A gay Florida teen returned home with his boyfriend last week to find it covered in hate-filled red graffiti - both inside and outside of the house. The vandalism included a swastika on the ceiling of his living room. Police are investigating the incident, which targeted 18-year-old Jesse Jeffers, as a hate crime.
The Pensacola News Journal reports:
The vandalism, which happened between when Jeffers left and returned to his home, was deemed a hate crime by the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office, because it targets Jeffers’ lifestyle and sexual orientation. There are only a few hate-crime cases reported each year in Santa Rosa, Haines said, calling them a rare occurrence.
The vandals spray-painted a pair of women’s breasts on the trailer’s exterior. Near the door, several derogatory words were spelled out, along with the phrase “God don’t love you,” with a heart taking the place of the word “love.”
Inside, his drapes, fish tank and front room were also tagged, along with another large swastika painted on his ceiling.
No arrests have yet been made in the case.
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HRC call to action on marriage equality in Hawaii: "The momentum for marriage equality in the Aloha State is on our side and the deadline for the legislature to hear the marriage bill is this Tuesday, February 12th. Join us on Monday, February 11th at the Capitol Rotunda in Honolulu with hundreds of supporters making their voices heard by speaking face to face with their legislators."
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Anti-gay group American Family Association announces a social media campaign to oust AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson from the board of the Boy Scouts of America: "He doesn’t espouse their values; he should move on.”
Chief Warrant Officer and LGBT activist Charlie Morgan died this morning after a long battle with breast cancer. She leaves behind her wife Karen and young daughter Casey Elena. Her wife will not receive the same survivors' military benefits that heterosexual couples are awarded.
OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson has issued a statement which reads in part:
"Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan, a courageous fighter for our country, for her family, and for the equality of all who wear the uniform of our nation, passed away early this morning. On behalf of her wife Karen and daughter Casey Elena, we thank all those who have supported Charlie so fervently since she proudly came out on national television on the day 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' was repealed, and who have stayed by her side through her brave fight with cancer. She made an indelible mark on everyone she met with her integrity, her positive outlook, and her unflinching commitment to righting the wrongs visited upon gay and lesbian military families. The fight for full LGBT equality in this country is forever changed because Charlie Morgan took up the cause."
Morgan had hoped to live to see DOMA overturned. In November, she told journalist Andrea Stone:
“I’m praying that they take it up soon,” Morgan told me in a phone interview from her home in New Durham, N.H. a few days before Thanksgiving. “It’s my motivation for staying alive. I really need to be alive when they actually do overturn DOMA, otherwise Karen is not guaranteed anything.”
An online memorial site has been setup here.
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On Friday evening's episode of "Iowa Press," Iowa Republican Party chair A.J. Spiker was asked how he felt about the members of that state's GOP who either no longer want to push for the 2009 marriage equality law to be overturned or who accept same-sex marriages altogether.
"Well, the party wants to be welcoming and we're a big tent and we want to have people of a lot of different views that are part of the party. But what they also need to understand is that there is a gay marriage party in the state of Iowa and that is the Iowa Democratic Party. The Republican Party embraces one man, one woman marriage and embraces the right of the people to vote on the definition of marriage."
Spiker continued to say that republicans (who support marriage equality) "are very welcome to be a part of (the party). But there are areas where we have disagreements as republicans."
You may recall that Spiker pushed to oust pro-equality Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins last year. Wiggins held onto his post.
An AP article published today reports on the increasing number of republicans in Iowa who have started to support marriage equality:
"I think there's growing support in the Republican ranks for same-gender marriage, particularly in a state where it is the law of the state. There has been no disaster visited on the state because there has been same-sex marriage," said (Jeff) Angelo, the founder of Iowa Republicans for Freedom, which supports gay marriage. "I think there are some that have friends, relatives that are gay that would rather just let this go."
Watch the "Iowa Press" segment, AFTER THE JUMP. The part about marriage equality comes in around 25:35.
Out Boston Herald writer Steve Buckley profiles Massachusetts Institute of Technology junior Sean Karson, the gay co-captain of the school's baseball team. Last week, Karson came out to his teammates in a moving speech. The ballplayer has received immense support from them since.
The Herald piece chronicles the leadup to his big revelation:
A couple of days ago, during an indoor practice at MIT, Karson asked coach Andy Barlow if he could say a few words to his teammates.
“I had no idea what he had in mind,” Barlow said. “He had just returned from a conference in California, so I assumed he was going to talk about his company.”
Instead, Karson took a deep breath, and told his coaches and teammates that he’s gay.
“They came up and gave me high fives and said they’d have my back and everything,” he said. “It was so supportive, it was ridiculous.”
Karson did notice a couple of teammates held back, but got emails from them afterward saying "how much they respected me, but that they needed to collect their thoughts first."
So deeply emotional was Karson’s decision to come out that later that night, during an interview at his MIT dorm, he was still welling up with tears.
“I barely held it together,” he said. “I was probably not the most coherent person when I was giving that speech, but that was the third time I cried in the past week. And this is the fourth, I guess.”
Karson, who reveals on his own site that he's know he was gay since the age of 13, says that "I have never been myself up until very recently."