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Boston Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Guilty on 30 of 30 Counts, May Face Death Penalty

Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokjar Tsarnaev was found guilty on 30 of 30 counts for which he was charged in the bombing which killed three people and wounded more than 200, the Boston Globe reports:

RollingstoneTsarnaev, 21, who prosecutors said was a self-radicalized Muslim bent on striking a blow against America, now faces a second phase of his trial in which a jury will decide whether to sentence him to death. The second phase will begin next week.

...Prosecutors argued that Tsarnaev carried out the crimes in a “heinous, cruel and depraved manner” and that he deserves the death penalty. He was convicted of all 30 crimes he was charged with, including 17 that carried the possibility of a death sentence.

The jury of seven women and five men deliberated for just over 11 hours before rendering its verdict, after hearing the lawyers’ closing arguments early Monday.

Gallup Survey Confirms San Francisco Is The Nation's Gayest City (#7 May Surprise You Though)


Not surprisingly, San Francisco has the highest concentration of LGBT people of any city in the US, at 6.2 percent, according to a new Gallup survey

However, there are some surprises on the list, including Salt Lake City, which is ranked No. 7.

From The New York Times:

Gallup1It might seem surprising at first that the city most associated with the Mormon Church — which believes that sex and marriage should occur between only a man and a woman — has the seventh-highest share of L.G.B.T. people, at 4.7 percent.

But another aspect of the Mormon culture — the importance of community and family — goes a long way toward explaining the pattern, people in Salt Lake City say.

Though many gay people who were raised Mormon (or L.D.S., an acronym for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) describe feeling expelled from the community, a large number still choose to stay close to their families and culture. “If you grow up L.D.S. like I did, you still have these deep Mormon values that are embedded in your DNA,” said Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah, an L.G.B.T. advocacy group.

The Gallup survey includes the nation's 50 largest metropolitan areas and is believed to contain the most detailed estimates yet about where LGBT people live. 

Birmingham, Alabama, has the lowest concentration of LGBT people, at 2.6 percent, but according to Gallup, the overall margin is small:  

The distribution of LGBT identity across the largest metro areas in the U.S. is relatively narrow, with a range of 3.6 percentage points from the highest to the lowest MSA among the top 50. This mirrors previous analyses of the distribution of the LGBT population across states, which show similarly fairly even distribution, at least in comparison to the many other pronounced geographic differences found on race, ethnic, political and ideological variables.

The lack of sharp distinctions could reflect in part that the geographic MSAs used in this research are large, and for most areas, include significant suburban populations around center cities. The sample sizes involved do not allow for an analysis of center cities per se, but perhaps the LGBT percentage is larger in these areas than in the metropolitan area as a whole.


Gay Groups Make History By Marching In Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade: VIDEO


Two LGBT groups marched in Boston's St. Patrick's Day parade on Sunday for the first time in the event's 114-year history. 

OutVets (below right) and Boston Pride (above) were both invited to participate, ending a two-decade ban on gay groups. 

The Associated Press reports: 

OutVets"We march today for the memories of those thousands and thousands of people who went before us, some who went to their graves in the closet," OutVets founder and leader and Air Force veteran Bryan Bishop told his group before the parade. He called it "the beginning of the mission of this organization to honor the service and sacrifice of every single LGBT veteran, their family, their allies and every veteran in this country who fought so selflessly to defend the rights that we hold dear." ... 

Boston Pride member Freddy Murphy said the open inclusion of gay groups was a long time coming.

"I just remember watching the parade and kind of thinking it was hopeless, that my entire world was against me," said Murphy, a Dorchester neighborhood native whose father was a Boston firefighter. "This is why I'm marching today."

Also marching in the parade for the first time in 20 years was Boston's mayor. Mayors had boycotted the event every year since 1995, when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of the Allied War Veterans Council, which organizes the parade, to keep gay groups out.

The War Veterans Council voted 5-4 in December to allow OutVets to participate, and Boston Pride received an invitation last week. Mayor Marty Walsh was joined by Gov. Charlie Baker and Congresssman Seth Moulton, who marched with OutVets.  

“I’m thrilled that the St. Patrick’s Day parade is inclusive this year, and the addition of Boston Pride to the list of participants reflects the values of the South Boston neighborhood,” Walsh said in a statement. “With this year’s parade, Boston is putting years of controversy behind us.”

Knights of Columbus, the anti-gay Catholic group, boycotted the parade over the decision to allow LGBT groups. In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio is boycotting the parade because only one LGBT group will be allowed to march. 

Watch a report on the parade from New England Cable News, AFTER THE JUMP ...

Continue reading "Gay Groups Make History By Marching In Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade: VIDEO" »

All-women's Wellesley College to Accept Transgender Students for the First Time


Boston's historic all-women's liberal arts Wellesley College has announced it will begin accepting transgender women as students, The Boston Globe reports:

The liberal arts college west of Boston will for the first time consider for admission any applicant who “lives as a woman and consistently identifies as a woman,” according a letter it sent to the school community.

The policy is expected to take effect for the next admission cycle, for the class of 2020. Individuals assigned female at birth who identify as neither male nor female are also eligible for admission, the school said.

“We will support all the students who are at Wellesley and all of their kinds of finding themselves in all of the ways that we can,” college president H. Kim Bottomly said in an interview.

The new policy, approved Wednesday by Wellesley’s Board of Trustees, comes after Bottomly formed a committee last fall to study educational, social, legal, and medical considerations about gender identity, according to the college.

Applicants who identify as men are not eligible for admission. Students who come to no longer identify as women during their time at Wellesley will still be allowed to graduate, provided academic standards are met, the school said. The college will also assist students who wish to transfer out of Wellesley because they no longer identify as women, according to the letter.


Gay Veterans To March In Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade - VIDEO

St Patricks Day parade Boston 2015

Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade will next year include representatives of gay veterans group OutVets, reports ABC News.

The parade’s organizers the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, which in 1995 won a Supreme Court decision upholding their right to ban gay groups from the parade, yesterday voted 5-4 to allow OutVets to march in the parade scheduled for March 15th. The group has also been given permission to carry a blue banner with five white stars representing the branches of the military, and six vertical rainbow stripes.

6a00d8341c730253ef01a3fcce3e89970b-800wiBryan Bishop, OutVets founder and U.S. Air Force veteran, said:

"I think it's very significant. Ensuring that there is 100 percent inclusivity is important."

Council commander Brian Mahoney added that OutVets is being allowed to march because of their military service, not sexual orientation:

"This conforms to the tenets of the parade. The parade is devoted to honoring the service of veterans. It's is our aim to honor that service and the history of the Irish Catholics in Boston. Anything that detracts from that is verboten."

This year, LGBT group MassEquality was invited to take part in the parade but the invitation was later rescinded. Boston mayor Marty Walsh refused to take part last March because of the exclusion of LGBT people. Sam Adams beer also pulled out as sponsor of the parade.

In a similar move, Guinness dropped sponsorship of New York’s controversial St Patrick’s Day parade this year.

Watch Mahoney discuss his reasons for pulling out of the parade, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay Veterans To March In Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade - VIDEO" »

Rose Of Tralee Maria Walsh Reveals She's Gay - VIDEO


Philadelphia Rose Maria Walsh, the 2014 winner of Irish international beauty pageant The Rose of Tralee, has revealed that she is gay, reports The Independent.

Now in its 55th year, the Rose of Tralee includes young women of Irish descent from Ireland and around the world. 

In an interview with the Irish Sun, Walsh, who was crowned the new Rose in County Kerry on Saturday night, said:

"I'm confident in who I am as a person. The Rose of Tralee is about celebrating women's intelligence, careers, their volunteer work. The question of sexuality never came up. To me, being gay is normal. It's natural."

Walsh is a Boston native who moved to County Mayo with her family 20 years ago. Following her graduation, she moved to New York and later to Philadelphia.

Last week, reigning Miss Spain Patricia Yurena became the first openly gay national pageant queen.

Watch an interview with Walsh, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Rose Of Tralee Maria Walsh Reveals She's Gay - VIDEO" »


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