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07/23/2013

Missouri Supreme Court To Review Same-Sex Partner Benefits Case After DOMA Ruling

MO State SealThis past February, the Missouri Supreme Court heard arguments challenging a state law banning same-sex marriage. The case was brought before the court after Kelly Glossip, partner to deceased Missouri State Highway Patrol Cpl. Dennis Engelhard, was denied the survivor benefits granted to opposite-sex couples under Missouri Law. 

While is is still not clear if the court will make a ruling on the case, it has asked for attorneys on both sides to file written arguments in light of the Supreme Court's recent decision to strike down Section 3 of DOMA, which dealt with benefits to married couples (including death and inheritance benefits) among other issues. Attorneys for Glossip have already submitted their arguments. They contend that the state's denial of benefits violates the state's equal protection clause, much in the same way that DOMA did so with the U.S. Constitution. State attorneys have until July 29th to submit theirs. 

According to Beaumont Enterprise, Glossip's case was initially dismissed from Cole County Circuit Court before being appealed to the state's supreme court. While the U.S. Supreme Court's decision dealt entirely with separate, federal laws...

"Glossip's attorneys contend in their recent court filing that there is a similar discriminatory principle in Missouri's law that denies benefits to same-sex couples who are legally unable to marry in Missouri."

MO Supreme CourtMissouri's constitution does have a same-sex marriage ban on the books, in addition to an equal protection clause. This case is also not the first to use the SCOTUS' recent ruling to challenge anti-gay legislation at the state level. Previously, a federal district court in Michigan cited Windsor v. United States when blocking a state law that would bar employment benefits to same-sex couples. The U.S. Supreme Court also recently declined to hear a similar case over the denial of same-sex partner benefits in Arizona. 

Posted Jul. 23,2013 at 9:37 PM EST by in Gay Marriage, Gay Rights, Law - Gay, LGBT, Missouri, News | Permalink | Comments (5)


Lansing, MI May Cut Ties With St. Petersburg Over Anti-Gay Policies

Lansing Lansing, Michigan is currently listed as the "sister-city" to St. Petersburg, Russia. That may change soon, however, if Russia continues its intolerance of LGBT citizens and foreigners. BeaumontEnterprise.com is reporting that the Lansing City Council discussed ending their relationship with the Russian sister-city late Monday night, and plan to "take up a resolution soon". 

The issue was raised late last week by Councilwoman Jody Washington, who condemned Russia's new anti-gay laws, as well as the arrests of both citizens and foreign tourists that followed. "We need to say we do not tolerate this, we do not accept this." Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero also called the actions "abhorrent", but also maintained that diplomacy must be tried before resorting to such measures. 

According to Beaumont Enterprise...

"The city's relationship with one district of St. Petersburg formally began in 1994 with a youth exchange program but fell dormant after political and geographic districts of St. Petersburg were changed several years ago. The Sister Cities Commission's goal is to promote community understanding and appreciation of other cultures in hopes of creating a more peaceful world. Lansing has five other sister cities around the globe, as well as 'friendship cities' with which it has ties."

The Associated Press has sent a request for comment to Russian embassy in the U.S. Said request currently remains unanswered.

Posted Jul. 23,2013 at 4:52 PM EST by in Gay Rights, Michigan, News, Russia, St. Petersburg | Permalink | Comments (21)


New York Times Editorial Gossips About Statistician Nate Silver's Departure

Nate Silver

Margaret Sullivan at The New York Times posted an editorial yesterday ruminating on the departure of statistician and FiveThirtyEight blogger Nate Silver, whose predictions for the 2012 election bordered on prescient. The whole thing reads like extended water cooler chat about a colleague one is kinda sorta familiar with, but doesn't actually know really well. Her suspicions for his reasons for leaving for ESPN/ABC include:

I don’t think Nate Silver ever really fit into the Times culture and I think he was aware of that. He was, in a word, disruptive.

His entire probability-based way of looking at politics ran against the kind of political journalism that The Times specializes in.

A number of traditional and well-respected Times journalists disliked his work. 

The deciding elements more likely were money, a broader variety of platforms and the opportunity to concentrate on sports and entertainment, as well as politics.

Time Magazine has their own editorialized rundown of the story.

Posted Jul. 23,2013 at 4:20 PM EST by in Nate Silver | Permalink | Comments (30)


Four Young Men Facing Hate Crime Charges After Alleged Anti-Gay Attack in Long Island

Nicholas Bagattallia, Greg Gilbert, Justin Buckley, Shane Buckley

Four men from Long Island's Oceanside neighborhood are now facing possible hate-crime charges after a situation turned violent late Saturday night. Police say that the suspects attacked two other men, and used anti-gay slurs both before and during the attack in Babylon.

According to News 12 Long Island, 18-year-old Nicholas Bagattallia, 20-year-old Greg Gilbert, 17-year-old Justin Buckley, and his brother, 18-year-old Shane Buckley were out celebrating a friend's 21st birthday. The four then happened upon the two victims and reportedly asked them for directions to the nearest train station. It is not yet clear exactly how the situation became violent. However, both victims were subsequently transported to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center, where one victim still remains in recovery.

Two of the suspects, Justin and Shane Buckley, are the brother of fallen Marine Lance Cpl. Greg Buckley Jr, who was killed in action in Afghanistan last August. Family and attorneys for all four suspects "deny the allegations in their entirety", and maintain that the four victims are actually the true aggressors. 

You can read News 12's full report and watch the video HERE

Posted Jul. 23,2013 at 4:00 PM EST by in Crime, Gay Slurs, New York, News | Permalink | Comments (29)


Tumblr Apps Ban #Gay, #Lesbian, And #Bisexual Searches

Tumblr banned terms

In the latest misguided effort by a tech company to keep always-connected-to-everything-on-the-internet-mobile-supercomputers-with-built-in-camcorders from becoming "porn machines", Tumblr has banned the search terms #gay, #lesbian, and #bisexual from their mobile app. To be fair to Tumblr and their parent company Yahoo!, this is most likely done to meet the overly-strict requirements set in place by app stores, with Apple's being the most notoriously heavy-handed. But on the other hand, the Tumblr app has been live for a while and this ban is brand new, suggesting that Tumblr's new owners are seemingly unable to recognize that not everything related to sex and sexuality is porn or "adult content." Slate has the report.

Posted Jul. 23,2013 at 3:30 PM EST by in Tumblr, Video, Yahoo | Permalink | Comments (23)


Meet The Four Dutch Citizens Arrested Under Russia's New Anti-Gay Law

Kris-van-der-veenNews spread quickly shortly after four Dutch citizens were the first foreign citizens to be arrested under Russia's anti-gay "propaganda" ban recently signed into law by President Vladimir Putin. Now, the Washington Blade is releasing some more details surrounding the event in question, as well as the individuals themselves. 

It was previously reported that the four were arrested at a summer camp in the city of Murmansk on Sunday. Said arrests took place during a human rights seminar, which included a local LGBT rights organization among others. The four dutch citizens were guests of the seminar and members of the Dutch advocacy group "LGBT Groningen". One of them, Kris van der Veen, president of the organization, was there to give a lecture, as was confirmed recently by the Blade.

The group also explained that the four members were also there to film a documentary on gay life in Russia. Local media reported them interviewing a 17-year-old gay teen before being taken into custody by local authorities. According to reports, the four were scheduled to appear in a Murmansk court on Monday, and were released after being fined 3,000 rubles, which equates to approximately $93 USD. Van der Veen wrote on his Facebook profile, shortly thereafter: "We are still in Murmansk...It is about the documentary, gay propaganda. It is good, but it’s still very vague what’s next." It is not yet known exactly when the four expect to return to the Netherlands. 

While van der Veen and company are the first foreign citizens to be arrested under the new anti-gay propaganda law, they are not the first to be arrested. 40 LGBT activists were previously arrested in St. Petersburg after a demonstration on June 29, and 30 were arrested on May 24 after protesters tried to stage a pride celebration outside of Moscow city hall. LGBT advocates from St. Petersburg are scheduled to go on trial this Thursday. 

Activists such as Harvey Fierstein have already referred to such acts as this as a "declaration of war on homosexuals". Many are subsequently calling for a boycott of the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympic games in Sochi. While the U.S. State Department and European Union have expressed their disapproval of all Russia's recent anti-gay legislation, it is still unclear whether any action will be taken. 

Posted Jul. 23,2013 at 3:10 PM EST by in Law - Gay, LGBT, Law Enforcement, News, Russia, Sochi Olympics, The Netherlands, Vladimir Putin | Permalink | Comments (9)



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