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04/19/2007


Sex Change At Heart Of Gay Marriage Case Before Court Today In Texas: VIDEO

Bat

In what it terms a "bizarre case," KZTV10.com reports on a legal challenge to Texas's ban on same-sex marriage. The case, set to be reviewed in Nueces County court today, centers on a transgender woman, Nikki Araguz, and her fight for benefits and inheritance following her husband's death in 2010. Araguz's challenge follows a 2011 ruling that invalidated her marriage on the basis that she was born a man, thus preventing her from inheriting her husband's estate:

"When my husband died. Suddenly they said, 'well, wait a minute your marriage doesn't count.' And I find that difficult to swallow," says Nikki [...]

Nikki married Thomas Araguz in 2008. She was born as Justin Graham Purdue but underwent a sex change before she met Thomas.

Two years into their marriage he died while working as a firefighter [...]

If a judge rules the marriage is valid, she could be entitled to an estate worth more than $600,000. If not, Thomas' first wife could inherit his estate.

The attorneys representing Thomas' estate have said should they lose their case they will fight Nikki all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in an effort to "protect his estate."

Nikki is currently engaged again and was recently denied a marriage license by Harris County in Texas because her original birth certificate listed her gender as male despite the fact that she has since had her birth certificate amended to reflect her sex change.

Watch a news report on Nikki's court case and her attempt to get a new marriage license (warning: autoplay) AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Sex Change At Heart Of Gay Marriage Case Before Court Today In Texas: VIDEO" »


Pastor Raped Teen Boys To Help End Their 'Homosexual Urges': VIDEO

Brent

Youth pastor Brent Girouex from Council Bluffs, Iowa has admitted to having sex with teenage boys during his tenure at Victory Fellowship Church in order to "to help [them] with homosexual urges by praying while he had sexual contact with [them]," United Press International reports.

Girouex, 31, who is married with four children, was arrested last year on 60 counts of suspicion of sexual exploitation by a counselor or therapist:

In February Girouex confessed to Council Bluffs police detectives that he had sexual relations with four young men starting in 2007 to help them gain "sexual purity" in the eyes of God. However, at least eight men have come forward with complaints that the pastor molested them.

Girouex told investigators that the longest relationship he had with any of the victims lasted four years. He said that it started when the boy was 14 years old and that the "mutual" contact took place 25 to 50 times. The victim, who is now an adult, told investigators the real number of times was between 50 and 100 times.

Three of the victims who came forward told authorities the sexual encounters took place at Girouex's house. They all said that they went there to be helped with "sexual purity."

“When they would ejaculate, they would be getting rid of the evil thoughts in their mind,” Girouex allegedly told detectives.

VicA judge originally sentenced Girouex to 17 years in prison before he "suspended it to allow Girouex to get sex offender treatment and probation," according to KCCI News. Girouex will remain on probation for 5 years, the maximum time allowed by law. Girouex's wife however, thinks her husband should be in prison:

"If that's what it takes to get him away from people, then yes," said Erin Girouex. "I don't want (my children) anywhere near him."

Erin Girouex said that what they want is for other victims of sexual misconduct to stand up and speak out before it's too late.

"We just encourage other victims that you have what it takes, you have a voice, and to come forward and to report what's happened so it doesn't happen again," [Emily] Baker, [wife of one of the victims] said.

Erin Girouex is filing for divorce, but the hang-up is that her husband wants to see their children.

Watch a news report about the horrific crimes AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Pastor Raped Teen Boys To Help End Their 'Homosexual Urges': VIDEO" »


Two More 'Alleged' Gay Men Mobbed In Jamaica: VIDEO

Local Resident

Fierce homophobia and anti-gay violence have been on the rise in Jamaica. With multiple instances of murder and anti-gay mob violence making their way into the headlines in the last month alone, the Caribbean island nation is certainly living up to its distinction as one of the most homophobic places on the planet. This most recent report of two men taking refuge in a police station from an angry mob, just for being perceived as gay, is a continuation of this disturbing trend. 

Anti-Gay JamaicaThe incident took place on August 23rd in the small town of Old Harbour, St. Catherine. Two men were involved in an automobile accident, but had to make a swift exit when several residents accused them of being gay. An angry mob broke out shortly therafter, forcing the two men to take refuge inside of a nearby police station. The mob reportedly grew as the men continued to take refuge inside, and demanded that police hand the two of them over. Local police had to escort the two men to safety before the mob began to disperse. 

This incident illustrated precisely how hostile of an environment LGBT people face in Jamaica, since the simple accusation of homosexuality was enough to start a mob. This is not the first time such an incident has happened, either. Previously, five men had to barricade themselves inside of a house and protect themselves from a mob, simply because they "appeared to be gay". 

Watch a report from local news, via Jamaican LGBT News ... AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Two More 'Alleged' Gay Men Mobbed In Jamaica: VIDEO" »


First Same-Sex Marriages In NM's Taos County Are 'Legally Solid': VIDEO

Taos

Unlike other states, marriage equality is making its way to the state of New Mexico one county at a time. Earlier this week, only three of the state's biggest counties were issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. That number then climbed to five, and finally rose to six as Taos county joined in. But with the state Supreme Court's refusal to issue a statewide ruling on marriage equality, many are worried that same-sex couples who are currently applying for marriage licenses might get caught in a legal limbo if another case challenges marriage equality. AP reports:

"What remains uncertain is when or how a legal challenge over same-sex marriage reaches the five-member Supreme Court. Justices on Wednesday rejected a request to take control of pending lawsuits over gay marriage and consolidate them before a single judge, representing a procedural setback for advocates who hoped it could provide a way for a speedy decision by the court to offer a uniform policy on gay marriage."

Hugging the clerkThis controversy is only made worse by the fact that New Mexico law does not expressly prohibit or allow same-sex marriage. State statutes have simply called for marriage licenses to have sections for male and female applicants. That fact has been sufficient grounds for county clerks to refuse marriage licenses in the past.

As is being illustrated in county after county, however, more clerks are deciding to represent the right side of history. In the meantime, many legal experts are declaring these new same-sex marriage licenses as valid and unlikely to be unvalidated bny the state supreme court, although many would still prefer the state government to still legalize same-sex marriage statewide to ensure that married couples receivie their proper benefits. Peter Simonson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico, told the AP that:

"Until we know for sure that the federal government will recognize marriages in the state of New Mexico, whether or not couples here qualify for joint filing remains uncertain. It's our contention that the federal government should recognize marriages now throughout the state regardless of what county someone gets married in."

NewmexicoMeanwhile, lawyers are calling the marriages legally sound and solid:

"Folks who have received marriage licenses from county clerks and have gotten married with those licenses are just as married as anyone else," said Brian Egolf, a lawyer who represented two Santa Fe men in a lawsuit that led to a court order directing county officials to issue them a marriage license.

Egolf said it's highly unlikely a court would invalidate the recent marriages that have occurred in the past week since the Dona Ana County clerk, without a court order, started issuing licenses to same-sex couples. The practice soon spread. A judge directed the Santa Fe County clerk a few days later to grant licenses and this week a district court judge in Albuquerque declared that it's unconstitutional to deny a marriage license to gay couples.

State Republicans are already planning to challenge same-sex marriage in court once again. Barry Massey of the AP also predicts that the state legislature will also try to weigh in on the controversy, although the state's governor believes that the issue should be decided by voters. 

In the meantime, happy couples continue to obtain marriage licenses by the hundreds.

Watch footage of the first happy couples to get married in Taos County AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "First Same-Sex Marriages In NM's Taos County Are 'Legally Solid': VIDEO" »


Orlando Woman Raped In Potential Homophobic Hate Crime: VIDEO

Overpass

Police in Orlando, Florida are searching for three suspects after a woman was attacked and raped yesterday while walking home from the LGBT night club "Revolution" (or "Rev" as it's often referred to by locals). The attack in question took place early Sunday morning at approximately 1:00 AM. The victim, who was walking home from the club by herself, was walking underneath on overpass when she was approached by three men in a silver vehicle. 

Rev NightclubThen men began by yelling multiple sexually explicit and anti-gay remarks, using words such as "lesbian" and "dyke". Two of the men then reportedly exited the vehicle, pushing her to the ground. The car's driver then allegedly removed the victim's underwear before saying, "I'll show you what a real man feels like," and then sexually assaulting her. After the attack, the victim then says that she made the rest of her way home and called the police. Unfortunately, after the incident, she was not able to identify the precise route she used to walk home. Thus, authorities do not have a specific location at which to search for evidence. 

The victim also had a difficult time identifying specific details about any of her attackers. She did say, however, that her attacker had short hair, and that he was wearing a black t-shirt and khaki shorts. He also reportedly drove a silver automobile. Police are investigating the incident as a hate crime, and are asking anyone with information about the incident to call Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS.

Watch the report by WKMG News Orlando AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Orlando Woman Raped In Potential Homophobic Hate Crime: VIDEO" »


Thousands Protest Russia's Anti-Gay Laws In Amsterdam: VIDEO

Amst

Over 2,000 protesters took to the streets of Amsterdam on Sunday to show their support for gay rights and to rebuke Russia’s anti-gay laws and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The AP reports:

VanderlaanAmsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan told the crowd he hoped the protest would send the message to Moscow that "love is not propaganda."

Afterward in an interview with The Associated Press, he said the city "is proud of its homosexual community and they have the right to support from government" — not persecution. Amsterdam has a long history of tolerance of gay rights, including performing the first gay marriages in 2001 [...]

Sunday's protest, titled "To Russia With Love," was organized in response to a concert featuring a Russian state orchestra and choir that was held on the far side of the square later in the evening. The two countries have named 2013 as a special year to celebrate historical ties.

But Van der Laan declined to meet with Putin when he visited the Netherlands in March, sending lesbian councilwoman Carolien Gehrels in his place and flying a rainbow flag over city hall.

Organizer Frank van Dalen of Pride United said he was thrilled with the turnout for Sunday's demonstration, which was put together in a matter of days — word spread quickly on social media.

"It shows that people are incredibly angry" about Russian treatment of gays, he said. "Not only gays and lesbians, but heterosexuals have come out to support them, and transgender and bisexual — this is something that concerns everyone."

Back in April, over 3,000 people in Amsterdam signed up for a protest of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to the Dutch capital because of his support for the then-proposed anti-gay law which was ultimately passed and went into effect in June. Rainbow flags were flown all across the city, some at half-mast and some strategically placed to guarantee that President Putin would see them during his stay in Amsterdam.

Sunday's protests in Museum Square come on the heels of last week's protests in Copenghagen that saw over 10,000 people take to the streets to condemn Putin and his country's anti-gay laws. Last week also saw gay rights supporters coming up with other inventive ways to protest the criminalization of gay rights in Russia.

Watch as Dutch protesters sing along to a rendition of "To Russia With Love" AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Thousands Protest Russia's Anti-Gay Laws In Amsterdam: VIDEO" »


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