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North Carolina Gay Man In Critical Condition After Being Beaten, Robbed, Set On Fire By Man He Met At Bar

Stephenwhite-232x300When Stephen Patrick White and Garry Joseph Gupton left a gay bar together in downtown Greensboro, North Carolina, early Sunday, "everything seemed normal," according to qnotes.

White, 46, and Gupton, 26, hailed a cab outside the Chemistry Nightclub and traveled to the Battleground Inn, a hotel about 4 miles away. At about 4:30 a.m., an employee at the Battleground Inn called 911 after he heard screaming and a fire alarm was activated.

White is now in critical condition at a hospital in nearby Winston-Salem with life-threatening injuries, including burns over 52 percent of his body, qnotes reports. Gupton was arrested and charged with aggravated assault after allegedly setting White on fire in what authorities say was an attempt to kill him.

Gupton is being held on $150,000 bond. White was found naked, robbed and beaten inside the hotel room. Gupton's Facebook page indicates that he's interested in women.

Jen Caltrider told Towleroad that White was her best friend in college and was injured in the Iraq war.

"He suffered severe injuries in an explosion in Iraq nearly 10 years ago while protecting a US base as a private contractor," Caltrider said. "He's served on both the Border Patrol and the Air Marshals. He is a good man who deserves all of our love and support right now."

GuptonChemistry Nightclub, as well as another local gay bar, have organized benefits this weekend to help defray White's medical costs. An online fundraising campaign had raised $520 by Wednesday afternoon.

Drew Wofford, owner of Chemistry Nightclub, posted the following on the bar's Facebook page:

To All Greensboro: with great sadness and a heavy heart I write this post. Sunday morning our friend and regular customer Steven left Chemistry by cab to a local hotel with Garry Gupton whom he met earlier that evening. A few hours later, Steven was viciously assaulted, robbed and set on fire in the hotel; over 52% of his body is severely burned. This brutal attack has left Steven hospitalized and fighting for his life. Now it’s our turn to help. This weekend, on Saturday November 15 the Q will be holding a silent auction from 2 – 6pm to raise money. That night, all of us at Chemistry will be doing our part. First let me say how proud I am of my staff and entertainers for their willingness to help. They have all agreed to donate their pay and tips; Chemistry will be donating the entire door cover, and all Jello Shot sales. Steven has a long road ahead of him but he is a fighter and he is definitely not alone. I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we are all fighting for him. Also I remind you to please use caution when leaving our bar or any bar with someone you don’t know. I never would have dreamed something like this would happen here in Greensboro … but let’s make sure it never happens again.


NOM and North Carolina GOP Leaders Appeal Pro-Equality Marriage Ruling to Fourth Circuit

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Anti-gay state lawmakers in North Carolina, joined by the National Organization for Marriage, have appealed Judge Max Cogburn's October 10 ruling striking down the state's gay marriage ban to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. 

The News & Observer reports:

Within hours of a split ruling by a 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel upholding gay marriage bans in four states, attorneys for North Carolina legislative leaders filed notice in the federal courts of their plans to appeal rulings in North Carolina that struck down a gay marriage ban. The court document, filed by John C. Eastman [right], a California lawyer and chairman of the National Organization for Marriage, outlines the plans of Phil Berger [left], president pro tem of the N.C. Senate, and Thom Tillis [middle], speaker of the state House, to appeal a ruling in October by U.S. District Judge William Osteen Jr. that nullified a 2012 amendment to the state constitution defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

With the Fourth Circuit having already settled the gay marriage debate via its Virginia ruling in July, all signs point to this being a fruitless effort, but at least Tillis is getting to tout his anti-gay credentials before being sworn in as the state's new U.S. senator in January...

Read the notice below via Equality Case Files:

Clay Aiken Loses Bid For Congress in North Carolina

AikenVariety reports that American Idol alumnus and openly gay congressional contestant Clay Aiken has lost his bid for North Carolina's 2nd district: 

Aiken, a Democrat, trailed incumbent Renee Ellmers 57% to 43% with 69% of the vote counted.

In a district that leans Republican, Aiken was an underdog. He downplayed his celebrity and instead focused on local issues, while Ellmers tried to dismiss his candidacy given his showbiz connections. She even tried to tie him to President Obama’s economic policies, calling it the “Aiken-Obama economy.”

As Lisa Keen pointed out previously, Rep. Renee Ellmers has a zero rating from the HRC for two terms.

More North Carolina Judges Resign Over Refusal to Perform Gay Marriages


Citing anti-gay religious beliefs, at least six North Carolina judges have resigned following the legalization of gay marriage in the state on October 10, The Christian Post reports.

Last month, we reported that Rockignham County Magistrate John Kallam Jr. had resigned from his position, saying performing a same-sex wedding would "desecrate a holy Institution established by God Himself"

All six magistrates, Kallam, Breedlove, Bill Stevenson (Gaston County), Tommy Holland (Graham County), Gayle Myrick (Union County) and Jeff Powell (Jackson County) say they are waiting on God to give them direction in starting the next phases of their lives.

Stevenson is the latest judge to have publicized that he has stepped down from his position citing religious conflicts with the newly passed North Carolina marriage law.

Christian Examiner adds:

"I prayed about it; I asked for wisdom," Stevenson told the Christian Examiner. "I think our hearts have been led away by the cares of the world, our desires, and ultimately, our intense arrogance – our hubris – against the Lord.

"We've rejected the prime authority of the scriptures, something our Nation's Founding Fathers, such as John Adams, knew better than to do. ... In both the Old and New Testaments, homosexuality is something the Lord does not approve of, and since He doesn't, I could not put the sanction of the state on a relationship that runs afoul of scripture."

God defines marriage in the Bible's second chapter of Genesis as between a man and a woman, Stevenson said.

The six judges include four Southern Baptists, one Missionary Baptist, and one Wesleyan. 

South Carolina Senate leader Phil Berger has proposed introducing legislation that would legally exempt public officials with religious conflicts from wedding gay couples. 

Check out a video of Stevenson discussing his resignation here

NOM Spends Over $100K To Support Anti-Gay North Carolina Senate Candidate Thom Tillis: VIDEO


The National Organization for Marriage has wheedled its way into the tight North Carolina senate race this week, spending $117,000 on postcard mailers alone to support Republican candidate Thom Tillis. Tillis, the current N.C. house speaker, was an integral voice in the fight against the lawsuits which struck down the anti-gay marriage Amendment One earlier this month; he challenges democratic incumbent Kay Hagan. While the mailers appear to be fair game, a television ad run by the organization is somewhat more problematic.

Buzzfeed reports:

Additionally, NOM will be running a television ad in support of “traditional marriage” during the 6 p.m. news broadcast in Charlotte, North Carolina. The ad will run three times, at a cost of $8,400. The agreement form for the ad states that it is not communicating “a message relating to any political matter of national importance,” does not list any candidates referenced in the ad, and is signed by Frank Schubert — the man behind ads supporting California’s Proposition 8 and similar measures elsewhere.

As Buzzfeed noted in an update, the advertisement does explicitly support Tillis over Hagan and therefore has everything to do with a "political matter of national importance."

"Same-sex marriage has been imposed by a federal judge hand-picked by Kay Hagan," the voiceover states. "Thom Tillis is fighting for marriage. Kay Hagan and her judge betrayed us. Send them a message: Vote Thom Tillis for U.S. Senate."

Sounds as though NOM reneged on their ad agreement big time. 

Check out the advertisement, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "NOM Spends Over $100K To Support Anti-Gay North Carolina Senate Candidate Thom Tillis: VIDEO" »

Eric Holder Announces Federal Government Will Recognize Gay Marriages in Six More States


U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced today that the federal government will recognize same-sex married couples in six additional states: Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Last week, Holder made a similar announcement regarding federal recognition of same-sex marriages in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Colorado. 

Via press release:

The Attorney General’s announcement means couples married in these states will now qualify for a range of federal benefits, including those administered by the Social Security Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs.

“With each new state where same-sex marriages are legally recognized, our nation moves closer to achieving of full equality for all Americans,” the Attorney General said. “We are acting as quickly as possible with agencies throughout the government to ensure that same-sex married couples in these states receive the fullest array of benefits allowable under federal law.”

In addition, the Attorney General also announced that the Department of Justice has determined it can legally recognize marriages performed in Indiana and Wisconsin this past June. These marriages were performed immediately after federal district courts ruled that those states’ bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, but subsequent developments created confusion about the status of those marriages. Based on the Attorney General’s announcement, however, those couples married during that period will now have their unions recognized by the federal government.


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