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Detroit Tigers Pitcher Justin Verlander Says Gay Player Would Be Welcomed by the Team: VIDEO


CNN's Carol Costello was at spring training with the Detroit Tigers and sat down with pitcher Justin Verlander, asking him if there are gays in Major League Baseball and whether an openly gay player would be accepted.


Said Verlander: "I'm sure there are [gay players]. I think as with any sport, a gay player would probably be hesitant to come out, but the sheer number says there absolutely is."

Verlander added that a gay player would be welcome in the Tigers' clubhouse:

"Yeah, I don't see why not.  Given the right situation, and a team that's a family atmosphere, and I feel like we have that atmosphere here. I don't think one of our players would be scared to come out. We got 25 guys, it's a family, and our goal is to win a World Series. What your sexual orientation is, I don't see how that affects the ultimate goal of our family."

Costello then asked Verlander why he thinks there is so much controversy about it:

"I think it's a tricky subject because you start getting into locker rooms and walking around nude, or whatever. And I think that would be more of a tricky subject than anything. You know, your life decisions and sexual orientation - like I said, I don't think that plays any effect on what we're trying to do as a team, so I don't see why that would matter."

Added Verlander: "I wouldn't mind it."


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Detroit Man Gets 18 Months in Prison for Anti-Gay Assault Under Federal Hate Crimes Protection Act


Everett Dwayne Avery, a 26-year-old Detroit man was sentenced yesterday to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised released by U.S. District Judge John Corbett O'Meara, according to a memo from the Justice Department.

Towleroad reported on the assault, which targeted Detroit resident Justin Alesna (above), here.

Writes the DOJ in a memo:

The assault occurred on March, 7, 2011, while Avery and the victim were at a convenience store in Detroit. Avery used anti-gay slurs toward the victim as Avery and the victim waited in line in the convenience store. Shortly after the first slurs, while still in the store, Avery used another anti-gay slur and punched the victim in the face, fracturing the victim’s eye socket.  Avery pled guilty to violating the federal Hate Crimes Protection Act on Aug. 29, 2012.
“Hate-fueled incidents like this one have no place in a civilized society,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department is committed to using all the tools in our law enforcement arsenal, including the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, to prosecute acts motivated by hate.”

“Congress has made it clear that it is a crime to assault people solely on the basis of their sexual orientation.  Prosecutions under this law are important to ensure that all people in our community know that they have the full protection of the law,” said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Barbara McQuade.

Special Agent in Charge Foley stated, “Hate crimes have no place in a civilized society. We are a nation of laws and our laws embrace diversity and differences. The law does not tolerate the type of hate demonstrated in this matter and the FBI will investigate and put forth for prosecution a violation of that law.”

Alesna recorded a video at the time the assault took place. You can watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Michigan Couple Challenges State's Marriage Amendment, Ban on Gay Adoption: VIDEO


A Detroit couple already suing the state of Michigan over its ban on adoptions by unmarried couples has expanded their lawsuit to take on the state's marriage amendment, the Detroit News reports:

April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, who have three special-needs children, made the announcement Friday during a news conference with their legal team at the Penobscot Building.

The couple is the first to challenge the state's marriage amendment since it was passed in 2004.In the amended lawsuit filed Friday in federal court, the Hazel Park women are seeking to change the state's laws that prevent same-sex couples from marrying and adopting children.

The suit claims Gov. Rick Snyder, Attorney General Bill Schuette and Oakland County Clerk Bill Bullard are denying them the same constitutional rights afforded to heterosexual couples.

Watch the press conference held by the couple and their attorneys today, as well as a news report broadcast a week ago when they had not yet decided to expand their lawsuit, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Democrats Add Marriage Equality To Party Platform

250px-Claudia_J_KennedyThe Democratic National Committee platform group met in Detroit yesterday to hammer out their party's platform -- a 50-page document that'll be formally endorsed next month at the Democratic National Convention.

In a meeting led by Newark mayor Cory Booker and Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy, and attended by approximately 120 party leaders from across the country (and, in a few cases, from beyond), Democrats created a platform that called for, among other things, renewed commitments to fossil fuel efficiency and continued efforts to combat nuclear proliferation. Nothing much controversial made the platform -- as Detroit News notes, the platform doesn't endorse The DREAM Act, and it "sidesteps" arguments about the role of Japan in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. But the platform does call for the end of DOMA, for marriage equality, and for the word "family," when it appears in immigration reform, to refer to all kinds of families.

From the Washington Blade:

Cory-Booker-300x232Language on marriage equality — which is being included in the Democratic Party platform for the first time — was accepted without amendment and without significant discussion.

Among the committee members who delivered remarks was Scott Dibble, a gay state senator from Minnesota, who said he’s “extremely pleased” with the marriage equality plank, saying the language “should be taken as an affirmation on something that we all value and cherish, and that is what marriage means and that marriage really matters.”

Said Mayor Booker:

We must stand as Democrats. We must stand for the middle class. We must stand for equality and inclusion and whether you are a single mother here in Detroit, whether you or a gay man in San Francisco, whether you are a blue collar worker in Newark, New Jersey, this is the party for you.

A Bullied 7-Year-Old in Detroit Has Committed Suicide: VIDEO

Seven years old!

DetroitAuthorities and media in Detroit are incredulous that a boy so young could have taken his own life over bullying, but that appears to be the tragic case, the Detroit Free Press reports:

Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee Jr. said Thursday, calling the situation "unfathomable."

He said the department is investigating the child's death, but as of Thursday afternoon, it appeared the situation is "exactly as presented" -- a suicide.

The boy was found by his 14-year-old sister hanging from a bunk bed with a belt around his neck.

The 7-year-old, whom the Free Press is not naming, had been depressed about being bullied by other kids at school and in his neighborhood, and about his parents' recent separation, the boy's mother told police, according to the report.

Adds the Free Press:

The boy's mother told police she forced her way into the room where her son was by removing the door knob, grabbed her son and held him up while a neighbor removed the belt from around his neck, a report says. The boy was then placed on his mother's bed, but a 911 operator said to move him to the floor, a report says.

The boy's mother told police she had last seen her son alive at 4 p.m. Wednesday, when she left to go talk to the family's pastor about the child's depression, according to the report.

The mother told police that her son "had been depressed due to her recent separation from his father; the fact that he had been bullied continuously by the children at school, in addition to the constant teasing that he had endured because he was the only boy in the home of eight females," a report says.

A MyFOX Detroit report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Gay Detroit Man Murdered for Stepping on a Pair of Sunglasses: VIDEO


The mother of slain 26-year-old gay Detroit man Charlie Hernandez is outraged that the killer of her son has been charged with manslaughter following a brutal murder late last year which appears to have been triggered after Hernandez stepped on a pair of sunglasses, WXYZ reports.

It happened back on December 17th at an apartment building on Vinewood in southwest Detroit. Family members say Charlie, who was openly gay and slightly challenged, stepped on some sunglasses by accident.

Two men reportedly got angry, used gay slurs and started hitting Charlie. He hit back and the fight escalated and someone pulled a knife and in the end Charlie lay dead.

His mom Anna says she found him covered in blood, nearly naked.

Two men were arrested, one was released and the other, Titus Willis, is charged with manslaughter.

Watch their report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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