Massachusetts Hub




Massachusetts Governor Signs Anti-Bullying Bill Into Law Strengthening Protections for LGBT Students

Patrick

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick today signed an anti-bullying bill into law strengthening protections for LGBT students and students with disabilities, the Boston Herald reports.

GLSEN applauded the law:

“As the 17th state to pass inclusive anti-bullying legislation, Massachusetts is sending an impactful message to its LGBT youth,” said Dr. Eliza Byard, GLSEN’s Executive Director. “LGBT students in Massachusetts can feel confident their educators are committed to providing them with the safe and inclusive school environments they deserve. GLSEN looks forward to the day when every student in every school in the country can feel just as supported.”

H. 3909, “An Act Relative to Bullying in Schools,” will update existing anti-bullying legislation by requiring every district to include specific protections in their bullying prevention plan recognizing frequently targeted groups, including LGBT youth.

The legislation will also implement two key methods of tracking incidences of bullying: a student survey to be conducted every four years gathering information about school safety and climate, and a data collection and reporting mechanism allowing officials to better measure and evaluate the impact of anti-bullying efforts.

The Massachusetts House and Senate approved the bill in February and March, respectively. Gov. Patrick, a longtime supporter of bullying prevention initiatives such as a limited 2010 law designed to help educators report, prevent and address bullying, signed the bill in a ceremony today.

(image via twitter senator sonia chang-diaz)


Massachusetts Lawmaker Announces He is HIV-Positive, Resigns to Run AIDS Charity

Sciortino

Out gay Massachusetts State Representative Carl Sciortino (above, right), who made headlines last November in an ad in which he came out to his Tea Party father as a Massachusetts liberal one month after marrying his partner Pem Brown, announced he's resigning from his office in the state's 34th Middlesex District. 

Sciortino said he's HIV-positive, and plans to lead Massachusetts' AIDS Action Committee:

“As a gay man living with HIV, I am honored to lead one of the country’s oldest and most effective organizations in the battle against this disease which has raged on over 30 years,” said Sciortino. “My goal for AIDS Action in the years ahead is simple: continue the work that has resulted in lowering the rate of new HIV diagnoses in Massachusetts; provide the multitude of services needed to keep those living with HIV/AIDS connected with health care providers; and continue the public conversation about HIV needed to reduce the stigma that is still so closely associated with this disease.”


Lesbian Couple Files Lawsuit Demanding Recognition of Marriage in Puerto Rico

Ada_ivonne

A lesbian couple has filed suit in Puerto Rico demanding recognition of their Massachusetts marriage, the Washington Blade reports:

“We wish to enjoy the same social privileges and contractual rights that are conferred by the commonwealth on individuals in opposite-sex marriages and not to be treated as we are being treated as second class citizens differentiated, alienated and discriminated in comparison to other U.S. citizens,” say Ada Conde Vidal and Ivonne Álvarez Velez in their lawsuit they filed in U.S. District Court of Puerto Rico in San Juan. “Puerto Rico law precluding recognition of lawful same-sex marriages denies us those rights in violation of the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”

Conde and Álvarez, who have been together for nearly 14 years, exchanged vows in Massachusetts in 2004 shortly after the state’s same-sex marriage law took effect.

Puerto Rican lawmakers in 1999 amended the U.S. commonwealth’s civil code to ban recognition of same-sex marriages – even those legally performed in other jurisdictions. Unions in which one person is transgender are also not recognized.

More at the Blade...

Wrote activist Pedro Julio Serrano on Facebook of the above photo:

They made history by being the first Puerto Rican couple of the same sex to marry in Massachusetts - the first State to legalize this right - a decade ago. They made history today by filing the first federal lawsuit so in Puerto Rico recognizes marriage between same-sex acts in other jurisdictions. They will make history when it declares legal the right to equal marriage in Puerto Rico. Thank you, yesterday, today and always... ADA and Ivonne!


Gay Congressional Hopeful Richard Tisei Boycotting GOP Convention Over Anti-Gay Platform

Gay Republican Richard Tisei, who is running for Congress and was the GOP’s nominee for Massachusetts lieutenant governor in 2010, says he's sitting out the state GOP convention because its platform is anti-gay, the Boston Globe reports:

Tisei“I don’t want to go and be seen in any way to be endorsing that,” said Tisei, who is gay and who got married last summer. “I don’t really feel comfortable being at a convention where the platform takes the party backward, rather than forward, as far as appealing to a large group of Massachusetts voters.”

The platform that was overwhelmingly approved by state committee members frowns on abortion and gay marriage, social issues that the GOP in Massachusetts had previously avoided addressing, for fear of alienating the state’s many liberal and libertarian-minded voters.


Anti-Gay Wingnut From Massachusetts Speaks In Jamaica, Encourages Preservation Of Sodomy Laws: VIDEO

BriancamenkerBrian Camenker (right), the founder of anti-gay organization MassResistance, spoke before an audience at an event for the Jamaican Coalition for a Healthy Society (JCHS) on December 10th. The Coalition has been fighting to preserve Jamaica's "buggery law" which appeared to be in danger after Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller alluded to a vote for its repeal in 2011. Camenker spoke about Massachusetts' own decriminalization of sodomy and its supposed negative impact on society as a whole. 

BuzzFeed reports:

“I am here to warn you that [repeal of the buggery law] will have terrible consequences,” Camenker said, according to a video of the event uploaded by MassResistance on Saturday. “A law that contradicts God’s law is the beginning of a slippery slope that you cannot imagine.”

Camenker described a series of events that he said flowed from the decriminalization of sodomy in Massachusetts, including the “indoctrination” of children in schools and the suppression of religious people opposed to LGBT rights.

“If you think it can’t get worse, think again,” he said, saying that protections for transgender students in schools were the latest [dictate] from “the radical homosexual movement.” “Students or Teachers who disagree can be punished — it’s madness!”

MassResistance is considered a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Camenker has previously accused LGBT activists of borrowing techniques from the Nazis and imposing laws reminiscent of Jim Crow segregation.

Flag-jamaica-XLPeter LaBarbera, another anti-gay activist, spoke at a JCHS event on December 7th. The organization's chairman claims that these speakers are meant to engender informed discussion surrounding the issue of sodomy. 

After Camenker’s remarks, JCHS Chairman Wayne West told the audience that the organization was inviting these speakers to Jamaica so that we can have “a truthful discussion about the implications of [repealing the buggery law] so that when the decision is made, no one can say we didn’t know this will happen.”

“We are speaking the truth under the stars before this country; it is being broadcast over the air,” he said. “Our hands will not have the blood of the generations of children who may be living in a country where there is no freedom of speech, no freedom of conscience, and one has to bow and cow-tow to a sexual rights agenda. You have been warned.”

Watch a recording of Camenker's speech, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Anti-Gay Wingnut From Massachusetts Speaks In Jamaica, Encourages Preservation Of Sodomy Laws: VIDEO" »


Social Conservatives Threaten To Pull Support From MA GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Over Running Mate's Stance On Gay Marriage

Polito

Massachusetts Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker is facing heat from social conservatives within his own party after his running mate, Karyn Polito, endorsed gay marriage this week. The Boston Globe reports that though Polito had originally agreed to moderate her stance on gay marriage by saying she would "not work to undo the progress achieved over the last decade,” in essence taking a play out of Mitt Romney's handbook, who in his 1994 run for Teddy Kennedy's senate seat "described himself as 'personally opposed' to abortion, but promised not to challenge existing abortion law," that more pacifistic plan went out the window after Baker and Polito announced their ticket:

BakerThe issue quickly came to a head after Baker and Polito appeared at a Shrewsbury diner to announce their ticket on Tuesday. A Globe reporter then inquired of a Baker campaign aide about Polito's position on gay marriage. The aide, who did not want to be quoted, replied that Polito favored the current gay marriage law.

In an e-mail exchange, the Globe asked whether it would be fair to say she favored gay marriage, and the aide replied that it would. That exchange was reflected in a Globe article Wednesday.

That clear-cut declaration eliminated the carefully designed nuance and set off a firestorm within social conservative circles, where Polito has been very popular.

Conservative activists, who oppose Baker’s socially liberal views on gay marriage and abortion, had been ready to support him for his fiscal conservatism and out of a desire to wrest control of the corner office from Democrats.

Social conservatives in the party are now urging their "ideological colleagues" to switch their support to Baker's only Republican challenger at this time, Mark Fisher.

Baker previously ran for governor in 2010 against current incumbent Deval Patrick, who has said he would retire after 2014. Baker also drew the ire of some Republicans for choosing Richard Tisei, a gay, pro-choice candidate as his running mate in 2010. Earlier this year the Baker campaign distributed a flier at the state's GOP convention that voiced opposition to a proposed "transgender rights" bill co-sponsored by Tisei, prompting speculation Baker was eager to win back social conservatives. Baker's response?

“'I think a guy who supports gay marriage and is pro-choice and has been pretty clear on those and picked a gay fella as his running mate is pretty much not pandering to much of anybody,' he said, placing a hand on Tisei's shoulder."


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