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NCLR Hosting #BornPerfect Twitter Town Hall On Conversion Therapy

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Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 4.44.43 PMThe National Center for Lesbian Rights said it's hosting a Twitter town hall today at 6:30 p.m. ET to discuss the dangers of conversion therapy, the efforts to stop these practices once and for all and what the community can do in a release issued to the public. The town hall comes days after the tragic death of Leelah Alcorn, who took her life after facing years of rejection and enduring the harmful effects of conversion therapy. Twitters users can submit their questions using the hashtag #BornPerfect.

Town hall panelists include NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell, conversion therapy survivor and marriage and family therapist James Guay, Rev. Dr. Justin Tanis of the the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and co-author of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, NCLR Staff Attorney and #BornPerfect Campaign Coordinator Samantha Ames and Maris Ehlers-sister of Kirk Murphy who took his life at the age of 38 in 2003 after undergoing conversion therapy as a child.

NCLR launched the #BornPerfect campaign in June 2014, an initiative geared toward eliminating the practice of so-called “ex-gay” or “reparative” therapy through increased public awareness and the passage of laws across the country to protect LGBT kids from the serious harm caused by these practices. Recently NCLR helped pass legislation in California, New Jersey and the District of Columbia to ban the dangerous practice of conversion therapy. In November 2014, members of the United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT) questioned U.S. Department of State representatives asking why the use of conversion therapy is still considered a valid practice despite reputable medical organizations condemning the practice.


New Jersey Assemblyman Tim Eustace Introduces Bill to Ban 'Gay Panic' Defense

Openly gay New Jersey Assemblyman Tim Eustace has introduced a bill that would ban the use of the "gay panic" defense in court, NJ.com reports:

Eustace“I want to make sure that we’re paying attention to things before they happen,” said Eustace, who is the Legislature’s second openly gay member.

Under New Jersey law, a defendant can be charged with manslaughter – a lesser charge than murder – if, among other things, the crime “is committed in the heat of passion resulting from a reasonable provocation.”

Eustace’s bill states that that a provocation can not be interpreted as reasonable if it is based on “the discovery of, knowledge about, or potential disclosure of the homicide victim’s actual or perceived gender identity or expression,” including “circumstances in which the victim made an unwanted, non-forcible romantic or sexual advance toward the actor, or if the victim and actor dated or had a romantic or sexual relationship.”

Earlier this year, California became the first state to ban the "gay panic" defense. In 2013 the American Bar Association unanimously passed a resolution “urging federal, state, local and territorial governments to pass legislation curtailing the availability and effectiveness of the use of 'gay panic' and 'trans panic' defenses by criminal defendants.”

[h/t joe.my.god]


Seven New Jersey High Schoolers Charged With Hazing-Related Sex Crimes - VIDEO

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Six of seven New Jersey high school students are being held in police custody this week after being charged for hazing-related sexual assault crimes. Acting as members of the Sayreville War Memorial High School football team, the accused teenagers are said to have restrained, abused, and inappropriately touched four fellow teammates. Families of the arrested teenagers are awaiting preliminary decisions that will determine whether students, whose ages range from 15-17, will be charged prosecuted as minors or adults.

"Everything revolves around getting the kids ready to play Bomber football," Cary Melenez, a local resident explained of her city.

The allegations have shaken parents and school administrators concerned for the well being of their children and students. Though not known for churning out star football players, Sayreville’s culture revolves heavily around football participation. The implications of a scandal like this have prompted a number of vocal protestations. In light of the developing case, Sayreville school superintendent made the executive decision to cancel the remainder of the high school's fall football season. 

"In the ensuing days, weeks, and months," Sayreville school superintendent Richard Labbe said in a statement, "we will come together as a school district and greater community to harness the strength required to support the young men who may have been victimized and then to begin the healing process for our beloved community."

ChristieChris Christie echoed the superintendents intentions of exhaustively delving into the specifics of the case in hopes of exposing the truth of the events and sending a clear message.

"The facts as reported currently are extraordinarily disturbing, and as the father of a number of teenage athletes, the idea that that kind of conduct could be permitted -- if it's true ... in a high school athletics program, or anywhere else in our state for that matter, is absolutely unacceptable."

Watch footage of Sayreville school superintendent Richard Labbe addressing the hazing scandal AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Seven New Jersey High Schoolers Charged With Hazing-Related Sex Crimes - VIDEO" »


Third Circuit Upholds New Jersey's Ban on 'Ex-gay' Conversion Therapy for Minors

New jerseyThe Third Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld New Jersey's ban on 'ex-gay' conversion therapy for minors, which was being challenged by the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) and other 'ex-gay' activists. 

Last year, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed the bill into law banning the dangerous practice.

Read the ruling below:

13-4429 #34586 - Judgment via Equality Case Files


Steve Carell To Play NJ Gay Rights Activist In 'Freeheld' Alongside Ellen Page, Julianne Moore

SteveCarellThe long-gestating narrative film adaptation of Freeheld, originally an Oscar-winning short documentary from Cynthia Wade, has added a new star to its cast according to Entertainment Weekly. Steve Carell has now replaced Zach Galifianakis in the role of Steven Goldstein, founder of Garden State Equality and an important ally to protagonist Laurel Hester who attempted to amend New Jersey's domestic partnership act to provide pension benefits for her partner. 

The film also stars Julianne Moore and Ellen Page, who was attached prior to her public coming out.

Freeheld does not yet have a release date.


Seattle Man Confesses to Gay Couple's Murder As 'Vengeance' for U.S. Military Role in Middle East

Ali Muhammad Brown, who was arrested last month for the murders of two gay men in Seattle on June 1, has confessed - saying that he committed the murders as an act of revenge against U.S. military involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. 

Brown also confessed to two other separate murders, according to the King County Porosecutor's Office.

BrownThe Los Angeles Times reports:

"My mission is my mission between me and my lord. That's it," Brown said during a jailhouse interview in New Jersey, according to the court filings. "My mission is vengeance, for the lives, millions of lives are lost every day."

"All these lives are taken every single day by America, by this government," Brown continued. "So a life for a life."

Police believe Brown used Grindr to lure Dwone Anderson-Young and Ahmed Said to a Seattle nightclub before shooting them both at close range.

Brown is currently in custody in New Jersey. Law enforcement officials have said he could face the death penalty for the killings.


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