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ACLU Sues To End Nebraska's Ban On Gay Foster Parents

Flag27neWith the march toward marriage equality advancing throughout the country and the world, the American Civil Liberties Union is looking to force the state of Nebraska to follow suit with a new lawsuit challenging the state's ban on gay foster parents. Since the year 1995, the state has banned unmarried, unrelated adults who live together from being considered as foster parents. The policy also bars "persons who identify themselves as homosexuals," regardless of whether they live with a partner. Hopefully, that discriminatory policy will come to an end after more than a decade in existence. 

ACLU Nebraska is filing the suit on behalf of three same-sex couples, all three of whom wish to become foster parents. The group also plans to hold a press conference tomorrow morning, during which three of the plaintiffs, Joel Busch, Lisa Blakey and Greg Stewart, will be present. 

Jeremy nordquistThe ACLU's suit goes in hand with a bill recently proposed to the state legislature by State Sen. Jeremy Nordquist of Omaha. The bill seeks to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, as well as some others, by state and private adoption services. The state Judiciary Committee has advanced a modified version of the bill, which will be considered by the state legislature at the end of this session. According to Omaha.com:

"The amended bill would allow gay and lesbian couples to be foster parents only if they were relatives or had a previous 'significant' relationship with the child needing a foster home. Nordquist argued the original bill would help address the shortage of foster homes in Nebraska. He said the amended bill has a better chance of passing in the Legislature, yet still recognizes that children are better off living with relatives or people they know."

Currently, the ACLU also has LGBT rights lawsuits pending in North Carolina, Virginia, Montana, Illinois, and Pennsylvania


Nebraska School Superintendent Allegedly Fired For Performing In "The Producers"

Ever since the Calvary Community Church opened the Parkview Christian School in 2011, Harold Scott has served as the Nebraska school's superintendent. But Scott says he was recently fired from his position for performing in a community theater production of The Producers

ScottThe Producers is Mel Brooks' musical comedy in which two Broadway con-men stage a deliberately offensive and awful musical called Springtime for Hitler: A Gay Romp with Adolf and Eva at Berchtesgaden. The comedy is rife with jokes about Nazis, gay characters and a sexpot secretary whose unwitting hotness drives the titular producers wild.

According to Scott, Calvary Community Church pastor Dr. Carl Godwin fired him because he "felt [Scott's] participation (in the musical) would have a negative reflection" on both the church and the school.

Scott told The Journal Star:

“I never imagined that my passion for acting and participating in community theater would lead to me losing my job. I truly believe that I did nothing wrong and my involvement in theater should in no way interfere with the career I love.”

Previous to his firing, Scott had been an educator for over 22 years with several years as a middle and high school principal.


College Student Expelled For Being Gay, Told to Pay Back Scholarship

GraceA college student in Nebraska is fighting to keep thousands of dollars in scholarship funds after revelations about her past relationship with another woman resulted in her expulsion from Grace University, a small Bible college in Omaha.

Danielle Powell says that Grace University is demanding she cover over $6,000 in scholarships she received during her undergraduate career. After eight months of being denied a transcript transfer because of the outstanding balance, making it impossible to transfer to another university, Powell has started a Change.org petition to demand that Grace University forgive the debt and allow her to transfer.

"I don't think a lot of people are aware of the fact that you legally can be kicked out of a school in 2013 for being gay," Powell said. "Yes, this is a legal, financial petition, technically speaking, but there's a lot of morals and social justice tied into it that is getting I think some necessary exposure."

After word of Powell's previous relationship with another woman worked its way up to top administrators, the two women were brought to campus to attend a judiciary hearing in which they were questioned separately about their relationship and their remorse. Powell was initially suspended and told she could re-enroll for her final semester if she agreed to a restoration program involving mandatory church attendance, meetings with counselors and mentors, and keeping in touch with a dean. Powell began the program, but was notified later that the administration had decided on expulsion instead. 

Most Bible colleges, including Grace University, require students to sign a statement of faith and conduct when they enroll that usually includes rules against "sexually immoral behavior, including premarital sex, adultery, and homosexual acts."


News: Scott Thorson, Robbie Rogers, England, Apple

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Watch a clip of Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal from their upcoming film, Prisoners.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d The owner of the Bunny Ranch says he bailed Liberace's former lover, Scott Thorson, out of jail because the latter wasn't getting proper treatment for his cancer.

Rr6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Robbie Rogers says he really missed soccer after he retired from the sport: "'There was a period after leaving England 'where I thought, 'OK, I'm done with this.' I'm going to really miss it but I felt like it was going to be really difficult to come back,' Rogers says. 'But I just really missed it too much.'"

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d UK equalities minister says marriage equality cannot be traded for tax breaks: "While a transferable tax allowance 'may well' be brought in during the current parliament, the two issues of tax breaks and same-sex marriage were 'very different things,' she said. 'This [same-sex marriage] is about stopping discrimination and allowing a very large and significant group of people to enter into an institution that most of us think is a very valuable one. That is really how I see it.'"

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Apple might introduce iRadio next week: "Apple’s service, a Pandora-like feature that would tailor streams of music to each user’s taste, has been planned since at least last summer."

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d RIP All in the Family's Jean Stapleton who has passed away at 90.

England6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Bishops in England urged to avoid Tuesday's marriage vote: "They fear that a large bloc of clerics turning up to vote down the bill could rebound on the Church, reopening questions over the right of bishops to sit in the Lords and even raise the prospect of disestablishment."

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d It appears that former Facebook president Sean Parker was wed in a forest.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Powerful images from the demonstrations in Istanbul.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Channing Tatum has become a first-time dad.

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Nebraska bill would change current ban on gay foster parents: "Lawmakers will debate a bill next year that would allow gay and lesbian couples to serve as foster parents if they are related to the child or have a well-established relationship."

6a00d8341c730253ef014e86b06427970d Angelina Jolie makes her first post-surgery public appearance at the premiere of Brad Pitt's new movie, World War Z.


Nebraska Lesbian Sentenced for Faking Horrific Hate Crime: VIDEO

Rogers

Charlie Rogers, the Lincoln, Nebraska lesbian who was found guilty of faking a hate crime for claiming she was attacked by three men who broke into her home and carved "dyke" into her stomach before setting her house ablaze, was sentenced to a week in jail and two years on probation by a Lancaster County judge yesterday.

The Journal Star reports:

Lancaster County Judge Gale Pokorny on Thursday morning also ordered the 34-year-old to do 250 hours of community service for lying to police when she told investigators three men broke into her house, tied her up, carved anti-gay slurs into her skin and tried to light the house on fire.

“The evidence is overwhelming that Charlie Rogers’ narrative of July 22, 2012, was an incredible and outrageous lie the second it passed her lips,” Pokorny said.

Rogers will start her jail sentence April 29. She could do another 90 days behind bars in 2015 if she does not complete probation. Pokorny also ordered her to take a comprehensive psychiatric exam and give her probation officer access to all her medical records.

Rogers had faced up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Video of Rogers' sentencing, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Nebraska Lesbian Sentenced for Faking Horrific Hate Crime: VIDEO" »


Petition Drive to Repeal Omaha's LGBT Non-Discrimination Ordinance Fails

Right-wing religious groups have failed in their petition drive efforts to repeal Omaha, Nebraska's LGBT non-discrimination ordinance, the World-Herald reports:

City_omahaA church-led effort to repeal the ordinance did not gather enough signatures in time to launch a referendum immediately, organizers said Thursday.

The Omaha Liberty Project, sponsor of the petition effort, needed to submit roughly 11,400 valid resident signatures to the city today to potentially force a vote in May's general election.

The group's volunteer petition circulators led months of signature gathering and community-organizing efforts, its leader said, but didn't collect enough signatures to account for potentially ineligible entries. The group has already missed a deadline to place the issue on the primary ballot.

Organizers blame their failure on getting a late start, lack of education on the issue, and not public opinion.


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