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Missouri Appeals Ruling Striking Down Gay Marriage Ban to 8th Circuit

KosterAs expected, the state of Missouri is appealing last month's federal judge ruling striking down the state's gay marriage ban. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, a supporter of marriage equality, had previously stated his plan to appeal the ruling to the 8th Circuit.

Same-sex couples in the state can marry in St. Louis as a result of a separate ruling overturning the state's gay marriage ban. 

Read the notice of appeal below via Equality Case Files:


Black Gay Man Shot and Murdered In Missouri, Police Not Investigating As A Hate Crime

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A young black man from Missouri, 22-year-old Dionte Greene, was found shot to death in his car on Halloween morning, possibly by an individual he was planning to meet for sex, someone who reports indicate identified as straight but nonetheless was pursuing sex with Greene. Zach Stafford's in-depth piece in The Guardian paints a vivid portrait of what happened the night Greene was murdered: 

On 30 October, Dionte Greene finished work before midnight to attend a “turn-about” party, where people show up dressed as a different gender. But before the party, Greene had plans with some “trade” he had been talking to online, several of his friends told me. “Trade” is a version of “on the down-low” – terms used within black LGBT communities to describe a man who doesn’t “appear gay” but who engages in sex with men unbeknownst to his family and most of his friends. Trade is a man you don’t necessarily trust – more of a risk than many are willing to take.

According to friends who saw his private messages, Greene had been in correspondence online with this “trade” for some time prior to their meeting, as the man apparently tried to decide whether or not they should meet up. The “trade” was very much on the fence about having sex with men, according to accounts of these messages, and he very much did not want his sexual secret to be found out. But something changed, and the “trade” agreed to meet up that night, Greene’s friends said.

When Greene arrived at the pre-arranged meeting spot in a quiet residential area just miles north of his home, he was on the phone with a friend who could sense that Greene was a little nervous about the meeting. As they spoke, according to other friends with knowledge of this conversation, the man started walking towards Greene’s car. “He looks just like his Facebook picture,” Greene allegedly said.

Moments later, Dionte Greene’s friend heard yelling. The phone line went dead. And Dionte Greene ended up with a gunshot to the face in the driver’s seat of his car.

Stafford reports that because Greene's possible murderer was meeting Greene for the purpose of having sex, the crime cannot be classified as a hate crime. Kansas City's first LGBT liasion, Rebecca Caster, an out-lesbian, drove home this point: “If someone is actually engaged in ‘the act’, then these are not hate crimes." Caster went further, defining hate-crimes in stark terms: “The thing is, hate crimes need to be, ‘I can’t stand the fact that you are gay so I am going to drag you behind a truck. I don’t know you, I don’t care.’” Under this burden of proof, it's easy to understand how much understanding is missing in the conversaion on hate related crime. As Stafford points out, "homophobia [is] not just something that makes someone drag you behind a truck, but [is] a sickness that can make someone kiss and then kill – simply because someone didn’t want their secret to get out."

(Photo via Twitter)


Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson Resigns: VIDEO

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The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown August 9, has resigned from the Ferguson Police Department.

In a telephone interview Saturday evening, Wilson said he resigned after the police department told him it had received threats that violence would ensue if he remained an employee.

“I’m resigning of my own free will,” he said. “I’m not willing to let someone else get hurt because of me.”

He said resigning was “the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.”

On Monday, a grand jury decided not to indict Wilson in Brown's death.

Read Wilson's resignation letter:

I, Darren Wilson, hereby resign my commission as a police officer with the City of Ferguson effective immediately. I have been told that my continues employment may put the residents and police officers of the City of Ferguson at risk, which is a circumstance that I cannot allow. For obvious reasons, I wanted to wait until the grand jury made their decision before I officially made my decision to resign. It was my hope to continue in police work, but the safety of other police officers and the community are of the paramount importance to me. It is my hope that my resignation will allow the community to heal. I would like to thank all of my supporters and fellow officers throughout this process.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch adds:

Anthony Gray, an attorney representing the Brown family, said he believes Wilson was acting merely for his own benefit.

“It’s probably in his best interest to sever his ties with the Ferguson community, as well as the Ferguson police department,” Gray said. “I think this incident has severely compromised his ability to police in the way he was paid to do by the city.”

Watch a news report on Wilson's resignation AFTER THE JUMP...(autoplay)

And if you missed our coverage of LGBT organizations reacting to the grand jury decision, click here

Continue reading "Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson Resigns: VIDEO" »


Rev. Al Sharpton Blasts Ferguson Decision; Officer Darren Wilson Gives First Interview: VIDEOS

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Reverend Al Sharpton spoke out at a press conference this morning with the family of slain Ferguson teenager Michael Brown, blasting the decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson and criticizing St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert P. McCulloch for going out of his way to discredit Brown and conducting a "flawed" investigation.

Meanwhile, ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos previewed an interview with officer Darren Wilson. According to Stephanopoulos, Wilson says he is sorry for the loss of Michael Brown's life, but he has a "clean conscience" about what happened and would not do anything differently today.

Watch both, AFTER THE JUMP...

 

Wilson

Continue reading "Rev. Al Sharpton Blasts Ferguson Decision; Officer Darren Wilson Gives First Interview: VIDEOS" »


Grand Jury: No Indictment of Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the Shooting Death of Michael Brown

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A grand jury has decided not to indict Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown back on August 9. 

Earlier today, CNN reported on what would happen to Wilson should the jury not move forward with indictment charges:

If the grand jury clears him of wrongdoing and Wilson wants to remain on the job, he could put up a fight. The police union would back him, said Paul Callan, a CNN legal analyst and former New York prosecutor.

"In the end, he has certain due process rights under Missouri law, and they can't just summarily fire him because he's unpopular," Callan said. "They will have to prove that he violated some aspect of his employment contract as a police officer, or civil service regulations. Otherwise, he will have a very good lawsuit."

Still, most people believe Wilson will never again wear a badge.

"If I'm the mayor of Ferguson, believe me, you would want that cop out because you know that he will be controversial," Callan said. "He will be distrusted by the citizenry and maybe subjected to abuse when he's out on the street. It's just going to be nothing but trouble. They're going to find a way to get him out. They may try to buy him out."

Watch live feed of MSNBC's coverage of the news, AFTER THE JUMP...

UPDATE I: Lambda Legal reacts -

"While there will be debate and disagreement about the facts that led to the grand jury decision announced today in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by Police Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, MO, there is no debate about the facts that a terrible tragedy took place and that another unarmed young black man lost his life at the hands of a police officer. Around the country, we continue to witness similar tragedies and loss of life that have resulted from the deadly combination of racism, police profiling, excessive use of lethal force and a general disregard for the lives of black and brown people.

"We mourn Michael Brown and every victim of police violence by continuing to work for justice -- for better policing and fairer laws. As an organization fighting for the rights of LGBT people and people living with HIV, we know that bias and prejudice can lead to injustice. We believe that these issues must be addressed in a systemic way and that regardless of one decision, all of us must be active participants in holding law enforcement agencies accountable for ending the unchecked assault on the lives of all of our communities that are marginalized and criminalized -- whether on the basis of race, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression or economic status.

Update II: NCLR reacts -

“We vacillate between heartbreak and outrage at the decision from the grand jury. Injustice is too tame a word for what today’s decision represents. The fact that an unarmed black youth can be fatally shot by a police officer with no accountability or consequence is a chilling commentary on the worth afforded to young, black lives and the sorry state of racial justice in this country,” said Kate Kendell, Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

“We stand with our colleagues in the broader civil rights community in condemning the grand jury decision, and send our strength and support to the family and friends of Michael Brown and the entire Ferguson community as they continue to grieve their tragic loss. We also urge the Department of Justice to take action to address the longstanding history of racialized intimidation and discrimination by the Ferguson police,” Kendell concluded.  

Update III: HRC reacts - 

"Michael Brown's family and the American people deserve to have this case fully adjudicated in a public trial. Today's deeply disappointing decision by the grand jury denies them that opportunity. Until we as a nation make a meaningful commitment to ending police profiling--and to fully prosecuting individual cases of brutality--the kind of violence that ended Michael Brown's life will only continue. As advocates for equality, it's our job to show solidarity with a growing national movement to break this cycle of police violence."

"While we cannot begin to imagine the pain that the Brown family is facing at this moment, we send our thoughts, prayers and condolences to them during this heartbreaking and difficult time. We also stand in solidarity with the family's encouragement of peaceful protests and reflection following this decision."

Continue reading "Grand Jury: No Indictment of Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the Shooting Death of Michael Brown" »


Church Threatens Legal Action Against 'I'm Not Gay No More' Man Over iTunes Song: AUDIO

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The Church of God in Christ, the Pentacostal Christian denomination at the center of the "I'm not gay no more" megachurch conversion video that went viral earlier this month, is reportedly threatening legal action against the "gay no more" man Andrew Caldwell for remixng the video into a song and putting it on iTunes.

TMZ reports the church has ordered him to stop selling the song "partly because they own the audio, but also because they feel Andrew is making a mockery of the service." Andrew, however, claims he's copyrighted the song and that he can claim ownership because the song only contains his voice. 

Earlier this month, Caldwell addressed the widespread doubt that he had been "turned straight" and shot down sugestions that he staged the moment for publicity.  

Listen to the remix, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Church Threatens Legal Action Against 'I'm Not Gay No More' Man Over iTunes Song: AUDIO" »


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