The Respect for Marriage Act, has 31 co-sponsors, all of them Democrats. A companion bill in the House by Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., has 130 co-sponsors, including one Republican, Florida's Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

Read the complete article at:


International Healing Foundation
Apologies to LGBT Community

On its 21st anniversary, the International Healing Foundation (IHF) has issued an official apology to the LGBTQ community. In a press release for the organization, IHF Founder and Director Richard Cohen, is sorry for “years of unknowingly fueling anti-gay sentiment.” Headquartered in Maryland, but serving men, women, and adolescents worldwide since 1990, the IHF’s new message is one of acceptance and tolerance.

"By opening our doors to everyone in the LGBTQ and straight communities, we are expanding upon our mission and broadening the scope of our services," Cohen said. According to the press release, IHF’s new effort, “Coming Out Loved,” adopts therapeutic guidelines from the American Psychological Association for members of the lesbian, gay and, bisexual communities; American Counseling Association guidelines for the transgender community; and National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality therapeutic guidelines for anyone questioning their sexuality and/or experiencing unwanted same sex attraction.


New Jersey GOP Members Make ‘It Gets Better’ Video

For the first time since the It Gets Better Campaign began in 2010, three members of the Republican party participated in a video with other members of New Jersey Delegation in support of LGBT youth. New Jersey Congressional Republican Reps. Leonard Lance, Frank LoBiondo, and Jon Runyan have a mixed voting record when it comes to legislation to expand gay rights. While all three have voted against legislation like the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and in favor of the Marriage Protection Bill, Lance voted to expand the federal hate crimes law to cover sexual orientation, and sponsored the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to prohibit job discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity—which LoBiondo also supported.

In a statement to the Washington Post, Runyan—who opposes gay marriage but supports civil unions—said; “There is no place in our society for bullying, especially when continued bullying leads to young adults taking their own lives. This issue goes beyond political affiliations.”

In related news, The Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act, the toughest and most intense anti-bullying law in the country, has been signed by New Jersey Governor Christie. The new law requires that New Jersey public teachers, administrators, and other employees go through training that will help them stop and counteract bullying of all kinds.

The video is here:


Gay Ohio Teen Beaten by Classmate

A 15-year old student at Union-Scioto High School in Chillicothe, Ohio was brutally attacked on campus, and the entire event was captured on video. No one attempted to help. According to—a campaign launched by Bret Thompson of Columbus, Ohio—the victim suffered broken teeth and a possible concussion. His attacker was suspended for three days. Thompson started the campaign to urge the Union-Scioto Local School District to create and implement a policy that specifically protects against harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Every child has the right to learn in a safe environment, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” he told a Huffington Post reporter. The petition, which also calls for the expulsion of the attacker, racked up more than 4,000 signatures in just a matter of days. The victim's mother, told reporters that she wants criminal charges pressed against the attacker, including federal hate crime charges.


CA Politician Comes Out

California Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani has officially come out as a lesbian. Galgiani, who helped pass a law requiring that LGBT history be taught in schools, told the Stockton Record that she was motivated to come out after actor Zachary Quinto publicly announced he was gay. He cited the recent suicide of 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer as the moment that made him want to show there's no reason to hide being gay. Like Quinto, Galgiani wants to be an example to LGBT youth.

"It sickens me that young people would think about taking their lives because of who they are," she told the Stockton Record. Quinto’s coming out also inspired ABC's World News Now anchor Dan Kloeffler to announce he is gay.


Lady Gaga Starts Nonprofit
Aimed at Supporting LGBT Youth

Lady Gaga, known for her support of LGBT equality, has announced that she is launching the “Born This Way Foundation,” a non-profit that will focus on youth empowerment. According to The Daily Activist, the organization is joint effort between Gaga and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The California Endowment, and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University to create the foundation. Beginning in 2012, it will focus on issues like “self-confidence, well-being, anti-bullying, mentoring and career development."

Gaga released a statement regarding the foundation saying “Together we hope to establish a standard of Bravery and Kindness, as well as a community worldwide that protects and nurtures others in the face of bullying and abandonment.”


Bachman, Others Ask Senate
to Ban Same-Sex Marriage in Military

Congresswoman and GOP presidential hopeful Michelle Bachman does not want same-sex marriages allowed in military facilities. Bachman, along with 86 members of the House of Representatives signed a letter written by Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) urging the Senate to pass an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act in order to prohibit them. In a statement, Akin said that the letter is in response to the Department of Defense stating it would allow military chaplains to marry gay couples on a “sexual orientation-neutral basis.”

“Unfortunately, this current administration is now directing the Department of Defense to ignore this law and perform gay marriages on military bases,” he said. “I think that is wrong, which is why I offered an amendment to the House-passed defense bill making it clear that DOMA applies to the DOD.”

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