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Will The Boy Scouts Of America Reconsider Its Ban On Gay Adult Leaders Later This Month?

Peffly

Following the ouster of yet another gay adult leader, LGBT advocates say they're hopeful the Boy Scouts of America will reconsider the ban at its upcoming national meeting later this month.  

Brian Peffly, 35, is an Eagle Scout who served as assistant volunteer Scoutmaster for a troop in suburban Columbus, Ohio. Peffly outed himself as gay in a TV interview in April 2014 about the Boy Scouts' decision to remove openly gay Seattle troop leader Geoff McGrath. In September, Peffly's local council adopted a nondiscrimination policy that includes sexual orientation. But in March, Peffly received a voicemail and letter from the national office saying he was being removed for unspecified reasons, according to Cleveland.com

"Due to issues with your ability to comply with some of our rules and regulations, we're going to have to be revoking your registration in the Boy Scouts," Steve McGowan, general counsel for Boy Scouts of America, said in the message.

A subsequent letter from McGowan didn't elaborate.

"As I indicated in my phone message, when someone states they do not comply with policies of the Boy Scouts of America, regardless of the topic, they may no longer be considered for a volunteer adult leadership position in the organization."

The BSA lifted its ban on gay youth in 2013 but continues to bar gay adult leaders. However, the Greater New York Council of the Boy Scouts recently hired an openly gay man to serve as youth leader. Meanwhile, the New York attorney general's office has launched an investigation into whether the Boy Scouts' employment practices violate the state's ban on anti-gay job discrimination. Ohio has no such law. 

WahlsZach Wahls, executive director of Scouts for Equality, called the BSA's decision to remove Peffly without telling him why cowardly, according to The Columbus Dispatch. But Wahls said he hopes cases like Peffly's will prompt the BSA to reconsider the policy at its upcoming meeting in Atlanta. From Cleveland.com

"There's a real possibility that it could enter the conversation," Wahls said. "We think that is increasingly likely, given what happened up in New York, given Brian's situation. This is clearly not going away. ... 

"If they wait until they have no other option, there is no honor in doing the right thing and this will further tarnish all that scouting stands for," he said.

Watch a report on Peffly's ouster from WBNS-10TV, AFTER THE JUMP ...

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As Transgender Teen Leelah Alcorn Is Laid To Rest, Her Death Begins To 'Mean Something' - VIDEO

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Transgender suicide victim Leelah Alcorn (below right) was laid to rest Friday morning in a private service, after her family moved the funeral in response to alleged threats, according to a report from NBC News

Tim Tripp, the family minister at Northeast Church of Christ in Cincinnati, told NBC News the funeral had been moved to a private location because "the times and dates had been publicized, and the family's received threats." Tripp wouldn't specify what threats surrounded the funeral, other than to say the family had heard there would be "disruptions." Mourners arriving at the church Friday found a sign on the door announcing the service's postponement. Jeff Hartmann, of Hodapp Funeral Home, said the private service was held there Friday morning. He said Alcorn's body was to be cremated.

AlcornMeanwhile, the LGBT community and its supporters honored Alcorn at candlelight vigils in Cleveland, Columbus (above) and other cities on Friday night. Additional vigils are planned outside Alcorn's former school today, and as far away as Orlando and London

A petition launched in the wake of Alcorn's suicide calling for a federal ban on transgender conversion therapy has garnered more than 240,000 signatures. Another petition calling for Alcorn's correct name to be placed on her headstone has garnered more than 70,000 signatures. 

As we reported, Leelah's mother, Carla Alcorn, told CNN she'd never heard her daughter's chosen name prior to her suicide. But that isn't surprising given that Leelah's parents likely would have used the name as another reason to punish their daughter, since they didn't support her gender identity due to their religious beliefs. 

WCPO-TV reported Thursday night that Leelah's father, Doug, sent the station an email in which he continued to misgender his daughter and use her birth name: 

WCPO has made several attempts to speak with her parents at their Kings Mills home. 

After an attempt Thursday, the girl’s father, Doug, sent WCPO an email with the subject line: “Joshua Alcorn and your visit this morning.”

Doug Alcorn's message reads in part:

“We love our son, Joshua, very much and are devastated by his death. We have no desire to enter into a political storm or debate with people who did not know him. We wish to grieve in private. We harbor no ill will towards anyone. ... I simply do not wish our words to be used against us.”

Needless to say, it's a little late for that, but actions speak louder than words, and Leelah's parents' actions as described in her Tumblr post were largely confirmed by her mother's statements to CNN.  

Not surprisingly, the original Tumblr post itself has been removed, but you can find an archive of it here, and the unprecedented national media coverage of Leelah's suicide continues, with some advocates calling her death the transgender community's "Matthew Shepard moment." 

Watch GLAAD spokesman Tiq Milan discuss the tragedy on MSNBC, as well as WCPO's report on Leelah's father's statement, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

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Three Gay Men Attacked in Columbus, Ohio in Past Week: VIDEO

Ashcraft

Outlook Columbus reports that three gay men have been attacked in Columbus, Ohio over the past five days:

On Thursday, a visitor from out of town who was smoking outside the Southbend Tavern in Merion Village was punched and kicked until he was unconscious by at least two men who had asked him for help starting their car.

Late Sunday, an employee walking home from Union was beaten near Summit Street in Italian Village. A gay man also was attacked and robbed early Monday near E Broad Street and Parsons Avenue in Olde Towne; he posted a photo of his bloodied head, along with a warning: “It sounds like hate crimes are back, boys and girls.”

“There are creeps out there, and they don’t like us,” said Gloria McCauley, executive director of BRAVO, the Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization.

Sgt. Richard Weiner, a spokesman for Columbus Police, said Southbend patrons reported the incident there late last week. Christopher Ashcraft told officers he was approached by several men who asked for a jump-start...

...David Conley, the victim of the third attack, said he called 911 as a group of men approached him from behind, and he was on the phone with the dispatcher as they hit him with a 2-by-4. Police arrived quickly and arrested three men. Conley said the men made vulgar comments as they approached that indicated an anti-gay bias.

Exile, a gay bar, was also robbed this week.

Watch Ashcraft tell his story to WCPO, AFTER THE JUMP...

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High School Students Protest Firing Of Lesbian Teacher

ColumbusBishop Watterson Catholic High School physical education teacher Carla Hale met with the school's principal this past Wednesday for the first time since she was wrongly fired earlier this month. Post-meeting, the principal, Marian Hutson, said she supports the decision to dismiss the teacher, who had taught at the school for 19 years. Hale is fighting the outrageous termination and has filed a grievence. Meeting with Hutson is the first step in the grievence process.

Yesterday, Bishop Watterson students from protested the teacher's firing outside the offices of the Catholic Diocese of Columbus. The Columbus Dispatch reports:

As cars passed the offices on Gay Street, the students held poster-board signs with messages: “ Come together,” “We are all children of God” and “#halestorm,” the Twitter hashtag used to support Hale. Many wore rainbow ribbons or buttons incorporating an equals sign into the Watterson crest. Senior Zac Simmons said he was demonstrating because he wanted his voice to be heard. “She’d always be there for us, and I just want to be there for her,” he said of Hale.

AnonWatch video of the protest, AFTER THE JUMP.

The hacktivist group Anonymous has also become a part of the story. They've posted a video in which they urge the Columbus Ohio Diocese to give Hale back her job. Watch the Anonymous video, AFTER THE JUMP.

More than 63,000 have signed the online petition asking to reinstate Hale. You can sign it yourself here.

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Gay Catholic High School Teacher Fired for Being Gay to File Discrimination Complaint: VIDEO

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Carla Hale, the Catholic high school teacher in Columbus, Ohio who was fired after an anonymous parent informed them that her partner's name had appeared in her mother's obituary, plans to fight for her reinstatement, she told reporters at a news conference yesterday.

The Columbus Dispatch reports:

Hale has filed a grievance and plans to appeal to the union that represents Catholic teachers in central Ohio after Watterson Principal Marian Hutson denied her initial request on Tuesday.

“I was informed that I was not terminated because I was gay, but ... the spousal relationship that was publicized in the newspaper, which happened to be an obituary, is against church teaching,” she said. Her attorney, Thomas Tootle, said he sees little distinction between the two.

Hale also will file a complaint with the Columbus Community Relations Commission under a city ordinance that makes it a crime for employers to discriminate based on sexual orientation. Mayor Michael B. Coleman is among those who have publicly supported the teacher.

Watch her press conference, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Gay Catholic High School Teacher Fired After Partner's Name Appears in Mother's Obituary: VIDEO

Hale

Disgusting actions from Bishop Watterson, a Catholic High School in Clintonville, Ohio, have students and other supporters rallying around Carla Hale, a physical education teacher who was fired by the school after an anonymous parent informed them that her partner's name had appeared in her mother's obituary.

WattersonWatch Hale tell her story, AFTER THE JUMP...

The Columbus Dispatch reports:

According to a contract between the Columbus diocese and the Central Ohio Association of Catholic Educators, teachers can be terminated for “immorality” or “serious unethical conduct.” George Jones, a spokesman for the diocese, had no comment yesterday, saying personnel matters are confidential.

Hale, a physical-education teacher who taught at Watterson for 19 years, said she has filed a grievance under the terms of the contract, seeking her job back. Her attorney, Thomas Tootle, said they are exploring other legal options.

Hale, a practicing Methodist, said she also hopes the reaction to her dismissal spurs Catholic leaders to reconsider their stance on gay relationships.

Hale did not discuss her sexual orientation or her partner with students or teachers. A Change.org petitionto reinstate her now has more than 10,000 signatures.

The Dispatch adds that Hale's firing may violate city law:

The firing of a gay physical-education teacher from a Columbus Catholic high school would be a violation of a city ordinance if a complaint were filed and investigators determined the dismissal was based on her sexual orientation...A Columbus city ordinance makes it a misdemeanor for an employer to discriminate against an employee based on sexual orientation. City law also states that an employer cannot have a policy that discriminates based on sexual orientation. Those who are found guilty could face up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Students have left testimonies in support of Hale.

Wrote Amanda Lux:

When I was a student at Bishop Watterson, we were always taught to treat others with dignity and compassion. As an alumni, I still credit Bishop Watterson with shaping me into the person I am today -- both morally and ethically. I am deeply saddened to learn that, in spite of what Watterson taught me about respect for all humanity, a longstanding and well-respected faculty member was treated so unfairly. Ms. Hale has always been an excellent coach and teacher. Her sexual orientation and lifestyle choices have no bearing on her capacity to educate her students and should NOT be grounds for termination of employment.

Wrote Lauren Bogenrief:

Bishop Watterson demands that we all treat each other with equality and respect. I hope they see that their students are standing up for the morally right thing, not to just rebel against the school. Carla Hale is a child of God and equal in his eyes to all of us. Bishop Watterson needs to recognize that.

Watch Hale tell her story, AFTER THE JUMP...

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