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04/19/2007


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.

Continue reading "High School Students Protest Firing Of Lesbian Teacher" »


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

3_hale

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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Graffiti On Gay Couple's Condo: "Move Or Die, F**s"

MoveOrDie
After a "heated" condo association meeting on Thursday, a gay couple retired to their home of 15 years on Blue Cloud Lake, in Columbus, OH. They went to sleep. When they awoke on Friday, they found anti-gay slurs spray-painted on the outside of their home in bright yellow. The smaller piece of graffiti read "Move Or Die F**s." The larger one read, simply: "Die F**s."

The objects of the harassment, David Koch and his unnamed partner -- who will soon celebrate their 25th anniversary -- believe there's a connection between the condo meeting and the graffiti. The Columbus police say the search for the culprit will be handled by the "Strategic Response Bureau," which investigates misdemeanors. In the meantime, Koch and his partner fear the harassment might escalate. "My concern is probably more like, 'is somebody gonna put rat poison in hamburger, and put it out in the yard for the dogs to eat?'"

Watch Koch discuss the incident AFTER THE JUMP ...

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Ohio Teen Charged with Assault for Beating of Gay Classmate

2bully

Levi Sever, a 15-year-old student at Union-Scioto High School in Chillicothe, Ohio was charged with one count of assault this morning for brutally beating a gay student, now identified as Zachary Huston.

The assault was captured on video by the aggressor's cousin and posted to Facebook. In the video, which I posted last week, classmates stood by as Sever waited for Huston to arrive in the classroom, then grabbed him, pushed him to the ground and punched him in the face several times.

The Columbus Dispatch reports:

Unioto High School student Levi Sever will appear later in juvenile court to answer to the charge filed by the office of Prosecutor Matthew Schmidt following an investigation by the sheriff's office. Schmidt was not available for comment this morning. Sever is accused of assaulting 15-year-old Zachary Huston at the high school on Oct. 17, with the victim's mother contending he was targeted because he is gay. The case has captured national attention.

...Meanwhile, a second bullying incident — this time in a Westerville school — also is being called an anti-gay attack by gay-rights activists. In that case, the victim isn’t gay but reportedly has a sister who is a lesbian. However, Westerville police said this afternoon that their investigation has found no evidence the fight involved "gay bashing."

I've reposted the video which led to the assault charge as well as a report on the second attack, AFTER THE JUMP...

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